Varun and Stuart’s mission for next year is simple; to disrupt the betting exchange industry. Achieving that may not be simple, but they have the pedigree together with former FanDuel boss Nigel Eccles, who serves as executive chairman, and $21m in recent funding to expand the business.
The aim is to offer exchange users a fast, transparent betting experience with lower costs by building on blockchain technology (Solana), which also allows third parties to build their own applications on top.
BetDex is building its front-end for launch on the new protocol during the first half of 2022. Sudhaker and Tonner (and Eccles) make a formidable team and have developed a unique product. Expect to hear a lot more about BetDEX in the next year.
Rush Street Interactive (RSI) has been one the big successes of the nascent US sports betting and iGaming market. Since co-founding the company nearly ten years ago, Schwartz has been a key cog in building RSI’s proprietary technology platform, launching its PlaySugarHouse.com and BetRiver.com operations across the US and in Colombia, as well as undergoing a New York IPO.
In August he took over as CEO from fellow co-founder Greg Carlin, and his vision will be even more integral in establishing RSI as one the leading iGaming operators in the US and beyond. Schwartz is the perfect man for the job.
Matt Sunderland deserves a huge amount of credit for BetMGM’s success. He helped to shape the business as a consultant to both Entain (GVC as it was then known) and MGM Resorts before the joint venture was established, and then switched from consultant to vice president of gaming.
Under his leadership, BetMGM’s net gaming revenue surged to $357m by the half-year point and the business now claims the number two spot in the overall US sports betting and iGaming market. Having started his career in gaming with IGT in 2005, few know the industry better than Sunderland. Market leadership beckons.
Jesper Svensson has taken Betsson into Latin America, building market share in countries like Chile, Colombia and Peru, which is its biggest market in the region.
While Betsson’s operations in Europe have struggled this year following decreased activity in Germany and the UK, LatAm is one of the bright spots for Betsson and Svensson is a big reason for that.
Despite all the furore over CEO Pontus Lindwall’s future (now thankfully resolved), Svensson is a constant presence at Betsson and a big reason for its continued success. With North America next on the horizon, Svensson’s role will be even more important than ever.
As Head of OneTouch Games’ Live Dealer product, Tamm is known as someone who will always go the extra mile to take the supplier’s product offering to the next level through innovation, creativity and working in collaboration as a team.
With over five years’ experience from Playtech, Tamm joined OneTouch in June 2020 as product manager and has brought his experiences and knowledge to the supplier, which enjoyed its strongest year of growth this year. OneTouch’s mobile-first slots and table games are a hit all over Asia and Europe. Tamm’s next task is to do the same for Live Dealer games. He will accept this challenge with gusto.
Tabibian was already on the Hot 50 shortlist when 888 promoted him to senior vice president, head of B2C, a promotion that he richly deserves. He has worked his way up through 888’s marketing division, from head of poker affiliates through to the management position he now holds, in seven short years.
Having been with the operator for over ten years, he has already made a huge impact in reshaping 888’s B2C department to become a data driven marketing leader.
He is expected to lead the B2C division to even greater heights, with the planned integration of William Hill’s non-US business next year significantly expanding his remit. All in a day’s work for Tabibian.
When Jonas Tegman co-founded Nolimit City in 2013, it was just a little-known studio based in Stockholm. Still headquartered in the city, Nolimit City has rocketed to prominence over the past two years, going against the grain and not integrating any of its games with content aggregation platforms.
Instead, the supplier prides itself on tailoring special features and customizable marketing campaign tools to each operator’s specific needs. This is Tegman’s legacy.
Having previously co-founded Nordic-facing operator ComeOn, Tegman clearly knows his stuff, and he is taking Nolimit to the summit.
Since being founded in 2014, Genesis Global has established itself as one of the fastest-growing iGaming operators in Europe. With 18 online casino brands now in operation, the company has created recognisable brands that players love to play.
