Global Gaming Awards London 2021 Shortlist

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GLOBAL GAMING AWARDS LONDON 2021 SHORTLIST

london

2021

SHORTLIST A celebration of the leading companies and most dynamic individuals to have made their mark in the global gaming industry in the past year GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM

Lead Partner

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM




A WELCOME london

2021

EVENT MANAGER Mariya Savova COO, EDITOR IN CHIEF Julian Perry EDITOR Carl Friedmann Carl.Friedmann@gamblinginsider.com Tel: +44 (0) 207 739 9908 SENIOR STAFF WRITER Tim Poole Tim.Poole@gamblinginsider.com STAFF WRITER Peter Lynch Peter.Lynch@gamblinginsider.com LEAD DESIGNER Brendan Morrell DESIGNERS Laura Fogar, Olesya Adamska ILLUSTRATOR Aleksandra Cakikj FINANCE & ADMINISTRATION ASSISTANT Dalia Ambrazaite DIGITAL ASSETS Tom Powling COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR Deepak Malkani Deepak.Malkani@gamblinginsider.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7729 6279 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGERS Warren Wilkinson Warren.Wilkinson@playerspublishing.com Tel: +44 (0) 207 613 5863 Aaron Harvey Aaron.Harvey@playerspublishing.com Tel: +1 702 425 7818 CREDIT MANAGER Rachel Voit Gambling Insider magazine ISSN 2043-9466 Produced and published by Players Publishing Ltd

All material is strictly copyrighted and all rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is forbidden. Every care is taken in compiling the contents of Gambling Insider but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising therefrom. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher.

FROM YOUR

HOST

We’re often reminded to work to our strengths, and luckily, we work in an industry where doing so affords us great opportunities, even in the throes of a pandemic. It’s been an exceptionally challenging year and our resilience to adapt has been called upon like never before. The Global Gaming Awards honours the best in the business, and this year’s event in London is an example of how we’ve been able to collectively pull together to showcase, albeit virtual, what should be celebrated. Across 15 categories, every Shortlisted company represents a high standard to aspire to. After all, just having your company name associated with the Awards is a great achievement unto itself, and making it on the Shortlist is certainly something to build on long after the live streaming on the 14th of June is finished. The achievement to be shortlisted can’t be underestimated, especially over the course of the last 12 months, which have been the most challenging we’ve ever seen. Although we’re not meeting face to face as we’d like, we can still put on an Awards ceremony worthy of

A WORD

a reputation built from the first event in Las Vegas back in 2014. These are the most prestigious and trusted Awards in the industry, built on the belief and integrity of the judging process. Based on the continued success of the Awards each year, powered by Gambling Insider, we’re seeing the Nomination panel increase as well as the prestige of the 50-member Judging Panel, which ultimately has the final say. Organisers have no influence over the voting process; only the distinguished judges have that duty. So the ultimate winners are truly the undisputed best in class as deemed by their peers in both land-based and online sectors. As we steadily return to life before the pandemic, we look forward to meeting face to face again. Thanks for your continued support and I look forward to celebrating the winners with you all on 28th of June. Gary Roudette CEO, Players Publishing and host of the Global Gaming Awards, London 2021

FROM THE GGA

LEAD PARTNER


FROM THE

AWARDS

ADJUDICATOR My first trip to G2E was in 2014 to deliver the final element of KPMG’s engagement to act as independent adjudicator to the then newly established Global Gaming Awards. It was the final ‘on the ground’ check against our own record of category winners and our attendance at the awards ceremony to ensure that the right recipient is announced and presented with the correct award. I remember meeting Julian Perry and Gary Roudette in the lobby of the Venetian, finding some seats, then opening my laptop so we could double-check my list of winners and runners-up against theirs. I think all of us had our hearts in our mouths given the gorgeous (and heavy) glass trophies had already been engraved. Fortunately our respective teams had done their work well, and there were no last-minute surprises. For the Awards ceremony itself, I imagined I would be standing in the wings, observing and monitoring, but the GGA team decided that the best way to fulfil the objective of having an independent adjudicator – to demonstrate that the organisers have no influence over the voting process

BetConstruct has been supporting the GGA as Lead Partner for many years. Why do we do that? Some would say that it is about exposure and publicity. While there is a small part of truth in that, the main reason is that BetConstruct believes that the companies that move our industry forward and keep its competitive spirit alive have to be recognised and congratulated by their peers.There is no better

and that the winners are therefore truly best in class in the opinion of their peers in the land-based and digital sectors – was to have me announce each of those winners’ names live on stage. So this relationship remains to this day and I can say it’s my favourite client job, as each Awards event, whether in Las Vegas or London, has been my welcome responsibility to join Julian on stage to announce first the runners-up and then, with increasingly dramatic ‘pre-pauses’ as my confidence has built over the years, the winners in every category. Surely accountants were never meant to have this much fun at work. Last year’s London Awards fortunately preceded the Covid-19 pandemic

platform for doing that than the Global Gaming Awards. Even in the most trying times, the GGA with the support of

taking hold in the UK, but of course it’s been a different story since then. So just as last year’s Global Gaming Awards Las Vegas were virtual, so too will be these Awards. However, the difference is that, thanks to the opening up of the leisure and hospitality sector in the UK, the presenting team will all meet in person at the Hippodrome for the ceremony, even though the audience will still be virtual. So while there’s a lot of change regarding the ceremony, there’s no change to the voting and adjudication process for the Awards. We review the GGA’s system and tools for collecting votes (and ensuring judges cannot vote in categories where they have a conflict), check that the winner and runner-up in each category have been determined correctly based on votes cast, and select a random sample of judges whom we contact to check that the votes recorded for them in the system are a complete and accurate reflection of their voting. KPMG’s commitment to and involvement with this sector is, I believe, unparalleled and that is why we so welcome the opportunity to support the Global Gaming Awards. The combination of a thorough selection process, a highly distinguished panel of judges and the organisers’ commitment to independent verification of the judges’ decisions means that any company or individual that makes it to the final shortlist should be extremely proud. And although we will not be able to meet the winners in person to celebrate that in 2021, the achievement is undimmed. Micky Swindale CEO, KPMG Islands Group

BetConstruct have delivered the powerfully important and unequivocally impartial Awards to the companies that have fully deserved the acclamations. As a Lead Partner, it is always a great feeling to witness the jubilation of our colleagues when their company’s name is announced as a Global Gaming Award winner. Vigen Badalyan Founder and CEO, BetConstruct


LOOKING

BACK AT

2020 OPEN FOR BUSINESS at the Hippodrome

SVERKER SKOGBERG (L), DANIELA JOHANSSON AND LUDVIG WINBERG SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE YEAR Paf

RIAN HADDOW JESSICA NORELL, BETTING SHOP OPERATOR OF THE YEAR Paddy Power

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ANDREW COCHRANE (R) AND JAMES COXON. ONLINE SPORTS BETTING SUPPLIER. SBTech (DraftKings).


