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More Women Getting Hooked on Gambling Online

Gambling addiction is rising sharply among women, and experts blame the Internet.

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By Bryan Le

03/25/13

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More women are turning to online gambling as a way to wind down after work, and many are getting hooked, reports The Independent newspaper. “Instead of going out drinking, women are coming home from work and switching on the PC. Many are in demanding careers and want to be able to escape at the end of the day while remaining in control in a way they would not be after drinking or taking drugs,” says UK addiction specialist Liz Karter. “Then they can return to the real world and at first there are no side effects—only later do the problems really start when the habit sets in.” UK industry-funded organization GamCare reports that it received 54,000 calls from women about online gambling last year—up 44% from 2011. Of course the problem isn't restricted to Brits: Gambling addiction expert and author Marilyn Lancelot tells The Fix that over the past 15 years, the proportion of women in Gambler's Anonymous in the US has soared from 8% to 50%, and online betting is likely to be partially responsible. “I have a friend who had 10 years of recovery and lost thousands of dollars on the computer, at home in her pajamas,” she explains. Easy access and privacy make online gambling an easy habit to get addicted to, she continues: “Once [gamblers] feel comfortable, they can gamble away without anyone looking over their shoulders or telling them, 'Don’t you think you’ve gambled enough?'” And betting sites will often enable addicts, even tempting those who have requested to be banned from the site. “Many contact the companies to ask to be banned from gambling, which they are,” explains Karter. “Then they receive an email a week or two later from a subsidiary website offering them free cash saying, 'We miss you'. Would your local pub offer you free whisky to feel better two weeks into a drying-out period?”

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