Women In Gaming And Gambling: Untapped Demographics

Some version of this story is written nearly every year. The gaming and gambling industries overlook the female demographic, aiming their marketing to and interactions with male players because that is their current base. Meanwhile, the untapped potential of the female gaming and gambling markets remain.

The latest information from Nielsen indicates that gaming marketers have yet to fully embrace the potential of the female demographic. And as it turns out, women are even more ignored and dismissed in the gambling world.

Nielsen: Understanding Australian Women

March 8 was International Women’s Day, and Nielsen took that opportunity to gather some data about women’s media consumption and combine it with some data about gaming. The article entitled “Understanding Australian Women is Key to Accelerating Gender Parity” garnered a lot of attention.

The point of the article was that marketers can engage more with female audiences. And since women are intense consumers of digital media, it would make sense to engage more women in industries most often associated with male audiences.

Some of the most interesting data points about Australian women were:

  • Women spend 97 hours/month consuming digital content, 7 more hours than men.
  • Women aged 25-34 spend the most time with digital content (112 hours, 46 minutes) per month.
  • Aussie women aged 35-44 are close behind by consuming 112 hours, 34 minutes per month.
  • Women spent 81% of digital content consumption on media devices, 7% higher than men.
  • Females represent 60% of all broadcast media and videos/movies.

Then, there is the subcategory of digital entertainment that falls under online gaming. This includes everything from intense games like Minecraft to lighter ones like Candy Crush, and it also includes poker.

  • 71% of all Aussie women (7.1M) consume online gaming content each month, more than the 6.6M men.
  • Australians spent 1.8B hours consuming online gaming content in 2020, women representing 1B of the number, equaling 59%.

The Nielsen conclusion was simple: “There are plenty of ways to engage individuals who are spending more of their time in digital environments. And when it comes to women, they’re engaged, eager for help and have their eyes and ears open to brands offering a helping hand.”

Global Female Esports Fans

Those recent numbers from 2020 pair nicely with those from a 2019 report about female esports fans and players. This provided global statistics.

While “male Millennials” remain the most prominent demographic in the esports business, the percentage of women has been continually rising. A Nielsen Esports Fan Insights survey from that time showed 22% of esports fans were female. The numbers were higher in countries like Korea and China, with the United States showing much lower and India the worst. The totals from 2018 were:

  • Korea: 32% female fans
  • China: 30%
  • Canada: 25%
  • United Kingdom: 25%
  • France: 23%
  • Germany: 20%
  • Japan: 18%
  • Brazil: 17%
  • United States: 17%
  • Mexico: 15%
  • India: 10%

The reasons that fans pay attention to and engage with esports vary by gender, too. Fewer women/girls are in it for gaming advice and to learn from the pros, while more are participants for the social aspects of the world of esports.

  • Entertainment: females 39%, males 40%
  • Socializing: females 21%, males 19%
  • Participation or cosplay: females 12%, males 8%
  • Learn from pro players: females 34%, males 42%
  • Improving gaming skills: females 28%, males 38%

More importantly for marketing purposes, more female fans multi-task with non-gaming activities while watching esports.

  • Social networking: females 46%, males 35%
  • Listening to music: females 28%, males 24%
  • General internet usage: females 38%, males 37%
  • Chatting online about the event: females 27%, males 25%
  • Watching other programming: females 15%, males 14%
  • Playing the same game as they’re watching: females 15%, males 27%
  • Playing a different game from the one they’re watching: females 16%, males 21%

US Female Computer/Video Gamers

A recent study published in January 2021 focused on gender differences in the computer gaming and video gaming world. Not only does it show that women are now 41% of all gamers in the United States, the percentages of females in the industry have grown fairly consistently since 2006. The growth may be relatively small, but in a world predominantly geared toward mail players, it is significant.

This represents the growth of female gamers in the US:

  • 38% in 2006
  • 38% in 2007
  • 40% in 2008
  • 40% in 2009
  • 40% in 2010
  • 42% in 2011
  • 47% in 2012
  • 45% in 2013
  • 48% in 2014
  • 44% in 2015
  • 41% in 2016
  • 42% in 2017
  • 45% in 2018
  • 46% in 2019
  • 41% in 2020

The trajectory is primarily upward, which is notable in an industry with the US as one of its major markets. Analysts reported more than 2B people in the world calling themselves gamers in 2020. And considering the industry is set to be valued at $140B this year, the number of female players is significant.

European Women in iGaming

Optimove’s study dates back to 2017 and examined online casino activity by gender in 2016. It may be several years old but provides insight into the state of igaming at that time.

Researchers too data from 11 of the top online casino brands and their operations in Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The transactions exceeded 9M and spanned the activities of approximately 382,000 customers.

Overall, females comprised 28% of the online casino customers, with 72% identifying as males. Broken down by country, those numbers ranged from a customer base of only 18% women in Spain to 30% in the UK and 32% in Sweden. Germany was closer to the lower end of the spectrum with 20% female, and Italy followed with 21%.

Some of the conclusions based on more detailed data included:

  • Women deposited more frequently but in smaller amounts than men. (females = 32.3 average annual deposits, males = 19.4)
  • Women deposited lower amounts than men. (females = €38.76 average, males = €54.14)
  • European women deposit more throughout the year. (females = €1,143 average, males = €940)
  • Women played more frequently on casino mobile devices. (females = 59%, males = 52%)
  • More women are loyal to brands within 4 months of registration on a site. (females = 19% loyalty after 2 months, 11% after 4 months, males = 17% after 2 months, 9% after 2 months)
  • Females are less likely to become VIP players. (females = 34%, males = 66%)

The conclusion is that online casino operators must look more intently at their customer bases and increase – in a positive, “emotionally intelligent manner” – communications with female players.

Women Playing Video Games

A study released in 2018 by the Pew Research Center showed that younger people are much more likely to play video games and participate in a variety of igaming than people younger than 50 years old. The information revealed a somewhat surprising number of female gamers in that group.

  • Adults who play video games aged 18-29: females 49%, males 72%
  • Adults aged 30-49: females 48%, males 58%
  • Adults aged 50-64: females 29%, males 34%
  • Adults aged 65 and over: females: 23%, males 25%

Men seem to play video and online games less as they age, while women don’t drop until age 50. Among those who play, more preferred games with puzzle aspects or strategy to all other types of games.

Many Statistics, One Takeaway

The above-listed studies are somewhat jumbled, taken in different years and using different variants and categories. However, they all show that the number of women in video gaming, esports, and internet gambling are far less than most assume. Importantly, if one looks at the overall marketing and promotional efforts from many of these types of companies, it is clear that they target the male demographic.

However, when considering just the first aforementioned and most recent study of Australian women, it is clear that women spend more time consuming online gaming-related content. If their attention to the games and time spent online doesn’t currently translate to a larger percentage of revenue for igaming companies, those companies are clearly missing out on a key money-making demographic.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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