A lot of the credit for this goes to co-founder and chief commercial officer Gal Thein, who has worked alongside co-founder and CEO Ariel Reem to tailor each brand with an innovative approach that doesn’t sacrifice the player experience.
His previous stint with Playtech has helped Thein forge this future, with newest brand Vegasoo quickly becoming Genesis’ most successful launch to date. This helped the company win Europe’s One to Watch at the recent Gaming Intelligence Awards. Vegasoo is a winner, but so is Thein.
In 2012 Kent Young founded Spin Games, which was an early mover in the North American iGaming supplier market after debuting in New Jersey the following year.
With rollouts in three other US states (and British Columbia), and most of the leading US operators signed up to its platform, Young has been crucial to Spin Games’ success and he will need all of his industry experience as he prepares to take on the role of Americas president for Bragg Gaming, following its recent $30m acquisition of Spin Games.
Bragg is looking to accelerate hard into the US iGaming market, and with Young in charge, the sky really is the limit for Bragg.
Marcelo Magaletti is one of the sharpest minds around, as his time at Goldman Sachs and Uber testify. He is smart but also well liked. In 2018, he linked up with his old boss from Paddy Power, Johnny Hartnett, when he took the helm at Superbet. Since then, its online business has exploded.
The acquisition of Belgium’s Napoleon Sports & Casino in July has taken Superbet into Central Europe. This followed last year’s acquisition of a 60 per cent stake in online casino operator Lucky7. Superbet are fast becoming a European powerhouse under Magaletti’s stewardship.
Peter Marcus currently serves as group operations director at Entain, but his Hot 50 award is really for his work in leading the operator’s Advanced Responsibility and Care (ARC) player protection initiative.
ARC was launched across all of Entain’s UK-facing brands earlier this year, providing players with a unique combination of personalised technology-led player protection, affordability checks and individualised staking limits.
Marcus and his team were working on player affordability concepts for 18 months prior to the development of ARC. Using technology, data and behavioral science, they are helping to deliver a fundamental shift in customer care.
As Gamesys’ senior commercial relationship manager for more than five years, Christel Marioni has been known to be a very tough and strong negotiator, but someone who is fair and delivers on her word.
She has been described as a very strong ‘bad cop’ to Nick Wright’s (SVP Business Development, Interactive) ‘good cop’, with strong domain knowledge augmenting her commercial expertise.
Recently promoted to Bally’s director of commercial relationship, Marioni’s role has expanded as a result of Bally’s acquisition, and she now has full responsibility for the Bally group from US to Europe to Japan. She is well capable of it.
Therese Minella is exactly the kind of employee that the Hot 50 was created to celebrate. Rarely in the spotlight but always present behind the scenes, she has kept SG Lottery’s internal and external communications on point for over a decade.
Anyone who has worked with Minella cannot fail to be impressed by her attention to detail, strong marketing acumen and deep knowledge of the lottery industry. Her skillset will prove invaluable as the company prepares for life under the ownership of private equity firm Brookfield Business Partners, whose resources will enable the company to expand its product portfolio and accelerate growth.
Exciting times lie ahead for Scientific Games Lottery and there is no better communications executive than Minella to deliver its message to the wider world.
Professor Kim Mouridsen has brought methods and research from the medical field to the gambling industry to benefit both operators and their customers through research-based early detection and prediction of problem gambling.
GameScanner serves as a virtual psychologist which looks at every individual gambler and assesses their behaviour around the clock. This allows operators to understand each player on their database and act before harm arises, as opposed to responding to markers of harm or threshold triggers.
Some of the leading operators in the world have signed up for Mouridsen’s invention, which has also netted him a few Kroner after he recently sold a majority stake in Mindway AI to Better Collective. He deserves every øre.
This is the second Hot 50 award for Asaf Noifeld and nobody could say he doesn’t deserve it. Since PokerStars first entered the online casino sector back in 2014, he has been there every step of the way.
His first award was won when he was director of product and innovation, and his second follows his promotion to managing director Casino in July 2019. His near eight year stint with PokerStars has coincided with the operator’s transformation into a leading player in the iGaming sector and its successful return to the United States.
