Recognizing the outstanding achievements of women in the gaming industry

God is a Woman

My (male) friend used to end any conversation with the phrase, “Remember, God is a woman.”

Now, no one can know if God is a man or a woman, particularly this friend who never married and is not gay (at least to my knowledge), not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I think any of us can relate to a particular man or woman who has that God-like quality that inspires and elevates, so God is indeed in all of us, men and women.

In this issue, we’re doing something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time but was a bit reluctant. I’m always reluctant to recognize people by sex, race or religion because everyone is different and everyone has their own special qualities that make them stand apart regardless of their sex, race or religion. I’ll paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in that I judge a person by the content of their character not by the color of their skin (or their sex or religion).

Despite my reluctance to separate women from men in the workplace, I was and remain an enthusiastic supporter of Global Gaming Women, an organization that was founded by the American Gaming Association several years ago, and recently became an independent organization under the leadership of former Isle of Capri President and CEO Virginia McDowell. Virginia is one of my longest industry friends, and she did a great job last year bringing this organization to the next level.

The mentorship programs, the “Lean In” groups established by GGW and the conferences that GGW has held across the country have spread the good word about the organization far, and have really made a difference in how women view their jobs and careers. GGW gives women a resource they rarely had in the past.

So in celebration of these successes, in collaboration with the board of directors of Global Gaming Women, we chose 13 women to profile in this issue (because a dozen just couldn’t capture all the amazing women nominated). And while I’m also a bit gun-shy about celebrating diversity just for diversity’s sake, this group is truly diverse and supremely talented. Whether it’s commercial operators, manufacturers or tribal gaming participants, this group of women can show the way to any woman who wants to get ahead in the gaming industry.

In the intro to the section, we talk about the true trailblazers in the industry—women who dared to challenge custom and tradition to break the mythical but very real, in those days, “glass ceiling.” Today, there’s not that much disparity in pay, but women still struggle to move into some of the more higher-level positions. For example, there is rarely more than one woman on the boards of directors of major casino companies. Senior-level corporate management rarely includes a woman except in the “traditional“ roles of human resources or marketing.

Yes, there is progress being made on the president/CEO level. Rush Street Gaming has appointed women to lead two of their four properties. MGM Resorts has traditionally promoted women to lead major resorts. Caesars has several regional presidents (including our cover subject, Eileen Moore).

According to the American Gaming Association, 48 percent of employees in the gaming industry are women, well above the national average for other industries. If that is true, why are there so few opportunities for women in upper management and in corporate boardrooms? Is the gaming industry, as some still contend, a boy’s club? Is there actual discrimination of women that accounts for these rather anemic numbers in those important areas? These are some of the questions GGW and GGB hope to answer going forward, and we’re going to pay close attention to this trend.

But clearly, women are making progress in the gaming industry. Is it as quick as we’d all want? Certainly not, but by drawing attention to the talented women who do work and guide our industry, we can be sure that the “fathers” of our industry are aware that their “daughters” are as qualified—and in some cases more qualified—than anyone.

Roger Gros

Author: Roger Gros

Roger Gros is publisher of Global Gaming Business, the industry's leading gaming trade publication, and all its related publications. Prior to joining Global Gaming Business, Gros was president of Inlet Communications, an independent consulting firm. He was vice president of Casino Journal Publishing Group from 1984-2000, and held virtually every editorial title during his tenure. Gros was editor of Casino Journal, the National Gaming Summary and the Atlantic City Insider, and was the founding editor of Casino Player magazine. He was a co-founder of the American Gaming Summit and the Southern Gaming Summit conferences and trade shows. He is the author of the best-selling book, How to Win at Casino Gambling (Carlton Books, 1995), now in its fourth edition. Gros was named "Businessman of the Year" for 1998 by the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Gaming Association in 2012.