Betting Queens: 12% of Women Are Monthly Sports Bettors

Written By Erica Prush on June 11, 2024

Sports betting is not a recent phenomenon; all kinds of people have placed bets for thousands of years. However, what IS new is the recent rise in the percentage of women participating in sports betting.

Female sports superstars like Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever are doing for the WNBA what Michael Jordan did for the NBA: turning basketball into a public spectacle that attracts a wider audience beyond traditional sports fans. But does this growing interest also influence betting habits?

We wanted to dig into female sports betting habits and find out if stars like Clark had something to do with the recent surge, so we conducted a survey of 3,000 Americans to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • 12% of women in the U.S. engage in sports betting on a monthly basis.
  • New Mexico and Iowa are the top states for female sports betting, with over a one-third participation rate.
  • Women in Delaware spend the most on sports betting, averaging 20% of their take-home income.
  • Nearly a quarter of sports bets placed by women are on men’s football.

New Mexico: The Capital of Female Sports Betting

New Mexico is home to the highest percentage of female sports bettors, with a massive 35% of all women in the state taking part in sports betting at least once per month.

While New Mexico is the only state where more than a third of all women are engaging in sports betting, Iowa and Virginia aren’t far behind, with 32% and 29% anteing up monthly, respectively. Four other states surpass the 20% mark:

  • Tennessee: 27%
  • New York: 26%
  • Arkansas: 22%
  • Connecticut: 20%

Interestingly, New Mexico doesn’t even allow online sports betting, so a third of the female population betting on sports is doing it in person. That’s dedication.

Women Spend 4% of Their Income on Sports Betting

On average, women spend 4% of their take-home income on sports betting, but in states like Delaware, they spend up to a staggering 20%.

Only 13 states are above the national average in the percentage of income women spend on sports bets:

  • Delaware: 20%
  • Massachusetts: 16.8%
  • Michigan: 16.8%
  • Mississippi: 15%
  • Connecticut: 13%
  • Tennessee: 12.9%
  • Alabama: 10.6%
  • Indiana: 9.3%
  • Georgia: 8.4%
  • Florida: 7.4%
  • Pennsylvania: 7.2%
  • Iowa: 5%
  • New York: 4.2%

The majority of women in the U.S. can’t yet identify as sports bettors, and that’s no more obvious than in the five states where little to none of our female respondents said they engaged:

  • Alaska
  • Maine
  • Montana
  • North Dakota
  • West Virginia

There must be something about the cold weather that keeps women from gambling on the local game… Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all fall in the top 10 states with the fewest female bettors, while Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi all fall at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Friends and Family Are Sparking Female Interest in Sports Betting Most

Influence from friends and family is the single most influential factor when it comes to ramping up female engagement in sports betting, accounting for about 51% of the interest.

Falling far short of the influence from friends and family are social media influence and promotions from sports betting platforms—accounting for 15% each—and influence from a romantic partner, accounting for 14% of the interest.

To our surprise, the rise of female sports superstars like Caitlin Clark was attributed to just 4% of the women who gained enough interest in sports to start betting.

The most popular sport for bets placed by women is men’s football, with nearly a quarter—24%—of betting females taking part. That’s followed by men’s basketball at 19%, and then, finally, a women’s league: the WNBA, accounting for 11% of the bets placed by women. Women’s soccer isn’t too far behind, with 9%.

The Future Is Bright for Female Sports Bettors

There has undoubtedly been an uptick in women betting on sports in recent years, and it’s reasonable to expect that engagement to continue to rise. More than a third—38%—of our female respondents said that they believe sports betting is becoming more popular among female bettors.

And while just 4% of female bettors got into sports betting because of women who climb the ranks to sports superstardom, like Caitlin Clark, 8% who already took part in gambling report that they gained more interest in placing sports-specific bets because of them.

Betting aside, the future is also bright for women’s sports leagues in general. More than a third—35%—of men and just under a third—28%—of women have gained more interest in women’s sports because of stars like Clark. About a quarter of all men and women say these stars make them more likely to attend women’s sports live events, and the majority of sports fans—59% of those who are male and 54% of those who are female—believe that Clark’s legacy will have a lasting, positive effect on women’s sports as a whole.

There remains one particular issue: access. The ability to view women’s sports on television remains somewhat elusive, with 42% of women and 43% of men unable to access women’s sports with their current TV package. It’s clear this is an industry-wide area for improvement in broadcasting and accessibility if the women’s sports and betting momentum is to continue.

Methodology

We surveyed 3,000 Americans in May 2024 about their involvement in and opinions of sports betting and how it has changed in recent years. Around 66% of those respondents were female, and 33% were male, all with a median age of 35.

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