Gambling Commission urges industry to put an end to sexism

The UK Gambling Commission has called on the industry to put an end to sexism, threatening to boycott this week’s ICE Totally Gaming event, the gambling industry’s largest event.

A woman speaking at a conference

The ICE Gaming conference will place in London from 6 – 8 February 2018. © Pexels.

Chief executive of the Commission, Sarah Harrison, spoke on Monday with the message that more gender diversity be brought to the industry.

Harrison warned that companies hosting stands at the conference have in the past used ‘scantily clad’ models to attract visitors to their stands and that unless these attitudes change, the Commission could boycott the event in the future.

The message comes amid debate and change in sports relating to attitudes towards women who provide hospitality at sporting events and conferences.

Last week, Formula 1 decided to stop employing grid girls from the start of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season, in a move that the sport said was bringing it up to speed with modern societal norms.

Darts has also taken a similar step recently, with so-called walk on girls that accompany players to the oche also being scrapped.

Harrison’s speech was issued at the International Casino Conference a day before the ICE Totally Gaming event 2018 begins and follows her experiences at the conference last year.

Speaking to the crowd, Harrison said:

This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women… 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.Sarah Harrison, Gambling Commission chief executive

In an open letter, the organisers of the event, the European Casino Association (ECA) and Clarion Gaming, have urged firms exhibiting at the conference to be weary of taking any actions that may be deemed as sexist, via soft pressure and educating both exhibitors and customers on how the industry should evolve in a more inclusive way.

Harrison has urged the organisers to also portray much greater gender diversity. In response, Ewa Bakun, head of content strategy at conference organiser Clarion Gaming, said:

We have been exerting a soft pressure on our exhibitors and educating the ICE audience on the ways the industry can evolve to create a more inclusive culture and improve gender diversity across all organisational levels.Ewa Bakun, head of content strategy at Clarion Gaming

The ICE Totally Gaming conference will take place from 6 -8 February 2018 in London.

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