Seniors are becoming the fastest growing group of problem gamblers.  Between the years 1999 to 2003, 25% of California gambling hotline callers were older adults.  The motivating factors behind elderly gambling are boredom, isolation, deteriorating health, depression and anxiety.  Sometimes gambling onset may be prompted by the death of loved ones, and many seniors seek gambling as a way to escape from the pain of loss.

The gambling industry aggressively targets elderly because this population is vulnerable and has accumulated wealth.  Marketing tactics include offering cheap buffets, coupons and prescription drug discounts. Some casinos even shuttle seniors from their nursing homes and retirement centers, making access to gambling easier. Some seniors refer to casinos as “home” or “the club” as their form of country club.

Seniors with dementia are especially high risk because they are unable to recognize limitations or use appropriate judgments. Medications that treat Parkinson or Restless Leg Syndrome act as dopamine agonist and one of its side effects is increase rate of pathological addictions such as gambling.

Problem gambling has a large impact on elderly because elderly has limited ability and time to recover the loss and reaccumulate savings. Moreover, they may have a harder time obtaining assistance to stop gambling due to social isolation and easy access to gambling.


Video: Gambling and Older Adults Part 1  (8:31 min)


Video: Gambling and Older Adults Part 2   (5:12 min)



Self-Help for the Elderly

National Center for Biotechnology Information


If you know an elderly problem gambler, please don’t hesitate to call CARE for help.


There is FREE help, please call CARE at (408) 975-2730