RI - Sitting in her own urine, the elderly woman continued to play the game. Observers concluded she had some sort of bladder disorder, but the real problem was actually staring the woman in the face: the slot machine. Her gambling addiction had reached the point where she ignored everything --even her own bodily functions -- simply so she could keep on playing. Seniors with a gambling problem are known to stop taking medications, steal money, gamble with credit card money, gamble with money earmarked for utility bills, or even skip meals,
Lisa Rafferty, residential program specialist, said. When seniors rely too heavily on gambling for entertainment, it can lead to addiction, she said. "Then they do it (gambling) all the time, without any regard to their own basic needs."
--"A helping hand for seniors addicted to gambling"/By JEFF HAYNES/The Call.htm/6.03.02
Senior citizens are the fastest-growing group of gamblers and, some say, the most vulnerable. Those older than 65 who have gambled jumped from 35 percent in 1975 to 80 percent in 1998. Casinos sprouting up from Las Vegas to Indian reservations to riverboats market to older people. One Iowa spot offered a 50 percent prescription drug discount to players who took out a club card. Foxwood offers handicapped-accessible blackjack tables. "Years ago, gambling was illegal," Bob Gardy said. "Now, you can't turn on the TV without seeing a commercial. It's all done by the state." Nearby, players with canes and oxygen tanks sit like turtles, necks craned to the screen. Gamblers 60 and older lost $2.4 billion in Atlantic City casinos in 1997, 65 percent of all the money casinos took in. Some players lose their retirement savings and homes. New York's problem gamblers aged 65 and older more than tripled, 1986 and 1996. In New Jersey, those aged 55 and older seeking help rose 6 to 15 percent (in one year) of all calls. "Some of our clients will sit there for 12 hours," "They will not eat. They will not drink. It begins as a social outlet, but they get hooked and they gamble their retirement money. We see a lot of older people become addicted to slot machines."
--"Whether young or old, male or female, the thrill of putting money on the line can go from simple pastime to painful addiction"/1.14.03 /http://www.timesunion.com
CA - It's an hour past sunrise, nearly time to roll, and 35 (seniors) other surefire winners are marching, climbing or being carried up the stairs that lead into the gambling bus. The gambling rate among people 65 and older has more than doubled in the past generation... Every month, about a dozen buses roll out, ...ferrying players and their wallets to an ever-expanding universe of "casino action." Think high-school field trip with hearing aids and at least one toupee. The casino, they know from experience, is air-conditioned to a point that would keep salad crisp. Pneumonia, some believe, isn't a far-fetched outcome given the combination of advanced age, deeply chilled air and hours of physical stagnation at video poker or slots or even a tough-as-nails poker table. A half-hour later everybody has gone through a line to get a casino-issued coupon book. Everybody also has filled out paperwork that allows the casino to track individual gambling habits. The 18-month-old casino at Agua Caliente, similar in its generic Vegasness to other modern Indian-owned gaming houses in California, relies heavily on older bettors. Slots are big with all bettors, and they're extra popular with older gamblers...
--"More and more seniors on board for gambling"/By Andre Mouchard /The Seattle Times,Knight Ridder Newspapers/9.30.02
IA - For the retirees, like scores of others making similar pilgrimages each day around the country, the casino offered free transportation, free food, free drinks... In Las Vegas, for example, more than 3 of every 10 visitors are over the age of 60, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. In Illinois, a recent survey found that 40 percent of gamblers who visit that state's 12 riverboat casinos are over the age of 55; 30 percent are retired. A survey conducted at centers for the elderly and at retirement homes in the region around Council Bluffs, Iowa, where there are three riverboat casinos, asked those surveyed to rank their favorite activities. Casinos were second (bingo first), ahead of museums, shopping, the theater, sporting events and church activities. The casino industry is doing its part to encourage the fervor. While they might not be high rollers, older gamblers -- who almost fill the casinos on weekdays -- provide a healthy share of the industry's revenue. To help keep them coming, the casinos pay tour companies to organize trips for the elderly and to deliver busloads of them. On the bathroom walls of the Lady Luck, for example, there is a special container for insulin needles. And at the Bluffs Run Casino in Council Bluffs, gamblers who use a "Player's Club" card -- which like other frequent customer cards offers awards to loyal cardholders -- receive 50 percent off of their prescription drugs. "Here's my mother getting $66 dollars a month from Social Security, and $300 from my dad's pension, and she wants to go on a gambling junket,"
said Kathy Gilroy.
--"Casino Gambling a Favorite Pastime for Older Americans"/By BRETT PULLEY/ The New York Times Company/7.2.98
NV - Station Casinos is providing shuttle service these days as part of its new 55+ Club--the idea being to entice seniors and some portion of their nest eggs out of the northwest suburbs with free transportation, discounts on eats and booze, invitations to shows and events, special gambling offers, stuff like that. After she (grandmother of seven) retired she even went to work part time to finance her jaunts to the casinos. Until she lost her house. She finally had to tell her children then about her gambling addiction.
--"With no financial aid from the state, the Problem Gambling Center runs a shoestring program to help addicted bettors"/BY JAMES RUTHERFORD/ Las Vegas Mercury/11.02.01
MO - Senior citizens who frequent riverboat casinos and bingo parlors to escape boredom may be more prone to develop gambling problems than younger adults. Older adults are a prime target for the (gambling) industry.
Casinos, in particular, court those 65 and older with cheap buffets, free transportation, money-back coupons and other discounts. Arlene Miller, a certified gambling counselor in the St. Louis area, said casinos provide an insulated, artificial environment, with employees trained to know customers' names. It's the nature of older people not to seek out help for problems and the same is true for problems related to gambling. And older adults on a limited income might not be able to recover from gambling losses and be inclined to gamble even more. More older adults are exposed to gambling through targeted marketing that makes the pool of potential addicts greater.
--"Elderly are called prone to gambling problems "/By Virginia Young & Eric Stern/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/8.06.01
TN - What appears to be a great getaway for seniors -- with bus rides and free meals -- can quickly become a costly mistake.
