Seniors form an increasingly large proportion of the population, a demographic trend that will grow over the coming decades.
Seniors are not unilaterally vulnerable; on the contrary, today’s seniors are living longer, healthier, more autonomous lives. Nonetheless, they are well represented among the clientele of problem gambling treatment centres. The growing number of seniors has given rise to a panoply of consumer and cultural goods that are specifically targeted to them, including gambling products and marketing strategies.
Seniors are well represented among the clientele of problem gambling treatment centres.
We have also observed that seniors make up a significant portion of the clientele of casinos and gaming halls in Québec, which have developed a complex marketing mechanism involving many actors to attract and retain them as clients. The characteristics of these organized activities appear to correspond point by point to the risk factors associated with vulnerability among certain seniors: reduced social network, financial instability, free time, physical limitations, etc. The goal of a zero deficit has a direct influence on public finances; resultant pressure on Loto-Québec, a public corporation, to generate profits explains in part the initiatives aimed at the exploitation of different market niches. However, the funding of organized casino trips for seniors appears to represent unfair competition for other types of appropriate recreation.
This research proposes taking the precautionary principle into consideration in the supply management of gaming, the establishment of an independent prevention authority that would take into account the multifactorial aspect of problem gambling, and the development of mechanisms to provide alternative affordable recreational activities for seniors.
Yves Boisvert, ÉNAP
Deposit of the research report: September 2012