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Research: Women in Gambling Statistics Across Countries (2024)

Gambling has typically been considered a male hobby, but there is a large group of women in the gambling industry that is forgotten or largely ignored. Almost half of the gambling in the United States are women. This research compiles information and data from websites that give attention to women in the gambling industry, both those who actively participate in the games and those who play them.

Our goal is to showcase that the gambling fields may not be as male-dominated as one might assume, and to help highlight women’s role in the industry.

ūüďĚ Overview

On every high street in every local community, there are countless opportunities to gamble. Until relatively recently, gambling was an activity that was confined to certain spaces and venues; however, this is no longer the case in several countries. In many regions, scratchcards can be purchased alongside the weekly groceries; the internet offers boundless opportunities to gamble at a time that is convenient for those who wish to engage.

Gambling has become a commercial commodity, but is also an activity that is conducted privately, either alone or between families and friends. As an example, before the 1960s in the United Kingdom, gambling was organized and provided in a much more informal (often illegal) and independent way, and the development of the commercial gambling industry is a relatively recent phenomenon.

This research was designed to explore the gambling journeys and current behaviors of women and understand their perspectives on gambling.

This study aimed to contribute to the current scope of that subject by understanding the range of factors that may influence women’s gambling behavior, product preferences, and perceptions of product harm, and in particular, how these vary according to subgroups of women. This study was guided by five essential questions:

ūüéį Women in Online Gambling

Starting with the overall gaming scenario is the proper way of starting before focusing on gambling alone. Over the past two decades, the number of female video game players has increased. According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), women today make up half of the gaming population. Simultaneously, research on addictive internet use has proliferated, and gaming disorder was recently recognized as a new mental health disorder (and a behavioral addiction) by the World Health Organization. Thus, gaming addiction is now officially a psychopathology that has emerged as a consequence of the development and increasing popularity of video games and online technologies during the 21st century.

Despite the growing female gaming population, almost all research on gaming addiction is focused on male gamers. Currently, there is no agreement on the prevalence of gaming addiction due to its conceptualization and methodological problems within the research that has been conducted to date.

This is because most research:

Overall, 10% of women had a PGSI (Problem Gambling Severity Index) score of one or higher, which was lower than the proportion of men (17%) with a PGSI score of one or higher. This includes 6% who are categorized as low-risk gamblers (PGSI score of 1-2), 2% who are classified as moderate-risk gamblers (PGSI score of 3-7), and 2% who are classified as problem gamblers (PGSI score of 8+). About 8% of women were classified as “affected others”. There is a link between an individual’s gambling and having problems with other people’s gambling, with female problem gamblers (PGSI score 8+) being more likely to identify as an impacted other. Overall, women were more likely to be classed as an impacted other than men (8% vs. 6%).

Women aged 35-54 are the most likely to gamble (32%), with younger and older groups having somewhat lower involvement. Lotteries and scratchcards are popular worldwide, but young women frequently gamble privately with their friends and play fruit and slot machines at gaming centers and arcades (Blog, 2022).

Problem gambling (according to the PGSI mini-screen)

As with all data contained within this publication, problem gambling and risk rates are based on survey estimates. They, therefore, have confidence intervals around the empirical estimate within which the true rate is likely to fall. Changes at the 95% level are marked with a * (Statistics on Participation and Problem Gambling for the Year to Sept 2022, 2022)

YearAll RespondentsMenWomen16-24 years25-34 years35-44 years45-54 years55-64 years65 + years
Year to Sept 20180.50.90.10.90.61.10.30.4
Year to Sept 20190.51.01.00.61.10.10.50.1
Year to Sept 20200.60.80.30.81.01.10.20.40.2
Year to Sept 20210.30.30.20.40.30.60.20.2
Year to Sept 20220.30.40.11.40.30.20.20.1

Source: (Statistics on Participation and Problem Gambling for the Year to Sept 2022, 2022)

Gambling participation: activities and mode of access – October 2022

The table below provides the percentage of respondents reporting participating in each gambling activity in the previous four weeks. To minimize sample volatility, all the data contained within this report are shown as annual figures by aggregating the results for the four quarterly surveys for each year (Statistics on Participation and Problem Gambling for the Year to Sept 2022, 2022)

Source: (Statistics on Participation and Problem Gambling for the Year to Sept 2022, 2022)

