A problem gambler can fall into 1 of 3 categories which are seniors, children who are 10 or older and adults between ages of 24 and 55.
The increasing growth of underage gambling within homes is hard to hear, while adults are consistently exposed to gambling, which puts them at risk for becoming a problem gambler. Seniors are often targeted by casinos with exciting offers of free transportation, rooms, food and alcohol, which encourage them to spend more time gambling.
Children ages 10 and up
There is not one thing that is innocent about early age gambling.
The generations of youth now have access to gambling activities more than ever. The advertising on radio, billboards, movies, tv, and social media have been promoting gambling as being a rite of passage from childhood into adulthood and it is an easy way to make money. It is common for children to gamble at home with permission from their parents. Scratch offs, lottery ticket gifts, sports betting and family poker games are seen to be a harmless form of entertainment. Then there are online and mobile games that allow children to gamble for free are legal, so parents believe that they are harmless.
Parents allowing children to play what seems to be harmless gambling games at early ages can cause a risk. Gambling at ages 10 and 11 can appear to be harmless, but it has been shown that children who started gambling by 12 were 4 times more likely to be a problem gambler. Young minds will be attracted to risk as it is a part of development, but they aren’t able to weigh out the risks against consequences. A child gambler is more likely to participate in high risk activities like:
- Attempting suicide
- Carrying a weapon at school
- Being bullied or being the bully
- Having risky sex
- Selling drugs at school
- Texting while driving
- Using prescription medications
- Drinking alcohol
It is recommended that parents have talks with their children about the dangers of risk taking with possible activities that could be harmful which include gambling.
Adults between the ages of 25 and 55
There are treatment services and prevention for various populations for people between 24 and 55 with the main goal of raising awareness of gambling addiction and providing the right type of treatment for them as well as family members. People who are ages 24 to 55 are normally working and have access to money and this money is often used for gambling. However, most people who do gamble can do so without negative consequences. 5% of people in this age group have a gambling problem. The problem is often unrecognized or undetected and it can cause financial, occupational, familial, and emotional damage.
Problem gambling for this category can be seen as:
- Causing issues with family members
- A lot of time and energy is used to justify gambling and then delays the acceptance that it is an issue.
- Maintaining long term recovery can be very hard and it can be characterized by there being multiple relapses.
- Hard time accepting gambling behavior as being a problem and as a consequence people will live in denial for long periods of time.
- May have gambled for a long period of time with no one knowing
- Onset of gambling at early ages
This category is often using gambling as a type of entertainment, almost like going to the movies. However, the increased exposure to gambling for long time periods can cause people in this category to develop a gambling problem.
One of the largest growing categories within the United States population is the senior category. Seniors are also one of the fastest growing categories for the gambling population. Most seniors who have found that they have too much free time, which is caused from living patterns around them and retiring from their occupations, will all have access to money which have made them the main target for marketing efforts from casinos.
Gambling has become one of the main sources of entertainment for seniors, as it is a chance for them to be within an almost affordable and exciting environment and it also helps to kill any free time that they have since they have retired. Senior facilities and centers will often start offering trips to the casino. When this happens the club system at the casino will then take over and start to give them a lot of special treatment that these seniors have been looking for. It is this system that is able to provide a person with a free membership and a card which is able to easily give them telephone access to any casino hosts that they can all in order to set up various gambling trips while they are also tracking their gambling and then in turn provides them with VIP treatments. It is this that means the inclusion of free rooms, transportation, alcohol, food and more and it is very structured while it offers a chance to have enhanced rewards at high gambling levels which increases gambling. Although, there is only 10% of seniors who are considered to be at risk gamblers who will develop a compulsive gambling problem, and this can turn out very badly.
This is a serious problem and many states have developed programs to help and assist senior centers to inform them about all of the risks of this hidden addiction. The problem also discusses about this type of addiction which can take over and then ruin their lives.