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Powerful Women in Gambling

With the opening of the second MGM resort and casino in Macau, Pansy Ho is establishing herself as a major figure in the world of gaming. The daughter of multi-billionaire gambling mogul Stanley Ho, Pansy has established herself firmly as a major figure in the world of international gambling and is renowned by many as the richest woman in Hong Kong. While she’s definitely an anomaly in the male dominated market of gambling, she’s hardly the only woman to stake a claim and establish herself as a major player of the casino landscape. In fact, her partner in business MGM has received awards for its diversity and nearly 43% of its management staff are women.

One of the women who’ve worked for MGM is Deborah Nutton, who started her career in the casino as a Craps dealer who rolled the dice after obtaining her nursing degree and thought she could establish a career in the world of casinos. While she was no doubt good at her job and has since been acknowledged for her performance, she was beset with sexism and an adversarial relationship with her male co-workers who referred to her in less than pleasant terms when on break. Nevertheless, she persisted and rose through the ranks to become the pit boss at the Sands at the young age of 25. With her current position as EVP of Casino Operations for Wynn Las Vegas, she’s continued to prove an impressive force in the industry.

But, even before Deborah Nutton, there was a woman who stood out as a trail-blazer for women gaining a powerful position in the world of gambling. That woman was Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert, more commonly known simply as Poker Alice. Poker Alice was a woman born in England who moved to America when she was young. While in America, Alice met her first husband, Frank Duffield, who taught her how to play Poker before he died in an accident. With the knowledge of how to play under her belt, Alice made a living working and gaming in casinos with her sharp head for numbers and good looks. She estimated herself that she made around $250,000 which, adjusted for inflation, is closer to $3 million today. She even opened her own saloon ‘Poker’s Palace; which offered gambling, booze and prostitution. While this was eventually shut down, because Alice shot a soldier in reported self-defence, it’s still an impressive feat for a woman living in 1910.

But perhaps the most impressive woman currently on the gambling scene is Denise Coates, the CEO of Bet365 and appointed as a CBE for her work in the local community. Coates managed to turn Bet 365 into one of the most prominent online gambling sites out there with a personal fortune that is estimated at $4.1 billion and a salary that last year paid her £217 million. She comes from a family of bookmakers, but started running Bet365 from a temporary building on a car park near one of the shops she owned. With an active and firm grasp on the company, Coates is as self-made as you can get and presents a dominating force in the world of online casino games.

While the casino industry may have been dominated by men for the past thirty years, the wind seems to be changing and we could see a far more equal playing field within the next decade!


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