Víctor Arias

As vice president of Pragmatic Play in Latin America, Víctor is a key contributor to the company’s ongoing growth. Víctor and his team have achieved the goal of becoming one of the market leaders in Latin America thanks to the quality of their products and the strength of their team, with growth in every market in which they are present. Pragmatic Play’s portfolio of games continues to grow across slots, live casino and virtual games, and Víctor and his team have what it takes to continue growing their markets.

Michael Auer

OpenBet significantly enhanced its player protection capabilities in 2023 with the acquisition of responsible gaming solutions provider Neccton, founded by Dr Michael Auer. Michael is one of the world’s leading authorities in academic responsible gaming research and founded Neccton 20 years ago to provide technological solution to help problem gamblers using research-informed interventions.

He developed Neccton’s AI-powered Mentor Live program, which gives operators better visibility of customer behaviour and enables them to address problematic play proactively. He has also helped OpenBet secure several high-profile partnerships and supported the company during its application to become a Gold Contributor of the World Lottery Association

Michael has already made a significant contribution to safer gambling and will continue to do so as part of the OpenBet family. 

Aida Bachner

Aida’s career in the gaming industry spans 16 years, taking in the likes of Bally Technologies, Spielo/IGT, Aristocrat, SBTech and Pragmatic Play. She joined NeoGames in 2022 and in 2023 she doubled her EMEA and LatAm customer base to 16 clients. This included the ground-breaking partnership with Lotteries Entertainment Innovation Alliance (LEIA), a joint collaboration between Denmark’s Danske Spil, Finland’s Veikkaus, France’s FDJ, Norway’s Norsk Tipping, and Sweden’s Svenska Spel. She also signed the Hungarian national lottery as a new client and is working on a number of other significant deals that are expected to be signed this year, while also contributing to organisation’s global business development plans and goals.

Aida’s achievements speak for themselves and with NeoGames joining the Aristocrat Leisure family in the near future, her star continues to rise.

Andy Booth

Andy Booth is a prominent iGaming leader and has consistently raised the benchmark with his innovative spirit, data-driven approach and strong strategic direction. 

Following a 20-year career with Barclay’s Wealth, Andy provided nearly a decade of leadership to Microgaming. In 2021, Andy took the helm of the product space as Chief Product Officer at the newly formed Games Global, with the vision of delivering exceptional content and products to customers, providing all they need to run a successful casino product all under one roof. 

He has since helped guide Games Global on its journey to become the industry benchmark as a supplier, whilst driving success for its customers.

Ari Borod

Fanatics Betting and Gaming is starting to make some headway in the US after signing some landmark deals in 2023, and Ari has been a big part of the company’s success so far. As chief business officer, he has been instrumental in the company’s expansion, which exploded after the acquisition of PointsBet’s US operations. The subsequent migration saw the Fanatics Sportsbook officially go live last August, and has now been launched in ten states. Ari and Fanatics took things a step further after becoming the exclusive sportsbook partner of the Connecticut Lottery, a deal which really showed how aggressive they were willing to be. Ari knows the US market better than most after four years growing FanDuel’s footprint, and then taking The Action Network to the top of the affiliate pile. At Fanatics, he is already making his presence felt, and for that he deserves his place as a Hot 50 winner. 

Anita Brinke

Celebrating Anita’s remarkable journey with the Group since 2017, her profound impact on shaping Yolo Group’s unique VIP experience has been extraordinary. Through her dynamic leadership across various functions, Anita has played a pivotal role in elevating Group’s core B2C brands, Bitcasino and, to new heights, garnering widespread recognition and numerous awards.

In September 2023, Anita fearlessly embraced a fresh challenge, spearheading the growth and development of the B2B vertical, Bombay Group. Her commitment to crafting unparalleled experiences for VIP customers speaks volumes about her dedication and innovative spirit, consistently delivering experiences that are worthy of the VIPs’ time. Her unwavering support for innovation and excellence permeates through every facet of her work, reflecting a commitment to high-quality standards that have become synonymous with her name.

