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

JUAN PEREZ HIDALGO
President
Coljuegos
Since becoming the first Latin American jurisdiction to formally approve online gambling in 2016, the list of licensed operators in Colombia has grown rapidly. Praised by other regulators, Perez Hidalgo has shown a strong commitment to transforming the local gaming landscape while preserving the integrity of the industry. Under his guidance, we can expect to see many more companies enter the fast-growing Colombian market.

JOHN PETTIT
Managing director
Playtech BGT Sports
Every year there is somebody on this list who personifies the challenge of making sports work at Playtech. It has to be admitted that few of the previous entries have covered themselves with glory. However, there is a feeling among many that BGT Sports sits in perfect harmony with Playtech's omni-channel strategy. To date, BGT has been successful in winning retail clients. Pettit must prove it can do the same online. He could be the one who takes all the sports assets Playtech has
acquired and turns them into a coherent and profitable whole.

JASON ROBINS
Chief executive officer
DraftKings
By the time DraftKings' merger with FanDuel collapsed, the company had already established itself as the DFS industry leader. In 2017 it continued to grow its international presence while maintaining its place at the summit of the US market. The potential for legalised US sports betting is particularly intriguing for DraftKings – what company has a bigger database of engaged sports fans willing to risk money on their knowledge? Robins deserves huge credit for taking DraftKings from a niche business to a major player.

MATT DAVEY
Chief executive officer
NYX Gaming Group
Since merging his Sydney-based business NextGen Gaming with NYX Interactive in 2011, Matt Davey has roared to the industry summit in a short space of time. The company has consistently grown its client base, while expanding and enhancing its product and service portfolio through M&A. It's a testament to his drive and ambition that, having sold NYX to Scientific Games earlier this year, he will remain with the company to lead SG's push to become the industry's dominant sportsbook supplier.

SHELLY SUTER-HADAD
COO & managing director
Mansion
After overcoming a series of challenges that threatened growth and sustainability in 2017, Mansion managed to turn uncertainty into opportunity. An important part of the puzzle was Suter-Hadad, who played a crucial part in driving Mansion to expand and diversify its product portfolio. The operator posted its best financial year to date in 2017 as a result. Under her leadership and through the launch of Mansionbet, 2018 will mark the first time the group has operated a sportsbook in the UK since 2009.

HENRIK TJÄRNSTRÖM
Chief executive officer
Kindred Group
More than seven years on from becoming CEO of Unibet, Tjärnström has built the operator into one of the industry's most powerful. The company continues to grow in regulated markets, and has built a reputation for hassle-free acquisitions, with the £175.6 million purchase of 32Red completed last year. Tjärnström has kept Kindred at the cutting edge of innovation and social responsibility.

TONU VAHTRA
Head of service operations
Playtech
The ultimate example of a backstage hero, Vahtra is the Playtech equivalent of Scotty in Star Trek. He is in charge of the solutions giant's support lifecycle, tasked with confronting each and every technical problem its clients may face and finding a solution. His employer describes him as one of the industry's most knowledgeable and experienced online gaming incident management experts, balancing business expectations with operational capabilities.

JONAS STRANDMAN
Head of slots
Yggdrasil Gaming
Jonas Strandman is the man behind many of Yggdrasil's most successful titles. Both a developer and a mathematician, Strandman oversaw the development of the Fusion Realms game mechanic, which has enabled Yggdrasil to release increasingly ambitious titles such as Jungle Book and Vikings Go Berzerk. The industry will be keenly watching what this slots visionary has planned for 2018.

LUCY BUCKLEY
Vice president – Interactive
Inspired Entertainment
Lucy Buckley's rapid rise through the ranks at Inspired has been matched by the significant operational progress made under her leadership.

When she took over its interactive division offered virtual sports and a handful of slots supplied to William Hill. Today it supplies 60 games to 20 operators and has expanded its virtuals range to ensure it remains the market leader in the vertical. If Buckley can successfully establish virtuals in the North American lottery industry, while further growing the casino and table games business her stock will rise further.

ITAI ZAK
Chief executive officer
GoWild
Having made his mark on the supplier space during his tenure at SBTech, Zak is back to do the same on the consumer-facing side of the industry. GoWild was drifting along since establishing in 2008, but under his leadership it has had a total overhaul, launching three new brands and securing a UK licence. Its 10th anniversary will be a year to shine.

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

Related