Who Runs The Casino? Girls! The History Of Women In Casino


If you visit a land-based casino today, the chances are that you’ll find both men and women around the table, playing their favourite, thrilling games. The casino is still dominated by the male presence, however, the sheer participation of women in gambling today is a testament to a long and turbulent history. This history saw women suppressed by the patriarchy, which declared that the casino was not an appropriate setting for a woman.

Today, however, the women who do take part in casino games are ruling the table. Women can play their favourite casino games alongside their male counterparts in a physical casino, or on a virtual platform, like Betfair Casino online, for example. This was made possible by those brave women in history who refused to conform and abide by the rules. In this article we will delve into the history of women in casino, to learn more about these remarkable individuals.

18th Century England

In this period, gambling was outlawed for both men and women, unless it took place in lotteries that had been approved by the government. However, women were still not welcome or permitted to attend these establishments. This did not stop five respectable women – Lady Sarah Archer, Lady Buckinghamshire, Mrs Stuart, Lady Elizabeth Luttrell and Mrs Concannon, from engaging in their favourite games.

The group played Faro, a predecessor of Poker, late into the night in secret, from their homes. The women created a safe space, to chat about controversial social and political subjects, and gamble. They subsequently became known as the ‘Faro Ladies’.

19th Century USA

Eleanor Dumont was another notable gamechanger, who gambled using the pseudonym ‘Madame Mustache’. Dumont is regarded as one of the first professional US Blackjack players in history. Born in France, she moved to San Francisco in the mid-19th Century and began working as a card dealer at the Bella Union Hotel.

Dumont eventually moved to Nevada City in California where she set up her own Blackjack saloon, which proved successful. It was here that she began to prove herself a formidable businesswoman and establish her own career playing Blackjack.

The Wild West

Continuing in the 19th Century, the gambling scene grew dramatically in the Wild West as more saloons arose and the games themselves became increasingly popular. It was in this period that Alice Ivers Duffield Tubbs Huckert emerged as one of the most iconic female Poker players in history, known as Poker Alice.

Her career began as a Poker dealer, where she learned the rules of the game, honing her skills by watching others take part in the game. Eventually, Alice began to take part in the game and procured an impressive reputation. On a successful night, it is believed that she would walk away with winnings of up to $6000. She collected her winnings and purchased her own gambling house in 1910, called Poker’s Palace.

Women in Casino Today

Today, there are many talented, formidable women on the casino scene, with women like Vanessa Selbst, for example, commanding the gambling world. Selbst is the most successful female poker player in history and is the only woman in history to achieve the top ranking on the Global Poker Index.

So, since it’s easier than ever to play casino games, with the rise of online casinos, what are you waiting for? If you’ve been inspired by the incredible women who changed the landscape of the casino, why not try playing yourself?

My Fascination With Gaming: How It All Began

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]