There’s no denying that gambling’s been with us for centuries – and even millennia – with strong evidence that even in Roman times games of dice were a very popular pastime.
However for much of this time it has been a predominantly male preserve, whether in smoky rooms playing poker, at frankly unwelcoming bookmakers and even in relatively swish casinos. But recent years have started to see a change with, according to the Gambling Commission, more and more women being attracted by the chance of a bit of fun or, even better, a big win.
It’s not 100% true to say that women have never been involved in games of chance before. For decades bingo halls were a very popular meeting place and, at its peak, there were thousands of them up and down the country. But with the advent of online gaming it has captured the imagination of a whole new generation of women and introduced them to a far wider range of activities.
The trend started with gaming on laptops and home PCs but it is with the smartphone revolution that the phenomenon with female gaming has really taken off. It’s now so quick and easy to spend a few minutes here and there enjoying a game online whether waiting for a train or travelling on one, in the lunch break or just when catching a few minutes’ peace in a busy day.
Naturally, the online casinos themselves have been quick to catch on to this trend and to create a wide number of female-friendly apps and games.
This has not only led to a resurgence of bingo, with actual communities of players being replaced by online equivalents, there has also been an explosion in the number of online slots games by operators such as 888casino designed specifically with women players in mind. These range from ones which closely mimic popular online games like the Candy Crush Saga to others which feature characters that female players can identify with. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter also help to spread the word about these games and foster that all-important sense of community.
That’s not to say that it’s only the games of pure luck that are appealing to this new generation of gamblers. There’s also a rising number of women honing their skills at that perennial male game of poker. Whereas going head to head in a real casino against a table of poker-faced men would be an intimidating experience for anyone, the anonymity of the online experience makes a very welcome change. It’s also the perfect arena in which to learn the skills of the game in an unpressured environment.
There’s some evidence to suggest that this is also leading to more and more women, having got to grips with the online game, then putting their skills to the test in real casinos. One only has to look at a number of successful women players at this year’s World Series of Poker too see this phenomenon in action.
And now, once the momentum has begun, there’s every reason to believe that we’ll be seeing even more and more women gambling both online and in casinos – another move towards equality which, many would say, has been a long time coming.