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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

Discussion paper
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apo-nid42428.pdf 464.28 KB

Summary: This paper synthesises information published about Indigenous Australian gambling, and summarises issues and implications for key stakeholders. It is relevant for raising awareness and promoting community education about gambling for Indigenous Australians.

Key messages

  • Gambling is part of the social and cultural fabric of many Indigenous communities.
  • Gambling rates are much higher among Indigenous Australians than in the wider Australian population, especially on “pokies” or electronic gaming machines.
  • Positive consequences for Indigenous Australians who gamble include social engagement and social acceptance, reduced isolation, pleasure, physical comfort, an opportunity to win money, and some reduced alcohol consumption.
  • Problem gambling and gambling-related harms are much more common among Indigenous Australians than in the wider Australian population.
  • Cultural expectations to gamble and to share resources with relatives results in gambling-related harms stretching across whole Indigenous communities.
  • Intergenerational transfer of gambling culture compounds ongoing gambling problems among Indigenous Australian communities.
  • Risk factors common to Indigenous Australians include exposure to gambling as a child, high gambling expenditure, drinking alcohol and using drugs while gambling, and gambling to escape life concerns.
  • Help-seeking rates are as low as in the wider population. To avoid shame and stigma, Indigenous persons first try to help themselves, they then turn to family, friends and community members. Family and friends struggle to assist problem gamblers, however, due to social norms approving gambling and low problem gambling recognition.


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