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Women in Gambling: the Leading Ladies 2023

Women in Gambling: the Leading Ladies 2023

Women in Gambling: the Leading Ladies 2023

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that casinos have been traditionally male spaces.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about players, dealers, executives: historically speaking, every part of the gambling industry has been dominated by men.

But it’s a new day!

Modern players can say with pride that women are claiming space in the gaming sector as never before.

Let’s take a look at some of the ladies at the top of today’s game. These are names every serious player should know, but also names to watch!

With the glass ceiling shattered by groundbreaking women in eras past, it looks like the sky is the limit for women in gambling, individually and collectively.

Increasingly these days, women claim equal pride of place with men at the gaming tables – both online and at brick-and-mortar casinos.

Though there is some data that indicates men and women have different gambling styles, there is nothing to suggest that any kind of ‘winnings gap’ analogous to the ubiquitous pay gap between the genders in the private and public sectors. If anything, women may have the edge over men when it comes to the tables!


– Annie Duke, the so-called “Duchess of Poker” was one of the first modern women players to claim space at the otherwise male-occupied table.

As of yet, she is still the only woman to win the WSOP Heads-Up Championship, which she claimed in 2005. Between her lifetime earnings and her in-demand status as a teacher and writer on the game, she is one of the top five wealthiest women poker players in the world.

– Canadian Kirsten Becknell sits tied for the ladies’ record with three WSOP bracelets, to go along with a handsome $1.2 million in lifetime winnings so far. Born in 1986, she is still a young player. It should be exciting to see what she can accomplish over what is hopefully a long and prestigious career.


– Vanessa Selbst is poker’s most successful woman player to date, with over $2.2 million in lifetime winnings and three WSOP bracelets to her name. Though currently retired, she is still a young woman with a very bright future ahead of her – at or away from the tables.

– Annette Obrestad took the top prize at the 2007 Wofd Series of Poker Europe – with its $2 million top prize – doing so one day before her 19th birthday. This made her not only the only woman to win a WSOP Main Event, but also the younger player of any gender to win a WSOP Bracelet.

It’s not only at the tables that women are finding success – these days, it’s often women who are running the show!


While there are more powerful women making moves in the gaming sector than could be properly acknowledged in any one article, there are a few who risen to a truly legendary status.

These three heavy hitters operate at the very top echelons of the business. They should be household names…

…if they aren’t already!

– Denise Coates is the founder and CEO of the international online gaming powerhouse Bet365.

Coates has led the way on many industry mega-trends, including the addition of casinos, bingo, and poker to betting sites, and the addition of 24/7 live support. Her leadership and vision have made her, on any given day, the somewhere between the second- and fifth-wealthiest woman in Great Britain (it’s been some time since any British woman was wealthier than Queen).

 On the other side of the Atlantic, Deborah Nutton made her way into the upper echelons of gambling the old-fashioned way. 

She began as a dealer – one of the first women to deal Craps on the Les Vegas Strip, in fact – before rising to the position of boss of the dice pit at the Sands, eventually becoming the Executive Vice President of Casino Operations at the Wynn Casino. She is currently Senior VP of Casino Operations at the MGM Grand.

– Pansy Ho, is one of the most powerful people of any gender in the entire gaming industry.

This co-chair of Macau gaming firm MGM China absolutely is a true force to be reckoned with. Not only is she one of the top executives in the gambling Mecca of Macau, but she is also a billionaire in her own right, a central power in one of the wealthiest families in all of Asia, and a standing committee member of the United National Development Program, the World Travel and Tourism Council, and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.

This is not the resume of a token woman grudgingly allowed a seat at the table – it’s the resume of a Rockefeller or (perhaps more aptly given the rumors of her ties to organized crime) a Kennedy.

Women in Gambling: the Leading Ladies 2023

Women in Gambling: the Leading Ladies 2023