My time spent in a casino has been very limited.
Thanks to the movies, I envision men, dressed to the nines, ruling the BlackJack table while women sit at the slots, pulling the lever over and over again.
Gambling is viewed as a male-dominated game, and addiction is often associated with men. However, women gamble too, but how and why is very different than it is for men.
Gambling statistics and reporting vary based on many factors. Location influences numbers. For example, someone who lives in a place where no casinos are located is less likely to gamble than someone living in a place like Las Vegas. Also, reporting may be distorted due to feelings of guilt. Gambling is an activity often done in secrecy. It is hard to measure those who gamble online or buy raffles tickets or scratch-offs.
Women are known to be “escape gamblers.” They use gambling as a distraction from their personal lives. It’s less about winning and more about having fun (Ladd & Petry, 2002; Boughton & Brewster, 2002). I mean, it’s pretty easy to zone out while repeatedly pulling that slot machine lever or placing chips on a Bingo card. Men, on the other hand, are known to be “action gamblers,” playing games requiring more focus and skill like BlackJack or Poker. They place larger bets and are in it to win it (Ladd & Petry, 2002; Walker, G. J. et al. 2005). The more money at stake, the bigger the rush. It’s all about beating the odds and being in the spotlight as a “winner.”
The age people start gambling also varies by gender. Women usually start in their mid-30s, while men start in their early 20s. It makes complete sense why I know so many guys who are playing online pokies, already loaded at 23 years old. Seriously, some of them have thousands and thousands of dollars sitting in their casino.com accounts from when they started years and years ago.
Okay, so, who gambles more?
Well, as I said, it’s hard to tell from statistics.
However, based on my experience, I still think gambling appeals to men way more than it does to women. I have never purchased a scratch-off or lottery ticket. It’s a fun family thing my dad or uncle likes to do together. My boyfriend always wants to bet on meaningless disagreements we have to “make things interesting.”
I have never met a woman who goes to Vegas and gambles instead of shopping and attending extravagant shows or overpriced clubs. If you give a woman a $1,000 for her Vegas trip, she’ll probably think, “WOW! I wonder how much stuff I can buy with this.” You give a man a $1,000, he’ll probably think, “WOW! I wonder how much MORE money I can make with this, allowing me to buy even MORE stuff.”
Yeah, turning a $1,000 into $20,000 would be amazing, but I’d rather spend that money on something that is 100% guaranteed. And that is how our brains operate differently.