Women in Gambling

Women are becoming more involved with gambling activities and may be vulnerable to related harms, so it’s essential that public health policy and intervention strategies address this gendered aspect. To do so effectively.

This article takes a diachronic approach in exploring how female lead characters in gambling films challenge longstanding cliches (e.g., gambling is associated with masculine activity; strategic games belong exclusively to men).

Socio-cultural norms

Society’s perception of gambling can impact an individual’s motivation and inclination to participate, yet very little research has been conducted into how cultural norms interact with gambling disorders in women. More studies are therefore necessary on this subject matter.

This article reviews current literature regarding socio-cultural norms that impact women’s gambling behavior and use these norms to develop treatment programs for gamblers. Furthermore, more studies on this topic should be undertaken in order to better comprehend its dynamics and gain a fuller understanding of this disorder.

Studies conducted on 534 people in Edmonton, Canada concluded that females were more likely to engage in pathological gambling than men due to isolation and loneliness as well as engaging in social activities that promoted gambling as normal as well as engaging in other types of deviant behavior such as drug use or prostitution.

Gender stereotypes

Gender stereotypes in gambling advertising have an immediate effect on how women perceive and experience gambling. Employing a grounded theory approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with women to gain an understanding of their views on gambling as well as factors contributing to its harms. Findings were then analysed through open, axial, selective coding of transcripts with higher-order themes identified; ultimately this approach enabled the creation of gender-specific risk measures and strategies tailored specifically towards girls’ and women’s experiences, lives, and circumstances for prevention purposes.

Participants suggested several strategies for denormalising gambling, including addressing the influential role of marketing, developing public education strategies that address availability and accessibility, restricting engagement with gambling products and restricting engagement with them. Participants proposed adopting an integrated gendered health approach when researching, designing policies, or conducting practice relating to this field; this will enable effective addressing of gambling-related harm with particular consideration of specific determinants which are specific to women.


Women may engage with gambling for different reasons than men do. Women tend to feel greater pressure to meet family financial expectations and may be less inclined to consider the risks of their betting than men might. Furthermore, women may be more inclined to choose gambling products marketed as safe and enjoyable such as scratchies.

In this study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 41 Australian women. Participants were asked about their motivations and risk perceptions in relation to gambling; then data was analysed using reflexive thematic analysis – this process yielded three central categories associated with women’s experiences of gambling disorder.

As prevention and intervention programs must recognize the interdependencies among multiple factors when designing programs to tackle gambling-related harm, they must be independent from gambling industry interference, research-based, adequately funded, provide accurate risk information about products and environments linked to gambling as well as gendered for optimal effectiveness. Gender consideration must also be incorporated as this may impact on their effects.


Research on women and gambling has often focused on its potentially negative aspects and associated risks; however, these aren’t always the primary drivers behind their gambling behavior and perception of risks; rather they may result from other socio-cultural and environmental influences.

In this study, participants’ testimonies were analyzed using a grounded theory approach and three separate coding cycles were undertaken to identify major empirical themes and analyze/conceptualize them further. From this research came an outlined theoretical model addressing the causes of gambling disorders among women with two axial categories – addiction and rehabilitation. Based on this analysis it may lead to gender specific prevention programs; alternatively it would aid information and education campaigns targeting various subgroups of female gamblers.

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