Social service providers' perspectives on casino gambling in older adult clients


  • Kim L. Stansbury
  • Blake Beecher
  • Mitzi Schumacher
  • Fayetta Martin
  • Mary Ann Clute



There has been an upward trend in gambling, particularly among older adults. With the baby-boomer generation moving toward retirement, this trend is expected to increase. Availability and social acceptability of casinos in the United States are 2 of many precipitating factors for older adults' increased enthusiasm for gambling. Noticeably absent from the literature on casino gambling is the perspective of senior social service providers (SSSPs). The present study used a cross-sectional open-ended questionnaire completed by 88 SSSPs in Washington State. The purpose of this study was to describe the SSSPs' (a) perceptions of older adults' motivations to participate in casino gambling, (b) experience with older adults who have gambling problems, (c) views and knowledge of problem gambling, and (d) perception of the need for training on gambling problems. The most prevalent reasons cited for older adults to patronize casinos were the entertainment of gambling and the desire to win money. The least prevalent reasons included peer pressure, to learn new things, and for a public smoking environment. Many respondents (42.0%) felt that their clients were aware of the risks of casino gambling. However, almost one third (29.5%) reported that their clients were largely unaware of the risks. Almost all of the respondents (85.2%) reported they had not received any training regarding problem gambling. The findings indicate the need to educate SSSPs about the potential positive and negative consequences of casino gambling.






Original Article