Those trips to casinos are not all about fun and games, said the Rev. John Eades, a United Methodist pastor and addiction counselor in Murfreesboro. "They want people to get addicted, they want them to lose every last drop of money they have." "I lost $300,000 in one casino over three years, said Rev. Eades. "Five to 10 percent of older adults who gamble are problem pathological gamblers." (Abrams, director of Addictions Program of the United Methodist Church)
--"Experts warn against gambling addiction"/www.news-star.com/ stories/ 101103/rel_9.shtml/10.11.03
LV - A Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority survey finds that older gamblers generally bet more than younger gamblers. And that's why almost all casinos target people between 50 and 64, gamblers' demographic sweet spot,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Bill Thompson said. Thompson said almost every Las Vegas casino markets to the 50-plus market...
--"AGES of gamblers and gambling "budgets"/By JEFF SIMPSON/GAMING WIRE/www. review journal.com/ lvrj_ home/2003/Sep-05-Fri 2003/business/22083521.html/9.5.03
MI - While two-thirds of Detroit's senior citizens never or rarely visit casinos, about 10 percent could be at risk of developing a gambling problem, according to a random survey of 1,410 older city residents by Wayne State University. Some critics have said casinos take advantage of elderly people with lots of time and disposable income on their hands. Aging gamblers are a core constituency for casinos. Also, Detroit casinos are typically well-stocked with wheelchairs and scooters for those who have difficulty getting around. MGM Grand has five times more handicapped spots than are required by law. Detroit casino bathrooms also have disposal boxes for diabetics' needles, and attendants have been known to keep a stash of Depends on hand. Most of those at risk for gambling problems were lower income, lacked "senior optimism," and had mental health problems and little social support,
Zaranek ( a Wayne State post-doctorate research assistant) said.
--"Study: 10% may not know when to stop" Brandy Baker /By Becky Yerak /Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News/10.15.03/ http://www.detnews.com/2003/business/0310/15/b01-298338.htm
MO - All of the casinos in the region have weekly promotions for players age 50 and older. The Casino Queen in East St. Louis, for example, holds Senior's Wednesday, which features free valet parking from 9 a.m. to midnight, free morning snacks, two-for-one buffet meals, a 35-percent discount in the gift shop, bonus points and other attractions.
--"Casinos keep tabs on best customers by carding them"/By Christopher Carey/
St. Louis Post-Dispatch/12.23.02
PA - Remember when gamblers were rakes and ramblers? These days, respectable ladies from senior citizens' centers go gambling by the busload.
It's bad public policy to seek state revenue in gambling
, Harke (executive director of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches) said, because it "weighs most on the poor, the elderly and those prone to addictive behavior."
--"For many, gambling is just 'entertainment"/BY MARY WARNER AND CHARLES THOMPSON/The Patriot-News/5.11.03/http://www.pennlive.com /news/patriotnews/ index.ssf?/xml/story.ssf/ html_standard.xsl?/base/news/1052645723257260.xml
PA - The sea of humanity packed into the cavernous gaming hall is a fair cross section of the population, with one exception. It's decidedly older. The last time I saw this many people hobbling around with canes, I was in a nursing home in Boca Raton, Fla. But retirees, at least on this day, rule the roost.
--"Tokens of future? Slots aren't it"/By John Grogan/Philadelphia Inquirer/8.1.03/ http://www.philly.com/mld/ inquirer/6431412.htm
CANADA - The scene - golden agers panning for gold in the electric current that powers row after row of slots... At Casino Niagara, spokesman John Palombo said only that seniors are an "increasing component" of visitors who have wagered enough for the casino to report more than $500 million in gross revenue in little more than a year. "What else do seniors have to do?" said John Wisner, 78, of Seven Hills. "When they hear the slots, the jingle, their pace picks up. The adrenaline starts to go. The lights, the flash, the glitz, the crowd, the excitement. "There's fine food, gambling and music (said 78 year old)." Gambling trips have replaced sightseeing tours in popularity among the seniors that Kopchak deals with. "It's just the opposite of 10 years ago," Kopchak said. "It's really the market to tap into," said Denis Rudd, director of hospitality and tourism studies at Robert Morris College... They have IRAs, investments, Social Security.
Gaming will be one of the major forms of entertainment."
--"Gray-headed gamblers"/By TOM BRECKENRIDGE/PLAIN DEALER REPORTER/ 2.9.98
CA AZ - Senior care providers and community groups have begun taking tougher stands against a problem they say is becoming ever more serious: elderly gambling addiction. Some are urging casinos, which relentlessly court retirees, to back off. Others are waging new campaigns to warn seniors of the perils of excessive gambling. And all are worried that they are only at the beginning of what could be a difficult struggle as the giant Baby Boom generation grays and casinos keep opening. Groups are going to churches and other civic gatherings to tell adult children of elderly gamblers about the dangers the pastime poses to their parents. About 40 percent of the calls to a hot line (in AZ) for problem gamblers came from senior citizens, nearly twice as many as two years earlier. "It gets higher every year,"
said Paula Burns, director of the Arizona Council on Compulsive Gambling. (Tucker, CA Council on Problem Gambling)...stresses that many retirees are turning to the habit and are falling into financial ruin. The elderly are a group especially vulnerable to gambling addiction. Across the country, many senior citizens are reluctant to admit they have a problem or are not comfortable in self-help sessions.
--"More and more seniors losing savings to casino gambling: Communities try to educate elders about dangers"/By Rene Sanchez/Washington Post/The San Fransico Chronicle /7.19.01
MI - The number of U.S. seniors visiting casinos has more than doubled since 1975, according to a federal survey. "As time goes on and we see more bus trips, the risk levels for seniors could increase," said Margaret Hosmer, a nationally certified gambling counselor from East Lansing. The combination of more casinos here and more seniors to visit them worries some gambling counselors.
--"Seniors gambling at escalating pace National trend worries some, keeps casinos hopping"/By Tim Martin,CHRIS HOLMES/Lansing State Journal/8.11.01
MA - The numbers don't hint at the homes lost to people who cannot control their gambling, the pensions spent on visits to casinos, or the big lottery winners living in their cars waiting for the next annual winnings check to be mailed.
