Women & Gambling Disorder (update 2024)



Literature and studies that specificallyfocus on women and problem gambling are still scarce – in Italy, in Europe andacross the globe. Available data are frequently extrapolated from researchstudies in mostly male samples. Nevertheless, access of women to diversegambling opportunities is increasing, and consequently, more and more women areinvolved in gambling and develop related problems. A health authority surveyfrom Sweden indicated that, for the first time, in 2019 most of Swedes withgambling problems are women (Romild, 2019;https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-47814630). Similar tendencies areobservable in the USA a, in Asia and in northern Europe too. Now we get updatesabout the increasing comorbidity and gravity of gambling disorder in womengamblers in UK and Sweden, with a new challenge for clinician and researchers.

Increases in gambling activity and relatedproblems among women may be related to ever-expanding online gamblingopportunities and "new game forms" on the internet with changinggaming patterns and aggressive advertising targeted at women. Previous researchhas suggested that gambling problems among women are often underestimated,although they can have a severe impact on their social and personal life. Asindicated in our recent research, many women face grave barriers when seekingtreatment and it is particularly difficult to find female-oriented treatmentoptions. Worldwide, only a few – albeit interesting – female-specific treatmentapproaches have been studied and these remain unknown to most clinicians.

What do we do?

It is the hope and aim of our group togather information about all efforts dedicated toward improving this situation,and to share, discuss and improve ongoing research and clinical work worldwide.I (Fulvia Prever), together with many other colleagues from across the globe,have tried to build on this idea and gave birth to an international andtranscultural network and an innovative manual " Gambling Disordersin Women. An International Female Perspective on Treatment and Research”edited by H. Bowden Jones& F. Prever, translated in several languages. Thisnetwork brought together many female professionals with diverse cultural andprofessional backgrounds and high expertise in problem gambling and gamblingdisorder among women. During the past decade, and thanks to the EASG, we havebeen represented in dedicated Women sessions and round tables at everyconference and you can find this dedicated slot on the EASG website.

This is a space where you can connect with me and the group and shareyour ideas. This will help us to develop new collaborations for futureresearch and conference presentations.


What did we learn?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, withprolonged lockdowns and increased anxiety and depression, women have a special role in their families and carry aparticular burden. Many were working while handling children care, elderlycare, and often facing difficult relationship. This led to an increase ofdomestic violence in many countries and could provoke an urge to escape from atough reality. The long period of closure of casinos and other gambling venuescould be seen as an opportunity for some female problem gamblers – but it mightalso provoke a shift to online gambling and to new or intensifiedgambling-related problems.

Weexperienced, for the first time, a universal and complete closure of“in-person” gambling and we observed what was happening to women in treatment.Many female gamblers reported a sense of relief – finally, they did not have tostruggle to stay away from gambling venues and were able to concentrate ontheir treatment and explore new (and more adaptive) coping mechanisms. Very fewItalian women – like those from Mediterranean countries and South America –shifted to online gambling and many perceived this time as an opportunity toovercome their gambling problems. Women with gambling problems who were notreceiving treatment during pandemic, often caught in a stressful situation,might shift to other maladaptive coping mechanisms such as eating problems, alcohol,or legal drugs abuse: indeed, prescription requests for antidepressants haveincreased during this period. As clinicians, we were tasked with finding newways to engage with our patients and clients to support them from a (physical)distance. For example, in our women’s treatment group in Milano, we producedvideos to describe our shared experience of this unprecedented time. Ournetwork is here – engaged and connected – sharing observations and ideas fromeach country and continent. We tried to find new tools, both diagnostic and clinical ones, from a femaleperspective, to support women and improve research andto be able to provide evidence-based data and treatment options and finally,prevention programs tailored to the specific needs of women withgambling disorder, respectively. Moreover, we want toimplement women friendly policies, really protective fromgambling harms in this specific population, both in European and Internationallandscape.

Where are we going?

In those times, when internationalin-person conferences and meetings were difficult to organize, we explored newways to keep in touch, support ourselves during pandemic and promote ourstudies; that’s how a new book on women’s behavioural addictions wasborn, and has been published in June 2023 https://www.routledge.com/Behavioural-Addiction-in-Women-An-International-Female-Perspective-on-Treatment/Prever-Blycker-Brandt/p/book/9781032067025#


Pleaseuse the following link / email address to join the network and get updates onall our proposals and activities: fulvia.prever@gmail.com

Afterthe great success in Oslo Conference 2022, we are preparing for next outstandingConference EASG 2024, in our beautiful Rome! We are so happy to finally organize in Italy these womensessions and round table – same winning format - a female perspective and agender approach.

It has been such an appealing andproductive idea, going on since 2014, that seemed to be a hint for many other componentsof the conference!

Get in touch to have the chance to shareyour work in a very special session! Check www.easg2022.org for more info.


Fulvia Prever, Psychologist,Psychotherapist Scientific Director of Women&Gambling Project SUNNCOOP-Italy,

EASG International Referral forWomen&Gambling Addictions,

ISSBA International Referral for BehaviouralAddiction in Women.

President of Varenna Foundation

Mobile 0039 3477021129

Fulvia Prever

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