And this video will give you a quick glimpse of the reasons behind the increase in female players, countries that are leading the board with the most number of female gamblers, and women’s betting behaviors compared to men.
How iGaming has changed gambling worldwide
Online gambling has had a steady upwards trajectory ever since the first gambling site was launched a bit over two decades ago. Slowly but surely, gambling sites have caught up with the local betting shops and brick and mortar casinos, both in terms of game selection and popularity.
Especially in the last decade, the industry has really been booming. And this undeniably has a lot to do with the introduction of smartphones and tablets.
When the first iPhone was launched back in 2007, it pretty much revolutionised the world. And since iGaming companies have always been quick to get on board with new technology, it wasn’t surprising to see many brands take full advantage of the opportunities this new technology presented.
Fast-forward thirteen years, and we’ve got a thriving entertainment industry that’s very much geared towards mobile users.
Technology has created a more diverse customer group
The easy access provided by modern technology has made gambling mainstream.
Furthermore, online gambling has also created a more diverse audience and challenged the common perception of the stereotypical casino player or punter.
For a long time, gambling was mostly associated with men, but that’s rapidly changing. In fact, recent studies show that women gamble online more than ever.
Most studies confirm that between 30 and 40% of today’s iGaming customers are women.
However, the statistics vary depending on which market you’re looking at. Sweden seems to have the largest percentage of female casino players (32%), followed by the UK (30%), Italy (21%) and Spain (18%).
According to the Swedish gambling commission, Spelinspektionen, the number of Swedish female players is even higher than that. And albeit there are some discrepancies when it comes to the exact numbers, we can conclude that Sweden has the largest percentage of female casino players.
Women’s game preferences and gaming habit
Recent studies reveal a lot about women’s gambling habits. A decade ago, women would mainly play bingo and poker, but nowadays, female players are playing slots and table games as well.
And so far there doesn’t seem to be that many female sports betting players in the industry.
Women spend more money gambling
There are also significant differences in how women place bets. For the most part, women deposit in smaller amounts.
According to Optimove, their average deposit amount is around €38.76 compared to the average amount of deposit by men, which is about €54.14. However, women deposit more frequently (approximately 32 times a year compared to men who deposit about 19 times a year) and therefore end up spending more money on online gambling annually.
Women also prove to be more loyal customers than men. On average, female players stay longer with a casino once they’ve signed up.
Women play more on mobile
Another data set from Optimove suggests that more women (59%) bet on mobile than men (52%), which again speaks to how the iGaming industry has changed women’s attitude towards gambling.
What the iGaming industry’s most prominent markets tell us about women’s gambling habits
There’s a lot of research about women’s gambling habits online.
However, it can be hard to discern what’s actually true and determine how these studies have been conducted.
To get a better understanding of women’s online gambling habits, we’ve looked at reports from the gambling commissions of two of the world’s most booming online gaming markets.
The UK reports a steady increase in female gamblers
The UK Gambling Commission’s report from 2019, Gambling participation in 2019: behaviour, awareness and attitudes, reveals that 43% of adults that have gambled in the last 12 months are women. And that’s a 2% increase from the previous year.
The study also shows that the number of women who gamble online frequently has increased by 2% compared to the previous year.
If we look at a more extended period, we can clearly see that online gambling has become more popular among women. In 2015, only 11% of players who play on a weekly basis were women, compared to 17% last year.
More than half of all active Swedish players are women
Sweden has been at the forefront of the online gaming industry for decades. And the Swedish gambling commission, Spelinspektionen, has been meticulously monitoring the Swedes gambling habits for years.
The most recent research on differences in gambling habits between men and women (link in Swedish) was published in March 2018. Surprisingly enough, the report shows that Swedes mainly gamble on horse racing and lotteries. And 25% of those who reported they had gambled on horse racing in the last year were women. Lottery games had an even higher score of 36 %, while casino and sports betting made up 4% and 5% respectively.
We need to be clear that this research covers all forms of gambling and therefore doesn’t accurately represent Sweden’s current iGaming trends. However, the same study also shows that one of the most popular gambling sites in Sweden is ATG.se – a betting site that focuses primarily on horse racing.
Another recent study on Swedish gambling habits (link in Swedish) speaks volumes of the Swedes’ love for online gambling. The research shows that 60% of Swedes have gambled in the last year. A third of this group have gambled in the last week, and 61% of these players are women.
This study also shows that horse racing and lotteries are still the most popular games amongst Swedes. However, 10% of the female gamblers have gone into sports betting, which is a 2% increase from the previous year.
The Swedish gambling commission’s report also supports the general notion that women play more on their phones than men. A third of all Swedes gamble on their phones, and 62% of all mobile players are women.
Lastly, Swedish health authorities recently conducted a study that tells a lot about women’s game preferences. According to the study, women have less interest in poker and sports betting, but when it comes to slots, bingo and lottery, it’s a fifty-fifty split.
Why are more women gambling online these days?