Increasingly, the faces behind those stories are elderly people who professionals say are at increased risk of becoming problem gamblers. The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling gets four to five calls a day from the elderly themselves or from the children of elderly problem gamblers. "They say their parents have been going to the casino every week, they've lost all their savings and they're about to lose their house and they've borrowed from all of the children," said Dana Forman, a spokesman for the state Council on Compulsive Gambling. The elderly "are particularly vulnerable to developing gambling problems," said Forman. "The casinos are targeting the elderly population. A social worker...said television ads for casinos show young vivacious people dressed in fancy gowns. In reality, most of the people there are elderly, some are in wheelchairs, with oxygen containers parked next to them at slot machines, and there was even one on a gurney. "I saw a woman on a dog collar," in a casino in Las Vegas, said another workshop participant, "She had Alzheimer's. She was pacing while her husband was playing,"
--"Gambling on the future"/By MARCIA POBZEZNIK/The Herald News/12.5.99
NV - Problem gambling among seniors is growing in importance primarily because the number of seniors is growing, Fowler,(executive director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling), said. Fowler and other panelists said seniors as a demographic group share a number of characteristics that make them particularly vulnerable to the lure of gambling, even if they never set foot in a casino in their younger years: "The gambling industry acknowledges that a large percentage of their clientele includes seniors today,"
she said. The fact that they were raised during the Great Depression, when moral prohibitions against gambling were stricter -- also works against addicted seniors who need help. Raised to believe people are helped best by helping themselves, many gambling addicted seniors are reluctant to seek help for their compulsive behavior,
(psychologist McNeilly) said. His findings suggest that one way to treat addicted gambling among seniors is to prohibit gambling altogether...
--"Boredom draws seniors to casinos, gambling"/By John Wilen/LAS VEGAS SUN/6.19.98
FL - They lie about how much they spend on their habit. Their addiction gives them a quick high, followed by a depression that isolates them from friends and family.
Young kids hooked on drugs? No, old people hooked on Lotto. "When someone who is retired has used up all their finances, they can't just go get another job. They can't go out and start over," said Fowler, Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling. "It's difficult to get them to go to support groups. And if they do go, it's difficult to get them to stay, since they don't feel comfortable talking about the most shameful thing they've ever done," she said.
--"Seniors hooked on lotto and losing"/By Diane C. Lade/Sun-Sentinel Co. /5.12.01
NY - When "Sally" was widowed at 62, she was left with a house that was paid for, several retirement accounts, and no debt. A decade later, she was $50,000 in hock, hadn't paid her real estate taxes in years and had spent her life insurance money. Her kids thought she must have been the victim of a scam. They never saw her anymore, they said, because she spent her nights and weekends at the casinos, where she would often tap the on-site ATM machines to fund her gambling habit. With more time and, sometimes, money on their hands, older Americans can find it hard to resist the siren call of the slot machine, lottery lust or even bingo binges. A senior who amasses gambling debt risks more financially than younger addicts because they often live on a fixed income and have a hard time recouping what they've lost -- whether it's their savings, Social Security checks, insurance money or cash for food and medications.
--"Siren call of slot machines hard for some seniors to resist. Snake eyes sap seniors. It's hard to beat the house, but problem gambling can cripple the elderly"/By Jeanne Sahadi /3.17.00/CNN.COM
CT - The National Gambling Institute estimates that 65 percent of the revenue generated by Atlantic City's 12 casinos, about $4 billion a year, comes from the pockets of people over 60. As is the case with most compulsive gamblers, senior citizens are reluctant to seek help because of shame, he said, and most medical professionals do not ask the right questions
to determine if health problems might be caused by anxiety and depression stemming from gambling. Families should be alert for signs of ...gambling problems, among their aging relatives.
--"Gambling Problems Extend To Elderly"/By LYNN BIXBY/Hartford Courant/ 4.30.99
CT - In 1999,10.3 percent of callers to the Gambling Help line of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling were 60 or older. "At the casinos, they really make them feel like they're first-class citizens." Seniors who gamble are at risk of spending money they can't replace, since many have fixed incomes, Stergue (addiction counselor) said. She described how one of her clients came to the clinic to address a $10-a-day scratch-off habit. "Ten dollars a day may not be a problem for a CEO, but for this guy, at the end of the month, that was all his money,"
--"Gambling problems called common among elderly"/By The Associated Press/The Day Publishing: Local and National News/1.8.01
MO - 8.3 percent of seniors said they never set a gambling budget before playing.
That was higher than the 5.1 percent of the general casino-going population. "Those are the ones that are hooked," Grey (executive director of the National Coalition Against Gambling) said. "If you don't go into a casino and set a budget, you're flat out of luck. "Their own studies are beginning to point toward the magnitude of this problem (with seniors). It's not entertainment if you gamble without a budget." As far as the 35 percent of seniors that went to casinos to gamble, Grey said: "If they're gambling to gamble, they're losing. Eventually if they continue with it, they crap out. Thirty-eight percent are saying, hey, we lost more than we should have. That's a high number. "The government should not be allowing a product out there that addicts people without any safeguards. "You have a product out there harmful to a percentage of people, and they (the gaming industry) has shown no willingness to provide a reform of that product. They are making their money off the very people who cannot gamble responsibly."
--"Seniors are responsible gamblers who support casinos"/By David Strow/Las Vegas SUN: Gamer/10.30.00
NV - The spread of legalized gambling throughout the United States has led to an increase in the number of senior citizens who are facing financial ruin. "There's a growing number of older adults ... who have an undetected gambling problem," said Dennis McNeilly, a clinical psychologist at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. "It's a very, very hidden problem among the older age group." Casinos have developed a prosperous niche with older Americans. Within the first year of a spouse's death, the surviving senior "frequently develops a compulsive gambling problem."
"My mother knows she shouldn't be doing it, and yet, she says she loves it," said one man, who characterized his mother as a troubled gambler. We've lost our mother."
