The Reasons Senior Citizens Like to Gamble May Not Be As Obvious As You Think

Jojay By Jojay, 28th Nov 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Gambling>Casino Games>Offline Casinos

Some studies have shown that with Seniors there is an association between recreational gambling and good health. For many older Americans, a trip to the casino can put a spring in their step.

Many Seniors gamble to socialize not win a Jackpot

Unlike younger recreational gamblers who show high rates of alcohol use and abuse, depression, bankruptcy and incarceration, there appears to be an association between recreational gambling and good health among elderly persons, according to a Yale study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Yale Bulletin & calendar, 2004

Studies have shown that Senior Citizens tend to play safe when they gamble. That is to say they gamble to socialize, rather than to win the big jackpot.

Many people assume that older people are incompetent (don't know what they're doing) and will spend their children's inheritance in the casino halls.

Wrong. A majority of seniors who gamble do it responsibly, limit their spending, and leave the bank cards at home.

Many Seniors really enjoy the bus trips to the local casinos and will look forward all week to their outings.

At the gambling establishment, they mix with people who don't work or live in the nursing home, and can spend an enjoyable afternoon forgetting about their aches and pains.

Lunch at a casino is good and cheap
Twice a month I take Aunt Emma out of the Assisted Living Facility and down to the Indian casino for gambling and lunch. Her mood goes from being depressed to an exuberance that I hadn't seen since was living in her own home.

Some of the women at the Assisted Living Facility judge her for liking this harmless activity, and when I first suggested that I take her with me, I had to talk her into coming because she felt 'guilty' doing something for herself.

"Keep your life free from the love of money and be content what you have," a woman cautions as we make preparations to leave.

Aunt Emma dismisses her remark with a wave of her hand. "She's just mad because I had a cold and missed last Sunday's church service."

"I've taken care of my children all my life," she adds as she gets in the car. "At this time of life I'm going to spend a little money on me. Besides, I never take more than $50.00 with me, and when that's gone I'm ready to come back."

You don't have to justify your actions with me, Aunt Emma. "You don't have a selfish bone in your body. I'm just happy that that I can spend time ----"I started to say away from the facility, but quickly added: "doing something we both enjoy."

I've been taking Aunt Emma gambling for a year now, and since that time I've seen her go from staring at the clock in her room, to making new friends and (willingly) participate in extra-curricular activities.

Before I took her gambling, I once asked what happened to "the spring in your step?"
She replied that she lost the spring when she 'stepped' up to the registration counter at Happy Trails. (Her pet name for the center).

She had her ticket in her hand and was heading for the nearest slot machine

The casino trip makes her feel that she's part of something; and she has something to be enthusiastic about again.

She notices everything: the leaves on the poplar tree, "See the leaves turn upside down---they can sense rain coming" and the red, and yellow tulips around the fountain at the entrance of the casino reminds her of the time I took her to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival." (Yes, Virginia, I take her places other than a casino.)

Once inside, she notices what the women are wearing who stand in line to cash their tickets, "nice handbag!" she says to one woman, and she recognizes the cashier as someone from her old neighborhood.

When I comment on the fact that she noticed the women's designer bag, she said she'd almost forgotten what a pretty handbag looked like.

Today Aunt Emma is wearing her 'church dress', and when I tease her about wearing her Sunday dress to a gambling hall, she says she sees nothing wrong with that.

In this 'church' the only collection plate she'd be interested in, she quips, "is the one where I collect my winnings."

"Come on, Aunt Emma, don't you think that comparison is a bit blasphemous?" I say as I hurry to keep up with her.

She has her ticket in her hand and is heading straight for the nearest slot machine. I couldn't help but smile when I remember how she was slower than molasses in January at the facility, but at the casino she moves like the cartoon character Road Runner!

"Blasphemous? maybe," she said as she approached her favorite machine, "The Jade Monkey". "But I can hope, can't I?"

I wasn't sure if she was talking about "hoping' she'd win or just feeling hope in general.
"I hope you win Aunt Emma," I said as I went over to the next machine.

Aunt Emma grinned back as she hit the Play button," Thanks, Honey, but I already have!"


Assisted Living, Mukleshoot Casino, Older People, Senior Citizens, Senior Citizens And Gambling

Meet the author

author avatar Jojay
I am a published and produced playwright. I enjoy writing about anything that strikes my fancy as well as engages my passion for a lifetime of learning.
Also find my
writings at

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar FOREVER POETRY
30th Nov 2011 (#)

This was a sweet story. I think we can all learn something from Aunt Emma.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Dan Shirk
2nd Feb 2012 (#)

Interesting article - you are almost describing my elderly parents
as a new person on wikinut I welcome your thoughts and comments on the website

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?