Senior Citizen Gambling is a Serious Problem

Senior Citizen Gambling is a Serious Problem because casinos are specifically targeting the elderly.  In an article in AARP, October, 2016  it was noted that in 2014, half of the 101 million people to visit a casino were age 50 or older.  

Senior citizens are spending their life savings gambling.  Lured in by promises of free meals, free rooms in the hotel, and other bells and whistles.  We all know those things are not really free.  Our elderly are paying by spending their money at the gambling tables and on the slot machines.  

Why and how Seniors are Targeted

  1. they keep the casino floors full during the day
  2. they are offered free drinks, breakfast, and lunch
  3. casinos are providing wheelchairs and diapers to keep the elderly at the casino
  4. there was one casino that had an onsite pharmacy and gave gambling credits when prescriptions were filled.
  5. the design of slot machines purposely set up to target women

Senior Citizen Gambling is a Serious Problem

Slot machines are referred to as “electronic crack.”  Therapist have explained that the brain’s neural circuits are fired up while playing slot machines similar to what happens when a person smokes crack.  Which makes slot machines highly addictive for those predisposed to certain conditions.

I have been reading a lot about dementia due to a family members condition and was startled to read that people with dementia are highly stimulated by the action of pushing the buttons on a slot machine over and over. Don’t think that everyone with early signs of dementia have been diagnosed and getting help. 

The sad part is that there are many senior citizens who do not have family to monitor their behaviors.  According to American Bar Association’s Commission on Law and Aging, 4% of older adults do not have family and friends to assist them.  They are actually referred to as, “the unbefriended elderly.”

 

How to Recognize a Gambling Problem

  • Gamblers Anonymous has an online 20 question assessment tool you can use to determine if a loved one or yourself is a compulsive gambler
  • Pay attention to behaviors like lying about gambling or attempts to avoid discussion about gambling
  • Was there a budget for gambling that is now being exceeded. Example: $20.00 was once enough to have  a good day gambling now it takes $50.00 to reach that same feeling. 
  • Where is the money coming from to gamble? Has the person gone from using extra money to making withdrawals from savings accounts?
  • Pay attention to signs of lack of interest in activities that were previously important. 
  • Mark Stacy a neurologist at Duke University states gambling can be a side effect of some medications. Be aware of changes in behavior related to new or current prescriptions.

Summary

Thousands of our elderly that now have a gambling addiction do not understand addiction.  They start out seeking something to distract them and get them through the day.  Many of these seniors have never had an addiction problem and are people that planned for retirement their whole lives. Losing their financial freedom is not in the plan.  Can you imagine how scared they are when all their finances are gone? 

There is a lot of shame attached to finding yourself penniless. That is why the elderly will keep their loses a secret and go without help until it is too late. 

It is not against the law how the casinos are targeting the elderly. However, it is immoral because they are aware of the problem they are contributing to with this special population.  Like our children our elderly need to be protected.  

For information on how you can help contact the National Problem Gambling Hotline.

If this were happening to an elderly member of your family or friend do you think you would recognize the signs?  As you read this did someone come to mind that you think may need help?

**If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful Comment below and Share on your favorite social media site.**

Suggested Reading: 

Seniors in Casino Land: Tough Luck for Older Americans

 

Lydia Brown

 

 

 

Sources:

http://huffingtonpost.com

Gamblers Anonymous

National Problem Gambling Hotline

Free Download Growing & Healing in Recovery Quotes

Addiction Treatment News Newsletter

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Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown, MS, MAC, CSAC, CADAC Editor ATN, Home Business Owner Advocate for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment CARF Surveyor

26 thoughts on “Senior Citizen Gambling is a Serious Problem

  • February 11, 2017 at 5:48 pm
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    Hi Lydia. I’m not surprised by this article. I’ve been to Las Vegas many times, and the slots are filled with older women. No one ever looks happy.

    I love to play slots, but my husband and I have a rule. Our limit is $20 and we only play nickel slots. When the money is gone, it’s gone. That way it is entertainment. I never get psyched about winning.

    It’s funny how addictions works, though. I had a similar problem with an online business. It was not working the way I was told it would. I just kept thinking, if I attend one more workshop, buy one more course, buy this kind of advertising, I will start to make money. It was very much like an addiction the cost a lot of money and then put me in debt. I finally had to walk away and tell myself the money was gone and I wasn’t going to get it back that way.

    I think there are a lot of ways to become addicted that are detrimental to our health and bank accounts. Thanks for pointing out this very real problem.
    DeeDee Lynn recently posted…Valentine’s Day cookies with a heart – and a song!My Profile

    Reply
    • February 24, 2017 at 10:14 pm
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      Hey DeeDee thank you for sharing your story and supporting this blog

      Reply
  • November 25, 2016 at 12:32 am
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    I find it really sad to know that so many seniors have no family or friends and have to rely on a casino for their entertainment. There is talk of building a casino in my city, and I know it’s because we have a huge population of seniors here to target.
    Ruth Bowers recently posted…Do you have the courage to get started?My Profile

    Reply
    • November 25, 2016 at 2:35 am
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      Hi Ruth, exactly when the market research is done senior citizens are definitely a huge part of the consideration. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • November 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm
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    Hi Lydia

    That is indeed shocking to read, I had no idea.