GUSTAF HAGMAN ONLINE CASINO OF THE YEAR LeoVegas

THE BEST OF the best for 2020

GAVIN HAMILTON CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF YEAR Red Tiger

PASCAL CAMIA (R) AND JEAN-LUC BIAMONTI, CASINO OF THE YEAR Casino de Monte Carlo

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AT THE TOP OF

YOUR GAME Some things won’t be the same following the worst of the pandemic, but it’s reassuring to know that other things will not only remain, but get better. Each year marks impressive growth and relevance. Here, Gambling Insider speaks with a selection of people and companies who have both made the Awards an ongoing success, and achieved success at the Awards themselves

DANIEL VALIOLLAHI DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS

LEOVEGAS GROUP What is your history with the Awards and how have they helped your brand? LeoVegas Group has always been part of this prestigious Awards ceremony. Getting such recognition within this competitive industry is a big achievement, worth sharing externally and, most importantly, internally with our team. A true team Leo effort! This has helped create and push our brand as the King of Casino and an operator, which is mobile-first out there among the best, being awarded the Online Casino Operator of the Year for three consecutive years. When did you first hear about the Awards and realise it was an opportunity you had to get involved with? LeoVegas Group has been part of the Global Gaming Awards since 2017! After winning an Award for the first time, what was your reaction and how have you been able to leverage the achievement into a stronger organisation? Our first Award was back in Las Vegas, where LeoVegas had been awarded Digital Acquisition

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Program of the Year. Being in the city of Las Vegas and getting rewarded is a big achievement; a reward that only pushed more for better results, to challenge ourselves, to arrive where we are now. If the last few years’ success of updates, exclusive releases and expansion are anything to go by, then this year has been a feast far superior. Simple but smart innovations to the product, a swathe of new exclusives and new markets with record levels on new customers have certainly made this another year to remember. Having since won on other occasions, can you describe the importance of receiving such recognition from the industry and among your peers? Industry recognition is of course of great importance. No one knows our business as well as our peers. Our industry is fast moving and highly competitive, driving innovation and forcing us all to improve customer experience. Though we may compete in some fields, we all benefit from raising industry standards and learning from best practice. Leadership benefits the entire industry – and that benefits all our customers.


AMY RICHES

HEAD OF MARKETING

EVOLUTION What is your history with the Awards and how have they helped your brand? We are incredibly proud to have been crowned Online Casino Supplier at the Global Gaming Awards London for the last two years. Our goal is to create games we think players will love; and it is hugely gratifying to see the success of our games portfolio with our operators and their end users, as well as being a real honour to receive industry recognition. When did you first hear about the Awards and realise it was an opportunity you had to get involved with? We have been involved with the Global Gaming Awards since they began. We were shortlisted for the first ceremony in Las Vegas in 2014 and were shortlisted for the inaugural London event in 2018. Since then, we have been lucky enough to win a total of five Awards, across both cities, and in various categories. The Awards are an excellent opportunity to commend the many innovative companies in our industry and to celebrate each other’s successes. After winning an Award for the first time, what was your reaction and how have you been able to leverage the achievement into a stronger organisation? We received our first Global Gaming award in the Digital Product of the Year category for Dream Catcher in 2017. We were naturally delighted to have won this Award and it serves as a testament to the hard work our team put into creating the game. We are always

“The Awards are an excellent opportunity to commend the many innovative companies in our industry and to celebrate each other’s successes.”

striving to create fresh concepts for our games to expand live casino to a wider audience, and that is what we achieved with Dream Catcher, where we reached many new players to live casino. We are continually striving to create the best games, and to be that little bit better each and every day. Having since won on other occasions, can you describe the importance of receiving such recognition from the industry and among your peers? Since 2017, we have won four more Awards in a mixture of categories including Digital Industry Supplier in 2020, Online Casino Supplier in both 2019 and 2020, and Product Innovation for Lightning Roulette in 2018. It is particularly special to win in such a range of categories, and an honour that our peers in the gaming industry judge us to be the winners. The Awards are a unique moment in our calendar, to look back at what our peers and our industry on the whole have achieved over the past year.

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ANNA

MCCHESNEY

MARKETING MANAGER CONTINENT 8 TECHNOLOGIES What is your history with the Awards and how have they helped your brand? We’ve been involved in the Global Gaming Awards for several years, both from a sponsorship perspective for the Las Vegas edition and as a proud winner at the London event. Our CEO Michael Tobin has also been a member of the judging panel and is delighted to participate once again this year. The Awards have helped to drive awareness of Continent 8 Technologies and the services we provide businesses in the global gambling industry; and, in particular, in the US where we are rapidly expanding our footprint in regulated and regulating states. Winning an Award also provided the recognition our incredible team deserves for their hard work and dedication. After winning an Award for the first time, what was your reaction and how have you been able to leverage the achievement into a stronger organisation? Winning an Award is always a fantastic feeling. It is an opportunity to reflect on our achievements and celebrate this as a team. It also adds kudos to the company, and shows potential clients and partners we provide the best solutions and services in the industry. In such a competitive market, being acknowledged by an event such as the Global Gaming Awards is a real point of difference. For Continent 8 Technologies, taking home a trophy was a proud moment for the entire team, and proved to be a motivator for continuing to provide the best solutions and services to our partners. Having since won on another occasion, and receiving a nomination again this year, can you describe the importance of receiving such recognition from the gaming industry and among your peers? We’re proud to be nominated again for Services Provider of the Year, up against a very strong Shortlist. To win for a third year running would be a superb achievement, particularly given the Awards are judged by respected industry experts spanning every sector and independently adjudicated by KPMG. While we would love nothing more than to add another trophy to our cabinet, we wish all the finalists the best of luck!

