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Gambling study highlights need for culturally diverse education and services

Language and culture can affect the way Tamil and Chinese speaking people in Victoria perceive gambling and can prevent those with gambling problems from getting help according to a study by Monash university.

Funded by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, the Monash university study explored the experiences, attitudes and beliefs around gambling of people with Chinese and Tamil backgrounds.

Foundation chief executive Serge Sardo says the evidence reinforces the diverse perceptions of gambling in Victoria.

“This research shows language and cultural differences can influence gambling behaviour, and may prevent people with problems from getting help or knowing about the benefits of counselling,” he said.

The study highlights a number of issues faced by new migrants which can influence gambling such as a lack of support, boredom, anxiety and stress.

“The Foundation recognises gambling in Australia is likely to be different to how it is back home for many migrants, so we are committed to providing culturally appropriate education and support services in multiple languages.

“The study also shows the shame and stigma of problem gambling can deter people in these communities from seeking help, confirming these barriers are widespread among Victorians, irrespective of their background,” said Mr Sardo.

Researcher and co-author Dr Harriet Radermacher says both Tamil and Chinese speaking participants in the study thought gambling was part of the Australian culture.

“In the Chinese community, ‘gaming’ was seen as a recreational activity that was part of the Chinese culture but not related to problems, while ‘gambling’ was perceived to be associated with significant amounts of money and problems. Neither ‘gambling’ or ‘gaming’ was seen as part of the Tamil culture,” she said.

In July this year, the Foundation will launch new support services for culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Victoria to build on existing community education materials and translation services provided by Gambler’s Help telephone and face-to-face counselling.

The first phase of the new support services will focus on Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic speaking communities.

The Foundation is also committed to further studies into culturally and linguistically diverse communities within Australia.

A qualitative investigation of the experiences, attitudes and beliefs about gambling in Chinese and Tamil communities in Victoria was co-authored by Professor Susan Feldman, Dr Harriet Radermacher, Christopher Anderson and Dr Marissa Dickins of Monash University.

The report is available on the Foundation’s website, search for Feldman.

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Fiona Skivington, Manager, Media & Communication
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