With International Women’s Day being celebrated by many countries and individuals on March 8 as an opportunity to discuss and demand equal rights for women in the job market, the growth of female incomes in the developed world is having an impact on online gambling, too.
Latest research from the UK, for example, suggests that more than half of the women there engage in online gambling, helping the industry score to record high revenues.
Part of the reason behind the soaring numbers is that more and more women enter the labor market and an increasing proportion of them is now reaching positions that had until recently been all-male or much more scarcely attainable by females. There are also signs that the gender gap in salary is narrowing in several sectors. The subsequent increase in disposable income is a strong contributor to the observed growth in the number of female punters.
As an increasing number of women live in single households with no children well into their 30’s and even 40’s, the time available for logging on to British internet casinos has also increased.
While the above factors have created a strong market demand, the supply side has also been developing. With the host of online gambling sites now available to them, women are more likely to visit them than they had been to enter a high street bookie or to visit a brick-and-mortar casino on their own.
Even though such visits to land-based establishments are also more likely than they were before, there are still some unfounded negative connotations associated with women who frequent such venues. It is therefore much more attractive for the majority of female players to use internet gambling opportunities, as their hobby can be enjoyed without a pressure to comply with misplaced social expectations.
But even with such freedom to play, women are much less likely than men to bet on sports in the UK. According to industry numbers the favorite games of female players are roulette and bingo, as well as classic slots.
Age also plays a part in the equation, as recent survey in New Jersey concluded. With local regulations that had been much less permissive than the UK gambling laws, the questions related to player intent rather than practice. Commissioned in the run-up to the state’s legalization efforts, between 16% and 25% of the survey’s 3,000 respondents said that they would try electronic versions of popular casino games, such as baccarat, blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and slots.
While around 25% of the under-30 age group expressed the desire to play online, this dropped to 10% in the 30-to-49 age group.
The New Jersey survey also highlighted women’s heightened attraction to online gambling: it turned out that 40% percent of females would play poker online, rather than at a casino table. The number was a mere 13% among men.
Various researches in developed gambling markets have pointed to the differing motivations according to gender. While the desire to have a good time and win some money is gender-neutral, female players prefer sites with stronger social features, whereby interaction with fellow players is well developed. This also bodes well for the ongoing trend of merging social gaming and gambling, as such initiatives may expect a strong support from women.
There are of course many classic casinos sites, and more are expected to come, which also target women with design and content that is important to them.