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Women and Gambling

Gambling, just like sports and action movies has been considered as a male habit for many years, and women who indulged in the hobby had been viewed as more the exception rather than the rule. A great deal of progress has occurred in the past twenty years in terms of attitude and practice. Female gamblers are more celebrated now, and you can find more women in casinos around the world than ever. 

The myth that women gamble a lot less than men has long been debunked, and nowadays, there are many famous female players topping the charts.  Recent casino data shows that currently, more than 40% of all members on the site are female. Sadly, in countries such as the US and the UK female problem gambling is also on the rise. In Sweden, the percentage of female gambling addicts is now 64% of the country’s total. 


How Do Women Gamble Differently than Men?

Women and men are drawn to the world of gambling for the exact same reasons: cash, fun, and the excitement of winning. Female gamblers have slightly different habits than men when it comes to betting. Recent casino researches show that generally, women are more inclined to select low-risk games which are purely based on chance. In contrast, men are far more attracted to games in which they could use strategy to raise the odds in their favor. Moreover, women choose to play against the dealer more often, while men often favor playing against other players. Another distinction is that females prefer lower, fixed stakes, while men are more familiar with wagers which aren’t predetermined. The most famous games among women are generally online bingo, slot machines, raffles, and lotteries.

Another interesting trend seen with women gamblers is that they generally spend less. Ladies are inclined to make smaller bets and to risk less in almost every circumstance. In general, men will place bigger amounts of money on the same bets compared to their female counterparts. Women are more inclined to select pre-determined wagers when gambling and they are less likely to increase their bet when they’re caught up in the game, as they tend to be more pessimistic about their odds of winning.

Ladies tend to respond more emotionally when it comes to winning and losing, while men tend to be aggressive. When women experience a loss, they’re more inclined to cry, sigh, or show signs of nervousness or sadness. In our society, women tend to be more comfortable expressing their feelings than men. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise us that women still express their feelings in a casino. When men experience a major loss they tend to become aggressive. They have a propensity to kick or hit the table or slot machine. They might even start to yell or disrespect the dealer. Once hitting a big win, women generally tend to cash out, while men tend to bet more and try to win even more.


When Do Women Gamble?

Both female and male gamblers usually gamble at the same time during the day. However, the gap becomes apparent once you start to take into account the conditions that influence when, how frequently, and for how long they play. Women are somewhat more inclined to complete their duties and obligations before enjoying their favorite game. Since they tend to feel more accountable for things such as cleaning and cooking, they’re more inclined to complete those chores before starting a game of bingo. Because of this, online gambling is very popular among women, since they can play whenever they want, and as they need. 

Usually, men begin gambling in their early twenties or in their school years. Women, on the other hand, tend to start gambling once they have established a feeling of financial security and liberty, usually when they are in their thirties. 

A fascinating difference between the genders exists during social events when women do not allow themselves to gamble. Men see gaming as a social occasion so that they do not mind doing it during social events, while women almost always stop any gambling activities during events.


Why Do Women Like to Gamble?

The reasons why women gamble at first sight are the same as with men, the chance to win a lot of money, excitement, and fun. If you dive deep however, there are some differences between men and women and their gambling patterns.

From culture to TV advertisements, different facets inspire people to gamble. For example, according to the Women and Gambling paper by Dr. Anna Thomas, boys are usually taught to become more aggressive and to take risks while women learn how to interact and be cooperative. This will explain why certain kinds of games are typically promoted to appeal to one sex over the other.

Various studies have proven that the two leading theories on why men decide to bet include “the rush” associated with winning and also the “competitiveness” related to playing a skill game. On the reverse side of this coin, the two main causes for women would be letting off steam and appreciating the social aspects of gaming. For the reasons mentioned above, it should not come as much of a surprise that gaming companies base their business models on such generalizations and promote to every sex accordingly.

The Online Casino Reports Blog “Online Gambling: Men v Women” shows that the current television advertisements for internet gaming in the UK are targeted to genders according to the different times of the day. For example, advertisements for bingo are inclined to run through the day and target female players, while advertisements for sports betting usually air throughout the night and target the male player segment. 


Top 5 Differences Between Gambling Habits of Women Compared to Men


What Do the Numbers Say?

Recent statistics show that gambling among women is on the rise. The UK Gambling commission retains a close eye on the numbers and in a recent poll for their annual report for gambling participation, 51% of men confessed to the commission that they have gambled in the previous twelve months, compared to 41% of females. Clearly, there is a gap of ten percent. Of the women responders who were betting, 30% stated they had done so in the previous month. As for online gambling, 23% of the men said they gambled online in the past week, compared to 15% of women. 23% of men are enjoying ‘social gambling’ such as online casino and slot games advertised or playable on Facebook and other websites. At the same time, 19 % of women identified themselves as social gamblers – a gap of just 4 percent. According to the UK Gambling Commission, women now account for approximately 40% of all gambling activities in the UK.


