When we think about gambling, we probably assume that it’s primarily a male pursuit. But is that really the case nowadays? Is it possible that more women are placing bets than ever? Further, which gender prefers which games? Finally, which of the sexes is more likely to win or lose money or develop a gambling addiction?
To solve this puzzle, we’ve scoured the web for the most comprehensive men vs women gambling statistics in the UK and compared and contrasted the sexes’ involvement in this pastime. So roll the dice and find out what surprising things we’ve uncovered!
Gambling Demographics and Participation
1. 43.5% of UK males and 39.8% of females over 16 years of age gambled in the year to June 2021.
The monthly participation in gambling activities by both genders in Great Britain decreased on an annual basis from the year to June 2020, when it had been 47.9% among adult men and 42.4% among adult women, for an overall combined average of 45.1%. A year later, only 41.6% of Brits reported that they’d taken part in at least one form of gambling in the preceding four weeks.
2. Online gambling participation in Great Britain rose from June 2020 to June 2021.
If we examined the online gambling demographics from the five years to June 2021, we’d see that the monthly participation in such activities grew steadily year on year.
Specifically, 24.8% of men and 19.1% of women in the UK said that they’d gambled online in the month preceding a June 2020 phone survey, while 27.7% of men and 21.8% of women reported having done so a year later. The average of all respondents in 2020 was 21.9%, while the following year, 24.7%.
3. In 2020, people aged 35-64 gambled the most in Great Britain.
We’ve looked at the gambling demographics by sex, but what about age? Well, it appears that the 45-54 age group was the most likely to place wagers in the UK in 2020, with 48.4% of people admitting to partaking in this pastime.
Close behind them with 46.5%, Brits aged 55-64 were avid bettors as well. Other demographics with considerable gambling participation were the 35-44 age group (45.8%) and those aged 65+ (39.1%), similarly to people aged 25-34 (39%). On the flip side, just 31.2% of young Britons aged 16-24 said that they’d placed bets that year.
4. Brits in the 35-44 age bracket engaged in online gambling the most in 2020.
Online gambling demographics from a 2020 survey indicate that such gamers were mainly in the 35-44 age range, with 29.3% of Britons in this group placing wagers on the internet on a monthly basis. In contrast, Brits aged 65 and older were the least likely to gamble online, with just 14.2% of them doing so.
5. Mobile devices were a typical tool for UK men and women to access online gambling.
In 2019 and 2020, the percentage of Britons who engage in gambling on their smartphones remained stable at 50%. According to men vs women gambling statistics from 2020, males were more likely than females to place bets at least once a month using online accounts, holding an average of 3.6 of these per person. In comparison, women had an average of 2.8 such accounts per person.
6. As of 2020, 85% of Brits across all demographics had seen a gambling ad or sponsorship.
Gambling demographics tell us that male British punters between the ages of 24-35 (90%) and 45+ (91%) had seen the most gambling advertising as of 2020. Namely, 66% of men reported seeing at least one such ad in a typical week, while 88% had been exposed to some kind of gambling sponsorship that year.
In comparison, just 52% of British women were impacted by gambling ads in a typical week, whereas 83% had viewed at least one at some point in their lives.
7. In 2016, men in the United Kingdom gambled more frequently than women did.
A poll conducted in 2016 looked into men vs women gambling frequency over the age of 16 and concluded that a greater proportion of male Brits placed bets on a regular basis. That year, 17% of queried males had engaged in this activity two or more times per week. In contrast, nearly half as many or just 9% of the females polled reported doing the same.
The percentages were quite close between men and women who gambled once weekly, at 28% and 27%, respectively. An equal rate of ladies and gents placed wagers less than once a week but more than once a month (10%). The proportion of male vs female gambling was similar among those who bet once a month (12% and 11%, respectively) and every two to three months (13% vs 14%).
However, a more significant difference was recorded among those who tried their luck just once or twice a year, with 28% of women doing so, as opposed to just 20% of men.
8. Three times as many British boys as girls made a private bet for money in 2020.
The youth gambling gender statistics in 2020 indicate that far more boys than girls aged 11-16 in the UK engaged in various such behaviours that year, despite the legal aspect of it. As many as 6% of male youngsters said they’d placed a private bet to win some cash, while just 2% of their female peers reported the same. In addition, 3% of boys had played other gambling machines and bought National Lottery Scratchcards, whereas only 1% of girls had done so as well.
Surprisingly, this age group also made an impact, albeit small, on consumer demographics in casino gambling, with 2% of males and 1% of females going to such an establishment to play games—the same rates that played the lotto. An equal proportion of kids of both sexes (2%) played fruit or slot machines and cards with their friends for money.
9. Nearly a third of British over-16s gambled once a week in 2020.
Based on 2020 gambling demographics, a significant portion or 32.2% of Britons over the age of 16 engaged in such activities once a week. Similarly, 30.8% tried their luck less than once a week to once a month, 22.1% two or more days per week, while 14.9% less than once a month that year.
10. Quitting after winning a large sum of money is less common among British men.
When asked what they’d do if they won £500, disparities between men and women gambling emerged. Close to three-quarters of British females who were surveyed said that they’d cash in the pot and leave (72.3%), but not as many males were willing to do the same, as just 61% of them reported that they’d immediately walk away with the winnings.
Furthermore, gambling gender statistics show that men usually bet more money than women do. The former were twice as likely to wager more than £500 per week than the latter, who tended to stick to the £1-£10 bracket.
11. Households in the ninth decile of gross income spent the most on gambling in 2020.
In terms of the average income of gamblers, in the year to March 2020, the highest expenditure on betting was recorded among households that belonged to the penultimate gross income decile group, which spent an average of £2.9 on such payments per week.
