Gaming Society: Bringing women to betting through storytelling

Gaming Society and Bet On Women
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Gaming Society recently announced a partnership with UNLV to help further understand female sports bettors through research. Gaming Society’s involvement in promoting women’s sports and women in sports bettings extends far beyond this newest venture.

Gaming Society’s VP of Business Development Marissa Coleman spoke with SBC Americas about how narratives can help to encourage both the embrace of women’s sports by operators and women to embrace sports betting more generally.

Telling the story behind the betting line can bring people in

“A lot of the content that you see around sports betting is more the X’s and O’s, the odds, and the moneylines and trying to give you suggestions on what bet to make, but with women’s sports, let’s tell these stories. Let’s talk about why Brittney Griner was even in Russia in the first place,” she said.

Coleman is drawn to using storytelling in the company’s Bet on Women campaign because she knows how effective storytelling was on her. Turns out, sometimes not even family can make you a fan of something, but a compelling narrative can.

“I think for the female fan, it’s intimidating, the sports betting space. So if you’re turning on, for example, FanDuel TV, and you’re seeing these shows that are just talking about the lines and the odds, it’s intimidating and might not resonate with you. But if you’re turning on FanDuel TV and you see a story about this NFL player and what he did in the offseason or his likes, you see something about NBA fashion, those things might resonate with you more especially if you’re just the casual fan,” Coleman reasoned. “I like to use this example. My brother played football in college, so I’ve been around football most of my life, but I’m very much a casual NFL fan. But probably six or seven years ago I watched the E:60 on Mike Evans, who’s a receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, fell in love with his story, and now he has a fan for life.”

Her personal experience helps her not just buy into the mission of Gaming Society but also to speak with others and spread enthusiasm about their objectives.

“What we’re trying to do with the Bet on Women movement is use the sports betting industry to help propel women’s sports forward and then to onboard more female betters. We just truly believe, like with women’s sport, that if you’re going to bet on women, you have to know who they are. So it’s it’s telling those stories, it’s making them more relatable, it’s humanizing them.”

Sportsbook still don’t offer many women’s sports betting markets

Unfortunately for sports bettors, it is difficult to get to know the stories behind the bets of women’s sports because those bets so rarely make it to the board. While books may offer game lines, things like props on players are tough to come by. Coleman is a big believer in prop betting as a gateway for new bettors, women in particular, because it takes a very tangible concept like points scored or rebounds recorded, and translates it into a bet. Unlike a moneyline, which could be daunting to new bettors trying to weigh the factors that go into an entire game, props isolate a single items.

When it comes to WNBA betting though, finding a game line is hard, let alone a prop.

“I was in Vegas last year around the time of the WNBA Finals and went to multiple sportsbooks and couldn’t find anything, any lines, nothing to bet on around the WNBA Finals. So I think the bare minimum is just putting something up there. I think a lot of sportsbooks are missing the mark and that the WNBA, if you look at the playoffs this year, ratings skyrocket and viewership for the WNBA Finals.”

Coleman pointed to the performance of WNBA Finals MVP Chelsea Gray as a perfect example of sportsbooks not doing enough to promote the game. Bettors had limited options to turn Gray’s incredible run across the series into action. This despite the fact that the WNBA Finals put up strong ratings despite being scheduled against NFL football for most events.

“I don’t think these sports books are necessarily trying. And I’ll just go back to what I was saying earlier is if you look at content that’s out there, if you look at newsletters and things that are being published, it’s it’s not for the female fan, it’s definitely geared towards men,” she said.

Coleman also offered plenty of reasons why she thinks women are primed for betting–reasons that are not often cited by those who suggest marketing sports betting to women is too tough of a sell.

Women remain an untapped sports betting audience

“I think that women are primed to be great bettors. We’re more technologically savvy, we’re on our phones a lot more, our spending and buying power. If you look at those things, I think women make the perfect demographic to become avid sports bettors, it’s just the sportsbooks need to believe that just in the same way they need to believe in women’s sports.”

In the end, Coleman has a very direct message for operators in the space. There are women out there eager to bet, it’s time to come and get them.

“I truly believe that the first sportsbook that sees the value in women’s sports in the female better, they’re going to really see the return and monopolize the market in my opinion.”