Social networking websites such as Facebook have risen in popularity over recent years and now many consumers use them.However, research conducted by Nielson Media has found that in the UK, online gambling web offerings, potentially including those that offer free bets, are used by more people.
The firm discovered that 3.2 million people visited bookies and casinos over the web over the course of the last year. This was a rise of 40 per cent on the previous 12-month period.
In contrast, 2.2 million individuals went on Facebook and other social networks.
Nielson Media also revealed that almost half of those who use bookies and casinos online earned a living of at least £30,000 per annum.
Also, of those who use sites that provide paid and free bets, nearly one in two (46 per cent) were female.
Meanwhile, many of the gambling websites available online use female-friendly colour schemes and other things designed to appeal to women.
Responding to the findings, Neil Beston from Nielson said the economic problems being felt in the UK and elsewhere have had an impact on the landscape of online betting.
He stated: “The over-65s and those on lower household incomes have historically been heavy users of gambling sites, but in the face of the recession this profile is changing.”
The expert added: “While the phenomenal growth in gambling sites over the last two years has been driven by men and women of all ages, it appears to be powered particularly by middle-aged men, the well-educated and high-earning households.”
Online betting shows no sign of decreasing in popularity and experts anticipate use of such sites will continue to rise.
Indeed, the choice of offerings available to consumers both in the UK and elsewhere is constantly expanding and they are becoming increasingly diverse and sophisticated.