by Mateusz Mazur

Last update: 12.03.2024 11:31

TOP 40 Most Influential Women in iGaming

To commemorate International Women’s Day, throughout the whole day, we were presenting our meticulously curated list of the TOP 40 most influential women in iGaming. Below you will find the entire list. We would like to congratulate every woman who contributed to the development of the iGaming industry, even if this time she was not among the TOP 40. We wish all women all the best wishes on their special day!

40. Ewa Ulicz

The Marketing Director at IGT Poland who is recognized for her dedication to gender equality and the empowerment of women in the professional sphere. She is an advocate for creating equal-opportunity workplaces and is involved in initiatives that promote women in the iGaming industry. Her efforts extend to mental health, equality, and diversity programs within companies, demonstrating her comprehensive approach to fostering an inclusive environment​.

39. Andrea Kolarčík Macháčková

Serving as the Chief Marketing Officer at SYNOT Games she is actively involved in expanding the company’s global footprint in the iGaming industry. Under her leadership, SYNOT Games has been working on enhancing its game offerings, with a particular emphasis on engaging and innovative solutions that meet the evolving demands of online players. Andrea’s anticipation of the industry’s innovation trends and her commitment to SYNOT Games’ growth in regulated markets underscore her influential role in the iGaming sector.

38. Jo Purvis

Director of Key Accounts and Marketing at Blueprint Gaming, a company known for its innovative and engaging slot games. Her role involves overseeing partnerships with major operator brands and contributing to the marketing strategy to ensure their content reaches a broad audience. With a career spanning over a decade at Blueprint Gaming, Purvis has played a significant role in the company’s growth and success in the online gaming sector

37. Borah Omary

Betpawa’s Country Marketing Manager, actively contributing to the sector’s growth and diversity in East Africa. Her expertise spans over a decade in developing comprehensive marketing strategies and executing media plans, underpinned by her keen interest in media production, digital and traditional marketing, analytics, communication, and public relations. Omary’s involvement in significant industry events, such as various webinars, underscores her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion within the iGaming industry, particularly advocating for the increased participation of women.

36. Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier

Highly regarded legal professional specializing in Native American Law, Gaming Law, and Business Litigation at Snell & Wilmer. Her expertise encompasses representing tribes, tribal entities, and businesses in various commercial transactions within Indian Country, including gaming licensing, compacting, and economic development. Staudenmaier’s contributions to the legal field are evidenced by her involvement in numerous publications and presentations that cover a wide range of topics within her areas of specialization, such as tribal-state gaming compacts, jurisdiction over casino patron tort claims, and the regulatory environment of sports book advertising.

35. Karolina Pelc

Visionary Founder and CEO of BeyondPlay, a company focused on transforming solitary gaming experiences into engaging multiplayer entertainment. The company achieved significant success in the industry, culminating in its recent acquisition by Flutter Entertainment-owned FanDuel. With a career that began in 2009, Pelc has held various influential roles within the gaming industry, including positions at InterPoker, InterCasino, Bodog UK, and Betsafe, before becoming the Casino Director and Head of Casino at LeoVegas. Pelc’s innovative approach continued as VP of Casino Innovation at SG Digital, part of Scientific Games Corporation, and through their venture, Online Gaming Consulting Services.

34. Virginia McDowell

Holds a pivotal role at Entain as a Non-Executive Director and Designated Workforce Director, bringing over three decades of extensive experience in the US gaming industry to the table. Her tenure includes leadership positions at major gaming companies, notably as the President and CEO of Isle of Capri Casinos. Beyond her executive roles, McDowell is deeply committed to advancing the development of women in the gaming sector, serving as the Vice Chairperson of Global Gaming Women. This organization is dedicated to mentoring and educating women in the industry, aiming to foster growth and diversity.

33. Becky Harris

Non-Executive Director at PointsBet who made great contributions to the gaming industry, both in regulatory and advisory capacities. As the former Chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, she played a pivotal role in overseeing gaming regulations and policies. Her experience extends to her tenure as a Nevada State Senator, where she was involved in various committees including the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Judiciary, Finance, Education, Commerce, Labor, and Energy Committees. Harris’s expertise is further recognized through her role as a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas International Gaming Institute, where she focuses on gaming law and regulation.

32. Lois Bright

Recognized for her impactful role within The Conexus Group, serving as the Director of Africa and the Middle East. Her involvement in the industry extends to being a key figure at the BiG Africa Summit 2024, where her leadership and commitment to diversity and inclusion were highlighted. Her extensive experience in the gaming industry, coupled with her drive for fostering inclusivity, positions her as a significant influencer within the sector.

