The underlying purpose of this paper is to explore the extent to which gambling is considered a serious issue for seniors in our province.
Gambling is defined as any activity involving an element of chance where a person places a bet or wager. It can include purchasing a lottery ticket, making speculative investments on the stock market, guessing the outcome of a sporting event, playing a casino game or betting on a horse race.
Problem Gambling is a recognized psychiatric disorder characterized by (1) continuous or periodic loss of control over gambling behavior, (2) a preoccupation with gambling and with obtaining money to gamble, (3) irrational thinking and (4) continuation of gambling behavior despite negative consequences.
There is general agreement in research and popular media that seniors are one of the fastest growing groups of gamblers. Trying to determine the degree to which gambling is a problem among seniors is not an easy task. Although prevalence studies and other research indicate that the risk of problem gambling is much lower among older adults, this may not be the case. Inconclusive, misleading or inaccurate data on the gambling patterns of older adults may be due to the fact that the “research tools commonly being used to identify problem gambling may not be sensitive to the types of gambling problems or gambling effects that seniors are likely to experience.”
An example of the conflicting data is found in the 2010 Adult Gambling Prevalence Study. The report states, “There is a strong relationship between age and risk for gambling problems; risk for gambling problems declined with age”. The study also notes that gambling problems are highest among those under 35 and only adults over 65 had significantly lower rates of gambling problems”. Yet the report also states that those over 65 had the same regular slot machine playing patterns as all age categories, including those 19-25 year olds” and they also had the same...