Here’s to your health, senior gamblers
September 15, 2004
We couldn’t help but take note of the Yale University study indicating senior citizens who gamble are healthier than those who don’t.
Well, of course they are.
They’re usually a bit lighter (once they’ve taken their nickels to the cashier), they eat better (at the buffet) and they get more exercise (because they often have to walk a half-mile from the parking lot through the casino to get to their machine.)
They also must be smarter – as long as they’re risking the kids’ inheritance and not their own retirement.
Seriously, though, the Yale study found recreational gamblers 65 and older reported they are in better health than their peers who don’t gamble. They reported less alcoholism, depression, bankruptcy and imprisonment than younger recreational gamblers.
See, we told you they’re smarter.
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Skeptics of the study, of which there are many, are probably right. Gambling can’t really be considered a healthy activity. It no doubt has more to do with the social activity of the people who gamble.
We also have to acknowledge the inherent risks of gambling. You can lose money fast.
Still, there’s a point in here – something that can be witnessed every day in Carson City casinos.
Older patrons are often regular patrons, greeted by name by casino workers and by their fellow seniors at the machines. They enjoy the attention, the perks – we usually see more bottles of water and glasses of iced tea than mixed drinks – and the companionship they find inside the gambling halls.
Post-retirement can be a lonely time. There is only so much television and so many walks in the park you can take. Sure, there are plenty of people who fill their time by volunteering, by joining social clubs and church groups, by partaking in classes and hobbies and crafts at senior centers.
But don’t begrudge the folks their fun. It isn’t just the kids these days who enjoy their video games.