The Growing Problem of Senior Citizens and Gambling

Senior Citizens and Gambling
The majority of seniors refuse to listen to financial advice, especially if it comes from relatives and strangers. In 2014, a report came out that lonely single seniors have became the fastest growing population of gamblers. Based on a 2018 report, half of the casino visitors are above 50. They come from nearby nursing homes, travel by bus from their home, or go in groups.

The reasons they give for enjoying gambling include:

• It’s fun and a break from the routine

• They’re lonely and would like to be around friendly people. Many casinos offer free transportation and board, meals, free drinks, entertainment, and a VIP reception. It must also be noted that it is against the law to provide free senior shuttle service to casinos from nursing homes and senior civic centers.

• They turn to gambling to forget their grief, loneliness, depression, or the idea of mortality

Seniors who live alone are more at risk because they have little to no socialization. It would help if someone came in regularly to check on the senior like a professional nurse. This professional can detect poor nutrition, lack of sleep, erratic schedule, and behavior. A trained nurse can also observe the house’s surroundings for unusual activities like gambling tickets, chips, or hotel receipts and refer to the family any concerns.

Seniors are not only tempted by the lure of bright lights and casinos but also to other forms of gambling like bingo, lottery, and online gambling. Bingo is a social event more than it is a gambling activity for seniors, which lends a sense of propriety and acceptance. The more serious issue with bingo is the online version because many websites do not adhere to regulations like the minimum age and rigged games. If you want your senior to play online bingo, verify the site first.

The lottery is also a legal form of gambling, unless your senior opts to play with a non-US website, that according to the FBI, have scammed hundreds of seniors out of their retirement fund and other assets. In 2017, the FBI extradited several Jamaicans who cheated 90 senior Americans out of $5.7 million! As a matter of fact, according to government agents, around two-thirds of the victims are more than 70 years old.
Family and a professional nurse can work together to help prevent a gambling problem before it starts, although it’s not always easy because seniors tend to be stubborn when it comes to their finances. However, one of the key suggestions is to offer an alternative activity to replace the gambling behavior by focusing on the reason they want to start or started gambling. It could be more family activities, friendly chats to address the loneliness, and outdoor activities to keep the senior from getting bored and keep them solialized.