US Casinos Seek To Improve Gender Equity In Management | WIVT
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) – Diversifying an organization or industry can only be half the battle: the trick is to keep it diverse.
Just over a year ago, Atlantic City celebrated a wave of female leadership in its casino industry. Four of the nine casinos had women in top positions, a highlight for the resort town and many other casino markets around the country as well.
But it did not last.
Within months, one of the four was replaced by a male when new owners took over the casino from Bally. And earlier this month, the manager of the Ocean Casino Resort resigned days before a Detroit company was allowed to take a 50% stake in the casino.
Nationally, women make up 51% of the U.S. casino workforce, according to the American Gaming Association, the casino industry’s national trade group. But the group doesn’t track the percentage of women in top casino positions.
The work of diversifying casinos has been going on for years, even though women – and men – in the industry agree that more needs to be done.
“We’re seeing progress,” said Erin Chamberlin, senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National Gaming. “But women are sort of successful so far, and to get to the next level we’re having a bit of a hard time. Look around the room and look through a different lens: what does the performance look like in this room? “
These problems are not unique to casinos. Across the country and around the world, businesses are moving at varying speeds to diversify their workforce.
A panel discussion Tuesday at the East Coast Gaming Congress, a major casino conference in Atlantic City, examined the role of women in the gaming industry.
“When I started in the casino business, my parents told me explicitly, ‘Don’t work in casinos,’ said Karen Worman, regional vice president of finance for Caesars Entertainment in Atlantic City. “Their perception was that the women in the casinos were Playboy bunnies.”
Worman said she was optimistic about the future of women in the gaming industry and recommends that casinos offer cross-training in as many different aspects of the business as possible to female employees to prepare them for the job. advancement.
Atlantic City now has two casinos run by women: Melonie Johnson at Borgata and Jacqueline Grace at Tropicana.
Grace said the reduction in female leadership in her market is a normal part of the flow the casino industry is going through, and noted that the woman who previously ran Bally’s as general manager, Karie Hall, is now vice president. principal and general manager of a Caesars Entertainment Casino in Lake Tahoe.
“I don’t see this as a loss of progress,” she said. Caesars Entertainment, she said, “has made a real commitment to diversity and gender equality.”
In 2017, the company announced its commitment to achieve gender equality among its leaders by 2025.
Juggling the demands of work and family life, especially during a pandemic, has put particular stress on women, including those with children, the panelists agreed. They recounted trying to keep the kids quiet and off camera during Zoom meetings, and the exhaustion that came from working all day online or in the office and then doing what needed to be done at home.
“I try not to answer emails at 1 a.m.,” added Brooke Fiumara, co-founder of casino software company OPTX and former casino manager. “It’s important to set limits.
Small, subtle things like inviting women to a board meeting to sit at the main table rather than chairs against the wall can send a strong message of inclusion and support, Chamberlin said.
‘Say,’ Come on, Erin, sit here, ‘”she said. “You would be amazed how far things like this could go. “
Stacey Rowland, vice president of regulatory compliance for Rush Street Gaming, said companies need to be firmly committed to and act on diversity. That, she said, will eventually lead to a company that sees the world differently.
“Instead of saying, ‘I know a guy,’ say, ‘I know a girl. And she can do the job, ”Rowland said.
Follow Wayne Parry on Twitter at @WayneParryAC