GENDER, LEADERSHIP AND COVID-19: WHAT WE HOPE TO LEARN - BECKY HARRIS

GENDER, LEADERSHIP AND COVID-19: WHAT WE HOPE TO LEARN - BECKY HARRIS

By IAGR Media

This year has been a turbulent year for the gaming industry.  In February, as a response to COVID-19, the Macau Government shuttered all casino operations for 15 days.1  By mid-March, casinos across the U.S. began shutting down.2

In May, the New York Times published an article in which women-led nations were credited with crafting policies that were successful in containing and eradicating the coronavirus.3  One key take-away from the article was "[c]ountries led by women seem to be particularly successful in fighting the coronavirus."4 

The notion that gender could play a role in successful approaches to dealing with crises has formed the basis for current UNLV research study conducted by the International Gaming Institute at UNLV (IGI) about gender influence and leadership roles in the gaming industry as the industry continues to navigate the COVID-19 global pandemic.  

In August, the Washington Post published research findings disputing the claims made in the earlier New York Times Article.5  The research cited in the Post article found “no consistent relationship between gender and pandemic outcomes.”6 Despite the disparities between the two articles, it is the similarities from the articles about leadership that are fascinating.  The Times article draws the conclusion that “[w]hat we learned with Covid is that . . . a different kind of leader can be very beneficial”7 and the Post Article proclaims that “Female leadership matters for the pandemic but not always in the ways you might expect.”8  Indeed, it explains, “But the pandemic changes what citizens value in their leaders.”9

As the study of world leaders and their public policy choices continue, an examination of leadership roles in the gaming industry, whether these roles have changed, and if gender has any bearing could provide gaming regulators and stakeholders with insights about how to innovate and effectively confront future crises.   

To participate in this study, click here.  The study is open to anyone throughout the world, across every segment of the gaming industry, and only takes 10-15 minutes to complete.   

To be eligible for this study you must be an adult, at least 21 and currently employed in the gaming industry or have been employed in the gaming industry within the past 12 months. 

Remember, this is completely voluntary. You can choose to be in the study or not. If you would like to participate or have any questions about the study, please contact Becky.Harris@UNLV.edu or Bo.Bernhard@unlv.edu


  1. Evie Liu, Macau Casinos are Closed for Two Weeks, Why Their Stocks are Gaining, Nasdaq.com, February 4, 2020, 3:09 PM EST, https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/macau-casinos-are-closed-for-two-weeks.-..., accessed, September 20, 2020.
  2. NBC10 Staff, New Jersey Closes Casinos, Limits Bars, Restaurants Due to Coronavirus Spread, NBCPhilidelphia.com, March 17, 2020, 3:24 PM, https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/coronavirus/new-jersey-casino-close..., accessed, September 20, 2020; CBSDFW.COM/AP, Indian Casinos in Oklahoma Shut Down Amid Coronavirus Fears, March 17, 2020, 10:00 AM, DFWCBSLocal.co, https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/03/17/indian-casinos-oklahoma-shut-down-co..., accessed September 20, 2020; Catherine Garcia, All of Nevada’s Casinos Have Been Ordered to Close Because of Coronavirus Pandemic, News.Yahoo.com, March 17, 2020, https://news.yahoo.com/nevadas-casinos-ordered-close-because-025600981.html, accessed, September 20, 2020; and David Purdum, 100% of U.S. Casinos to be Closed Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, ESPN.com, https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/28947622/100-us-casinos-closed-wed..., accessed, September 20, 2020.
  3. Taub Amanda, Why Are Women-Led Nations Doing Better with Covid-19?, The New York Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/world/coronavirus-women-leaders.html, accessed, September 20, 2020.
  4. Id.
  5. Jennifer M. Piscopo and Kendall Funk, Are Female Leaders Better at Fighting the Coronavirus?, The Washington Post, August 26, 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/are-female-leaders-better-at-fig..., accessed September 20, 2020.
  6. Id.
  7. Taub Amanda, Why Are Women-Led Nations Doing Better with Covid-19?, The New York Times, May 18, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/world/coronavirus-women-leaders.html, accessed, September 20, 2020.
  8. Jennifer M. Piscopo and Kendall Funk, Are Female Leaders Better at Fighting the Coronavirus?, The Washington Post, August 26, 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/are-female-leaders-better-at-fig..., accessed September 20, 2020.
  9. Id.

AUTHOR 

Becky Harris is the Distinguished Fellow in Gaming and Leadership at the International Gaming Insitute, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Harris is a recognized expert on gaming policy and regulation, legislative affairs, and workplace sexual harassment prevention.

Harris is often called upon nationally to discuss discuss policy and regulatory issues relating to legal sports wagering. As an academic fellow with an emphasis in the study of sports betting, Harris collaborated with stakeholders to finalize the formation, launch, and first convening of the U.S. Sports Betting Forum, an outlet designed to provide a neutral forum in which stakeholders can convene to discuss policy and regulatory issues relating to legal sports wagering.  

She also recently served as the first female Chair of Nevada Gaming Control Board, regarded as the gold standard in gaming regulation worldwide. During her tenure, she helped guide the Board through a number of controversial matters including sexual harassment issues within the industry, challenges involving the legalization of recreational cannabis and its relationship to gaming regulation, the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the emergence of sports betting across the United States, and various Wire Act issues.  

Harris represented State Senate District 9 in Clark County for two legislative sessions and two special sessions. During the 2017 Legislative Session, she served on the Finance, Judiciary and Education Committees.  In 2015, she served as Chair of the Education Committee, Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee. Additionally, she served as the Treasurer of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States and was selected to chair its Responsible Gaming Committee.

While practicing law in Las Vegas, Harris' areas of focus included counseling business clients in entity formation; maintaining compliance with state and local regulations; contract negotiations, commercial leases, and dispute resolution. She is sought after as a speaker worldwide on issues related to gaming policy, regulation, and leadership.  

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International Association of Gaming Regulators
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