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“In such a competitive market, being acknowledged by an event such as the Global Gaming Awards is a real point of difference”


MATT HOSMAN US DIRECTOR KAMBI What adjustments did you have to make to navigate through 2020 as the pandemic took an unprecedented toll across the gaming industry, and what positives can you share now that we’re gaining traction again? The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic presented many industries with the most testing conditions they have faced in a generation, and it was undoubtedly a challenging time for the sports betting industry, with so many major sports suspending their calendars. From a Kambi perspective, one of the benefits of being a global sports betting supplier is that we have long maintained a deep offer in sports from all over the world; and as a result, the pandemic brought about more a shifting of emphasis for our existing resources rather than being caught on the hop. It was a challenging time, but one we overcame thanks to our staff and partners. Our goal has always been to deliver growth for our partners. Our commercial progress is a reflection of our success in doing so, and we’re now fully focused on the packed sporting calendar and bright future ahead. Several events, including the Olympics and UEFA European Championships, have been held over to 2021, while the forthcoming NFL season promises huge excitement, with the most recent Super Bowl driving the highest bet volumes in Kambi’s history. Our performance in 2020 was a clear demonstration of the inherent scalability in our business model, vindicating Kambi’s vision from launch more than a decade ago, and underpinning the ambition to build a sportsbook capable of leading the market not just through technology, but compliance as well. The large growth in revenue far exceeded the modest increase in costs, and the business is in a great place to deliver further growth for our partners. Furthermore, the pandemic caused businesses of all kinds to reassess their operating models, and which costs to fix in order to protect themselves from uncertainty. Our partners were in many ways protected from financial strains others felt due to our business model based on revenue share, and, therefore, as sports reduced, our partner costs also reduced.

What can we look forward to from Kambi? There is an ongoing global spread of sports betting regulation, particularly in the US where Kambi is live and generating revenue in 14 markets, having delivered market firsts in 10. We also launched four partners on day one of online regulation in Michigan, taking the first legal online bet there in the process. In Latin America, we recently signed a strategic partnership with Argentinian operator Casino Magic, and with Argentina regulating on a province-by-province basis, we swiftly launched an online sportsbook in Neuquén. We’re also closely monitoring developments in Brazil, which has the potential to be one of the biggest markets for regulated sports betting in the world. With promising developments also in European jurisdictions like Germany and the Netherlands, the addressable market for Kambi, which has a singular focus on regulated markets, continues to grow. Our core priority is to deliver for our partners and provide them with the technological strength and regulatory assurance needed to out-compete their rivals in those markets, and you can expect plenty of progress on this front in the months and years to come. After winning an Award for the first time, what was your reaction and how have you been able to leverage the achievement into a stronger organisation? Kambi’s achievements have been recognised on several occasions at the Global Gaming Awards, and we are always delighted to receive any award that recognises the excellent work our global team has put in to ensure that we’re the industry’s leading, trusted sports betting partner. Being among those recognised companies underlines that we’re pulling in the right direction and it drives us to achieve greater success for our partners. Having won on another occasion, can you describe how such a recognition in the industry serves as a catalyst for further growth and success? That the Awards are judged by so many of the industry’s leading executives and analysts means it is always a fantastic accolade to collect one. Our ambition is to continuously improve and develop our offering, and awards such as these can serve as an important marker of the progress we have made. As I have highlighted, what matters most to Kambi are our partners, so we’re just as happy seeing them win Awards, which they have done many times previously and we hope they continue to do so in the future.

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THE

JUDGING PANEL As you can see from the following pages, the Judging Panel not only represents a dynamic cross-section of the global gaming industry, it also demonstrates how people can galvanise during unprecedented difficulty to recognise the efforts companies are going to in order to be the best. The competitive spirit has only gotten more refined and agile, and with more than 50 people on the panel this year, it goes to prove that the demand to be part of the Global Gaming Awards process is growing with each event, Whether it’s live or virtual, the recognition of playing a part in the process is a currency worth investing in. We’re growing with each event and we’d like to welcome to the panel some new additions like Juergen Reutter from ComeOn Group, Matteo Monteverdi from Elys Game Technology, Jurgen de Munck from DR Gaming Technology, Alex Leese of Pronet Gaming, Andreas Ternstrom of Scout Gaming Group and Tsachi Maimon from Aspire Global. “It’s truly reassuring to have the Judging Panel grow this year for the Awards, especially during such a difficult year, especially for the land-based sector.,” said Gambling Insider COO Julian Perry. “The strength of the Panel only further cements the reputation and consistency of the Awards and this year, despite the difficulties, proves that.”

ALEXANDER STEVENDAHL Videoslots CEO

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ITAI PAZNER 888 Holdings Chairman

