Video transcript: Why are we not talking about gambling?

[Text displays: Ashley Gordon, Executive Director, NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Services]

[Ashley speaks to camera]

My name’s Ashley Gordon. I manage the NSW Aboriginal Safe Gambling Services.  We coordinate the Warruwi Gambling Help Program in NSW and we’re funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund.

[Ashley at the front of a room speaking to a group of counsellors, the counsellors listening intently, back to Ashley speaking to camera]

When we talk about why Aboriginal people gamble, it’s very similar to why most people gamble and that’s obviously to win money but it’s in hope to change their current financial situation. So they feel they’re not in a very good financial situation so they need more money whether it’s to buy something or a washing machine or something of importance so they’re looking to get that extra dollar from that.

But the second most popular reason people gamble is to escape, and so that’s a concern if we’re choosing gambling to escape.

I think Aboriginal people are more inclined to go to a financial counselling service before a gambling counselling service. I think it’s easier to admit I’m struggling with my money and budgeting and trying to get from one pay check to the next. So it’s much easier to go to a financial counsellor first.

There’s still a little stigma associated with problem gambling and going to counselling there so we need to break that down because gambling counsellors are all over the state, we need them, but again Aboriginal people need to see that these people understand them, are culturally appropriate, are confidential, they are free and they can obviously help them overcome these problems with gambling but again the stigma associated is wrong and we need to change that mindset.

I think it’s important not to tell Aboriginal people what to do and how to do it. I think it needs to be a collaborative approach. That’s why we talk about giving Aboriginal people the information and the knowledge so then we can make decisions together. For me, if a community or a family or an individual wants to learn how to do it safely or gamble responsibly, we need to know what that is and what that looks like. Many people don’t know what gambling safe is or what gambling responsibly is so it’s about giving the tips to say well I’m only going to gamble so much, I’m only going to gamble for a length of time. With card playing it could be something as simple as the kids aren’t supposed to be around the games, there’s no alcohol when card playing is being played and there’s a time frame as well where no games after midnight for example so for me I like to promote safe gambling.

I think it’s important for us to move forward we’ve got to tackle gambling as a group of people, as a collective group of people, as Aboriginal people we need to together look at ways of addressing the problem, working together. I think that across all the communities that I’ve been to it’s seen as an individual problem, it’s somebody else’s concern, but for us moving forward it’s got to be tackled together as Aboriginal people.

[Information displays: Gambler’s Help logo, 1800 858 858, gamblershelp.com.au]

[Information displays: Warruwi gambling help logo, A new pathway for our communities, Have a yarn, 1800 752 948]

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