John Buckley

John has been in gambling industry for 13 years working on brands such Paddy Power and Full Tilt. Over the past 6 years he has been focused on helping PokerStars not just be a leader in Poker but also turbo charge it’s Casino by acquiring, retaining and growing player base with a winning Casino focused offering. Managing a wide range of markets and regions, John has brought to life numerous localised propositions which have helped fuel growth in many key regulated markets. 

PokerStars is one of the world largest and most expansive gaming companies with over 20+ licenses worldwide and holds strong positions in some of the world’s most attractive markets. 

Walter Bugno

Walter Bugno is a well-known figure in the iGaming industry, bringing together expertise and strategic vision to power innovation. Walter has previously held posts as CEO of IGT’s International Business Division and Executive Vice President of New Business and Strategic Initiatives, and before that Chief Executive of Tabcorp’s casino business in Australia. He won his first Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 nomination in 2012 while at GTECH, now IGT. In 2021, Walter took the helm as CEO of Games Global, bringing together some of the brightest industry entities to deliver unparalleled innovation and catapult the business to the forefront of the iGaming industry. Expertly amassing a leadership team with the drive and skill to oversee this mammoth undertaking, Walter has instilled a culture of bold, unapologetic honesty, capable of breaking down geographic borders to bring the business’ workforce together on a joint mission to become a leading global supplier.

Justin Chamberlain

Justin has been in the gambling sector for more than twenty years, overseeing the design and build of over 250 profitable online casino games. He founded HungryBear Gaming in 2020, and two years later released Slot Masters, its free-to-play multiplayer slot game. The results since then have been simply astounding. Slot Masters is not just a game, but an immersive experience with captivating gameplay, where one player plays against two others in a slot format. It is essentially peer-to-peer slots and has been proven to boost traffic for online casino operators worldwide. A real-money version of the game is on its way in Q2 2024 through an exclusive distribution deal with Yggdrasil. Some believe that the game could become more popular than poker. Justin is a pioneer, and Slot Masters could be his biggest success yet. 

Emma Clayton-Wright

Emma Clayton-Wright & Jo Sykes

Sisters Emma and Jo set up EyeSpy Recruitment nearly fifteen years ago, and this long-awaited Hot 50 award is recognition for the services they have provided over the years. They are a formidable double act, having placed a number of top executives across some of the biggest companies in the sector. They have specialised experience in C-level recruitment, and have helped businesses through rapid growth phases by recruiting entire teams and departments. Recruitment is a tough game but their boutique agency has thrived and has now branched out into the cryptocurrency sector. The sky is the limit for these sisters and they continue to blaze a trail. 

Motti Colman

Since joining the company in 2015, Motti has helped to establish Optimove as the leading CRM solutions provider in the iGaming sector. He was brought in to deliver high value clients, which he has done with aplomb. Optimove now manages customer marketing for the likes of bet365, Entain, Lottoland, Kaizen, Sisal, Snai, Lottomatica, FanDuel, ESPN Bet and Kindred Group. Each of these companies were signed off the back of very long and intense sales cycles, where Optimove had to beat off competition from some of the biggest marketing clouds in the world (Salesforce, Adobe etc). Recently promoted to VP Revenue, Motti leads an ever-growing commercial team across the US, UK and Israel, and has built up a reputation for excellence, helping clients personalise and orchestrate marketing actions for their vast player bases. 

Trevor Croker

When Trevor was promoted to managing director in 2017, Aristocrat was riding high with strong growth and revenue of AUD$2.1bn and market cap of $10.6bn. These figures have grown to $6.3 billion and $28.3 billion under his tenure, with further rapid expansion ahead with the acquisition of NeoGames and its constituent parts (Aspire, Pariplay, Btobet, etc.). Trevor has grown the business at home in Australia and internationally, with the Americas now accounting for almost 50 per cent of revenue. His promise on taking charge as MD was to evolve and grow Aristocrat under a plan he called “own and accelerate”, and boy did he deliver. 

