Journal of Gambling Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 287–297 | Cite as

A Longitudinal Study: Casino Gambling Attitudes, Motivations, and Gambling Patterns Among Urban Elders

  • Fayetta Martin
  • Peter A. Lichtenberg
  • Thomas N. Templin
Original Paper


Guided by self-determination theory, the main purpose of this study was to explore demographic characteristics, attitudes toward casinos, and self-reported intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for casino gambling by urban elders. The study hypothesized that individuals would more frequently report intrinsic motivations for casino gambling (e.g., entertainment, enjoyment) rather than extrinsic motivation (e.g., financial gain). This longitudinal sample included 247 urban elders older who were 60 years and older and who had participated in surveys in 2002 and 2004. The initial survey consisted of (a) demographic items, (b) five items to measure attitudes toward casino gambling, (c) questions inquiring about motivations for casino gambling, and (d) questions about gambling frequency. The follow-up survey was an expanded questionnaire which still included these items. The sample consisted of the 247 participants, over 200 of whom were African-Americans, 188 were female, and 98 of the participants had a post graduate education. About half were widowed, and the sample generally reported a low income. The results supported the theoretical perspective underlying the project. The hypothesis that more participants would endorse intrinsic motivations for casino gambling rather than extrinsic motivations was supported. The implications of these findings represent for social workers, gambling counselors and health care services providers an important step toward understanding the attitudes, behaviors, and motivational factors involved in casino gambling among older adults.


African-Americans Blacks Gaming Slot machines Urban elders Older adults 


  1. American Gaming Association. (2008). State of the states: The AGA survey of casino entertainment. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. Chantal, Y., & Vallerand, R. J. (1996). Skill versus luck: A motivational analysis of gambling involvement. Journal of Gambling Studies, 12, 407–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chantal, Y., Vallerand, R. J., & Vallières, E. F. (1994). Construction et validation de l’Échelle de Motivation Relative aux Jeux de Hasard et d’Argent [On the development and validation of the gambling motivation scale (GMS)]. Society and Leisure, 17, 189–212.Google Scholar
  4. Chantal, Y., Vallerand, R. J., & Vallières, E. F. (1995). Motivation and gambling involvement. Journal of Social Psychology, 135, 755–763.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapleski, E. (2002). Facing the future: 2002 City of Detroit needs assessment of older adults: A report for the City of Detroit department of senior citizens. Detroit: Wayne State Institute of Gerontology Center for Urban Studies Center for Healthcare Effectiveness Research.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, D., & Clarkson, J. (2007). A preliminary investigation into motivational factors associated with older adults’ problem gambling. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. Retrieved September 21, 2001, from
  7. Crisp, B. R., Thomas, S. A., Jackson, A. C., Thomason, N., Smith, S., Borrell, J., et al. (2000). Sex differences in the treatment needs and outcomes of problem gamblers. Research on Social Work Practice, 10, 229–242.Google Scholar
  8. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  9. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The “what” and “why” of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychologic Inquiry, 11, 319–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M., Gage, M., Leone, D. R., Usunov, J., & Kornazheva, B. P. (2001). Need satisfaction, motivation, and well-being in the work organizations of a former Eastern bloc country. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 930–942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Desai, R. A., Maciejewski, P. K., Dausey, D. J., Caldarone, B. J., & Potenza, M. N. (2004). Health correlates of recreational gambling in older adults. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161, 1672–1679.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hope, J., & Havir, L. (2002). You bet they’re having fun! Older Americans and casino gambling. Journal of Aging Studies, 16(2), 177–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hsu, C. H. C. (Ed.). (1999). Legalized gambling in the United States: The economic and social impact. New York: Haworth Hospitality Press.Google Scholar
  14. Knee, C. R., & Neighbors, C. (2002). Self-determination, perception of peer pressure, and drinking among college students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 522–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Korn, D. A., & Shaffer, H. J. (1999). Gambling and the health of the public: Adopting a public health perspective. Journal of Gambling Studies, 15, 289–365.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McKay, C. (2005). Double jeopardy: Older women and problem gambling. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 3(2), 35–50.Google Scholar
  17. McNeilly, D. P., & Burke, W. F. (2000). Late life gambling: The attitudes and behaviors of older adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 16, 393–415.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. McNeilly, D. P., & Burke, W. F. (2002). Disposable time and disposable income: Problem gambling behaviors in older adults. Journal of Clinical Neuropsychology, 8, 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. National Opinion Research Center. (1999). Gambling Impact and Behavior Study. Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  20. National Research Council. (1999). Pathological gambling: A critical review. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  21. Neighbors, C., Lostutter, T. W., Cronce, J. M., & Larimer, M. E. (2002). Exploring college student gambling motivation. Journal of Gambling Studies, 18, 361–370.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Neighbors, C., Larimer, M. E., & Lewis, M. A. (2004). Targeting misperceptions of descriptive drinking norms: Efficacy of a computer-delivered personalized normative feedback intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 434–447.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Neighbors, C., Lee, C. M., Lewis, M. A., Fossos, N., & Larimer, M. E. (2007). Are social norms the best predictor of outcomes among heavy-drinking college students? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68, 556–565.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Ryan, R. M., Plant, R. W., & O’Malley, S. (1995). Initial motivations for alcohol treatment: Relations with patient characteristics, treatment involvement, and dropout. Addictive Behaviors, 20, 279–297.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schulenberg, J. E., & Maggs, J. L. (2002). A developmental perspective on alcohol use and heavy drinking during adolescence and the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 14(Supplement), 54–70.Google Scholar
  26. Sheldon, K. M., Elliot, A. J., Kim, Y., & Kasser, T. (2001). What is satisfying about satisfying events? Testing 10 candidate psychological needs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 325–339.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sullivan-Kerber, C. (2005). Defining “health correlates” in recreational gambling. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162, 1227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. United State Census Bureau. (2010). Sixty-five plus in the United States. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from
  29. United Way of Michigan. (1999). The gaming industry in Michigan: Let’s deal with it. Kalamazoo, MI: Author.Google Scholar
  30. Wiebe, J. M. D., & Cox, B. J. (2005). Problem and probable pathological gambling among older adults assessed by the SOGS-R. Journal of Gambling Studies, 22, 205–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Williams, G., Cox, E., Hedberg, V., & Deci, E. (2000). Extrinsic life goals and health-risk behaviors in adolescents. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 30, 1756–1771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wu, S. W. S., & Wortman, J. (2009). Senior citizen gaming: More than just buffets. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes (1756–1771), 1(4), 344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zaranek, R. R., & Chapleski, E. E. (2005). Casino gambling among urban elders: Just another social activity? Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 60B, S74–S81.Google Scholar
  34. Zaranek, R. R., & Lichtenberg, P. A. (2008). Urban elders and casino gambling: Are they at risk of a gambling problem? Journal of Aging Studies, 22, 13–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fayetta Martin
    • 1
  • Peter A. Lichtenberg
    • 2
  • Thomas N. Templin
    • 3
  1. 1.Wayne State University, School of Social WorkDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Wayne State University Institute of GerontologyDetroitUSA
  3. 3.Wayne State University, College of NursingDetroitUSA

Personalised recommendations