The first three winners of the CasinoBeats Pride of Gaming Awards have been revealed, with games giant IGT, Green Jade Gaming chairman Jesper Kärrbrink and Microgaming’s PlayItForward CSR initiative all to be recognised at Thursday’s ceremony.

The awards have been launched to celebrate those individuals or organisations that have done the most to promote the good name and image of casino gaming, in whatever form. The winners will collect their awards at the SBC Hall of Fame networking party, which takes place at London’s Natural History Museum this Thursday, 19th September.

Winner: IGT

Gaming giant IGT is recognised for the company’s enduring commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the workforce. IGT employs more than 12,000 people with a key objective that its workforce should reflect the diversity of its global customer base.

IGT is working towards this goal with a strategic focus on diversity and inclusion that comes from all levels of the organisation and through its Global Diversity & Inclusion Council, which seeks to create “a fair, inclusive culture that enables all employees to feel valued, respected, and engaged.”

Winner: Jesper Kärrbrink

The second Pride of Gaming Award goes to Jesper Kärrbrink, for his continued dedication in the field of responsible gambling.

The former CEO of Mr Green, Kärrbrink was one of the first to introduce responsible gaming as a core business asset. Since 2004 at Svenska Spel, with Playscan and the Spela Lagom initiative, and at Mr Green with the Green Gaming programme, Kärrbrink established responsible gambling as an indispensable part of the culture of a gaming company.

This work continues in his role as co-founder and creative director of Green Jade Games. Kärrbrink is also an advisor to beBettor, the UK-based affordability network.

Winner: Microgaming PlayItForward

Isle of Man-based Microgaming is recognised for the company’s longstanding CSR initiative, PlayItForwardLaunched five years ago, Microgaming PlayItForward is a staff-driven social responsibility initiative that has had a hugely positive impact on both local and international communities.

Since inception, PlayItForward has provided significant financial and practical help to support health, education, charity, community and sports initiatives. This includes the independent Microgaming Health & Care Trust, which has been supporting Manx-registered charities and local health and social-care projects since 2002. PlayItForward has set a gold standard for social responsibility in the gaming sector and showcases the company’s commitment and dedication to being an outlet for social good and giving back to the community.

Stewart Darkin, managing director of CasinoBeats, said: “The Pride of Gaming Awards are intended to take the focus away from ‘best’ or ‘first’ and instead celebrate those who have made a significant contribution to the well-being of the sector, in the broadest terms.

“In IGT, Jesper and PlayItForward, we couldn’t have three more fitting winners. In these fields, they are examples to us all and they should be congratulated for their work.”

The CasinoBeats Summit and Betting on Sports, incorporating the Safer Gambling Forum, take place at Olympia London on September 17-20 – buy tickets here.