Gambling women present differences with respect to men who suffer from gambling addiction. For example, studies show that there are gender-related differences in preferred forms of play. They also indicate gender differences in gaming disorder onset and progression or possible co-occurring disorders. At the Thailand Gambling Centre, we are interested in knowing if these gender differences should be taken into account to improve the treatment of gambling addiction.
Interested in knowing what a gambling woman is like in Thailand
The experience shows us that female gamblers present a later initial commitment than men for the resolution of gambling addiction. Women tend to progress more rapidly at bet slot than men in these addictive disorders. This is a gender-related phenomenon known as the “telescope effect.” Although its cause is unknown, concurrent disorders related to anxiety in women or alcohol use in men may not be as relevant as first thought.
The differences in the types of games played by women are notable compared to those of men. Women prefer non-strategic forms of gambling (such as bingo or slots), compared to strategic forms (such as poker) that are preferred by men. It has been hypothesized that non-strategic forms of gambling may be more addictive than strategic ones since the time between placing the bet and the outcome of the bet is often shorter. This quick turnaround could explain why some people keep playing, as they may feel that there is little time left to win or recoup losses.
Concurrent disorders in gambling women
The links between psychopathology and the severity of problem gambling appear to be stronger in female gamblers than in males for major depression. And stronger in men than in women for alcohol dependence. Women compared to men are more likely to seek treatment for problem gambling. This could be related to concurrent psychiatric disorders, particularly depression and anxiety disorders. Concurrent anxiety, depression, and alcohol dependence can exacerbate gambling-related symptoms in both sexes.
Gender differences in pathological gambling. Women and gambling
Most genetic studies of pathological gambling have focused on candidate genes, such as those encoding dopamine receptors and the dopamine transporter; however, these have yielded contradictory results and have underrepresented women. Male players tend to score higher on risk-taking measures than female players. However, no gender-related differences were found in measures of impulsivity. Women with gambling disorder showed a greater increase in dorsomedial prefrontal, posterior insula, and caudate activation when viewing gambling-related videos, compared to men with gambling disorder.
Sociocultural differences in pathological gambling
Women may have a later age of onset of problem gambling because they may have less exposure to gambling opportunities. Historically, social norms have been more strongly opposed to gambling in women compared to men. Women experience sociocultural pressures to seek treatment despite gender-related similarities in the severity of treatment. This may influence reported telescope observations on alcoholism.
Specific treatments for pathological gambling among men and women
There is no evidence of gender-related differences in the effectiveness of treatment to stop problem gambling. However, we do have some specific guidelines for male and female gamblers:
- Because women may progress to problem gambling faster than men, earlier interventions are recommended for both genders, but particularly for women.
- Gambling can be triggered by certain gender-related “fads.”
- We must take into account, especially among women, moods. Among men, we pay more attention to sensory stimuli. Women are more likely to trigger depressive symptoms not related to gambling. However, men are more affected by advertisements related to gambling. Therefore, simultaneously with treatment for pathological gambling, women may benefit from treatment for depressive symptoms. Men may benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy to dampen the response to sensory stimuli. Policies regulating gambling advertising and sports betting can be beneficial, particularly for men.
- The concurrence of pathological gambling and alcohol dependence is greater among male players. While gambling addiction together with addiction to benzodiazepines is greater among women.
- Adequate stress management and post-traumatic regulation improve the prognosis of treatment in women. There are particularly strong links between trauma and problem gambling among women. There is a predominantly female tendency to use gambling as an outlet for negative emotions.
- Women generally report sustained abstinence as their goal, while men often report moderation in gambling behaviour as their goal.