Charles Cohen is a far-sighted entrepreneur, whose time has come. This will be the first year that Probability turns a profit and this is mainly due to the fact that mobile technology has caught up with his ideas. Probability reported a 41 per cent increase in revenues for the first half of 2011 on the back of its B2C operations and Cohen has now set his sights on the B2B market following the signing of a contract with Mexico’s Grupo Caliente. The only question over Probability’s future is how it copes with increased competition from other providers who can now see the money to be made from mobile casinos. Cohen’s vision and keen grasp of technology suggest that will not be a problem.
Game art manager, Net Entertainment
Fredrik Lantz has been described as a “passionate, creative leader”. He has excelled as a manager of Net Entertainment’s world-beating graphical design team. Graphics are not the only thing that makes Net Entertainment games stand out. They are light, quickly playable and very sticky. The array of games appeal to slot players and new punters. While Lantz cannot take credit for all of Net Ent’s strengths his team’s work can take credit for the uniqueness of Net Ent’s games. The company has taken the Swedish casino market by storm and it can be expected to repeat its success elsewhere. Thanks, in part, to the belief and drive of Lantz.
Daniel Lindberg is perhaps the most unknown name on this list. His company has not even released a game yet. But Lindberg’s track record and penetrating strategic vision suggest a hot new arrival among casino games suppliers. Lindberg was sales and marketing manager at Net Entertainment before leaving at the end of 2010 to found QuickSpin. He and his fellow founders believe that they are creating a working environment that is all about passion. If he achieves that noble aim he will be halfway there. QuickSpin is a pure games-development company. He believes more and more operators are developing their own platform so he wants to focus purely on games. He wants to rival the kind of quality Net Ent offers because he does not believe anyone does. Lindberg has a very clear plan of how to make a success. Now it is up to him and his team to deliver it.
Tony McAlister has a tough job on his hands. It is his responsibility to reengineer the Betfair website and restore it to former glories. It has been a long, slow project but colleagues are claiming it will be the fastest in the industry. If it is, McAlister will have achieved half of his task. The other task is to catch up with the innovations of others and to make the website more customer-friendly. A big task. The huge amount of traffic on the site makes any revamp problematic but this is essential to the company’s future health. As the former CIO of Vodafone’s mobile content division, McAlister should be the perfect man to drag Betfair forward. He carried off the migration of the firm’s data centre to Ireland (to increase scalability and robustness of products) with very little fuss last year. The projects due for completion this year will be of even bigger importance.
Co-founder and CTO, Mobenga
Lars Widmark has been absolutely essential in Mobenga’s rise to the summit of mobile gaming. He built the technological infrastructure himself and since then has been a key man in shepherding the likes of bwin, Paddy Power and Unibet into the mobile space. Mobenga’s products have been so attractive that the likes of William Hill and Stan James have migrated from its closest rival. Playtech liked the company so much they bought it – and Playtech rarely makes wrong decisions. Widmark has an extremely deep understanding of technology but also an ability to always see the product and end user value first. He is then an expert at utilising the technology as a means to this end. As long as Widmark stays Mobenga’s future success is almost guaranteed.
Ólafur Andri Ragnarsson
Chief software architect, Betware
Betware is a small Icelandic company but it has created a gaming platform designed to lottery standard, which never falls over. Ragnarsson can take much of the credit for this. A seemingly quiet figure, when it comes time to getting his point across he has the uncanny knack of making people sit up and listen. His words carry weight. In his spare time, Ragnarsson is a lecturer in software and programming at Reykjavik University. He does it because he wants to give something back to Iceland. Betware’s platform has been selected by some of the most innovative national and state lotteries in Europe and South America because its software is second to none. Danske Spil, CIRSA, British Columbia Lottery Corporation and Íslensk Getspá all rely on Ragnarsson’s technology. As more and more lotteries (not normally the most dynamic of organisations) realise the benefits of online technology, Betware is sure to be in the mix.
CEO, Mandalay Gaming Holdings
Little Mandalay raised eyebrows when it split from Dragonfish to its own bingo platform in June last year. Its first brand XBingo.com was launched on the new platform, with four of its remaining brands staying with Dragonfish. Co-founder Richard Skelhorn’s explanation for the split was that he wanted to attack the international market with a cuttingedge product for an audience weaned on social media. He managed to recruit 5,000 people from Facebook to test the system. Skelhorn has gone on to cut deals with IGT and Microgame to provide content to the site. XBingo.com is unlike any other bingo product and looks capable of capturing a younger, hipper demographic. If Skelhorn can attract the Zynga generation then he will be a very rich man indeed.
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