Another group that forked over a lot of cash for wagers was the third gross income decile, with an average outlay of £2.7 per week. The bottom 10% spent just £2.1, while the top decile—£2.5.
Gambling Addiction Statistics
12. Do men and women develop gambling issues for different reasons?
(Algamus) (GamCare) (BBC)
Some people are simply genetically predisposed to addiction. When it comes to gambling, it’s also said that men are more hedonistic, more impulsive, as well as bigger risk-takers than women. Males in the UK tend to place bets in social settings, usually on sports. The anticipation of the outcome exhilarates them, so they continue to up the ante.
The top reasons why compulsive women gamblers fall into this kind of life, in turn, are excitement-seeking, dissatisfaction with dysfunctional relationships, and looking for an escape from their daily lives or past trauma. In addition, they like the social aspect of glitzy places like casinos or alternatively, the discretion of online gambling.
13. Most of Great Britain’s problem gamblers in 2020 were men.
Males are seven-and-a-half times more likely than females to get hooked on the thrill of games of chance, men vs women gambling addiction rates from recent years suggest.
In a 2020 survey, 0.6% of interviewed British men admitted to being problem gamblers, whereas effectively 0% of the women did the same. In 2019, the percentages were a little higher, with 0.9% of males and 0.3% of females owning up to having a gambling problem.
14. 70% of callers to the National Gambling Helpline are men.
Going by the gambling addiction statistics in the UK from 2018, it’s estimated that just 1% of women who had suffered harm due to gambling contacted the National Gambling Helpline that year. This also implies that female gambling addiction is more covert, and few women seek help.
By contrast, 90% of male problem gamblers who called in were seeking help for themselves, while only 41% of females did the same. Namely, they more frequently phoned to share their concern about someone else’s gambling addiction. This is no surprise since it’s believed that four to seven other people are adversely affected by every compulsive gambler’s habit, and women disproportionately so.
15. In the year to April 2020, 9,008 Brits with gambling addiction sought help.
In the UK, only about 3% of gambling addicts receive the necessary support and therapy. Since statistics on gambling addiction by NHS Digital put the number of problem gamblers in England alone at 280,000 in 2018, and a 2020 YouGov survey turned up potentially as many as 1.4 million across the Isles, this is a dangerously low rate.
Men, mostly in their 20s or 30s, constituted the vast majority of those undergoing treatment in the year to the end of March 2020, accounting for 75% of all cases. However, the number of women seeking help increased as well. As gambling addiction demographics show, 25% of the patients that year were female, compared with just 19% in 2015-2016.
Who Are the Better Gamblers?
16. Are women better gamblers than men?
(Vegas Slots Online)
It’d appear that they are. Women trounce men in sports betting, according to 2019 online gambling statistics. Females who placed wagers on matches over the internet had an average return of 19.79%. Males, on the other hand, lost at an average of 4.6%.
Furthermore, males in the 25-34 age bracket lost at a rate of 8.74%, while women in the same age group had a 127% win rate, with those aged 35-44 approaching 130%, far outperforming their male counterparts’ meagre 0.88%. Only women in the 45-54 age range faced losses, of 61.72%. Conversely, their male peers tended to make a 16.9% profit.
17. When it comes to other forms of gambling, both genders tend to lose.
(Vegas Slots Online)
According to the same men vs women gambling statistics, the cards are stacked against both genders in online casino games. Again, males lost more in them (47%) than females did (24.07%). The same was true of poker, where women again struck out at a lower rate (38%) than men (41.69%).
Men vs Women Gambling Habits
18. Slot machines are more popular among females than males.
International gambling gender statistics suggest that 73.5% of men prefer other casino games over slot machines, which were only favoured by 26.5% of them.
The same isn’t true of women since 34% of them said slots were their casino game of choice, whereas 66% opted for one of the others on offer. Namely, nearly 60% had played bingo in the month before the survey, making it ladies’ top choice, whereas 40% were partial to sports betting.
19. Women gamble to have fun and socialise, whilst men—to compete and showcase skill.
(Female First) (Cool Things)
Men vs women gambling preferences suggest that, in general, gals tend to enjoy games that involve numbers such as Keno and Bingo much more than guys do. On the other hand, lads mostly bet on sports online, play various poker games, and gamble on slot machines. Men also tend to switch up the games they play, while women like spending their time on a particular one.
Men vs Women Gambling in Other Countries
20. In Sweden, more women than men were addicted to gambling in 2019.
The female gambling addiction numbers in Sweden buck the trend of it being, by and large, a male issue. A study conducted in this country in 2019 showed that out of 45,000 Swedish citizens with this problem, 64% were women. This was a sharp rise from 2015 when just 18% of female residents had been classified as addict-level problem gamblers.
Women in treatment for this vice reported more online casino gambling than men did, who in turn played far more poker and the ponies and bet on sports heavily. However, almost equal proportions of females and males were into the lottery, slot machines, and bingo.
21. In the United States, men lay bets on sports more than women do.
Following the lifting of the ban on sports betting in the USA in 2018, a number of states legalised it. A poll conducted in February 2020 on male vs female gambling on sports matches found that 20% of American men polled had bet on them, while just 7% of the female respondents said the same.
Cashing in Our Chips
As we’ve seen, while British males are slightly more likely to gamble, females aren’t lagging too far behind—they’re perhaps just better at hiding it. Answering questions such as “how addictive is gambling” has helped us understand why this vice takes over men’s lives much more often, though.
We’ve also learned the painful truth about the average income of gamblers from this activity, namely that it’s generally in the negative, albeit less so for women. Either way, we hope that these men vs women gambling statistics have dispelled any preconceived notions you might’ve had about the genders and their respective likelihoods of losing the shirt off of their backs.