The profile of women in gambling is changing. Historically, the gambling industry could have been regarded as a male-dominated space with women’s participation limited to bingo halls and charity raffles.
If you still think that’s the case, you might not have been paying attention. Bet365 was the brainchild of Denise Coates and for a number of years, she has been the UK’s highest taxpayer. During the Covid 19 pandemic, many sporting events were cancelled. Punters who might have enjoyed a flutter trackside, transferred their gaming online playing at online casinos, slot machines and alternative sports events instead.
Denise Coates was paid just under £300 million in salary payments and dividends for the first trading year during the pandemic. The company also made charitable donations of £103 million in the year 2020 – 2021. The majority of these donations were to the Denise Coates Foundation which helps a wide range of people including children, elderly people and people with disabilities.
Denise Coates graduated from Sheffield University with a first-class degree. She returned to her hometown of where her father owned a chain of betting shops in Stoke-on-Trent. To start with she tried to expand the chain, but she realized that for gambling was online was the future. She purchased the 365.com domain name from eBay for $25,000. The physical stores were mortgaged, and the money was invested in technology and online development. Bet 365 started out from a portacabin in a car park. The company has created over 5,000 jobs a large proportion of which are at graduate level.
Back in 2012, Coates received a CBE for services to community and business. Her nickname is the ‘patron of the potteries’ due to keeping the business in her hometown where she created well-paid jobs. She hardly ever gives media interviews. In 2019 a selection of quotes from inspirational women was published for International Women’s Day, Coates’s quote read,
“The more grateful we feel, the more things we receive to feel grateful for”.
Coates’ business empire has come a long way from that portacabin and now has a global presence that stretches as far as Australia and beyond.
A recent study by the UK Gambling Commission said that female consumers are becoming increasingly engaged with various forms of online gambling in the UK. According to the report, 42% of women had gambled in the previous four weeks. The most popular types of gambling with women are playing the National Lottery and partaking in Bingo which now takes place online. Women also favour scratch cards and other forms of lotteries. Women aged 35 and over are beginning to engage with other online gambling products; this was up by 32% in women aged 35 to 54 according to the report.
Women under 35 were more likely to bet privately with their friends or to play fruit and slot machines in gaming centres and at arcades. The main reason given amongst women for gambling, according to a YouGov survey last year, was that it was a fun thing to do. 28% of women said that they do it because they like to fantasize about what they would do with a big win. Women prefer games of luck and chance while men are more likely to gamble to demonstrate skill.
Sports betting is still largely the domain of men. Twenty per cent of men said that they enjoyed betting on sports versus seven per cent of women. The exception to this trend is horse racing where 40% of the race day attendees are women and it is reported that women enjoy a flutter on the horses in the UK. This is very much the case in other countries. Online betting in Australia reflects a similar picture. Responses to a survey of online gamblers in March 2019 showed men dominated online wagering participation, except horse racing and TV event/show wagering where women represented 23.6 and 32.7 per cent of gamblers respectively.