June 13, 2024 3 min read

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Diversity and Inclusion Making Strides in the Gaming Industry

The AGA's 2023 Diversity in Gaming report shows a significant increase in ethnic minority representation, with 62% of industry employees identifying as such, up from 53% in 2011

The diversity among US gambling workers has increased significantly though more progress remains to be achieved, the American Gaming Association (AGA) reports. 

Gaming Sector Sees Increase in Representation of Ethnic Minorities and Women of Color

The AGA’s 2023 Diversity in Gaming study revealed that 62% of industry employees identify as ethnic minorities compared to 53% in 2011. This makes the sector more varied than other parts of the hospitality industry where only 51.8% of staff members are non-white. Bill Miller, CEO of AGA commended these improvements but added there is still work left until true diversity is seen throughout every level and position within the industry, reported The Nevada Independent.

Women, particularly women of color, have also seen increased representation in leadership roles within the gaming sector. The report indicates that 9% of executive and senior-level positions in commercial casinos are held by women of color, compared to 6% in the national workforce. At the mid-managerial level, women of color represent 22% of the workforce, significantly higher than the 16% in the hospitality sector. This positions these women as a crucial talent pool for future executive roles.

Women hold leadership positions at four out of MGM Resort International‘s ten properties on the Las Vegas Strip. Ann Hoff serves as the president of both Bellagio and Park MGM, while Ayeshia Molino oversees Aria and Vdara and also fulfills the role of the company’s chief public affairs officer.

Women in Gaming Industry Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Success

Cynthia Moehring, VP of HR at Palms Casino Resort, highlighted initiatives like blind resume reviews to promote diversity in hiring. She also praised Global Gaming Women, an organization supporting the advancement of women in the gaming industry. This group has been instrumental in providing training and confidence-building opportunities for emerging female leaders. 

One example is Mary Cheeks who attributes her success to her parents, who taught her to view obstacles as opportunities. In 2018, she was brought in by the Jamul Indian Village to rebrand their casino and is now leading an expansion that will add a 200-room hotel and other amenities, transforming the small casino into a resort. 

Cheeks’ leadership was pivotal in securing $515 million in funding for the project last year. With a background in executive finance roles at major casinos in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and upstate New York, Cheeks joins a group of women leading casinos for California Indian tribes. Challenges still exist despite the progress made.

For example, recently Red Rock Resorts faced criticism for having an all-male board of directors that lacks diversity. Even though this is opposed by major California pension funds, the company defended its composition by saying they look at diversity from a wide angle encompassing different personal attributes as well as skills and experiences.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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