Gambling activityYear to Sept 2018Year to Sept 2019Year to Sept 2020Year to Sept 2021Year to Sept 2022
National Lottery draws%28.028.827.326.528.7
Lotto%:20.620.117.319.1
EuroMillions%:19.517.717.918.8
Thunderball%:3.33.02.92.6
Lotto/EuroMillions
Hotpicks
%:1.21.01.10.9
Set for Life%::5.04.84.4
Scratchcards%10.511.08.57.27.7
National Lottery scratchcards%::8.16.57.2
Other lottery scratchcards%::0.90.90.7
Another lottery%11.211.512.412.813.2
Fruit or slot machines%3.93.82.21.63.0
In pubs%2.01.81.20.81.6
In gaming centres / arcades%2.12.01.21.11.7
In casinos%1.00.70.20.10.3
In bingo halls%0.30.50.20.20.6
Virtual gaming machines in bookmakers%1.60.80.80.30.8
Bingoa%2.62.72.81.62.3
Football pools%1.31.71.71.21.2
Horse races%3.64.42.93.33.6
Dog races%0.90.80.40.30.5
Sports betting%6.66.95.35.64.5
Football%5.76.04.75.04.3
Tennis%0.20.50.20.20.3
Other sports%2.13.11.92.01.3
Betting on other events%1.01.31.10.70.9
The outcome of lotteries%:0.40.40.20.2
Political events%:0.40.30.10.4
Other events%:0.60.40.30.4
Virtual dog or horse races%0.30.50.20.30.7
Spread betting%0.30.30.20.30.4
Online slot machine style games/instant wins%1.12.74.13.44.6
National Lottery Online Instant Wins%:1.92.72.53.1
Other Instant Wins%:1.01.71.11.8
Casino games%1.61.61.31.01.0
Poker at a pub/club%0.80.50.30.10.3
Private betting%5.95.44.63.53.2
Any other activity%0.80.70.60.60.7
Any online betting%5.46.65.16.45.7
Any online gambling%18.420.522.625.027.0
Any National Lottery%::31.329.432.3
Any gambling activity%45.846.742.742.044.1

Source: (Statistics on Participation and Problem Gambling for the Year to Sept 2022, 2022)

ūüé≤ What Motivates Women to Gamble?

Online gambling products such as slots and casino games are often enjoyed by people who want to enjoy some time alone and relax ‚Äď whether it be during a break at work or the end of the day. However, there are lots of different reasons why people gamble (Statistics and Research, n.d.). For many women, gambling provides an opportunity to be sociable and enjoy time with friends, with activities such as gambling at casinos, going to the bingo, and playing machines in arcades providing the opportunity to gamble while having fun with others.

ūüÉŹ What Do We Know About Gambling Harms Experienced by Women?

Types of Harm

Gambling-related harm has been operationally defined as “the degree to which individuals experience negative consequences in various areas of daily functioning as a result of gambling”.

In addition to the gambler, gambling-related harm is most likely to affect the gambler’s partner, with 47% of partners subjected to serious adverse effects. In addition, 22% of parents, 21% of children, 15% of friends, and 9% of work colleagues also report adverse effects of someone else’s gambling (Gambling Support Study: Understanding Gambling Harm Experienced by Female Affected Others, n.d.)

Data on the negative impacts experienced by affected others who are partners were recently captured in the 2019 ACT Gambling Survey. The survey collected information about how an individual’s gambling may affect those around them and assessed the nature and extent of any harm experienced by partners, family members, and friends. The study also explored the forms of help and information that affected others would seek and whether they had attempted to talk about gambling with the gambler themselves (Paterson, Marisa, Patrick Leslie, and Matthew Taylor., n.d.). The analysis found that:

Source: (Paterson, Marisa, Patrick Leslie, and Matthew Taylor., n.d.)

Source: (Gambling Support Study: Understanding Gambling Harm Experienced by Female Affected Others, n.d.)

Source: (Gambling Support Study: Understanding Gambling Harm Experienced by Female Affected Others, n.d.)

According to research (Davies, 2022), up to a million women are in danger of being injured by gambling, and traffic to online casino & bingo websites preferred by women rises during the wintertime.

Whereas most gambling addicts are men, the number of women seeking treatment has doubled in the last few years.

