GAMBLING was the subject of the day yesterday when former NRL star and counsellor Ashley Gordon visited Tweed Heads.
Mr Gordon’s visit was part of a new State Government campaign targeting problem gambling in New South Wales Aboriginal communities.
As part of the campaign Mr Gordon hosted an Aboriginal Gambling Community Workshop and free lunch with entertainment at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Museum.
“In indigenous communities, gambling can be linked to alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, financial hardship, crime and mental health issues,” Mr Gordon said.
“I’ve seen these prob- lems first-hand during visits to more than 100 Aboriginal communities throughout Australia.”
After a successful career in rugby league, Mr Gordon is now an Aboriginal gambling consultant and works as a researcher with the Centre for Gambling Education and Research at Southern Cross University at Lismore.
In his rugby league heyday Mr Gordon played at fullback and wing for the Newcastle Knights and the Penrith Panthers and was named Dally M Winger of the Year in 1990.
During the workshop Mr Gordon brought the “play it safe at gambling” message to a large group of Tweed residents.
Also in attendance at the workshop were NSW government and non-government agencies.
During his visit Mr Gordon met with service providers who support Aboriginal people in areas such as health, education, employment and housing to discuss problem gambling in the Tweed Heads area.
The state-wide campaign will target 20 Aboriginal communities across NSW in 2011.
Australians spend an estimated $18 billion a year on gambling, with problem gambling and its associated distress and hardship affecting about two percent of the community.
The NSW Population Health Survey found that 4% of Aboriginal people felt they had a gambling problem and 10% knew someone who had a gambling problem.
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