Noifeld deserves his place as the latest in a long line of multiple Hot 50 winners from The Stars Group. He won’t be the last.
Rootz chief executive Lasse Rantala is the kind of CEO that employees rave about. Not only has he built an iGaming business from the ground up and launched three new online casinos in as many years, he has also created an environment where employees can thrive.
Having started out in the industry as a consultant at Nordicbet back in 2004 before going on to serve as CEO of Rizk.com, Rantala understands the industry and the technology that powers it like few others. Combine this with the strong affinity that he enjoys with his employees and we can only expect more great things from this inspirational CEO.
BtoBet chief operating officer Dima Reiderman’s entry into this year’s Hot50 was a no-brainer. His outstanding leadership qualities have been instrumental in BtoBet’s continued expansion across Latin America and Africa, and for new agreements with the likes of William Hill, Betfair, and Russian National Lottery operator Sports Lotteries.
Having spent seven years at Aspire Global, he took over as BtoBet COO in January 2021, following its acquisition by Aspire, and has taken BtoBet to an even higher level.
Described by his colleagues as tireless and thoughtful, Dima Reiderman is a truly gifted chief operations officer with a record of achievement that makes him an exceptional candidate for this Hot 50 honour.
David Robertson’s rise through the ranks at Kindred over the past six years demonstrates the trust that the company places in his abilities. After a brief spell as casino promotions manager he was promoted to casino marketing strategy team lead, then group head of casino, and now group head of casino and gaming.
The company’s temporary exit from the Netherlands may have stalled its recent run of growth but Kindred’s casinos are popular in all the markets in which they are available. It will be up to Robertson and his team to continue on this path.
Hakarmeli returned to William Hill as Gaming Director last year after a four-year break to serve as gaming operations director at Ladbrokes Coral and chief marketing officer at Addison Global.
He re-joined the business six months before the proposed sale to Caesars was announced. With 888 now nearing the completion of its acquisition of William Hill’s non-US business, Hakarmeli will be a key figure as William Hill’s online business is integrated with 888 during 2022. Determined and passionate, Hakarmeli will have a big role to play in the enlarged 888/William Hill business.
In nine years with what has now become Super Group, Richard Hasson has helped support Betway’s global expansion. Recently promoted to president and COO, Hasson knows Betway through and through, and his expertise will be essential as the operator looks to crack the US market.
Having become one of Europe’s most recognised brands through a wide portfolio of sponsorship deals, its recent foray into the US with partnerships with a number of NHL and NBA teams shows how serious Betway is. With a New York listing on the horizon, the future looks bright for Super Group, and for Hasson.
Merv Huber-Calvo may work for Scientific Games but he has overall responsibility for the B2C operations of the Pennsylvania iLottery program. His CRM team have helped the lottery grow online sales to over $1bn in less than two years – the most successful online lottery launch in the world.
Not only has he designed and implemented an omni-channel CRM strategy from scratch, he has also overseen the launch of the PA Lottery’s affiliate network. On top of that he has oversight of CRM retention marketing programs for other US state lotteries in Maryland, Arkansas, Maine, North Dakota, Washington and South Carolina. Huber-Calvo is hot on CRM and for that he is a Hot 50 winner.
It has been quite a year for Hughes, who took over as group COO in April of this year following PointsBet’s €36m acquisition of Dublin-based in-play betting specialist Banach Technology.
Serving as CEO for nearly six years, Hughes co-founded Banach with Rob Reck, Alex Zevenbergen and Hadrien Lepretre, all of whom played a leading role in establishing the Quants department at Paddy Power (now Flutter Entertainment).
Hughes is clearly a talent and will play an important role as PointsBet continues its stateside expansion with the best sports betting product.
