15 December 2022

Why Do Women Gamble? A Closer Look at Women's Gambling Behavior

By Diego Garzón, Professional Writer

Technology, accessibility, and social norms. These are just a few of the factors that have evolved alongside the world of gambling over the years. These changes and other circumstances have played an important role in women’s gambling habits.

Why do women like to gamble? Do women gamble more than men? Are women more likely to have a gambling problem? The OUSC recently published a comprehensive research study on women’s gambling habits. Keep reading to get the answers and learn more about women’s gambling behaviors in the 21st century.

Female vs. Male Gamblers

It’s safe to say that when it comes to gambling, the majority of men and women have different preferences. While men prefer individual casino play, women usually visit a casino in groups.

In general, men tend to prefer games like poker, blackjack, and video poker, which require more strategy and have the lowest house edge. Men prefer games where they think they can beat the house, or where they at least perceive to have an optimal chance of winning.

Women prefer games of chance and men prefer games of skills.

While men visiting a casino gain their identity by displaying their competence among friends, romantic partners, or strangers, women prefer games that allow them to enjoy the social aspect of the experience.

Gambling Habits Among Women and Men

In 2017, the UK Gambling Commission studied gambling habits in men and women. Their study showed that 44% of UK women had gambled within the past four weeks, compared to 53% of UK men. The commission’s research also showed that millennials gambled more than their predecessors.

Which Casino Games do Women Prefer to Play?

Studies show that women prefer social games that require less concentration such as slots, lottery, keno, and bingo. Take a look at the following image to learn why women enjoy playing slots and lottery games.

Signs of Problem Gambling in Women

Generally, when gambling problems arise, men show aggression and anger, while women show sadness or anxiety.

A 2018 Australian gambling study, conducted by Samantha Thomas and Simone McCarthy found that women who experienced loneliness and boredom were at higher risk of exhibiting gambling addictions. Also, women who got bored while playing were also at higher risk, so group visits to the casino are considered to be healthy.

Men and women exhibit different reactions to losses at the casino. In 2017, researchers from the University of Adelaide, the Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, and the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) released a study regarding this topic.

According to the study, men were more likely to show anger and frustration when they had a losing streak, while women manifested more signs of sadness or distress like crying, sad expressions or body language typically associated with depression.

The UK Gambling Commission report showed that men are twice as likely to be problem gamblers as women.

However, Michelle L. Malkin, a doctoral student at Michigan State University, has shown research results contradicting this concept. Her research, which is still underway, claims that women are more susceptible to problem gambling than men.

Final Thoughts

Although there are opposing viewpoints regarding women and gambling, one thing is clear: women and men have different behaviors in their approaches to gambling. Women prefer visiting casinos with a group of friends and playing more social games.

They also react differently to adversity and show specific signs of problem gambling.  More research studies are being conducted to yield clear results to help identify and prevent problem gambling in women.



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