Problem gambling has been all over the news in the past few years. It’s a rising concern amongst gamers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and North America. Speculations have been thrown about as to how it became such an issue, people have pointed out celebs with gambling problems, and arguments over how to fix the issue have also been hotly debated. Now one statistic is showing that the issue may have infiltrated a somewhat unexpected demographic: senior citizens.
While senior citizen centers are often stereotyped as bingo playing hubs (we’ve all heard the jokes, or made them ourselves, after all), it seems that now the senior citizens are more likely to be found manning games like slot machines and Fixed Odd Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in casinos around the world. The increased use of casino games amongst senior citizens has also created an increased rate of gambling addicts over the age of 55.
One reason speculated as to why the older generation is starting to see more gambling addiction has to do with the culture in which they grew up. The global “Baby Boomer” generation is slowly moving toward ages of senior citizenship. As the first generation to live in a society that fully and unashamedly accepted gambling as a pastime, they were exposed to the idea very early on. They were also exposed to the idea in a time when problem gambling wasn’t discussed or even known. After all, nobody in the 60s would have been accusing high profile athletes or celebs of being gambling addicts – at least not publicly.
This combination of a pro-gambling and no-risk-reported aspect to the hobby has created a perfect storm for the retirees to take up the hobby at dangerous levels. With the shocking statistic that 63% of the Baby Boomer generation now considers themselves “gamblers,” we’re likely to only see a continuing climb in the rate of senior citizen problem gamblers.