For good or ill, the world of casinos is a growing industry in the UK. And there are signs that some women are using their wits to beat a system that for the vast majority results in losses and debts. It’s not easy, but their experience shows that it may be possible.
It is estimated that roughly 40% of players that actively contribute to playing casino games are women. However, last year, only 3.8% of participants in the World Series of Poker – one of the main poker events of the year – were women. So even though the number of female players has increased over the years, there is still a long way to go.
Technological innovations mean that many female players can participate in online casino games from the comfort of their own homes. Payment technology has also enabled players to pay with a variety of payment options such as PayPal and other e-wallets allowing more flexibility for gamers. This has boosted the female player population as women seem to prefer playing online than in a physical casino.
Statistics also suggest that women generally gravitate towards betting on games of chance, such as slots and bingo. A survey conducted in 2018 by Grant Thompson showed that around 30% of slot players were women. However, the number of female professional poker players indicates that women are not afraid to try their hand at a game of skill.
Development in the iGaming industry are continuously attracting more female players. One of the main contributing factors is that online casinos are embracing a more neutral style. They are no longer based on macho designs. Plus, with social media advertising, many gambling platforms are able to target female audiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The flip side of this is that the number of women with harmful gambling addictions has also increased.
There’s no question that gambling has many losers and a few winners. And there are a handful of women who have made it big through business or skill in the betting world. Let’s take a look at some of the prominent women who are beating the odds.
Who would have thought that an econometrics major from the University of Sheffield would end up as a female entrepreneur and a powerhouse in the casino industry? In 2000, Denise Coates started a betting business from her backyard. Today, she is a British billionaire with a net worth of over $12.2 billion. Her business evolved into an online multi-billion-dollar betting site called Bet365. She is currently the majority shareholder and joint CEO of Bet365. In 2020, she earned over $700 million, making her Britain’s highest-paid CEO. Denise continues to build her legacy as one of the most recognisable names in the casino industry.
In a game like poker, which is traditionally male-dominated, Venessa Selbst managed to rise to the top. She is one of the highest-earning female poker players and has earned more than $11.6 million in winnings. She began her career as a professional poker player when she was only 20 and managed to achieve tremendous success by the time she was only 31. This is a great achievement, especially when you consider that she was competing against seasoned veterans.
Vanessa has also received three World Series of Poker bracelets – the most coveted non-monetary prize for poker players. She is also the only top female poker player in the Global Poker Index and is a member of the PokerStars Pro.
Melonie Johnson is breaking all stereotypes and shaking up the world of poker. She was named the President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in 2020 – becoming the first black woman to oversee an Atlantic City casino. With her success in the male-dominated casino industry, she has also inspired other women to step up.
Annette Obrestad is a young up-and-coming star in the poker world and has already won millions in online poker. This Norwegian has won the World Series of Poker Europe bracelet, making her the youngest person ever to win. She is known as the Huntress or Annette_15 in the online poker industry.
Women who have made it in the gambling industry are those who have not left it to chance. They are to be found in arenas where skill and experience matters. As punters, those women are choosing poker, a game that is solidly based on skill rather than lady luck. Casinos are a business like any other, so there is always room for savvy entrepreneurs like Denise Coates to spot a gap and build a successful business.