Japanese seniors gamble in a care center as a way to slow or suppress the development of dementia.
In Japan gambling news, an old people’s home in Yokohama has created a casino room for its residents to play games like mahjong, baccarat, slots, and pachinko. According to Kaoru Mori, Chairman of Japan Elderly Care Service, those who run the center let Japanese seniors gamble because they “believe this casino stimulates the brain and helps to prevent or suppress the development of dementia.”
Mori’s belief is supported by research that gambling helps ward off brain disorders commonly found in the elderly. A recent study by the Suwa Tokyo University of Science discovered that seniors who gambled showed improvements in recognition and an uptick in frontal and parietal lobe activity.
Gambling in the Yokohama center also gives seniors companionship and a chance to socialize, which many are missing in their old age. Said one customer: “I’ve lived alone for decades, many days I don’t speak a word, I feel very depressed, but here we play games and talk.”
Risks of letting Japanese seniors gamble
While there are many benefits to letting Japanese seniors gamble, there are also some downsides, such as the risk of developing a gambling addiction. The retiree representation group AARP warns that seniors are the most vulnerable to developing an addiction to gambling and internet betting, as well as the fastest growing sector of gambling addicts in the US.
Given that approximately 5.36 million people in Japan are addicted to gambling, according to a 2015 government study, it is highly likely that this includes a large number of senior citizens.
Gambling addict experts say that real money gambling is what elderly gamblers are most susceptible to, with many having gone into financial ruin as a result. To dissuade such things from happening, real money gambling is banned at the Yokohama center. Instead, residents exchange fake bills, and compete for prizes instead of cash.