women's single opportunity to socialize outside the house (Dixey, 1987). Many large casinos today are attractive to elderly people because they can attend with friends or family. Racetracks, casinos, and cardrooms often feature restaurants and other spaces where people can meet. In England and Europe, there are exclusive gambling clubs where people can socialize with others in their social circle.

Two opposing hypotheses seem reasonable. On one hand, it is possible that gambling with friends or family (compared with gambling alone or in the presence of strangers) is unlikely to result in excessive gambling, at least in the short run. Pleasurable social interaction increases positive feelings. Although positive feelings increase people's perceived probability of winning, they also reduce betting (Nygren et al., 1996), perhaps by increasing gamblers' happiness or reducing their boredom or loneliness. As well, social pressures from family and friends who are present may reduce gamblers' alcohol consumption or limit their expenditures. On the other hand, if friends and family gamble excessively, other members of these friendship and family groups could be led to do the same. Those who grow up in families in which family members gamble frequently, and those who have friends with gambling problems, could learn to use gambling as a response to stress, or perhaps to underestimate their gambling problems. In one study, problem gamblers were more likely than other gamblers to engage in team lottery play (Hraba and Lee, 1995).

Effects of Changing Technology

Americans seem to love technology and the products and services made possible by technology. In 1995, people over 18 spent about 3,400 hours watching TV and videos, listening to the radio and recorded music, playing home video games, and reading printed books, newspapers, and magazines (Bureau of the Census, 1997). Interaction with a home computer is fast approaching the popularity of these older technologies and activities. The first home computers were introduced as a hobbyist kit in 1975. Today, about 40 percent of all U.S. households own a personal computer; roughly a third of these homes have access to the Internet. Computer technologies in homes, offices, and public places combine

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