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Are Seniors at Risk for Problem Gambling?

In recognition of World Senior Citizens’ Day on August 21st, it’s imperative to not only celebrate older individuals’ lives, but also to recognize the unique issues they may be facing. Problem gambling among seniors is undoubtedly on the rise — most have ample time and money at their disposal, and the influx of casinos all over the nation has made gambling more convenient than ever before. Nowadays, many adult communities, assisted living centers, and churches organize regular outings to local casinos. But where does the recreation stop, and the problem behavior begin? Let’s take a look:

What Contributes to Problem Gambling Among Seniors? 

There are multiple reasons why seniors can be vulnerable to gambling problems:

The Gambling Experience

Often, seniors are catered to by casinos with free bus transportation, free or discounted meals, exclusive rewards, and additional prizes — all factors that work to entice them to not only gamble, but spend a considerable amount of time at a given establishment, as well.

While there exist many gambling options for people to get hooked on, casino slot machines are the most popular among seniors. Slot machines are much more appealing than the machines of yesteryear — providing sensory stimulation “in spades” with colorful graphics, sizable video screens, and vibrating ergonomic chairs. The refined experience can keep people of any age entertained — however, excitement coupled with convenience is a combination ripe for seniors to take advantage of.

Coping Mechanisms

Many seniors use gambling to distract themselves or escape from feelings of loneliness, depressions, sadness, or a chronic health condition. Some may have financial problems they are hoping to overcome. Some may have cognitive impairment that impedes their ability to make sound decisions. It’s essential to consider that many seniors may not understand problem behaviors, making them less likely to identify gambling problems. Or, they may be confused or even embarrassed that they can’t control their urges to gamble and are reluctant to seek help. If they do recognize that they have a problem, they may not know that gambling support is available or where to go.

As you can see, there isn’t one common culprit that affects every senior citizen in the same way when it comes to problem gambling. Instead, there’s a confluence of lifestyle, preconceived notions, financial standing, familial relationships, health conditions, and numerous additional contributors that come into play.

Let’s take a look at some problem gambling statistics among senior citizens:

Do You or Someone You Know Have a Gambling Problem? Contact 800-GAMBLER Today

Gambling problems affect a wide range of demographics, and senior citizens are no exception. Rest assured that there is a helpline for hope — support for problem gambling is just a phone call away. For more information, contact us today.

Sources

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-recognize-and-hand_b_5763058

https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-01-2014/gambling-addiction.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886010/