The gambling industry has come a long way in recent years and we take a moment to interview some of the iconic women that have built successful careers in this space as experts in their field. 

This week as part of our THEN and NOW series, we have asked Christina Thakor-Rankin to share some of her favourite stories of then to now in a bid to capture a summary of iGaming’s exciting past as we face a new thrilling future …

I think like most people I got into the industry by accident rather than intent. I was at university, needed money and working in an office taking bets made a nice change to working in bars and shops. I’ve always been into sport so getting paid to watch football at work was a real bonus, but with a couple of degrees under my belt it certainly wasn’t something I was thinking of as a long-term career plan.

But a chance event on a night out (being told that I might ‘be alright at betting’, but that ‘women would never make it in this industry’) changed all that.

I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge, decided to give it a go and literally  worked my way up from customer support to managing world-famous brands – holding down a few roles that women ‘weren’t supposed to be able to do’ along the way. Certainly, there have been some challenges along the way, and times when I literally wanted to tear my hair out – but that’s the case with any job/industry not just this one.

I’m often asked to share my experiences of being a woman in the industry. Whilst I have many stories that would make people cringe (and can’t share because the people in question are still in the industry!) none relates to the way I look. In fact, ‘growing up’ in the industry I wasn’t really that conscious of being different – I just focused on the job in hand and doing it to the best of my ability.

To me I was just a racing manager, not a female racing manager – whether this was because the ‘isms’ weren’t there or because I was too stupid or naïve to recognise them – I don’t know. What it did mean is that where I came across an obstacle or problem, I saw it as just that, and didn’t read anything personal into it which I think made it easier to deal with. I think it’s much harder to think objectively in situations where you think you might be part of the problem.

I think I have been a lot more aware later on in life and that’s where the problem starts. Once you become aware that not everyone is happy with you being there you become more aware of the pressure to succeed or conversely to not fail. This is emotionally and physically draining – you start to see things that aren’t there such as someone thinking your idea is rubbish because you’re a woman and not just because it’s a rubbish idea – and everything becomes a battle.

For me this is less an opportunity to talk about what I did as it is to share some of the things  I learnt over the years and that have helped me get through life and reach my goals and ambitions. I would warn that of all the lessons life has taught me only one which relates to being different. You can’t be something or someone you’re not. You can’t change who you are. Accept it and you stop other people’s hang-ups becoming your problem.

Along the way, pick and choose your battles wisely – not every fight is worth the effort and if you spend all your time fighting, you’ll never get anything done. Not everyone you meet in life will like you – just like you won’t like everyone you meet. That’s life. Let your actions and work do the talking. Be professional, be polite, be respectful and get the job done. If that’s not enough then you’re in the wrong job.

Most of all don’t let fear of failure stop you trying something. Trying something can only have two possible One is failure. The other is success. And you won’t know which until you try.