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In an exclusive interview with NEXT.io, BGaming CEO Marina Ostrovtsova delves into the topic of diversity in iGaming.

She shares insights and sheds light on the initiatives aimed at fostering professional opportunities and career growth for women working at BGaming.


NEXT: How would you describe your leadership style and why has it been so successful?

MO: I simply can’t help but smile at your kind words. Thanks for the compliment.

When it comes to describing my leadership style, I would characterise it as supportive, visionary, and empowering.

I understand the significance of self-esteem for any person and the feeling of being valued, so I’m trying to give BGaming team the autonomy to explore, create, and, importantly, learn from their mistakes.

This cultivates an environment of trust and openness, encouraging creativity and innovation — essential components for a company’s growth and adaptability within a dynamic industry like ours.

I’d also highlight the importance of alignment and direction, firmly believing in the power of a clear vision for the team. By ensuring BGamers know what they’re working towards and why, they can better focus their efforts and creativity toward achieving these goals.

The more I work with different kinds of people, the more I see that fostering a shared sense of purpose and direction makes a huge difference. To be honest, it hasn’t always been the case.

Empowerment encourages a sense of ownership and accountability among team members, driving them to perform at their best. ‘Ownership’ isn’t a simple word for BGaming this year; it was chosen as one of the core values each team member needs to develop in 2024.

While this approach has its ups and downs and isn’t always compatible with every employee, It requires passion — the driving force behind achieving goals even when they seem impossible.

NEXT: What proportion of staff at BGaming are female and how many women make-up the senior leadership team?

MO: At BGaming, over 90 women out of more than 200 employees excel across various roles, with 4 out of 6 top-level executives being women. We’re not just paying lip service to equality; it’s part of who we are as a company. Everyone in BGaming is empowered and supported to grow personally and professionally. It didn’t happen by intention or order; it occurred naturally.

And let me tell you, it’s inspiring to see women making such significant strides and achieving remarkable results in the iGaming industry. It’s a double win when it’s our very own BGamers leading the way!

NEXT: How was this achieved? How are you ensuring professional opportunities and career growth for women across the company?

MO: Actually, this wasn’t something we targeted and finally achieved. It simply happened.  

While reading some comments about BGaming during one of the industry events, I came across remarks like, ‘Oh, you’re such a great company of women.’ It struck me then that it might give the wrong impression — that we intentionally aimed for this.

In reality, we were lucky to encounter those women during our search for the right fit for the company, and they chose to work with us.

Ensuring women have the same chances for professional growth and career advancement at BGaming has always been important to the company. We don’t put any barriers in the way of our colleagues, whether women or men.

We’re all about being open to new ideas, feedback, and complaints — it’s how we grow together. It’s fulfilling to see many talented women progressing and flourishing in their careers within BGaming.

And while we’ve definitely put a spotlight on supporting women, it’s essential to stress that we don’t play favorites based on gender. At BGaming, it’s all about humans!

NEXT: What can the wider iGaming industry do to support women and provide opportunities?

MO: We can start by addressing unconscious bias within each individual company in the industry. It might be handy to conduct training for ALL employees to address unconscious bias and promote awareness of the impact of stereotypes on decision-making processes.

This effort might not be directly targeted at women but could begin the process of developing a broader mindset and acceptance.

We can also highlight role models by showcasing the achievements of women in the iGaming industry through awards, spotlights in industry publications, and speaking opportunities at conferences.

In fact, I already see this happening. I’m glad to observe that several awards and events are already shining a light on diversity in iGaming. Of course, it’d be great to see more initiatives emerging constantly.

Overall, the iGaming industry can make a solid statement to other domains and fields, declaring itself a safe place for women. If they (other industries) fail to support women, we’re here to welcome them all!

NEXT: How can women support other women on their professional journeys? How can men support women?

MO: I don’t think I will be able to answer this question in a simple and compact way, because it’s super complex, depending on factors such as culture, background, education, family issues, generation differences, resistance to changes, physiological factors, etc. Understanding why misogyny still exists today requires significant effort.

When I was much younger, there was no such definition as misogyny for me, but I can recall having this attitude towards other girls. I’m glad I educated myself on this and eliminated it from my life.

So, having it in a short answer, I would say this: women and men (or whoever they choose to be) should just let people be.

NEXT: How did BGaming celebrate international women’s day this year?

MO: So, at BGaming, we decided to shake things up for International Women’s Day with our ‘Like a Girl’ initiative. We wanted to showcase some stories and achievements from the women on our team to inspire others.

The idea was to flip that whole ‘like a girl’ stereotype on its head. Instead of seeing it as weak, we wanted to show that doing things ‘like a girl’ is actually pretty awesome and empowering.

My colleagues and I shared our stories on social media, breaking down those old clichés. We showed that girls can be strong, vulnerable, and everything in between. And you know what? Our followers loved it! It was incredible to be part of something highlighting women’s importance in all fields.

Next year, we’ll definitely keep this vibe going and make it even bigger!

NEXT: Why is it important for women to occupy C-level roles?

MO: Having women in C-level roles is not just about achieving gender parity; it’s about leveraging the full spectrum of talent, perspectives, and experiences to drive better business outcomes and foster innovation. Plus, research shows that companies with diverse top management tend to perform better financially.

Of course, it is not the case when achieving all of this is impossible without women; it can be accomplished just as efficiently and effectively with male power alone. This is about having all those outcomes balanced and bright, in some way “to the fullest.”

On top of that, women in C-level positions serve as role models and inspire other women and girls, demonstrating that reaching the highest levels is possible.

If we (women) are to challenge the stereotypes and break down the barriers, this visibility serves just perfectly.

NEXT: What culture have you tried to implement at BGaming since becoming CEO?

MO: Our leadership team, in one way or another, challenges and expands traditional notions of leadership, proving that effective leadership is not confined by age, appearance, or conventional expectations.

My achievements underscore that a leader’s value lies in their ability to inspire, guide, and support their team, fostering an environment where each member can thrive and contribute to the organization’s success.

From the start, BGaming aimed to attract and foster talent, becoming a hub for nurturing skills. Six years later, with me on the leadership team throughout this time, this remains our aim.

I believe that a company’s culture reflects its leaders. So, when you know who we are, what culture do you think we have internally?

NEXT: How can the media help to address the gender imbalance, in your view?

I would suggest a rather unpopular thing, given that you are already discussing this. 

Instead of perpetuating existing stereotypes, the media can create a new narrative, emphasizing inclusivity and diversity within our industry.

By telling stories that highlight the accessibility of our field to everyone, the media can help break down barriers and encourage greater participation from underrepresented groups.

This approach not only promotes equality but also fosters a more welcoming and inclusive environment within iGaming.


Marina Ostrovtsova is the CEO at game provider BGaming. Marina began her iGaming career at SoftSwiss in 2014, where she held various responsibilities in account, product, and project management over four years. In 2018, Marina transitioned to the BGaming studio as an executive director. With four years of dedicated work, Marina’s unconventional leadership style and visionary approach earned her the position of CEO in 2022. Her leadership abilities marked a turning point for BGaming, leading the company to a new phase of development, commercial success, and a compelling brand image.

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