Calls for more women on casino company boards in the UK

NCF UK wants gender diversityGender equality is a prevalent issue in many industries, and the land-based casino sector is not exempt.

The National Casino Forum (NCF), which oversees the UK land-based casino industry, wants more women in the boardroom of big gambling companies.

As a result, it is launching a new initiative to get more women to join casino company boards, which will ultimately bring extra skills a male-dominated board can lack.

According to the NCF, casinos which offer blackjack, roulette and other games, have a proportionate number of women employed in lower level positions. Of the 14,000 staff employed directly by UK casinos, 40 percent are women, while 30 percent are in senior management positions.

But when it comes to board directors, the number of women is misrepresented.

NCF chief executive, Tracy Damestani, is working on a framework for the UK casino industry to address the issues operators face when it comes women in high positions.

She wants to help operators understand the hurdles women may face and give them the tools to create solutions.

“What I’d like to see is a woman spearheading change inside the business, but with the support of her CEO or chairman so the culture for change is driven through,” Ms Damestani told Totally Gaming.

“The casino industry needs to think about how it is perceived from the outside.

“Our leading Ministers at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are women, as are many of the senior officials, and the Gambling Commission, which regulates our industry, is run by Sarah Harrison.”

She added that a perception of “an all-male industry at a senior level” is not desired, nor is confining women to ‘soft’ roles, like HR and marketing.

Additionally, research by McKinsey revealed companies with a good gender diversity in senior positions perform better and that EBIT increases by 3.5 percent for every 10 percent increase in gender balance in executive teams.

“Women are leading in prominent roles across the private and public sectors and we should lead the way for our industry,” she said.

Ms Damestani will be working with the Portas Institute, which is a training and coaching company, to create the new initiative. The Porta Institute uses workshops and roadmaps to create permanent change involving every level of the business.

“I know many operators are keen to encourage women onto their boards,” Damestani said.

“I hope that the workshops I am devising with the Portas Institute will be the catalyst for change.

“I’d love to see the casino sector in the vanguard of reform within the gaming industry, setting an example that others follow.”

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