In a study conducted in 2011 by researchers in Southern Illinois, gambling was found to affect the elderly significantly. The results of this study appeared in an issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis.
Elderly gamblers living in nursing homes were studied to determine how happy they would be while participating in organized gambling activities. The results of the study showed that all of the nursing home residents that participated were happier when they were simulating gambling.
The study proved that recreational gambling leads to health benefits which improve quality of life for the elderly. It was found to affect the elderly positively in physiological and psychological ways. Other studies have proven that in elderly people, gambling improves their mental health because it is a social activity. It also improves the mental health of the elderly community because it requires them to use their memory and to concentrate, as well as exercise their skills in problem solving. Gambling has been proven to have a therapeutic effect on the elderly. There has even been speculation that gambling may prolong their lives.
One study was conducted involving 80 people roughly 69 years of age, who belonged to senior citizen centers. These senior citizen centers offered regular bus trips to nearby casinos. Of the senior citizens who took these trips only 17% of them were found to be problem gamblers.
The effect of gambling on the elderly is a subject that has been studied for decades. In fact, during the 1970s A National Gambling Impact Study Commission Survey conducted determined that half of all survey participants over the age of 65 had gambled within the previous year. With 50% of them gambling the percentage had increased from a similar 1974 study.
A study later conducted in 2001 discovered that 2/3 of senior citizen centers and retirement communities had been presented with the opportunity to take their elderly citizens on a promotional casino trip. Of all the communities and centers that were presented the offer only 58% of them took advantage of it. A casino trip was found to be the most common trip offered at retirement communities and senior citizen centers.
In general, the elderly are more likely to gamble safely than their younger counterparts. When they gamble they almost always set a limit on how much money they are willing to spend.
For many years it has been noted that elderly people are gambling more and more than they once did. In 1975, 35% of people 65 and older were gambling, compared to 80% five years later. Due to these growing numbers many land based casinos have targeting their marketing efforts specifically at the elderly population.
This is a trend that casinos are continuing to do today. With the advent of online gambling some elderly people have made the switch but others still overwhelmingly prefer to travel to a land based casino. As a result they are able to gamble and socialize, giving them increased stimulation.