It is more than the flashing lights, free drinks and the excitement of winning that is attracting seniors to Casinos.  Many Casinos are now enticing seniors to visit by offering personalized discounts making them feel welcome by sending out birthday wishes or we miss you cards.

In addition, the new age slot machines provide an entertainment experience that includes animation, flashing lights and vibrating chairs. These new features draw attention to a win and the senior playing that machine.

These incentives add to the appeal of gambling and enhances the need for the excitement and a warm sense of belonging that casinos offer their senior customers.

There are many individual reasons for playing. These reasons can range from supplementing retirement savings or distractions from physical issues or ailments.

For some seniors, out of character gambling may be an early symptom of dementia or other serious cognitive issues.

Gambling addictions can be difficult to recognize. If you feel there may be a gambling issue with your parents or senior relative, look for some key signs such as:

  • Are they repeatedly asking for loans because they have lost their wallet, or their bank made an error with their account?
  • Has your parent dropped other hobbies, friends or recreational activities?
  • Is there less food in their refrigerator or cupboard?
  • Is your parent receiving calls regarding past due bill payments?

Many parents may not want to talk about their situation. This may be due to their embarrassment and their inability to control their gambling, their fears about losing respect of others or the worry that they will further lose their independence.

Gambling is an even bigger financial issue for seniors than it is for younger gamblers simply because a senior doesn’t have the means or time to rebuild their retirement funds.

The solution is easy. If you recognize problem gambling symptoms in your parent, call the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-800-306-6789. 

The Problem Gambling Help Line provides free 24-hour assistance to people with gambling problems and their families. Callers receive confidential, professional service from trained counsellors.

The help line provides:

  • information;
  • short-term counselling;
  • crisis intervention services; and
  • referrals to regional health authority problem gambling counsellors and self-help groups