The Gaming Intelligence HOT50 of 2018 - Recognising the most innovative and inspiring individuals in the iGaming industry.

Chief technology officer
Sky Betting & Gaming
Burton has made SkyBet the company to emulate for operators looking to build a thriving internal tech team. Under his leadership the operator has hired professionals from other sectors, and fostered a culture similar to Silicon Valley, rather than a Leeds-based gambling business. One of the hottest tech executives in the industry.

Sales director
Today it's hard to find a major sporting league that hasn't signed a data or integrity partnership with Sportradar. This is a major achievement in a competitive field, and credit must go to the supplier's sales team, led by Caci. As efforts to preserve sporting integrity become increasingly important he has ensured Sportradar is in a position to be a major participant in this push.

Head of game products
In the past year, Sandra Carlsson has set up a new product owner team; improved communications between game product owners and mathematicians, and tightened links between the development and product ownership departments. This has helped NetEnt set new records for game deliveries and game performance in 2017. In short, Carlsson is crucial to keeping NetEnt at the pinnacle of the casino vertical.

Director of poker marketing
The Stars Group
David Carrion has taken on the challenge of his role with gusto. He promoted the second biggest online tournament in poker history and then topped it with another tournament, which culminated in the biggest prize pool in the history of online poker. Furthermore, he has been instrumental in the growth of the innovative Stars Rewards programme, which has been credited with setting the operator's poker revenues back on an upwards trajectory. Carrion's star is rising.

Chief corporate development officer
The Stars Group
Robin Chhabra's seven-year stint at William Hill coincided with transformative deals with the likes of Playtech, Sportingbet and US companies Brandywine and American Wagering. He is now charged with performing similar miracles at PokerStars. Number one on his list of priorities will be an acquisition or merger aimed at boosting the operator's sportsbook.

Chief executive officer
Sazka Group
Chvátal is a relative newcomer to the gaming and lotteries industry, having begun his career in the consumer goods and telecommunications sectors.

This has already proved crucial in helping him turn Sazka from a struggling business into the fastest-growing lottery in Europe between 2013 and 2016. He now runs the largest private lottery operator on the continent, and will be crucial in continuing Sazka's upward trajectory.

Chief executive officer
Blueprint Gaming
A few years back there were rumours that Blueprint was an acquisition target for the likes of Playtech and William Hill. But its parent company Gauselmann Group would be mad to sell it, as its games are always among the best performers wherever they launch. As the man in charge, a lot of the credit has to go to Matt Cole. Under his watch the company has enjoyed a great year, signing deals with GVC Holdings, LeoVegas, 888, Gamesys and Kindred. Entry to Denmark, Romania, Spain and Italy in 2018 will help him continue its upward trajectory.

Chief gaming officer
Superbet Digital
James Curwen has been in the gaming industry for 20 years, but 2018 could be his most ambitious year to date. Having been part of William Hill's successful online gaming division in the past, he will be looking to do the same for Superbet.

It won't be easy, but Curwen has the knowhow and the confidence. He also knows games. So much so that he has set up a Superbet-backed independent games studio, Golden Rock Studios, with specialist slot designer William Mathieson. Golden Rock Studios will launch its first games this year.

Founder and chief executive officer
Beehive has become a clear leader in data-driven marketing solutions for operators, and much of this is down to Adi Dagan. Having learned his craft during his time at Playtech, where he was responsible for some of the biggest platform migrations, he struck out on his own with Beehive. As one of the first to recognise that iGaming data and retention were intrinsically and progressively linked, Beehive was formed to act upon that reality with a sophisticated data-led strategy. The company is already helping change the way operators analyse big data, and for that Dagan can take much of the credit.

Chief executive officer
Bettorlogic's partnership with Mr Green to launch a new data-driven, personalised sportsbook product has put the supplier on the map. As a seasoned bettor himself, Dagnall is something of a rare beast.

In an industry increasingly dominated by executives working in gambling rather than gambling executives, he has an innate understanding of punters' mentalities. In a crowded supplier space, he can ensure Bettorlogic offers a differentiated – and socially responsible – product to prospective clients.

Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 1

Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 2

Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 3

Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 4

Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 5


GIQ Magazine Digital Edition