Casino industry’s programme to bring more women into the boardroom

The National Casino Forum is launching a new initiative to encourage operators to bring more women into the boardroom.

Forty per cent of the 14,000 staff directly employed by UK casinos, and around 30% of senior managers, are female, but there are very few women on company boards.

Tracy Damestani, chief executive of the National Casino Forum (NCF), which represents all the major operators, is engaging with the Portas Institute to develop a framework for the casino industry. The intention is to help operators understand the barriers preventing women from becoming board directors and equip them with strategic solutions to overcome them.

She recently delivered a presentation to the European Casino Association, which has members in 26 countries, outlining the need for more boardroom representation at board level across the industry. Research by McKinsey shows that companies with a gender balance at senior level perform better and for every 10% increase in gender diversity on senior executive teams, EBIT increases by 3.5%.

The Portas Institute promotes long-term change inside companies by leading workshops, which set out a roadmap for change, involving every level of the business from the executive team downwards. They identify the business case for change, set goals and create delivery teams to execute the plan.

Tracy Damestani said: “I know many operators are keen to encourage women onto their boards. I hope that the workshops I am devising with the Portas Institute will be the catalyst for change. I’d love to see the casino sector in the vanguard of reform within the gaming industry, setting an example that others follow.

"What I’d like to see is a woman spearheading change inside the business, but with the support of her CEO or chairman so the culture for change is driven through.

"The casino industry needs to think about how it is perceived from the outside; our leading Ministers at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are women, as are many of the senior officials, and the Gambling Commission, which regulates our industry, is run by Sarah Harrison.

"We don’t want to look like an all-male industry at a senior level, nor do we want to confine women to ‘soft’ roles, such as HR and marketing. Women are leading in prominent roles across the private and public sectors and we should lead the way for our industry”.