BEN LEE

CARSTEN KOERL

DARIY MARGARITOV

EBBE GROES

GUSTAF HAGMAN

JENNIFER INNES

JORDAN LEVIN

SIMON THOMAS

iGamiX Managing Partner

UltraPlay Founder

LeoVegas CEO

SG Digital CEO

Sportradar Group CEO

EveryMatrix CEO

Betting Jobs Managing Director

Hippodrome Casino Chairman & CEO


SIMON TRIM

TOM GREGORY

Sporting Group Former CEO

Gaming Industry Payments consultant

VIGEN BADALYAN

NIKOS NIKOLAKOPOULOS

PIETER BOERS

ERIC OLDERS

Betconstruct Founder & CEO

Intralot Group Deputy CEO

TRISTAN SJOBERG TCSJOHNHUXLEY Executive Chairman

PASCAL CAMIA

Le Casino de Monte Carlo Executive Vice President

PER JALDUNG

Holland Casino Vice President Gaming & Services

JVH gaming & entertainment group CEO & Chairman of the Board

European Casino Association Chairman

MARK STEBBINGS

CHRIS HARRISON

DAVID O’REILLY

Betfred COO

Google Industry Head

Colossus Bets CEO

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IVAN MONTIK

SAIID MASRI Soccabet CEO

Pronet Gaming CEO

BROOKS PIERCE

VARDGES VARDANYAN

CHRISTOPHER HIRST

TSACHI MAIMON

SEBASTIAN SALAT

JURGEN DE MUNCK

MICHAEL TOBIN

SERGE MUKHANOV

SoftSwiss CEO

Inspired Entertainment President & COO

Aspire Global CEO

MIKAEL LIJTENSTEIN AstroPay CEO

JESPER SVENSSON Betsson Group CEO

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Digitain CEO

Zitro CEO

Continent 8 Technologies CEO and Co-Founder

MIKAEL HANSSON Enteractive CEO

ALEX LEESE

Fast Track Co-Founder

DR Gaming Technology CEO

Connective Games CEO

MOR WEIZER Playtech CEO


ANDREA BORATTO

DAVID FLYNN

ANDREAS TERNSTRÖM

DARIO JURCIC

GEORGE SHAMUGIA

ANDREAS KÖBERL

MATTEO MONTEVERDI

JUERGEN REUTTER ComeOn Group CEO

Pragmatic Solutions CEO

STEVE CUTLER

WARREN JACOBS ActiveWin Managing Director

PETER CAUSLEY

Co-Founder & CEO Lightning Box Games

KRISTIAN NYLÉN

RENATO ASCOLI

SAMUEL BARRETT

WorldMatch CEO

NSoft CEO

Elys Game Technology CEO

Kalamba Games CEO & Co-Founder

Kambi CEO

Glitnor Group CEO

Singular CEO

IGT CEO, Global Gaming

Scout Gaming Group CEO

BetGames.TV CEO

ASHLEY LANG

Trustly Director of Gaming

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BETTING SHOP OPERATOR OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Singular is an established brand in the iGaming industry providing the full spectrum of iGaming and omnichannel solutions. There are three key aspects that shape Singular’s competitive factor: flexibility, reliability and innovation. Using novel technologies and agile processes, the company has developed partner-centric solutions that make its clients stand out.

Paddy Power

Betfred

Fortuna Entertainment Group

William Hill

Tipico

Ladbrokes

Snaitech

FDJ

Sazka

Soccabet

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Gambling Insider previews this year’s nominees in the betting shop operator category – during a particularly challenging year for retail Retail took a massive hit over the last year due to prescriptive measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic. And while strides are being made to reclaim the lives we once knew, we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. Betting shop operators were hit particularly hard and had to adapt the best they could given the circumstances and choices that were in their control. Our first nominee, for instance, Paddy Power, faced shop closures yet utilised its retail estate to champion charitable causes. The company created a Covid recovery fund for community sport with the £4.79m ($6.76m) of business rates relief its UK operations benefited from, offered its shops to aid vaccine rollouts, and donated sanitisation supplies to the NHS and HSE. The brand also successfully retained a high percentage of customers as they migrated online, and parent company Flutter Entertainment estimates that 40% of new online players chose group verticals as their core account. Despite the pandemic-related hardships, Betfred’s retail remained a core component of its strategy in 2020. The company worked diligently to ensure its UK estate was Covid-secure over summer, and made strides into the US sports betting market through a deal with the Wind Creek Casino & Resort Bethlehem, in Pennsylvania. The company also secured long-term brand exposure through a number of deals including a partnership with three Rugby League clubs and an extension of its World Snooker Championship title sponsorship. Fortuna Entertainment Group also continued to make progress across its wide operational remit. In Romania, the operator successfully aligned its online vertical with its retail sites under a new Fusion brand banner, reinforcing its commitment to its land-based sites. This progress was testament to Fortuna’s international scope, with teams from Croatia and the Czech Republic coming together to assist in the project. Given the restrictions placed upon it for the majority of 2020, William Hill’s retail estate exhibited extraordinary signs of resilience. When allowed to open, shops performed at near-pandemic levels while maintaining strict adherence to new safety measures. The company had to undergo a programme of strategic streamlining and as a result, its land-based operations are well-positioned going forward. “I think the rumour of the death of the high street bookie is over-exaggerated,” said chief executive Ulrik Bengtsson. “It has a very important role to play for William Hill.” Starting out as a small betting shop in Karlsruhe, Germany, Tipico has grown into a global betting giant. The operator is headquartered in Malta, with bases in Croatia, Gibraltar, Austria, the USA and Colombia, while its German efforts now mean that every second sports bet in the country is placed via Tipico. Over 30 types of sport are covered, while up to 250,000 live

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sporting events per year are available for customers to bet on, with the operator’s 1,200 betting shops in Germany and Austria helping sustain its position in the market. Our next nominee is another giant with a rich history but sights set on the future, Ladbrokes’ land-based units will continue to develop according to parent company, Entain. Its retail sites performed strongly when outside factors allowed, and in the first like-for-like, period post-FOBT stake cut, over the counter wagers were up 9% pre-lockdown; and volumes returned to within single digits of pre-Covid-19 levels after reopening in June. The company also saw strong customer retention despite closures, and has already committed to continued retail support. Elsewhere, Snaitech was founded through the integration between Snai Spa and the Cogetech Group companies in 2015, and has since become a major player in the Italian market, with headquarters in Milan, Rome and Porcari. The group now operates around 38,600 new slots and 10,600 video lottery programs, with its retail betting network available in over 1,500 points of sale throughout the country. Snaitech also owns three racetracks, while its subsidiary Epiqa operates in broadcasting, such as SnaiTV channels, which focus on sports and other events. Radio SNAI, meanwhile, produces the company’s real-time communications in its betting shops. According to CEO Stéphane Pallez, 2020 was an unprecedented and contrasting year for Française des Jeux, showing resilience and solidarity after the pandemic had a strong impact on operations, particularly during H1. But FDJ also showed national solidarity throughout the global crisis, issuing over €2.7m ($3.3m) toward vulnerable people, caregivers and research thanks to donations from employee leave days and the FDJ Corporate Foundation. Contributing to five European economies, and with all its members part of the World Lottery Association and the European Lottery Association, Sazka Group is hugely respected for its iconic brands and quality distribution networks. The company serves almost 80 million adults through 63,000 points of sale, reporting a 66% year-on-year rise in gross gaming revenue to €769m for Q3 2020, and a 37% rise in EBITDA to €197m. And to round out this category, we have Accra-based Soccabet, which has 252 shops distributed throughout Ghana. It also covers online, mobile and telephone betting operations. November 2020 saw the operator partner with Fashion Connect Africa to distribute face masks to rural communities in the country, with the 1 Million Masks Project aiming to provide essential protection to those who can’t get access to personal protective equipment. Last year’s Award winner in this category was Paddy Power; will it retain its title or lose out to a fellow nominee?



