ADELAIDE, Australia — In any casino, there are many signs that an individual’s gambling habits have gotten out of hand. While being out of money or spending too much time at the slot machines can lead anyone to blow some steam, a recent study found that men and women have different telltale signs that they’ve gambled beyond their means.
More specifically, men were more apt to showing signs of rage after a tough outing, while women tended to break down emotionally and may even begin to come so undone their hair and makeup becomes noticeably unkempt.
Researchers in Australia looked at data from two studies conducted on frequent gamblers in the country to get a closer look at negative behavior. Combined, the studies examined 1,185 people split nearly evenly between sexes, with 338 participants being identified as “problem gamblers.”
While men and women showed the same symptoms of problem gambling, their behavior that casino staff could view as “red flags” were markedly different, the researchers found. Men were more likely than women to report feelings of extreme anger and frustration when they lose, while women were more likely to show visible signs of sadness, such as crying and other signs of depression.
That means you’re more likely to spot a man kicking an unlucky slot machine or creepily hovering over other gamblers to scare them away from a seat they identify as belonging to them, the researchers say. Flustered men are also more likely to give casino workers attitude when their chip stash begins to dwindle.
“Behaviors that are most clearly distinctive of gambling problems in male patrons included clear and visible signs of distress, asking for loans from a venue and attempts to conceal their presence in venues from family and friends,” says study co-author Anna Thomas, manager of the Australian Gambling Research Centre, in a news release. “For female patrons, asking a venue for a loan or a noticeable decline in personal grooming are particular indicators of which staff should take note.”
Thomas says it’s important for casino workers to identify signs of a gambler who may need to be removed from the floor. She says spotting a struggling woman might be more common because women are more likely to appear visibly distressed and look like a cosmetics department disaster.
“This suggests that it may be easier to detect variations in behavior for female gamblers than for males,” she says. “It also means that staff may need to spend more time watching potential male problem gamblers before they can be confident that they are displaying behaviour that is different from other male gamblers.”
The full study was published in the Journal of Gambling Studies.