Top 5 Female Business Leaders in iGaming

Written By Zack Wilson on October 19, 2021

The gambling industry has been traditionally a very male place. The image of casinos and betting shops as places frequented by mainly men and run and controlled by men is certainly one that has persisted in the popular imagination for some years. Things are changing, however! As you’ll see here, women are rising to the top of the gaming industry in ever-increasing numbers now. We’re going to tell you about five of the most popular female business leaders in iGaming, so read on!

Denise Coates (bet365)

Denise Coates has risen to become of the UK’s top gambling entrepreneurs over the last two decades. Gambling runs in the Coates family, with her father Peter Coates having co-founded Bet365 with his daughter in 2000. This was the perfect time to capitalise on the development of digital technology and forge a new path in internet gambling.

Image credit: Hugh Routledge

Denise Coates has helmed Bet365 during a period in which it has become one of the biggest operators in world gambling. According to The Sunday Times Rich List, she is now one of the rishest women in the UK. In 2019, Forbes magazine estimated her net wealth as standing at £12.2 billion and she is reportedly the highest paid chief executive in Britain. In 2012, she received a CBE from the British government in recognition of her services to business.

Amy Howe (Flutter Entertainment)

Amy Howe was recently appointed as CEO in the USA of Flutter Entertainment, the brand that owns Paddy Power, FanDuel and other top names in the gambling industry. She was appointed after holding the role on an interim basis following the departure of Matt King. Previously, she had served as the CEO of Ticketmaster before joining Flutter as president, a role she filled for four years.

Image credit: USA Wager

During her time as president, Howe oversaw FanDuel’s sportsbook, casino and horse racing operations as well as daily fantasy sports. FanDuel maintained its place as the leader in terms of American market share, fluctuating between 40% and 50% as new US states permitted online gambling. Howe certainly has the skills to ensure that Flutter entrenches its prime position, as she was also previously a partner at McKinsey, a top-end consulting company, for 15 years.

Paris Smith (Pinnacle)

Paris Smith has been one of the top female leaders in US gambling for 15 years. In 2006, she was appointed as COO of Pinnacle. This came after she spent 15 years as COO at offshore sports betting company WWTS, a company that was later sold to Betcorp Ltd. After joining Pinnacle initially as COO, she was promoted in 2006 after helping the company shift its focus from America to growing markets in Europe and Asia.

Image credit: Star Sports News

One of Pinnacle’s major success stories during Smith’s tenure has been the development of esports betting. Pinnacle took its first esports bet in 2010, and in February 2017 it took its five millionth. The amount of esports betting at the site has continued to grow since then. Smith was inducted into the Betting on Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, a mark of the high esteem in which her peers in the gambling industry hold her.

Jette Nygaard-Andersen (Entain)

Jette Nygaard-Andersen is the Danish CEO of Entain, the international sports betting and gambling company that was formerly known as GVC Holdings. Anyone familiar with the gambling industry’s biggest brand names will have heard of GVC. She was appointed to the role of CEO in January 2021, taking over from Shay Segev. She assumed the role after joining Entain’s board as an independent non-executive director in 2019. Prior to that, she acquired two decades’ worth of experience in leadership and operational roles at companies operating in the sporting, entertainment, media and digital sectors. During this period of her career, she spent two successful periods at the Modern Time Group (MTG).

Image credit: Gaming Intelligence

One prime area of improvement that Nygaard-Andersen identified in a recent speech to industry bigwigs was an unsophisticated use of data coupled with poor platform management. She has identified that the industry must strive to make itself sustainable by responding to customer-led disruption. She also, however, highlighted that trust and integrity were central to her vision of the industry, and that customers will always be more attracted to companies that operate with transparency.

Cristina Niculae (Interactive Gaming Group)

Cristina Niculae is the CEO of multi-platform iGaming marketing firm Interactive Gaming Group (IGG). She was appointed to the role in January 2021, after previously spending over 17 years in various business leadership roles. Her most significant previous role was as Chief Strategy Officer at GiG, a company she joined in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer of its iGamingCloud business.

Image credit: IGB Affiliate

Niculae was named by iGaming Business as one of the ‘Top 5 Most influential Women in the Industry’ in 2019, a significant honour. One of her main focuses in her work is on how immersive digital technologies can enrich the gaming experience for customers, something that is sure to develop massively in the coming years.

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Zack Wilson

Zack Wilson is an experienced writer whose past includes working for and Love Rugby League. With a keen interest in how technology will shape sport and gambling in the future. Away from the screen, he still plays and coaches rugby union.

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