Gambling at casinos in Atlantic City has become a problem for people of all ages, but mainly among the elderly. Their marketing is focused toward this demographic and they try to create a seductive environment with bright lights, food and drink perks, and bus trips to the casinos pose a dangerous environment for some people.
Gambling addiction among older women, especially those who are retired, seems to be growing. It can be a severe problem for someone and their finances.
Neva Pryor, Executive Director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, recently addressed this issue in a New York Times article. She said that sometimes older people gamble with money that they should be spending on medication, putting themselves in some desperate situations. Some people even become suicidal and do something as desperate as “drive out in traffic and get killed so families can collect insurance,” said Pryor.
It is said that men prefer games like blackjack and poker that require skill, whereas women are more drawn to games based on luck, like lottery tickets and slot machines. Typically, women start to gamble later in life. Sometimes, it occurs after a major life event, such as children leaving home or a spouse passing away.
It is easier than it seems for women to lose large sums of money, so much that it jeopardizes their futures. When retirement savings are tapped into, it is tough to build them back up. Some women turn to stealing money from friends, family, and work. In one such case, a woman went to jail for embezzling $18,000 from her church.
Problem gambling can even develop medical issues . One such issue is bladder complications due to sitting at the slot machines for too long without taking a break to go to the bathroom. Some evidence suggests that some medications geared toward older people contain side effects that increase the chances of addictive behavior, like gambling, such as dopamine used to treat Parkinsons.
Pryor also said that people should protect themselves from potential gambling problems in retirement by managing not only their finances but how they plan to spend their newfound free time before they even stop working.
Pryor continued, “What people need to realize, is, they may win a little, but ultimately, the house always wins.”
If you or someone you know needs help with a gambling problem, call our 24/7 hotline at 1-800-GAMBLER. Otherwise, text “800GAMBLER” to 53342 for more information.