YearsRising in numbers
2015-161,134
2020-212,423

ūüöĽ Gender Differences Among Gamblers

In comparison to 4.2 percent of men, just 2.9 percent of women were judged to be problem gamblers. Consider the following figure for the number of adults in the United States who are addicted to gambling: 6 million (Robb, 2019).

Devices and locations

ūüĎ©ūüŹĽ Are Women More Likely to Gamble?

A 2013 study comparing problem gambling rates between men and women (Examining Gender Differences for Gambling Engagement and Gambling Problems Among Emerging Adults) found that the numbers of men and women who reported instances of gambling weren’t that different. Still, there was a fairly wide rift in the numbers of men and women who met the criteria to be considered gambling addicts:

Only 2.9 percent of women were found to be problem gamblers, compared to 4.2 percent of men. Consider the number we discussed previously to encompass the number of U.S. adults struggling with gambling addiction: 6 million.

Using the rates of men vs. women found in the 2013 study, that’s about a 59 percent to 41 percent difference between the genders. Taken out of 6 million, that’s around 2.5 million women and 3.5 million men who are problem gamblers in the United States.

The numbers were more extreme among college students, the section of the U.S. population that gambles the most, according to the numbers (84 percent of college women and 91 percent of men reported gambling during the previous year). Problem gambling rates were 14 percent for men, and 3 percent for women studied in the research.

ūüóļÔłŹ Socio-Demographic and Gambling Behavior of Women

Women’s participation in gambling, as well as their harm as a result of other people’s gambling problems, is steadily increasing. There has been very limited research to investigate how gambling behavior, product preferences, and perceptions of gambling harm may vary across subgroups of women (Daube, 2018). The table below considers the Australian population:
Characteristic n Percentage of sample
Age
‚ÄÉ16‚Äď34 (younger) 171 33.6
‚ÄÉ35‚Äď54 (middle-aged) 166 32.6
‚ÄÉ55+ (older) 172 33.8
State of residence
‚ÄÉNSW 254 49.9
‚ÄÉVIC 255 50.1
Education
‚ÄÉYear 12 or below 166 32.6
‚ÄÉCert I, II, III, IV 68 13.4
‚ÄÉDiploma/advanced 72 14.1
 Bachelor’s degree 135 26.6
‚ÄÉGraduate diploma/certificate 22 4.3
‚ÄÉPostgraduate 46 9.0
Employment
‚ÄÉWorking full-time 149 29.3
‚ÄÉWorking part-time or casually 132 25.9
‚ÄÉUnemployed but looking for work 19 3.7
‚ÄÉHomemaker 54 10.6
‚ÄÉRetired 108 21.2
‚ÄÉFull-time student 42 8.3
‚ÄÉOther 5 1.0
Socio-economic area (SEIFA status)*
‚ÄÉLow (1‚Äď3) 83 16.3
‚ÄÉMiddle (4‚Äď7) 209 41.1
‚ÄÉHigh (8‚Äď10) 215 42.2
Gambling risk status
‚ÄÉNon-gambling 104 20.4
‚ÄÉNon-problem gambling 235 46.2
‚ÄÉLow-risk gambling 60 11.8
‚ÄÉModerate-risk gambling 48 9.4
‚ÄÉProblem gambling 62 12

ūüéį Women‚Äôs Gambling Product Use by Age and Gambling Risk Status

 Gambling product
 EGMsHorse bettingCasinoSports betting
 n=250, 77.2%n=206, 63.6%n=166, 51.2%n=122, 37.7%
Agen%n%n%n%
16‚Äď348634.46933.57344.06250.8
35‚Äď549236.87737.45734.34436.1
55+7228.86029.13621.71613.1
SignificanceŌá2=1.60, p=.450Ōá2=.77, p=.679Ōá2=19.77, p<.001Ōá2=36.65, p<.001
Gambling statusn%n%n%n%
Non-problem11746.810048.56338.03024.6
Low risk4417.63416.52515.12621.3
Moderate risk3614.42411.72515.11814.8
Problem5321.24823.35331.94839.3
SignificanceŌá2=12.79, p=.005Ōá2=9.87, p=.020Ōá2=50.18, p<.001Ōá2=77.80, p<.001

n‚ÄČ=‚ÄČactual number of participants and %‚ÄČ=‚ÄČcolumn percentages Source: (Daube, 2018)