James Curwen

This is a big year for James Curwen as he looks to take Yggdrasil to the next level and establish it as one of the leading slot providers in the industry. He was poached from OPAP with a specific remit to lead Yggdrasil’s next phase of driving sustainable, profitable growth. Handed the reins last October, he has big plans for the company this year, and this looks like a partnership that should thrive. Having first burst onto the scenes 11 years ago under Cherry’s ownership, Yggdrasil has developed blockbuster slots such as Valley of the Gods and Vikings Go Berserk, but has struggled to stand out in a highly competitive market. With James renewing the company’s focus on innovation and technology, Yggdrasil should be one to watch in 2024. 

Matthew D’Emanuele

Matthew D’Emanuele is a seasoned leader with over a decade of experience in the dynamic realm of iGaming. Though relatively new to his role as CEO at Yolo Entertainment, Matthew has wasted no time leaving an indelible mark on the organisation. His strategic initiatives and commitment to innovation are swiftly propelling Yolo Group’s core B2C brands, Bitcasino and, to the forefront, securing their position as the preferred choice among customers in the key markets. 

Matthew’s leadership is nothing short of transformative. He is positioning the Group’s B2C brands for unparalleled success by instigating strategic changes and fostering a culture of innovation. Under Matthew’s visionary guidance, Yolo Entertainment is not just adapting to industry trends but actively shaping the landscape. His forward-thinking approach and dedication to putting customers first will elevate the brands to a new echelon of excellence. 

Marie Donoghue

Marie is an established leader in the sports industry and the newest addition to DraftKings’ executive leadership team. She is set to play a pivotal role in driving DraftKings’ future growth as the operator looks to close the gap on market leader FanDuel in the US. In her previous role at Amazon, her contributions were crucial in positioning Prime Video as a major player in sports media rights, leading the groundbreaking acquisition and production of Prime Video’s Emmy Award-winning Thursday Night Football offering, marking the NFL’s first all-streaming, season-long package. Prior to that, Marie spent over 18 years at ESPN, where her leadership extended to spearheading business affairs, business development, partnerships, ESPN Films 30 For 30, and the creation of several award-winning digital properties. DraftKings have got themselves a trailblazer and, more than that, a winner. 

Jessica Feil

As Vice President, Regulatory Affairs & Compliance at OpenBet, Jessica Feil is instrumental in ensuring the global content, platform and service provider responds efficiently to regulatory changes on a global scale. In a year which has seen OpenBet enter new markets worldwide and extend existing partnerships, Jessica’s expertise has proven invaluable to the company’s growth in 2023.

And as OpenBet readies itself to enter Brazil with the Play7.Bet brand, and Finland with national betting operator Veikkaus, Jessica has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to support the company’s preparations. She also played a significant role as OpenBet launched in Greece with OPAP, as well as advising on the latest developments across the US, which resulted in the company’s rollout in Massachusetts earlier this year.

Marga Fernández

Marga boasts extensive experience in online gaming and has acquired a deep knowledge of the games business and audience preferences in differing markets. After holding senior roles at Zitro and MGA Games, Marga took over Amigo Gaming’s business development function in 2021 and has been a driving force in its development. This has seen the company agree recent distribution deals with the likes of iGP and Vibra Gaming, and launch in Mexico with online operator BetMexico. Marga’s business acumen, coupled with Amigo’s steady supply of new games, should see both continue to rise. 

Leila Goelz

Leila’s passion for people, culture and transformative management is captivating. Respected industry-wide for her strategic approach to people management, Leila’s previous posts include Chief People Consultant at Crimson Panda, Head of People Partnering with The Stars Group and Director of HR at Microgaming.

