Friday, January 13, 2017
New Epidemic: Senior Gambling Addiction Blogger:Being Sane Takes Too Much Work
In 2014, American casinos reported over $66 billion in gambling revenue and of the 101 million visitors, nearly half were age 50 and older. Addiction experts are alarmed because of this gambling boom. They are especially concerned by the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older individuals. As they age, casino patrons with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior. 1 in 11 adults over age 65 bet more than they can, according to a study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. Older people seek relief in casinos to escape loneliness or grief from the loss of a spouse. They view the casino as a place to socialize. Older patrons also enjoy the personal attention given to them. High-rolling individual are often asked about their health, reminded to take their medications and have meals eaten with them by the casino hosts. Because they fill the floors during off-peak hours, older adults are a desirable demographic for the gambling industry. Casinos market to this group aggressively. The patrons are offered discounts on breakfast and lunch, free drinks and guarantees for winning "Free Slot Play" that can be up to $1,000. Free daytime entertainment is offered such as magic shows, polka dancing and live "Golden Oldies" shows. On the day they receive their social security checks, the "third of the month club" provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement complexes. Of course, all this is not really free, these individuals are paying for the services with all their losses.