From the data collected, we may conclude that, first, younger women have different risks of gambling harm compared to older women. Younger women were more likely to experience severe gambling harm, with just under one-quarter being classified as problem gamblers. This compares to the older age group, which only had 3% classified as problem gamblers, and the middle-aged group, which had around 10% as problem gamblers. Middle-aged and older women had the highest proportion of women who were not experiencing any harm from their gambling. This finding raises more questions than answers, including how different groups of women may conceptualize gambling harm and why this discrepancy occurs. This could be due to a buffer effect whereby middle-aged and older women are more financially stable, so their perceptions of losses (and harms) are underestimated. Alternatively, other factors could influence how different women conceptualize the risks and benefits of gambling. For example, Thomas and Lewis (2012) found older women had a lower perception of harm associated with their own gambling in EGM venues because they felt that there was a trade-off between the non-gambling incentives (for example, cheap meals) and social benefits that they perceived were associated with venues (for example, social interaction and inclusion), and the money that they lost on EGMs (Daube, 2018).

Second, younger women gambled the most frequently compared to any other age group. This suggests that gambling may become a more normal and regular part of young women’s lives than in previous generations. At the same time, accessibility and availability of products are recognized as influencing factors in gambling behavior (Daube, 2018).

ūüéį Why Do Women Prefer Slot Machines and Lottery Games?

According to research, women have quite different casino gambling habits when compared to men. Women like to play social games. They like to play with a group of friends even if they play varied games. Because of the focus required, this results in a variety of game options. Women prefer slot machines and instant games such as the lottery, keno, and bingo.

Source: Studies that ask women why they prefer certain games return a number of responses. Here are common factors in female game choices. (Home, n.d.)

ūüéĮ Causes of Female Gambling

For years, the consequences of gambling affected significantly more men than women, but that’s no longer true. That gap is closing as the rate at which women meet the criteria for pathological gambling is accelerating.

The increased number of women experiencing gambling-related damage is directly tied to the ease with which women may now bet online, allowing them to sidestep the male-dominated world of bookies (Hill, 2020).

The Commission also found that, on average, gamblers had three online accounts with gambling companies in 2016, down from the 3.5 reported in 2015, and men have more accounts than women (3.5 compared with 2.5). (Gambling Commission, 2017)

Gamblers problems

ūüéį Female Gamblers‚Äô Use of Treatment and Support

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) currently has no guidelines for the treatment of pathological gambling, and “the geographical distribution of services is informed neither by the prevalence rates of problem gambling nor by a needs assessment to guide strategic commissioning.” As a result, access to services varies greatly across England.”¬†(Bowden-Jones, H., Drummond, C. and Thomas, S., 2016)

About 8,000 (2.7%) of an estimated 300,000 pathological gamblers are in treatment at any given time (excluding private sector customers), compared to 6% of problem drinkers and 50% of Class-A drug users (Bowden-Jones, H., Drummond, C. and Thomas, S., 2016). A network of national and local third-sector organizations, most notably GamCare (and the Gordon Moody Association for residential care), now offers care with specific NHS provision in London and, more recently, northern England (Bowden-Jones, H., Drummond, C. and Thomas, S., 2016).

ūüéį How Popular Is Online Gambling for Women in Australia, India, The UK, The USA, And Brazil?

Source: (23 Online Gaming Statistics, Facts & Trends for 2022, 2022)

‚úÖ Women Gambling in Australia:

Australian data has shown an increase in women‚Äôs participation in most forms of gambling over time, with research showing approximately one third of adult women engage in gambling on a monthly basis,‚ÄĚ says Simone McCarthy of Deakin University.

She and her colleagues are one of the few teams currently focused on women, who are, she says, ‚Äúhighly underrepresented in gambling research‚Ä̬†(David, n.d.).

Gambling is a major public policy issue in Australia, affecting the health and well-being of individuals and families in a range of ways. Estimates suggest that Australians lost approximately $25 billion on legal forms of gambling in 2018‚Äď19, representing the largest per capita loss in the world¬†(Letts 2018; QGSO 2021).

The social costs of gambling ‚Äď including adverse financial impacts, emotional and psychological costs, relationship and family impacts, and productivity loss and work impacts ‚Äď have been estimated at around $7 billion in Victoria alone¬†(Browne et al. 2017). Gambling-related harms affect not only the people directly involved but also their families, peers, and the wider community (Goodwin et al. 2017).

