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Indigenous Gambling Motivations, Behaviour and Consequences in Northern New South Wales, Australia

Abstract

Against a background of public health, we sought to examine and explain gambling behaviours, motivations and consequences of Indigenous Australians in northern New South Wales. Adhering to national Aboriginal and ethical guidelines and using qualitative methods, 169 Indigenous Australians were interviewed individually and in small groups using semi-structured interviews. Over 100 in-depth interviews were conducted. Using thematic analysis, the results indicate a range of contrasting social and more problematic gambling behaviours, motivations and consequences. Acknowledging the cultural distinctiveness of Indigenous gambling and distinguishing between their social and more problematic gambling behaviours, motivations and consequences can assist with public health prevention, harm reduction and treatment programs for Indigenous gamblers in all parts of Australia.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The authors are aware of the debate around titles used to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Alternative terms such as Indigenous, Aboriginal, Koori and Murri are in common use. In this literature review, we use the terms Indigenous Australian and Aboriginal interchangeably.

  2. 2.

    All money references are in Australian currency.

  3. 3.

    Yarn is a colloquial word for story or anecdote (research participant).

  4. 4.

    Poker machines are also called electronic gaming machines, gaming machines, pokies or slots depending on source or use in that particular jurisdiction. TAB or Totalisator Agency Board is the name of an agency which operates a computerised system of betting calculating all bets and pay outs in a pari-mutuel style (McPherson 2007).

  5. 5.

    A press is a colloquial word for gambling on a poker machine (research participant).

  6. 6.

    Ripping off is a colloquial term for theft or fraud (participant response).

  7. 7.

    Humbug is a commonly used colloquial Indigenous word for harassment and pestering people for money with the expectation of receiving it (McDonald and Wombo 2006).

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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge and thank the Indigenous people of northern New South Wales for their generous cooperation and collaboration with this research project.

Declaration of Conflicts of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to the data, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Funding

This project and subsequent authorship of this article was funded by Gambling Research Australia.

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Correspondence to Helen M. Breen.

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The researchers have full control of the primary data and it can be reviewed if requested by the journal editor.

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Breen, H.M., Hing, N. & Gordon, A. Indigenous Gambling Motivations, Behaviour and Consequences in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Int J Ment Health Addiction 9, 723–739 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-010-9293-2

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Keywords

  • Aboriginal people
  • Australia
  • Community and public health
  • Health and well-being
  • Research qualitative