Women have long been associated with gambling, often in a negative light. Women may either engage in gambling themselves, become problem gamblers themselves, or experience its negative repercussions through someone they care for’s gambling addiction.

Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane and Pearl Hart challenged society with their daring and daredevil acts. These women created a new stereotype of Wild West women.


Modern society allows women who must juggle careers and family the option of gambling online from home, which opens up an entirely new market and reduces some of the stigma attached to female gambling.

In the old West, cowboys and gold miners congregated at saloons to play various gambling games. Women were usually assigned specific entertainment roles – madams or prostitutes – with many seen as good luck charms or helpers.

As filmmaking became more sophisticated and pre-code movies ushered in, actresses such as Barbara Stanwyck became known for their roles in gambling movies. Although these depictions portrayed women breaking rules and beating odds, these depictions still portrayed gambling as male territory, relegating female gamblers to roles like “good luck charms”, sexy hookers or trouble makers; thus creating an imbalance in male versus female gambling today that still persists today despite women being equally prone to developing gambling issues as men when it comes to developing gambling problems.


Many people believe that women shouldn’t gamble, yet gambling has always been part of female experience – it was simply more prevalent among men until recently.

As early as the Roman empire, gambling was an extremely popular pastime across genders and classes alike. While gambling could be dangerous and addictive, many still enjoyed partaking in it – such as when rich aristocratic ladies would gather together and play faro together.

Star Spangled Banner and The Cincinnati Kid demonstrate the 1930s as being an era in which moral standards regarding gambling shifted, no longer depicted as illegal but seen as a legitimate profession; evidenced by Alice Huckert (also known as Poker Alice) of Deadwood as an example.

Women’s roles

Women are increasingly engaging with gambling, yet its industry remains male dominated and research on any associated harm suffered due to gambling for women is limited despite similar rates of injury experienced among both genders.

As the 1930s progressed, actors like Barbara Stanwyck appeared in an array of Hollywood movies portraying strong female characters that challenged traditional gendered roles within gambling films such as gambling. Her roles also served to question masculine hegemony of gambling-themed cinema.

Still, most films made during this era were subject to the Hays Code’s stringent censorship requirements and could not contain content that might offend or offend religious sensibilities such as violence without justification, coarse language or mixed marriages – among other restrictions.


As the gambling world shifts, women have made tremendous strides as both players and managers. Some casinos have even gone so far as rebranding themselves for greater family-friendliness.

Women have been instrumental in the gaming industry’s marketing and advertising. According to a recent study, young women reported gambling had become normalised for them and was seen as socially acceptable activity – possibly due to emerging technologies that remove some stigma or socially constructed barriers associated with gambling, while also encouraging greater equality and independence among young women.

Furthermore, several participants noted that gambling marketing had become more visible; advertisements could now be found both on television and the community, in sports events as well as integrated in them. This suggests the need for gendered approaches to gambling marketing and risk reduction programs similar to successful public health strategies in tobacco control – these could leverage successful public health approaches that have proven their efficacy at protecting public health from smoking harms.

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