Analyst - Women Have Problems with Gambling in UK


Is online gambling causing a lot of problems for women? Well, in the United Kingdom it is, at least according to an expert on gambling addiction.

Liz Karter, who has just come out with a new book entitled "Women and Problem Gambling," asserts that more women are seeing online casinos as a preferable addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, and that it has become such a dilemma that it is spiraling out of control. GamCare, funded by the online gambling industry in the UK and dedicated to helping those who are problem gamblers, has expressed that half of the women who had called their helpline had problems with online gambling in particular, compared with about 33% of men. And they run the gamut, from professionals to those from very poor backgrounds.

Karter lays much of the blame at the feet of the casinos themselves, who accelerated their marketing efforts gradually ever since 2005, when the Gambling Act was passed in the UK. She explains that the advertising is too inviting, and that there is much greater accessibility than ever before, since the games are now available on tablets and smartphones.

She also explains that the self-exclusion measures that problem gamblers take are much more difficult to "stick" because the casinos keep up the subtle pressure. "Many contact the companies to ask to be banned from gambling, which they are," she tells the Independent (UK), "then they receive an email a week or two later from a subsidiary website offering them free cash saying 'We miss you'. Would your local pub offer you free whiskey to feel better two weeks into a drying-out period?"

Karter works with various gambling treatment centers, and she says one common thing her clients experience is that they lose themselves in time, believing they have only been at a game for twenty minutes or so, when the truth is that they have been playing for a couple of hours. Some of the clients who have the most serious issues experience problems with family and lose custody of their children, or find themselves in a situation where they have to steal to feed their gambling addiction.