Connie James is one of a growing number of former Aristocrat executives who now serve in senior roles at Scientific Games. She is a strategic and operational finance professional with over 20 years’ experience, delivering growth and leading transformations at Deloitte Australia, Aristocrat and now SG, where her recent promotion to group CFO coincided with the supplier’s planned divestment of its sports betting and lottery divisions.
Having joined as CFO of its gaming division, James has played a critical role in helping the supplier through the unprecedented disruptions caused by COVID-19. She will be integral in leading the company in its new era as a pure content-led supplier, which has already seen several studios snapped up by SG. James has played a critical role in this, and there is more to come… from her and from SG.
As CEO of Pragmatic Play, Julian Jarvis has been putting his legal nous to good use as the supplier has expanded into every corner of the globe. Jarvis knows his stuff and his experience will help Pragmatic Play as it continues on its path as one of the leading multi-product content providers.
Jarvis was formerly director of legal and regulatory affairs during PartyGaming’s heyday, and has since moved onto roles at Odobo, IBID Group, as well as founding a number of blockchain businesses. Under his charge, Pragmatic Play should continue to flourish.
After 12 years’ service with 888 as director of business development, Yariv Lavi’s Hot 50 honour will come as no surprise to those that have worked with him. Heading up the operator’s product business development efforts, Lavi is a highly experienced figure and will be central to 888’s efforts to maximize the benefits of its upcoming joining of forces with William Hill.
For over a decade, Lavi has been involved in all of 888’s licensing deals, joint ventures, sponsorships and partnerships. 888 will be hoping for another decade of success with Lavi in situ.
Aubrey Levy has been with theScore for more than seven years and has been instrumental in developing theScore into the third most popular sports media app in the United States and number one in Canada, delivering fans highly personalised live scores, news, stats and betting information.
Levy has helped to drive engagement across theScore’s digital footprint and will be uniquely placed as it pairs up with another sports media asset, Barstool Sports, following its recent $2bn acquisition by Penn National Gaming.
Levy will be integral to all of this, as Penn National looks to create a complete one-stop sports entertainment destination. He is a winner and that is what Penn National has paid the big bucks for.
Christine Lewis heads up Yolo Ventures’ B2B arm, Bombay Group, which comprises the Hub88 content aggregator platform, the high roller live casino product Bombay Club, and mobile-focused games studio OneTouch.
She has has been in the industry for more than a decade and her experience over these years at some of the industry’s big names has shaped her to become the disruptive thinker she is today. With her commercial knowledge and leadership style, Lewis is directing the B2B arm of the Yolo Group to the next level.
When we were compiling the Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 in 2012, we asked Vaughan Lewis of Morgan Stanley to sit on the judging panel so that we could benefit from his vast industry knowledge. Almost a decade later, Lewis is still the go to guy for insights into the future of the gaming industry.
He is now bringing his influence to bear at the Gaming Intelligence Awards European iGaming operator of the year, 888, where he has served as chief strategy officer since April of this year.
Vaughan was recruited to bring scale to 888 and he has delivered on that brief with some style after the company swooped on William Hill. He has shepherded the transaction from concept towards completion in a very short timeframe, juggling the complexities of a reverse takeover with astute decision making and smart man management.
The former SkyBet and Stars Group executive was the first senior appointment brought into the 888 management team from outside the company. He has repaid the faith of CEO Itai Pazner in spades. However, Vaughan knows that William Hill is just the beginning of this journey. Watch this space.
Adi Dhandhania was brought in as a VP to develop the interactive strategy of what was then known as Twin River Worldwide Holdings in early 2019. He did such a good job that he was soon tasked with executing that strategy as chief operating officer of Bally’s interactive division.
During that time the company has partnered with the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel, completed its corporate rebrand, acquired its own sports betting platform, and with the acquisition of Gamesys, established itself as a multinational online gaming operator.
The business has grown from a regional casino operator to an omnichannel, digital-first gaming provider and Dhandhania should be credited for much of that success.
JD Duarte has made it his personal mission to turn Betcris into the leading betting operator in Latin America. Since its launch in 2006, Betcris has expanded across the region with its online offering, which is complemented by more than 100 retail outlets.