RETAIL SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

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Retail betting would not function without first-class products from the industry’s best suppliers especially in a post-pandemic world. The Retail Supplier of the year nominee list covers all aspects of the vertical, from innovative platforms to cashier systems and betting terminals.

Golden Race

Singular

FDJ Gaming Solutions

Pronet Gaming

Inspired Entertainment

DS Virtual Gaming

Intralot

BetGames.TV

Kambi

BETB2B

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Gambling Insider takes a look at the nominees that have enabled betting shops and retail outlets to tend to their customers during the pandemic Spare a thought for retail in 2020 and how the pandemic decimated the bottom line for many companies to the point of no return. But the gaming industry rallied in a show of inspirational support to not only salvage, but build up better than before. Golden Race prides itself in supplying one of the most innovative virtual betting solutions for retail and the company has accelerated investment to develop new verticals; like its multi-game option that allows players to follow three different betting games on one screen, helping operators sell more tickets. The company has also empowered its retail customers to expand in LatAm and African markets with the launch of its satellite option. Currently more than 50,000 shops around the world run Golden Race’s software, processing over 15 million tickets daily. Singular certainly addressed operator challenges brought by 2020 with its innovative retail platform. Its mobile cashier system and customer ticket viewer app help improve efficiencies and cut wait times, while developments within its gaming terminals increase operational flexibility. Singular terminals are a self-service kiosk that allow players to bet on Sportsbook and virtual games, and can be extended to handle both online balance credits and physical cash deposits. FDJ Gaming Solutions, the B2B branch of FDJ Group, was determined to reinvent the scratch card experience in 2020, with its patented Presto Logic product; which empowers players to buy a ticket in shop, scratch to win and then either cash their prize or put it at stake with an additional digital game. This introduces interactivity while maintaining a closed retail loop. Presto Logic’s success was proven last year with strong sales of ‘Quit or Double’ and ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ in the French market. Pronet Gaming rolled out its platform to 16 new customers in 2020 as well. Nine were in Africa, where the company’s vast knowledge of regulation proved invaluable, while LatAm has also proven to be fertile territory. The company offers a one-stop turnkey solution, combining a technology-led approach with vast industry knowledge to provide clients with a rapid, reliable and tailored service. Key to its retail success is Book-a-Bet, a fully responsive, real-time functionality that enables players to create a bet online and pay with the retail cashier, and vice versa. Next on the Shortlist is Inspired Entertainment, which currently supplies its virtual sports products through more than 44,000 retail channels and over 100 websites in approximately 35 gaming jurisdictions worldwide. Most recently, Inspired announced it entered into an exclusive agreement with The CAGE Companies and its subsidiary, CAGE Sports BV, to offer Inspired’s virtual sports in CAGE’s retail outlets throughout the Caribbean. And as markets continue to evolve, DS Virtual Gaming’s dedication to providing tailored retail solutions has paid dividends. Backed by a product

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portfolio featuring cash register systems and single player terminals alongside software-only installations, the company can provide optimised full-site solutions for any and all retail gaming operations. Intralot has also earned a spot on the Shortlist in large part due to its next-generation platform INTRALOT Orion, which provides a seamless digital sports betting experience in retail. The company’s success continued through 2020, and last July, it inked a four-year contract with Nederlandse Loterij for the provision of INTRALOT Orion, enabling the operations and management of its dedicated retail sportsbook brand, TOTO.

“Spare a thought for retail in 2020. But the gaming industry rallied in a show of inspirational support to not only salvage, but build up better than before”

Despite the innumerable challenges of 2020, retail’s pandemic-proof partner last year was arguably BetGames.TV; in its strategies to migrate players online during lockdown, as well as provide an incentive to return once retail re-opened. The company is live across 2,000 retail sites globally, spanning four continents, and in South Africa, the company helped retail partners increase total bets by 50% during an online migration between February and May. Across all retail locations in 2020, BetGames.TV averaged a 224% global monthly increase in bet counts since lockdown ended in May. Kambi also secured a berth on the Shortlist with its unique Bring Your Own Device technology, which enables bettors to build and place wagers in a contactless manner. This ensured that the company’s land-based offering protected both players and betting volumes as the pandemic progressed. The company continued to grow its retail estate last year by agreeing a deal to supply the Belgian National Lottery’s 300 retail locations. This followed a 2,000-store launch with Swedish operator ATG the year before. Finally, with over 12 years of experience and covering over 5,000 betting shops, BETB2B offers software for cashiers available in 13 languages, along with an array of high-quality features for retail outlets. Additionally, its Live Monitor shows live sport in the seven most common languages, while the supplier also provides hi-tech software for self-service betting terminals alongside a unique mobile cash desk and power back-office tool.


H C T WA

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ONLINE SPORTS BETTING OPERATOR OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Altenar provides a fully-managed sportsbook solution, integrated seamlessly into operators’ Client Management Platform and portal. Its state-of-the-art software offers the stability of an established product, hosted on a secure and redundant infrastructure. It also supports flexibility of customisation, so as to provide players with the best user experience across desktop and mobile.