Gambling Addiction Amongst Women

Gambling addiction was once a problem that was most commonly observed in men. However, because of the growth in women engaging in online gaming, more female players are at risk of developing problem gambling habits. GamCare has reported that betting addiction has been on a constant increase among females for the last few decades.

Why the sudden increase? Liz Karter, a leading UK therapist in gambling addiction in women explains,  “Instead of going out drinking, women are coming home from work and switching on the PC. Many are in demanding careers and want to be able to escape at the end of the day while remaining in control in a way they would not be after drinking or taking drugs,” Kartner reports. “Then they can return to the real world and at first there are no side effects – only later do the problems really start when the habit sets in.”

The growing gambling addition amongst women is obvious in Sweden, where female gambling addicts outnumbered men for the first time this year. Among the 45,000 people with a gambling problem, 64% were women. This is an increase of 18% since 2015. 


A Look at the Most Famous Female Casino Players:

Vanessa Selbst

One of the most well-known female poker gamblers, Vanessa Selbst, is a must-add for this listing. The poker queen has gained over $10 million throughout her career. She won three World Series of Poker bracelets and made the last table of World Poker Tour events. She also participated in countless other significant poker events.

She is best known for her aggressive playing style and aggressive attitude at the poker tables. Vanessa has an impressive track record of tournament winnings with over $10.8 million in career cashes. Selbst has won three bracelets during her career in 2008, 2012 and 2014.


Vanessa Rousso

Even though she announced her retirement from the world of poker last year, Vanessa Rousso remains one of the most highly-rated female poker players in the world. She was a Team PokerStars member from 2006 to 2015. Rousso currently ranks among the top 10 women in poker history in terms of all-time money wins. She has $3.5 million accumulated through her participation in various poker events. 

Vanessa’s biggest cash came from her second place in the 2007 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker main event, worth more than $700,000. Her second-biggest cash win was at the no-limit preliminary event at the 2006 WPT Borgata Open where she won more than $285,000.


Annette Obrestad

Yet another poker player on our list, Annette Obrestad is the youngest person to make our list. She started in online poker and has been at the public eye as a teen when she became the youngest individual to win the World Poker Series in Europe in 2007. She has since participated in many big events including the European Poker tour and the Aussie Millions. 

Annette Obrestad is the best and seemingly the only big poker star in the Nordic countries. This Norwegian has played over $ 3.5 million in live tournaments and has 13 titles in total. During her online poker tournaments in 2006-07 she quickly won as much as $ 800,000. Not yet 30 years old, she has already had a career for 15 years and as an 18-year-old she won a bracelet in the WSOP. 


Shannon Elizabeth Fadal

Shannon is known for her role in Hollywood’s American Pie and her modeling career. It is not a secret that the former Playboy model likes to gamble at the most luxurious Vegas casinos regularly. Elizabeth is considered as one of the best poker players amongst celebrities. 

Her poker skills brought her staggering cash prizes in the World Series of Poker. She also joined Team Lebanon at the World Team tournament in Las Vegas in 2010. She has taken part in numerous celebrity tournaments like the 4th edition of Celebrity Poker Showdown and the 1st Annual Nicky Hilton New Year’s Eve Poker Tournament at Caesars Palace.


Cyndy Violette

Cindy has been raised in the home town of gambling – Las  Vegas. Before she started playing Blackjack and Poker professionally, she also worked as a dealer in different casinos.

Unlike most players, her favorite poker variation is the seven-card stud and she mainly participates in such events, although she is known to also participate in Texas Hold’em events. She has been in the poker industry for a long time and has mostly gained fame as a stud player. She began to be noticed after she won a bracelet at the 2002 World Series of Poker tournament. She is also a member of the Doyle’s Room, which is the online poker room owned by Doyle Brunson.


What Will the Future Bring for Female Players?

While men still lead the way in regards to gambling, the difference is narrowing. The fact is that we are having a younger, more internet-savvy generation of female gamblers. Along with that, the stigma related to gaming is long gone, and the number of women who bet is set to rise.

Whether this trend continues in the long term is unknown. Either way, the differences between conventional gender roles narrow and blur, and we can expect a shift in gaming habits amongst women. One thing is known for sure, women know how to entertain themselves, they won their spot on that poker table, and they are there to remain.



1) Annual Report: Gambling participation in 2018: Behaviour, awareness and attitudes. (2019, February).

Retrieved July, 2019, from

2) Paul Gallagher @PMGallagher1. (2015, September 24). Women hooked on online betting up from 44 percent.

Retrieved July, 2019, from


3) Why we’re focusing on women and problem gambling. (2019, April).

Retrieved July, 2019, from

4) Sweden female gambling addicts outnumber men for first time. (2019, April 04). 

Retrieved July, 2019, from Magazine Issue 5, Article List

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