woman with a mobile phone

According to the yearly gambling behaviour report, women gambled 10% less than men in 2018.

In fact, the difference has increased slightly compared to the previous three years (where it was around 7-9%).

Is this because online casinos are focusing their efforts on the male audience? Or does this effort cause the males to be more active? Conversely, maybe there’s no extinction between men and women in the minds of casino operators at all?

Below, we’ll discuss:

  1. How online casino industry targets women and men
  2. How this affects us – the players

So, get ready for some interesting statistics.

Male & Female Gambling Behaviour

First of all, let’s get familiar with the data that the UKGC revealed just recently.

Statistic (2018 data) Male Female
Gamblers (past 4 weeks) 51% 41%
National Lottery Gamblers 27% 33%
Non-National Lottery Gamblers 37% 28%
In-Play Betting Gamblers 31% 12%
Online Gamblers (past 4 weeks) 23% 15%
Gamble to Win 42% 49%
Gamble for Fun 34% 23%
Problem Gamblers 1.2% 0.2%

As you can see, the difference is even greater when we consider online gambling alone. Among players who frequent online and mobile casinos, there are roughly 50% more men than women.

This is a significant difference, which reveals that online gambling operators have every reason to focus on male audiences.

This applies even more so to the sports betting industry. On the other hand, females prefer the lottery over casino entertainment.

Play for Fun or Money?

Interestingly enough, women see gambling as a way to make money more often than men. Meanwhile, men are more likely to choose this activity simply for fun.

black male playing at mobile casino

While this seems weird, risk and problem gambling statistics are even weirder. Despite the previous fact, six out of seven problem gamblers are men.

🔖 Learn more about problem gambling: https://about.gambleaware.org/research/

The statistics regarding players under risk are similar, with men surpassing women four to six times. This could be explained in two ways:

  1. Either men are naturally more inclined to take risks and develop a gambling addiction
  2. Or, casinos use effective marketing campaigns which specifically encourage men to gamble more

The second idea would make sense, considering that males have always gambled more. Besides, the first hypothesis was recently proven wrong, too.

Thus, the logic of casino businesses is clear. They aim for more active players, which in return equals more profit.

Gender-Specific Casino Marketing

The truth is that casinos do separate men and women as separate target audiences. Not all of them, of course, but there are many examples which prove this.

Just take a look at various promotions, site designs and slot art:

  • Casinos created ‘for women players’
  • Game and casino designs that exclusively feature male gamblers
  • Designs that objectify female characters

Aside from these branding and communication strategies, advertisements also reach more men than women. The difference isn’t huge though. It could be attributed to greater interest in gambling among males in general.

Statistic (2018 data) Male Female
Gamblers Prompted to Gamble by Advertising 47% 42%
Gamblers Prompted to Gamble on Social Media 59% 54%

However, could it also be that males want to gamble more than women do because of these advertising strategies?

Different Casinos for Different Genders?

While most gambling destinations make no distinction whatsoever, some do. In most cases, this applies to women. Some websites even have slogans like ‘Women’s Casino!’ or ‘The Best Slots for Ladies!’

It’s more difficult to find such exclusive websites for men. Though, many casino operators do focus on males. Such sites include pictures of men playing casino games or winning. Meanwhile, women stand by their side and cheer them.

Operators do this consciously due to the fact that males tend to gamble more. Hence, they choose images which men find easier to relate to.

It’s easy to prove that a subtle design like this can make a difference. You’ll have to search for a long while to find any examples of reversed roles. If this wasn’t effective, why else would there be such a discrepancy?

Unless…

Men & Women Behind the Scenes

picture of woman working on a film behind the scenes

The only other possible explanation of male-centred targeting is the fact that it’s mostly men running the show. So, they might naturally lean towards male-oriented content.

However, this is quickly changing because women aren’t strangers to operating casinos or creating gambling software either.

Here are just a few quick examples:

  • Lydia Barbara, Microgaming’s Head of Innovation Strategy
  • Ebba Arnred, Play’n GO’s CMO
  • Martina Danelaite-Ouwens, Fable’s Head of Content

Hence, we seriously doubt this explanation. Operators know what they’re doing. So, it’s more likely that they simply capitalise on the knowledge of their user behaviour (as detailed in the tables above).

Female Objectification?

It’s not unusual to find females or female characters with emphasised sexuality. This especially applies to some live casino games and video slots.

Live casino has come a long way now and there are many male as well as female dealers. However, the female dealers at some studios still wear overly sexy outfits.

Meanwhile, most male dealers have a refined, courteous look. That might be sexy too, but not in the same way.

Obviously, sexy croupiers are a strategy to attract male gamblers to spend more money on the games.

The same applies to video slots which have human (or human-like) characters. If there are women among them, they often look sexy. Sometimes, they're scantily clad too.

hands holding smartphone with 7 sins slot

Of course, many male characters have similarly refined sexuality. Yet, this trend isn’t that frequent and unique characters such as monsters don’t cater to this rule. Unless they’re female…

So, the online gambling industry markets their services for men more rigorously than they do for women.

Marketing Strategy – Customer Behaviour: What’s the Sticking Point?

We’ve discovered that casinos target men and women differently. It isn’t pronounced often, but there are obvious bits and pieces all over the place.

The question is:

Does that cause men to play more than women? Or do players themselves cause the industry to adapt to the situation?

image of user statistics on computer

This isn’t an easy question to answer, though we’re fairly sure that it’s the latter option. Males tend to enjoy casino entertainment more, so businesses simply aim for the larger, more profitable audience.

Plus, we wouldn’t say that the gambling environment is overwhelmingly male-focused. Compared to many other niches and products of our society, the discrepancy among gamblers is fairly low.

Having that in mind, there are surprisingly many online casinos which cater to both men and women. These are usually the most successful sites as they don’t artificially separate their audience and please both sides with their games and bonuses equally.

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