Groundbreaking study highlights massive growth in women's sports and its sports betting markets
Groundbreaking study highlights massive growth in women's sports and its sports betting markets

The International Association for Integrity in Betting (IBIA), the All-In Diversity Project (AIDP), Entain, Flutter and Stats Perform today launched a groundbreaking study on women’s sports and women in sports betting, entitled “Breaking Barriers: Assessing Women’s Sports, Gambling and Integrity Challenges”.

The study, carried out by the German Sport University Cologne and released on the IGaming Business Live! in Amsterdam, analyzes the economic development of five women’s sports: football, tennis, basketball, cricket and volleyball. For the first time, it analyzes the size and characteristics of the women’s sports betting market and examines the potential vulnerability of women’s sports to match-fixing.

Khalid Ali, CEO of IBIA, said: “We are on the verge of witnessing the highest attendance and highest rated Women’s World Cup in history, and where football leads, other women’s sports are quickly following. The dramatic growth of women’s sports is an extremely positive – for the fans, the sports and the athletes themselves, as well as the betting market. This is creating significant and untapped opportunities for sports betting.”

“However, with increased growth comes greater responsibility to ensure we are ahead of the game when it comes to sporting integrity and the fight against match-fixing in women’s sport. There is no room for complacency,” added Ali.

The study confirms that the significant increase in women’s sports has been accompanied by a similar growth in betting on women’s sports. Football is leading the way in terms of the number of people betting and placing bets on women’s sports, with an annual market growth rate of approximately 20% since 2020. This is followed by tennis, basketball and cricket with growth rates of over 10% during the period from 2017 to 2022.

It also analyzes the particular characteristics of female gamblers. In recent years, the percentage of women betting on women’s sports has consistently increased across all five sports analysed, with annual growth rates of up to 10%, while the total number of women betting on women’s football has more than doubled. The total volume of bets placed on women’s sports grew more among women than men, highlighting untapped opportunities.

Grainne Hurst, Entain’s Director of Corporate Affairs, said: “Entain is pleased to fund and support the publication of today’s study, which is an important step in increasing our understanding of developing trends within women’s sport. supporting rising female athletes through our multi-year partnership with SportsAid and our Pitching In initiative, and we will continue to work with organizations to promote fairness and integrity in all sporting competition.”

Alex Rice, Commercial Director for Stats Perform, also said, “Stats Perform has a history and commitment to investing in women’s sport and empowering rights holders and teams to increase their fan, commercial and on-field potential. women’s sport is critical to achieving this, so we are proud to have helped with this important research.”

While corruption exists in women’s sports, the study found that it is significantly less than in men’s sports. However, the experience of men’s sports has shown that sports betting can be targeted by criminals who defraud regulated operators by manipulating matches and exploiting vulnerabilities in sports and athletes.

The study makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the fight against match-fixing in women’s sport, including:

  • Strengthen monitoring and improve cooperation between sport governing bodies, betting operators and law enforcement agencies.
  • Develop targeted and tailored education and communication programs for athletes, coaches and support staff to raise awareness of the risks of corruption and match-fixing and help create and reinforce a culture of integrity.
  • Promote fair wages and economic transparency in women’s sport to reduce the risk of corruption and match-fixing.

Ian Devlin, Sports Integrity Manager at Flutter, said: “We are seeing the popularity of women’s sport continue to grow, with last year’s European Championships being the largest women’s event by volume for Flutter and an unprecedented moment for many of our European brands. This has created greater demand on our part to offer more sports, with more markets, related to women’s events, starting with the upcoming FIFA World Cup.”

“However, as women’s sports continues to grow, so too does the risk of participants being approached by individuals seeking to profit from sports-related corruption. This is an area that Flutter takes very seriously, with our team of Integrity in Betting by working closely with the sport’s governing and commercial bodies such as the IBIA to ensure that we and the markets we serve maintain the highest level of sporting integrity,” added Devlin.

Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder of All-in Diversity, continued: “This study is intended to be the start of a conversation with the betting industry about how it approaches women’s sport. By understanding what this new and rapidly evolving landscape looks like, We put ourselves in the best possible position to keep customers, sportsbook operators, athletes and sport safe for all.”

In addition, an important next step is to increase the available data and conduct more research and analysis on women’s sports and betting. This will help deepen understanding of the dynamics of match-fixing in women’s sport and allow for the development of approaches to sport integrity tailored to the specific circumstances of women’s sport.