The UK Gambling Commission could boycott ICE Totally Gaming as well as any gambling industry event that uses “scantily clad” women to attract greater attendance and interest among delegates, The Guardian reports.
It is understood that the gambling regulator’s outgoing CEO Sarah Harrison is planning to address tonight what she considers a “significant stain on the industry reputation” and will urge gambling executives and participants in the industry to follow suit and take actions for stamping out sexism in the field. Ms. Harrison will participate in tonight’s International Casino Conference, an annual event that takes place ahead of the ICE Totally Gaming show.
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The latter event starts tomorrow at ExCel London and is expected to break attendance records.
ICE Totally Gaming is one of the industry’s largest annual conference and exhibition events, attracting tens of thousands of delegates each year. In tonight’s speech, Ms. Harrison will point to the fact that during the event as well as during other gambling-oriented events there are women who are hired specifically to attract more attendees to companies’ booths and stands, and these women are usually “expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits”.
The gambling regulator will further note that the industry has grown into one where there are talented and powerful women occupying executive posts, and bearing this in mind, the issue of hiring women to specifically display their bodies must be paid special attention to.
The Guardian reports that Ms. Harrison will mention bet365’s CEO Denise Coates, who became the highest paid UK executive last year. In her speech, the UK Gambling Commission’s chief will also explain that diversity in the industry is a must not because of political correctness concerns, but because its customers deserve to have their needs responded to in a proper manner.
It is understood that ICE Totally Gaming’s organizers have warned exhibitors that their choice to present their products and services at the event could face anti-sexism comments. In a letter to gambling companies, organizer Clarion Gaming encouraged participants to display their offering in a “non-offensive and non-stereotyping” manner.
Clarion went on to say that presenting a modern, diverse, and inclusive industry should be “at the heart of the show”.
Ms. Harrison’s comments come shortly after the Financial Times published a report revealing that hostesses have been groped, subjected to lewd comments, and propositioned during the Presidents Club charity dinner for years now.
In her speech tonight, the gambling regulator will urge for a change within the gambling industry and will point out that the Gambling Commission’s participation in ICE Totally Gaming and future gambling industry events will depend on whether attitudes are changed and practices of women being hired to display their bodies in order to promote gambling products are put an end to.
Ms. Harrison is set to leave her post at the UK gambling regulator at the end of February. During her office as CEO of the Gambling Commission, the UK gambling industry saw a wave of regulatory changes aimed at the way gambling services are advertised.
In addition, several licensed operators were severely penalized for not complying with the established codes and rules for operating in UK’s regulated market.