The next phase of Duarte’s expansion plan is to grow Betcris in Europe, beginning with the recent launch in Poland. Fourteen years after joining the operator, Duarte is still leading by example and his business development nous has made him a leader and a winner, and for that we salute him.
Christoffer Edenfäll had big boots to fill when he took over Gamesys’s Asia operations from former Hot 50 honouree Irina Cornides, who left to join Pragmatic Play. Edenfäll was her number two, so he knew the business well and he has taken it on and pushed it to new heights. Other operators have noted Gamesys’s success in its biggest market Japan, with competition emerging from the likes of Casumo and Hero Gaming.
However, Gamesys will take some knocking from its pole position because Edenfäll is a professional. He is a highly skilled operator, who knows the market inside out. As Gamesys begins its new era within Bally’s, it will need employees of Christoffer Edenfäll’s calibre.
Flutter’s Australian division Sportsbet has always been one of the jewels in its ever-growing crown but over the last year it has started to motor like never before.
Barni Evans has played a massive role in Sportsbet’s rise and rise, since transferring from Paddy Power a decade ago. For the past three years he has proved an astute chief executive officer, guiding the Australian operator to a compound annual growth rate of over 20 per cent.
The operator now claims an astonishing market share of over 50 per cent of Australia’s online sports betting market. Rivals such as William Hill have tried and failed in the market but Sportsbet just gets better and better.
Evans is the type of CEO that people want to work for. His people are responding to his calm, thoughtful and efficient leadership with an improved product, better marketing and astonishing results.
Lee Fenton joined Gamesys in 2008, when the company founded by Noel Hayden was a B2B supplier with 95 per cent of its revenue coming via white label deals with over 100 partners such as AOL, GMTV, MSN and Yahoo.
Together with Hayden and other faithful lieutenants such as Bally’s interactive chief Robeson Reeves, they shifted the emphasis to operating its own brands including the hugely successful Jackpot Joy.
Fenton then oversaw the transformation of the company via a series of innovative deals that have led to its acquisition by Bally’s. Few chief executives are as well respected and well liked.
He has been trusted with the responsibility of fulfilling chairman Soo Kim’s ambition of creating the premier omnichannel gaming company in the US. It is a hugely exciting challenge but not one without pressure. And for that reason, Lee Fenton is one of our hottest stars.
When Flutter acquired gaming supplier Singular in September this year, it knew it was acquiring a coming force. Singular provides the technology behind Flutter’s Adjarabet and few operators have dominated a market like Adjarabet has dominated Georgia.
One of the keys to its success was the entrepreneurial stewardship of co-founder Darko Gacov, who guided Adjarabet through its early years before joining its technology supplier. His period at the helm of Singular has seen it morph from its home in Georgia towards a future as an international supplier based in Malta and servicing a number of clients with its unique modular technology.
Flutter spotted its growth and snapped it up. Its future will lie in servicing Flutter’s ever-growing portfolio of brands. Gacov could quietly become a very influential figure in the future success of the world’s largest online operator.
Ralitsa Georgieva joined Red Tiger three years ago and has established herself as a leading light in the commercial development of the sector.
Having launched her gaming career at Red Tiger, she has catapulted herself into the sharp end of the gaming arena. Coming fresh into gaming from an artistic background, she took on Red Tiger’s biggest clients within months of joining, working with them to add incremental value from the outset.
Georgieva is said to have been the glue in the team as it morphed through two acquisitions, first Netent and then Evolution. Playing a senior role in the company, sources say that she has been the low-profile gem of its quiet determined success. We are sure that she has much further to go in the sector.
Since Andrew Giancamilli joined FanDuel back in 2015, the US sports betting landscape has been transformed beyond recognition and FanDuel has emerged as one of the leaders of the pack.
With a finance-based background, Giancamilli has served in various roles during his more than six years with the Flutter-owned operator, but he has now found his place as chief operating officer of FanDuel Group, which encompasses the FanDuel, Betfair US and TVG brands.
