Growing Old Gambling

Air Date: 02/12/2018

With more free time and financial resources, experts say Baby Boomers are more at-risk to become caught in the grip of out-of-control gambling. The original Nebraska Public Media television special, Growing Old Gambling examines addiction and the consequences for older adults.

"You can make the argument that the generation that is most susceptible for develop gambling as a problematic behavior is the baby boomers," said Don Feeney, research advisor for the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Slot Machines
Person at slot machine

Gamblers have easy access to both state and tribal run casinos, plus lottery, keno and sports betting. Seniors often gamble as a social activity, and when the wagering becomes a problem, recouping financial losses can be difficult, if not impossible.

"I pretty much started dipping into my 401k at age 59 and a half. So, I've had a couple of years where I've been able to drain that account, which probably had close to $500,000. I also drained an annuity and an IRA. So, probably close to $750,000, if not more," said Elizabeth, a 63-year-old recovering problem gambler from Lincoln, Neb.

Growing Old Gambling focuses on the growth of problem gambling for Baby Boomers. This 30-minute special features personal stories from those who’ve suffered emotional and financial consequences, as well as guidance from leading experts in crisis intervention and the treatment of gambling addictions in older adults.

Growing Up Gambling

Access to gambling is growing. Today there are fantasy football leagues, bracket basketball, online poker, interactive sports betting and social media gambling sites. Technology allows college students and adolescents who otherwise couldn't set foot on a casino floor, to bet as much as their credit cards will allow. It is possible to gamble 24/7 on a smartphone without ever leaving one's apartment or dorm room.

Featuring cutting-edge science on youth gaming/gambling addiction, Growing Up Gambling is a documentary that takes viewers inside the brain of an online gamer and online gambler, telling the story of a student's downward spiral into addictive online sports betting.

Blurred lines divide child's play gaming from gambling. Growing up Gambling illustrates how advancement of technology makes it easy to engage in high-stakes gambling. Easy access via mobile gambling puts a tech-savvy generation at greater risk than prior generations.