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Gambling and older people in Australia
journal contributionposted on 2003-09-01, 00:00 authored by J McCormack, A C Jackson, S A Thomas
Objectives: There is a dearth of studies on the gambling behaviour of older people in Australia. This study aims to address that gap in local knowledge by investigating the gambling activity of older people in the general community, as well as the situation of older gamblers who attend counselling services for people with problem gambling behaviour. Method: The study draws on a recent national gambling survey to review older peoples' gambling in the general community, and then uses data from Victorian Gamblers' Help counselling services to review the gambling problems and treatment needs of older problem gamblers. Results: Older people gamble at a slightly lower rate than younger groups in the general community. Older problem gamblers similarly appear to have less serious problems than younger groups although there is a small group with quite severe problems as a result of gambling. There are more older female problem gamblers in counselling than males, but older men present more serious problems. Treatment responses appear to be effective for this age group. Conclusion: As older age is currently characterised by a low fixed income and thus greater vulnerability to the adverse consequences of gambling, research should continue to monitor the gambling impact on older people as our population ages.