Skip to content
Connect to the world as it currently is

Problem Gambling in Older Adults

From bingo games to casinos, gambling can be a fun way for older adults to socialize and break up their routines. While most will gamble responsibly, some will develop compulsive habits that can risk their savings and emotional and physical health.


Concerns about Older Adults and Problem Gambling

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

Chevron pointing right icon

Life transitions make them vulnerable to problem gambling.

Chevron pointing right icon

They may view gambling as a stigma they need to hide.

Chevron pointing right icon

They may have cognitive decline that impairs decision-making.

Chevron pointing right icon

They may lose retirement savings and never recover losses.

Chevron pointing right icon

They have more time to gamble and use gambling to socialize.

Chevron pointing right icon

Healthcare professionals may not assess gambling behavior.

Chevron pointing right icon

They may not understand the impact of addiction.

Chevron pointing right icon

They may be less willing to get help for gambling than younger adults.

Portrait Of African American Senior Man Reading The Newspaper On His Patio Outside

Problem Gambling—Signs and Symptoms

Not sure if you or someone you know has a gambling problem? Here are some of the most common signs:

  • Gambling to forget worries, calm nerves or reduce depression
  • Arguing with friends and family about gambling
  • Losing interest in other things, even food
  • Willing to go without basic needs to be able to gamble
  • Being preoccupied with gambling
  • Feeling the need to gamble more to get the desired effect
  • Gambling alone and/or more often
  • Health problems from gambling
  • Financial problems from gambling

Untreated problem gambling can cause serious physical, emotional and financial problems, especially among older adults.

Now What?

The first step to recovery is recognizing that a gambling
problem exists. The second is seeking help.