Senior Citizens and Casinos
by Evelyn Horan
Do you live in an area where there are gaming Casinos? In Southern California, in earlier years, when we thought of stage entertainment and fun times, we gaily drove the three hundred miles of mostly desert land to the exciting nightlights of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Suddenly, casinos began springing up in Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. Many people who were interested in nearby gaming chose to visit local Indian casinos, and daily tour buses began to carry folks to the various casinos.
A few miles from my home, here in Riverside County, are several Indian casinos that now rival any large gaming hotel in Las Vegas. They offer popular name star shows, room facilities, restaurants and gaming. There is ever a constant flow of traffic from the nearby Interstate 15, to these casinos that serve Los Angeles County and San Diego County quite well.
I have visited these casinos on several occasions. I find their cuisine to be excellent, and their buffets rival those of any first class hotel in Las Vegas. I have attended several shows highlighting country western stars such as Willie Nelson. At other times, Debbie Reynolds and comic Don Rickles were highlighted.
One of the recent attractions is penny slots, directed to the more limited budget. They offer appeal to many senior citizens who want to take a ride in their car and spend a few hours playing penny slots.
However, with penny slots, the coins played are not just one penny. Some machines encourage twenty, forty, sixty, and even two hundred penny wagers. Modern gaming machines today don’t handle coins. They deal with dollar bills inserts, and paper inserts, and pay out in paper that can be inserted in a cashing machine, often located near gaming machines.
As a visitor approaches the casino building, directly in view are many handicapped parking spaces set aside for those with such licenses which include mostly senior citizens. These spaces are often filled early in the day. When a space is left open by a departing senior, another senior driver quickly takes it showing a parking license for the disabled.
I have a list of reasons why many senior citizens frequent the casinos. A few reasons include the following:
1. It is something to do and is easily accessible.
2. Some handicapped folks are not able to walk long distances required by the huge hotels in Las Vegas, and they like a smaller gaming area closer to home.
3. Some folks are not physically active and cannot participate in sports. Gaming offers a chance to sit and watch the changing of the reels, as they hope to hear the cheery music announcing a “WIN”
4. Some seniors have extra retirement funds and consider gaming their entertainment, whether they win or lose.
It is my opinion that there are more losers than winners at casinos. It is my hope that folks will be disciplined to stay within their allotted budget, realizing they are likely, to lose their funds, and can sometimes become addicted to gambling.
The question is this: Is the excitement and fun involved in the “hope” for a win worth the several hours spent in a casino and the possible monetary losses?
There are stories of seniors and others becoming addicted to gaming because they don’t budget their funds. Seniors can lose their social security checks and monthly retirement incomes because casinos are attractive and appealing.
However, for these reasons, and many others, everyone should be careful about gaming, and we should consider the options carefully when we choose casino gaming as a leisure time activity.
Evelyn Horan is a former teacher/counselor. Her articles and stories have been published many times in periodicals for children and adults in both secular and religious publications. She holds General Elementary, General Secondary, Pupil Personnel, and also School Psychologist life credentials in the state of California. Horan is the author of a number of books including Aging Requires a Gentle Attitude. Learn more about her work at http://www.authorsden.com/evelynhoran.