11 min read

How Do Men And Women Handle Gambling Addiction?

In recent decades, gambling addiction has attracted great interest among the scientific community. Today, there are several new research lines focused on the differences in gambling addiction between men and women.

Which Games Do Men And Women Prefer?

Previous research has shown a gender-related pattern in gaming preferences and gaming motivation. Men tend to choose games with a higher level of action and competitiveness, such as sports betting, while women are more likely to use less strategic games, such as bingo, slot machines or the lottery. Likewise, women tend to prefer a narrower spectrum of gaming activities compared to men, showing a preference for games based on chance, such as slot machines, bingo or scratch cards, while men tend to cover a greater number of games, preferring those based on skill, such as cards, races or sports betting.

Different Reasons To Gamble

This is based on the fact that men show greater impulsiveness and search for new sensations and financial gain, while women have a greater tendency to gamble as a form of escape. Women tend to report a greater motivation to gamble based on the need to escape from stressful life circumstances and alleviate negative mood states, such as anxiety or depression. Women with pathological gambling problems are more likely to present problems in interpersonal relationships such as family or marital problems, being widowed or divorced, being victims of intimate partner violence, having had a previous history of bereavement or emotional and physical abuse. In this sense, negative emotions would be the main precipitant of relapses in women.

Collateral Addictions

However, men present more impulsive traits, have a greater number of antisocial and sensation-seeking traits, and to carry out illegal activities to finance their gambling behavior, a greater tendency to present comorbid alcoholism, tobacco and some illegal drugs problems, while in the case of women the addictions that coexist with gambling disorder are smoking, alcoholism and tranquilizers.

When Does Gambling Become A Problem For Men And Women?

It has also been pointed out that preferences for types of gambling would be influenced both by cultural aspects and by the availability and social acceptance of the different types of gambling in both men and women. Women would be more likely to play alone and to hide the extent of their gambling behavior from friends and family. The increase and availability of gambling activities in premises is one of the aspects that has influenced women to gamble to a greater extent than before, since women prefer legal forms of gambling. Regarding the progression of the gambling problem, women would start gambling later, with a lag of up to 14 years between men and women in terms of age at onset, but the progression of the problem would be much faster in women. Women who gamble would take less time from when they start to gamble until gambling becomes problematic and they seek treatment for it. In any case, the most recent studies indicate that the data between men and women would be converging between young people and adolescents, in such a way that women would be starting the game at much earlier ages than before. Therefore, the age of onset in women would be lowering and equaling that of men in adolescence and youth.


For all that has been exposed so far, it’s safe to say that the differences between men and women are clear: in the game mode, onset time, disease progression, psychological characteristics, therefore there is a need to promote interventions and treatment with a gender perspective that meet the needs of the entire population.


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Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
20 December 2022 16:16