Betsson

888

bet365

Parimatch

Unibet

Oddset

Interwetten

Betfair

1xBet

Bwin

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 25


Gambling Insider assesses some of the industry’s finest sports betting operators, as 10 nominees battle it out for this prestigious Award The steady return of sport, if not spectators, has been a great relief for those needing that fundamental outlet that only top-flight, and even lower-flying, sport can bring. Last year, for example, Betsson’s sportsbook customers could bet on 222,000 in-play events and over 35 million odds markets, representing 18% and 15.5% year-on-year growth respectively. The demand is as strong as ever. The operator also added new types of betting opportunities, automated large numbers of markets and introduced fast markets for football, tennis and table tennis. Bet placement outside of Europe improved by 150% and in Europe by 25%. The operator’s efforts also resulted in 8.71% trading margin and 6.2% active customer growth year-on-year. 888 Holdings also saw across-the-board growth in 2020, leading the company to upgrade revenue projections ahead of its full-year report. The 888 Sportsbook continued an upward trajectory, as in H1 it increased by 2% on a constant currency basis despite sizable disruptions to the event calendar. Overall sport player revenue was also up 6% as a result of cross-sell to other offerings within the 888 portfolio.

“Bet365 has held a complete monopoly on this Award to date. Can someone new challenge the operator this year?” It’s difficult to understate the sheer size of bet365, which now counts 53 million customers in over 150 countries, serving 20 languages and 25 currencies. The operator continued to innovate in 2020 with enhanced trading tools supporting additional fixtures and markets across a variety of sports; and 12-month period data shows in-play betting opportunities for over 550,000 events, of which 250,000 were live streamed. Sports betting operator Parimatch saw rapid growth in 2020 as well, with regulatory and sponsorship expansions continuing at pace. Through the course of the year it secured official sponsorship status with a host of premium football clubs including Leicester City, Juventus and Everton; MMA star Connor McGregor; and esports’ Team Spirit. The operator has shown little sign of slowing down in 2021 too, and recently became the first fully-licensed sports book provider in Ukraine. By the end of last year, Unibet was operating online and retail sports betting and gaming in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Indiana, and has conditional access

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to nine other states which, in total, are home to one third of the US population. For full year 2020, the brand had amassed 55,125 active customers in the US and recorded gross winnings revenue of £23.8m ($33.8m), up from £1.7m in 2019. Switching gears slightly, Oddset upgraded its online sports betting platform in 2020, most notably with the improved Safe Play ID Card system from parent company Danske Spil. The solution requires all bettors to verify their identity before wagering on their account, and has allowed the operator not only to combat underage gambling, but bridge the gap between retail and online sports betting in the safest possible manner. Strengthening partnerships was key last year and by doing so, Interwetten was able to increase its global brand visibility. The operator solidified its position within the European footballing ecosystem by signing partnerships with Bundesliga clubs TSG Hoffenheim and VfL Wolfsburg, as well as a title sponsorship deal with the Greek Super League. It also expanded its African footprint in securing a national licence from Nigeria’s Lottery Regulatory Commission. Back in the UK, Betfair’s unique proposition continued to resonate with bettors in 2020. The wager exchange platform continued to perform well throughout the UK and was successfully integrated into the Racing Post app, increasing its visibility within the British horse racing market. As part of Flutter Entertainment, the brand is poised for international expansion in the coming year, with a multi-state entrance into the US sports betting market planned, as well as continued progress into select European regions. As the world shut down due to Covid, 1xBet was opening up in 2020. The operator secured several new entries into key regional markets throughout the year, bringing its sportsbook to Nigeria and Mexico among others. The company offers markets on more than 70 sporting events, and as a result, can tailor its offering to best match regional bettor trends. And last, but certainly not least, Bwin is on the Shortlist as one of the most internationally recognised names in sports betting. The company built on this position of strength through 2020 with new partnerships and key market entries, including signing a multi-year partnership with the Belgian Pro League and Eleven Sports; expanding into the regulated German market; and becoming one of the first sportsbook operators to go live in the emerging Colombian market. Bet365 has held a complete monopoly on this Award to date, winning three out of three times. Will the operator make it four in a row this year or can someone new challenge the sports betting giant in this category?



ONLINE SPORTS BETTING SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

We are Nuvei (TSX: NVEI and NVEI.U), the payment technology partner of thriving brands. We provide the intelligence and technology businesses need to succeed locally and globally, through one integration — propelling them further, faster. Uniting payment consulting and payment technology, we help businesses remove payment barriers, optimize operating costs and increase acceptance rates both locally and globally.

EveryMatrix

IGT PlaySports

BetConstruct

Digitain

Kambi

Altenar

Scientific Games

Elys Game Technology

Sporting Solutions

BtoBet

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 29


Gambling Insider assees the platform providers that have driven sports betting growth across the industry over the last 12 months Last year was a time of extremes for online sportsbetting and, following an industry-wide dip, players were back in full force. This created huge demand, which meant operators had to turn to suppliers. Our first nominee, EveryMatrix’s B2B igaming solutions, was a dependable constant to help clients deliver outstanding player experiences across multiple jurisdictions. Already at the beginning of this year, EveryMatrix helped 888 grow its betting business in Russia with its turnkey sportsbook solution. The company has also made strong progress within the growing esports space, and now provides its services across 22 game markets. The ability to supply multiple verticals has seen EveryMatrix upgrade its offering with multiple operators, notably launching a live sportsbook with Luckbox, an esports-centric operator that first adopted the OddsMatrix solution in 2019. The IGT PlaySports solution has also proved to be a success, both in the rapidly expanding US market and also across Europe, LatAm and Asia. Last year, the platform processed more than $6bn in sports wagers. Over the course of the year, IGT also established a full-service, in-house trading team, providing expert oddsmaking with localised pricing for pre-game and in-play bets, continual monitoring and optimisation, and on-call expertise in every aspect of sportsbook operations. Global Gaming Awards Lead Partner BetConstruct has also been nominated mainly due to its sports betting software designed to ensure operator freedom and flexibility while managing their businesses. Over the last 12 months, the company strengthened its offering in France by signing a new five-year contract with casino operator Groupe Partouche, which will see BetConstruct continue to provide its white-label sportsbook to power Partouche’s PasinoBet.fr online sports betting brand in France, as well as risk management services. In other notable developments, BetConstruct’s full suite of fantasy sports also received licences from the Malta Gaming Authority and Gambling Commission. Meanwhile, Digitain’s sportsbook solution covers more than 300 football championships in more than 100 countries. In 2020, Digitain expanded its European presence by launching in Romania and Portugal, and also agreed to supply Russian Federation’s Pin-UP.bet, thus expanding its presence in the CIS region. Digitain also became the world’s first supplier to offer live odds and streaming for table football, after securing exclusive betting rights for the first in a series of table football tournaments with the Table Football Federation of Armenia. Kambi has also been making great strides and now supplies its sportsbook technology and services to more than 30 partners, including LeoVegas and Unibet. Kambi went on to record its best-ever financial performance in 2020, underlining the company’s resilience and adaptability. The supplier

