Post-print of: Hing, N, Breen, H, Gordon, A & Russell, A 2014, 'The gambling behavior of Indigenous Australians', Journal of Gambling Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, pp. 369-386.
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The gambling activities of minority groups such as Indigenous peoples are usually culturally complex and poorly understood. To redress the scarcity of information and contribute to a better understanding of gambling by Indigenous people, this paper presents quantitative evidence gathered at three Australian Indigenous festivals, online and in several Indigenous communities. With support from Indigenous communities, the study collected and analyzed surveys from 1,259 self-selected Indigenous adults. Approximately 33 % of respondents gambled on card games while 80 % gambled on commercial gambling forms in the previous year. Gambling participation and involvement are high, particularly on electronic gaming machines (EGMs), the favorite and most regular form of gambling. Men are significantly more likely to participate in gambling and to gamble more frequently on EGMs, horse/dog races, sports betting and instant scratch tickets. This elevated participation and frequency of gambling on continuous forms would appear to heighten gambling risks for Indigenous men. This is particularly the case for younger Indigenous men, who are more likely than their older counterparts to gamble on EGMs, table games and poker. While distinct differences between the gambling behaviors of our Indigenous sample and non-Indigenous Australians are apparent, Australian Indigenous behavior appears similar to that of some Indigenous and First Nations populations in other countries. Although this study represents the largest survey of Indigenous Australian gambling ever conducted in New South Wales and Queensland, further research is needed to extend our knowledge of Indigenous gambling and to limit the risks from gambling for Indigenous peoples.