--"Gambling becoming a problem for more seniors, panel says A psychologist says many older Americans are facing financial ruin because of gaming"./By Dave Berns/Las Vegas Review-Journal/6.19.98
CT - At the Foxwood hundreds of senior citizens, some in wheelchairs, others carrying oxygen tanks, many steadying themselves with walkers or canes... All are pumping quarters into machines that gulp their money and belch deafening whistles, bells, whirs, and, for the lucky, a clanging change windfall that keeps them playing, robotic in their movements, hoping to hit the Big One. The tops of the slot machines are littered with empty and twisted quarter rolls, lipstick-stained coffee cups, overflowing ashtrays, and plastic pillboxes compartmentalized by days of the week and meals: BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER. In the bathrooms, secured to the walls near the towel dispensers, are locked plastic boxes beckoning biohazardous waste. They are used-needle repositories provided by the casino as a '"convenient customer service'" for diabetic bettors who, between the craps tables and the bingo hall, can duck in and give themselves an insulin shot. Good times, especially when gambling is involved, can lead to trouble. Although specialists say that 4 to 5 percent of all people who bet are compulsive gamblers, problem gambling among the elderly is on the rise.
Tufo (67)admits to overspending her limits, getting into a little financial trouble now and then...promising she won't do it again. But she always comes back. How much has she lost? 'Honey, I don't even tell God that.'
--"Going for the gold - and the fun. Senior citizens hit Conn. casino by the busload"/By Doreen Ludica Vigue/Boston Globe/7.19.98
A woman in her early 60s prepares to do battle with instant bingo games and a gambling addiction that had shriveled her bank account the day before. "My daughters have a fit when they find out I'm doing this," she says. But it's in my blood." For many, they (gambling) are a wicked addiction. By design, the players usually lose. By compulsion, they come back for more. To get to the door, she must pass five Treasure Quest video machines that offer a chance to win $1,000. She doesn't make it outside.
--"Gambling is in my blood,' addicted woman admits"/By DONNA J. ROBB/ PLAIN DEALER REPORTER/12.25.00
CA - Growing numbers of older Americans find themselves grappling with problems arising from gambling. "It's scary," Mr. Tucker (California Council on Problem Gambbling) says. "And there are more of them out there. But they're like ostriches: They're hidden in the ground." Growing numbers of older Americans find themselves grappling with problems arising from gambling. (78 year old woman) ...had maxed out all her credit cards ... something like $40,000. And they were all through the automated teller machines at the casino.
As a result, (her children) filed for bankruptcy. The real tragedy ... with this age group is that they really can't recoup. And so they're ... finding a way to market to these (older) people and do so pretty effectively.
One of the local casinos had a prescription (drug) discount program.
--"Gambling problems grow among elderly"/ By GLENN RUFFENACH/The Wall Street Journal/9.30.02/©2002 Associated Press /URL: www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/ 2002/09/30/financial
CT - When her husband died nearly 20 years ago, M. should have been set for the rest of her life.
Her husband of 30 years, a "precise" man, she said, had left her about $300,000 in the bank, a home that was paid for and bills that had been paid off six months in advance. Today, though, she lives above the Marlborough senior center, where she struggles to make ends meet on the few dollars she gets every month from Social Security.
The money that should have kept her set for life is gone, pumped into slot machines from Connecticut to the Caribbean and from Vegas to Atlantic City. Like many other seniors, thousands according to some studies, M., now 74, finds herself struggling against addiction in the twilight of her life. And for seniors the problems often show up so quietly they hardly know it until it's too late. M's gambling habit quickly took over. In less than a decade, she burned through most of the money she had, moved into the local senior center, and later was even forced to file for bankruptcy. "I just did it until one day I woke up and it was 40 years later and I didn't have any money." "People are set in their ways," Cohen (Community Health Care Foundation) said. Reaching out to elders is extremely difficult." "My sense is people are not seeking out treatment because of the cost," he said, " and people are using (alcohol and drugs) to self-medicate."
--"Betting against a comfortable future: gambling, alcoholism are the growing hidden problems of the senior population"/By Peter Reuell/Daily Tribune E-News/7.22.02
IA - Elder Iowans with disposable income and time on their hands are increasingly seeking solace in Iowa's casinos, but some of them instead find a reason for despair. Charlie Nelson, 63, a University history professor for 30 years, took early retirement... The slot machines installed at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in 1995 aided in his financial and emotional collapse,
he said. Gwen Stubbs, 61,... played only the nickel machines, but sometimes played 24 hours straight. It wasn't until the point of despair - what Nelson calls "near death" - that they sought help. Compulsive gambling affects all age groups but can be especially devastating for older Iowans because of their inability to regenerate income, said Harlan Vogel, who treats problem gamblers in western Iowa. "I am a living, breathing witness to the horrible truth," he (Nelson) said.
--"Elders Iowans lured to casinos"/Associated Press - Las Vegas Sun /5.16.00
FL - Florida's teenagers and their retired grandparents may have something in common they don't want to talk about -- their gambling problems.
"That first year only 25 to 30 percent of our callers were female and now about half of our calls are from women and more and more are coming from senior citizens," Fowler ( executive director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling Inc.) said. "The majority of our calls now indicate that casino gambling is their primary problem."
--"Teens, seniors taking gambles"/By KAREN VOYLES/Sun staff writer/9.08.03/ http:// gainesvillesun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030908/LOCAL/30907029/1007
IA -"Those slots just reached out and grabbed me,"
said Nelson, 65, who said gambling slowly began to take over his life. "I became reclusive and manipulative and, frankly, I lied to my wife," Nelson said. "Every night when I went to bed I thought about how I was going to get there the next day." "Being a slave is no fun," Nelson said. "When you're at the edge of the abyss, life loses its value."
--"Portrait of a gambling addict"/By Mike Glover/Las Vegas Sun/8.6.01
IN - Senior citizens also are at risk of developing gambling problems, said Hal Thompson, president of Seniors Unlimited... Indiana has more than 900,000 residents age 60 or older. In some cases, a spouse is handling money for the first time, he noted. ... woman called Thompson, asking for help. She told him her 74-year-old mother had run up gambling debts, and someone was knocking at her door, threatening to break her leg unless she paid them.
--"Young, old run highest risk of gambling problems"/ Rob Schneider/The Indianapolis Star/2.7.02
IN - No, there really aren't many high-rollers in the world of Indiana riverboat gambling, just a steady stream of day-trippers, old-age pensioners and a few anxious penny-ante-up types with $60, $80 or $100 in their pockets with which to while away the day.
--"Riverboat gamblers go for broke -- and fun"/By Abe Aamidor / The Indianapolis Star/News/8.12.97
MA- It was nine years ago when Robert Desmond (73), recent widow, good father, old-fashioned man's man, summoned his family around him and broke the stunning news. He was in financial ruins, he told them, stone-cold broke, so short of cash he couldn't pay his health insurance or the utility bills to light his house.
