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Talking to Seniors About Gambling

Gambling can be a fun, social activity for a lot of seniors.  And many find the right balance between gambling and other aspects of their lives, like golf, reading, fishing and family.  But the fact is, seniors are faced with some unique factors that could increase their risks of developing a problem with gambling.  

Factors like:

  • Increased leisure time in retirement, which could potentially lead seniors to gamble more than intended.
  • A decline in income brought on by the transition to a fixed retirement budget, which can increase the impact of gambling losses.
  • Major life changes that could lead seniors to gamble to escape other problems.

Spot the Signs

Problem gambling behaviour isn't always easy to see.  But there are certain signs to look out for.  Seniors may be developing a problem if they:

  • Start to spend more of their leisure time gambling
  • Lie about how much they're gambling
  • Neglect other responsibilities and obligations
  • Ask to borrow money
  • Use gambling as an escape or distraction
  • Believe a big win is just around the corner

Have a Conversation

The best way to check in on the senior in your life is by opening a dialogue.  Here are some tips to help start the conversation:

  • Seniors welcome direct communication.  If you notice that a senior in your life is going to the casino more often, ask them why.
  • Try asking them what leisure activities they engage in.  If gambling comes up, it provides an opportunity to talk further.
  • Many seniors are not aware of the resources available to them.  Let them know that there's a confidential, round-the-clock support available for them, should they need it.
  • A lot of gamblers misunderstand odds.  Discuss the odds of the games they play.  For more information about these games visit our Publications Library.

We're Here to Help

If you think a senior in your life has a problem with gambling, we can help.  Visit a GameSense Info Centre at any casino or community gaming centre for more tips, resources and suggestions to make gambling safer.  Or you can call the Problem Gambling Help Line at 1-888-795-6111.  There you’ll find someone to talk to 24 hours a day.

GameSense Tips

Play for fun, not to make money.

Know how the game works and what the odds are before playing.

Set a budget and stick to it.

Don't chase losses. Accept them as the cost of entertainment.

Balance gambling with other types of leisure activities.

Take frequent breaks.

Set a time limit before you play.

View All Tips

Publications Library

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    Gambling with GameSense

    The more you know, the better equipped you are to keep it fun.

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    How the Games Work - Blackjack

    Also known as 21, Blackjack is a popular casino card game in which players compare thei...

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    How the Games Work - Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em Poker

    In Ultimate Texas Hold ‘em, players do not compete against each other. Instead, they ar...

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    Want to make Sense of it all?

    The more you know, the better equipped you are to keep it fun.

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    How the Games Work - Four Card Poker

    In Four Card Poker, you receive five cards to make your best four-card hand. There are ...

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    How the Games Work - Texas Hold ’em, Omaha & Seven Card Stud

    Learn the differences of the variant games of Poker, including Texas Hold ’em, Omaha an...