Boston City Councilor Althea Garrison is worried about the impact casinos will have on Boston residents especially senior citizens.
During the last city council meeting, Garrison called for a hearing looking into preventing exploitation of seniors because of casinos. Encore Boston Harbor, located in Everett but on the boarder of Boston, is expected to open at the end of June.
“I foresee this being a major issue for residents of Boston,” said Garrison. “Senior citizens are traditionally the most loyal customers to casinos.”
Garrison stated that senior citizens often have limited income and 10 percent of seniors are at risk of severe financial problems because of gambling.
According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), seniors are the fastest growing group of gamblers. A study found that gambling was the most frequent social activity for those 65 and older. Another study found that about half of all visitors to casinos in the U.S. are 50 or older, and about 70 percent of those who belong to this age group will gamble at least once in any given year
“They use manipulation tactics and resources to get their money,” said Garrison.
“We need to eradicate predatory marketing to seniors and find concrete ways to help seniors,” she added.
Representatives from the City of Boston and other interested parties are invited to attend the hearing.
There has been recent drama surrounding Encore Boston and its opening. There was talk that Wynn Resorts could be selling Encore MGM. However, officials at Encore told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission there would not be a sale and they still plan to open their doors on June 23rdat 10 a.m.
Encore recently got the approval to sell alcohol to 4 a.m. at the casino. The casino can sell alcohol to gamblers on the floor until 4 a.m. however restaurants and nightclubs need to stop selling at 1 a.m.