Indigenous Australian gambling: consequences, crime and possible interventions
Breen, H, Hing, N & Gordon, A 2010, 'Indigenous Australian gambling: Consequences, crime and possible interventions', paper presented to 23rd Annual ANZSOC Conference. Cross-border domestic and transnational crime: risks and responses, Alice Springs, NT, 28-30 September.
One of several negative consequences flowing from Indigenous gambling, particularly problem gambling, is crime. Such crime may be personal (theft and fraud), interpersonal (violence and abuse) or community based (exploitation). From a cultural perspective, the ripple effects flowing from demand sharing by gamblers can drain resources from the gamblers’ family, extended family, friends and others in a widening circle of reciprocal obligation. As part of a larger study, this paper reports on findings into the consequences of card and commercial gambling and potential interventions for Indigenous Australians in northern Queensland (QLD) and northern New South Wales (NSW). Permission was granted by Indigenous Elders and others to conduct this research in three QLD and six NSW locations. Using qualitative methods and purposeful sampling, interviews were conducted with 229 Indigenous Australians, 24 non-Indigenous gambling help counsellors, 41 non-Indigenous gaming venue managers and 14 non-Indigenous Australians. Common positive consequences were reported to include socialising, having a common interest, social and physical comfort enjoyment and reduced alcohol consumption. Common negative consequences were reported as financial losses, hardship, family and relationship problems and ripple effects from reciprocal obligation demands. In several locations, negative consequences were said to comprise mental health issues and crime. Possible solutions suggested by the participants comprised primary, secondary and tertiary interventions such as: community education and awareness campaigns targeting Indigenous gamblers, families and communities; providing gambling outreach services to Indigenous communities; and the provision of culturally appropriate gambling counselling and treatment services, respectively.