With all the talk about sexism in gaming, I think it’s time to discuss the sexism in gambling.
At the start of this century, there were several attempts to market online gambling sites for women. I recall CasinoBetty.com, WomensVegas.com, and RomanceCasino.com, among others. All are defunct now. (Hence no links; I’ll not send traffic to domain squatters.)
Perhaps those early “for women” gambling sites deserve to be gone because they sure failed to really address what women want in a gambling site. Despite their come hither names, they certainly failed to deliver upon their promises.
Casino Betty pasted itself in pink; and we all hate that gender-based marketing ploy, right ladies? (Even if pink is supposed to be a strong color, it is used to create disposable products and brands — and we can smell it!) Other sites, like Women Vegas and Romance Casino, promoted the allure of women’s interests, including the erotic appeal of men — but once past the splash pages, there wasn’t a single man worthy of inspiring a ripped a bodice. Not that sex is the only way to sell gambling (or anything else); nor are all women hetero. But, we whine, they promised.
Worse yet, no one appears to be trying to take over such gambling spaces for women.
At least not for anyone in the USA. And the very few online sites that I have seen, in any country, which try to target market a female demographic do so with stereotypes so tired that I can’t take them seriously. Yes, there are pink websites. But it’s even worse that that. These few sites for women gamblers suggest that you should begin your “night out on the town with the other girls by putting your face on” and promote features such as “feminine symbols like perfume, the glitzy handbag, the girly cocktail, lipstick and the muscly waiter with shot glasses”.
It makes you wonder just what they think it is that we women do on our “ladies nights”… Or, for that matter, just how few of us put makeup on to spend time online. And WTF, are symbols such as cherries, diamonds, hearts, and spades too masculine for us now?
Maybe this failure to create real online gambling destinations for women isn’t all that surprising. Many fail to understand what women want. And I don’t just mean that in terms of what men whine about in relationships and dating. I mean that in terms of marketing to, and developing products for, women. Companies and entrepreneurs alike fail to address what women want and need in everything from hiking equipment to porn — so why should it be any different in gambling?
The real difference here is that it seems no one is even attempting to seriously take a gamble on female gamblers. Folks just aren’t willing to bet on the investment required to create a gambling site tailored for women. Apparently, those stakes are too high — even if the house is a sure winner.
This sort of sexism in gambling may not be as mean as the down-right attacks on women which occur in gaming. But the very fact that the gambling industry is honestly making no attempt to cater (or even pander) to women gamblers should be just as offensive.