Gail Odgers15 April 2024 | 8:40

GAIL ODGERS: Women in sports betting rising to fulfil leadership positions at a rapid rate

Careers in sports betting have largely been dominated by men; but we are starting to see this change as more women enter leadership positions within the sports betting industry, writes Gail Odgers.

GAIL ODGERS: Women in sports betting rising to fulfil leadership positions at a rapid rate

Picture: Pexels

Careers related to gaming have experienced significant growth as access to high-quality mobile gaming platforms and options for streaming entertainment continue to expand.

Despite the sports betting industry in South Africa being disproportionately represented by men, we are increasingly seeing more women being hired across the board, particularly in the fields of marketing, finance, and more broadly across sports betting operations.

A predominant reason for the growth in online gaming and sports betting is that we are seeing pressure from industry and government to diversify the representation of the industry.

Secondly, we are seeing an increase in demand for online casinos, slots and online gaming growth.


The rise of online betting has given women more opportunities and access to information and resources.

We’ve found that women tend to be more risk-averse, preferring to play with smaller amounts. But they tend to spend more time on the platform and are more adventurous when it comes to betting on a varied number of games versus sticking to one game as we have seen previously with our male demographic.

The growth of online casinos and slots has grown interest in betting among women who enjoy the pure entertainment value of it. There are different betting options for one game, and we find that women are more open to exploring a variety of options in order to make an informed bet.

The improvement of cyber security and safety controls in online gaming is ensuring that sports betting can be a safe and fun experience. As operators, we are responsible for the wellbeing of our punters. 

From a safety and cybersecurity perspective, we are taking the initiative to educate our fans and provide a safer gambling perspective so that we can protect our users.


We are also seeing a rise in women mentoring each other in this industry so that we can support the next generation. 

This also opens the door and creates career roadmaps for deserving women who can make waves in the entertainment industry.

We have definitely seen the sports betting industry evolve over the last six to seven years. While the industry is still male-dominated, we are seeing more women rapidly rising through the ranks into leadership positions.

The fast-paced sports betting industry is growing so rapidly that career progression is much faster than other industries. 

Women in this industry are accelerated into leadership positions within three to five years; whereas in other industries it could take decades before they find themselves at the helm of a department or company. 

Furthermore, participating in sports betting requires executives to keep up with emerging technologies and new regulations. 

It’s important for systems to be put in place that facilitate learning opportunities and skills development for women and this needs to be a continuous process.

Also, soft skills development and engagement leveraging industry updates, coaching, and engaging with other women in the industry at conferences.

The industry needs more women who are analytical thinkers, numbers-driven and who are go-getters. It does take a certain personality and a culture-fit is incredibly important.

I feel positive about the future outlook for sports betting in South Africa. Things look very different today than what they did even five years ago. 

We are seeing more women rising in this space, and it would be good to see more women in sports betting business ownership.

Gail Odgers is the head of acquisition at Sportingbet.