Male Problem Gamblers More Prone to Violence, Says New UK Study

Posted on: September 7, 2016, 07:00h. 

Last updated on: September 7, 2016, 06:05h.

male gamblers more violent University of Lincoln
Male gamblers are more likely to engage in a violent fight than non-gamblers, but it’s unclear if the same holds true for women. (Image:

Male gamblers are more likely to become violent, and as problem gaming worsens, the intensity of the violence becomes more severe. That’s according to a new study conducted by the University of Lincoln in England and published by the Addiction journal.

Researchers evaluated 3,025 men ranging from 18 to 64 years of age from various socio-economic backgrounds to determine if they had ever engaged in violent behavior. Violent behavior was defined as a physical altercation, assault, deliberately attacking someone, using a weapon, and other malicious acts.

The study also inquired on whether the violence was performed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and asked respondents about their personal gambling habits.

Eighty percent, or 2,420 of the respondents, said they had gambled at some point in their lifetime.

Shockingly, 50 percent of pathological gamblers reported being in a physical altercation in the last five years. And 45 percent of problem gamblers and 28 percent of those who identified themselves as casual gamblers admitted to being involved in some sort of fight over the same time period.

Comparatively, only 19 percent of non-gambling males reported being involved in a violent situation.

“Our study examined a nationally representative sample of males and confirmed strong links between problematic gambling and violent behaviors,” lead researcher Dr. Amanda Roberts said in a statement.

Almost one-third of pathological gamblers and a quarter of problem gambles also cited being intoxicated during a violent bout.

“The results reinforce the view that public health efforts to prevent problem gambling should include education around violence, and that there could be value in integrating those efforts with alcohol and drug abuse programs,” Roberts concluded.

Men Against Men

It’s no secret men commit far more violent crimes than women worldwide, and that certainly holds true in the US as well. One theory for that is the average male body is simply larger than a female’s, putting men are at an inherent advantage in a physical altercation, and thus violence becomes more attractive.

The Centers for Disease Control says the average height and weight of an American man is 69.3 inches and 195.5 pounds. That’s considerably more than the average woman at 63.8 inches and just 166.2 pounds.

The American Society of Criminology (ASC) says men represent 90 percent of the country’s known murderers, and almost 80 percent of all violent offenders are men.

But men aren’t exclusively taking their violence out on women. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.

The ASC says men are predominantly the victims of violence. Men represent four out of five homicide fatalities (80 percent) and 66 percent of robbery victims.

Female Study Needed

It’s unclear whether the University of Lincoln will continue its research by focusing on whether women also become more violent the more they gamble.

According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the gap between male and female gambling is dwindling, as is the compulsive gambling rate. The NCPG also reveals a startling statistic that 95 percent of women gamblers are “escape gamblers.”

Typical machines associated with escape gambling include slots, lottery, and bingo, aka games that require little mental engagement. Of course, those games also come with some of the worst odds in the entire casino.

The NCPG also states women tend to begin gambling at later ages than men, but develop problems more quickly.