The Gaming Intelligence HOT50 of 2018 - Recognising the most innovative and inspiring individuals in the iGaming industry.
Chief executive officer
Kfir Kugler has been in charge of Ezugi for the past seven years, driving the company's growth and expansion into new markets. He has turned Ezugi into one of the leading live casino suppliers.
Having started out with just one studio in Costa Rica, the supplier now has nine studios across the world, and has become a pioneer for the regulated US iGaming market in New Jersey in partnership with Golden Nugget. Ezugi's growth trajectory can only keep climbing as the demand for live casino increases across the world.
Chief marketing officer
Adam Lewis joined GVC when the operator acquired Sportingbet in 2013. Over the course of the next four years he was one of the fundamental building blocks upon which the seemingly unstoppable rise of GVC has been based. Chief executive Kenneth Alexander quickly identified Lewis as one of his most important lieutenants.
While the operator has grown quickly by acquisition, Lewis has been one of the key figures making sure that the operations keep growing efficiently.
Chief commercial officer
Rikard Ljungman has been part of LeoVegas' senior management team for nearly three years, a period which has seen the company grow into one of the leading operators in a number of markets.
Among other things, his involvement has seen the company make its first acquisitions (Winga and Royal Panda), sign its first football sponsorship deals (Brentford and Norwich), and launch a new responsible gambling platform.
2017 was another great year for LeoVegas, but this year could bring even greater returns.
Chief executive officer
Having gone through a fallow period, Locke has ensured the company formerly known as Betgenius has re-emerged as a force to be reckoned with. It has quickly moved to become a pioneer in eSports betting, rapidly established a thriving data business and demonstrating that its technology can cut it with a deal to supply its sports betting platform to OPAP.
Senior vice president, Global Lottery Systems
Scientific Games Corporation
Pat McHugh is an industry veteran who leads Scientific Games' lottery systems innovation projects.
In the past year, he has been involved in two of the company's landmark omni-channel systems implementations, for Canada's Atlantic Lottery Corporation and Denmark's Danske Spil, and has also managed five major lottery systems conversions globally.
He is well-respected in the industry for innovating solutions that create value for lottery operators, including a cashless lottery retail solution for the Pennsylvania Lottery.
UK Gambling Commission
Over the past year Miller was a major exponent of corporate social responsibility at every industry conference he attended. With the regulator setting out an ambitious new three-year strategy in which it looks to improve its oversight of the sector, and a change in leadership coming after Sarah Harrison's resignation, Miller will have a significant
influence on the UK gaming industry.
Chief product officer
The success of LeoVegas has been driven by a mobile-first product that stands out from the rest. At the end of last year Jarl Modén was rewarded for his part in the incredible journey LeoVegas has made since launch.
He becomes the operator's first chief product officer. Along with the technology team, Modén's staff accounts for a quarter of LeoVegas' personnel. His challenge will be to keep innovating while the company embarks on a new era of acquisition and integration.
Chief operating officer
NYX Gaming Group
Jason Walbridge is someone who is not given the credit he deserves. Joining NYX in 2016, he has been responsible for making sure its different components function as a whole.
As COO, sportsbook executive vice president Keith O'Loughlin and gaming EVP Dylan Slaney report into him. Walbridge is a crucial member of NYX's executive team, and is likely to play a similar role in Scientific Games' new Digital division.
KEVIN O'TOOLE & SUSAN HENSEL
Executive director and licensing director
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Kevin O'Toole is the next regulator to take centre stage in the US, following Nevada's AG Burnett and New Jersey's David Rebuck. He will be responsible for the regulations that will govern Pennsylvania's entry into internet gambling. His challenge is to ensure a smooth entry that stops the critics from carping or the feds from closing it down. He will be assisted by licensing director Susan Hensel, who will be the first port of call when applying for licences. She has shone as an ambassador for Pennsylvania, though the biggest challenges are yet to come.
Gaming Intelligence HOT50 - Part 4