Is there a place for women in the online gambling industry?

Published on December 1, 2016 in Industry News

Women in online casinosSince the beginning of time there has been a battle between men and women, whether it’s who does it better, who knows better or who is more emotionally equipped. The gap between women and men is getting smaller as wages are becoming more equal, men can be housewives, and women can sport a high-paying job. It might still be a long time before your gender no longer defines you but the good news is that we’re getting there.

“We’ll be looking at gambling in online casinos and determine whether your gender affects the way you play and possibly win.”

History 101 on gender and gambling

The world of betting, sports, and online casinos has been seen as male territory since it was created. In land-based casinos you are guaranteed to see more men sitting around the tables than women. The truth is that women have been partaking in this rewarding hobby since the 18th Century. In this period, it was highly frowned upon when women tried gaming. Meanwhile men were enjoying wild nights of cock fighting, dice, and cards in London clubs.

While most women adhered to the rules and chose more elegant types of entertainment like theatre, opera, and singing there were a few who rebelled. Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Sarah Archer, Mrs Sturt, Mrs Concannon, and Lady Elizabeth Luttrell started hosting their own little nights of gambling fun by hosting faro tables at their homes. Faro is a 17th Century French card game. Unfortunately, the ladies were caught and the ‘moral scandal’ was plastered all over the news. The ‘Faro’ ladies were each given a £50 fine but managed to escape public humiliation.

A woman in a man’s world

Over many years, things have started changing and in 2016 it’s a free for all as women are no longer looked down on when participating in gambling. The casino floor is now open to both men and women although the majority of sports betting is still done by men. Bingo on the other hand has gained quite a big female following, some might believe that it is quite one-sided but in reality, the ratio is about 3:2 in favour of women.

A recent study done by the State of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement revealed that women made up more than half of the top 10% of most active online casino gamblers. Women outnumbered men by 53.39% to 46.61%. It also revealed that women made up 40% of the demographic taking part in gambling at online casinos. When looking at poker it seemed that men still made up about 90% of the online poker subgroup.

According to the report the average male online gambler is 38 years old and the average female gambler 41. The biggest age group of both male and females partaking in online gambling was between 25-34 and then 35-44. These stats prove that the gap between genders is significantly less among casino only gamblers especially when compared to casino and poker.

In 2015 the UK Gambling Commission interviewed over 4,000 Welsh gamblers to gain clarity on their online habits. Although New Jersey women are quite fond of playing online slots it seems that taste differs in other regions.

The Brain: Different mechanics 

A study done in 2015 by a team of researchers under leadership of Daphna Joel, from the University of Tel Aviv, found that there are a few small physical differences between the male and female brain.

The research revealed only minor deviations and as little as 0.1 percent of the subjects displayed the stereotypical male and female behaviour. The research was made possible by the latest MRI scanners and according to Joel it is very hard to find one person with all the male or female characteristics. 

Research done by the University of Iowa further argues the notion of gender behaviour being hard-wired and concluded that the plasticity and malleability of the brain is shaped purely by experience. Thus, Gender behaviours are derived from education, culture and tradition. It is thought that the area in the brain connecting to empathy, interpersonal judgment and social cognition tends to be larger in women. The reason for this could be because women are the primary parents and natural caregivers.

The benefit of playing at an online casino

With the launch of online casinos, a lot has changed in the gambling industry. When visiting a land-based casino there tends to be more testosterone than oestrogen. The birth of online casinos gave women the perfect opportunity to experience the joys of gambling in a comfortable and non-judgemental environment. 

Men and women can anonymously try out their luck on any of the online slots or table games without worrying about looking like a fool. There is also the plus side of not having to travel or dress up. In most of the online casinos, players are allowed to test the games for free without giving away any personal information. There are a few online bingo sites targeting women specifically but in general the only reason an online casino would ask whether you are male or female is because of branding.

Different strokes for different blokes

While men tend to opt for more strategic games women generally lean toward less skill-based games like online slots and bingo. A 2010 report, from the University of Greenwich, by Roslyn Corney and Janette Davis, examined the attraction and risks of Internet gambling for women. It concluded that while both men and women would play the National Lottery, other games such as bingo and scratch cards were favoured more by the women.

While women tend to use online gambling as a form of entertainment or a general escape from stressful reality, men play it more aggressively as it is seen as a way to establish dominance and worth. 

Online casinos have come a long way and are focusing on expanding their client base by finally targeting the fairer sex more frequently.

Girls just want to have fun

Along with technology the online casino industry is a well-established sector and a constantly evolving business. A study done by Technavio showed that the top five trends that will be impacting the online gambling market through 2020 include changing market strategies, a change in gambling habits, the increasing use of debit and credit cards, the use of alternative cash options as well as a growth in online women gambler numbers.

As stated previously, female players make up 40% of the gambling population in the US and 49% in the UK. More women are moving towards online gambling thanks to the use of personal electronic devices such as computers and mobiles as it allows them to play in private without intimidation or unwanted male attention.

Research also shows that younger women aged 35 or less prefer playing online and more and more operators are targeting female players. Although the online casino business only started in the 1990’s it has seen a handful of female executives in important positions. It is interesting to note that these women aren’t focused on gender but more on providing equal action for all. The well-established Bet365 was also the brainchild of two women namely Ruth Parasol and Denise Coates.

According to Emma Lynes, a freelance online casino marketing and branding consultant, the growth and target of online casinos has evolved quite a lot in the last 25 years. Lynes said that at the beginning of her career in the industry branding of online casino websites featured a lot of half-naked girl and guys on motorcycles obviously pleasing to the male ego. Nowadays the brands have taken on a more neutral look to cater for both demographics without alienating one or the other.

More and more women are stepping out of the shadows and enjoying the bright lights of online casinos as they now have the luxury to play without fear. In both demographics anonymity seems to be one of the biggest pulls towards online casinos as gambling hasn’t quite been accepted and embraced by all.

Does gender really matter?

Back in the 17th Century gender would have been a massive factor, but as the world is evolving and allowing women more breathing space by slowly but surely breaking away from gender stereotypes, it might not be such a big factor anymore. 

Earlier in the article we’ve concluded that the physical nature of the male and female brain is derived from aspects such as education, culture and tradition. It’s also been pointed out that women are making a big impact on the market in modern times. 

Online casinos are constantly growing and looking for ways to expand their reach and more and more countries are opening their doors to this rapid growing market. With the evolution and growth of online casinos it has become quite clear how impactful and rewarding female players can be to casinos. 

Gender might still be a factor but when it comes to enjoying some relaxation time at an online casino as it seems there is no big difference between men and women.