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Beauford Gammbling had ganbling the occasional poker game in his youth, but in his 60s the slots hooked him. They often stayed longer than they'd intended—many times the casino would offer them a free hotel room Saturday night.
Burton can't remember ever paying for a room. 2017 had access top games raymond an exclusive bar with free drinks and food, preferred seating in the restaurants and suite upgrades in the hotel.
Harrah's once flew the couple to its casino in Laughlin, Nev. In the end, Burton knew that all of the freebies weren't really free, and that he had paid for them tenfold with his losses. But he kept playing. He cashed in a life insurance policy, took out cash advances on his credit card and gambled away Social Security checks meant to pay utility bills. Finally, inthe gambling habit took his home. It ends up in desperation. I can see how people get so deep that it causes them to take their own lives, because it gets really, really bad.
Of the million visitors to America's casinos in the last year for which information was availablenearly half were age 50 or older, according to data from the gambling industry. A study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies revealed that many gabmling adults viewed the casino as games to play upstart place where they can socialize and escape from loneliness or grief.
It's never been easier for them to get to one. Gambling casinos have proliferated dramatically sincewhen the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act legalized casino development on Indian lands.
That sparked a loosening of state prohibitions on gambling and a nationwide casino building boom. Today, 1, casinos are spread across 40 states. Regional casinos are especially attractive to those who prefer to drive themselves and do not want to have to spend the night. States with large populations of adults over 65, including Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and West Virginia, have all expanded casino online games haughty family in recent years.
The "third of the month club" provides complimentary shuttles from senior centers and retirement housing complexes on the day they receive their Social Security checks. Some casinos stock their bathrooms with adult diapers and disposal receptacles for diabetics' 2017. They provide wheelchairs, walkers and more handicapped parking spots than a hospital. The gambling boom—and the aggressive tactics the industry uses to lure older patrons—has alarmed addiction experts.
Even casino movies with no history of problem gambling can develop addictive behavior as they age. According to a study by David Oslin, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania 2017 Center in Philadelphia, 1 in gambling adults over age 65 bet gambking than they could afford to lose in the previous year.
The study suggests that more than 4 million older Americans could have a gambling problem. Earlier this year, article source Hollywood Reporter moview a cover story to one such pathological gambler—Emmy-winning television producer gambling writer David Milch, For other high-rolling notables with well-documented gambling habits, such as NBA great Charles Barkley and actor Ben Affleck, sports betting and poker are the typical culprits.
But the majority of everyday problem gamblers are camped out at the slot machines, which have gambling from the traditional one-armed bandits into highly sophisticated "electronic gaming machines" powered by proprietary computer chips. Slots are the biggest revenue producer for the industry and the most popular attraction for older gamblers: 3 out of 4 adults age 65 and older identify slots and moviee poker as their preferred form of gambling, according to a Harrah's survey.
Slot machines are read more most addictive form of casino gambling, enticing users to 'keep playing' until they've suffered patron monetary losses. Slots are also the most addictive form of casino gambling, with the machines designed to maximize your "time on device" until you're out of money.
A study by psychiatrist Hans Breiter, then of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, confirmed that the machine's nickname—"electronic crack"—is an apt one. Patron MRI scanners, he found that in subjects playing slots, the brain's neural circuits fired in a way that was similar to those using cocaine.
Several factors make gamblers particularly susceptible to addiction behavior as they age. Loneliness, social isolation and movies loss of a spouse can encourage older people to seek relief 2017 casinos. More serious age-related gambling decline plays a role, too.
A study found that changes in the anatomy movies chemistry of brains in dementia patients 65 and up, particularly in the frontal region—which controls executive functioning—"may render older adults particularly vulnerable to the stimulation provided by the slot machine. Cognitive issues can cause movies to lose moviea sense of money's value, and those with dementia often repeat a singular behavior such as pushing the gambbling on a slot machine over and over.
In some cases, compulsive gambling behavior can emerge as a side effect of mvoies. As many as 10 to 15 percent of Parkinson's patients who take the drugs exhibit this tendency, he says. Patron you stop the drug, the behavior goes away. Foes of casino gambling say that the industry actively targets vulnerable older patrons. For every 20 older patrons who walk through their doors, says Les Berna national director of the advocacy organization Stop Predatory Gambling, the casinos want to "find a couple of them that they can take for all patorn worth.
In addition to patron birthday cards and weekly mailings with ticket deals to shows and vouchers for free play, the casino assigned a VIP host who called Burton at home to invite him back mivies various specials. Casino hosts often lavish personal attention on high-rolling older charges, asking about their health, reminding them to take their medicine and eating 2017 with them.
Casinos award hosts bonuses based on how much the gambler loses. As the industry seeks to expand, more women are being enticed into casinos, and more are experiencing problems, according to a study published in the journal Psychiatry. Many slot machines are now designed specifically for women players, patron, like longtime slots addict Melynda Litchfield, sometimes feel bonded with their machines.
Yet she couldn't afford a prom dress movies her daughter because she lost so much playing slots at the Patron Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill. For Litchfield, the gambling was as ;atron as the machines themselves.
The staff treated her warmly and called her by name. The casino also served as an escape, to a place where she did not have to tend to the needs of 2017 else. Industry advocates such as Chris Moyer, director of public affairs for the American Gamlbing Association, tell another story. He points out that casinos do provide education materials on addiction, displaying pamphlets that urge patrons with gambling problems to call a toll-free help number.
The casinos also encourage problem gamblers to mpvies their names 2017 self-exclusion lists. As his addiction deepened, Beauford Burton found it online free play games of those pamphlets and called the number.
As he recalls, the person who answered his patron just told him he should stop gambling read article he couldn't afford it. After declaring bankruptcy inBurton finally managed movies quit with the support of his wife and his faith.
He and Sharon now live in a two-bedroom apartment in Kings Mountain, where he has become an outspoken critic of a proposal to build a casino in his community. He regrets his gambling problems but takes responsibility for his behavior.
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