One of the gambling industry’s most prestigious awards events has come under fire after it emerged that the 52-person jury included a woman and no black man.
The Global Gaming Awards, hosted by the industry publication Gambling Insider, honor the best companies and leaders for their accomplishments during the year. The awards for 2020 will be judged by a panel of 52 people who “represent a dynamic cross-section of the global gaming industry,” according to a published list of nominees.
The judges include the managing directors of London-listed 888 Holdings and Playtech, the chief operating officer of UK gambling company Betfred, the boss of the Hippodrome London casino and a Google executive. High-profile personalities from major gambling companies such as Betsson and LeoVegas in Sweden are also on the panel.
Women in the industry expressed dismay via professional social network LinkedIn, after realizing that the boss list includes only one woman and no black people.
The nonprofit All-In Diversity Project published: “Women who read this will know what is wrong with these images. And yes, it is from 2021.
“It’s sad to see this, when there are so many talented and exceptional women in this industry,” said an employee of the slots company Slotsmillion.
Gary Roudette, managing director of Players Publishing, Gambling Insider, said: “We recognize what this looks like,” but blamed the imbalance on the need for judges to be senior executives, to ensure “an authority. sufficient “.
He said: “The sad fact is that there aren’t many female CEOs in major companies in the gaming industry,” adding that some of those who were invited to join the panel had declined.
Gambling Insider is now considering opening the panel to include younger people in order to broaden representation, he said.
A woman who spoke to the Guardian said the jury already included men below the boardroom level, including one who is described as a “payment consultant.”
Karolina Pelc, Founder and CEO of SharedPlay.io, dismissed Gambling Insider’s defense via a post on LinkedIn.
“There aren’t enough female CEOs in the industry and I appreciate that you can’t get a few hired, but there are a lot of them in leadership roles, with fantastic expertise to justify it. “the authority” to judge, “she said.
“We want more female CEOs, but when we don’t promote the ones we have or those who might one day become, including inclusion on these types of juries, the wheels of change will not be set in motion. “
The controversy has reignited lingering concerns about sexism in the industry that arose in 2018, when the Guardian exposed allegations of sexual harassment at the annual ICE event in London, when scantily clad women and pole dancers took to the streets. been used to entertain a predominantly male audience.
Abby Rachel Cosgrave, founder of gaming industry company SafeComply, said: “You would expect anyone involved in this area to back down until this is sorted out.”
The Guardian has reached out to 888, Playtech, Hippodrome Casino, Betfred, Betsson and LeoVegas to comment on their executives’ participation.
Only Racecourse boss Simon Thomas responded, saying this year’s judging process was over, but asked Gambling Insider to reconsider next year’s jury lineup.
While critics within the industry have largely focused on the lack of gender diversity, the jury also includes no blacks and very few non-whites.
Roudette said he was not aware of any industry commentary on the lack of black panel members, but said that “as a black CEO with four daughters, […] I take diversity very seriously indeed ”.