In 2021, Leila joined the Games Global leadership team to propel the newly formed business into the future, driving change for the industry and providing its people – both current and prospective – with a best-of-breed people experience, equipping each and every employee with the tools needed to succeed and thrive within the business. She has since been paramount in creating the Games Global brand and culture; leading the charge to ensure a cultural thread was embedded through all global hubs, and bringing teams together to become greater than the sum of their parts.

José Manuel González Fuentes

Jose Manuel Gonzalez Fuentes has been at the helm of Luckia, one of the most important Spanish gaming companies, for more than four decades. With operations in Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Malta, Chile, Peru and Colombia, Luckia continues to grow and evolve under Jose’s leadership, including the company’s move into online gaming. The family-owned business continues to hold its own against larger rivals and is targeting expansion into new online gaming markets, as well as opening new land-based casinos in Latin American countries. Neither José or Luckia show any sign of slowing down any time soon. 

Shelley Hannah

Shelley Hannah, Chief Product Officer at Relax Gaming, comes to the table lauded for her extensive knowledge and expertise. Hannah boasts over two decades of technical experience, a background that lends itself to vital aspects of Relax’s core – delivering exceptional iGaming content and optimising aggregation processes. 

Recognised as both a team player and an effective leader, Shelley has left an indelible mark since joining the company in 2018. Under her guidance, Relax’s aggregation business streams have soared to unprecedented heights. 

Her keen eye for talent brought invaluable additions to the Relax portfolio, and her strong communication skills go a long way in creating positive, long-standing relationships with partners, making her a significant contributor to the unmatched speed-to-market that Relax is known for. 

Shelley’s professional journey with Relax has been marked by continuous growth, evolving from a team lead to Director of Casino Products before earning her way up the ladder to the role of CPO. 

With Shelley at the helm, Relax’s content has gone from strength-to-strength, positioning her as a driving force behind the limitless potential of this leading iGaming provider. 

Sergey Harutyunyan

Sergey joined Playtech nearly five years ago as VP of Sales, after spending a decade at BetConstruct, greatly contributing to their transformation into a giant of the iGaming Industry. 

Playtech hit the proverbial jackpot by hiring Sergey. He has worked hard to develop new revenue streams from highly regulated markets like France, UK, Sweden & South Africa, and by getting Playtech live with a number of the industry’s betting bedrocks such as La Francaise des Jeux, 10bet, Tsogo Sun and many others. Sergey’s leadership style promotes collaborative partnerships across the gaming spectrum, with his sharp mind, knack for making teams thrive and a keen eye for detail Sergey is for sure one to watch. 

Dietmar Hermjohannes

Dietmar Hermjohannes is an entrepreneurial force with over 22 years of gaming experience taking in Merkur and Bally Wulff, with the past 15 year spent at the company he founded in 2008. Since then, he has transformed GAMOMAT from a successful land-based games producer into a thriving online games studio with over 150 titles that are played in over 35 countries.

GAMOMAT’s increasing portfolio of games and distribution channels have made it a sought-after games provider and Dietmar deserves a huge amount of credit for its achievements, having grown the business from two people to the 80-strong team it is today. 

Jorge Hinojosa

Jorge continues to champion the online gaming industry in Spain in the face of efforts by lawmakers to limit its operations and growth. As director general of Spanish gaming industry association Jdigital, Jorge has driven several legal actions to safeguard the rights of licensed operators from over-regulation. 

Spain has been one of the more difficult countries to operate in over recent years due to sweeping changes to regulations. Expect Jorge to continue to defend the industry in the face of the challenges that will arise for Spanish gambling over the next year. 

Charmaine Hogan

Charmaine Hogan has proved to be one of the industry’s leading advocates for strong, effective regulation and the highest safer gambling standards. After six years secondment with the European Commission as an expert in gambling policy and two and a half years at bet365 in international development, Charmaine now heads Playtech’s regulatory affairs.

She is currently focused on the newly regulating jurisdictions across Latin America, helping to shape Playtech’s expansion strategy and ensure that it meets the highest levels of regulatory compliance.

