Indigenous gambling scoping study: a summary

Document Type


Publication details

Morris, M, Young, M, Barnes, M, Marum, J & Stevens, M 2006, Indigenous gambling scoping study: summary, final report presented to the Community Benefit Fund of the NT Treasury, School for Social and Policy Research, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT. ISBN: 097583567X

Report available online at http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/90476/sub252-attachmentd.pdf


Current policy and service delivery to Indigenous individuals and communities impacted by gambling have been developed in the absence of sufficient and sound research into the salient issues associated with gambling. There exists a need for rigorous, methodologically sound research that identifies and explores gamblingrelated issues and their impact on Indigenous societies. Articulating these issues and adding to the extant knowledge regarding them will aid in developing appropriate remediation strategies and gambling policies. This will also inform the development of appropriate and economically viable community and social outreach and support activities designed to meet the needs as identified by Indigenous individuals and organisations. In the CDU scoping study, which this document summarises, Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, organisations and health professionals collaborated to scope the range of issues related to Indigenous gambling and to identify appropriate research directions and strategies. The dual foci of the study were unregulated (ie. card rings) and regulated (ie. pokies) Indigenous gambling inclusive of the concomitant range of social issues associated with both these gambling forms. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs. In addition, an open-ended questionnaire was devised to allow Indigenous and non-Indigenous service agency staff to share knowledge distilled from many years of working with Indigenous communities or Indigenous organisations.

The scoping study commenced on 1 February 2006. An Indigenous Advisory Group was formed and an Indigenous research assistant engaged. Health and allied service agencies were selected and contacted in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs. These included Indigenous community councils, Indigenous communitycontrolled health services including their social support and counselling arms, drug and alcohol services, crisis accommodation services, women’s shelters, legal services, financial counselling services, educational services, church social services, language and culture centres, government departments, and representatives of the gaming industry. Within these service agencies, staff with knowledge of Indigenous gambling practices self-selected to participate in the study. A total of sixty-four organisations, representing urban regional and remote areas, participated in the study.