Celebrating the Women in Our Lives and Breaking the Bias on Seeking Hope and Healing

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Celebrating the Women in Our Lives and Breaking the Bias on Seeking Hope and Healing

Throughout history, women have made great strides, breaking through social, economic, political, and cultural barriers in the fight for equality. On International Women’s Day on March 8th and Women’s History Month throughout March, we are celebrating these breakthroughs while keeping an eye on future generations of politicians, parents, students, doctors, neighbors, friends, and so much more. As we work to #BreaktheBias and forge women’s equality, the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling (FCCG) wants to draw your attention to a rising concern — how women are uniquely drawn in by problem gambling and the barriers that may prevent them from seeking help. 

As we strive for diversity, equity, and inclusivity on every level, it is important to recognize that gambling disorders do not discriminate, and women are not excluded from these disorders’ harmful impacts. Alongside Women’s History Month is Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM), a time where we promote public awareness of the effects of problem gambling. This hidden addiction may not show itself as obviously as other compulsive behaviors, but its impact is just as real. 

While there is an assumption that problem gambling is mostly limited to men, this is not true. For example, recent studies show that women account for almost one-third of total sports bettors. [1] While sports betting is still illegal in Florida, the American Gaming Association estimates illegal sports gambling accounts for $511 billion of all sports bets placed each year, so there are many ways that men and women alike can still place bets on their preferred teams. [2

Women typically have different motivations for gambling than men — while men thrive on the action and competition of gambling, women often see it as an escape from their realities and find temporary relief as they lose themselves in games such as slots, video poker, lotteries, and bingo. [3] In addition to different avenues of gambling, women may also perceive a gambling problem in a different light. With less representation of female problem gambling across media, women may feel alone in their struggles, with some expressing it would be more shameful to experience problem gambling than other addictions, such as alcohol, as they seem more common. [4]

With societal pressures and perceptions that women must be responsible caregivers, the fear of being seen as irresponsible due to gambling may lead to additional shame and loneliness for women. [5] This stigma could keep women from seeking the help and support they need and deserve and keep our society as a whole from reaching true equality in every facet of life. 

The best way we can honor the achievements of the women who have gone before us while protecting present and future generations from the negative impacts of problem gambling is to break down the stigma surrounding seeking help and spreading awareness of resources for recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with problem gambling, remember that recovery is Your One Sure Thing when you call or text 888-ADMIT-IT. This 24/7, multilingual, confidential and free HelpLine is available for any Florida resident looking to connect with the resources they need to experience freedom from compulsive gambling behaviors. As we celebrate the strong women in our lives, the FCCG wants you to be aware of resources such as our Literature Packet, a tool we put together that is tailored to women struggling with problem gambling so that they can experience healing that meets them where they are. 

  1. Sokolic, Bill. “Studies: Women Make up about One-Third of Sports Bettors.” GGB News, 20 July 2021, https://ggbnews.com/article/studies-women-make-up-about-one-third-of-sports-bettors/.
  2. “New Aga Report Shows Americans Gamble More than Half a Trillion Dollars Illegally Each Year.” American Gaming Association, 6 Dec. 2022, https://www.americangaming.org/new/new-aga-report-shows-americans-gamble-more-than-half-a-trillion-dollars-illegally-each-year/#:~:text=Washington%2C%20D.C.%20%E2%80%93%20Americans%20gamble%20an,from%20the%20American%20Gaming%20Association.
  3. Female Gamblers Fact Sheet – Ncpgambling.org. https://www.ncpgambling.org/files/WOMEN_GAMBLERS_FACTS.pdf.
  4. “Female Gamblers and Mental Health.” Algamus, https://www.algamus.org/blog/female-gamblers-mental-health.
  5. Female Gamblers Fact Sheet – Ncpgambling.org. https://www.ncpgambling.org/files/WOMEN_GAMBLERS_FACTS.pdf.

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