Gaming Intelligence HOT 50 of 2017 - Superstar Suppliers. Celebrating the most talented, innovative and inspiring individuals in the online gaming industry.
Founder and commercial director
Bede Gaming is doing things a little bit differently. By offering a fully operational tailored platform for clients, it is providing a high-end solution that should embed it closer to its clients than your average white label provider. The founding team has a lot of experience but Michael Brady is the company’s most visible face. Winning Rank as a client put Bede on the map and it is no doubt taking up a lot of its resources. Brady’s challenge is to follow that up with more deals of a similar standing. Those who know him expect Brady to triumph.
Chief executive officer
The live dealer specialist is facing increased competition from the likes of NetEnt, Playtech and Ezugi, but it is still the market leader and a key driver for convergence in the land-based casino sector. As group CEO, Martin Carlesund has a big task on his hands and he has massive shoes to fill in replacing co-founder Jens von Bahr, but Evolution’s growth story should continue unabated. Evolution’s revenue and profit keeps growing and it has only scratched the surface in taking casinos online. He may have only been with the company since June 2015, but Carlesund has a good team in place and Evolution’s bandwagon will surely keep on rolling.
Chief executive officer
Andy Harris (pictured below) featured in 2015’s Hot 50 for his work as Realistic Games’ commercial director, and last year he moved seamlessly into the CEO role. His commercial nous helped establish the company and in the top job he has continued Realistic’s growth. What was once a Berkshire-based business now has an office in Gibraltar and a client list that features anybody who is anybody in the online gambling sector. It’s hard to see exactly where the business can go now; it has a strong portfolio of very popular games, a full roster of clients and an impressive team. But that’s part of the excitement; Harris came into Realistic with precious little B2B experience, but has turned the business into a rising star of the supplier space. He will keep it growing and expanding in 2017 and beyond.
Chief executive officer
Former Deutsche Bank analyst Richard Carter’s appointment as SBTech chief executive appeared to be a move to facilitate the company’s sale. These plans may still be bubbling beneath the surface but his first year in charge has seen him steadily grow the business, expanding its regulatory footprint by entering Portugal, Romania and Italy, as well as securing a Malta licence. It has even elbowed Kambi aside to become Spanish operator Luckia’s sportsbook platform provider. Carter’s first year in charge has been a good one. His second might transform SBTech into a true industry heavyweight.
The live casino market has been dominated by Evolution in recent times, but it is now a highly competitive niche product with suppliers fighting for their piece of the pie. Ezugi recently grabbed headlines by powering the first live dealer offering in the regulated US iGaming market. Golden Nugget built a sophisticated studio inside its Atlantic City casino to offer the product on the NYX-powered gaming platform. Under the leadership of Kfir Kugler, Sagi Ifrach is helping to make Ezugi a force in the industry and with a deal with the Bulgarian National Lottery also in the bag, he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Founder and chief executive officer
Digital Sports Tech
The sports betting sector has been awaiting ‘the next big thing’ to follow in-play betting, and with player proposition bets it may have found it. As CEO of the first company to develop a viable prop betting product, Ari Lewski finds himself at the crest of this new wave. Digital Sports Tech can help attract new sportsbook customers as well as increase existing customer spend, and the speed at which customers have signed up to launch the solution suggests operators agree. DST is already live in Australia, the UK, and plans to launch in Mexico and Russia. If Lewski can keep to the hectic launch schedule DST is going to be a hot acquisition target.
VP UK Operations
Dan Phillips is a veteran of Chartwell, Gala Coral and more, but he could be entering his most productive period as first chief of Playtech’s bingo division, and now as VP of Playtech’s rapidly growing UK operations. This encompasses not only Playtech’s three London offices but another five offices across the country. In total this covers more than 500 employees and product areas, including all of Playtech’s bingo operations, casino retail, games content, virtual sports, open platform and casual gaming. All this and he has managed the launch of the company’s Sun Bingo project – one of the division’s biggest yet.
Red Tiger Gaming
If his boss Nick Maughan (another Hot 50 winner) is the creative genius behind the arrival of some of the industry’s most innovative and best-performing slots, then Giles Potter is the commercial brains cutting deals aplenty.
Not content with supplying half of Asia with its slots and signing an exclusive deal to provide Betfair with its Macau casino tab, Potter has followed that with deals to provide Betsson, SlotsMillion and Videoslots with its impressive content. Potter’s experience before joining Red Tiger was mainly in marketing. He has taken to his new role with aplomb.
Since its launch in 2006 Amelco has quietly built up a roster of high-profile clients including the likes of PokerStars, William Hill, mybet and Intralot. The company is Damian Walton’s brainchild, and he retains full control of the business, which makes him a potential industry power-broker should he decide to sell the business. But why would he want to? Amelco has grown to the point it could conceivably usurp its larger competitors as a leading sportsbook provider. OpenBet is going through a period of change, and Playtech is still building its solution, so the established industry players may find themselves overtaken by upstarts such as Amelco. Watch this space.
Gaming Intelligence Awards & Hot 50 of 2017
GIA Casino Operator of the Year: Amaya
GIA Bingo Operator of the Year: Jackpotjoy
GIA Poker Operator of the Year: Amaya
GIA Lottery Operator of the Year: British Columbia Lottery Corporation
GIA Social Casino Operator of the Year: Zynga Casino
GIA Sports Betting Operator of the Year: Sky Bet
GIA Socially Responsible Operator of the Year: Unibet
GIA Game of the Year: Cash Out Roulette, Be The House
GIA Marketing Campaign of the Year: 888Sport
GIA Bingo Supplier of the Year: Dragonfish
GIA Casino Supplier of the Year: NETENT
GIA Lottery Supplier of the Year: Scientific Games
GIA Marketing Services Provider of the Year: Optimove
GIA Poker Supplier of the Year: Relax Gaming
GIA Social Casino Supplier of the Year: Greentube
GIA Sports Betting Supplier of the Year: SBTech
GIA Innovation Award: Digital Sports Tech, Player Prop Bets
GI HOT 50 2017 – Founders & Pioneers
GI HOT 50 2017 – Big-Shot CEOs
GI HOT 50 2017 – The Next Generation of CEOs
GI HOT 50 2017 – Backstage Heroes
GI HOT 50 2017 – Superstar Suppliers