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Fiona Simmons March 20, 2023 2 min read
Women Gamblers in Quebec Increase Since the Pandemic
The number of women who gamble has increased since the pandemic, a new study led by Sylvia Kairouz, a researcher, indicates
According to Kairouz, who interviewed 4,500 Quebecers as part of her 2021 study, women have been turning to gambling at greater rates compared to pre-pandemic times. Many women have actually migrated to online gambling activities.
Women Turn to Online Gambling in Greater Numbers
The number of male gamblers still outstripped that of their female counterparts, the survey stated, but the trend was notable, nevertheless. Kairouz, who is a professor at Concordia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, noted that women are also vulnerable to some of the more pernicious effects of gambling.
The study also dug into the preferences of both men and women, with Kairouz finding out that women were happier with games of chance whereas men were looking to play table games and poker more so than slots.
Kairouz also found out more about the specific games that women and men would play. Women were inclined to try slot machines and scratch cards, or lottery tickets. They did so mostly as an “escape” from reality. Men, though, wanted to experience a “thrill” out of their gambling habits. Conversely, women were happier to continue with lower stakes.
Kairouz’s survey is not the only one that tries to study the habits of male and female gamblers. Elizabeth Lapointe, who is the executive director of the addictions treatment and prevention center Maison Jean Lapointe, argued that about 304,000 Canadians are currently at risk of developing a gambling addiction. The ratio favors men 2:1.
Time to Change How People Think about Women and Gambling
Lapointe also noted that women are less likely to seek help when they suffer gambling-related distress. Women seem to experience far more guilt and shame, Lapointe argues, which is putting conventional wisdom under question. It’s usually men who are thought to be more private about their gambling habits.
Kairouz warns though that as more women are turning to gamble, they still tend to be underrepresented in studies which give a silted version of events and whether women are getting adequate help when it comes to problem gambling and addiction. Kairouz is determined to find out more and she is embarking on a new data collection initiative between April and September and will explore the relationship between gender and play.