Caesars Entertainment and the Notorious RBG

By appointing the first woman to their board Caesars Entertainment is joining progressive gaming companies who have finally woken up to the distaff sex. Richard Schuetz explains why this is so important via comments by current Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (l.).

Caesars Entertainment and the Notorious RBG

It appears that an apostrophe is not the only thing that has been missing from Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It has also been missing any women members on its ten-person board of directors. That is a rather curious reality given Caesars’ press releases continually carry the boilerplate statement that the company is “…the world’s most diversified casino-entertainment provider…” Apparently the term diversified as used here has nothing to do with gender diversity on their board.

On October 17, 2018, the company announced the appointment of Ms. Denise M. Clark to the board, subject to all of the normal regulatory approvals. Ms. Clark has a most impressive background, both in her education and work experience. One detail in her life story is that she is a retired Navy Lt. Commander, and this experience can only be helpful in navigating through another organizational environment that is dominated by men.

A trend of late has been for people to notice that women occupy very few seats in the boardrooms of corporate America. This revelation does not extend to women, for they have been alive to this reality for a very long time. This awareness by women has translated itself into small incremental gains, but a more meaningful push has come since the money folks noticed this disparity, and the money folks noticed this disparity when study after study revealed the gender diverse boards are associated with more profitable entities. And who are the money folks? It is companies like BlackRock Inc., State Street Global Advisors, JPMorgan Asset Management, and others, and these folks are driven by greed—and in this case I agree with Gordon Gekko that “Greed is good.” Companies with gender diverse boards do better financially than companies that can still have their meetings in a man cave.

The state of California has also joined in this fray with Governor Jerry Brown signing a law on September 30 of this year mandating requirements for female participation on boards for California companies. As a past regulator, I see this as a stupid regulation, and it is a stupid regulation because the companies should have never allowed this to happen. Self-regulation is always preferred to government regulation, and government regulation only comes about when a company or industry just sets itself up to be regulated by being stupid. In the case of California, there was a long line of companies that simply were being stupid by not allowing female participation at the highest levels of their organizations. One thing that I did learn about Governor Brown after he appointed me as a gaming commissioner in California is that he is not a fool and I believe he knows that the courts will not support this new law. He signed the bill into law anyway, I would guess, as a wakeup call to companies that simply don’t get it. Let the stupid bastards sue.

So now I suspect that Caesars will feel all better that the company got that whole diversity initiative over with, with their one and done appointment, for they now have a woman on their board.

Wait… not so fast. That icon of the U.S. movement to protect women and other people subjected to discrimination might have something to say about what Caesars has done, and she is known as the Notorious RBG, or in the more square society, Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg knows about being a woman and being a second-class citizen. Born in 1933, RBG enrolled in Harvard Law School in 1956, where she was one of nine women in her law class of over one thousand. In order to follow her husband to New York, she transferred to Columbia Law School where she graduated top of her class.

Following her graduation she struggled to find work and in1963 becomes the second woman to ever teach at Rutgers School of Law, where she was paid less than a man because, as it was explained to her, her husband had a good job.

In 1972 she is the first female tenured professor at Columbia, and later that year she cofounded the Women’s Right Project at the ACLU. 1980 finds her receiving an appointment to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and in 1993 she was appointed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 96 to 3, where her opposition was led by that really fun guy Senator Jesse Helms, of North Carolina, for he was concerned she may have a homosexual agenda. Prior to her appointment she had argued six cases before the court, primarily relating to women and men’s rights.

The Notorious RBG understood the concept of being the only woman in the group, and she had something to say about it. Caesars, pay attention:

“People often ask me, ‘Well, did you always want to be a judge?’ My answer is it just wasn’t in the realm of the possible until Jimmy Carter became president and was determined to draw on the talent of all of the people, not just some of them.”

And Caesars, if you think this can be a “one and done,” again pay heed to Justice Ginsburg:

“Men need to learn, and they do when women show up in their midst in numbers, not as one-at-a-time curiosities” she remarked at the twenty-fifth anniversary of women at Harvard Law School.

And what did she have to say when she was the second woman that was appointed to the Supreme Court?

“The announcement the president just made is significant, I believe, because it contributes to the end of the days when women, at least half of the talent pool in our society, appear in high places only as one-at-a-time performers.”

So Caesars, the Notorious RBG has spoken, and you can’t spell truth without Ruth. Are you ready to listen?

Articles by Author: Richard Schuetz

Richard Schuetz started dealing blackjack for Bill Harrah 47 years ago, and has traveled the world as a casino executive, educator and regulator. He is sincerely appreciative of the help he received from his friends and colleagues throughout the gaming world in developing this article, understanding that any and all errors are his own.