Are you a social gambler or a gambler addict? Almost half of the 101 million visitors to American casinos in 2014 were age 50 or more.
Gambling is a $66 billion dollar business. One in 11 of those age 65+ have bet more than they could afford to lose the previous year.
1,400 casinos are now operating in 40 states, up from only 2 states 40 years ago.
Several factors contribute to becoming a gambling addict as you age:
1. Loneliness, social isolation, and loss of significant others.
2. Cognitive decline
3. Medication side effects. Researchers have found that 13.9 percent of people over 71 have some form of dementia, and the number increases with every year. When dementia affects the frontal lobe of the brain, a person may lose inhibitions, and this sometimes translates into a gambling compulsion.
The National Problem Gambling Helpline is available at (800) 522-4700.