Are Sexual Outfits Detrimental to Gaming Conferences?Published June 19, 2020 by Lee R
Gaming is hardly the space to over-politicise social messages, and a new policy is clashing with the powerhouse ICE brand.
Is the era of political correctness threatening one of the most fundamental forms of entertainment and good-natured fun at major gaming shows?
Key Promotional Tool
That was a rising hot topic pre-covid at London's legendary iGaming show ICE—an event promoted by heavyweight Clarion Gaming to showcase the work of global brands in the bingo, betting, casino, lottery, mobile gaming, sports, betting and online payments sectors.
Taking Issue with Costumes
Back in February, the 20-plus year old trade show came under direct fire for the until now commonplace use of women dressed in Playboy and other outfits deemed “sexualised.”
Other outfits included Kajot brand's use of three models in leather catsuits a booth in Docklands Excel.
Additional participant promotion costumes in question across the 600 tables at the event included included Bulgaria’s EGT Gaming featuring Caucasian actors wearing stereotypical Egyptian and East Asian clothes; automated casino table games maker and Playboy partner Interblock's half dozen women dressed as Playboy bunnies; female models dressed as Bavarian barmaids; low-cut necklines; angel and mermaid outfits featuring miniskirts, and more revealing ensembles.
History of Controversy
Two years ago scrutiny emerged when incumbent gambling commission chief executive Sarah Harrison publicly committed to cracking down on sexist imagery in the industry after finding fault with men “wearing expensive tailored suits” and female colleagues wearing “nothing more than swimsuits” at ICE 2018.
Two years later, Labour MP Carolyn Harris carried the edict further by deeming modeling at ICE 2020 “archaic and beyond disrespectful” and “not acceptable” for a UK business conference.
Clarion Gaming chief executive Kate Chambers responded that Kajot's use of models in leather catsuits breached the event’s code of conduct but stopped short of designating further model promotions in violation of new PC code launched two years ago when the Gambling Commission called out ICE organisers.
The use of women in revealing promotional outfits is as much a way to provide branded entertainment as a way to charge the atmosphere with sexuality, often with a hint of cheekiness ubiquitous to the culture of boutique gaming.
Despite our new era of overt political correctness, the lifestyle of frivolity exemplified by costumed models appears a key branding element not likely to be politicized away anytime soon.