A recent study carried out by the University of Pennsylvania suggests that senior or elderly people who gamble also have health issues. The study found out that seniors, while gambling, were more likely to drink four or five alcoholic drinks, which could lead to serious health problems.


“This study raises some serious public health concerns,” said Dan Blazer, a geriatrics psychiatrist at Duke University. Blazer said he worries about seniors who already have developed bouts of forgetfulness. Seniors in this group might lose track of how much they are spending and gamble away huge sums.


The study also found out that as many as 11 per cent of senior citizens who gamble say they spend more than they should at the casino or on some other form of gaming.


According to the National Council on Problem Gambling, an estimated 4 to 8 million people in the US fall into that category.


Seniors may be particularly vulnerable to the lure of casinos, said study author David Oslin. Seniors who do not get out much may enjoy taking a day trip to a casino with other retirees. In fact, 70 per cent of the 843 people age 65 and older in this study said they had gambled at least once in the past year, and going to a casino was one of the most popular ways to gamble.


Oslin and his colleagues interviewed seniors by phone, asking them about their gambling habits. They found that 92 of the 843 seniors were at-risk gamblers. They said they recently had laid down more than $100 in a single bet or said they often bet more than they could afford to lose. However, none was considered a pathological gambler (a person who spends huge sums of money and develops a compulsion to gamble). Still, problem gambling can lead to financial disaster for seniors who are living on a fixed income, Oslin said.


Oslin stressed that the research doesn’t mean seniors should give up gambling if they can do it responsibly.


However, a TOGEL spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the largest operator of casinos in the United States, said the study shows that most people who enjoy gambling do not have a problem. Thompson said that his company supports any study that helps identify problem gamblers.


Every state except Utah and Hawaii has some form of legal gambling. Gambling is a $40 billion industry in the US.