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What Exactly is a Gray Gambler?

What Exactly is a Gray Gambler?

We have often synonymized elderly people with a friendly game of bingo but times are changing.

According to Reuters, many senior citizens have now moved on to casino gambling such as slot machines and unfortunately, many older people are becoming problem gamblers.

What Exactly is a Gray Gambler?

Gambling problems among senior citizens or ‘gray gamblers’ are on the rise.

Since most ‘gray gamblers’ or elderly gamblers have the money and the time to gamble, with the easy access to casinos around the world, it is easy to understand why problem gambling is on the rise among older people.

According to Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), seniors can be regarded as the ‘backbone of the modern casino industry’.

Meanwhile, Dr. Timothy Fong, co-director of the UCLA Gambling Studies Program has stated that as the baby boomers age, gray gambling addiction will increase.

What this means, is that ‘boomers’ are those people who were born at a time when gambling was fully acceptable and as these people grow up, problem gambling is more likely to occur.

Despite this, Fong has also stated that gambling for seniors can also be very positive in that it offers a social element and it also provides older people with the opportunity to keep their minds active which is beneficial to one’s health.

Whyte also mentions that unfortunately some elderly people, especially women, use gambling as a form of an escape from emotions such as grief or loss. This could ultimately perpetuate into an addiction.

Whyte also outlined three measures one could use in order to evaluate if someone has a gambling problem which include;

  • loss of control where one has no limit in terms of money or time spent gambling;
  • preoccupation with gambling and
  • tolerance which relates to how much one needs to bet in order to reach a level of excitement when gambling.

The bottom line is when gambling is impacting the quality of one’s life, there is a problem which needs to be addressed.

OCA News Editor