Catsuits, Playboy bunnies and Bavarian maids – at London betting show

Catsuits, Playboy bunnies and Bavarian maids – at London betting show

The organisers insist it has undergone a ‘cultural change’ after previous complaints of ‘blatant sexism’ and threats of boycotts.

But most of the 35,000 visitors to the Ice London gambling conference yesterday would probably have struggled to pinpoint this shift as they were greeted by scores of scantily clad hostesses dressed as Playboy bunnies, Bavarian maids, mermaids, angels and Greek goddesses or wearing leather cat-suits, complete with plunging tops, ears and extended tails.

MPs yesterday denounced the use of hostesses at the event — one of the world’s biggest gambling conferences which aims to ‘explore the future of the industry’ and ‘drive revenues’ — as ‘sordid and irresponsible’ and like ‘something from another age’.

More than 600 exhibitors filled two halls at the ExCeL Centre in London, each the size of an aircraft hanger.

‘Sordid and irresponsible’: MPs yesterday denounced the use of hostesses at Ice London gambling conference yesterday

Most of the 35,000 visitors to the Ice London gambling conference yesterday would probably have struggled to pinpoint this shift as they were greeted by scores of scantily clad hostesses, some dressed as Bavarian barmaids (pictured)

Others appeared as angels, with giant wings attached to their backs, apparently inspired by the raunchy Victoria’s Secret underwear fashion show

Lavish stands were packed with casino tables, slot machines and giant screens featuring live computer games as gambling companies battled to attract business.

One delegate described it as being like ‘Las Vegas on tour.’ But the main means of promoting exhibitors’ products to the predominantly male clientele was with provocatively dressed young women.

At stand after stand they were handing out goody bags and leaflets, often dressed in revealing outfits — predominantly featuring mini skirts and low-cut necklines.

Interblock — which produces electronic products for casinos — had five women dressed as Playboy bunnies who blew kisses as they posed for pictures and distributed details about the company.

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Share The women’s outfits were presumably a nod to the deal that the Las Vegas-based firm announced last year to make and distribute electronic tables branded with the Playboy bunny logo.

At an exhibit for online casino company Kajot, women wore black leather cat outfits.

At a German betting company, ‘Bavarian maids’ handed out chocolates. Elsewhere, women dressed as mermaids smiled as they held signs for BoleGaming.

At another stand, women dressed as alluring Greek goddesses — in glittering red and green dresses, in crowns and low-cut tops — as they distributed leaflets for Synot, which boasts that it is creating a ‘new dimension of gaming’.

Elsewhere, women dressed as mermaids smiled as they held signs for BoleGaming

In a section promoting slot machines, a woman dressed as a ‘jackpot’ playing card, in a short skirt and high heels, posed with visitors for photos. 

Others appeared as angels, with giant wings attached to their backs, apparently inspired by the raunchy Victoria’s Secret underwear fashion show.

Not much seemed to have changed since 2018, when the Mail revealed how the same event included the appearance of a pole dancer in leather lingerie at 4pm, and young women dressed as cheerleaders and burlesque dancers.

Other women that year wore low-cut dresses with the logos of the companies they were promoting painted on their backs, prompting the charity Gamble Aware to accuse the trade show of ‘blatant sexism’.

Back then, the then Labour Deputy Leader Tom Watson was a fierce critic of what he called ‘sexist and chauvinistic behaviour.’

But Mr Watson, who stood down as an MP at the general election, was one of the keynote speakers at the Ice Vox conference which ran alongside this week’s exhibition — though he delivered his speech a day before the exhibition floor featuring the hostesses opened.

The Gambling Commission, which two years ago threatened to boycott the event unless it stopped using ‘promo girls’, had a stand at this year’s event, and its chief executive Neil McArthur gave another of the keynote speeches at Ice Vox.

Interblock — which produces electronic products for casinos — had five women dressed as Playboy bunnies who blew kisses as they posed for pictures and distributed details about the company

Ronnie Cowan, vice chair of the all-party parliamentary group on gambling, called on the Gambling Commission to condemn the use of models to promote companies at the conference. 

He said: ‘It’s from another age — it’s not from the 21st century. It seems to be an industry that does its own thing regardless of public opinion.

‘It has a reputation as a macho-driven industry and presenting itself in this way does nothing to dispel that.

‘I can only assume they are detached from reality, and they have this attitude that money buys you anything.’

Carolyn Harris, shadow minister for women and equalities, said: ‘I am shocked and saddened to see women still being used as sex symbols to drive business by the men in suits throughout the gambling industry.

‘This outdated marketing tactic feels sordid and irresponsible. This should not be happening in the UK.’

Clarion Gaming, — which organises the ICE conference — and the European Casino Association, wrote an open letter to exhibitors before the 2017 event, urging them to be aware of potential allegations of sexism ‘in the spirit of the 21st century’.

At stand after stand they were handing out goody bags and leaflets, often dressed in revealing outfits

That came after the Gambling Commission’s then chief executive, Sarah Harrison, had threatened to boycott the event, at which she said women were ‘expected to wear nothing more than swimsuits’.

After being contacted by the Mail, the event organisers said Kajot — which was responsible for the cat-suits — had breached the conference’s code of conduct and that its management had been spoken to.

It did not comment on the Playboy bunny girls or 우리카지노계열 other promotional women used by the various exhibitors.

Kate Chambers, managing director of ICE London, 우리카지노계열총판 said: ‘Our Code of Conduct was developed with the help of a cross-industry Diversity Working Group, and we treat any breach with the utmost seriousness.

‘There’s no doubt that a cultural shift has been required in our industry for some time, and the overwhelming majority is supportive of the importance of inclusion and diversity.

‘I believe we’re seeing progress being made, but there’s no room for complacency and we remain fully committed to providing a safe working environment for 우리카지노계열총판 everyone across our events.’

A Gambling Commission spokesman said: ‘We called out the organisers about this two years ago and they have since launched a code of conduct.

‘It is a matter for the organisers to enforce that code.

‘Our focus at the conference is on making gambling safer for British consumers.’

Tom Watson could not be reached for comment. 

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