It is not news that gambling is gaining popularity worldwide. However, it may come as a surprise to many that more and more women are entering a realm that was male-dominated for so long.
What’s more, the fairer sex has been so successful at poker, blackjack, and sports betting that many are rightfully wondering whether women are taking the lead in gambling and how the way they gamble differs from that of men.
The similarities and differences men and women exhibit in gambling are certainly an interesting topic for discussion.
However, many would consider it to be controversial, especially considering the ongoing battle for gender equality.
Therefore, I’ve decided to approach the subject from a factual point of view, discussing only objective points that give us an insight into how men and women generally fare in gambling.
Gender Differences in Approach to Gambling
While we can’t deny that men and women have equal potential to be successful at gambling, particularly when it comes to games requiring skill, such as poker and blackjack, specific gender differences influence how different sexes approach gambling.
One of the first points of difference is that women tend to have a weaker emotional connection to gambling than men, who often invest much more energy into this pastime.
The effects of this are visible in sports betting. Whereas men usually place bets based on their affinity for a particular team or contender, women tend to take a more rational approach, resulting in better betting decisions and bigger wins.
Men are also more prone to risk-taking than women, which usually leads women to take part in low-risk games, making it less likely for women to lose vast amounts of money.
That said, there is also a difference in how men and women deal with gambling losses. While women are more inclined to accept defeat calmly, men tend to react with more anger and even aggression, sometimes getting themselves in trouble.
Another point that ties into risk-taking inclinations is the fact that men are often more optimistic about their winning chances than women. Therefore, women are more careful with their funds and are much less willing to risk higher amounts of money.
On the other hand, men will often even brag about the sum they lost to a game. Higher risks can lead to high rewards, but losses may add up if they are consistent.
My next point leads us to consider the different types of casino games men and women usually opt for. It is more common to see women playing:
Whereas men often participate in:
- Table games
- Sports betting
The gambling activities women more often choose are easier to win than those men usually prefer.
Advantage of Being a Female in Gambling
As we’ve seen, general gender differences can play a massive role in the way men and women approach gambling.
However, some other general truths and human traits can go to women’s advantage, particularly when pitted against men in table games.
Who better to turn to for insight on this topic than Maria Konnikova, a renowned poker player with a Columbia University Ph.D. in psychology.
In addition to using her wits to secure numerous winnings at the felt, Maria has also utilized her knowledge of psychology and human behavior to read her opponents and decide how to play against them.
In her famous interview for New York Times, Maria states that male poker players tend to have a bias towards their female counterparts, and she uses it to her advantage.
Indeed, it is common for female players to be regarded as more emotional and, thus, unable to bluff, which is a prejudice women can exploit if they understand human behavior well enough. However, it is not only in poker that women can benefit from gender bias.
It is a well-known fact that card-counting is a foolproof technique that can lead to huge winnings in blackjack. For this reason, most casinos oversee every blackjack game so they can spot card-counting players and kick them out.
However, casinos usually focus their attention on men due to prejudices about men being smarter and braver. This is not to say that female card-counters are never caught in action, but it is a much rarer occurrence, and women can probably get away with it for longer.
While we’re on the topic of wits, we should mention another widespread misconception that tends to exist in many people’s heads. Namely, many players hold a prejudice that beautiful women can’t be exceptionally smart.
This makes them automatically more likely to view a nice-looking woman as less of a threat and underestimate her, which only increases her edge.
Occurrence of Gambling Problems in Men and Women
In addition to temperamental differences that can cause women to be more successful in gambling, there have been some interesting findings related to the prevalence of gambling addiction among men and women.
Some studies conducted at the end of the 20th century suggest that men are much more likely to develop a gambling addiction than women.
These findings were backed up by more recent research by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission from 2016.
- The study found that 1.2% of male participants were prone to problem gambling, compared to only 0.2% of the women taking part in the study.
So, how can we explain these discrepancies?
Rather than it being a natural gender difference, it is more likely to be due to a combination of genetic and societal factors and environmental influences.
Probably the most deciding factor is that men are socially conditioned to think that they must display bravery and show off. Therefore, they are more prone to taking risks and having difficulty recognizing when to stop.
So, are women better gamblers than men?
Well, while there surely are some differences in the way men and women usually approach gambling, both sexes have had remarkable success in luck-based and skill-based games.
It can be challenging to give a definitive answer to this question, but we’ve seen that women do have certain advantages that allow them to, at least, not lose as much money gambling as men.