Quebec Study Details More Women Embracing Online Gaming

  • A new study reveals that women in Quebec have started online gambling during the pandemic.
  • Women tend to prefer games of chance like slots and lottery tickets, and enjoy lower stakes and longer game durations.
  • Online gaming platforms are increasingly appealing to both genders, with more slot games and complex themes available to cater to various interests and tastes.

Online gaming continues to grow in Canada and in the U.S, and a new study also shows a particular segment of the Canadian population is taking to playing some slots or other games online in recent years – women.

A 2021 survey was recently released after questioning 4,500 Quebec citizens about their gambling habits. Researchers were a bit surprised that the study pointed out that a higher proportion of women reported “starting or migrating to online gambling during the pandemic, although more men than women reported engaging in such activities.”

Researchers also reported that gamblers of both sexes can become associated with problem gaming.

“While gambling has generally been associated with men, women are not immune to addiction due to problematic habits,” said Sylvia Kairouz, a professor in Concordia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology told Canadian Press.

Differing gaming habits

As part of the study, researchers found some differing gaming preferences among men and women. Female players generally gravitate toward games of chance like slots and lottery tickets. They tend to see gaming as more of a time for “rest and relaxation.”

On the male side, Kairouz noted that men often favor table games, such as blackjack and craps, as well as poker. Anyone playing a poker tournament has seen the disparity among the sexes in the player field. A poker tournament generally features around 4-6% women, but companies have worked to change that in recent years.

More women’s only events have become a part of many live and online poker tournament series. Companies like PokerStars and the World Poker Tour are making significant efforts to reach women as well. In February, the WPT announced several new ladies events as part of the WPT schedule throughout 2023. Will the efforts work? That remains to be seen.

Perhaps fitting for a more relaxed approach to their gaming habits, including online play, the study also noted that women tend to enjoy lower stakes and games that last a lengthier time as well.

As more jurisdictions across North America allow legalized online gaming, the study shows that the gap among the genders may be closing. Some researchers also note that this may be a result of women traditionally being underrepresented in gaming surveys.

Reaching out to women

A quick look at online gaming sites might show that more platforms are trying to appeal across genders. If women favor slots and games that last longer, then it’s important to note that gaming platforms have added more and more slots in recent years.

Modern slots now offer something for almost every interest with more complex themes and narratives. Pop culture icons from film, TV, and music continue growing in popularity among players and slot manufacturers are delivering in this regard. There almost seems to be something for every interest, taste, and gender.

Perhaps the overall trend toward more women embracing online gaming also coincides with a generation of women that grew up playing more traditional video games. Mobile gaming has only enhanced this growth and that may be carrying over to online slots and other games.

A 2019 study by Google Play found that 65% of women ages 10 to 65 consider themselves gamers. That accounts for almost 50% of all global video game players. Women in Asian markets, including India, Japan, and China, are particularly interested in video games, according to the study. Some of those interests in why women game also seem to correspond with the online gaming survey.

“Women who play want the flexibility to explore titles and play at their own pace, in a way that fits
with their mood, schedule and lifestyle,” the Google Play study notes. “As a result, they are drawn to a variety of titles and different devices that fulfill this multimodal style of play.”

Concerns about problem gaming?

When it comes to the gaming industry, problem gambling is always a concern. Those thoughts are also carried over from the results of the Quebec study. Statistics Canada notes that 2% of men are of moderate to high risk of addiction problems.

For women, that’s about 1% and combined, these figures equated to about 304,000 Canadians. While women make up a lower percentage of possible problem gamblers, experts argue that women are more reluctant to seek help than men.

Kairouz believes the focus of her study and gaming habits can help provide not just information about how women gamble, but also provide some insight on some of these problem gaming concerns.

“The data, if you don’t distinguish between women and men, is much more reflective of the male reality,” she told Canadian Press. “We know that women’s reality is totally different: the meaning they give to gambling and the function of escape and compensation in their lives are much more present.”

Sean Chaffin is a longtime freelance writer, editor, and former high school journalism teacher. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M University, his work has appeared in numerous publications and websites. Sean has covered the gaming and poker industry for many years and also writes about about numerous other topics.