Women in Gambling

As far back as the “Wild Wild West” women were taking part in games of chance. The name Lottie Deno comes to mind. Born in Warsaw, Kentucky, she started gambling early and was considered the Queen of Poker of the late 1800s.

Following in her footsteps, women worldwide are becoming more involved in the gambling industry, especially poker.

Judy Bayley, known as the First Lady of Gambling, was the first woman in Nevada to own a gambling establishment. This was in the mid-1900s. History has shown that where there is a successful man, there is a successful woman.

Polish Gambling Law


Unlike the United States, Poland has implemented strict laws regarding gambling. These range from land-based, online, and mobile to social gambling regulations. Since the country has stringent regulations, websites like can help you find a list of the best providers to join.

According to Thomson Reuters Practical Law, for every 250,000 people in population size, there can only be one casino in that city or village. Aside from betting and promotional lotteries, online gambling is not allowed for private businesses. It’s considered a crime if you take part in any form of online gambling organized by unlicensed non-Polish operators.

In 2009, Poland enacted The Gambling Act. This act covers different types of land-based gambling games in four categories; any games of chance, betting, cards, and slot machine games.

The Minister of Finance is in charge of all aspects of regulation laws, and in 2017 offshore gambling websites were blocked. Many believe that blacklisting sites takes away their freedom. This is an ongoing battle that doesn’t seem like it will be resolved anytime soon.

We’ve spoken to expert Jacek Michalski about gambling in Poland and how women have found success through it. You can view his profile here.

The popularity of Gambling in Poland


Gambling is still prevalent in Poland, even with strict laws. Like many countries, Poland is trying to fight homelessness. It’s believed that one big reason for this issue is gambling. A study published in 2019 in Warsaw found that the homeless gambled three times more than others. The same study showed that men were five times likely to be problem gamblers compared to women.

This is not to say gambling is the main reason for homelessness in the country, but it’s one commonality among the homeless population. Although there currently are no notable women in Poland, there will be soon.

Successful Women in the Industry

Women continue to succeed in the gambling industry, though they’re still often viewed through a male lens. Today, more women prove themselves in many male-ruled sectors, and this trend is set to continue.

Although online gambling is relatively new, gambling itself has been around for centuries along with the image of a man at the cards table. Modern-day pictures, such as the James Bond movies, Ocean’s Eleven, Casino, etcetera have further driven this image.

These women are changing that. Since there are not many well known female gamblers in Poland, here are some famous female gamblers from the United States and Europe.

Vanessa Selbst


Born in Brooklyn, New York, Selbst is the only woman professional poker player turned wall street investor to rank number one in the Global Poker Index. She’s also won three World Series bracelets.

Among her successes, Selbst is also a Yale graduate with a law degree. Her love for gaming combined with her risk-taking allowed her to net around 12 million dollars in winnings. She’s definitely on a list of rich gamblers.

If you’re new to the poker world or are looking to become successful in the industry, you should look into Vanessa Selbst. Although retired now, she enjoys a game here and there and “ tries to get people to gamble as often as she can.”

Annie Duke


This former professional poker player is listed next because she was a top poker player for about twenty years. She won her first World Series of Poker bracelet in 2004. Like Vanessa Selbst, she’s a fantastic poker player and a University of Pennsylvania scholar in Psychology.

Her book “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” can help you view the industry in a new light. Her experience as a poker player and her educational background guarantee that.

Annette Obrestad


The third person you should take note of is Annette Obrestad. The two talked about before are currently retired, but Annette is an up-and-coming poker star. Before she was 19, she had won millions playing poker.

This Norwegian native is already considered an online poker legend after winning a World Series of Poker Europe bracelet as the youngest person ever.

Obrestad is evidence that experience in the industry isn’t a requirement to be successful—fun fact: She rarely looks at her cards when playing in a tournament.

Known as the Huntress or Annette_15, you can learn more about her or even watch some of her matches online.

Denise Coates


Considered royalty in the gambling world, Ms. Coates is last on the list. Denise Coates was born in England and went to Sheffield University for econometrics to become an accountant. How appropriate! At 22, she managed small betting shops and soon became the managing director.

Since she started early behind the industry scenes, Coates has a different perspective than the other women listed in this article. In 2014, Denise founded Bet365 Foundation and three years later hosted about 22 million customers worldwide.

As of now though Bet365 has stopped Polish access. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, her net worth today is 37,914,073,429.50 zł (﹩10.2 Billion).

Final Thought

These women are only a few that have made a name for themselves in the gambling industry in both the US and Europe. They’re all wealthy and successful women making way for those who want to do the same. More and more women are gambling, and it’s excellent news for the industry.