The statistics we’ve covered so far kind of answer this question.
The recent spike in female players can, at least to a rather large extent, be attributed to the easy access via tablets and smartphones. Other aspects to consider are the increased presence of gambling sites on social media platforms and changing advertising strategies.
The consensus from experts seems to be that women enjoy playing from the convenience of their homes. At the same time, some believe that online gambling has given more women the confidence to try their luck at brick and mortar casinos as well.
How casinos have adapted and targeted a female audience
You don’t have to read detailed reports to make some obvious observations about the current iGaming trends. Just by looking at how gambling sites market themselves these days, you can easily tell the target groups have changed.
Today’s betting sites and online casinos have a much more neutral design and brand tonality. And it’s clear they’re making an effort not to make women feel insulted or excluded.
Some brands have even tried to target women specifically, but most of them go for a gender-neutral brand image. This is particularly true when it comes to online casinos, as women love playing slots.
As a result, we also see these changing trends affect game development. For instance, today’s live casino games have a much more even distribution between male and female dealers and hosts. And slot manufacturers are definitely taking the female audience into consideration when designing new games.
Women and sports betting
Advertisements for sports betting are still primarily geared towards men, as they make up a very large portion of this customer group.
However, we might see that even-out with time. And in some countries, sports marketing for women has become more common.
Samantha Thomas, a gambling researcher at Deakin University in Geelong, Australia, describes how the sport betting trends are slowly shifting in the Australian market:
“What we’ve seen over the last 12 months is a change, not only in the tone of those ads, but we’re really starting to see much more gender-neutral ads and some ads we think would be particularly appealing for young women.”
Thomas explains that there are already some examples of female-focused sports betting campaigns. The most obvious example so far is CrownBet’s campaign with actress Nicky Whelan and various female Instagram influencers.
According to Thomas, a shift in gender roles over the last decades has gotten more women involved with sports. For instance, we now have more female sports commentators and fans in general. Therefore, it’s only natural to see more female punters too.
Women in the iGaming industry
Women are not only having an impact on the iGaming industry as customers. They also play a critical role behind the scenes.
The iGaming business is still a rather young and developing industry with women represented in all tiers of management. Bet365 founder and CEO, Denise Coates, obviously comes to mind, but there are many other successful women in iGaming too.
And even though the industry still has a lot of ground to cover when it comes to gender equality, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
42% of Malta’s iGaming workers are women
Malta has been one of Europe’s most important iGaming hubs for years. Many online gaming companies have set up shop here, and as a result, many iGaming employees work and reside in Malta.
The Maltese iGaming sector currently employs around 6,000 people, and many iGaming companies are actively striving to improve diversity and gender equality. And Christina Thakor – Rankin and Kelly Kehn – founders of the All-In Diversity Project – are passionate about supporting iGaming companies in this endeavour. Therefore, they’ve created the tools the industry needs to accurately measure diversity, inclusion and workplace equality.
According to the All-In Diversity Project, women currently make up 43% of the Maltese iGaming workforce. The most recent report also showed that women occupy 28% of all boardroom positions. And even though the iGaming industry still has a long way to go, this number surpasses the UK and US national averages.
We help you speak to the female iGaming audience
When you want to communicate towards women within (previously) predominantly masculine cultures (think about football fan culture), special attention needs to be paid to creating gender-inclusive communication. And we don’t mean colouring everything in pink. If you’re addressing female audiences you should emphasise respect, politeness, and your caring nature.
We’re not saying that you should overdo it with political correctness, but being careful with gendered language can help a big deal. English readers might not see it as a problem here since there aren’t even formal and informal versions of “you” as opposed to German, Spanish or so many other languages.
A male gambler or player is “Spieler” in German or “jugador” in Spanish, while the female version is “Spielerin” or “jugadora” respectively. And “players” is again “Spieler” in German but “jugadores” in Spanish for all-male or mixed teams, while an all-female squad would be “Spielerinnen” and “jugadoras” respectively.
In European languages alone, we use five different gender systems.
- English, Finnish, Hungarian, and Turkish have a no-gender system.
- Dutch, Swedish, and Danish have a common-neuter system where a masculine-feminine-neuter system previously existed, but the distinction between masculine and feminine genders has been lost (they have merged into what is called common gender). Standard Dutch does have a three-gender structure, which fell in disuse in the North of the Netherlands but remains very much alive in Flanders and the South of the Netherlands.
- Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese and Gaelic use a masculine-feminine system.
- While German, Norwegian, Icelandic, Greek, Russian, Polish, Czech, basically all Slavic languages, and Flemish are using a masculine-feminine-neuter system.
- And then you have Basque using an animate-inanimate system.
These are some of the things your iGaming website should be prepared for when it comes to website translation and localization.
In some cultures, women even use different words than men. Especially Japanese – which is already a potential linguistics minefield – is a great example here. Luckily, for you and your translated iGaming website, this only counts in spoken language where speech patterns associated to women are referred to as “onna kotoba” (女言葉, “women’s words”) or “joseigo” (女性語, “women’s language”), and those associated with men are referred to as “danseigo” (男性語, “men’s language”). Regardless, you still want to be careful of who you’re addressing.
