Gambling Seniors May Develop an Addiction

Gambling Seniors do so for recreation in the local casinos of South Florida- whether for fun, excitement, loneliness or boredom. Unfortunately for about one in twenty, this pastime becomes a problem.  There are even Problem Gambling Counselors addressing this very issue.

senior playing bingo

The gambling industry also targets retirees and older people. It does require transportation to get to a Casino but there are other ways, from home to gamble, especially online as that becomes legal in more states. If you suspect your loved one is gambling to a dangerous degree and they have an aide, you may question the caregiver where the person is spending so much time, about bank withdrawals and other suspicions you have so that this can be managed before real harm is done.

They describe two types of problem gamblers; “Action” gamblers who do it for the thrill and “Escape” gamblers who do so for the emotional escape being at a casino and gambling can provide. As you may guess, gambling seniors tend to be “escape” gamblers. After all, casinos do provide a place to go where you can spend hours, socialize or be alone, eat, and “play”. Unfortunately, senior gambling “play” is with real money and the odds are stacked against them.  Seniors gambling can cost many of them not just money and savings but also important relationships. Older adults or recent retirees who are coping with the loss of a job, career or loved one may turn to recreational gambling to cope with emotional pain. Some may find that they are inadvertently developing a compulsive gambling habit.

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

If you suspect an older adult you know may have or is developing a  gambling problem you will likely be responded to with secrecy, avoidance or lies when you question them. Here are some red flags which may support your suspicion:

*Withdrawal from regular activities with family and friends.

*Neglect their personal needs such as food shopping, appointments, meals etc.

*Sudden need for money or loans.

*Mood swings (from wins or losses)

*Unaccounted for blocks of time.

*Missing belongings, because they sold or pawned them for money.

*Cashing in retirement money or policies.

*Preoccupation with gambling.

Ways to Gamble Within Limits

*Set a dollar amount as a limit and stick to it. Figure out what can affordably be lost – stick to that budget.

*Set a time limit of how long you will spend gambling in a given day or week – stick to it.

*Expect to lose, knowing that the “house” usually wins.  That way you are less likely to chase losses.

By sticking to the money you can afford to lose gambling, it can be budgeted as recreational money. If you or a loved one cannot stick to a dollar budget or time frame, then the gambling has become problematic. Anyone with an addictive personality should avoid gambling in the first place. If you or someone you know has a problem with gambling, you can call this 24-hour confidential hotline—888-ADMIT-IT — (236-4848).