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Gender and Gambling
How do the ladies keep up with the men? While in years past, men have had the upper hand in gambling establishments, the ladies are on their way in as well in for the good and the bad.
Move over fellas, according to a recent study done in Manitoba, Canada, it seems as likely if not more so, that women are joining men at the gambling tables with some surprising insights.
According to research done by the Addiction Foundation, results show that "problem" gamblers are just as likely to be of the female gender than those of their male counterparts.
"You can't see a gender distinction anymore. More females are engaging in risky behavior than we have seen in the past", says John Borody, CEO of the Foundation. However, previous studies estimate that over twice as many men than women have gambling problems, so there is still a slight difference.
1.4% of the "problem" gamblers are females who report spending over $350 a month on various games, which is on par with Saskatchewan and Alberta as well as other places around the world. More encouragingly (if you can call it that), only 2.3-4.7% of women are found to be at "moderate-risk" of addiction.
How did this happen?
Gambling has become more feminized or at least more gender neutral, as well as more socially acceptable, over the past decade. A wider range in choice of games, music and sometimes live entertainment and the locales such as bars or lounges, have appealed to the social aspect and desires of women gamblers.
Research finds that the primary game of choice is bingo versus males gravitate towards sporting or stocks in an online atmosphere. Casinos based on land find that women are more likely to head towards gaming units such as slot machines while the table games of blackjack or poker draw men in regularly.
D. Davis, the author of "The Queen of Diamonds - Women and Compulsive Gambling", explains that women are typically "escape gamblers", looking for a way to relieve feelings of boredom, loneliness and isolation. Games that maximize playing time therefore are perfect avenues for women.
Men on the other hand, Davis explains, are "action gamblers" who reach for feelings of excitement, risk-taking or attempts to make money. For this reason, card games or games with much higher risks are a light which men are very often drawn to.
Manitoba's Addiction Foundation has a hotline where this information was obtained over surveying people who called into over a period of months. All participants were asked for their permission to record data and be a part of the survey.
Participants were from ages 18 to 62 years old and the average for men was 40 years old, while the females fell in at one year less as 39 years old.
It is shown that women who report a problem with gambling addiction have a shorter period of time they have been struggling versus the men surveyed. However, on the time frame, women have reported to lose higher financial loss in shorter amounts of time than their male counterparts.
Women were found to be more open to reporting mild (anxiety) to severe (suicidal attempts) emotional problems, which lead researchers to believe that their gambling problems were more of an isolated behavioral issue and not long-term.
While in past years, women were less apt to join at the "big boys" clubs, it has now become more commonplace to see men and women favoring the same gambling establishment. Social norms and gender issues have become more blurred in recent years and if these studies are a show of what's to come, these numbers may be on the rise.
While Manitoba, Canada was the main focus of this article, this trend can be found all over the world.