Back when we had in person conferences, one of the common comments was regarding the lack of female presenters and attendees. Entain is hoping to change that, having announced their partnership with the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), Women’s Innovation Igniter.
The program is designed to help UNLV undergraduate and graduate women find a path to successful careers in the gambling and technology industries. Entain, who recently took on Jette Nygaard-Andersen as their CEO, is specifically looking to recruit talented women, and change the shape of the male-dominated field.
The program will be led by Jan Jones Blackhurst, Chief Executive in Residence, International Gaming Institute and Robert Rippee, Ph.D., Executive Director, Innovation Hub. It’s expected to launch in August 2021 with 20 women in its first class, and will be held at the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park.
Those first 20 women can expect a curriculum of hands-on experiences, practical learning, internships and mentoring from top executives. Entain will also keep an office on the premises to help the process along. “Entain is the ideal partner to help us bring this groundbreaking program to life,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst. “As a leader in online sports betting and gaming, Entain will help us showcase the myriad of opportunities available in these professional fields, further develop our curriculum, and help women see career pathways in a technology led industry where they are not always well-represented.”
“We are honored to be a part of such an inspiring and pioneering program with UNLV,” said Jette Nygaard-Andersen. “Women can face many obstacles in getting traction in careers that are often or traditionally male dominated. This program will encourage women to aspire for careers they previously may not have considered, and it provides the hands-on experience they need to make the sports betting, gaming, and technology industries more inclusive.”
“This industry has largely been male-dominated,” Martin Lycka, Entain’s senior vice president for American regulatory affairs, told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “Times are changing, but we believe that perhaps times are not changing quickly enough. … It’s critically important to support women in technology, women in gambling technology.”
While there’s an obvious benefit to Entain in creating this program, there’s also a greater benefit to society. Women represented just 27% of workers in STEM-qualified industries, and only held 35.5% of gambling industry positions of manager-level or above, a recent UNLV study has shown.