31. Irina Cornides

She joined Pragmatic Play as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) in January 2022, bringing with her a wealth of experience from the iGaming industry. Before her role at Pragmatic Play, Cornides held positions at Gamesys, including Chief Commercial Officer for Asia, where she played a pivotal role in the company’s growth within the region. Her extensive background also includes leadership roles at Jackpotjoy Group, Intertain, Mandalay Media Group, and BGO Group, showcasing her broad expertise across various aspects of the iGaming sector.

30. Hilary Stewart-Jones

With her extensive and diverse experience spanning over three decades, Stewart-Jones has significantly impacted the iGaming industry. Her tenure as Chairman and CEO of Skywind Group since September 2016 has been notable for her leadership and vision. Before Skywind, Stewart-Jones’ career included roles such as Independent Consultant at Harris Hagan, Non-Executive Director at Paysafe Group, and Partner at DLA Piper, among others. Her legal expertise, particularly in gambling law, has made her a respected authority in the field. Stewart-Jones is known for her commitment to diversity and inclusion within the industry, advocating for more visible female advocates at senior levels and flexible working cultures to support all employees. Her leadership philosophy includes mentoring and promoting talent across the board, aiming to reset biases and promote positive action within the industry

29. Nadiya Attard

With her extensive background in the iGaming industry, she is currently the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Relax Gaming. Her journey in the sector is marked by significant roles across major industry players, including NetEnt, where she contributed before moving to Relax Gaming. In her role at Relax, she’s been instrumental in driving the company’s commercial strategy and expansion, leveraging her deep understanding of both the B2B and B2C aspects of the industry. Her experience includes a strong focus on regulatory frameworks across various jurisdictions, which has been crucial for Relax Gaming’s growth in new markets. Attard’s leadership is characterized by her commitment to team development, empowerment, and collaboration, aiming to exceed expectations and drive differentiation within the iGaming space​

28. Maarja Pärt

She has significantly contributed to Yolo Group’s evolution and growth, currently serving on its Supervisory Board. Her leadership as CEO has been pivotal, having previously held the role of CFO within the organization. Pärt’s journey with Yolo Group has seen her leverage over a decade of experience in both the startup and iGaming sectors, driving the company from a small team to a globally recognized leader in crypto entertainment. The Yolo Group has undergone great restructuring to enhance its operations across the B2C and B2B sectors, with Pärt playing a crucial role in this strategic shift.

27. Britt Boeskov

She has made a significant impact in the iGaming industry, transitioning from a 17-year tenure at Kindred Group, where she held various executive roles including Chief Experience Officer, to joining Better Collective. At Better Collective, she initially took on the role of Senior Vice President of Strategy, contributing to the company’s growth plans within the sports betting media market. Her extensive experience and strategic insight from her time at Kindred have been invaluable in her role at Better Collective, where she continues to influence the industry’s approach to user engagement and responsible gambling.

26. Tatyana Kaminskaya

She has made a great impact on the iGaming industry as the Head of SOFTSWISS Game Aggregator. Under her leadership, the Game Aggregator has evolved into a premier platform, boasting an extensive catalog of over 16,000 games from more than 200 providers. This achievement led to her recognition as the Best Gaming Technology Entrepreneur of the Year at Malta’s Best Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2023​​. Kaminskaya’s journey in SOFTSWISS has been marked by her dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction. Her efforts have contributed to the Game Aggregator’s success, particularly through the introduction of engagement tools like the Tournament Tool, which have enhanced player engagement and retention.

25. Cheryl Jones

In 2023 she was appointed as the President of Odds on Compliance’s European Division, signaling the company’s focused expansion into European markets. With her extensive background in legal and compliance roles within the European betting and gaming sector, including previous positions at Lady Luck Games and G Games as Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, Jones brings a wealth of experience to her new role at Odds on Compliance. Her expertise extends to working with international regulatory bodies and offering guidance on responsible gambling, marking her as a significant addition to the company’s leadership as it aims to replicate its US success in Europe.

24. Cath Burns

She served as the COO of Anaxi, an Aristocrat-owned online real money gaming business. With a mission to globally expand the games provider, she brought over 20 years of experience to her role. Burns was at the forefront of Anaxi’s significant achievements over the past year, including partnerships with major companies like BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars, and Penn Interactive, despite the company being only a little over a year old.

23. Pansy Ho

Daughter of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho, who renegotiated her share in MGM China Holdings Ltd., reducing her stake to 29% after the joint venture’s initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The adjustment allowed MGM Resorts International to gain a 51% controlling interest, with the remainder of the shares sold to the public.

22. Danielle Calafato

She was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer at Gaming Corps in 2021 and is leading the company’s expansion from a new commercial hub in Malta. Calafato’s extensive experience in the iGaming industry, including senior roles at companies like Microgaming, Ganapati, NetEnt, and Catena Media, positions her well to drive the company’s future successes.

