The American Gaming Association (AGA) is a trade group for gambling companies in the United States. That dichotomy of analyzing the US gambling industry while consisting of companies involved in that space is present in a new gaming industry diversity report.
Overall, the AGA study is full of accolades along the lines of workforce diversity. It does suggest there is one massive area for improvement, though. The report also seems to ignore one glaring issue.
Gaming industry diversity report highlights accomplishments
A Friday press release from the AGA has one central theme. In comparison to similar industries, gambling entities in the United States are doing a better job in terms of having an ethnically and gender-diverse workforce.
The release boasts several points to reinforce that theme.
- 61% of all employees represent ethnic or racial minorities
- 60% of people who work for gaming licensees represent such minorities
- 48% of all employees identify as women
- 45% of employees of companies that manufacture gambling devices also identify as belonging to such groups
- 23% of all employees identify as either Black or Hispanic
The AGA says these statistics are superior to other industries and the averages in the US in general. For instance, the AGA says ethnic or racial minorities represent 42% of the total US workforce.
Another aspect of the study that the AGA points out is the diversity scores for mid-level management in gaming. The AGA says 45% of such people represent ethnic or racial minorities. Again, the AGA claims that is at least 10 points higher than national averages.
For all the strong points that the AGA brings up, this report is not simply the gambling industry patting itself on the back. The AGA points out one area where work remains.
The AGA stresses one area of opportunity
In the release, the AGA states gender diversity “drops off at more senior level job classifications.” The study itself bears out the exact numbers there. Only 30% of executive or senior-level officers and managers among all employees identify as women according to the study.
The national average for such positions in all industries is 32.1%. For the broader hospitality industry, including non-gaming entertainment venues and hotels, that statistic is 35%. This means that women are not in the greatest positions of power and continue to see their earnings power in the industry capped.
It’s hard to gather an exact figure as to how much less women in gaming are earning from this study, however. The report completely sidesteps the issue of compensation equity which is an important aspect of diversity.
No mention of compensation equity
The word “compensation” does not appear anywhere in the study. Additionally, the press release does not mention pay for workers either. It seems that such metrics were not included in the research. The study says the firm hired to prepare the report surveyed 26 member organizations to reach its conclusions.
Across both ethnic/racial and gender lines, diversity scores deteriorated in careers associated with higher wages. For example, women represented almost 71% of administrative support workers but just 30% of the people receiving such support in the gaming industry as a whole.
Additionally, ethnic/racial minorities represented just 25.5% of executive or senior-level officials and managers in the gaming industry in total. While that bests the national average and broader hospitality rates, it still signals that people belonging to such groups are not partaking in compensation at that level.
To get a true picture of how the US gambling industry is doing in terms of diversity, compensation data is necessary. If the AGA’s 2024 gaming industry diversity report contains such information, that will represent a more thorough critique of the AGA’s members.
As this report stands, it’s important to remember who the AGA’s members are.