Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling, Inc.

ARIZONA HELPLINE 1-800-777-7207



















 
 

Why Seniors

WHY DO SENIORS GAMBLE? WHY DO THEY KEEP GOING BACK?

Seniors gamble for myriad reasons:

SOCIAL INTERACTION - The gambling venue (especially a casino or bingo hall) initially fills the void for many seniors who experience loneliness. Everyone there seems so helpful and friendly.


THE PERCEPTION OF SAFETY - There are security guards 24 hours a day inside and outside many gambling venues. One can feel safe there.


EMOTIONAL ESCAPE - Most senior gamblers cite the opportunity to escape from life’s problems as the sole factor that draws them back. Money is simply the means for them to play and keep playing, thereby escaping emotional or physical pain for a longer period of time. Many experience a mood-altering euphoria while sitting at a machine, visiting an internet gambling site, or playing in a bingo hall. These seniors may lose all other coping skills and use gambling as their new way of dealing with all of life’s problems. When confronted or challenged by loved ones to end their compulsive behavior, the fear of not knowing how else to cope with their pain is more compelling than the evidence of what they are doing to themselves with the gambling.
 

EXCITEMENT AND LIVING ON THE EDGE - To the senior who never gambled in the past, or only gambled with a spouse, being a part of the glitz and glamour of a gambling site is initially an exhilarating experience. It’s FUN!


INDEPENDENCE - The illusion of independence is yet another intoxicating part of the gambling experience, especially if the senior is in (or has been in) a relationship where a spouse is domineering or controlling or if physical ailments or disabilities have kept them from a "normal" life. Even seniors using oxygen tanks can participate in many forms of gambling. Valets will help them in and out of their cars. Lying to a spouse about losses - even having to borrow to cover the losses - may be exciting and can be mistaken for having power.


SELF-ESTEEM BOOST - Seniors experience a false sense of empowerment - an "it’s my turn" feeling - without family members present to make demands on their time and energy.


SEVERAL SMALL OR EVEN LARGE MONEY-WINNING "EPISODES" - Although winning money is usually a secondary motivation for escape gamblers, after a win, they may see gambling as a way to solve financial difficulties or become financially independent. Many of them have an unrealistic understanding of the rules of probability and an inflated idea of their chances to win at "luck" games (including the lottery).