21. Wendy Montgomery

She serves as the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communications, and Sustainability at IGT. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the company’s global brand strategy, trade shows, and external communications, which include community relations, responsible gaming, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Montgomery’s rich background includes extensive experience in marketing and leadership across various industries, contributing significantly to her comprehensive approach at IGT.

20. Jennifer Roberts

She plays a pivotal role at Wynn Interactive and WynnBET as the General Counsel, overseeing legal matters for Wynn Resorts’ online and mobile sports betting and casino gaming segments. Her career trajectory includes significant positions across the gaming law and regulation spectrum. Before her current role, Roberts held positions as General Counsel at GameCo and as Director of Sports Gaming Regulation at the Tennessee Lottery Education Corporation, indicating her expertise in the evolving landscape of gaming regulation.

19. Linda Chen

With an impressive tenure in the gaming and hospitality industry, she currently serves as President, Vice Chairman, and Executive Director of Wynn Resorts. Since March 2023, she has held the position of President at the company, overseeing the operations and strategic development of Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace. Her leadership extends to Wynn International Marketing, Ltd, and WRM, where she is the President and Managing Director, respectively. Chen’s contributions to Wynn Resorts have been pivotal, particularly in the successful launches of Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Macau, and Wynn Palace. Her expertise was also instrumental in founding the Wynn Care charity brand in 2018 and establishing the Wynn Care Foundation in 2020, underscoring her commitment to corporate social responsibility.

18. Melissa Pursley

She holds the position of Senior Vice President of Lottery Product and Sales Development at IGT. In her role, she leads the team responsible for driving growth in IGT’s lottery product development and sales management. Her experience includes a significant tenure at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, contributing to her expertise in the industry.

17. Cassie Stratford

She has made notable strides at Boyd Gaming, evolving from associate general counsel to Senior Vice President of Legal Operations and Compliance. Her leadership extends beyond Boyd Gaming as she serves as the president of Global Gaming Women (GGW), focusing on enhancing women’s roles in the gaming industry. Stratford’s involvement with GGW and her multifaceted role at Boyd Gaming showcase her commitment to both corporate growth and industry-wide diversity and inclusion efforts

16. Clemence Dujardin

She is the Group CEO of MyAffiliates, having joined the company in 2012 after gaining experience in various sectors of the industry, including affiliate management and affiliate software technology. Currently based in Malta, she has been recognized for her leadership, winning Malta’s Best Gaming Woman Leader of the Year in 2018 and 2019, and CEO Woman Of The Year at SiGMA in 2021. In 2023, she was acknowledged by iGB as one of the Top 10 Most Influential Women in the industry

15. Sandra Thorpe

She has recently embarked on an influential role as the Chief People Officer (CPO) at Superbet. Thorpe’s seasoned background in executive roles, including her tenure as Chief HR Officer for Paddy Power plc, demonstrates her adeptness in steering HR strategies that align with business objectives, particularly in high-stakes environments such as iGaming. Her experience is further complemented by her contributions as Corporate Development Director for Cairn Homes and in various leadership capacities within global giants like Citigroup and Microsoft.

14. Charmaine Hogan

Recognized as a leading advocate for effective regulation and high safer gambling standards in the iGaming industry. Her extensive experience includes a six-year secondment with the European Commission as a gambling policy expert and over two years at bet365 focusing on international development. Currently, Hogan oversees Playtech’s regulatory affairs, concentrating on newly regulating jurisdictions across Latin America to guide Playtech’s expansion with a strong emphasis on regulatory compliance

13. Stella David

Her tenure at Entain began as Interim CEO in December 2023. Before assuming this role, she was an Independent Non-Executive Director at Entain since March 2021, bringing a wealth of experience from various sectors, including the consumer environment, marketing, and corporate governance. Her background as CEO of William Grant & Sons and over 15 years at Bacardi Ltd showcases her adeptness in leadership within global consumer brands. Her comprehensive experience in management, coupled with her insights into the consumer market and marketing strategies, significantly benefits Entain’s board.

12. Elen Barber

As Kindred Group’s CMO, she has navigated the challenges posed by data privacy regulation in digital marketing. Her approach emphasizes balancing customer data protection with the delivery of relevant and engaging experiences. The evolving role of CMOs in the industry demands deep knowledge of legal landscapes and technologies, necessitating significant strategic shifts.

11. Augusta Dragić

She transitioned from a career in surgery to entrepreneurship, becoming a key figure behind the Superbet Foundation. She and her husband, Sacha Dragić, established Superbet, Romania’s largest gaming company. Augusta’s leadership in the Superbet Foundation has led to significant projects like the Superbet Chess Classic Romania 2021, drawing global chess players to Bucharest. Her journey from diverse business ventures to the pinnacle of the gaming industry showcases her resilience and strategic thinking.

