Problem gambling in new and emerging refugee communities

Gambling Refugees Australia

Since legalised gaming was introduced in Victoria in the early 1990s, the Victorian community has developed many strategies and initiatives to educate and support individuals and communities on gambling issues. One population group - recently-arrived refugees - does not share the same understanding about gambling and problem gambling as the general community; in fact there is only a limited understanding about their attitudes and practices with gambling. To address this, the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health’s Victorian Multicultural Gambler’s Help Program (VMGHP) received funding from the Office of Gaming and Racing to undertake research with four refugee communities.

Newly-arrived refugee communities face numerous and interrelated challenges including language barriers, social dislocation and isolation and financial hardship which present potential problem gambling risk factors. They have little or no familiarity with the Australian gambling industry or available support services, which further increases their vulnerability. Paramount to enhancing problem gambling service responses for these communities is developing a better understanding of attitudes to gambling and help seeking; risk factors for problem gambling; and how engagement on the issue of problem gambling can be improved.

The VMGHP undertook a research project profiling the Sudanese Dinka, Somali, Iraqi Muslim and Liberian communities. These communities were chosen for the cross section they represent of religion, length of stay in Australia and settlement patterns.

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