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Firms ignore sexism warnings at gambling conference

Pole dancers and a Playboy-themed show featured at an ExCeL conference after gambling companies ignored warnings

Pictured: Virgin Gaming girls line up at ICE Totally Gaming show. Photo credit: Envisage Promotions

Delegates were entertained by pole dancers and a Playboy-themed dance show after gambling companies ignored calls to stamp out sexism at a conference at ExCeL.

On the eve of opening, the ICE Totally Gaming event received a warning from the Gambling Commission that it faced a boycott if it did not stamp out sexism.

However, these warnings fell on deaf ears, as gaming company Microgaming kicked off proceedings with a Playboy-themed show, while gambling company Endorphina had pole dancers on its stand.

Speaking to the Guardian, one woman at another stand said the event was the “closest thing to the Presidents Club dinner” and that she had been asked how much she would charge for sex.

Gambling Commission chief executive Sarah Harrison had issued a warning prior to the conference that it had the potential to be a “significant stain on the industry’s reputation.”

She said: “This is an industry where we have a number of talented, powerful and successful women. Yet from walking around the exhibition you wouldn’t know this.

“Instead you saw men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits. I say, bring this to an end now.

“And to go further, any future participation by the Gambling Commission in events like this will depend on there being change.”

Conference organisers Clarion Gaming an open letter to exhibitors ahead of the conference, which took place on 6-8 February.

The letter said: “In the spirit of the 21st century, when women and men play strategic and decision-making roles in businesses, we encourage all exhibitors to mindfully represent support staff promoting their products at the showing a non-offensive and non-stereotyping way.

“The respectful representation of genders is crucial.”

  • Hugo Ponsonby Smythe of PS Taker Ltd 08/02/2018

    I very much doubt the males representing the gaming industry had "expensive tailored suits". Not so much The Kingsman, more Topman

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