Did you know that, in general, approximately 86% of gamblers are male and only 14% are female?

Gambling on Female First

Gambling on Female First

Gambling is a male-dominated hobby.

Visit any casino, and you will see that the majority of gamblers are male. There is no one real reason for this, but there are many factors that contribute to this large gender disparity. Let's cover a few of them here:

1. Women have less free time than men do.

A 2009 study on gamblers in the United States revealed that women have less free time than men do, and their free time comes in smaller doses. The study also suggests that women are more inclined to fulfill more obligatory activities, such as cooking, child rearing, and housekeeping, on top of their day jobs. Those activities eat into their leisure time, so as a result, they tend to play short digital games instead of gamble online or offline. (The UK online gaming options, unlike their US counterparts, is still thriving due to more relaxed legislation.)

2. Men are more likely than women are to engage in risky behavior.

According to this 2006 study conducted by University of California, San Diego and Glaser Consulting Firm in San Diego, women in general are more cynical when it comes to risky behavior. They tend to perceive greater likelihood of negative outcomes and have lower expectations of enjoyment should the outcome be positive. In other words, the average woman thinks that the outcome is just not worth the risk, so she just either gambles as little as possible or avoids gambling altogether.

3. Men and women gamble for different reasons.

Since men are generally characterized as risk takers, they gamble for the excitement. They like to compete with others and feel the rush of winning big.

Women, on the other hand, generally see gambling as an escape from their stressful or unfulfilling lives.

In other words, men associate gambling with positive feelings (excitement, success, and competitiveness, to name a few) and women associate gambling with negative feelings (depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, and abandonment, to name a few). That could explain why many women are not so inclined to pursue gambling.

4. Women start gambling much later in life than men do.

When it comes to gambling, the average age of a rookie male player is 20.4, and the average age of a rookie female player is 34.2. That is a difference of fourteen years! It has also been discovered that women are more likely than men are to become addicted to gambling. Pair that with the fact that the average age of a rookie female player is 34.2, it is hardly surprising that 67% of women who seek help for their gambling addictions are between the ages of 40 and 60.

5. Society expects more from women than they do men.

This is an unfortunate truth. Women are less accepted by society as gamblers because society has high expectations for them. Women are pressured to be good mothers, loving daughters, and responsible homemakers, so to them, gambling would be irresponsible. So naturally, many women shy away from gambling to avoid judgment, shame, and guilt. To visit the casino and to spend money there would be neglecting their children and families and risking their reputations.

Gambling patterns in males vs. gambling patterns in females

Just because there the majority of gamblers are male does not mean that there are not enough female players. There are still millions of female gamblers all over the world; enough female gamblers to detect an interesting pattern:

Various studies show that males are more engaged in Internet gambling, table games, horse racing, and sports betting while females tend to gravitate towards raffles, slot machines, bingo, and lotteries.

Why is that?

You might notice a pattern in the type of games males like and the type of games females like.

Women like to play games that are purely based on luck, while men are more willing to actively participate in the game and try to control its outcome.

Various studies back this up. A Swedish population study reveals that men are more comfortable with competing with others than women are, and that is why they tend to play games that rely on skill and strategy while women are more comfortable with playing against the house and relying on luck only.

The same 2006 study mentioned above shows an analysis of activities associated with high potential payoffs and fixed minor costs and it was discovered that women are more likely to engage in those activities. Because women have a cynical outlook on the consequences of gambling and believe that the likelihood of them losing is larger than it actually is, they are more comfortable with losing a small fixed bet than they are with losing a large bet that is not predetermined.

This explains why opponent-based games like poker and chess have an overwhelming amount of male players. It is also plausible that while a few female poker players enjoy the game, they are more comfortable with playing in tournaments with fixed buy-ins rather than cash games.

Stats related to gender in gambling

  • Only 12.5% of the players on PokerStars are female.
  • Males spend an average of $94 on a single casino visit, and females spend an average of $64 on a single casino visit.
  • Only 2% - 7% of Gamblers Anonymous members are female.


Gender Roles in Gambling: Why is gambling a male-dominated hobby? Explore how men and women differ when it comes to gambling!