Suzanne Davies has endorsed comments by outgoing Gambling Commission CEO, Sarah Harrison (pictured below) that were made:
- in her speech at the World Regulatory Briefing and International Casino Conference on 5 February (that have been hitting the headlines in the national media; see for example an article in the Guardian entitled “UK gambling regulator calls on industry to stamp out sexism”) and
- in a further speech “What does diversity mean for the gambling industry?” (that can be downloaded below) at a Global Gaming Women event, held as part of the ICE Totally Gaming Conference 2018 (that have also attracted the attention of the national media, including a BBC news item “Gambling Commission condemns outfits at trade show” and a further article in the Guardian entitled “Gambling firms defy calls to stamp out sexist behaviour at event”).
It is to be hoped that the sensationalist media headlines will not detract from the central message on diversity that Sarah Harrison’s speeches were designed to get across, succinctly summarised in her 5 February speech as follows:
- “Last year at ICE, I felt that I had missed an opportunity. An opportunity to highlight and challenge what is a significant stain on this industry’s reputation. This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women. Indeed a woman from the gambling industry is Britain’s highest paid boss – not highest paid female CEO but highest paid CEO. Yet from walking around the exhibition you wouldn’t know this. Instead you saw men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits. I say bring this to an end now! It is far from reflective of the modern society and economy of which this industry is a part. And to go further, any future participation by the Gambling Commission in events like this will depend on there being change.”
- “A push for a more diverse industry – not just on the basis of gender – is not about a desire for political correctness. An industry that has diversity in all respects and at all levels, will better understand its consumers and the wider public, and will be more inclusive and open to different and new ideas. Armed with this, business can better meet the needs of their customers, respond to the worries of society and be innovative in the way it meets challenges and seizes its opportunities.”
Welcoming the views expressed by Sarah Harrison, Suzanne says: “Her comments indicate that the gambling industry is not immune from criticism about whether women are treated equally and with respect. I welcome and endorse Sarah’s comments that this is not about political correctness, nor is it just about women’s issues. It is about injecting broader diversity into the industry from which not only consumers and employees will benefit, but so too will businesses.”
It is also important to note that Clarion Gaming (promoters of ICE) are, and have historically been, fully supportive of efforts to change how women are represented at gaming shows. They are quoted in the second Guardian article mentioned above as saying that: “ICE London has been working with the European Casino Association to encourage respectful representation of women on exhibition stands. This programme started in 2016 and will continue”, as is confirmed in an ECA press release dated 19 January 2018. Further information on this is contained in an iGaming Business article dated 23 January 2018, in which Ewa Bakun, Clarion Gaming Head of Content, refers to her January 2017 call to exhibitors (originally featured in a Totally Gaming article) to “encourage all exhibitors to be mindful of how their support staff, promoting their products at the show, are represented to avoid any offence and stereotyping.”