For the first time in the history of the ICE Totally Gaming event, the Gambling Commission have a stand at the B2B event that got underway on 6th February.
Within hours of the doors opening the Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison, had been reported by the BBC as condemning the outfits worn by the PR girls.
Whilst many operators have welcomed the recent changes implemented by the Gambling Commission, is this complaint a step too far?
The BBC article [read more here] tells of how women at the event are wearing ‘little more than swimsuits’ but the men are smartly dressed in suits. Sarah Harrison is even reported as saying that this could mean that the Gambling Commission boycott events in the future.
In the Today program on Radio 4, Ms. Harrison was dismayed at the gender disparity at the show and of how some women were asked to wear little more than swimsuits or revealing clothing.
She is reported as having said
The men were wearing smart suits and women were being asked to wear not much more than swimsuits. That’s totally unacceptable; it’s not reflective of the modern economy.
This isn’t about political correctness. It’s about good regulation and good governance, because businesses that have a more diverse workforce are more likely to make better decisions. And that’s critical from a regulator’s point of view.
Given our focus is on fairer and safer gambling, businesses that look more like their customers are much more likely to be able to put in place the protections and the safeguards that we are really focused on.
As a female and one that has attended a number of ICE Totally Gaming events, the PR girls personally never offended me. Fair play to them if they have the figure and confidence to be seen in public in skimpy outfits.
As I understand it, these aren’t girls employed by the big gambling operators directly, but girls hired from a PR company. Girls who will have been made fully aware of the job spec and have the option to turn it down if they wish.
I would feel differently if the likes of Denise Coates, the boss at Bet365, had it written into her contract that once a year she had to strut around the event in her smalls or lose her job, that’s exploitation.
The PR girls seen at ICE, the grid girls in Formula 1 and those that walk male players to the stage at darts matches CHOOSE to do the job they do and who are we to tell them that they have to find another way to earn money?
Whilst I’ve wholeheartedly agreed with many of the recent changes being implemented by the Gambling Commission of late, this is a step too far and I say, if you don’t want to participate next year because a few women show a little more flesh than you’d like, I doubt you’ll be missed.