GAMING ACCOUNTS MANAGER
Using proprietary technology that automatically optimises traffic sources, Natural Intelligence has emerged as an effective marketing partner for a number of brands including 888 and Mr Green. Accounts manager Gozlan has been credited with developing the company’s presence in the sector by setting up these deals, then working closely with the operators to ensure the solution can drive revenue growth. Widely hailed as a behind-the-scenes genius.
SARAFINA WOLDE GABRIEL
Sarafina Wolde Gabriel is Income Access founder Nicky Senyard’s right-hand woman and she shares her boss’s drive and commitment. While her role is nominally as marketing director, her commercial nous and customer care means she is involved in every stage of a client’s campaign from strategic planning through to delivery and support. Her influence in breaking new ground in the US and South America will have a momentous impact on clients’ involvement in those markets.
Stefan Hamann has a strong background in gaming at Paddy Power and 888 but it’s his work as a strategic advisor to Evolution Gaming that secures his place in the Hot 50. CEO Jens von Bahr is clearly the driving force behind Evolution but Hamann has been key in opening doors in the US. North America will be a big market for the all-conquering live dealer specialist and Hamann is the man that has given it the foundations to build on.
HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Before Black Friday PokerStars had remained largely closed off to the world, with the industry afforded little insight into the world’s biggest poker operator. All this changed with the arrival of former Disney exec Eric Hollreiser, who has pushed hard to make PokerStars act like the market-leader it undoubtedly is. Hollreiser has succeeded in dragging PokerStars out of the shadows despite its owners refusal to engage with the outside world. His achievement in doing so despite this handicap is nothing short of heroic.
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Having taken on the CMO job at Coral in August last year, Matt Prevost has effectively marketed the brand as a progressive, modern bookmaker in order to allow it to better compete with rivals. He seems to be succeeding, with new advertising campaigns credited for driving a 121 per cent increase in Coral’s online sports stakes. Prevost is by all accounts a joy to work with. If the former management consultant decides to stay in gaming, the sky is the limit.
HEAD OF MARKETING
Jason Roberts was hired by Gamesys founder Noel Hayden to run Sun Bingo and he’s made it the most successful bingo operator in the UK. He has been handed more and more responsibility since then, taking full responsibility for Jackpot Joy, Caesars Bingo and the newly acquired Virgin Games. If Hayden is the creative genius behind Gamesys then Roberts will make sure his vision becomes a reality – a quiet, studious and trusted professional.
HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
Following 888’s spectacular re-entry in the US, Yaniv Sherman must be the happiest salesman in the industry right now. He is also one of the smartest. 888 has been working with Caesars for a long time now but the nonexclusive deal that was cut with Caesars to introduce 888 to Nevada and New Jersey was the work of a genius. That 888 had negotiated the position to then use Caesars’ licences to sell to competitors such as Steve Wynn took sales innovation to new levels. Keep watching. Sherman’s not finished yet.
VP OF SALES
Upwardly mobile GameAccount Network has secured a real go-getter in the shape of former WMS executive Dana Takrudtong. Her role together with canny US chief Julius Patta will be vital as GameAccount focuses as much as two-thirds of its business on the United States. Takrudtong’s sales efforts will be assisted by a completely clean pre-2006 record and a door-opening partnership with Foxwoods Resort Casino. GameAccount is a smallish company going big places and Dana Takrudtong is getting a lot of attention in the boardrooms of North America’s casinos.
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Ultimate Gaming was first out of the blocks in Nevada and has not been a rip roaring success but Joe Versaci’s horizons are far broader than his company’s home state. The former PokerStars man knows how to market poker successfully and he has one of the most fearsome marketing tools at his disposal – the Ultimate Fighting Championship brand. The potential for cross-marketing UFC and UG is massive. How Versaci wields this mighty weapon could make or break UG in the US… and beyond.
Marcus Yoder is responsible for IGT’s expansion into real-money gaming outside Europe, selling IGT’s content into six of New Jersey’s seven operators and the Delaware Lottery. He convinced IGT to make a $1.5m investment in a remote game server installation in British Columbia in advance of the rest of the Canadian market opening, securing IGT as the lead content provider for BCLC, Loto-Québec, and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. He worked with Codere to launch an online casino in Mexico and was also the brains behind the DoubleDown casino partner programme, which now has 53 partners worldwide.