Women, Gambling and Problem Gambling Deborah G. Haskins, Ph.D., LCPC, NCGC-II, BACC email@example.com
Women and Gambling • Some gambling activities are highly gendered • Illegal, private • Horse racing, sports betting • Bingo • Some gambling activities are not gendered • Casinos • Lotteries • Gaming machines
Feminization of Gambling/Problem Gambling Feminization refers to the idea that more women are gambling, developing problems and seeking help for problems related to gambling than in the past (Volberg, 2003) Appears linked to increased availability of gaming machines
Case Illustration: Michelle is a 45 year old White female who seeks treatment for PG. She is an escape gambler and was introduced by a girlfriend (social gambler). Mary reports she was in an abusive first marriage and has 2 young adult daughters. She regularly participates in GA and is now married to 3rd husband (also in recovery). She participates actively and attends counseling regularly. She struggles with major depression and has committed many illegal acts, several which are currently awaiting trial (2 years ago). She relapses when her daughter is about to marry due to shame that “I can’t contribute.” She reports her mother was an alcoholic and she was raised by her father at age 8, but he died as a result of his injuries due to a robbery. Where is she now?: In Prison. What happened?
History Many forms were class based: existed among upper classes—horses/cards/casino games/real estate/stocks(Reith, 1999; Rosecrance, 1988) Men were more likely to gamble on stock markets/sports/racetrack/off-track betting/cockfights and dogfights (Evans, Gauthier & Forsyth, 1998; Geertz, 1973) Women were considered caretakers, nurturers, and had social roles not matched w/gambling (Volberg, 2003)
Lifetime Gambling Participation (Gerstein et al, 1999)
Past Year Gambling Participation (Gerstein et al, 1999)
Gender Differences in Past Year Gambling (Gerestein et al, 1999)
Understanding Women’s Gambling • Social roles are important • Acceptability is as important as availability • Characteristics of gambling venues are important • Flexible hours • Local availability • Low price of participation • Clean, attractive locations • Physical safety • Availability of childcare
Women and Problem Gambling • Women have been largely invisible in problem gambling research • Most research based on samples of male pathological gamblers (Volberg, 2003) • Too few females included to determine if differences exist • Widespread assumption that what holds true for men will also hold true for women
The “Feminization” of Gambling and Problem Gambling • More women are gambling and developing problems than in the past • Service providers internationally are seeing more women seeking help • Feminization linked to increases in the availability of electronic gaming machines (EGDs) (Volberg, 2003)
Gambling Problems Among Women • In 1998, 35% of problem and pathological gamblers in the US general population were women • Gerstein et al, 1999 • In states with large numbers of EGDs, the proportion of problem gamblers who are women is higher • In Montana, 51% of problem and pathological gamblers in 1998 were women • In Louisiana, 50% of problem and pathological gamblers in 1998 were women • In Oregon in 2000, 45% of problem and pathological gamblers were women • In Australia between 1991 and 1999, the proportion of problem gamblers in the general population who were women rose from 14% to 41%
Gambling Problems Among Women (cont’d) • If women are going to drink, smoke and gamble as much and as often as men, we should expect to see rates of alcohol abuse and dependence, tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, and gambling disorders achieve parity between the genders (Bunkle, 2003) • Hing and Breen (2001a, 2001b) suggest that women will experience gambling problems at levels comparable to men who gamble at the same intensity
Problem Gambling Rates by Gender and Participation (Gambling Impact & Behavior Survey, 1999)
Updates Women seeking help are more likely to have experienced problems with gaming machines than with any other type of gambling (Ladd & Petry, 2002; Lesieur & Blume, 1991; Potenza et al., 2001) Across the board, women were more likely to play bingo than men; men were more likely to wager privately and on horses (Volberg, 2003); except in Oregon where women waged privately: these differences may be due to geography, population density, or ethnic density
Considering Gender and Ethnicity • Problem gambling prevalence rates are two or more times higher among minority men and women than in majority populations internationally • What makes some groups particularly vulnerable? • Bimodal pattern of gambling participation • Relatively large proportion with little or no gambling involvement and significant minority who gamble regularly • Score significantly higher on all problem gambling screens • Pattern is characteristic of subgroups just entering “gambling market” • As experience is gained, will problem gambling rates initially increase, then level out and perhaps decline?
Women Seeking Help • Women seeking help for gambling problems start gambling later in life than men • Women have more rapid progression into problems than men • Women seeking help are most likely to cite electronic gaming machines as their primary problem • Like men, women seeking help often have comorbid problems with alcohol and substance abuse as well as depression
Treating Women Problem Gamblers • 57% of PG Women reported they would not seek care for fear counselors would “make me stop gambling.” (R. Boughton 2002) • Deficits in self-confidence and problem-solving skills are common among male and female problem gamblers (Borsoi & Toneatto, 2003)Both male and female problem gamblers rely excessively on avoidant coping styles (Thomas & Moore, 2003) • Women do bring some gender-specific issues into treatment that must be addressed • Experiences of trauma and abuse • Care-giving demands • Emotional issues with autonomy and rebellion • Treatment must integrate the above
Suicide and Pathological Gambling • Previous Studies • Thoughts = 48 - 79% • Attempts = 12 - 20% • Custer Center • Thoughts = 62% • Attempts = 26% • Males: Thoughts = 56% Attempts = 23% • Females: Thoughts = 79% Attempts = 35%
Future Directions • What are the factors that keep women away from gambling up to a point? • What are the factors that facilitate quicker, deeper involvement for women? • How have social attitudes toward gambling changed for men and for women? • Do men and women begin gambling for different reasons? • Do men and women continue gambling for different reasons? • Are deficits in problem-solving skills and coping strategies a symptom or a precursor of gambling problems?
Future Directions (cont’d) • Women represent a rapidly expanding segment of the online gambling population • Online gambling characterized by • Flexible hours • Local availability • Low price of participation • Clean, attractive location • Physical safety • Availability of childcare • Similar characteristics may lead to growing numbers of women experiencing difficulties with this new, very private form of gambling
References/Resources Gerstein, D. R., Volberg, R. A., Harwood, H., Christiansen, E. M., Murphy, S., & Toce, M. (1999). Gambling Impact and Behavior Study: Report to the National Gambling Impact Study Commission. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago. Ladd, G. T. & Petry, N. M. (2002). Gender differences among pathological gamblers seeking treatment. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology 10(3), 302-309. National Council of Problem Gambling, Washington, DC. Volberg, R. A. (2003). Has there been a “feminization” of gambling and problem gambling in the U.S? Gambling: The electronic journal of gambling issues., 1-33.