"We had scene after scene after scene," recalls Dianne, Desmond's 41-year-old daughter. "And he finally admitted he had a gambling problem." He cashed out his pension. He sold off family possessions to a secondhand store down the street - old hunting guns, his late wife's jewelry, then furniture. Ultimately, he gave the entire contents of his garage to a neighbor for $50 in cash. She (daughter) sold the family house to pay her father's debts...
--By Brian McGrory/The Boston Globe Columnist/11.19.99
MD - She is 76 years old, and she stood in line now with a cane to help her with the day's long walk, and her mind was made up. No, no, and no, Millie Slechta said. The substitute teaching would not be allowed to get in the way of the gambling.
--"Even without slots, gambling is fair game at the state fair"/By Michael Olesker/http:// Baltimore Sun - www. sunspot.net/news/local/bal-md.olesker02sep02,0,5537269.column?coll=bal-pe-maryland/9.02.03
MI - Mooradian's father, who had a stroke in 1999 and died in 2002, also was a compulsive gambler. "Before casinos, he was a heavy sports better," Mooradian said. "Even after his stroke, in a wheelchair, with use of one arm, he'd go to the casinos almost seven days a week." "When you're a compulsive gambler, it's not just the money you lose, it's the money you don't make in business because you're disoriented from gambling," he said.
--"Businessman Phil Mooradian signed a pledge to shun casinos and was arrested when he didn't. High roller quits gambling Out $1 million at MGM, he pledges to avoid visiting Detroit casinos"/By Becky Yerak Steve Perez / The Detroit News/ www.detnews.com /2003/business/0307/27/b01-227872.htm
MO - From senior citizens who spend their fixed incomes in casinos to those who may be financial targets for relatives with gambling problems, the state wants to better educate older adults about gambling issues. She (Stephens, the state's problem gambling programs administrator) said it's important to aim efforts at older people because more of them are on fixed incomes and more vulnerable to financial devastation. Earl Kessler, 67, of St. Louis, told commissioners he was a compulsive gambler,... He said before casinos moved into Missouri, his gambling seemed to be under control,... But, he said, when casino boats opened in Missouri in 1994, his gambling got out of hand. The high visibility makes it difficult for compulsive gamblers to stay out of casinos, he said. "They can, and do, destroy many families,
" Kessler said.
--"Missouri plans problem gambling program for older adults"/By Betsy Taylor/ Associated Press Writer/6.27.01
MN - "Do you really want to spend your golden years hooked up to a machine?" The poster is part of a statewide initiative by the Gambling Problems Resource Center in Anoka to alert older Minnesotans to the risks associated with gambling. Gambling is more accessible than ever before and it is often marketed toward older people. But for many older people living on fixed incomes, gambling losses can significantly affect their standard of living.
Jerry Bloedow, former Director of the MN Board on Aging... says, "Often older people living alone simply do not come into contact with many other people who can identify a problem, and the fact that they may be having a gambling problem isn't apparent until they have depleted many of their resources.
--"Minnesota Institute of Public Health"/Becky Sechrist or Kelly Reynolds/PR Newswire/6.19.97
IN - The Grand Victoria (casino), 18 miles farther down river in Rising Sun, Ind., has had 1.5 million visitors this year. The immaculate new casinos are Las Vegas at a slower pace. Daytime crowds tends to be older -- retirees on day trips.
--"Indiana riverboat gambling has ripple effect"/The Evansville Courier/6.19.98
OK - Farley, 76, who is from Muskogee and retired from his job at the court house, is disabled and has difficulty doing physical activities. But he finds enough entertainment in bingo to keep him going and keep life interesting even after retirement. The cost for him and his wife to both play for a night is around $200, he said. With large-screened personal computers, palm-pilot-looking minicomputers, colorful dobbers and precious lucky charms, bingo (prizes up to $136,000) continues to be a great escape with a devoted following.
--"Bingo becomes escape for many state residents"/The Oklahoman/8.24.03
WV - It was the second day of their frustration. They (Barb and Rich) had arrived at the Charles Town Races and Slots casino the previous morning at 7 and got stuck trying to win the jackpot from this particular machine. By the time the slot machine automatically shut off at closing time, 3:30 a.m., they were out too much money to give up and go home to Pennsylvania, an hour and a half away. So they drove up the road to a shopping mall parking lot, slept in their Ford Explorer for three hours and then went right back to that dark and smoky corner of the sprawling complex filled with 2,700 slots,... But by the second day, Barbara (52) was feeling fairly drained as she went to look for more cash shortly before noon. Other than the meatball sub at a Sheetz gas station convenience store at 4 a.m., complimentary coffee from the cocktail waitress at 8 and a few bites of a 3 Musketeers bar, Barbara had had nothing to eat. At the cashier, Barbara asked for a $500 advance on a credit card. Then $400. $300? Okay, $100. Sorry, she was told; she'd maxed out her cash advances. "I'm so exhausted. This is stupid. I'm stupid," she said. "We're just piddling our lives away in here. Barbara was becoming despondent. Now, they keep blankets in the car in case they need to stay overnight, something they've done nearly a dozen times. They try to set a budget, but they never stick to it. But they both want to end this life, mesmerized by the spin of electronic fruit and sea creatures.
She had enough credits for $300 in merchandise -- the reward for spending $6,000 gambling in the past few months.
--"Dazzling Draw Of the Jackpot"/By Brigid Schulte/Washington Post/3.1.03/http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24231-2003Mar1.html
PA - Janice Bartlett knows the odds are stacked against her every time she sits down at a slot machine. "Slots are easy to play, they are fascinating, they give you some glimmer of hope," said Bartlett, 66, of Port Lucie, Fla. "When you see those numbers coming up, there is always the thought, 'maybe this could be it.'" Roberto (61) and his wife usually play about $500 on a given day at the slots. He was locked in a steady losing streak Wednesday, but unfazed by his vanishing quarters. "They are silly -- you can't win at them," said Arthur Reber, a psychologist who has authored several books including "Gambling for Dummies." Reber described the majority of avid slots players as "people of modest means" who are often retired and have the time to visit a casino frequently. He (Prof. Thompson, University of Nevada) described the typical regular patron as "elderly or poor."