    What strikes me (here in the UK) is how many TV ads there are for gambling sites. Happily they are of no interest to me, but I can see how they make them so tempting with free offers to lure people in.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Free Online Shopping Store For YouMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 23, 2016 at 7:00 pm
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      Hi Joy, casino advertising is certainly strategically planned and implemented. Thanks for your comment

      Reply
  • November 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm
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    We don’t have many casinos here in Australia, but there are plenty of hotels (pubs) with rooms full of slot machines- we call them “pokies”. Senior citizens have always been the majority in there.
    Sue Bride recently posted…How to Easily Make Free Picture QuotesMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm
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      Hi Sue, thank you for your comment. Same principle different venue it seems. I hope the results are not as drastic as it is here in the USA

      Reply
  • November 15, 2016 at 4:13 am
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    Lydia, this was a very interesting post. I had no idea that this was an epidemic among senior citizens. It is sad that these seniors with no relatives are being taken advantage of.

    Reply
    • November 16, 2016 at 6:32 am
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      Hi Roy thank you for your comment. Glad you found the article interesting.

      Reply
  • November 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm
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    Hi Lydia,

    We’ve a casino within 10 minutes. They’ve good food at reasonable prices. Tuesday’s are ‘senior’s day’ with special prices and win credits type drawings. Don’t go those days because it saddens me. The points you make in this post are definitely played out at the slot machines . Good looking out,
    Edward
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Why You Shouldn’t Masturbate While DrivingMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 14, 2016 at 12:27 am
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      Hey Edward thanks for your comment. The casino’s know how to entice the elderly. For some the cost is way too high.

      Reply
  • November 8, 2016 at 2:12 am
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    I think it’s awesome you touch on this subject! Not many people know about this and some of the information you present here is news to me also.

    Thanks for the value.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm
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      Thank you for your visit and comment, Matthew. I am glad you found this post to be informative.

      Reply
  • November 7, 2016 at 3:49 am
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    Hi Lydia

    This is indeed sad. I am surprised that this will be happening. Over here in my country, we don’t have much casinos so this is not a problem for the Senior citizen. Thanks for sharing this info and have a wonderful week.
    ikechi recently posted…Making a Difference: BlogFest With StyleMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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      Thank you for your support and comment Ikechi! You have an awesome week too.

      Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 10:59 pm
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    I would be very interested in knowing what the statistics are for casino visitors over the age of 65 and then to further know of those visitors how many are gambling and how many are visiting the casino for the food and shows, only.

    Reply
    • November 7, 2016 at 12:19 am
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      Hey Elise, welcome back. Great questions I think I will look into that. If I find any statistics in those areas I will update the post. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 11:31 pm
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    It is sad that the gambling industry takes advantage of the elderly. Those people are gambling away their savings and chance for a secure future. It is not like they can make up the losses or start all over.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…Super Easy Way To Improve Your BlogMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 10:52 pm
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      Exactly Rachel it is devastating that they would be marked. There is no comeback from what they will go through. Thank you for commenting

      Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 9:41 pm
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    I’ve only been to Vegas a few times for business and while I don’t gamble I am a people watcher so this doesn’t surprise me at all. I can recall coming in after dinner or an evening out and seeing seniors hunched over slot machines and way too many of them were still there in the morning when we headed out to breakfast! And nearly as bad, if you’re there on a Friday the line is out the door with locals waiting to cash their paychecks. I always hated having to go to Vegas because it all just seemed so fake and depressing to me.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Reflections on Redefining StressMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 10:54 pm
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      Marquita, I have seen this too. I learned that the casinos actually store Depends and other elderly needed supplies I was so upset. It’s present as being helpful but it isn’t. It’s just a means to keep the seniors from going home. Thanks for your comment

      Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 1:54 am
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    Hello Lydia! Wow your post really hit home for me girlfriend! I worked at the local casino for almost 26 years and believe me I seen plenty of senior citizens blowing their checks each and every month hoping to hitter big.

    Very Sad Indeed.

    Chery :))

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 10:57 pm
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      Sad indeed Chery, I bet you have seen a lot working at the casinos. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • November 4, 2016 at 12:26 am
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    Hi Lydia,

    I can really see it being a problem for seniors. I’ve been to a few casinos and they are filled with senior citizens. My grandmother used to go to Atlantic City once a month with a bus tour. She also went to Vegas several times. Looking back, I think she did have a problem of sorts. She played the “numbers” at the corner store lol.

    -Donna
    Donna Merrill recently posted…How To Write A Roundup Post To Drive Traffic and Build Blog EngagementMy Profile

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 10:58 pm
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      Wow Donna I haven’t heard anyone mention the numbers in a long time lol. Sad that Casinos are opening up in more states. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      Reply

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