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also signed major new partnerships with operators, including Belgium’s Loterie Nationale and JVH group, thanks to its wealth of regulatory experience. Also in 2020, Altenar strengthened its esports and virtuals offering, as well as striking a new deal to provide a fully managed sports betting platform for Lottoland. Following recent expansions, the company’s sportsbook now has a strong presence in Europe, Africa, Central and Latin America. In addition, the company’s software offers the stability of an established product, hosted on secure and redundant infrastructure, and sources data from several premium data partners. Next up, and trusted by the world’s biggest operators, Scientific Games enjoyed a record-breaking year last year. SG went live with 12 operators across its OpenSports product range; launched OpenArena, which allows content suppliers and operators to connect through one point of integration; and saw record numbers on the SG platform, with over 300,000 events on offer. Through SG, Flutter Entertainment’s Sportsbet and New Zealand’s TAB, there was a record-breaking 61,000 bets per minute for the Melbourne Cup, a 75% increase on 2019, with stakes on the event increasing by 100%. Continuing the trend, Elys Game Technology’s online gaming performance in Italy increased by 65% last year and reported significant revenue growth. The company also surpassed its goal of achieving 100,000 online gaming accounts before the close of 2020, indicating strong performance in its online and mobile channels. The company also obtained GLI “Events Wagering System” certification standard GLI-33, for its Elys Betting Platform to operate in Washington DC. Also on the Shortlist is Sporting Solutions, with its Quantitative Trading Services that leverages the same economic techniques used by global finance, encompassing pricing, risk management, analytics and tooling designed to deliver a superior player experience, improve sportsbook trading and operations and optimise returns. In 2020, the company offered customers automated pricing and risk management solutions for in-play Women’s Tennis Association events, and last summer it signed a deal with US-based consultancy SCCG Management, with the aim of accelerating its entry into the US sports betting market. And rounding out the category, BtoBet solidified its presence in Africa in the past 12 months by bringing Neuron 3 to operators such as Oatbet and Wazibet. The platform was also launched in Colombia thanks to a partnership BtoBet signed with Betfair. The advanced Neuron 3 platform allows operators to fully manage their betting experiences through methodologies based on automation, scheduling and real-time data. Additional segmentation tools based on recency, frequency and monetary value also allow operators to identify different target players and tailor their marketing campaigns accordingly.



CASINO PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Established in 2006, Connective Games specialises in developing highly localised products and powers some of the most successful brands in the industry. Focusing mainly on online poker, Connective Games has also expanded its online casino solution in recent years, developing slots, casino and table-games in-house.

Relax Gaming - Money Train 2

Zitro - 88 Link Wild Duels

IGT PlayDigital - Fortune Coin

Lightning Box Games - Chicken Fox5x Skillstar

Red Tiger Gaming - Gonzo’s Quest MegaWays

BGaming - Fruit Million

Playtech - Adventures Beyond Wonderland

Novomatic - Panthera

BetGames.TV - War of Bets

Scientific Games - Money Link series

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 33


No casino can flourish without a strong casino product. Gambling Insider looks at the nominees for Casino Product of the Year While the pandemic has forced much of the industry and indeed many other industries to a standstill, the continuous stream of exciting, entertaining products hasn’t stopped. Several companies have been meeting the demands of customers by providing all sorts of products, all of which have brought fresh and unique perspectives to the market. First up in the Casino Product category nominees is Money Train 2 from Relax Gaming. In 2020, Relax Gaming released the record-breaking Money Train 2 – the supplier’s strongest ever slot launch. Money Train 2 attracted 81.5% more unique players in the first two days when compared to other popular titles on the Relax platform and was played almost 132% more times than the average game during the launch period. As a result of this high level of play, the average game win demonstrated by popular titles on the platform was exceeded by over 300%. Secondly, we have Chicken Fox5x Skillstar from Lightning Box Games. Lightning Box released the online slot Chicken Fox5x Skillstar late last year as a sequel to the original Chicken Fox. Since launch, its Skillstar Bonus leaderboard has become a unique selling point. This complimentary bonus, which occurs before the prize-paying feature, allows players to compete in a global egg-catching mini-game. Importantly for operators, it is engaging and entertaining, aiding player retention in a competitive gaming environment. IGT PlayDigital’s Fortune Coin is next in our list. Leveraging strong, proven mechanics and adding new and interesting tweaks, IGT’s Fortune Coin online slot quickly became a player favourite. As a proven performer from land-based casinos, Fortune Coin continues IGT’s strategy of bringing successful games to the interactive market. Players will have no trouble cheering for the Coin symbols, where one or more coins awards chances for big wins – whether it consists of cash awards, the Free Spins Bonus, or one of four levels of jackpots in the Jackpot Bonus. Another nominee is Zitro with its 88 Link Wild Duels. 88 Link Wild Duels is a Multigame Progressive Link that comes with four game titles per machine. 88 Link Wild Duels combines the popular ‘243 ways’ multiway mechanics with a ‘Link King Style’ bonus. With the ‘Link-up’ feature, players can choose the betting amount and opt for the various jackpot levels. A central bonus can be activated by wild symbols once loaded by the player, even during Free Games. Wild symbols will retrigger free games and the chance to win a Mega Jackpot prize ensures repeat play. Gonzo’s Quest MegaWays from Red Tiger Gaming also makes the Shortlist. Last year Red Tiger remastered one of the industry’s most popular slot titles with the launch of Gonzo’s Quest MegaWays. The original game was the first video slot to use cascading symbols instead of a conventional reel and the newly added MegaWays functionality adds a further layer of excitement and gives the tiles a further boost. The slot game instantly became a player favourite throughout Europe and beyond.

