Seniors constitute one of the fastest growing population groups in North
America. One of the major life changes experienced by seniors is
retirement. Retirement has two primary implications for seniors: a
decrease in income and an increase in leisure time. On average,
Canadian seniors have 7.8 hours of free time per day (Statistics Canada,
1994). How they spend that time is of social and economic importance.
While many seniors have lived the majority of their lives in a society that
has treated gambling activities conservatively, today gambling is legalized,
accepted, and mainstream entertainment. Some, such as the Council on
Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (1997) suggest that as high as
5 percent of seniors who gamble are compulsive gamblers. However,
there is not a substantial base of research explaining the relationship of
increased leisure time to seniors gambling or the extent to which seniors
are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling.
To better understand seniors and gambling, the Alberta Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Commission (AADAC) contracted Howard Research to conduct a
two-phase research study to explore
1. What are the gambling attitudes and behaviours of seniors?
2. What prevention and intervention strategies are most effective for
3. How universal among Alberta seniors are the answers to questions
one and two?