Gambling has traditionally been seen as an activity exclusive to men; however, recent studies indicate that women may be increasing their participation as new forms of online and mobile gambling become socially acceptable and normalised – particularly among younger women.
Women now have greater access to gambling products in the comfort of their own home.
1. Vanessa Selbst
Vanessa Selbst is one of the most accomplished professional poker players ever seen, winning several World Series of Poker bracelets and finishing in the money in several major tournaments. Additionally, Vanessa founded LearnWPT which provides high-quality strategy content to help improve players’ games.
As one of the early 2010s’ key televised poker figures, she made for exciting viewing with her hyper-aggressive style and incredible results – including winning the North American Poker Tour Main Event that year – which earned her a prize pool worth $750,000 first prize.
Films featuring female gamblers typically portray them as addicts (The Lady Gambles, Even Money), poor wives and mothers (Gambling Lady, Play Girl), or rare professional gamblers (Atlantis, Molly’s Game). Stereotypes about female gambling players were reinforced further through masculine voice-overs used in these movies highlighting gender cliches that have long been entrenched within society. The 1940s marked a notable shift in portraying them thanks to Hollywood production codes that prohibited such elements as blasphemy, unmotivated violence, mixed marriages etc from Hollywood productions.
2. Christina Boshoff
Women’s gambling behaviors and risk perceptions are complex and are influenced by various social, cultural, environmental, and commercial influences. This research investigates how such influences may impact young female gamblers’ engagement with gambling products and environments.
Findings indicate that women often encounter increased risks in gambling environments due to their unique experiences and perceptions of it, including perceived access of gambling venues/products at late times/regional areas; perceived accessibility relative to other leisure activities; safety/acceptability issues of gambling spaces etc.
Women participating in this study described gambling as an escape from everyday stressors and to cope with family or work responsibilities, while at the same time participating in socially sanctioned behaviors (lotteries, scratchies) not traditionally related to male masculinity (e.g. lotteries and scratchies). These findings show how public health initiatives must move away from personal responsibility paradigms towards more holistic approaches that meet specific subgroup needs of their population.
3. Liv Boeree
Gambling addiction was long thought of as something affecting only men; however, rates have steadily risen among women. Many use gambling as a form of stress relief and sense of control; yet they tend not to seek formal help for their gambling addiction problems.
This study investigates younger women’s engagement in gambling and perceptions of associated risks through critical qualitative inquiry. This research seeks to highlight the significance of understanding young women’s unique lived experiences related to gambling, as these could inform public health responses.
Molly’s Game stands out by portraying an impressive female professional gambler; an eventful change from previous gambling films. This study highlights this shift as an essential step toward gender equality and greater comprehension of gambling culture.
4. Victoria Coren Mitchell
Victoria Coren Mitchell is an award-winning writer, journalist, quiz show host and professional poker player who has appeared on multiple TV programs such as Only Connect and BBC’s Casino Royale adaptation.
Women’s gambling activities have become more mainstream over time; however, research on this subject remains scarce. One team at Deakin University in Australia is conducting an in-depth investigation into female gamblers’ motivations.
Researchers used both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to conduct their data analysis. They discovered five themes which may shape women’s conceptualizations and practical reasoning around gambling risk, such as wanting an escape from daily stresses; believing they could ‘gamble responsibly; accessibility/safety concerns of gambling spaces; playing with others as protection. Overall, their rationalisations were not solely personal, but instead included sociocultural and environmental influences which also had an effect on gambling behavior, necessitating further investigation.