iGB Diary: lady parades, sponsorship deals and kitemarks

| By Hannah Gannage-Stewart
This week we ponder the Miss Gaming beauty pageant, stateside sponsorships and note All-Index’s work with BSI 

In this week’s diary we take a look into the strange beast that is the Miss Gaming BEGE beauty pageant, the highlights of new sponsorships from the week and note All-Index’s work with BSI an a diversity standard.

One step forward, seven years back
She is beauty, she is grace, she is Miss Gaming at the Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo (BEGE). Since 2012, BEGE has been running a pageant in which casino chains and gaming companies parade their best assets – attractive women who (maybe?) work for them. The jury naturally includes a panel of fashion, lifestyle and media elites, and will judge the women in true pageant style – not by their respective career achievements, but rather how nice their face is. Participants this year include Admiral Club, CGI, Eldorado slot club, Luxor Gaming Club, Palms bet, Royale Palms Casino, Sesame Gaming clubs, Sofia Princess Casino, Viva! Casino Sofia and Winbet. It’s a peculiar choice at a time when the industry is trying to up its game in the diversity stakes. Clarion gaming revisited its code of conduct regarding stand staff after ICE last year, and the All-In Diversity project is just about to publish its inaugural report. Still, some have been surprised by the broadly negative response to the pageant this week. It’s worth noting that we’re not entirely sure if any of the women taking part actually work at the companies they represent, but at least they’re wearing pretty dresses.

Sponsorships galore
This week saw a flurry of sponsorship stories, including the NBA choosing Française des Jeux (FDJ) as its first official European gaming partner in an effort to ignite more interest in basketball on our side of the Atlantic. Also, 1xbet renewed its partnership with Italy’s Serie A – a pairing which came under fire this time last year following government and regulatory outcry. The jury is out on whether it will stick this year or meet further pushback. Finally, it’s all happening in New Jersey, USA, where MSG Networks and William Hill struck a sponsorship arrangement for New Jersey Devils broadcasts, and Major League Soccer club New York Red Bulls are considering entering a stadium naming rights agreement. The NJ based stadium could soon bear the name of an as of yet undetermined betting company in a deal with an estimated value of $4m per year.

Diversity in igaming
In stark contrast to the antiquity of BEGE’s pageant, the All-In Diversity Project has formalised its work with BSI to produce a diversity standard for the gaming and betting sector. The project’s All-Index aims to report on the progress towards diversity and inclusion within the sector and hopes to be a baseline for growing the industry in the future. It’ll be no easy feat, but following an industry-wide dressing-down this year – it’s much needed. As a result of this, Clarion Gaming has officially announced our strategic partnership with the project, in which we’ll be spreading the good word and hosting the project at our upcoming ICE event on 5-7 February at the London ExCel.

That’s all we’ve got time for this week, so have a wonderful weekend!

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