Indigenous Gambling Forums on the Central Coast

A gambling training forums was held to support services who work with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people on the Central Coast. The forum was held on Thursday, 17th March to coincide with "Close the Gap day" and was covered by NBN news.

The Central Coast has the fastest growing Aboriginal community in the country, with a population of around 13,000.[1] Studies show that approximately 20% of Aboriginal people have serious problems with gambling. [2] That's 2,600 people on the Central Coast affected by problem gambling, and yet due to shame, stigma and guilt Aboriginal people are not seeking the help they need.

Warruwi Gambling Help in conjunction with Central Coast Gambling Help recently consulted with local Indigenous groups on how best to tackle this issue.

"The importance of initiatives to address gambling problems among Indigenous Australians cannot be overstated," said Ashley Gordon of Warruwi Gambling Help. "Urgent prevention, harm minimisation and treatment and referral strategies are needed to address the very high rates of gambling problems, their serious ripple effects through Indigenous communities, and their transfer to subsequent generations."

Community services routinely deal with mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence but gambling is often overlooked. Many of the clients presenting to services have an underlying gambling disorder or are at risk for developing one, but few will offer this information voluntarily.

The forums discussed Aboriginal Gambling on the Central Coast and how services can be alert to the possibility their clients might be problem gamblers. Resources and tools to provide culturally based advice and strategies for gambling help were offered to participants as well as screening and referral processes.