Do You Have a Specific Marketing Plan for Sports Betting?

Strategies to take advantage of this rising tide

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There’s the saying: “A rising tide lifts all boats.” So how has the rising tide of sports betting affected gaming properties across the U.S.? A recent American Gaming Association release shared that the betting revenue for commercial sports increased almost 180 percent YoY in 2021.

Much of this growth is due to increased accessibility to sports betting. It is now legal in over 30 states, with more on the way. Over half of the U.S. population has access to legal sports betting through mobile platforms and retail locations. The obvious impact has been the increased revenue opportunity for operators where sports betting has been legalized. So how can casinos continue their upwards stream of income with this affluent market? By reaching the right audiences through more thoughtful marketing.

Sports betting is a young man’s game (mostly)

The growing sports betting industry has introduced younger adults into gaming’s target audience. An American Gaming Association study revealed that 44 percent of sports bettors are under the age of 35 and skewed heavily male. However, this doesn’t mean that as marketers we should tailor all messaging and advertising towards a younger male audience.

Why not?

According to Forbes, women are the fastest-growing segment signing up for mobile sports betting apps in the U.S. Over 4.5 million women joined sports betting apps in the U.S. in 2021 – that’s a 115 percent increase over the prior year. According to the article, men still outnumber women in usage by a 2.5 to 1 ratio, but the growth rate of female users was nearly double the growth rate of males. If growth rates maintain for 2022, women will make up over 1/3 of the sports betting audience by year’s end, an impact that will undoubtedly affect our marketing plans. It’s safe to assume that the preferred strategy will be geared towards both men and women of the younger generations.

Reaching the younger audience

The younger audience isn’t traditionally part of our marketing plans, which means that they’re probably not part of your database. It’s essential to cater your outreach to induct these users into your database – this is especially critical if you have added popular venues to cater to this audience, like craft brewhouses and sports bars.

This task is relatively easy. This younger demographic is responsive to digital marketing, which offers a number of efficient, budget-friendly targeting tactics specifically designed to reach the younger, digital-savvy demographic.

As casino marketers, we always strive to meet our audience where they are. Traditionally that has been through a mix of platforms, including broadcast, digital, outdoor, print, and recently some social media.

The younger audience requires a different marketing approach; not only is their digital usage an outlier, but their broadcast viewership also has atypical qualities. There is more appointment viewing versus live programming, as well as much more online video content absorbed. This allows for six-second and 15-second pre-roll opportunities that line up with the shorter attention span of the younger demographic. Catalyst’s recent series on generational marketing explores these differences in detail.

Nuanced messaging

The younger generation communicates differently as well. They are open to more direct messaging. In some markets, especially in more urban areas, social responsibility comes into play in grabbing their attention. Most importantly, transparency is a key component of building brand trust.

What’s next?

You’ve read our expert advice; the next step is to implement these strategies into your marketing plan. Here’s a short, shareable recap of what we’ve just discussed:

  1. Know your audience – and know that it’s changing. Sports betting is a massively increasing market, with a predominantly young male audience and a rapidly growing female audience.
  2. Invest in digital marketing and tailor your broadcast spots to run for appointment viewing media. It’s essential to adjust your marketing tactics to align with your target demographic’s behaviors.
  3. Keep in mind this new audience’s particularities. The sports betting demographic brings a new set of values into the marketing space, with an emphasis on brand trust and social responsibility.

If you’re looking for more help with your marketing strategy, email