Women are a betting market ripe with potential. Operators and others just need to seize on it, say industry experts who were part of the “Betting on Women” panel Thursday at the SBC Summit Latinoamérica at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
“We’re seeing a lot of interest and growth in women’s sports, but are we seeing the same in betting on those sports? Yes. The same trend is happening on the betting side,” said Silvia Paleari, director of public affairs for the International Betting Integrity Association, noting an increase of 20% of bettors and volume of bets on women’s soccer this year. “It’s a strong message about how the betting industry can invest more in women’s sports.
“We looked at women versus men as bettors. The share of betting on women’s sports has doubled over the past five years and we expect that will continue to grow,” she added. “There is definitely a business opportunity that should be harvested and operators should focus some attention on it.”
Lauren Seiler, founder of Global Gaming Advisors, said the growth in female bettors tracks statistics outside of gaming.
“Women in the workforce had been stagnant since the 1990s, but that statistic is now up to nearly 60%. That means they have more disposable income, so there are more opportunities to get that spend,” she said. “It’s a fairly missed business opportunity if we’re not catering to women specifically. There is a pretty notable ROI when investing in capturing more of the female wallet share, no matter what your business is.”
It’s not just women bettors. Quite a surge in interest in women’s sports is coming from all genders.
“There has been a huge increase in interest in women’s sports and the World Cup certainly helped,” said Val Calvo Martinez, CEO of Bettingladies.com, noting that one billion people watched the 2019 Women’s World Cup, while but two billion watched the 2023 Cup. She also said the audience for the WNBA draft grew 42 percent year over year in 2023. “I hope all regulators realize this is an opportunity. But we want to see more.”
The biggest issue, panelists agreed, is the lack of data on women’s sports.
“Women understand the sport and are interested in betting, but is there enough education on telling them how to bet?” Calvo Martinez asked. “Having that education and confidence to make that first bet is important. Is the information catered to women? If not, that’s a missed opportunity .”
Julyana Simoes, panregional sales manager for Futbol Sites, said male superstars get a lot of attention in society and women need more.
“Women stars aren’t getting the same respect from bettors. So having more content from women and for women would help,” she said, adding the social-media influencers are helping to fill that gap. “We need more public interest, so we need more media coverage. To have more media coverage, we need more public interest. So what comes first? But it is a lot better now.”
She said that imbalance has an effect on advertising. “The advertising is made for men. I don’t see a lot of research asking women what they think about betting or how they feel about it. It’s not for us.”
Seiler says that extends to the overall women’s-sports business model.
“We need to have a full-blown upgrade on how we structure some of these women’s teams from a business perspective to do a better job of attracting investment and opportunities for sponsorships,” she said. “As an industry, we can do a better job of incorporating women athletes as brand ambassadors.”