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Most Influential Women in the Gambling Industry

Published by on March 5, 2018

March has arrived and International Women’s Day is here.

An annual celebration that started more than a century ago, it’s a day to praise the achievements of women globally and a day to recognise the ongoing challenges we face in the battle for equality.

What ‘ongoing challenges’ are we talking about? Namely, narrowing the gender gap.

Nowhere is this gap, or working divide, more apparent than in the male-dominated gambling industry. Take a look at the kinds of outdated attitudes still held in this field (many along the lines of women being best ‘seen and not heard’) and the truth is plain to see: there’s still a long way to go before both genders live and work on a level playing field.

But fear not. Strong females working in some of the best casino online companies are providing hope for even this notoriously sexist industry. Find out how Denise Coates, Sarah Harrison and Pansy Ho have stamped their mark across the sectors of online betting, gambling regulation and casino. . .

  1. Denise Coates, CEO of Bet365

With punters betting £12 billion at her bookmakers every single year, it’s safe to say that Denise Coates is doing well for herself.

The CEO and co-founder of Bet365 grew up assisting in her family’s small chain of betting shops. But somewhere in her early twenties, she noticed a rising demand for online gambling sites. No stranger to risk, she teamed up with her brother, John Coates, and borrowed £15 million to launch Bet365.com in 2000.

Whilst the company began life in a humble portacabin in a Stoke-on-Trent car park, it quickly flourished under the Coates’ direction to become one of the most profitable businesses in the UK. It brought in £525 million during the 2016 – 17 financial year, allowing Denise, the majority shareholder, to take home a healthy £199 million pay packet.

This makes her the highest-paid boss in Britain today. Her earnings smash the £48.1 million salary of the previous record holder, Sir Martin Sorrell, and bring her personal fortune up to an estimated £3.06 billion.

  1. Sarah Harrison, CEO at Gambling Commission

Whilst she very recently left for a new role with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Sarah Harrison thrived as the Chief Executive at the Gambling Commission.

She joined in 2015 and wasted no time in implanting more strategies for gambling regulation. These were issued with harsh words of warning to bookies: ‘We will take robust and effective action when gambling companies don’t meet their obligations’.

Harrison certainly wasn’t all talk. During her reign, market leaders like Coral, Paddy Power and Betfred all incurred hefty six-figure fines; these were handed out for faults like misleading advertisements and not paying out fairly.

Her formidable, no-nonsense approach has not only helped to keep some of the bookmakers in line, but it’s earned Harrison the respect of gamblers across the country. In fact, it’s even gained her the nickname of ‘punters’ champion’.

  1. Pansy Ho, Businesswoman and Co-Chair of MGM Macau

It was once said that, when it comes to casinos, ‘men run the show and women are just for show’. But one of the most affluent women in Hong Kong is proving otherwise.

With a net worth of around $5.6 billion, Pansy Ho is the co-chair of the famous and highly-profitable MGM Macau. This sprawling 35-floor casino complex – with it’s unique curved walls and gold, blue and bronze façade – is situated in the heart of downtown Macau, a glamourous gambling district known as the ‘Vegas of China’.

Ho’s rise to success was no doubt aided by her family’s established casino empire; her father stands as the legendary Stanley Ho, the gambling tycoon who held a monopoly on the Chinese market for decades. But it is, no doubt, her own personal determination and entrepreneurial mind that has seen her effectively invest in multiple industries, including casino, property and transport, and warranted her the highly-coveted status as ‘Queen of Gambling’.

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