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Grainne Hurst: “There’s a Special Place in Hell for Women Who Do Not Help Other Women”

Grainne Hurst, Entain's Director of Corporate Affairs, shares her journey from history student to gaming industry leader, her insights on government relations, and her vision for a diverse and inclusive future in iGaming.
Grainne Hurst

About: Grainne Hurst is Entain’s Director of Corporate Affairs and reports directly to the company’s Executive Board. In her role, she is responsible for all of the company’s activities and relationships at the interface with governments and the public sector. She has worked in the gaming industry for nine years, including previous roles as a special advisor to the UK government and in a House of Common MP’s office and agencies. She is a historian and studied at King’s College London and Queen Mary University in London. Grainne Hurst is a board member of the Entain Foundation and Global Gaming Women and is passionate about increasing the number of high-profile women in her industry.

What inspired you to transition from a career in history to corporate affairs within the gaming industry?

Grainne: If I am honest, I never really knew what I wanted to do as a career when I went to university. I chose a subject I enjoyed and was passionate about. When I left university I got a job working in the UK Parliament which opened my eyes to the working world of corporate affairs and I found it fascinating. I, therefore, tried my hand at a communications consultancy, as well as in-house and as a Special Adviser to the UK Government before finally arriving in the gaming industry – and the rest they say is history (or at least 10 years of history)!

Given your background as a special advisor to the UK government, how do you see the relationship between the government and the gaming industry evolving in the coming years?

Grainne: It is currently critically important and will remain the case for the foreseeable future in my opinion. As an industry that is highly regulated, it is vital that we engage proactively and positively with policy-makers and regulatory stakeholders and I am confident this will continue in the years to come – globally as well, not just in the UK. 

What is one book that every woman in the gambling industry should read?

Grainne: Madeline Albright’s memoir – Hell and Other Destinations. One of my favorite quotes that drives me in my professional relationships is from Madeline ‘there’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women”. 

What do you think is missing in the Igaming and sports betting industry today? Where do you see the biggest gaps?

Grainne: Whilst we have come a long way in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion, there is still a long way to go to diversify our industry to unlock the full benefits and potential of an eclectic workforce. Organisations like Global Gaming Women work tirelessly in this space and the more individuals who can join and the corporates who can support us will help us continue to change the industry for the better. 

What is your betting style? Do you have a strategy that you follow? And what betting tips do you have for those who are starting out?

Grainne: I bet on everything and anything with very little strategy!! Politics, horse racing, roulette, rugby – I love it all. My advice to anyone starting out is to bet small amounts or free-to-play, to get a feel for the product, games, etc, and have a set amount of money you are happy to deposit a day, a week, or a month – depending on how regularly you like to bet. 

Looking ahead, what excites you the most about the future of sports betting and Igaming?

Grainne: I am excited about the generational change we will see in the player mix, desire for products, and the way customers will want to engage with us in the future. Whether it be virtual reality, social casino/gaming, interactive betting on sporting events, and other developments that we don’t even know about yet!

What do women want (in sports betting and/or Igaming)?

Grainne: Celebrating great women in our sector and inspiring other, young, aspiring women to join our great and exciting sector. One way to help achieve this is for more open, honest, inclusive communication and culture – either for women as customers or colleagues. The future is bright and it is great to see how much collaboration already exists in this space. We can all play a role, no matter what our role, gender, location, or background is. Our industry is great and we can continually improve it together.

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