His role will be key as FanDuel takes its battle with DraftKings et al to the next level. The US battle has only just begun, but with Giancamilli in place, FanDuel’s rise looks set to continue.
There are few on this list that sit in a hotter seat than Marlon Goldstein. The launch of the Hard Rock brand in Florida has been stalled by its competitors’ complaints about the Seminole Tribe’s monopoly in the state. The Tribe could not have chosen a more fitting chief executive to navigate these choppy waters.
Goldstein’s experience as general counsel of Amaya, where he guided the operator through its acquisition of PokerStars and its subsequent entry into the US market (and the subsequent exit of its charismatic CEO), will be vital. He will remain calm while others throw all sorts of accusations. He will not be afraid to make big decisions and when Hard Rock does eventually emerge into the Florida market, it will do so in the very best hands. Goldstein has had to endure a baptism of fire as Hard Rock Digital CEO but he will lead it beyond Florida and into a bright future.
Conor Grant began his career in the gambling industry at Paddy Power in 1998. No one at the time would have predicted that the small telephone betting business would go on to form Flutter Entertainment with a valuation of around £19bn, or that Grant would be chief executive officer of its largest division.
Heading up the UK and Ireland business has meant that he has had to be as much an industry leader as he has chief executive, driving forward safer gambling policies where needed and championing the industry with great aplomb.
With soon to be acquired Tombola rolling into Flutter’s UK and Ireland division and the prospect of changing regulations on all fronts, Grant will have his work cut out for him again next year. But if any is up to the task it’s him.
With over 10 years’ experience in the iGaming industry, Julie Allison has been integral in helping a series of companies achieve significant commercial success. She left an undeniable mark on the industry with her involvement in the unprecedented growth of Red Tiger, leading to the acquisition by NetEnt and subsequently, Evolution.
She moved on to Microgaming as director of markets, where she took the helm for their commercial operations. As a result of the acquisition by Games Global, Allison will assume the position of Chief Revenue Officer, providing the leadership and strategic direction needed to further drive their global expansion and ensure they are positioned to thrive in this increasingly challenging landscape.
Ramiro Atucha made his name as co-founder of Leander Games, establishing a leading European iGaming supplier from a core development team based in Argentina.
He will use that experience in his new venture, Vibra Gaming, which is completely focussed on the Latin American market.
The supplier’s mantra is to deliver games that players want and solutions that their clients need. And as one of the first companies to be approved by the City of Buenos Aires, Vibra Gaming is already beginning to make its mark in LatAm, as the region begins to reveal its tremendous commercial potential.
Vibra Gaming has already signed over a dozen distribution partnerships with the likes of Pronet Gaming, SportingTech, Slotegrator, Casino Club and Juega en Línea. With Atucha on board, Vibra Gaming is definitely one to watch in 2022.
Obdulio Bacarese was a feature at Entain before there was an Entain. His financial acumen and business savvy have seen him tightly controlling the purse strings at bwin.party through to GVC as head of finance and then finance director between 2006 and 2019. He took over as director of commercial management at GVC in 2019, ahead of the corporate rebrand to Entain in the following year.
Bacarese has been pivotal to the company’s success throughout that time and with 2022 shaping up to be a key year for Entain, he will have his work cut out for him.
Pragmatic Play is on a roll and a massive amount of credit has to go to chief business development officer Yossi Barzely for his role in its success.
The supplier is one of the few to offer its products across the continents. From the Americas to Africa to Asia, Pragmatic is making great progress and it is doing it across products from slots and live casino to bingo and virtual sports. Barzely and his team have delivered deals with operators large and small from established European companies such as Novomatic and Kindred to Asian-facing giants such as Mansion’s M88 to emerging operators in Africa and Latin America. Right now, it seems nothing can stop Barzely from pushing Pragmatic to the top tier of iGaming suppliers.
