TG Talk: What benefits can increased diversity bring to the industry?

TG Talk: What benefits can increased diversity bring to the industry?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Posted by Michael Lawson
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TG caught up with four industry figures, who provided expert insight.

Lack of diversity is an issue that plagues countless industries, and the world of sports betting is far from exempt.

It’s a topic that seems particularly pertinent at the minute, after outgoing Gambling Commission Chief Executive Sarah Harrison’s impassioned speech at last month’s ICE Totally Gaming conference, where she laid bare some of the challenges faced by women in the industry.

The broad support for International Women’s Day last week signified a step in the right direction, but risks becoming tokenistic if not followed up by a more sustained drive.

Totally Gaming spoke to four industry figures, who gave their views on the benefits of increased diversity in the betting industry.

Kelly Kehn, Co-Founder of All-In Diversity Project:

The concept of Diversity and Inclusion is very broad but essentially it's a culture shift. It's recognising that new perspectives, backgrounds and experience contribute positively to the business, it's products and ability to recruit and retain the best talent available. Betting, in particular, is very male dominated. The internal makeup of teams is then reflected in the external marketing and the customers it attracts. The challenge of attracting a more diverse customer base begins internally within the businesses themselves.

Cecilia Paolino-Uboldi, Partner and Global Head of Commercial Affairs at SlotGuru:

Business benefits arise when operators have a gender diverse and multicultural workforce from different backgrounds (gender, ethnicity, culture, generation and/or sexual orientation) which enables creativity, innovation and problem solving that better represents the world around them.

In a media-saturated environment, where messages of belonging are constantly transmitted, inclusivity is a life beacon. If you do not see yourself represented appropriately by the operator it feels as you don’t matter to them so how can they expect your engagement and loyalty?

Being represented makes you feel noticed and appreciated. It means the operator cares and is willing to learn more about you to provide you with a better experience, service and communication while protecting you from developing a gambling problem. It encourages dialogue and acceptance in the company and the wider society, securing the long term health and growth of the industry.

The same should be valid for the operator’s internal organisation. Inclusive leaders, who are open to accept different ideas and perspectives, impulse high-performing teams that drive growth and significantly improve innovation by allowing each member to speak up and be heard, transforming the internal culture and processes. As a consequence, fomenting the dialogue and supporting diverse role models, helps build assurance and ambition.

There are many initiatives promoted by beneficiaries of inclusive thinking which are highly encouraging and are gaining a real sense of momentum, belief and priority. I’m hopeful and inspired about what a diverse and inclusive future will bring to this industry.

Susie Sourwine, Founder of More The Merrier Limited:

Diversity isn’t a feel-good gamble for organisations, there is solid research demonstrating greater success for companies who actively embrace diversity.  They make fewer mistakes and more money. Companies actively impacting product and positioning by diversifying perspectives within their staff will have access to a larger portion of the available market than those who don’t.  

Cristina Niculae, Director of B2B Operations at GiG:

Diversity matters a great deal to me. It matters because it directly affects our ability to innovate our products and processes. A diverse work environment, which I find at GiG working alongside colleagues from over 30 different countries and very different backgrounds, passions and life experiences, is raising the bar when it comes to generating new ideas and disrupting the industry.

As we are making a conscious effort to invite inclusive change into our communities and promote diversity, we’ll see many boundaries disappear – for us as individuals, in our teams, companies and in fact our whole industry. Space and Fintech are just some examples of the less diverse industries that have seen huge growth over the past years and innovation benefits thanks to embracing diversity, supporting equal pay and gender equality in the workplace. So it’s a logical next step for our iGaming and sports betting community to embrace diversity and open itself up to the tremendous growth possibilities that come with it.

I know first-hand, that it still takes a lot of courage for a woman to sit at that boardroom table in a sports betting company and be open to criticism and effective dialogue whilst fighting the outsider feeling taking over. Just the same, innovation takes a lot of courage. What every woman in the fast pace sports betting industry today should remember when being the only woman in the room, is that, it is in her difference where her unique ability to innovate can be found.

At GIG, we are actively supporting organisations that promote gender equality and diversity such as “Girls in Tech Gibraltar” and the industry-wide non-profit “All-in Diversity Project”. As we are preparing exciting product launches ahead of this years’ World Cup we acknowledge that our diverse, multicultural work environment has constantly fueled our game changing product pipeline.

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