Swiftwater, Monroe County – State officials say many senior citizens are getting hooked on gambling. "We want people to know that there is such a thing as problem gambling, that there is treatment available to them, and that the treatment works,” said Liz Lanza the Director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Compulsive and Problem Gambling.
Lanza noted in the past Pennsylvania seniors took trips to Atlantic City to gamble. Now, casinos are just a short drive away from home. "It does affect people differently when it is closer to their home,” she remarked.
Pat Komar of East Stroudsburg said she plays about once a month. She only bets a few cents at a time but she has noticed some seniors spending hundreds at a time. "I think it's a big problem,” she said.
There are some warning signs that you might have a gambling problem. Beware if you find yourself going to the casino more and more often or you notice you are spending increasing amounts of money. If gambling time is replacing family time or you find yourself becoming defensive about the issue, you might have a problem. Frequently asking to borrow money or stealing money are also warning signs.
Stress from dealing with the death of a loved one and boredom after retirement can lead a person toward addiction. It’s important to find healthy ways to deal with difficult issues. "Get more involved in the community, find other ways of entertainment,” said Lanza.