Women Sports Betting Fueling Their Gambling Addiction?

Do women bet on sports? Of course they do. Yet there are thousands of Google searches across the USA that ask that very same question, which leads us to today’s focus. While it’s known that males (particularly young males) are the most vulnerable to having a problematic relationship with sports betting, America must not neglect the other side of the gender spectrum. Unfortunately, women’s struggles with gambling doesn’t receive as much attention from the media (when they aren’t busy celebrating it). If a hundred men and ten women were dangling from a cliff, are rescuers only to save the former because there is more of them?

Certainly not.

There is an inflated risk of gambling addiction in women that is fueled by the rise in women sports betting. While bodies of research are growing to catch up with recent developments in male-centric studies regarding the activity, current evidence suggests that immediate intervention is also required to help our female population. Let’s review.

Why American Women Must Be More Mindful About Their Vulnerability to Problem Gambling Due to the Rise Sports Betting

The Rise in Betting on Women’s Leagues

A Bloomberg study found that there is an annualized compounded growth rate of 20% on betting in women’s sports. Meanwhile, individual reports from operators show that the numbers are much higher for specific leagues. For instance, BetMGM has seen an over 40% increase in betting on women’s tennis and golf along with 27% growth for the WNBA.

Operators are expanding their promotions to be more inclusive of women’s leagues and collegiate organizations, which has the effect of drawing more participation of females. This coincides with a new interest in watching women’s leagues. A Steton Hall study found that 35% of the general female population in the USA indicated that they would watch more women’s sports on TV or on online platforms if the content were available. Speaking of online platforms, this is where women gamblers are gravitating to the most. Forbes reports that women are signing up for mobile sports betting apps at a faster rate than men:

“The number of men on sports betting apps still exceeds the number of women by 250%, but the growth rate of women customers is nearly double than that of men (63%).”


Online sports betting (vs brick & mortar) is growing fast across America, and little is being done by governing bodies to control the brushfire. If the growth rate of women’s use of sports betting apps persists, expect to see a proportionate rise in women gambling addiction helpline calls.

More Influenced by Influencers

Research shows that American consumers between 18 to 34 years of age are more likely to be swayed by influencer driven gambling communications than any other age group. Studies consistently find that women are more likely to follow influencers than men. Given that both sponsored and organic celebrity influencers are leveraged to promote sports betting to Americans, concerning conclusions regarding female vulnerability can be drawn.

Increased Vulnerability to Certain Cooccurring Conditions

There are certain mental and behavioral health conditions that are known to cooccur with problem gambling. These include the following:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia

People who struggle with these conditions may have increased vulnerability to developing gambling disorder. While each manifests in genders in different ways, women show signs of increased vulnerability to some of these concerns. For instance, research shows that women are nearly twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression. The same has been found for anxiety, especially for younger populations which represents the next generation of problematic sports bettors. While bipolar disorder is equally prevalent in both genders, women experience it in different ways which can complicate their relationship with gambling:

“In females with bipolar disorder, depressive symptoms are more likely dominant. In fact, females with the condition are twice as likely to experience depression as males. Females are also more likely to experience psychosis with depression.

Medical News Today

While more research needs to be done regarding the cooccurrence of the above mental and behavioral health disorders and their relationship with problem gambling in women, there is enough information to validate concern about the rise of women sports betting.

Lesser Focus on Women’s Gambling Addiction Regarding Sports Betting

This last concern circles back to the introduction. Young males are receiving the most focus from media, which includes the large scale study conducted by Men’s Health and this recent 60 Minutes exposé. While this focus is justified based upon data about how young American males are most vulnerable, the lack of attention for the other half of the population limits their (and their loved ones’) awareness of the challenge that they too face. A lack of awareness regarding the dangers of sports betting can delay recognition of signs of addiction, which delays recognition that gambling disorder intervention and support is needed. We hope this article will help change that.

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Women Sports Betting Gambling Addiction