Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

ARIZONA HELPLINE 1-800-777-7207


Seniors At Risk

Seniors At Risk: Why Me? Why Now?

Seniors who never had a problem with gambling (although in the past they may have gambled for recreation) are especially prone to becoming Escape Gamblers. What makes these seniors so vulnerable?

ACCEPTABILITY: Today, many senior centers, assisted living facilities and retirement communities arrange daily outings for seniors to local casinos. Churches host casino fundraisers and bingo nights. It’s almost your duty to purchase lottery tickets to help your state. And where it was once socially unacceptable for women in particular to visit gambling establishments by themselves, times have changed. The stigma that once surrounded gambling is gone. Seniors are more than welcome to "come and play."

LACK OF EDUCATION ABOUT GAMBLING ADDICTION: "I used to think gambling was risk free. My father was an alcoholic so I made the decision early in life not to drink. I had no idea how addictive gambling could be until it was too late," says an anonymous 67-year old woman in recovery from gambling addiction.

LIFE FACTORS SET SENIORS UP FOR COMPULSIVE ESCAPE GAMBLING: For seniors with certain predisposing factors, casino machines in particular create an anesthetizing quality that temporarily releases them from pain. Seniors may face overwhelming emotional pain - loss of a spouse, boredom, loneliness, geographic relocation, retirement, loss of identity, fear of death, dwindling finances, anxiety about children or grandchildren - as well as chronic physical pain.