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Number of baby boomer gamblers up

In the last two decades, the number of baby boomer gamblers has climbed. As the baby boomer generation begins retiring, many turn to gambling as a mode of entertainment. Visiting casinos is a popular amusement with baby boomers but there is always a risk that some could jeopardize their retirement savings by gambling and find themselves in serious financial trouble. There is also a possibility that some boomers could become addicted to gambling.

Baby boomers, along with senior citizens, are now the fastest growing group to visit casinos and engage in gambling. Today, 50 percent of all adults visiting casinos are over 50. The National Council on Problem Gambling reports the number of boomers who gamble is up 30 percent in the last 20 years.

Boomer retirees, in particular, might be considered vulnerable to gambling addictions because they no longer work and have more time on their hands. Visiting casinos is an attractive distraction for these boomers because it offers entertainment and social interaction with other people.

In the last decade, casinos have grown exponentially across the country. Many casinos now target advertising promotions to the baby boomer market. They entice boomers with special offers for day trips to their casino and provide transportation, free lunch and other entertainment incentives. It can be a fun social outing for boomers.

While casinos are a popular boomer gambling venue, so is online gambling. Boomers are drawn to everything from Powerball, state lotteries and internet gambling sites to online gaming centers like bingo and poker. Boomers are also attracted to video gambling machines, although AARP warns these can be somewhat addictive.

There is always the risk that someone can become addicted to gambling. If you or someone you know might be struggling with gambling issues, here are the warning signs, as reported by

• Hiding losses and the extent of time spent gambling are classic signs of compulsion;
• Preoccupation with gambling and getting money to gamble;
• Loss of control over time spent gambling or amounts spent;
• Repeated, unsuccessful attempts to cut back;
• Lying to others to conceal extent of gambling;
• Cashing in life insurance, draining savings or tapping home equity to gamble;
• Inability to meet financial obligations due to gambling
• Committing crimes to secure gambling money; and
• Feelings of guilt or shame because of gambling.

If you need help with a gambling addiction, call the Baltimore chapter of Gamblers Anonymous 855-222-5542.

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