The chief executive of the Gambling Commission told the industry to end sexism and threatened to boycott the ICE Totally Gaming Event which starts today in London.
In her speech, Sarah Harrison, the head of the industry regulator said that women who attend the world’s biggest gambling conference are expected by their employers to wear “nothing more than swimsuits”.
The industry has a number of talented, powerful and successful women but visitors can’t get that impression by walking around the exhibition. The men in tailored suits represent their companies and products while female colleagues are expected to be half-naked. This must be brought to an end according to Harrison.
Past guests at the conference have said that companies hosting stands use “scantily clad” women, including Playboy models, to attract people to their product displays and if this trend continues the regulator will boycott the conference. Sarah was inspired by the last-year’s conference to address this “significant stain on the industry’s reputation” and hopes this will be enough for attitudes change.
Harrison believes this is the right time to rebuild consumer and public trust, to build a future for this industry “with strong foundations based on safety and fairness”.
Organizers of the event, The European Association and Clarion Gaming, have backed the UK Gaming Commission and issued an open letter yesterday urging exhibitors to take note of this warning seriously. According to the British press, the letter encouraged exhibitors to mindfully represent support staff promoting products in the show in a “non-offensive and non-stereotyping way” since both man and woman “play strategic and decision-making roles in businesses”.
The letter further stated “for this to be successful and ensure that all participants feel equally welcome, the respectful representation of genders is crucial”.
Harrison’s warning came just in the midst of the fierce debate about the treatment of women employed to provide hospitality at events, following revelations about the men-only Presidents Club Dinner where female staff were reportedly sexually harassed.
Last week, Formula 1 announced it won’t be using female models as “grid girls” to display sponsor’s and driver’s names at Grand Prix, while darts events won’t be using so “walk-on-girls” to escort players to the oche.
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