How do you recognize problematic games of chance

Signs of pathological gambling differ depending on the sexes!

Pathological gambling? The stakes go up, control over that Gaming habits is getting lost more and more: classic Signs of a problematic approach to gambling. This applies to men as well as women - when diagnosing a gambling addiction, the current tests and instruments used by experts make no distinction between the sexes.

A critical approach to games of chance is expressed, however partly different for women than for men. At least that's the finding of a recently published Australian study.

Players are more often aggressive

The survey results of a total of almost 1,200 gambling men and women, of which just under 350 exhibited problematic gambling behavior, were evaluated. The results were differences in behavior shown in public: Men reported more aggressive behavior towards slot machines (for example kicking or hitting them).

In addition, they are often rude to the staff in arcades and try to prevent other players from playing at a machine they consider "their" (for example because they are more likely to win or otherwise gamble on it). Women, on the other hand, showed more often (or more directly) the hardship they found themselves in as problematic gamblers - for example by crying in public.

Red flags for gaming behavior

Overall, it is easier for women to recognize problematic gambling behavior, commented the responsible studio manager Anna Thomas on the results of the investigation. In the case of men, on the other hand, you have to look longer and more carefully until you can see signs of problematic use of gambling. Because between problematic and regular (i.e. not problematic) male players, there are overall fewer observable differences in gaming behavior.

The head of the study speaks of “red flags”, which indicate a critical approach to games of chance - and should be the reason for other people - especially the staff in arcades and casinos - to step in and talk to these guests. According to her statement, red flags for female players are above all: Pumping up other guests as well as one Neglect of personal hygiene. In the case of men, too, attempts to borrow money from other guests draw a clear line between harmless recreational gamers and problem gamblers. Another red flag for players: when they are hiding from friends and family that they are in the arcade.

Head of study: Recognize problematic gambling behavior earlier

To avoid misunderstandings: Each of the above behaviors (e.g. aggressive behavior or hiding the game) is a warning sign of problematic gaming behavior. But apparently some of them have a particularly clear signaling effect, related to the respective gender.
The results of the study could be used to train the staff in gambling halls as well Casinos are even more aware of the early warning signs of problematic gambling is, according to the assessment of Anna Thomas.

It should be noted critically that the participants in the study probably always answered in line with their gender image. It is easier for men to talk about aggression in public than for women. Granted, however, that they cry should be easier for women. Despite this criticism, it makes sense to focus on the early warning signs of pathological gambling - and to recognize that there may be behavioral differences (for example between the sexes).

Player protection: Often there is a lack of implementation

We can only hope that the responsible employees at the venues will then act on the recognition - and (depending on the type of gambling and the country's legislation) react to the observed behavior: through conversations or, if possible, also banning others. Experience in Germany shows that this still happens far too rarely. Overall, there are comparatively few staff-initiated foreign bans in German casinos.
How players can help themselves, for example by seeking advice or initiating a self-ban, read under Help and Advice.


Delfabbro, P., Thomas, A., & Armstrong, A. (2017). Gender differences in the presentation of observable risk indicators of problem gambling, Journal of Gambling Studies, DOI: 10.1007 / s10899-017-9691-5