Exploring Female Gambling Addiction

May 25, 2024

Why Do Women Gamble?

The gambling world was once male-dominated. Yet, there are just as many female gamblers. According to Yale Medicine, gambling disorder affects about 1% of Americans. While men are more likely to have gambling problems, women are quickly catching up. 

Problem gambling is a compulsive disorder that causes stress, anxiety, and financial fallout. This behavioral addiction develops when you don’t have control over the habit to the point that it can harm you and others in your life. 

You continue gambling despite your losses. Women often hide their gambling due to shame. They’re afraid to be judged. Most of them end up suffering alone in silence. 

According to GambleAware, the most common signs of gambling addiction include hiding one’s habits, spending large amounts of money, and wasting time. Women who are gambling addicts are around the age of 18 to 34 years old. 

Gambling mostly occurs in Asian, Black, and other ethnic communities. While most men gamble for the thrill and excitement, women’s reasons are strikingly different. They like the social factor that casinos and gambling apps provide. 

Most women use gambling as an escape. They play “easy” games, such as slots and betting games. Gambling companies picked up on this by enticing this demographic with games that feature colorful graphics such as fruit, jewels, and cartoon characters. 

This allows women to get lost in the game. They immediately get a soothing effect from the colors and music. These games temporarily relieve their negative thoughts and feelings. Since most women own a smartphone with internet access, this temptation is available to them 24/7. 

Women also have different attitudes toward gambling. They’re more likely to enjoy social games such as blackjack or bingo. Bingo is an example of a gambling activity that’s more likely to outnumber men and attract a majority of older women. 

Online gambling is popular with women. Downloading a mobile app that’s accessible via Wi-Fi takes only a few seconds. There are various games and sports with varying degrees of risk. For example, online poker gives a feeling of community and connection. 

These online games are user-friendly for both sexes. They also offer various payment methods that make transactions quick and simple. Some online gambling apps offer bonuses and loyalty programs to make it more tempting. New users get a high off the rewards and special treatment they receive. 

Statistics About Women and Gambling

The statistics about women and gambling from YouGov are startling. Women gamblers are typically younger than male gamers. As previously mentioned, they are between 18 and 34 years of age. Unlike male gamblers, they’re more likely to come from lower-income households. 

Thirty-one percent of these women are gamblers compared to 27% of male gamblers. In addition, the National Council on Problem Gambling found that the number of women diagnosed with problem gambling has doubled over the years. There’s also increased visibility of women in sports, such as football and basketball. Marketers have picked up on this, including gambling and sports betting companies. 

The gambling industry has tapped into this emerging market. As a result, women quickly outnumber men with problem gambling. This has a profound impact on their emotional, financial, and mental health. It can also cause them to feel a sense of shame. 

The Stigma of Treatment

Since it’s hard for women to admit they have a gambling problem, it can be even harder for them to get help. There’s a self-stigma attached to mental health treatment. Most gambling addicts are disappointed with themselves. 

This self-stigma can cause decreased self-worth, guilt, shame, and embarrassment. They feel like a “loser” or a “failure” after realizing they can’t control their addiction. 

Most gamblers notice their problem is more stigmatized than alcoholism or substance abuse. This stigma gets in the way of their treatment and recovery. A study found that 80 percent of participants admitted that secrecy prevented them from seeking treatment. 

They feared being judged or rejected by their family and friends. Instead, they turn to self-help measures such as online therapy courses or books, which provide a temporary fix. Alternatively, those supported by their inner circle are more likely to seek treatment.

Feelings of stigma and shame can also lead to relapse. The same survey found that those with higher levels of stigma are more likely to relapse. Regardless, it’s common for gambling addicts to experience a relapse at some point in their journey. 

Stigma is a barrier to seeking help. Gamblers need to know they’re not alone and can get access to resources. Once they understand their condition, it’ll give them the courage to get help. 

Gambling Addiction Treatment for Women

There are treatment and recovery centers that offer a female-focused approach to gambling addiction. These places provide a safe space for women to start the healing process. While both men and women can develop a gambling addiction, they manifest in different ways. 

A female-centric gambling treatment gets to the root of the problem. It may also detect any co-occurring mental health problems that she might experience in her life. 

Various treatment options are used for problem gambling, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, group therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. Some treatment programs might include prescription medication to wean off the addiction or to treat any co-occurring mental health disorders, depending on the severity of the issue. 

Birches Health offers virtual gambling programs throughout the nation. You’ll work with a licensed professional who is knowledgeable in the area of problem gambling.

In the comfort of your own home, you’ll learn about the challenges that come with a gambling addiction. Take a free problem gambling assessment today. 

Resources: 

Gambling Disorder > Fact Sheet

Women and Gambling – What are the opportunities?

A Review of Sports Wagering & Gambling Addiction Studies

Women and Gambling: Why Are More Women Gambling?

The stigma of problem gambling: Causes, characteristics and consequences

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