It is now estimated that 51% of the world’s population partake in some sort of gambling each year and that online gambling is increasing at an average rate of 23% per annum. In 2011, the Remote Gaming Association prediction that online gaming revenues would surpass €21billion came true, of which £1.92billion was wagered in the UK.
Online gambling is growing at an expeditious rate. Female participation in online gambling has increased by 80% since 2004, whilst male players have increased by 60% in the same time period. Nowadays in the UK 43% of online players are female. In a study last year by the Gambling Commission it was found that 54% of the females questioned had gambled in some capacity in the past four weeks.
There aren’t any sole casino games for women as all casino games are unisex, but they do find themselves gravitating towards bingo, the slots, and somewhat surprisingly online poker.
Let’s start with bingo. The game itself can be traced back to 1530. Since then it has grown rapidly in popularity. It is widely viewed as a female game and in truth it is. The game has over 100million players in the world, of which nearly 70% are female, while over 60% of online bingo players are female. There has been a direct correlation between increased female participation and increased online bingo revenue in the UK. In 2007, online bingo revenues stood at £78million. By 2011, it had reached £326million.
If you look at the Gambling Commission infographic below (published by the Guardian), you can see that 25% of the 4,000 survey participants played online bingo two or more times a week. So, why are females so attracted to bingo?
A ladies casinos
Well there are numerous reasons for the female dominion of bingo. Firstly there are ladies casinosthat are built around bingo in an attempt to attract female clientele, which it does. But secondly, and more importantly, is the social element of online bingo. Unlike men, women do not gamble for the thrill; instead, they like to socialise and online bingo is without doubt the most social online form of gambling.
Online bingo focuses heavily on its chat feature, ensuring that clients can converse and play simultaneously, as you can see in the image above, much like playing at a Bingo Hall. When you consider that, it is not that surprising that online bingo has exploded. Back in 2004, there were nearly 600 venues in the UK, so it has always been a popular social excursion and now it has crossed over to the virtual world it is, just as, if not more popular. Females have always had an ingrained love for bingo, mainly due to its simplicity and the aforementioned social element. Females gamble for entertainment, while interacting and connecting with people of a similar disposition and this is why bingo has such a gravitas.
Casinos for women
Casino for women centred on bingo also serve the purpose of introducing females into other aspects of gambling, and this is why we have seen a rise in the popularity of slots and poker with female players online.
Mark Griffiths, professor of Gambling Studies at Nottingham Trent University, has highlighted how online bingo has given rise to a “feminisation” of online gambling, which would explain this increased participation.
We all know that women and men are vastly different creatures and this is also true with regards to their gambling habits. If you look at a recent BettingCorp publication you can see that there is a psychology to gambling. Men are drawn to games that can saturate their desire for a thrill, as well as having a Hobbesian need to dominate their opponent. Women prefer luck based games, hence their attraction to bingo and the slots.
It’s not just the element of luck that attracts women to slot machines; the low stakes involved attract females and slots can be tailored to the required clientele. Below you can see the Britain’s Got Talent slot machine based on the hugely popular talent show of the same name. Women find themselves drawn to slots such as this as it is something they know, relate to, and believe they will enjoy playing. Familiarity is a huge draw.
In regards to socialising you can put the shoe on the other foot when it comes to slots. Research finds that females are more socially anxious than men and this could be a factor in why they choose to play the slots, which is a solitary experience. There are those of us who actively enjoy engaging with others and there are those who prefer their own company, and by playing the slots women can satisfy their gambling urge in a forum that does not involve others.
Slots, like bingo, are the most cost-effective form of gambling and this is attractive to women. Griffiths describes this as “soft gambling” and it is this low-stake gambling that is proving very popular with female players.
Female participation in online poker is rising sharply. The International Game Technology (IGT) announced that there was a 22% increase in online female poker players between 2012 and 2013.
Before the rise of online gambling, poker was confined to land-based poker rooms and these types of venues were hardly the most hospitable for women; those who did play were more often than met with derogatory comments.
However, with online poker you are safe from the disparaging remarks. Those who are abusive usually get kicked off by the moderator. And it’s this breaking of the gender division that is causing more women to flock to online poker. No longer does it feel like a male dominated game. It is now a game for both sexes, free from abuse, as well as another place to socialise. Female online poker players’ statistics vary between 30% and 60%.
You can also thank the World Series of Poker for increased female participation in online poker. The poker tournament features an array of different professional female players, such as Liv Boeree below, who are all boosting the popularity and accessibility of the game to their fellow sex.
In conclusion, most women are social beings and as such find themselves drawn towards games that feature a chat function such as bingo. Unlike men, they don’t have an overriding urge to dominate or to feel a thrill. Instead they like luck and simplicity. Actual gambling doesn’t necessarily have to be at the forefront and this again is why they find themselves drawn to bingo and the slots. For women who do not like to socialise then the slots appeal no end. Whilst online poker does not seem scary or chauvinistic as it does in the male dominated land-based games, more and more women are trying it out it, something they would never have done in a casino