--"Lure of slots Bright lights, dream of payoff attract gamblers"/By Scott Wescott /TimesNews.com/7.14.03/ http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030713/FRONTPAGE/107130344
MO - Missouri gambling regulators... heard testimony that older patrons of casinos are more likely to have serious gambling problems than younger patrons. According to one survey, persons 65 years old and older may be twice as likely to be problem gamblers as younger casino customers.
Dennis McNeilly... University of Nebraska, told a conference here that he had surveyed 315 persons 65 and older and discovered that up to 11 percent of them showed sisgns associated with problem gamblers. If Mr. McNeilly's study is anywhere near accurate, senior citizens are at far greater risk. A study done for Harrah's Entertainment in 2000 reported that 22 percent of them are elderly, that's 27.5 million. If 1.7 percent are pathological gamblers, that's 467,500 older Americans with serious gambling problems. And if Mr. McNeilly is correct, that number could be as large as 3 million. But statistics aside, one trip to a casino is enough to demonstrate how popular gambling is with older Americans. The industry markets heavily to senior citizens, with special discounts on meals and other promotions, including free bus service from senior centers and retirement homes.
--"CASINO GAMBLING OLDER, NOT WISER"/St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial/ 8.8.01
Gambling participation among the oldest segment of the American population has grown dramatically. Between 1975 and 1999, the number of individuals over 65 reporting gambling in their lifetimes swelled from 35% to 80%... Finally, as men and women got older, they both increased the proportion of income that they gambled. This effect was more pronounced in women. Women in the oldest age group wagered 249% of their monthly income1
. Notes: 1 The money wagered in excess of 100% of the individual monthly income may come from household income, savings accounts, borrowing, or obtaining money from any number of other sources.
--"WAGER Gambling at Any Age"/Volume 7 Number 25/6.19.02
The 69-year-old former president and chief operating officer of Conbraco Industries who lost a fortune after years of struggling to control his gambling addiction,
pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining loans that prosecutors say he used to help pay off more than $30 million in gambling debts.
--3/20/01 Charolette Observer
NY - A 66 year old grandmother from New York City was sentenced yesterday to 31 months in federal prison and ordered to pay back the nearly $4.9 million she embezzled from her former employer
to feed her gambling habit in Atlantic City.
WI - A 57-year-old grandmother convicted of embezzling a staggering $1.2 million from her employer and blowing most of it on casino slot machines
apologized to her children before being sentenced Monday to three years in prison.
--Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff 11/12/01
N.Y. (AP) - When state police viewed the surveillance videotape of an elderly man accused of robbing a local bank
, they knew where to look for the suspect - Turning Stone Casino. That is where they found John Ludwig, 72, last fall following a robbery at a Burger King in Oneonta, and that is where they picked him up Monday afternoon.
--Las Vegas SUN 5/23/00
IL - Burgard 35, pleaded guilty. He targeted clients for hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial scams, gambled away the money on riverboats, and then abandoned his wife and three children. He was charged with theft in Madison Country for allegedly stealing $60,000 from an 80-year-old woman in Collinsville.
--St. Louis Post-Dispatch 10/17/97 & 7/7/98
KY - Today I'll introduce you to a 58-year-old grandmother with a gambling addiction. An attractive, well-dressed, articulate woman, when she was younger she gambled a little at backgammon and went to Reno once a year -- not often enough to cultivate an addiction. But one day at age 47 when she went to a card room in a bowling alley and won $75, the hook was set. "There's a fine line between normal, social gambling and compulsive gambling," Evie said, "and you may not even know when you've crossed it."
At age 56, after about eight years of gambling and in spite of those two big pots, she figures she lost over $300,000 -- an average of over $37,000 a year -- and she has nothing to show for it. "But more important," she says, "I lost my identity. I lost my pride, my self-esteem, my health, my ambition."
Before she became a compulsive gambler she was a responsible, hard-working woman who paid her bills on time, but eventually her debts overwhelmed her and she had to face the humiliation of bankruptcy.
--"Gambling addiction: a grandmother's story"/By Rob Woutat/10.6.03 www.thesunlink.com/redesign/2003-10-06/opinion/276699.shtml
KY - Phyllis Kruer of Georgetown, Ind., killed herself in August of 2001 and left a five-page, handwritten note to her husband admitting she was a compulsive gambler driven by the need "to feed my demons."
She was a respected businesswoman with a funny, larger-than-life personality. A proud grandmother who was happily married and who had hordes of friends. But in the summer of 2001, she began making plans to die. A five-page, handwritten note to her husband, Pat, revealed the secret she had long hidden: She was a compulsive gambler. In a claim subsequently filed against her estate, the Southern Indiana golf course where she was board secretary alleged that she'd embezzled $272,000. The suicide of Phyllis Kruer offers a tragic, if extreme, example of the human devastation that lies beneath the national statistics documenting the rise of compulsive gambling in recent years. He (husband) later found out that his wife gambled at the Caesars Indiana riverboat casino... Despite a successful real-estate job, she hid a mounting pile of debt. She took out $100,000 in loans on a modular home, valued at $70,000, that she owned, according to documents in her estate. She also had arranged a second mortgage on the couple's home and 15 acres that Pat Kruer had kept in his name after their 1989 marriage, he said.
--"A life lost to gambling"/By Grace Schneider/ The Courier-Journal/ 12.22.02
IL - In 1996, a massive casino debt led Carol and Skip Warriner, a Joliet couple in their 60s, to kill themselves,
--LEGISLATORS WORRY CASINOS' CREDIT LINES, ATMS BRING TRAGEDY/By Douglas Holt Chicago Tribune/11.21.99
CT - And as she (Donna, 59) takes the razor blade from her pocket and slices across her wrist, she thinks, at least now I am setting things straight. The blood runs in skinny, dark rivulets over her palms. It's moving too slowly. She didn't cut deep enough. "They are my life now," Donna says of her grandchildren. "They're what I have left." After all, it wasn't long ago when, desperate for cash to feed into the slot machines at the Mohegan Sun casino, she rifled through this house, seeking her grandchildren's savings bonds. She cashed and gambled them away. There was a string of arrests, four or five. She began playing at Foxwoods in 1995. The casino was only about a half-hour drive from the family beach house in Matanuck. So she began visiting the casino with friends more frequently, sometimes pulling "all-nighters" when she would play the slots from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. the next day. Alone in Rhode Island, she kept gambling. She still needed money, so she began taking John's blank checks. He would find out through his monthly bank statements. "We'd have a big to-do," she says. Then she started hitting the neighbors. "No one locks their doors there," she says. "When you're a compulsive gambler, you become a compulsive liar. I was always going to win and pay it all back." That's when she attempted suicide on the beach. Then in 1998, she spiraled out of control, racking up five arrests over an eight-month period.
