Targeting the fairer sex
By maddy
According to a gambling research firm, today’s gamblers are more likely to be women than men. With the general perception of a typical online gambler being a middle aged man, the stereotype has to change says gambling researcher Rachel Volberg of Gemini Research, a Northampton, Massachusetts-based firm that manages gambling studies.

Two of the firm's recent coordinated surveys highlight that the percentage of women in the U.S. who reported having gambled rose from 61 percent in 1975 to 83 percent in 1998, with only a nominal increase in the percentage of men who gambling during this time period -- from 75 to 88 percent.

Volberg says, ‘This decades-long rise in female gambling can be traced to the increasing availability of gaming machines in places like convenience stores and hotels. Unlike the stereotype slot jockeys and lotto addicts are more likely than ever before to be women.’ She believes that online casinos provide a venue, which is safe physically and emotionally comfortable, so women are more comfortable than ever before in gambling behaviors. Volberg says her findings would seem to predict that female gamblers are fast moving to online gambling next because it can be done in the comfort of home. ‘Internet gambling could be a serious problem for women down the line,’ says Volberg.

She also explains that women are more attracted than men to such 'convenience gambling', because of sexual differences in the male and female psychology. 'Men are attracted to games where they can measure themselves against each other, while women tend to prefer noncompetitive situations,' she says. Marc Potenza of Yale University’s Problem Gambling Clinic offers a medical point of view. ‘Most neuro-imaging studies consider the brains of male gamblers, whether sex-based gambling preferences are biological or social in origin is yet to be determined,’ he says.

Volberg's four U.S state survey of gender and gambling patterns supports this conclusion. The Gemini survey concludes that while men are overall more likely to gamble, women now play the luck-based lotteries almost as often as men do, while skill games such as poker continue to be a male-bastion.

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