2021 has seen many betting and gaming operators introduce a raft of ESG measures, a trend witnessed first hand in the US space by Jan Jones Blackhurst, Caesars Entertainment Board Member and former Mayor of Las Vegas.

Whilst attending the SBC Summit North America in New Jersey, Blackhurst spoke to SBC’s Senior Media Executive Erin Gallagher about ESG initiatives, specifically sharing her views on environmentalism and diversity promotion.

Environmental issues have come to the forefront over the past two years, as more and more people become aware of climate change impacts and put increasing pressure on governments and corporations to act.

In Blackhursts view, this has resulted in a new demand for companies – including betting and gaming operators – to be more detailed in description of their environmental policies. The former Las Vegas Mayor asserted that firms can no longer simply state that they are working to reduce their carbon footprint, but must now provide evidence of their initiatives.

“You have to say ‘we’re going to reduce energy consumption by this amount in this time frame’. If you say you’re going to reduce your carbon footprint, you have to say how and when,” she said.

“Operators are going to have to be very thoughtful when they make statements because they are going to be held accountable and that takes you to a whole different level of regulation and responsibility.”

For operators interested in the US space – which has expanded rapidly over the past three years and especially in 2021 – Blackhurst identified ‘a number’ of challenges relating to ESG, stating that such initiatives are ‘top of mind for many gaming companies’.

“ESG, Environmental, Sustainability and Governance, is really top of mind for many gaming companies. The investors and the rating agencies are being very strict on what you say you actually do. I think we are beginning to change the way we are incorporating it into our policy and how we execute going forward. 

“I think some of the environmental challenges are going to be significant, but sustainability, which is work cultures, diversity and inclusion and how you govern that are going to be top of mind for companies as we build organisations that are forward thinking.”

Blackhurst: Operators must be ‘very thoughtful’ when making environmental statements