Urban Indigenous Data Collection Project
By working collaboratively in collecting information around urban indigenous people in Darwin, gambling behaviour, and service access the project aims to establish empirical evidence that demonstrates links between gambling, problem gambling, and a range of health and social issues.
The data collected will be employed to analyse trends in service access, support funding applications, and to provide evidence around the prevalence of gambling related harms experienced by urban indigenous people in the greater Darwin region.
We thank you for your valued time and contribution to the data collection project.
Menzies School of Health Research
We have worked with the AIMHI (Aboriginal & Islander Mental Health Initiative) Team at Menzies to develop an evaluation tool to assess the effectiveness of our community workshops to reduce harms from gambling. The tool is visual and has been developed following consultations with a range of community members in Central Australia.
Perspectives on Indigenous Gambling
Australia has seen the development and expansion of gaming/gambling products over the past twenty-years which involves large corporations and transnational games. As a form of recreation and entertainment gambling has retained its popularity with Australians, however there is growing concern about adverse social impacts perceived to flow from gambling. While prevalence studies indicate differing levels across Australia, which vary between 1% and 2.3%, there is very little information regarding Aboriginal people. International studies inform us that the Indigenous rates are much higher, and in Canada, it varies between 19% – 42% for First Nation Peoples. Gambling is recognised nationally and internationally as a concurrent and contributing public health issue.
Anecdotal information gathered by Amity workers in the field indicates ongoing concerns over the adverse impacts on Indigenous people that flow from both regulated and unregulated gambling. These impacts continue to be discussed by Indigenous and non Indigenous people throughout the NT. It appears from our work to date that gambling, as an issue within Communities, has varied recognition, acknowledgement and responses. Some Communities talk of gambling problems being a community issue and others see it as a private family concern. Service providers are reporting gambling issues with their clients and request ongoing education and support to deal with gambling related issues.
Indigenous people participate in both regulated and unregulated gambling and there are varying consequences depending on whether the money remains in the Community or not. Indigenous people talk about unregulated or community gambling (card playing) largely being conducted in an atmosphere of reciprocal (cultural) responsibilities. The functions of pooling and redistribution of money are important. The card playing activity provides social interaction, information and cultural exchange, is entertaining and is conducted via Indigenous controlled (economic) protocols. This is not to say that the activity is without impacts. Regulated gambling has resulted in the rules and decisions about profits no longer being made by the community. Therefore, losses in venues may result in disadvantage and destitution, not only for the individual but also for family and community.
Indigenous Australians are vulnerable to social and economic disadvantage, racism and social exclusion. The status of Indigenous people is well documented and shows higher rates of poverty, deprivation, child abuse, family violence, incarceration and poor health. This existing range of social problems may compound vulnerability to the development and continuance of problem gambling behaviour. Some of the indirect health effects that arise from gambling related financial difficulties are inadequate nutrition, poor hygiene, and poor living conditions.