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Do UK Women Like to Gamble?

Gambling has long been associated with men throughout the centuries, probably because the gambling houses of old days were not the safest places for women who shared a similar interest in games of chance. But with the falling apart of old social stigmas and the advances of modern technology that liberated the gambling market from the restrains of brick-and-mortar casinos, this long-persisting false belief is up for a serious challenge, as UK women continue to rapidly join casinos.

This trend shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since nowadays UK players play slots at top UK casinos without even leaving the house, thus increasing the popularity of gambling as a very easily accessible way of making side-income or just simply having fun. But how much has this accessibility had an effect on women? Well, let’s take a look at the statistics.

female card player

What the Numbers Show

First and foremost let’s just answer the question: Yes, UK women like to gamble, though not as much as men and not in every game - according to the 2008-2014 Trends in Gambling Report [PDF] by the UK Gambling Commission. The TIG report was based on a research that spanned over the period of 6 years and closely followed the changes in UK gambling, in terms of demographics, gender representation, gambling activities, economic status, and locations.

As it was found during the 6-year period, the percentage of women who engage in gambling activities was always near the 50% mark, with the highest numbers recorded in 2012, when 55.3% of women were reported to participate in gambling, and the lowest in 2014, when those numbers dropped down below the normally observed threshold to 49.6%, for the first time in years.

The report also found that the number of different gambling activities undertaken by women has decreased over time, as did the average number of days spent gambling and the number of women who engaged in online gambling.  On the other hand, the same factors saw an increase among the male population.

What Women Gamble On

The TIG report shows that the number one choice of gambling for UK women is the National Lottery and Other Lottery Draws, closely followed by Scratch Cards and Bingo. However, this doesn’t mean that the lottery is dominated by women, as the statistical difference between males and females in regards to the probability of engaging in Lottery games was only 1.9%, while the same difference was 117.5% for Bingo games, making this form of gambling the only activity dominated by women.

However, the number of women engaging in Bingo has decreased throughout the years, which was consequently followed by an increase in other forms of gambling, most notably horse races, online gambling, and private gambling (unlicensed, private games) . The number of women who engage in online gambling activities reached 31.1% in December 2014, which was 5.2% less than men - a significant increase from the trends of April the same year when the difference was 9.2%.

How it All Begins?

There has been much discussion about what is the underlying cause that leads women to gamble more than in the past decades, but it all comes down to two major factors: technology and advertising. Modern times and technological advances have brought a whole world of addictive activities inside the comforts of our homes where, normally, one’s inhibitions are completely lost, making all of us that much more susceptible to the dangers of the freedom our mobile phones and computers have given us.

Unlike before, the gambling habit is formed within our studies and living rooms, where people often don’t even realize they are spending real money while having fun or even letting their habits slip. It normally starts as a way to relax at the end of the day, and most of the time it never turns to anything more than a fun way to earn some side-income, but in some cases it takes users at a completely opposite direction. And when you add the targeted advertising everywhere around you, you begin to understand why so many women start playing.

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