Rise in South African women at online casinos sparks warning over problem gambling issues

  • Online casinos and betting increasingly popular among South African women
  • Non-profit¬†organization warns of particular problem gambling dangers for females

Women in South Africa are increasingly taking their seats at the casino table next to their male counterparts, but they appear no less susceptible to the perils of problem gambling.

Remote gambling, i.e. not in a land-based venue, is more popular among South African woman, where the leisure activity is on the rise.
Remote gambling, i.e. not in a land-based venue, is more popular among South African woman, where the leisure activity is on the rise.

The market for gambling among females is on the rise, but with it come fears of the possible negative effects.

According to the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, as much as 51% of South African women gamble, a figure which has caused suprise by some in the sub-Saharan African nation.

The non-profit making organisation was formed to promote responsible gambling in South Africa and stated that unlike many men, female gamblers experience anxiety as a result of problem gambling.

Getting into the psychology

SARGF’s treatment and counseling manager, Heidi Sinclair, professed that many women find online gambling very attractive as opposed to land-based venues.

“Female gamblers are getting more involved in online gambling because they find it very safe as opposed to frequenting land based venues. It is also interesting to note that women gamblers enjoy playing games that require less strategies. These include slot machines and bingo,” she said.

While female gamblers enjoy the thrills that come with winning, Sinclair noted that losing often resulted in more psychological issues among women as compared to men.

These psychological issues result in clinical anger issues, intimate partner violence, impulsiveness, alcohol and substance abuse.

“Most lady gamblers experience intense anxiety. This is typical of the condition, which is most often accompanied by other disorders. But while this may take the form of psychological issues with women, male gamblers usually often present with alcoholism or drug addiction,” she noted.

Women more likely to gamble to ‘dangerous degree’

Interestingly, Sinclair divulged that while while many people gamble for different reasons, women are more likely to gamble extensively to a more ‘dangerous degree’.

“When gaming serves a psychological need like this, there is a greater likelihood that the individual will develop a problematic habit,” she stated.

She went on to add that due to excessive gambling, health issues then become a cause for concern for women.

SARGF has put in place a toll free hotline to help problem gamblers. This is in addition to providing eight free face-to-face counselling sessions.

These sessions are meant to equip problem gamblers with the skills they need to overcome their addiction. In severe cases, the foundation will also assist in providing a self-exclusion order.

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