Charmaine’s passion and expertise have earned her the respect of her peers, as well as appointment to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Gaming Association, where she will be sharing her regulatory experience and engaging with policymakers and stakeholders.

Charmaine is a driving force in effective regulation and a credit to her company and the wider industry.

Nikos Konstakis

OpenBet is one of the older names in the sports betting business but remains one of the global leaders in the sector, thanks to people like Nikos. As OpenBet’s chief product officer, he has redefined the product portfolio and established a foundation of scalability and reliability. And as managing director of OpenBet Greece, he has won the company acknowledgment by Great Place to Work and played a crucial role in securing the landmark agreement to power the online and retail sports betting offering of leading Greek operator OPAP’s. Nikos and his team continue to shape the sports betting landscape. 

Mercedes Lang

Mercedes is regional business manager for Relax Gaming and one of the key figures behind the company’s growth strategy. After 10 years in the gaming industry with the likes of NetEnt, Microgaming and Games Global, Mercedes joined Relax Gaming in June 2023 and has already had a positive impact on the business. Challenges and opportunities lie ahead for Relax Gaming as parent company Kindred Group is acquired by La Française des Jeux (FDJ), but with a strong team and quality products, both Relax and Mercedes should be up to the test. 

Lucas Lebleu

Lucas Lebleu is one of the most experienced gaming executives you could meet, having started his career in online gaming in 1997 at BetOnSports and gone on to help numerous gaming companies move into Central America, Latin America and Europe, across all product verticals. Now as senior director of business development at ALEA, a role he has held since December 2022, Lucas is taking the company to a whole new level by leveraging his extensive industry knowledge and equally extensive contact book. And as several Latin American markets eyes re-regulation this year, Lucas will be on hand to capitalise on every new opportunity.

Steve Mayes

Steve Mayes is senior director of partnerships at Light & Wonder, playing a pivotal role in shaping the long-term strategy of the iGaming business unit and serving as the business owner of Open Game Services (OGS), L&W’s games aggregation platform. After working at bet365 and Playtech, Steve joined L&W in 2017 and has been instrumental in steering the aggregation business through six consecutive years of record growth.

His passion, knowledge and commercial skills have made him an integral part of Light and Wonder’s leadership team and he is lauded by clients for his dedication to helping grow their business. 2023 was a record year for OGS across most metrics and Steve was integral to its success. 

Jose Micallef

Since 2021, Jose has played a pivotal role within Yolo Group, guiding the Group’s B2B brands, including Hub88 and Bombay Live Product, to resounding success. Under his dynamic leadership, both brands have witnessed impressive growth and expanded into new territories, effectively doubling their size.

Throughout Jose’s tenure, he has embodied an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation. His visionary leadership not only propelled their B2B brands to unprecedented heights but also paved the way for cutting-edge developments. Now, in his role as CEO at Yolo Platform, the Group eagerly anticipates an era characterised by unmatched technical solutions, leveraging his extensive experience and steadfast dedication. Jose’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation ensures that the Group’s technical solutions not only meet but exceed expectations in a competitive landscape.

Maya Michelsohn

Maya joined NeoGames in 2022 as director of finance and quickly rose to senior vice president of corporate finance, where she has and continues to play a central role in mergers and acquisitions. Maya was a key player in the 2022 acquisition of the Aspire Global group of companies and having recently finished the integration of that acquisition, takes on the daunting job of doing it all again with Aristocrat Leisure.

Maya will work on integrating the two financial operations, including alignment of finance procedures, financial reporting methodologies and finance data visibility. It will be a difficult task but one that is in safe hands. 

