The WNBA is Becoming a Popular Attraction for Legal Sports Bettors


  • The WNBA showed 27% annual growth in betting
  • Several states legalized sports betting during 2023
  • Iowa’s Caitlin Clark helped draw record viewership during March Madness

Women’s hoops and WNBA betting are on the rise according to analytics from online sportsbooks.

As the playoffs near the end of the semifinals and the championship series awaits, BetMGM announced this week that it saw a 27% increase year-to-year in betting on the WNBA. For comparison, that’s significantly higher than the 18% growth it saw in MLB betting.

Women’s basketball was not met with the same glowing response and viewership totals as the NBA in years past, but the WNBA appears to have found betting as a way to push its product in front of a wider audience.

WNBA betting on the rise

The WNBA has been able to grow both as a betting prospect and fan attraction for several reasons.

One of the leading reasons is that sports betting added more legal jurisdictions to its portfolio during 2023, including the newly launched Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Ohio. Another is the star power that is regularly on display in the league with teams such as the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty, who combined to go 66-14 in the regular season.

But surprisingly, the biggest reason for the growth in WNBA betting could be the excitement of March Madness. The University of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark—with her elite playmaking and silky shooting ability—helped draw nearly 10 million sets of eyes to the championship game against national champions LSU.

BetMGM reported a 30% increase in betting on women’s March Madness around that time.

The NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) also established terms that allowed NBA players to invest in WNBA teams and sports betting companies, giving them access and influence to both sides of the coin.

NBA stars such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and others have been outspoken proponents of the WNBA and have voiced support and been seen at various games.

The new CBA will allow players the opportunity to endorse online sportsbooks. This has been seen in other sports such as MLB, which started with Charlie Blackmon partnering with the new-shuttered MaximBet.

Active NFL players cannot promote sports betting, but retired personalities such as Drew Brees have teamed up with operators to help market their assets.

Overview of American sports betting

This is the busiest time of the year for sportsbooks. The NFL is back in action, the WNBA playoffs are in full swing, the NHL playoffs and MLB playoffs are on the immediate horizon, and the NBA is about to get back into action.

Statista estimated earlier this year that online sports betting revenue will reach $7.62 billion and will yield an annual growth rate of 17.33% in 2023. It also projected that there will be more than 49.3 million regular sports bettors by 2027.

“It’s a little hard to comprehend that this has only been legal in the United States, outside of Nevada, for five years,” said Casey Clark, senior vice president of the American Gaming Association. “This feels like it’s been part of our culture, our sports engagement as an adult population, for a long time. “We can’t think of anything that’s moved this quickly or evolved this much.”

Just about 50% of the American population can bet on sports legally without leaving their home state. But three priority markets, Florida, California, and Texas, are still without legal sportsbooks. Florida is engaged in a back-and-forth legal saga, and California and Texas have not come close to passing legalization.

FanDuel and DraftKings are still dominating the national market with shares of 45.1% and 32% respectively (as of May 2023). BetMGM is third in line at 9.9%, and Caesars rounds out the Big Four with 6%.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.