Many people age 50 and older are joining gaming groups these days. That’s nothing new; bingo and other games have always been a great way to relax and have some fun with friends.  But according to a new study, many people aged 50+ are upping the ante, quite literally, by participating in casino games that can leave them penniless if they're not careful.

Since the mid-1970s, the rate at which older people visit casinos has doubled, according to a new analysis performed by the New York City-based think tank Institute for American Values. In  2012 alone more than 50% of people who visited a casino were over 50. Among its findings:

  • 75% of the people age 50+ who gamble use slot machines more than anything else.
  • Slots and other electronic gambling devices are the most addictive and accumulate the most profit among all gambling games.
  • People are ‘hypnotized’ by the lights, sounds and motion of the slot machines, often losing track of time and the money they have spent. 
  • Slot machines are particularly harmful to older brains due to the flashing lights and sound effects, which can lead to disorientation and confusion.


Do you think gambling is a social problem? If so, what can be done about it?