The Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 of 2013 – Rising Stars & Tech

5th February 2013 6:58 am GMT

Garth Kimber - CEO, Xela Holdings

Garth Kimber took a big step into the unknown when he left his post as eGaming ambassador for Isle of Man to take up the chief executive’s role at Xela Holdings, the online arm of one of Macau’s leading VIP junket operators, Sun City. Kimber has set up the online operation in less than a year and seen it blossom. He played a big role in bringing other Asian operators like SBOBet, Fun88 and Dafabet to the Isle of Man and he looks set to repeat their successes.

Chris Griffin - CEO, Betable

Betable’s USP of offering real-money gambling on a social platform is looking less unique as the likes of Gamesys, 888 and Zynga pile into real-money gaming, but that has not stopped the young company scooping a series of deals. First came Big Fish, then some of the giants of social gaming, including Murka Games and Slingo, followed. Founder Chris Griffin had the vision early on to build a vehicle with the licences to offer a route into real-money gaming for social developers. Now they are flocking to him. It will be fascinating to see who does real-money social gaming best; a traditional gambling company or a social gaming company? If the latter, it will probably be on the Betable platform.

Sigmund Lee - CTO, Amaya Gaming Group

Sigmund Lee came to Amaya via the acquisition of Cadillac Jack. He inspires uncommon loyalty among those that work with him and has played a key role in transforming Cadillac Jack into a modern gaming company. Following the acquisition by Amaya, Lee’s role will be crucial in engineering links between online and offline technologies. If Amaya is tocome good with its vision of providing gaming operations through any channel then Lee will be key to making it happen.

Raf Keustermans - CEO, Plumbee

Raf Keustermans is one of very few executives to have significant experience in traditional online gambling (with Unibet) and social gambling. Plumbee has had a phenomenal first year in operation. It was in profit after six weeks, it was generating eight-digit annualised revenues after just six months and rounded off the year cutting a deal with Sportingbet to produce its social offering. Furthermore Keustermans is always online and on the road spreading the gospel of social gaming and promoting his company through whatever means are at his disposal. What’s more, he is probably one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. As such, he is the perfect person to lead a social gaming company. Keustermans is a thoroughly modern CEO.

Branko Milutinovic - CEO, Nordeus

Branko Milutinovic has already made his mark with the world’s most popular social football management game Top Eleven. Six million monthly active users and two million daily active users play the game on mobile devices and via the web. Now his company has entered into an alliance with bwin.party to develop a social sports betting game. When the deal was announced it really got the blood racing because there was nothing like it in the market. Now Milutinovic will have to compete with the likes of Plumbee and Sportingbet, and Paddy Power with its BetDash app. Milutinovic and his colleagues will have to come up with something special now.

Anna Sainsbury - CEO, GeoComply

Anna Sainsbury has had a huge role in helping US legislators get over their hangups about fraud, identity and money laundering. That is no small task. She has sat down with legislators and explained the logistics behind launching an online operation. She got involved at a very early stage and has had a massive influence. Of course, she is also creating a market for her company GeoComply. If she leads it into the US market with the dynamism, charm and conviction she has shown thus far, GeoComply will surely be the leading geolocation technology supplier in the country.

Scarlet Robinson - Managing Director, Rungood Gaming

Scarlet Robinson is likely to be one of the least well-known names on this list but she is having a significant impact as US bricks and mortar companies look for expertise with their migration to online operations. Robinson is a technical consultant with a long career in software development, who has focused on gambling during the last few years, building on her passion for poker. She advised the DC Lottery on its iGaming efforts and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton recently sought her counsel as he looks for technical expertise. With Illinois set to be the next state to go online, Robinson will be hugely influential.

Mats Westerlund - VP products, Quickspin

Mats Westerlund has forged an impressive career in the casino supplier industry over several years as one of the key creatives behind Net Entertainment’s impressive games portfolio. As a co-founder of Quickspin, he took with him his recipe for success: an uncompromising focus on quality and innovation. Quickspin has supplied Plumbee with the games to make it one the biggest and fastest growing companies in social casino gaming. After introducing Quickspin’s games to Facebook via Plumbee, its attractiveness is there for all to see and real-money gambling companies are now queueing up to use Westerlund’s slick and inventive games. Betclic Everest and Unibet will likely be just the first of many operators to benefit from Westerlund’s skills.

The Gaming Intelligence Hot 50 of 2013

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