Indigenous Australian gambling crime and possible interventions: a qualitative study

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Breen, H, Hing, N & Gordon, A 2013, 'Indigenous Australian gambling crime and possible interventions: a qualitative study', Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, vol. 3, no. 4.

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This paper has two purposes. First, we examine crime associated with the consequences of card and commercial gambling by Indigenous Australians in two states, in north Queensland (QLD) and in northern New South Wales (NSW). Second, we identify public health interventions potentially useful for reducing harmful gambling consequences. Permission was granted by Indigenous Elders and a university ethics committee to conduct this research. Using qualitative methods and purposeful sampling, interviews were conducted with 229 Indigenous Australians and 79 non-Indigenous gambling help counsellors, gaming venue managers and others. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interviews. Results show two types of crime were most evident, those committed to support a gambling habit (fraud and theft) and family dysfunction. Potential interventions reported to hold promise for minimising some harmful gambling consequences include: appropriate community education and awareness campaigns targeting Indigenous gamblers, families and their communities; the provision of Indigenous gambling outreach services; and culturally appropriate gambling counselling and treatment services. As gambling issues are interlinked with cultural, social and economic influences, the real challenge is to work with regional Indigenous communities to develop and deliver relevant holistic interventions appropriate to their needs.