How do signs of problem gambling differ in men and women?

June 01, 2017

Men and women experiencing problems with gaming machines (slot machines) display the same signs that their habit is out of control. However, the two sexes differ in how they handle the distress that accompanies their addiction. Women tend to be more emotional and more likely to cry or to look depressed when losing. Men may angrily channel their distress into striking or even kicking their gaming machine. These are the findings of researchers at the University of Adelaide, the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) and Swinburne University of Technology in Australia. The study is published in Springer's Journal of Gambling Studies.

The data used in the paper were obtained from two recent large studies conducted in Australia of regular gamblers. Together the two surveys yielded a total sample of 1185 (580 men and 605 women). Of these, 338 were classified as problem gamblers.

Men and women were found to show the same problem gambling symptoms, but some "red flags" of distress were more prevalent among the sexes. Males were more likely than females to report anger and frustration when losing. They more readily displayed aggression in their play, kicking and striking their gaming machines or playing them roughly. They often engaged in territorial stand-over tactics to scare customers away from machines that they claimed as theirs, and could be impolite towards venue staff. Women were much more likely to display visible signs of distress such as crying, or other visible signs of sadness and depression.

"Signs of distress are likely to be more commonly seen indicators for female patrons while signs of anger or aggression may be more likely to be observed for males," says Anna Thomas, Manager of the AGRC.

Thomas advises gambling venue staff to view any unusual behaviours such as aggression towards machines, attempts to borrow money or ask for credit, or a decline in grooming in female patrons as definite "red flags".

"Behaviours that are most clearly distinctive of gambling problems in male patrons included clear and visible signs of distress, asking for loans from a venue and attempts to conceal their presence in venues from family and friends. For female patrons, asking a venue for a loan or a noticeable decline in personal grooming are particular indicators of which staff should take note," Thomas adds.

The results more broadly show that the behaviour of female problem gamblers is generally more differentiated from other lower risk gamblers. "This suggests that it may be easier to detect variations in behaviour for female gamblers than for males," says Thomas. "It also means that staff may need to spend more time watching potential male problem gamblers before they can be confident that they are displaying behaviour that is different from other male gamblers."

The researchers advise that staff be trained to better identify behavioural indicators, to interpret these as a whole within the greater context, and on how to confidently use such information in their interaction with patrons. Some of this training might include a focus on gender differences and diversity in gamblers.
-end-
Reference: Delfabbro, P., Thomas, A., & Armstrong, A. (2017). Gender differences in the presentation of observable risk indicators of problem gambling, Journal of Gambling Studies, DOI: 10.1007/s10899-017-9691-5

Springer

Related Gamblers Articles from Brightsurf:

Gambling addiction: an aid from patients' stories
How do people affected by pathological gambling tell their story?

Living with a problem gambler?
With the lure of online gambling high during COVID-19 lockdowns - and some gambling venues now reopening - partners and families of problem gamblers may be the first to see a problem emerging.

Voluntary limit-setting can keep intense online gamblers in check
A new study has shown that, among online gamblers, setting voluntary monetary limits can help players stay in control of their gambling and the most significant effects were seen among intense gamblers.

Near misses on slot machines may not encourage continued gambling
For nearly 70 years, researchers believed that near-miss events like these would encourage you to continue gambling.

UBC study finds siblings of problem gamblers also impulsive, prone to risk-taking
Biological siblings of people with gambling disorder also display markers of increased impulsivity and risk-taking, according to a new UBC psychology study.

UMass Amherst researchers release new findings in groundbreaking gambling study
New findings released Sept. 12 from a groundbreaking gambling study by a University of Massachusetts Amherst research team show that out-of-state casino gambling among Massachusetts residents decreased significantly after the Commonwealth's first slot parlor, Plainridge Park Casino, opened in Plainville in the summer of 2015.

Lure of the 'loot box' looks a lot like gambling
An increasingly popular feature of modern video games is attracting gamers who share the beliefs and behaviours of problem gamblers, new UBC research has found.

Trading cryptocurrency is problematic for regular gamblers, Rutgers study says
Researchers at the Center for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University-New Brunswick have found a link between frequently trading cryptocurrency -- a digital and virtual currency -- and problem gambling.

Gamblers predicted Brexit before financial traders, study finds
Research shows how financial markets should have predicted Brexit hours before they eventually did, and that betting markets beat currency markets to the result by an hour -- producing a 'close to risk-free' profit-making opportunity, according to economists.

It's not how you play the game, but how the dice were made
Over time, dice used in playing games have changed in shape and size and evolved with considerations about fairness, chance and probability.

Read More: Gamblers News and Gamblers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.