What draws British women to online betting? What deters them?

Oliver RoweGlobal Sector Head ‑ Leisure & Entertainment
August 30, 2021, 4:53 PM UTC

Great Britain has some of the highest rates of online gambling participation among women in the world. YouGov data reveals how their attitudes and habits differ from men’s and where opportunity lies to increase female market share. 

YouGov data confirms some widely held gender stereotypes. Women are keener than men to buy lottery tickets (72% vs. 58% of men) or play bingo or keno online (6% vs. 2% of men). Male online gamblers generally over-index in online sports betting (45% vs. 23% of women), poker (7% vs. 1% of women) and fantasy sports (4% of men vs. virtually no women). 

When it comes to what motivates them to gamble, a plurality (36%) of British online gamblers (men and women) cite it as a fun thing to do. One in five (20%) also say they can fantasize about winning and 15% say they play to win big. 

But when we drill down into this data by gender, there are differences. British women who have gambled online in the last 12 months are more likely than their male counterparts to say they gamble online so they can fantasize about winning (28% vs. 21% of men). As for men, they’re more likely to feel online betting enhances the experience of what they’re betting on, like sports (20% vs. 7% of women), which is expected, since men are more likely to gamble on sports in general. Men are also more likely to say they bet in order to demonstrate skill (6% vs. 1% of women). 

YouGov data also explores what deters British men and women from gambling. For most men and women, there is no particular reason they can put their finger on (49% of men and 46% of women), suggesting the right marketing message could increase market size. It appears that it’s simply a case of these consumers currently choosing to do something else with their leisure time.   

Women in the UK who don’t gamble are significantly more likely to say the activity simply hasn’t occurred to them (19% vs. 11% of men), again suggesting targeted marketing efforts could increase female participation. It’s more common for men to feel odds are stacked against them (24% vs. 19% of women) or that they might get addicted (9% vs. 6% of women). 

Notable differences between women and men also appear when looking at general gambling beliefs. British women, for instance, are more likely than men to feel online gambling should not be allowed (45% vs. 39% of men). 

Other attitudinal data shows men are more likely than women to talk about gambling with friends and family (20% vs. 12% of women). Although our data doesn’t establish the relationship, it’s very possible that these conversations are powerful factors in driving more gambling activity among men. Getting women talking to their friends about gambling more could well have the same effect.  

Lastly, let’s look at the divide between online and offline gambling. YouGov data shows there isn’t much of a gender gulf among offline gamblers. There is, however, a considerable divide online – a third of men (33%) have placed a bet online in the last 12 months, compared with roughly a quarter of women (24%). Coupling this result with data around barriers, well-crafted marketing initiatives could help increase the female consumer base to achieve gender parity in the online gambling space.