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This exploratory two-stage study of a small sample of older Minnesotans finds no evidence that casino gambling activities threaten their well being. For most respondents the social benefits were the most salient parts of this activity and they were well aware of the danger signs of problem behaviors. Social exchange theory explains why they visit casinos and how much they spend. The life course perspective explains their decisions based on past behaviors and consistent with how they have lived their lives. We suggest that age norms determine the public's perceptions that casino gambling is problematic for older people. Results are consistent with cross sectional surveys that find no evidence that older adults participate more often in or have greater problems with gambling than any other age group. Public concerns and media images may be based on socially constructed assumptions and fears.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Aging Studies. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as:

Hope, Janet and Linda Havir (2002) "You bet they're having fun!: Older Americans and casino gambling." Journal of Aging Studies, 16(2): 177-197. doi:10.1016/S0890-4065(02)00043-9

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