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AAA Music | 3 April 2020

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The Impact of Gambling for Maori Families

| On 17, Mar 2020

The Maori people are known for their receptiveness and embrace of foreign influence. Gambling is one of these western concepts that has been gladly accepted as a social activity. It is not uncommon to see around Maori settlements and villages, betting parlors, casinos, charity lottos and pokies (slot machines) at bars and similar venues with the Maori having fun with their peers. Unfortunately for these warm-hearted people, gambling addiction is a very silent one, with lousy consequences.

Problem Gambling in Maori Communities

Gambling addiction in New Zealand is overrepresented by Maori people. The impact is so disproportionately large that the government programs dedicated to fighting the problem gambling issue are mostly addressed to the Maori communities.  There are of course some positive impacts on gambling as a social activity and entertainment.

 The fact that is the number one choice to organize events (even religious ones) to fundraise is the best of it. At first, Maori started to gamble at min deposit casino that makes this activity not so costly. However, any positive influence becomes secondary because like alcohol and drugs, once the individual loses control over its acts, the harm gets extended not only to him or her l but also the ones surrounding them, and families are the bigger collateral.

There are several factors that push Maori people to gamble:

  • To deal with stress and troubles
  • As a social activity
  • The possibility of winning big money
  • Introduced by friends and family

While these are the most common by choice, The Maori are 5 times more prone to develop gambling disorders thanks to the presence of the following triggers:

Uneven income

Maori people perceive 20% less income from their jobs and they usually have lower education. and find in gambling their ticket to economical relief.

Disproportioned Concentration of gambling services

Despite representing 16% of the whole new Zealand population, at least 50% of the pokies (one of the worst forms of gambling) of the country are based in their settlements.

Limited entertainment options

Most young Maori only have casinos, bars, and pubs as entertainment.

Gambling as escape

Maori find in gambling an escape vault To deal with stress and troubles devoting long hours and large sums to this activity.

Lost of control / Chasing loses

The rush of dopamine the brain receives regardless of winning or losing slowly traps the Maori bettor in a mirage created by its compulsive behavior getting devoided of any responsibility to its families. 

Major consequences of gambling problem for the Maori families

Child neglection

Children are the bigger losers of the problem gambling addiction issue. Kids are virtually abandoned at parking lots or in the entrance of casino and gambling venues when parents are gone to take their fix. In their homes, they are deprived of  essentials like education and food to point of getting sick and malnourished,

The loss of cultural heritage

Family heirlooms are no longer in Maori homes but resting in pawnshops, as gambling addicts sold these valuables to keep funding their activities with almost zero possibility to pay it back. At the same because of the time dedicated to gambling, cultural trespassing from the elders and parents with this condition is overlooked and furthers generations grow unaware of their rich past.

Economical and family distress

As income at home becomes scarce, performance at work grows poorly as gambling becomes the sole center in the life of addicts. As gambling seems as income the debts become only larger. People with this condition are incapable of keeping their jobs and the added presence of debts escalates the financial pressure over their homes.

Domestic violence

Economical problems usually cause tension in any home. Problem gambling delivers violence among partners and children fueled with the destructive behavior caused by the consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Mistrust and isolation from their peers

Gambling addicts are capable of any kind of wrongdoing to get their fix. With the Maori being very protective about their society is not uncommon to see members under these conditions to get outcasted increasing the isolation and distress over family members.

The Maori solution

Considering that Maoris are very receptive people with a strong cultural foundation to guide their way of living, programs designed to manage problem gambling based mostly on a western society are now reconsidering and taking the deeply rooted cultural background of Maori society to achieve better results. Putting back in touch with the original values that make them thrive over the many thousand years of Maori history will definitely bond again all those shattered families.