SBC News AiDP: Women breaking barriers in sports wagering but vulnerabilities remain

AiDP: Women breaking barriers in sports wagering but vulnerabilities remain

The All-In Diversity Project (AiDP) has completed an industry-specific research collaboration in partnership with Entain Plc, Flutter Entertainment, and Stats Perform, examining the participation of women in sports betting.

The industry non-profit, focused on workplace diversity, inclusion, and equality (DIE), has published the findings of its report titled “Breaking Barriers: Assessing Women’s Sports, Betting, and Integrity Challenges”.

The study was conducted by the University of Cologne and provides an analysis and overview of the economic development of five women’s sports (soccer, tennis, basketball, cricket, volleyball), the size of the women’s sports betting market, and potential match-fixing vulnerability in women’s sports.

Of significance to industry stakeholders, the study reveals a dramatic increase in women’s sports participation and betting on women’s sports. Soccer markets have reported a 20% annual growth rate in women’s wagering since 2020.

Khalid Ali, CEO of the International Betting Integrity Association, welcomed the AiDP’s data insights ahead of the Women’s World Cup on 20 July. 

“We are about to witness the best attended and most watched women’s World Cup in history, and where soccer leads other women’s sports are rapidly following,” Ali commented.

“The dramatic growth of women’s sports is a hugely positive development – for fans, the sports, and athletes themselves, and also for the betting market. It is creating very significant and untapped opportunities for sports betting. However, with increased growth comes an increased responsibility for ensuring we get ahead of the game when it comes to sports integrity and the fight against match-fixing in women’s sport. There is no room for complacency.”

The study also reveals an increase in the percentage of female bettors across all five sports analysed, with growth rates of up to 10% annually, as the “total volume of bets placed on women’s sports has grown more among women than men”.

As noted by participants, corruption in women’s sport, while present, is significantly lower than in men’s. Yet, the study warns against complacency due to the risk of criminals exploiting vulnerabilities in sports and athletes to manipulate matches and defraud regulated operators.

To combat vulnerabilities in women’s sports and match-fixing threats, the study suggests: strengthening event monitoring, enhancing cooperation between sports governing bodies and betting operators, and providing specific training for law enforcement on women’s sports.

Furthermore, female athletes should be supported with specific education and communication programs, which can be extended to coaches and support staff. Promoting fair wages and economic transparency in women’s sports is also advocated.

Alex Rice, Chief Commercial Officer at Stats Perform, said: “Stats Perform has a history and commitment to investing in women’s sports and enabling rightsholders and teams to grow their fan, commercial, and on-field potential. Understanding women’s sports fans is key to achieving this, so we’re proud to have helped with this important research.”

The study concludes with a call for increasing the amount of available data and conducting further research and analysis on women’s sports and betting. The aim is to deepen the understanding of match-fixing dynamics in women’s sports and develop tailored approaches to sports integrity.

The Breaking Barriers study will be added to AiDP’s resume of industry-first research, which includes the annual All-in Index that provides a census on global gambling’s workforce make-up and progress on DIE initiatives compared to other sectors.

Christina Thakor-Rankin, Co-Founder of All-in Diversity, said: “This study wants to be the beginning of a conversation with the betting industry on how it addresses women’s sports. By understanding what this new and rapidly evolving landscape looks like, we put ourselves in the best possible position to keep customers, sports betting operators, athletes, and sport safe for all.”

SBC News AiDP: Women breaking barriers in sports wagering but vulnerabilities remain

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