Val Martinez, Betting Ladies: we don’t need to “pink it and shrink it” with sports betting

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The US sporting industry has been blessed with numerous extraordinary female athletes who have pushed barriers and taken their respective sports to the next level. 

Whether it be Serena Williams and her astonishing 23 Grand Slam Titles, Simone Biles’ utter dominance of gymnastics, or the US women’s soccer team’s global success, female stars are placing themselves at the front and center of the sphere. 

Yet, female sports bettors have often been left by the wayside, with boisterous social media stars often becoming the focal point of an industry that has been synonymous with a laddish culture. 

But Val Martinez is out to change this perception. Coinciding with SBC Summit North America, she launched Betting Ladies – an affiliate sports betting publisher that focuses solely on female bettors. 

Providing a sports betting community for women

Martinez, an Italian-British woman now residing in California, has a background in financial services rather than sports or gaming, but as she moved stateside, she noticed that there was an inherent lack of sports content aimed at women.

“I realized that all the traditional sportsbooks and content providers were talking to men because that’s the majority of the sports bettors,” Martinez told SBC Americas. “But if you look, there was a couple of years ago a study from 888 Holdings, where they said there are 4.6 million US female sports bettors, which represents around 30% of the market. I saw there was a market opportunity and a business opportunity, so I created Betting Ladies.”

The platform offers traditional affiliate content such as news, betting news, picks and odds, as well as help to educate players, except it is all tailored to and aimed at female bettors. 

Providing a “by women, for women” approach, according to Martinez, helps to eliminate some of the condescending discourse that could enter the fray if men were providing such services.

“Quite frankly, we don’t want to pink it and shrink it because you know, we don’t need to,” Martinez explained. “We are already better sports bettors and the data supporters in this in this affirmation, but we want to make it accessible. The reality is that when I started looking at the offering of other content providers or sportsbooks, some of the offering was so far off the deep end with technicalities, it became overwhelming. So we want to make it more approachable, more everyday material rather than super in-depth analysis.

“What we’re doing is giving a voice to women that are already there, that were just ignored previously by pretty much everybody. In the US there is a focus on women’s sports, and there are a lot of platforms talking about WNBA and all the other women-led sports, but certainly, there was a gap I think, for female sports bettors because we are here and we want a seat at the table.”

Breaking down barriers

Betting Ladies launched just last month but has already signed up BetRivers as a partner as it aims to convert more female sports fans into depositing bettors. Despite being an American business, Martinez recalls her experiences back over the pond in the UK as a reference point for her Betting Ladies ventures’ roots.

Referencing the glitz and glamor of ‘Ladies’ Days’ at horse racing in the UK, Martinez explained that the Ascot course was an influence in the creation of her brand.

She added: “I wanted to create an Ascot experience. When you go to Ascot, betting is very normalized, but it’s also very proper, and very nice. Hence the Betting Ladies brand. From the idea to the execution, it took me around a year, and the main obstacle if you want was finding the women because they are hidden. They exist but women sports bettors are definitely a little bit more hidden than male sports bettors so I think that was the main challenge.”

For all that women have contributed to the sporting scene throughout history, it often feels like female fans are excluded from the debate that surrounds sport. With the majority of commentators and pundits being male – often former sports stars themselves – women can feel ostracized from that culture, though this is clearly an improving situation from the last decade or so. 

Still, Betting Ladies aims to break down barriers and provide a community for women to discuss sports and their picks for betting. 

“I’ve always been a huge promoter of women in any industry I’ve been in and sports betting is a brand new arena in the US. For me, it’s very important that women feel that they belong – because they do – and (I want to) provide a community that is safe, fun, and I talk to women like I will talk to my girlfriends.”

Still in its infancy, Betting Ladies has already secured one of its first partners in BettorEdge, a social betting marketplace. The deal sees Betting Ladies integrate its picks, content, and lessons directly onto BettorEdge’s platform.

“BettorEdge allows us to play without actually betting in certain states. So from an educational point of view, I think it’s very useful what they’re doing. And they integrated in terms of collaboration, they integrated our Lady Lucks inside their platform.”

BettorEdge will also give the platform a boost in brand awareness, helping to amplify its brand messaging. 

Betting like a lady

One key piece of messaging is “Bet Like a Lady”, a phrase taken from the title of a blog post written by Martinez.

She outlined: “I think it all came about because of the stats. If you look at how women bet, we bet more responsibly, and we are better at managing the bankroll. We don’t do crazy bets like crazy parlays and we end up winning more than men. So Bet Like a Lady is bet responsibly, try to win more. But the numbers don’t lie. The numbers are the numbers. And if women are better bettors, we should say it.”

Whilst still a young company and platform, Betting Ladies is aiming to make a big impression on the industry as it continues to grow and amplify its message. 

In a world where women continue to make records inside the sporting arena, Martinez and the Betting Ladies team aim to create a safe space for women to thrive away from the sporting arena and in the betting space.

“We want to be a beacon for a more inclusive sports betting industry,” Martinez concluded. “We are creating a brand and the community that focus on women because we want them to feel safe to be able to place a bet without being weird or unusual.”