Kevin Mullally

Confirmation last year that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was establishing its first federal gambling regulator sent the wider gaming industry into raptures. As inaugural CEO of the General Commercial Gaming Regulatory Authority (GCGRA) of the UAE, Kevin has been tasked with introducing a robust regulatory framework for the country’s first national lottery, as well as laying down regulations for iGaming and the region’s first casino in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

His experience as former VP of government relations and general counsel at Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) will be invaluable as he looks to kickstart the UAE’s lottery and gaming industry. It is exciting times for the UAE, and this is just the beginning. 

Anne Muscat Scerri

Anne Muscat Scerri is Videoslots’ chief people officer. Anne has over 10 years’ experience in the gaming industry, holding senior positions at Betsson, Bethard and iSoftBet. As the curator of Videoslots’ cultural identity, Anne embodies leadership that not only values but celebrates the diversity and unique contributions of every individual.

Her aim is to create an excellent experience for Videoslots’ 300 members of staff, collaborating on a number of initiatives in the workplace that focus on employee wellbeing, always emphasizing a people-first approach. 

Mark Nerenberg

After selling his Draftstreet daily fantasy sports business to DraftKings in 2014, Mark spent four and a half years at DraftKings as VP of Product and VP of game operations. He joined Simplebet in 2018 as chief product officer and since May 2021 he has served as chief operating officer.

Mark has established a reputation as a leading innovator in the sports gaming space and has been a driving force behind the growth of Simplebet, helping to double handle and almost triple the number of active users of its micro-betting products in 2023. Key customer wins during the year included ESPNBet and Hard Rock Bet, with the company also expanding its partnerships with existing customers DraftKings and Caesar’s Sportsbook.

Mark has been pivotal in driving Simplebet’s success in 2023. Expect this to continue into 2024 and beyond. 

Ian O’Reilly

Former head of games at PokerStars, Ian has moved from Ireland to United States to lead the expansion of Fanduel’s Casino offering. In a short space of time, Ian has radically improved Fanduels game portfolio and ensured it has the most competitive iOS mobile app.

An eye for a good slot game, strong technical background and a drive to win, Ian has helped gain crucial market share and cement Fanduel as the fastest growing Casino. Ian now looks to scale operations further with expansion of his team and multiple Lead Games Producers to partner with leading providers and build winning content for the US. 

Stéphane Pallez

Stephane has been in charge of French National Lottery operator La Française des Jeux (FDJ) for the past ten years, and is leading the company’s efforts to become an international B2C operator in lottery, sports betting and iGaming. After establishing FDJ Gaming Solutions following its purchase of B2B supplier Sporting Solutions in 2019, FDJ has ramped things up by snapping up French online horse race betting operator ZEturf and the Irish National Lottery operator in the past year. Now, FDJ has made an audacious €2.6 billion offer to acquire Kindred Group.

Since taking FDJ public in 2019, Stéphane has been committed to the company’s digital transformation, and its acquisition of Kindred would be another feather under her cap. As an official partner for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this is already a big year for FDJ. Things are about to get even bigger, and Stéphane deserves all the credit for that. 

Jade Percorella

Having begun her career as a games developer and designer in 2012, Jade has had a meteoric rise, taking on senior roles at the likes of Yggdrasil and Quik Gaming before her January 2023 appointment as Head of Casino at Playtech. 

Once described as “a small woman making a name for herself in a big boys’ club” by the Malta Independent, Jade now oversees a network of seven in-house studios producing 50 to 60 new releases a year for one of the industry’s leading suppliers. 

She is described as an inspirational leader and role model by her colleagues and is also known as a pioneering environmental campaigner in her native Malta, where she leads an ongoing beach clean-up initiative. She thoroughly deserves this recognition. 

Rob Procter

Rob is a passionate industry executive who lives and breathes slots and has been a key figure in the development process of Light & Wonder games. Through his leadership skills and passion, he has injected fresh life into Light & Wonder’s product roadmap. 

Rob and his team’s hits include Rich Little Piggies, Ultimate Fire Link China Street, Monopoly Money Grab and World of Wonka, all of which broke all-time Light & Wonder game launch records in their respective markets. He has also been at the forefront of Light & Wonder’s recent M&A activity, overseeing the acquisitions of Authentic Gaming, Playzido, Elk Studios and SciPlay. 

