According to Mary Heineman (2001), women make up to “one third” of problem gamblers, and that number is on the rise and ever so increasing as we speak. Women gamblers are often classified as either single, separated, divorced or widowed. So how does the female or woman gambler differ from that of the male gambler? There are several characteristics that are uniquely different. So what leads women down the slippery slope of becoming a problem gambler?

Here Are Some Of The Characteristics Of Female Gamblers:

  • Primary reason for gambling is to escape (mostly from the caregiving/nurturing/ parenting role)
  • Casinos often serve as a place to isolate
  • Most frequent gambling activity is the slot machine
  • Do not see gambling as a way to make money, rather as primarily an escape
  • Use gambling as a way coping tool to relieve the pressures of work, home and the caregiving role and expectations
  • A large percentage of women who play bingo do so because it is seen as a socially acceptable way to spend time with others

When Mary Heineman spoke with several women who identified themselves as problem gamblers, many reported high levels of feelings of guilt about their gambling which places them as a higher risk for depression, emotional distress and social isolation. Despite the numerous differences between the male and female gambler, there is help available.

If you have more questions ore require information about gambling support, call the Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-306-6789



Heineman, M. (2001). Losing Your Shirt. Recovery for Compulsive Gamblers and Their Families. Hazelden Educational Materials.