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Study Suggests Gender Has Little Effect On Experience Of Gambling-Related Crimes

In a recent study, two researchers look at gambling-related crimes and harms through the lens of gender differences.

Gambling Study
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Derek Helling Avatar
3 mins read

The only way to appropriately address any issue is to fully understand it. Many people are doing research on gambling-related behavior and one of the foremost among them is Dr. Michelle Malkin.

Along with Dr. Michele Stacey, Malkin recently published a new study, “Gender Differences in Gambling-Related Harms and Gambling-Motivated Crime.” The survey data suggest that these experiences do not fluctuate greatly depending on gender.

Malkin is an assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology at East Carolina University and director of the Gambling Research and Policy Initiative. Stacey is an associate professor of criminal justice and criminology at ECU.

Malkin’s and Stacey’s latest work

The study, which was published in the Journal of Gambling Issues on May 28, explores several issues. Those are:

  • Do social and economic gambling-related harms vary by gender?
  • Does gambling-motivated crime vary by gender?
  • How are social and economic gambling-related harms related to gambling-motivated crime and does the relationship between social and economic gambling-related harms and gambling-motivated crime vary by gender?
  • What types of gambling-motivated crimes are most likely to lead to a criminal conviction and does the relationship between crime type and conviction vary by gender?

To try to answer those questions, Malkin and Stacey conducted “a survey of active Gambler’s Anonymous (GA) members … at a large Midwestern United States GA conference.” The data consisted of 195 responses to the survey.

Many of the findings met expectations while there were some surprises.

Key findings from the study

Some of the survey questions revealed significant gender differences. For example, “56% of men and 16% of women reported starting [gambling] prior to the age of 18.”

At the same time, the data reveal that “there were also few significant differences as to which gambling-related harms men and women faced.” There were high rates of lost employment, lost relationships with family members, and the need to borrow money to cover gambling losses regardless of gender.

Furthermore, “there was no statistical significance based on gender in the types of potential criminal/legal gambling-related harms.” Also, “there were no significant differences in the number of reported gambling-motivated crimes by gender.”

As a result, Malkin and Stacey conclude that “the results generally do not suggest variation by gender either in gambling-related harms or gambling-motivated crime.” Rather, “analysis shows that there are some connections between social and economic gambling-related harms and gambling-motivated crime.”

Applications of this study for interested parties

As Malkin and Stacey point out, one of the clearest suggestions of this study is that people working with others who are seeking help for problem gambling should note that the harms experienced by people struggling with problem gambling and the crimes they may have committed will not differ greatly depending on gender. There is more to consider, however.

Malkin and Stacey also discuss the “compounding effect of these consequences” as “an increase in the number of consequences experienced significantly increasing the likelihood of committing a gambling-motivated crime.” Thus, the more harm experienced, the more likely criminal behavior became.

That suggests the best method of preventing gambling-motivated crimes like forgery and theft is early treatment of gambling-related behavioral pathologies. The more related harms, like financial difficulties and social isolation, that are circumvented, the less likely a person is to resort to criminal activity.

While that premise might not be anything ground-breaking, the data emphasize the correct focus in treatment of managing harms instead of expending resources on potential gender differences. This survey suggests that when it comes to the consequences of problem gambling, gender makes little difference.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

View all posts by Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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