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Older Adults and Gambling Mental Health & Aging Project.

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Presentation on theme: "Older Adults and Gambling Mental Health & Aging Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 Older Adults and Gambling Mental Health & Aging Project

2 Introduction Older adults have many opportunities to gamble, and often have more free time for gambling than younger people Casinos offer buses to bring older adults from senior centers and retirement homes; charities offer bingo nights and raffles as older adults' social events

3 Seniors Vulnerability to Gambling Often dealing with – Retirement – Death of a spouse – Physical and emotional pain – Loss – Loneliness – Lack of social opportunities – Time on their hands to gamble Casinos target their marketing strategies to attract more senior patrons

4 Gaming Industry One of the fastest growing industries in the United States Legalized gambling is a $40 billion a year industry in this country Utah and Hawaii are the only states not currently participating in legalized gambling

5 Gaming Industry contd 125 million people in the U.S. are gamblers (The National Gambling Impact Study Commission) Individuals over the age of 65 represent about 7.2% of this group Estimates that the country has 1.8 million to 2.5 million gambling addicts

6 Elderly Gaming Studies indicate that gambling participation declines with age 73% of those aged 18-24 gambled in the past year This figure dropped to 23% for those 65 years of age and older Older adult casino patrons spent, on average, $53.12 each time they gambled

7 Casinos More than 500 casinos in operation in 26 states Concerns have been raised about casino gaming as economic development – Of particular concern is the long-term effect of gambling activities on the development of problem gambling

8 Addiction on the Rise A number of studies indicate that gambling addiction is on the rise among older adults in the United States and Canada Retired adults with disposable income and extra time are particularly vulnerable to legalized and state sanctioned gambling

9 Addiction on the Rise (continued) Aggressive marketing tactics aimed at older adults by casinos increase their vulnerability 70% of older adults have gambled at least once in the past year – 11% of these gamblers are considered at risk of experiencing financial problems due to excessive gambling

10 Addiction on the Rise contd Standard of living for retirees on fixed incomes may become seriously affected by problem gambling Younger gamblers have time to recover their losses – Older persons who have gambled away their retirement funds have little or no time to start over

11 Why Older Adults Gamble Gambling may provide: – Social support to older adults who are often isolated – Excitement – Entertainment – Winnings – Challenge – A way to pass time

12 Why the Elderly Gamble (continued) Older adults may turn to casinos and racetracks to deal with loneliness Older adults, particularly women, favor slot machines over other games of chance 68% of elderly gamblers preferred slot machines

13 Why the Elderly Gamble contd Reports indicate that slots have the worst odds in the house Older gamblers were more interested in the amount of action available, rather than the amount of money won For about 8% it is an addiction that can cost them their retirement nest egg

14 Reasons for Concern 1.Targeting of elderly by the gaming industry Older people are courted by the gambling industry 2.Marketing strategies Senior citizen discounts Club cards that give 50% discounts on prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs Free transportation and meals Companionship from group outings

15 Reasons for Concern (continued) 3.Advertising Federal law prohibits casinos from advertising gaming activities on radio and television Exceptions to this rule a.Excludes Indian tribes that operate casinos b.State-sponsored lotteries

16 North Dakota Gaming No policies in North Dakota to protect elderly gamblers – no policies in place to protect any gamblers in North Dakota Four nationally certified gambling addiction counselors serve the entire state of North Dakota

17 North Dakota Gaming (continued) Funding to address emerging gambling problems in North Dakota began in 1997 Funding for Gamblers Choice – Services include: Treatment program for gamblers and their families Assessments Group and individual counseling Financial counseling Education

18 North Dakota Gaming (continued) Five casinos and the State contribute funds to ameliorate gambling problems Funds are used to: – Provide a toll-free helpline – Train casino employees to identify problem gambling behavior among patrons – Purchase literature for display in casinos – Fund referral slots for gambling treatment

19 Where to Get Help GAMBLERS CHOICE Lisa Vig, Director 1325 11th St S Fargo, ND 58103 E-mail: Phone: (701) 235-7341 Fax: (701) 235-7359

20 Where to Get Help (Continued) Gamblers Anonymous (GA) GA Meetings in North Dakota:

21 References Bjelde, K. & Chromy, B. (2005) Casino gambling among older adults in North Dakota: A policy analysis. Unpublished paper. ssionals/Older_Adults/rtoa_gambling_problems.html. ssionals/Older_Adults/rtoa_gambling_problems.html

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