How Nike is using localization to target female players
The iGaming business isn’t the only industry that’s seen the gender field level out in recent years.
And even though there’s still a considerable gap in participation, interest and pay for female athletes, things are slowly changing. It’s, of course, women themselves who are responsible for this change. However, big sports brands play a significant role in both reflecting and reinforcing these trends.
One of the companies that has promoted female sports most vigorously is U.S. sports giant Nike. Through a series of video ads, and other campaigns, Nike has focused heavily on its female customer group for quite some time. And if you visit Nike’s official website, you’ll notice that a majority of the imagery depicts women.
In other words, Nike is putting a lot of effort into speaking to its female audience.
Ads with compelling narratives
Nike uses different mediums to reach its intended target groups. And a combination of video and audio is probably the most powerful tool when it comes to inspiring dreams, instilling hope and getting different audiences to identify more with the brand.
Nike’s Dream Crazier is a one-minute video clip that depicts women in different sports. It’s a compilation of old and new video excerpts showing women excelling in various sports. At the same time, a monologue speaks of equal opportunity and how women are commonly held back or ridiculed when displaying strong emotions or ambition.
In Nike’s Dream Further ad, the American sports giant takes this concept one step further and created a well-produced three-minute-long ad speaking of women’s role in football.
The narrative is centred around a young girl’s dream of becoming a hero after winning an important game. With the closing caption of “don’t change your dreams, change the world,” this ad paints a very vivid and positive picture of the future of female sports. A future where women’s football receives the same international recognition as the men’s divisions have for decades.
Nike’s Dream With Us ad is a great example of how Nike uses localization to reinforce its brand and speak to a very specific demographic.
This ad specifically targets female athletes. It shows girls and young women of different ethnic backgrounds training and preparing for different sports. There’s an emphasis on popular sports like Baseball, American football, and mentions of the famous female athlete, Serena Williams.
And just like the other ads, the footage is reinforced with a well-written monologue that speaks of acceptance, equality, hope and inspiration.
How Nike increased female engagement by 55% in China
Nike has been pushing ads geared for women heavily worldwide. But lately, the Chinese market has required extra efforts. After learning that three out of five Chinese female athletes give up their sports by the time they’re 17, Nike decided to take its marketing efforts one step further.
Together with Mindshare China – one of the world’s largest advertising agencies – Nike constructed a massive campaign for International Women’s Day. The campaign was called “Back to the Beginning” and tells the true stories of female Chinese athletes who overcame limitations and achieved international success.
By placing ads at places linked to these stories, Nike really managed to create a buzz. For instance, a picture of basketball player Shao Ting was placed at the Shanghai Library. Ting was told she couldn’t both get a PhD and become a basketball star. She did, however, prove the doubters wrong by achieving both her goals.
Since many women weren’t aware of these stories, Nike used a lot of out-of-home (OOH) campaigns to build this awareness. What this means is that ads were placed in public places to spike curiosity and engage people on their own turf. Nike also made it a point to execute these OOH campaigns in each chosen athlete’s hometown.
The “Back to the Beginning” campaign was immensely successful and drove more than 90 million comments on social media channels. And according to Mindshare, the campaign led to a 53% increase in female engagement.
It’s about emotions, not products
The most significant part of Nike’s way of speaking to a female audience is that the dialogue doesn’t revolve around the brand’s products.
Nike has put a lot of resources into studying the behaviour and engagement of its female audience. And the most significant takeaway has been that brands shouldn’t talk about themselves, but rather speak to women on their own terms.
Nike has learned that it’s not about trying to convince women about the wonders of their latest sneakers, but rather about making them develop positive feelings towards the brand. And looking at last year’s ads, this strategy becomes blatantly apparent.
Slogans like “Dream With Us”, “It’s only crazy until you do it” and “Don’t change your dream. Change the world” send a strong message that Nike is on the women’s side. The impression given is that Nike doesn’t primarily want to sell you a product, but rather seeks to join, or perhaps be at the frontline of, the fight for increased gender equality and social justice in sports.
What we can learn from Nike
Women are clearly playing an increasingly significant role in the iGaming landscape as consumers, leaders and innovators.
The iGaming industry has never been known to be stagnant, and if you want to stay ahead, you need to be in tune with current trends, regardless of what field you’re in.
With frequently changing regulations and market trends, there are undoubtedly many things to stay on top of. And one of the most important things right now is to make sure your brand’s voice is suitable for the female iGaming audience.
Developing the right tone and content strategy for a female audience in a particular market takes a certain level of insight, product and market knowledge and cultural familiarity. And as iGaming content specialists, we can assist in all these areas.
By localizing your content, we make sure your voice is heard and appreciated by women in any iGaming market.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s’s blog post “How Are Women Changing the Online Gambling industry?”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