Gambling advertisements are everywhere and with the rise of online gambling it is easier than ever to place a bet. Internet gambling has led to a massive increase in the amount of women who struggle with a gambling problem. Yet it appears that men and women gamble for very different reasons.Unfortunately, women who are addicted to gambling are rarely understood. Female gamblers are now more common than ever, yet online gambling websites are still advertised on television every day. One victim of online gambling sites was Caroline Shopland-Saich, a marketing executive who's been hitting the headlines this week. Caroline became addicted to online gambling two years ago, and recently used her company credit card to pay off £22,620 to Foxy Bingo. The credit card was given to Caroline by her employer Applegate Media, so she could buy vouchers as a reward for her most successful sales reps.
Soon after paying off the debt which she'd accrued over 21 months, Caroline walked into her local police station and confessed what she had done. Caroline admitted fraud, was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years. She was also ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid community work, and given a curfew of four months by Exeter Crown Court.
The judge's comments at Caroline's court hearing were somewhat controversial. If Caroline were addicted to drugs or alcohol, his comments may well have been very different. Judge John Neligan said, 'You were in a considerable position of trust and you breached that trust in a serious and damaging way.' He continued, 'Like many gamblers you thought the next one was going to be lucky but it wasn't. Your dishonesty has meant the company has suffered a considerable financial loss.'
But Caroline's loss is also a great one - she's lost her career, her community's respect, and her face is now being pasted across the front of the national newspapers.
Cultural anthropologist Natasha Dow Schull says there's a significant difference between male and female gamblers, and her comments seem to refute what Judge John Neligan claimed. Natasha says, “Men gamble for a cocaine-like rush [but] women for a methadone-like numbness.”
Caroline's case is, in this sense, typical - it is extremely difficult to identify a female gambler, because their actions are perfectly legal, but often kept secret. Unfortunately Caroline was not able to seek help, but there are a number of supportive groups out there. If you are worried about an addiction to gambling, don't suffer in silence - seek help today.