US casinos look to improve gender equity in management

Casino Conference

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Diversifying an organization or an industry can be only half the battle: The trick is keeping it diverse.

A little over a year ago, Atlantic City was celebrating a wave of female leadership in its casino industry. Four of the nine casinos had women in the top job, a high-water mark for the resort city and for many other casino markets in the country as well.

But it didn't last.

Within months, one of the four was replaced by a man when new owners took over Bally's casino. And earlier this month, the head of the Ocean Casino Resort resigned days before a Detroit company was approved to take a 50% ownership stake in the casino.

Nationwide, 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 does not track the percentage of women in top casino jobs.

The work of diversifying casinos has been going on for years, even as women — and men — in the industry agree that more needs to be done.

“We're seeing some progress,” said Erin Chamberlin, senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National Gaming. “But women kind of make it so far, and to make it to the next level, we're kind of struggling. Look around the room and look through a different lens: What does the representation in that room look like?"

These issues are not unique to casinos. Businesses across the country and the world are moving at varying speeds to diversify their workforces.

A panel