The charges were mostly larceny and forgery. She stole blank checks from neighbors, from John's uncle, from her mother. She stole her grandchildren's savings bonds and business payment checks made out to John. This time she was going to hang herself.
--"She Had A Husband And Four Children, Good Friends, A Summer Place On The Beach, A Life In Politics And Her Community. All Of That Is Gone."/The Hartford Courant/7.28.02/ctnow.com
Australia - A GRANDMOTHER who stole almost $3 million from her employer was yesterday jailed for at least 4 1/2 years
. Denise Margaret Racovitis gambled more than $1.8 million at Crown casino from 1997 to 2003 and lost $409,000.
--"Gambling grandma blows stolen $3m"/By Philip Cullen/2.27.04www.herald
IL - Grandparents left 2 (a boy, 4, and a girl, 5) children in car while they went gambling,
police say. He identified the couple as a 77-year-old woman and a 73-year-old man from St. Louis.
--"Grandparents left 2 children in car while they went gambling, police say"/ By William Lamb/2.04.03/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/StLToday.com
IN - A 62-year-old grandmother told a federal judge yesterday that a severe gambling addiction drove her to steal $129,000 from a Jeffersonville company where she worked -- and at one point led her to attempt suicide.
She still faces 187 counts of theft in a Jefferson County, Ky., case stemming from a $180,000 embezzlement involving Russell Printing Inc. of Louisville -- money she also allegedly took to support her gambling habit. But she told Barker that she stole from four other employers -- a total of more than $310,000 -- because of her addiction to slot machines. ...while Olson was working as an accounting clerk at Brinly-Hardy, a lawn-equipment manufacturer, she wrote 182 bogus payroll checks drawn on the company's accounts.
--"Gambler pleads guilty in fraud case"/By GRACE SCHNEIDER/
KY - Charles Norris , 61, of Jefferson County, Ky., pleaded guilty last year to embezzling $493,180 from the U.S. Postal Service.
He is serving a 21-month sentence in the federal prison at Manchester, Ky. Norris, a former window clerk at the Gardiner Lane post office in Louisville, said he gambled frequently at the Caesars casino, according to court records. A post office audit brought the years-long thefts to light, court records said.
--"Criminal case files involving gambling"/The Courier-Journal/ 12.23.02
KY - Vance E. Arnold, 57, of Ghent, Ky., pleaded guilty in federal court in July 1998 to misappropriating money seized in a drug investigation. According to court records, Arnold, a former undercover postal inspector, admitted taking $18,200 from stacks of $100 bills in a postal-inspection evidence room and replacing them with $1 bills. He said he used the money to pay gambling debts at Grand Victoria Casino
in Rising Sun, Ind. Arnold made restitution and served five months in the federal prison at Manchester.
--"Criminal case files involving gambling"/The Courier-Journal/ 12.23.02
MI - A local grandmother who robbed a bank to recover some money she'd lost on casino gambling stands a good chance of prison time
, under a plea deal entered Tuesday in Macomb County Circuit Court. Brenda Bishop, 50, former manager of Regency Club Apartments in Warren, pleaded guilty as charged to bank robbery in the Oct. 30 incident at a Huntington Bank branch on Groesbeck Highway near 15 Mile Road. Bishop collected $5,200 from several tenants to pay their rent, but never forwarded the money to Regency Club's operators (her former employer). Instead, she cashed out those rent payments and spent it on slot machines at the Greektown Casino in Detroit.
--"Grandma robbed bank to support gambling habit"/By Chad Halcom/Macomb Daily/3.12.03/www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7342835&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id=141265&rfi=6
WI - She is a convicted felon for embezzling from her employer. "...I wondered how I could tell my grandsons that I was going to jail," Brunker recalled. "How could a 61 year old law-abiding, civic-minded lady be going to jail?" Now she wants to inform the public about the disease of compulsive gambling. I have found out that women just don't stop gambling until they are either in legal trouble, dead broke or go to get help, someone makes them stop or they commit suicide."
--"Brunker tells of compulsive gambling disease"/By Carol Wagner/Shawano Leader/12.28.03/www.shawanoleader.com/articles/2003/12/28/news/news1.txt
IL - A 76-year-old woman convicted in the secretary of state license-selling scandal was ordered Wednesday to serve more than a year in prison because she violated her probation by gambling at a Joliet casino when she was supposed to stay at home
. Richard Jalovec, Fajdich's attorney, said his client has a gambling problem...
--"FIGURE IN LICENSE SCAM GETS PRISON"/By Maura Kelly, Matt O'Connor/ Chicago Tribune | Metro/4.27.00
KY - Thomason (74) was also a few other things -- an alcoholic, a compulsive gambler and, eventually, an embezzler. "I lied, I cheated, I stole, I conned, and I was good at it," he said. In an attempt to cover his debts to bookies, he embezzled from a Louisville car dealership where he was general manager. Thomason said he rationalized his stealing, telling himself he was only borrowing. He said it's a trait of gambling addicts
. "It's a hidden disease," Thomason said...
--"Former addict puts face on the gambling debate"/By Charles Wolfe/ www.lasvegas
IL - An Illinois woman is facing a felony neglect charge for leaving an elderly aunt (91) who suffers from Alzheimer's disease in a locked car at a Hammond casin
o while she went gambling. According to court documents, the woman told the officers she had been left in the back seat for nearly three hours and was experiencing leg cramps and had to go to the bathroom.
--"Woman, 63, neglected aunt at boat, county says"/By Karen Snelling / Post-Tribune/12.20.01
KS - Nereida "Nettie" Benitez (age 63) saved for 30 years for her dream home. Her life savings are gone, gambled away by the builder, who stole her money.