Managing this enlarged business has called on Rob’s people and organisational skills and he has delivered, establishing a unified roadmap across iGaming, gaming and social and appointing dedicated creative directors for key markets to ensure that games resonate with players. He is a true asset to his company. 

Gil Rotem

Gil Rotem is a highly regarded leader with over 20 year’s industry experience and a former Hot 50 winner for his achievements at bet365. His business acumen and diverse experiences spanning both the operator and supplier sides of the industry make him uniquely capable of understanding and addressing all facets of modern-day gaming, and his laser focus on setting and achieving goals has helped him deliver many of the the gaming industry’s highest-performing and most-recognized game titles.

Since Gil joined IGT PlayDigital, the company has consistently been ranked a top 3 iGaming content supplier and grown its iGaming footprint to over 20 regulated jurisdictions worldwide. Under his leadership, IGT also completed the acquisition of iSoftBet, which enabled company to become a leader in game aggregation technology and significantly broadened its content portfolio. 

Elena Rousseva

In a 15-year career in the online gambling industry, Elena Rousseva has held senior roles with the likes of William Hill, Betfair and bwin, before being appointed chief executive officer of Playtech Managed Services in April 2019 in her second stint with the company. 

Elena has overseen a substantial increase in the size of the department, which is now home to over 500 full-time team members spread across the world. 

Overseeing vital functions such as customer service and risk management, as well as managing teams such as the Sportsbook trading team, Elena is set to make a long-term impact not only within Playtech, but also the wider industry as one of the growing number of pioneering female executives in iGaming. 

Sebastián Salat

Sebastian Salat is Zitro’s international president and one of its most valuable assets. His success is driven by decades of experience and an ability to extract the most out of his teams to drive Zitro’s expansion in casinos around the world. Thanks in no small part to Sebastian’s efforts, Zitro has gone from strength to strength and continues to expand its reach at a rapid pace, both in land-based casinos and online.

The company is now active in ten US states, up from three a year ago, with a new base in Las Vegas as of the third quarter of 2023. It is also one of the leading suppliers in Latin America with launches such as its Wide Area Progressive jackpot system in Panama and omni-channel slot tournaments in Argentina.

Hili Shakked

A former HOT 50 winner from his 12-year tenure at 888, Hili has been the driving force behind NeoGames Studios since he joined the business in 2019. Over the past four years, Hili has grown NeoGames Studio into the largest eInstant game studio, providing engaging online games to national and state-regulated lotteries across the world.

He has completely restructured the organisation and its processes and now manages a team of 70 artists, animators, mathematicians, and developers. Their output generates around 500 million game rounds per month and is a must have for leading lottery operators. Expect Hili and his team to continue to excel and grow the iLottery market worldwide. 

Aviv Sher

Aviv Sher was promoted to CEO of online sports and casino operator Codere Online in March of 2023. The former NeoGames chief operating officer spent 15 months in the same role at Codere Online before being called on to replace Moshe Edree as CEO. Since then, he has steered the Nasdaq-listed operator towards profitability and delivered strong growth in its biggest market, Mexico, and home market of Spain.

The company now faces increasing competition from international operators in its Spanish speaking markets and it is up to Aviv and his executive team to deliver the funding or partnerships to maintain the company’s growth in Latin America. 

Big things are expected from the company and Aviv will play a big role in helping it deliver

Donal Shine

Breaking into the industry in 2020, Donal Shine has quickly made an impact. A former Irish Gaelic football athlete and championship winner, Donal is known for a firm deal negotiation. 

He leads the rapid global expansion of PokerStars Casino portfolio and curation of localised, exclusive and bespoke content, to suit the diverse customer base. Most recently he and his team have brought onboard leading suppliers such as Octoplay, Games Global and Pragmatic Play Live. 

