Gambling as a social activity of older adults

D. P. McNeilly, W. J. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


A significant number of senior citizens (aged 65+) spend their leisure time in gambling casinos in this country. For some older adults eager for a stimulating social outlet, casino gambling can become a virulent and destructive addiction. While prevalence studies have examined the incidence of problem gambling in other age groups, little attention has been paid to the impact of casino gambling on older adults. This study investigated the prevalence of casino gambling as a social activity for active senior citizens (aged 65+). Activity directors from residential and assisted-care facilities as well as from senior and retirement centers completed mailed surveys of eleven different types of social activities available to older adults. Results of the survey of activity directors found bingo the most highly frequented on-location-type social activity and casino gambling the most highly frequented day-trip-type social activity for 6,957 active senior citizens represented in the activity directors' survey. On average, 16 percent of the senior citizens were reported by the activity directors to have taken part in facility-sponsored trips to the casino on at least a once-a-month basis. In addition, the casinos themselves had offered additional gambling day-trips to 66 percent of the facilities, which were accepted in 58 percent of the cases. These findings suggest the need for greater awareness of the impact casino gambling may have on senior citizens in this country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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