So in 1997, Benitez hired James to build her house and gave him her life savings, $65,000. "Everyone cares.... I only feel sad to think that my grandchildren could use my money to go to college."
--"Woman gave savings to builder, who gambled them away"/By LEE HILL KAVANAUGH/ The Kansas City Star/01.14.99
FL -(Hartman was) arrested in New Jersey and charged with kidnapping an 83-year-old woman might have forced her to withdraw $7,800 from her bank during a gambling spree in Atlantic City, police said Sunday.`She appeared to be drugged to make her less resistant.' 'Hartman was charged with possession of a handgun, possession of a handgun for unlawful purposes, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, kidnapping, recovering stolen property and fleeing from justice from Florida.
--"Abduction case twist: Gambling"/By Kevin P. Connolly The Sentinel Staff/The Orlando Sentinel/6.29.98
MO - A former admissions director at a St. Charles nursing home pleaded guilty Tuesday of stealing thousands of dollars from a resident after the resident died in 1998, and losing at least $25,000 of the money gambling. On Tuesday, she admitted in court that she obtained power of attorney for Katherine Kramer, 78, after Kramer died Sept. 12, 1998, at the Charlevoix nursing home. Though the power of attorney was declared invalid, Wechling forged Kramer's name on bank signature cards to get access to her stocks and checking and savings accounts. "We'll probably never get the rest back," he said. (Kramer's son) "It all ($200,000) went to the casino boat, and it's gone."
--"Ex-official of nursing home admits theft, forgery"/By Michele Munz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/5/2/01
PA - In the neighborhoods around Frankford Avenue in Holmesburg, ... Maertzig was the local guy who knew his way through the thicket of tax laws, someone fiscally conservative working-class people could trust to invest their savings for college for the children or to supplement the pension or Social Security. Yesterday, about 30 of those clients showed up for Maertzig's federal sentencing, not to give moral support but to glare and whisper imprecations at the man who admitted to stealing their life savings -- a total of $1.72 million -- and blowing it on gambling.
"He used his trust and his relationships just like the armed robber uses his gun," wrote Bruce Geer, who said his dying mother had entrusted $80,000 to Maertzig to provide her grandchildren with a college education. Maertzig funded his gambling habit from 1986 through October 1996 by using the clients of his tax and accounting service as the base of investors for a Ponzi scheme.
--"3 years in jail for Ponzi scheme,In testimony and in letters, victims told of being betrayed by Stephen F.Maertzig. They lost $1.72 million."/ By Joseph A. Slobodzian/INQUIRER STAFF WRITER/11.24.98
FL - A $300 million hotel, Hard Rock Cafe and gambling casino complex, for which more than 100 senior citizens were evicted from a mobile home park in Hollywood, has yet to be financed even though construction had been slated to begin in three weeks. The tribe evicted more than 100 senior citizens from Candlelight Park Nov. 30 so construction of the hotel and casino could begin. Residents were given little more than a month to move
, and the abruptness of the notice prompted a lawsuit against the tribe by park residents in Broward County Circuit Court.
--"Financing delays massive Seminole casino complex"/By Dan Ruck/South Florida Business Journal/12.18.00
MI - 74-year-old Troy woman won a $875,000 jackpot Tuesday, but not at the casino. A federal jury in Detroit awarded the money to Estella Romanski in the form of punitive damages for the humiliation she suffered in 2001 when she was banished from the Motor City Casino in Detroit after she tried to play a nickel token she found at an unattended slot machine. But before she could do so, she said, she was surrounded by security officers who held her against her will, demanded to see her identification, questioned and photographed her and then evicted her from the casino. She said they also confiscated her $9 meal ticket as well as the nickel token, and wouldn't let her rejoin her group.
--"Troy woman gets $875,000 in casino case She found token, tried to play slots, but got kicked out"/BY DAVID ASHENFELTER/FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER/7.23.03/www.freep.com/news/locoak/lott23_20030723.htm
FL - The Florida Senate voted Wednesday to let seniors in nursing homes gamble their retirement savings on bingo. Under current law, bingo players can get their fix everywhere from commercial halls to games run by veterans groups to mobile-home parks -- but not in nursing homes.
--"Senate: Put bingo in nursing homes"/By Sean Mussenden/Orlando Sentinel/2.28.02
MD - After a few years of declining ticket sales among senior citizens, lottery staffers two years ago launched an "outreach" program, wheeling a mobile game-playing machine into convalescent homes from Williamsport to Chestertown to Lusby. "I think the whole concept of this lottery on wheels is an outrageous exploitation of the elderly," said Dr. Valerie Lorenz, director of the Compulsive Gambling Center in Baltimore. "For them to come in and say this is entertainment is really a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is outrageous the government permits this kind of activity." Seniors brought in almost $240 million last year, or 22 percent of ticket sales, according to data from the lottery agency. Edward J. Looney, director of the Council on Compulsive Gambling based in Trenton, N.J., said, "Senior citizens represent a very vulnerable group. Upon learning about "Lottery on Wheels" and "Walk-to-Win" this week, Stanton Collins, president of the Maryland chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, asked the Maryland Attorney General to look into whether the lottery is manipulating seniors into buying tickets.
--"Lottery goes for the gray Seniors: Agency staffers visit nursing homes, malls to pique the interest of the aged."/By Laura Sullivan/SUN STAFF/8.8.97
PA - The state Department of Aging, for example, soon will require any senior with income of as little as $895 a month to pay a portion of state-funded in-home assistance, which was once funded solely by the Lottery. Overall, the key change if for lawmakers to recognize that they finally face some tough choices regarding priorities on programs for older citizen/voters, and that the Lottery no longer is the open-ended answer.
--"Lottery Gimmicks Run Out of Time"/Scranton Times Tribune/1.20.02
PA - But programs that benefit the state's elderly are fast on their way to outstripping the lottery fund that pays for them. And election-year politics have frequently produced more and more lottery-funded programs for seniors, historically a powerful bloc of voters.
--"Senior citizens share lottery's uncertain financial future"/By Chuck Plunkett Jr/TRIBUNE-REVIEW/11.4.01