GambleAware Publishes Results of Female Gambling Harm Investigation

Date IconLast Updated: 7 Jun 2023
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GambleAware Publishes Results of Female Gambling Harm Investigation
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GambleAware has released the findings of a special investigation it commissioned into identifying some of the unique drivers and circumstances that often prompt females into experiencing problem gambling.

London-headquartered GambleAware is an independent grant-making charity that commissions a range of gambling harm treatment and prevention services across England, Scotland and Wales. 


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The organisation also behind the BeGambleAware.org responsible gambling resource received approximately €54.1million in industry donations for the 12 months to the end of March, which encompassed some €49.9m from the nation’s four largest operators; Bet365, William Hill, Entain and Flutter Entertainment.

GambleAware revealed that the recent exploration into female gambling was conducted by the University of Bristol and IFF Research under its own guidance and involved interviews, online workshops and focus groups with participants from around Great Britain alongside those who may have been affected by problem gambling.

Central Conclusions

The charity explained that the study found psychological factors including the search for positive emotions, which were often described as ‘the buzz’ or ‘the thrill’ of winning, to be one of the main drivers for gambling in females in addition to the utilisation of such entertainment as a potential escape from emotions of stress and boredom.

GambleAware divulged that its investigation furthermore identified several social drivers for gambling in females including the enjoyment of such activities in order to develop and maintain relationships with friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues.

The organisation revealed that the study likewise discovered a financial driver that saw some participants endeavor to win money so as to boost household finances, relieve financial pressures or escape from poverty, unhealthy relationships and domestic abuse.

Finally, GambleAware highlighted current industry practices alongside the roles marketing and advertising play as an important driver for female gambling. 

It declared that the use of female celebrity endorsements and ‘targeted campaigns aimed at different groups of women’ often prompted those already engaged in gambling ‘to continue, gamble more often or try new gambling products’.

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Promotion Problem

The Chief Commissioning Officer for GambleAware, Anna Hargrave, pronounced that the investigation revealed ‘many factors driving women to gamble more’ although she went on to express ‘particular concern’ at the impacts of marketing and advertising.

Hargrave asserted that GambleAware is now set to consider the findings of this study ‘to see how [these] can help benefit our commissioning activity’. 

However, one of the study’s main recommendations was for the organisation to fund more research into the links between advertising and gambling harms.

“There has been limited research previously carried out into women’s experience of gambling,” Hargrave said. 

“However, participation in gambling among women and the rate of women experiencing gambling harms is increasing more quickly, so we felt it was essential to carry out this research to explore the lived experiences of women and their relationships with gambling.”


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Future Focus

GambleAware finished by explaining that its investigation also made several other recommendations to better support women experiencing gambling harms including the launch of more gender-specific services for those dealing with the issue as well as overlapping matters running from poor mental health and financial problems to domestic violence. 

The study moreover suggested the provision of more services for those potentially at risk from the impacts of someone else’s gambling as women are statistically more likely than men to be an affected by such matters.


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Added Obstacles

Laura Burke serves as the Women’s Programme Manager for the GamCare gambling support charity and she welcomed the publication of the GambleAware-commissioned research as ‘women can often face additional barriers in accessing support for gambling harms’.

“Last year, 30% of the callers to our national gambling helpline were women,” Burke said.

“This is why this research is important to help us continue building understanding of the unique challenges women face when it comes to gambling harm and how we can increasingly tailor our support services around them.”