More Women Gamble Online During Covid-19 Pandemic, Montreal Researchers Say

A Montreal study revealed that more women started participating in online gambling activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. Researchers found that women tend to prefer luck-based games, while men are more into games that require skills and knowledge.

Sylvia Kairouz, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, commented on the study’s finding that even though men have been historically known as more active gamblers, women can also be affected by the addictive nature of gambling.

Luck-Based Games are More Popular among Women

The study, which was conducted in 2021 and included 4,500 respondents residing in Quebec, revealed that more women began gambling online during the pandemic. Moreover, this trend shows no indication of slowing down. Ms. Kairouz explained that men usually prefer table games, while women play luck-based games such as slots and lottery tickets because they involve a greater amount of risk. Women prefer longer gambling sessions that involve small stakes. Men, on the other hand, tend to be fascinated by playing with big money, which is why most high-rollers are usually men.

In an interview, the executive director of the addictions treatment and prevention center Maison Jean Lapointe, Anne Elizabeth Lapointe, said that women like playing slots or scratching tickets because such forms of gambling distract them from their daily duties and worries and help them relax.

In August 2022, Canada’s national statistical agency found that more women than men reported participating in bingo games, buying lottery tickets, or gambling online. The survey also indicated that 2% of the men and 1% of the women who took part in any form of gambling in the last 12 months, or about 304,000 Canadian citizens, were exposed to a moderate-to-high risk of developing gambling problems.

Women Can Also Develop Gambling Addictions

Anne Elizabeth Lapointe elaborated that more men than women affected by gambling problems seek help. In her opinion, female gamblers feel more ashamed of their problem behavior than male gamblers. Moreover, women face a lot of pressure from society when it comes to gambling and substance addictions. On the other hand, gambling advertisements do not discriminate by gender and target both men and women.

Another problem is that most surveys mainly take into account men’s gambling habits, while women’s results are usually generalized. Ms. Kairouz explained that gambling addiction does exist among women and must not be underestimated. She shared that surveys must distinguish between men and women because they give different meanings to gambling.

The next round of data collection will take place from April to September and is expected to provide a clearer picture of the situation. Ms. Kairouz added that future surveys will focus on “the relationship between gender and play.”