On International Women’s Day, We Celebrate Women Who #BreakTheBias In Canadian Gambling

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on March 8, 2022 - Last Updated on October 3, 2022
International Womens Day banner_Pastel palette_Women of different ethnicities stand side by side

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women and their achievements. It’s also a day to increase visibility and raise awareness of gender-based discrimination in the workplace and at home.

March also marks the beginning of Women’s History Month across the globe. It’s necessary to mark these important dates. However, at PlayCanada, we believe women and underserved communities deserve focus not just in February or March but all year long.

That said, today that we raise a toast to all women — strong, intelligent, hard-working, extraordinary women. The women who make a difference locally and globally despite the challenges faced.

And since we cover the Canadian gambling space during this crucial time, it’s the perfect backdrop for an analysis.

In gambling, women are making gains, but there’s a long way to go

In the gambling industry, like many others, representation of women is historically low.

Yes, it is true: more men gamble than women. But, despite the heavy association of sports betting and table games with men, female participation is growing.

In terms of internet gambling in general, men and women in Canada break down almost evenly. According to Spill Media, Men account for 57% of players, women follow close behind at 43%.

But let’s face it, our industry is predominantly male.

However, diversity is growing in the gaming industry. And as more women earn leadership roles, we often see an increased openness and commitment to change. But, while women’s participation has increased overall, women are still shamefully underrepresented at the highest levels.

According to the All Diversity Project:

“In terms of working in the igaming industry, data from the All Diversity project surveyed 25 betting and gaming companies and found that around 47% of roles were held by women. However, it’s a different picture as you move up the corporate ladder. At manager level, the gender split widens to 60% male versus 40% female, growing through head of department (70% to 30%), director or C-level (78% to 22%) and CEO or MD (83% to 17%). Meanwhile, the gender pay gap stands at a median of 9.6%, only a 0.1 percentage point decrease on the previous year.”

While it’s a situation with a global scale, there’s much progress to be made in the Canadian and North American industries. And Ontario’s impending online gaming expansion offers a unique opportunity for the industry to put its money where its mouth is.

Opportunities abound in Ontario

With a population of nearly 15 million and high levels of participation in gambling activities, the Ontario internet gaming market is one of the most attractive for casino operators, affiliates and suppliers.

With the market set to launch on April 4, the industry is ramping up recruitment to fill open roles. Available opportunities go from entry-level to the C-suite. And the hiring push is expected to last for a while.

The good news is there are already many women in key positions across Canadian gaming.

Seeing women succeed in dominant roles inspires young women to realize that they can achieve their goals. It also dampens pushback from those who wrongly say women don’t belong in leadership or traditionally male-dominated industries.

Canadian women in gambling

Women have much to offer, not only in gambling but in every sector.

We’re fortunate to have many inspiring women in key roles in Canada. That fortune extends to PlayCanada’s editorial team — both our managing editor and lead writer (that’s me) are women. And our broader division of Play sites champions women, too, all under the leadership of our head of production, Kim Yuhl.

Those in the industry for a while can see there’s been progress. However, we also recognize there’s still room for improvement. But while there is still work to do to defeat gender bias, there is room to celebrate wins along the way.

Here are just a few Canadian women who motivate and inspire us to keep striving for equality and our goals:

Amanda Brewer

Currently working as Country Manager for Kindred Group, Amanda Brewer has over 20 years of experience with corporate communications, public relations, and regulation.

Furthermore, she was a senior advisor with the Canadian Gaming Association for more than 12 years. Brewer will play a key role in elevating brands such as Kindred’s Unibet Casino.

In the past, Brewer has provided counsel to private and public sector clients in regulated industries, specializing in business development and partnerships.

“It’s the culmination of a decade-long pursuit to convince a province to do exactly what Ontario is doing now,” Brewer said recently of the opportunity coming to Ontario.

“I’m excited to see what everyone has to offer next month.”

