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Seniors & Gambling

Beyond the Game: Nevada Seniors & Problem Gambling

This educational kit was developed to educate seniors and others about the issue of problem gambling. The kit includes an information booklet and accompanying DVD in which Nevada seniors talk about their personal experiences with problem gambling.

Contact the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling to request free copies of the senior kit. Support provided under the State of Nevada Revolving Account for the Treatment and Prevention of Problem Gambling. June 2007


Gambling has become a popular activity for people of many ages and seniors are no exception. Some of the factors that may contribute to seniors’ decision to gamble include:

  • Disposable income from retirement
  • Desire to supplement retirement income
  • Increased opportunity/availability
  • Boredom / loneliness
  • Limited alternatives for socializing
  • Peer pressure

Signs of Senior Problem Gambling

  • Loss of interest in normal activities with friends and family
  • Blocks of time unaccounted for
  • High priority on gambling and gambling related activities.
  • Changes in attitude and personality
  • Sudden need for money/loans
  • Missing possessions or assets
  • Neglect of personal needs, i.e. food, utilities, medical, etc.
  • Secrecy and avoidance or anger when questioned about time and money
  • Decline in physical health

Gambling among older adults is different from gambling in younger age groups for the following reasons:

  • People who are coping with significant changes may be more vulnerable to develop a gambling problem. Many older adults face life transitions and losses, such as death of loved ones, end of career, or isolation from family and friends.
  • Older adults who have lost their retirement savings through problem gambling don’t have working years to make up their losses.
  • Many older adults may not understand addiction, making them less likely to identify a gambling problem.
  • Older adults appear less willing to seek assistance for a gambling problem than younger adults.
  • Many older adults hide their gambling because of the stigma associated with it and health professionals rarely assess for problem gambling.
  • Many older adults have easy access to gambling and are drawn to gambling to fill their time or to be with other people.
  • Some older adults may have cognitive impairment that interferes with their ability to make sound decisions.