10. Paris Smith

She ended her 17-year tenure as CEO of Pinnacle, transitioning to an advisory role. She led the company’s growth and innovation, notably in low-margin sportsbooks and esports. Smith is recognized for her dedication to diversity, inclusion, and employee mentoring within the industry.

9. Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin

President of the French gambling regulator Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ). She has been instrumental in shaping the regulatory landscape of France’s gambling industry. Under her leadership, the ANJ has prioritized the protection of minors and the reduction of harmful gambling practices in its strategic plan for 2024-2026. In addition to her role at ANJ, Falque-Pierrotin has also been elected as the Chairwoman of the Gambling Regulators’ European Forum (GREF), highlighting her influence on a broader European level. Her tenure at GREF is set to focus on fostering cooperation among European regulators to better understand market trends and develop effective regulatory solutions, with player protection, market integrity, and technological innovations being key areas of concern.

8. Olabimpe Akingba

Serving as the Executive Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers (ANB), she has played a pivotal role in addressing the unique challenges and opportunities within Africa’s, particularly Nigeria’s, betting markets. Akingba has emphasized the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the African market, highlighting the need for a nuanced approach to localization that transcends mere language translation and focuses on genuine connectivity with the diverse African populace. She has critiqued the one-size-fits-all business model often applied by international operators, pointing out the underestimated diversity and purchasing power of African consumers, and the misjudgments made regarding regulatory environments​​. Under her guidance, the ANB has taken significant steps to promote responsible gaming and tackle gambling-related harm in Nigeria.

7. Jette Nygaard-Andersen

Danish business executive, who led Entain as CEO from January 2021 until December 2023. Prior to this role, she held senior positions at Modern Times Group and chaired the e-sports team owner Astralis. She was the first woman to become CEO of a UK-listed betting company, making significant strides in the industry before stepping down and being succeeded.

6. Miriam Adelson

Following the passing of her husband Sheldon Adelson in January 2021, she has emerged as a key figure in the gaming and political spheres. She holds nearly 57% ownership of Las Vegas Sands, a significant gaming conglomerate with global operations, making her a central figure in the company’s future direction. This control includes personal ownership and several family trusts, positioning her as the controlling shareholder under Nevada gaming regulations.

5. Amy Howe

She was appointed as the interim CEO of FanDuel Group by Flutter Entertainment in July 2021. She took over from Matt King and is responsible for the company’s core commercial functions across its various units. With a background as Global COO of Ticketmaster and a partner at McKinsey & Company, Howe’s leadership is expected to maintain FanDuel’s leading position in the U.S. market

4. Anna Sainsbury

Co-founder of GeoComply, a leader in cybersecurity, focusing on geolocation compliance. Her drive to solve problems led to the company’s success, offering solutions in fintech, iGaming, and broadcasting. GeoComply has grown significantly under her leadership, emphasizing social responsibility and creating a safe gaming industry

3. Erika Ayers Badan

An accomplished American businesswoman, who held the position of CEO at Barstool Sports from 2016 to 2024. During her tenure, she played a critical role in expanding the company into various multimedia avenues and significantly increased its valuation. Badan’s leadership saw Barstool grow into a notable entity in sports media, marked by creative and strategic initiatives that bolstered its market presence and influence.

2. Joanne Whittaker

She was appointed as the CEO of Betfred, taking over from the founder, Fred Done. Her career with Betfred started in the IT department at the company’s Warrington base before she ventured into entrepreneurship with her own business, Fideliti, a childcare voucher provider, which she started with the support of Fred Done. Fideliti achieved remarkable success, turning over more than £80 million and securing a spot among The Times ‘Fasttrack 100’ fast-growth enterprises in the UK retail sector. Whittaker’s return to Betfred as CEO was part of a strategic succession plan, and her appointment reflects Done’s confidence in her capabilities and vision for the company’s future

1. Denise Coates

The founder of Bet365, who is celebrated for transforming a startup into a global online gambling powerhouse. She began her journey in her family’s betting shops and utilized her background in econometrics to envision the potential of online betting. Coates launched Bet365 in 2000, marking the start of an era that would see the integration of innovative features like in-play betting, which significantly contributed to the platform’s success​​​​. Coates’ commitment to technological innovation has been a key factor in Bet365’s growth, allowing the company to stay ahead in a fast-evolving digital landscape. Her leadership has not only expanded Bet365’s reach globally but also established a unique corporate culture focused on customer service and innovation. Additionally, Coates is recognized for her philanthropic efforts through the Denise Coates Foundation, which supports various charitable causes​​​​.

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