Here is a look at how Kindred is ringing in IWD this year.

Chantal Cipriano

PointsBet Canada snapped up gaming and sports betting industry lawyer Chantal Cipriano during an initial hiring spree last year. Cipriano is vice president of legal, compliance and people for the “authentically Canadian” operation.

Before joining PointsBet, Cipriano was a senior director overseeing legal and compliance at Mazooma. Cipriano has worked in the industry for many years. For many, she provided bank account-level data intelligence and payment processing to licensed online operators in regulated US markets.

Cipriano also published articles and content on gaming law. And she taught Global Regulation of Sports Betting in the Sports Wagering and Integrity Certificate Program at the University of New Hampshire.

Lindsay Slader

Lindsay Slader is the VP, Regulatory Affairs at GeoComply, a global leader in geolocation technology. As part of GeoComply, Slader provided expert testimony on geolocation technologies and regulatory compliance at several state and federal legalization hearings. She is also a public speaker on these topics.

Before GeoComply, Slader spent five years in business development and marketing at leading compliance testing companies, GLI and TST.

Slader served iGaming and land-based markets in those roles, working with the largest operators, vendors, and regulators across Europe, the US and Canada.

Kelly Brooks

Kelly Brooks is the CEO and co-founder of Quarter4.io, a progressive sports betting and gaming technology.

Brooks also founded the mobile development agency SpeakFeel Corporation in 2009, deploying over 500 custom cloud-based solutions for multiple industries.

In addition, she is a mentor for women in STEM and an articulate speaker on topics. These include Sports Data and Analytics, The New Bettor, Artificial Intelligence and Predictions, Data Automation, Entrepreneurship, Product Development, Pitching to Investors and Building Teams.

Shelley White

Shelley White has led the Responsible Gambling Council as its CEO since 2017.

White is a Canadian visionary who dedicated her life and career to empowering organizations to create better futures for people in their communities. Responsible Gambling Council is just one such organization.

Before RGC, Shelley held various positions in Canada’s non-profit sector, including United Way, Kidney Foundation of Canada and the YMCA.

Known for using her voice in Canada to push for diversity and inclusion, White joined The All-in Diversity Project in 2019.

Sarah Robertson

The senior vice president of sales for Kambi, Sarah Robertson is a New Brunswick native making a difference across the pond in the global supplier’s UK office.

Our sister site PlayOntario caught up with Robertson for a recent story on the market.

Major gaming companies join hard-hitting IWD campaign

This year, the world’s biggest gaming companies joined forces to mount a significant campaign around the IWD theme: #BreakTheBias.

igaming companies join campaign to #BreakTheBias_tile shot of gaming industry CEOs in black and white

Flutter, Kindred and DraftKings are some betting and gaming industry giants taking part in the campaign.

Those operators came together with other industry players in a series of videos sharing women’s experiences in the industry. Participants include Catena Media, Better Collective, GiG, Pinnacle, Sportsbet, and Yggdrasil. (Full disclosure, Catena is PlayCanada’s parent company.)

The project, conceived and produced by All-In Diversity and Square in the Air, highlights examples of industry gender bias. And it goes a step further by offering resources for companies and individuals seeking support.

“We’ve been humbled by the backing this campaign has received from the biggest organizations across the world, from Europe and the Americas to Africa and Australia,” said Kelly Kehn, All-In’s director and co-founder.

“While we are of course hoping to make an impact with this hard-hitting campaign, the teams at All-In and Square in the Air are determined that these films will not simply capture a moment in time but add momentum to the fight for fairness and balance for all those in our industry.”

Photo by Shutterstock
Katarina Vojvodic Avatar
Written by
Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina is a Toronto-based online gambling writer who holds a master's degree in journalism. Before joining PlayCanada, she was part of the AskGamblers crew where she reported about the world of online casinos and interviewed numerous iGaming experts. Being in the industry for 5 years, she became an expert in online slots.

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