After almost five years at Kindred, where he rose from Head of Casino to Group Head of Gaming, Blanco made the switch to Comeon Group in 2021 initially taking a role similar to his role in Kindred, however it was no surprise to see Blanco quickly promoted into the CPO role. Blanco brings a wealth of experience with operating multi brand product development and has been tasked with continuing to drive product innovation across the ComeOn estate.
Sam Brown has a strong track record with the likes of Ladbrokes, Betfair and Betsson among others and he has brought all that experience to his current role as chief commercial officer at the rapidly expanding Hero Gaming.
Brown has played a pivotal role in the company’s success. He worked closely with then-chief executive Thomas Bäckman on the sale of the company’s Swedish Speedy brands to Paf in mid-2021 and has been instrumental in the company’s growth throughout his three-year term with Hero. In particular, he has been the key man in the company’s entry into Japan. It is one of the markets to watch and Brown has ensured Hero Gaming will be one of its stars.
As the head of product for Paddy Power Betfair, Pat Bruce played a massive role in a game-changing project that has lessened the company’s reliance on Playtech and allowed it to reshape the gaming experience for Paddy Power and Betfair customers.
A company reorganisation followed and Bruce was handed responsibility for the Paddy Power gaming team. He has built the team and now he has embarked on his latest project, which is to assess the type of games and products that the company acquires and builds.
Following the acquisition of The Stars Group, Flutter has three in-house studios. The re-platforming exercise has given Flutter the flexibility to tailor its individual brands to their own customer bases. In many senses, this is the sharp end of consolidation theory in practice. Flutter could not have placed its future in better hands.
Daniel Burns is no stranger to the Hot 50 but this year has been extraordinary even by his high standards. He has been the industry’s key man on all the big US special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deals, from Rush Street Interactive and Golden Nugget Online Gaming to Supergroup and Genius Group. You would think that was enough for one year but he has also played a role in the sale of the world’s leading sports betting supplier OpenBet to Endeavor Group and the world’s leading slots supplier Big Time Gaming to Evolution. But he did not stop there. He was also called upon to advise on the sales of Bede, Karamba, Lightning Box, Napoleon Games and Sportcaller. That is almost $10bn worth of deals right there.
But Burns is not just a deal doer. Together with partner Sandford Loudon, he has built Oakvale Capital into the leading strategic advisory firm in the sector. He has groomed the next generation of advisers to continue the work that Burns and Loudon have done over the past decade.
When disruptive innovation companies look to enter Colombia they call on Omar Calvo. Having previously brought Groupon to Colombia and led the strategy development and growth of Cabify in the market, to name but a few, he was called in as general manager of Rush Street Interactive in Colombia in March 2018.
Three months later the RushBet online sportsbook was launched, followed by the addition of an online casino a year later, and there has been no looking back. With Calvo’s local expertise, this American iGaming minnow with no experience of operating a sportsbook has established itself as a dominant operator in the market.
The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated the growth of the Colombian iGaming market, and Calvo is leading the way with RushBet.
Kfir Chervinski has been in the online gaming industry for longer than most and he has learned a thing or two about what players want. He founded SkillOnNet, developing its own platform technology to power a wide range of online casino brands in Europe, including PlayOJO, DrückGlück, SlotsMagic, MegaCasino, PlayMillion, QueenVegas and LuckyNiki.
The US is the next big target with SkillOnNet entering into a market access deal with Caesars Entertainment to launch its PlayOJO brand in New Jersey. This might be new territory for SkillOnNet, but it is in safe hands under Chervinski.
Uri Cohen cut his teeth as casino product manager at Playtech before being called on to join another Teddy Sagi-owned business, Skywind Group, as games operations director and then chief operations officer.
He now embarks on arguably his most significant challenge to date as operations management consultant to SG Digital, which will form the cornerstone of the new gaming-focused Scientific Games following the sale of the sports betting and lottery divisions.
Cohen knows the online casino market inside out and SG could not have brought in a better leader to help shape their future operations.