Gambling participation

In 2015 and 2018, the nationally representative Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey collected data on gambling participation, expenditure, and gambling-related problems.

Estimates suggest that around 35% of Australian adults aged 18 and over (or 6.5 million people) spent money in a “typical month” (defined as ‚Äėregular gambling‚Äô) on one or more gambling activities in 2018, a drop from 39% (6.8 million people) in 2015.

Source: Proportion of Australian adults who spent money on gambling activities in a typical month, 2015 and 2018 (HILDA Wave 15, 2015; Hilda Wave 18, 2018., n.d.)

In both 2015 and 2018, the main gambling activities that Australians reported regularly spending money on were:

  • Lotto or lottery games (30% and 27%);
  • Instant scratch tickets (8.5% and 6.3%);
  • Poker machines/slots (8.1% and 7.4%);
  • Betting on horse or dog races (5.6% and 6.2%);
  • Betting on sports (3.3% and 4.6%).

‚úÖ Women Gambling in the USA

According to Sam Skolnik, author of ‚ÄúHigh Stakes: The Rising Cost of America‚Äôs Gambling Addiction,‚ÄĚ the types of bets placed most often vary by gender¬†(BORTZ, 2013).

In 2019, the American Gaming Association discovered (Sports Betting Consumer Study, 2019) that women account for 31% of primary sports betting clients, while another survey¬†(CLOSING THE SPORTS FAN GENDER GAP, 2020)¬†discovered that women account for 47% of all sports enthusiasts. Those who consider themselves sports fans are roughly twice as likely to wager on sports, implying that there is a ready consumer base of female sports gamblers. As per FanDuel CEO Amy Howe¬†(FanDuel CEO Amy Howe: ‘There’s a Huge Opportunity’ for More Women Sports Bettors, 2022), the firm sees a “big opportunity” and has been aggressively striving to appeal to women.

Source:  Legal Women Sports Betting in the U.S. (Interactive U.S. Map: Sports Betting, n.d.)

US online gambling statistics show that 57% of online gamblers in the US are female (Rainwater, n.d.).

‚úÖ Women Gambling in India

According to the findings of Rakuten Insight’s April 2022 study on online gaming in India, most male and female respondents played online games daily. Males played such games on average 52 percent of the time, while females played 43 percent of the time¬†(Basuroy, 2022).

‚úÖ Women Gambling in Brazil

Due to the conflicting regulations on gambling in Brazil and the lack of data, it is not possible to infer how women are connected to the activity in the country.

‚úÖ Women Gambling in the UK

According to a recent UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) report, 42% of women gambled in the preceding four weeks, with the National Lottery, scratchcards, and bingo, as well as other types of lottery, being the most popular activities.

However, a trend has emerged in which more women are shifting away from playing National Lottery drawings in person and toward wagering on the lottery online, with female bettors also “starting to participate in online gambling goods.”

The statistic displays the results of a survey on the people who participated in at least one form of online gambling in the past four weeks in Great Britain (GB) from 2015 to 2021 by gender. In 2021, approximately 23.1 percent of female respondents participated in at least one form of gambling in the past four weeks. (Online Gambling Participation by Gender Great Britain 2021, 2022)

How many women are gambling?

YearsWomen
201640.70%
201744.3%
201841.40%
201941.50%
202043.10%
202138.60%
202241.80%

Source: (Lilly & Anderson, 2022)

‚úćÔłŹ Conclusion

In this research, we concluded that more women than men say that gambling has contributed to mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. The number of women seeking treatment has doubled within the last few years, and some regions are starting to receive more gambling helpline calls from women. Despite this, almost 40% of individuals will refrain from seeking help due to shame or stigma. Also, gambling harm is associated with several negative impacts that are significantly higher for women than men, even when they do not gamble at all – due to the relationship with a gambler.

In terms of interaction, the gap between women and men when it comes to gambling is dwindling, especially for younger women. Women, in general, enjoy a visit to the casino in a different way than men. In some regions, they even outnumber them – contrary to common belief – in the specific age group of 45 to 64 years. Therefore, there is a clear movement to at least equal the involvement of women and men, while women tend to suffer more with the consequences of gambling coming from others.

References:

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