10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry

International Women’s Day celebrates and supports women’s achievements worldwide. It always takes place on March 8thToday. So, today, we salute 10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry.

Only recently, women gamblers and casino managers have gotten closer to an equal playing field as men. Poker has brought out some of the best female gambling stars. The following women have chipped away at a male-dominated industry.

Modern Female Poker Stars

Vanessa SelbstThe Best Female Poker Player of All-Time

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling
Vanessa Selbst with WSOP bracelet

At just thirty-three years young, Brooklyn-born Vanessa Selbst deserves to be included in the 10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry. She has been called the world’s best woman poker player. Vanessa boasts three WSOP bracelets, eight final tables, 20 money finishes, and two WPT final tables. Her highest WSOP Main Event money finish was 73rd in 2012. in addition, she is the only woman to have won three bracelets in WSOP open events. In New England, she won the 2010 North American Poker Tour $5,000 Mohegan Sun Main Event and earned $750,000. She returned the following year and defended her title successfully.

Annette ObrestadThe Youngest To Win A WSOP Bracelet

Norwegian Poker Pro Annette Obrestad is the youngest person ever to win a WSOP bracelet. It’s a feat she accomplished at the 2007 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE) Main Event, the day before her 19th birthday. Obrestad currently holds second place among Norwegian poker players in the all-time money list in live tournaments.

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling
Annette Obrestad

Much More Than a Poker StarAnnie Duke

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling
Annie Duke

Annie Duke has won a WSOP gold bracelet and NBC’s National Heads Up Championship. But, she isn’t only famous for being a talented poker player. She has devoted many hours to raising money for charitable causes. You can read all about it in her autobiography. It’s one of a few Poker books she has authored, whereas the others being instructional books. Her first book, “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts.” is good for any personal poker resource. Also, check out her website and podcast AnnieDuke.com.

Related Post – What Makes the Ultimate Poker Room?

Breaking the “Glass Ceiling” – 10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry.

Denise CoatesBet365 Mastermind

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling

Denise Coates believed that the Internet was the wave of the future for sports betting. Today, Coates is co-CEO of Bet365, one of the world’s largest online gambling companies, and her billionaire brother, John. Noting the success of online gambling businesses, Coates bought the domain Bet365.com in 2000 and launched the website in 2001.

Instead of just offering online sports betting, Bet365 added bingo, casino games, poker, horse racing, and much more. She transformed the site into a one-stop destination for gambling, and their business skyrocketed as a result. She owns around half of privately-held Bet365, which facilitates more than $65 billion in bets a year. No wonder she is considered one of the 10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry.

Judy Bayley – First Lady of Gambling

Known as the First Lady of Gambling, Judy and Warren Bayley opened the Hacienda in 1956 in Las Vegas.

Hacienda, Las Vegas.

Upon her husband’s untimely death in 1964, Judy became the first woman in history to be the sole owner and operator of a hotel casino. As its chairwoman, she battled the casino’s early struggles, including financial turmoil and casino debts.

Judy is the first person to bring Live Keno to the Las Vegas strip. As a result, live Keno helped develop her casino’s fame, giving the Hacienda an identity and influence on the few casinos on the Strip.

Eleanor DuMont – 10 Outstanding Women In The Gambling Industry.

Even though Blackjack has long been considered the domain of men, Eleanor DuMont broke through early in the 1800s. She was also known by her nickname “Madame Moustache” due to the appearance of a line of dark hair on her upper lip.

Born in France, DuMont was an expert at Blackjack’s predecessor Vingt-Et-Un. She would later move to Nevada City, California, to establish a saloon. The establishment was called “Vingt-Et-Un,” in which she would dish out free champagne to players. She was nominated for the Blackjack Hall of Fame at one point but did not secure enough votes to gain her entry.

Note: To date, the Blackjack Hall of Fame has not inducted any women. Nominated, but elected so far. This exclusion of women has caused much discussion and debate among members of the gambling community. 

Virginia Dowell

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling
Virginia Dowell, at Lady Luck Casino, owned by Isle of Capri at the time.

She served as the only female president and CEO of a major gaming operating company. Virginia led Lady Luck Casino from 2007 until she retired from Isle of Capri Casinos in April 2016.

She now serves as the president and board chair of Global Gaming Women. GGW is a non-profit with a mission to support, inspire and influence women’s development in the gaming industry through education and mentoring. Her achievements include:

  • thirty-five years of casino experience
  • strong business skills and a demonstrated ability to communicate at every level.
  • Served as a frequent featured or keynote speaker, moderator, a panelist for universities, civic organizations, charitable organizations, and major industry conferences.

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling – New England

Anika Howard – Foxwoods

Anika Howard is the VP of Brand Marketing and Digital. She is also responsible for Advertising, Public Relations, Digital, Sponsorship, Web, and Social Marketing efforts.

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling

Anika started her career as a President’s Associate with Caesars Entertainment. Then, she created her own path in Interactive Marketing and Online Gaming. Anika found primary roles she designed to support her vision of what was possible.

Anika Howard leads advertising, public relations, online marketing, sponsorships/partnerships, web development, and social media for the resort.  She is also responsible for the FoxwoodsONLINE social casino and drives sports betting, online gaming strategy, and visioning. 


Kim Noto – Mohegan Sun

Kim Noto is the top executive on all Mohegan Sun marketing efforts. Her job includes the operation, direction, and strategies for Mohegan Sun’s Player’s Club (MomentuIn addition, m). VIP Services, Hotel Sales & Marketing, Hotel Yielding, Database Marketing, Sponsorship, Bus Marketing, and Special Events are also part of her work.

Noto has been with Mohegan Sun since 2007. She has had many roles that include:

  • serving as the Marketing Analyst,
  • Senior Marketing Analyst,
  • Marketing Analysis Manager,
  • Director of Campaign Management & Analytics and
  • VP of Customer Relationship Management

Cathy Judd-Stein – Massachusetts Gaming Commission Chairwoman

10 Outstanding Women In Gambling

Cathy Judd-Stein joined the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as Chair in 2019. the Massachusetts legal community highly regards her expertise on a wide variety of legal issues. In addition, her expertise in the laws governing the ethics and conduct of public employees made Gov. Baker take notice. Cathy’s state government experience and attention qualify her to be the Gaming Commission’s Chair.


Unfortunately, the rise in employing women by casinos has decreased due to the pandemic. These ladies have shown that with tenacity and experience, women belong in the casino industry,