Gambling awards hit by diversity row

  • Organiser Gambling Insider claims the panel “represents dynamic cross-section” of the industry
  • Judges include CEOs of 888 Holdings and Playtech
  • Publisher blames imbalance on judges needing to come from “sufficient authority”

One of the gambling industry’s most prestigious awards has been hit by a diversity row – after the 52-person judging panel was revealed to contain no black people and just one woman.

The Global Gaming Awards, organised by the industry publication Gambling Insider, hands out gongs for top-performing companies and executives in the hugely competitive sector.

But critics say the imbalance on the judging panel opens up real concerns about diversity within the industry as a whole.

Gary Roudette, chief executive of Gambling Insider’s publisher, Players Publishing, blamed the issue on the need for panel members to come from senior positions within the industry. He told the Guardian newspaper: “The sad fact is that there are not many women CEOs in the gaming industry’s leading companies.” He said some women had been invited but turned the panel down.

Judges who have made it onto the panel include senior executives from 888 Holdings, Playtech, Betfred, and the boss of London’s swish Hippodrome Casino. The lone woman to make it on to the panel is Jennifer Innes, the managing director of gambling recruitment firm Betting Jobs.

The judging for the awards is already likely to have been completed, so it seems certain that next year’s panel will have a more diverse feel.

Online casino shortlist

The virtual ceremony will be held in a few weeks, with categories including online casino of the year. On the shortlist is:

  • 888 Casino
  • Paf
  • LeoVegas
  • Optibet
  • Mr Green (William Hill)
  • Lucky Casino
  • Bitstarz
  • VideoSlots
  • Megaways Casino
  • Cherry Casino

And as if to emphasise the lack of gender diversity at the top of the gambling industry, none of the 25 senior people up for the Chief Executive of the year award is a woman.

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