There was a time, not too long ago, when unhealthy gambling habits were considered a man’s problem. Society has evolved, both in terms of gender equality and opportunities for gambling, at casinos in Atlantic City and all over the world via the internet. Evidence shows that plenty of modern women are struggling to control their gambling, proving that it’s an issue that both sexes share.
In fact, a recent study in Sweden uncovered that the majority of problem gamblers in that country are women.(1) Although only 18 percent of Sweden’s problem gamblers were women in 2015, that percentage has skyrocketed to 64 percent in 2019. According to casino.org, that’s the first time any gambling study has found more women with gambling problems than men.(2)
Here in the United States, gender-related trends in gambling also appear to be shifting pretty dramatically. Previous estimates suggested that 33 percent of American problem gamblers were women. Now, that percentage is believed to be higher.(3)
Gambling problems seem to have an especially significant effect on middle-aged women who are nearing retirement or already retired.(4) Women make up the majority of problem gamblers between the ages of 45 and 64, and an estimated 67 percent of women in the US who call gambling helplines — such as 800-GAMBLER here in New Jersey — are between the ages of 40 and 60.(3) Furthermore, while women might start gambling later in life than men, experts say they are quicker to develop problems controlling their gambling.
What is causing more women to develop unhealthy gambling habits?
Well, for starters, women traditionally favor what’s called “escape gambling,” and the explosion of online gaming in recent years has made that form of gambling a lot easier. Escape gambling is geared more toward playing than winning, is often driven by negative emotions or life events, and is typically done alone or while isolated from others.(3)
Watch this brief video for a few examples of “escape gambling” traditionally enjoyed by women:
If you or any woman in your life is having trouble controlling her gambling, at casinos in AC or anywhere in New Jersey, CCGNJ offers invaluable resources and support to help her cope with the problem and develop healthier habits. The friendly, compassionate representatives on our helpline are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and keep all conversations confidential.