PokerStars Casino has produced many Hot 50 alumni including former Managing Director Asaf Noifeld and current Managing Director, Conor Leavey. 

Mark Taffler

In his role as Commercial Director for Yolo, Mark Taffler has propelled the Group to unparalleled success, passionately championing its B2B brands such as Hub88, Bombay Live, and TradeArt. His deep understanding of the iGaming industry, market dynamics, and account management ensures the delivery of optimal solutions across diverse markets.

Embodying Yolo Group’s core values, Mark leads the commercial team in effecting impactful change, particularly excelling in customer engagement and satisfaction. His steadfast dedication to account management seamlessly aligns commercial strategies with evolving needs, fostering robust and enduring relationships crucial to the Group’s success.

Beyond Yolo, Mark’s influence extends to leave a lasting imprint on the iGaming industry. His commitment to fostering positive change and elevating industry standards positions him as a respected influencer and thought leader—a true pioneer in the realm of iGaming commerce.

Cecilia Valdés

The president of the Chilean Association of Casinos is one of the industry forces who supports a new online gambling legislation in the country to protect licensed operators from the threat posed by unlicensed online gambling.

The Chilean industry is pushing for gambling legislation that allows more operators to enter the legal market while effectively combatting illegal operators. The challenge faced by the local industry is significant and Cecilia will play a key role in driving forward change in Chile. 

Andria Vidler

With Allwyn ending Camelot’s 30 year operation of the UK National Lottery, Andria is tasked with doubling the cash raised for Good Causes over the ten-year licence. This will be no small feat, but she is a proven business leader. With the backing of Allwyn Group’s technology platform, her experience at EMI, Centaur Media and Tag Worldwide, where she helped connect brands in a fast-changing digital environment, will be vital in driving the lottery’s future growth.

Allwyn formally took over the running of National Lottery on February 1st, but delays due to legal action mean there will be no major changes just yet. Improving the lottery’s digital platform is first on the list of things to do however, and tech partner Scientific Games is preparing a multi-phase launch beginning with instant ticket services, followed by the implementation of its systems technology in the latter half of the year. Allwyn is in for the long haul, and so is Andria. 

Will Whitehead

Will has risen through the ranks at mkodo since joining as an entry-level account executive in 2013, going on to significant achievements like helping to secure the contract to develop the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation’s (OLG) transactional lottery apps. He was also involved in the 2020 acquisition of mkodo by Toronto-listed lottery supplier Pollard Banknote.

Now as commercial director, Will continues to play a crucial part in the company’s growth and was pivotal in landing the partnership with White Hat Gaming, which has seen the company develop apps for the likes of WynnBet and Jackpocket. He has also secured over a dozen new partnerships with leading iGaming operators for mkodo’s challenger geolocation product GeoLocs and has bold plans for 2024. 

Andy Whitworth

Following a semi-pro surfing career in Oz working with Quicksilver, Andy first cut his teeth in UK retail quickly rising from the shop floor. He has since forged an online career in which he led a transformation of Entain’s gaming business, NetEnt’s successful acquisition of Red Tiger and subsequent consolidation following the Evolution merger. 

In his latest role as CEO of White Hat Studios he has launched a new US focused games studio and penetrated the US regulated markets harder and faster than many more established players. 

As we move into ’24 Andy looks forward to taking White Hat Studios to the next level with increased market focused games, jackpots and tools.

Lena Yasir

Lena has spent the best part of 17 years at the sharp end of iGaming. After excelling at Ongame Network, Lena took up a prominent commercial position at Evolution before heading up Play’n GO’s Malta operations. 

Now Chief Commercial Officer at ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, Lena’s colleagues describe her as a driving force in the growth and success of the game supplier. She is consistently able to build lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with clients, create and capitalise on commercial opportunities, and drive revenue at the highest level.

A Hot 50 list without Lena would be one that overlooks her considerable professional achievements to date and her continuing impact on the industry.