- Denise Coates CBE – Co-CEO of Bet365
- Liv Boree – Professional Poker Player
- Amy Howe – CEO of FanDuel Group
- Vanessa Selbst – Professional Poker Player
- Lynda Cavanaugh – Interim President and CEO of the BCLC British Columbia Lottery Corporation
- Jette Nygaard Anderson – CEO of Entain
- Sasha Hostyn – Competitive Video Game Player
- Camilla Rosenberg – Director General of Sweden’s Gambling Regulator
- Kristen Bicknell – Professional Poker Player
- Pansy Ho – Co-Chair of MGM Macau
There seems to be an assumption that gambling and games are for the boys, but statistically that isn’t the case. Online gamblers in Canada are split almost equally between the genders with women making up 43% of online players. The big hitters running the industry aren’t always so equally dispersed, but women have been rising in the ranks more and more, making big waves in the industry as a whole.
The women listed here fall on both sides of the industry, including poker players, esports legends, industry influencers and business moguls.
Denise Coates CBE – Co-CEO of Bet365
Betting runs through the veins of Denise Coates. Many CEOs of gambling companies are brought over from other industries believing that their skills and experience will be transferrable. But Coates has been part of the industry her whole life.
Her family ran a chain of high street sports betting shops in England. Back in 2000 she saw the potential of players placing their bets online. She took a big bet on herself and convinced her family to mortgage the entire chain of shops to form a start-up.
The little start-up that would become one of the biggest international online betting companies in the world, Bet365. Coates is currently the highest paid chief executive in Britain. But even after becoming a multi-billionaire, Coates still plays an active role in the company that employs 4,000 people and processes millions of bets a day.
Liv Boree – Professional Poker Player
The only woman ever to win major events in both the World Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour, Liv Boree is a legend. She also snagged a WSOP bracelet in 2017. She’s not only a poker shark, she’s smart, really smart, even holding a degree in Astrophysics. Boree also has a huge heart, starting a charity known as “Raising for Effective Giving” which advises celebrities on raising money for charities while playing poker. She’s already raised $6 million for good causes.
Amy Howe – CEO of FanDuel Group
Since graduating from Wharton Business School MBA, Amy Howe has exceled at everything she does. She climbed the ranks through various industries earning several honours along the way including being named in Billboard’s Women in Music The 100 Most Powerful Executives in the Industry for three years in a row, she was nominated to the 2017 Sports Business Journal Game Changers list and to the National Diversity Council’s 2018 list of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology.
Since 2021 she started to make her mark in the gambling industry, when she was named CEO of online sports betting giant FanDuel Group. And she didn’t enter it quietly. She has been particularly outspoken about the process of customer acquisition in the industry, stating that many betting companies were wasting money on attracting the wrong customers in the wrong way.
Vanessa Selbst – Professional Poker Player
Widely regarded as the most successful woman in poker, Vanessa Selbst has managed to rake in $12 million over the course of her live poker tournament career. In 2014 she was the first woman to snag the number one spot on the Global Poker Index, which ranks poker players internationally.
Selbst is also the only women to have won two NAPT Main Even titles in a row and the first to have won three World Series of Poker bracelets. You’d think this busy poker career would be all she had time for, but in between live tournaments and grinding at online poker, Selbst also managed to earn a law degree from Yale and pass the bar exam. She’s been in and out of retirement as a player since 2018 but had such a successful career that she still ranks in the top 100 overall money list.
Lynda Cavanaugh – Interim President and CEO of the BCLC British Columbia Lottery Corporation
In January 2021, Lynda Cavanaugh was named the Interim President and CEO of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation, making her the most powerful women in the world of gambling in BC and perhaps even Canada as a whole. She has brought a wide array of experience to the position including leadership, finance, technology and policy.
Jette Nygaard Anderson – CEO of Entain
Jette Nygaard Anderson took the reins as the CEO of online gambling giant, Entain in January 2021. Making her the first women to be named CEO of a UK-listed betting company. Nygaard Anderson doesn’t just stay in her lane and is seeking to disrupt the whole gambling industry.
Just like Amy Howe, she has used her position to speak out about what she believes in unsustainable spending on advertisements, casino bonuses and promotions within the US betting industry.
Sasha Hostyn – Competitive Video Game Player
Since the greater sporting industry have been hesitant to embrace cyber athletes into their fold, it’s only fair that the world of iGaming embraces them. And no woman is bigger in the arena cyber sports than Canada’s own Sasha Hostyn. Known professionally as Scarlet, she makes male gamers quake in their boots, earning herself the nickname Korean Kryptonite for dominating in StarCraft II.
Hailing from Kingston, Ontario, Hostyn was the first woman to win a major StarCraft II tournament and has earned her spot in the Guinness Book of Records as “highest career earnings for a female competitive video game player”.
Camilla Rosenberg – Director General of Sweden’s Gambling Regulator
Sweden’s gambling industry is regulated by Spelinspektionen, one of the strictest regulators in the world. Taking customer protection to higher levels than any other while still allowing players to place their bets on almost anything they want; this is a highly important organisation.
At the head of this organisation sits, Camilla Rosenberg. You might be thinking: but what does a Swedish regulator have to do with us? You’d be surprised to learn the number of online gambling giants that hail from Sweden, including Betsson, LeoVegas and Evolution.
Kristen Bicknell – Professional Poker Player
Another Kanuck shaking up things in a male dominated field, Kristen Bicknell, is following in footsteps on Jennifer Harman and Vanessa Selbst to become one of the greatest poker players of all time. Known for her stamina, she is sometimes referred to as the “Ultimate grinder”. To get her start, she played over 2.5 million hands a year at Poker Stars at low stakes tables.
In 2020 she became the second women to earn her third World Series of Poker bracelet. Although less active as she is avoiding live tournaments after taking a strong stance on COVID-19 safety measures, she still ranks 24th on Global Poker Index.
Pansy Ho – Co-Chair of MGM Macau
Another woman with casino games in her blood is Pansy Ho. Her late father, Stanley Ho was one of the biggest gambling tycoons in the world. Owning several casinos, restaurants and hotels in Macau, Portugal and across the world. Back in 2008 she started to take over from her father and is currently the Co-Chair of MGM Macau. She has done a lot to disperse rumours of nepotism through sheer determination and drive.
Through smart investments she has taken the legendary casino ahead in giant leaps to prove her nay-sayers wrong and earned herself the title of “the $4.4 billion queen of sex, sequins and seven-card stud”.