Entain Aims To Push Women Forward With UNLV Partnership

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As Entain Chief Executive Officer Jette Nygaard-Andersen steps into her role, the company is also pushing women upward in gaming.

The UK-based Entain recently partnered with UNLV to launch the Women’s Innovation Igniter. Through the program, women will receive mentoring and support to help bring innovation and more inclusive environments to STEM fields, including sports betting.

“Women can face many obstacles in getting traction in careers that are often or traditionally male-dominated,” Nygaard-Andersen said. “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.”

Entain did not disclose investment specifics. The partnership is, however, part of a broader five-year, $137 million commitment to communities, education and responsible gaming.

Fostering future Entain talent?

The Women’s Innovation Igniter will be within the school’s Harry Reid Research and Technology Park.

Jan Jones Blackhurst, chief executive-in-residence at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, will lead the project along with Black Fire Innovation Hub Executive Director Robert Rippee.

Approximately 20 women will be part of the first class in August 2021.

Entain expects to play a role in the recruitment and mentoring of women in the industry for the program. The company also expects to open an office at Black Fire to house engineers, and software and gaming developers.

Strong foundation

A former Las Vegas mayor, Jones Blackhurst spent two decades at Caesars Entertainment and currently sits on the company’s board of directors.

Jones Blackhurst was one of the first women inducted into the American Gaming Association Gaming Hall of Fame.

She has also served on the Las Vegas Stadium Authority and Nevada Resort Association boards.

Entain practicing what it preaches

Shay Segev announced he was leaving Entain to take the helm at DAZN in January. Shortly after, the company named Nygaard-Andersen as Segev’s replacement.

Nygaard-Andersen is one of six female CEOs at companies in the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index.

Entain, formerly GVC Holdings, jointly owns BetMGM with MGM Resorts International, which recently gave up on its attempt to acquire Entain.

Underrepresented demographic

The partners expect the Women’s Innovation Ignitor to help boost women in gaming and other STEM fields.

A 2019 UNLV study found 35.5% of manager level and above in the U.S. gaming industry are women.

“Half of our population is women,” Jones Blackhurst told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Getting them engaged in sports betting and esports, that’s our growth market.”