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BGaming’s Fruit Million is also shortlisted for the Casino Product category. The 2020 slot Fruit Million is a traditional-style game with quality graphics and an accessible UI. The title includes all the well-known slot symbols, but bolsters them with new features, including Expanded Wilds, Scatters, Stacked symbols, a gamble round, and the opportunity for a 100-play line expansion. The video slot is reskinned to match festive seasons, and the Christmas Edition organically reached the top eight lots of a 100m-GGR casino in just 10 days. Going forward, there will be five additional themed skins for the title. Also nominated is Playtech with Adventures Beyond Wonderland. Launched in late 2020, Adventures Beyond Wonderland is a unique new concept in live casino gaming. Built on many first-to-market solutions for Live Casino, Adventures Beyond Wonderland is based on an existing Playtech slot, taking its distinctive theme and graphics and translating them into a brand new live experience. Featuring a revolving studio and augmented reality, the game is brought to life by dealers dressed as the slot’s iconic characters, who take charge of the unique ‘Wonderspins’. Novomatic’s Panthera is our next nominee in this fiercely competitive category. Novomatic’s Panthera cabinet series is a prime example of sophisticated engineering and fine cabinet design made in Austria. The multi-screen Panthera 2.32 presents game content on its two 27” full HD monitors, and the 4K-ready single screen PantheraCurve 1.43 features a fully immersive design with a single 43” curved screen. Both luxury cabinets are equipped with an intuitive 15.6” TouchDeck player interface and an optional independent 24” multi-purpose LED topper as well as hardware components of leading OEMs. War of Bets from BetGames.TV is another nominee. War of Bets is one of the most successful products from the BetGames.TV portfolio. The title is further evidence of the growing consumer need for fixed outcome-based games. War of Bets can present 25 different outcomes every 60 seconds, and has shown substantial consumer growth since its inception. BetGames.TV’s latest iteration of the game now comes with a full-screen viewing mode, as well as an entirely new user interface to deliver an improved user experience while greatly enhancing player dwell time. Our final nominee is Money Link Series from Scientific Games. The secret riches of ancient rulers can be revealed in SG’s game series Money Link™ which has been hugely successful throughout Europe. Money Link™ – Egyptian Riches® and The Great Immortals star an enchanting Money Link Feature, a hold and spin feature that is triggered by six lucky ancient symbols in the base game displaying a credit prize or one of three progressive jackpots. Players should get ready for breathtaking anticipation and the chance of a mythical win. But who will land the win among the 10 nominees in this category?



CASINO OF THE YEAR

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SUSPENDED

FOR 2021 Due to the fact that many land-based casinos were especially hard hit during the pandemic, we felt celebrating success in this category couldn’t reflect a level playing field, and wouldn’t be appropriate. But rest assured, it will be back for 2022.

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 37


CASINO SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

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Despite land-based casinos closing due to the global pandemic, casino suppliers continued to work tirelessly on upgrading existing products and launching new ones, ensuring operators can welcome back customers and offer new and exciting experiences. This category recognises those suppliers who contribute to an exceptional and dynamic gaming floor.

IGT

Interblock

Zitro

Aristocrat

DR Gaming Technology

Novomatic

Scientific Games

SuzoHapp

Merkur Gaming

Alfastreet

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 39


Novomatic was victorious in this category last year. Gambling Insider previews the 10 nominees looking to triumph this time around Again, the pandemic unsurprisingly brought about many challenges for casino suppliers, who had to deal with closures, restrictions and continuously changing safety measures. Nobody could have anticipated such drastic changes to the industry, but many companies quickly proved they could adapt; ensuring customer and partner service remained as good as it could possibly be. First up in our Shortlist is IGT. IGT has maintained its position as a leading global end-to-end casino supplier. With products and services for every regulated gaming segment, and solutions that move the entire industry forward, IGT upheld these commitments despite the challenges of 2020. The company grew product verticals such as PlayDigital and Electronic Table Games. The company launched four new cabinets, grew its VLT footprint, and deployed its Resort Wallet and IGTPay cashless gaming solutions. IGT successfully positioned itself for the emerging Ukrainian market and continued its Systems leadership in APAC. Our second nominee is Interblock. With the unforeseen challenges the industry has faced, Interblock took a proactive approach in redefining its products, notably ramping up its ETG division as a socially distanced alternative to table games. Interblock's Stadiums allow for a six-foot distance between dealers and players, and Universal Cabinet provides players with a solitary environment where they can play at their own pace. This technology gives patrons comfort in returning to casinos and operators the ability to improve their bottom line in these unprecedented times. Up next is Zitro. Zitro’s slot machines are well known across the globe. Titles such as Link King, Link Me and Link Shock continue to exceed performance expectations, and despite the disruptions of 2020 Zitro has not slowed its impressive R&D drive. The company has only recently launched two new cabinets, and continued to release quarterly title updates throughout 2020. Zitro has grown from a leader in video bingo to a leader in all land-based markets, and is still growing. Industry stalwart Aristocrat is our next nominee. Aristocrat Technologies moved early during the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, resolving to ensure the safety of its people, customers and players. Sustained investment in design and development was maintained to ensure a wealth of fresh gaming content and hardware for operators, and a range of socially distanced machine banking measures were also introduced. In Autumn 2020, Aristocrat unveiled a new global land-based brand refresh (Aristocrat Gaming), with a new look designed to reflect the evolving excitement of Aristocrat games and a deeper engagement with players. Next up is DR Gaming Technology. DR Gaming Technology is the world’s fastest-growing independent global supplier of integrated, scalable casino management and jackpot system solutions. The company’s patented modular and ultra-flexible system, and jackpot

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solutions currently operate across 50 countries on more than 65 000 gaming devices. DRGT has a strong presence in Europe and LatAm and just last year, celebrated a decade operating in Africa. Last year's winner and shortlisted again is Novomatic. The Novomatic AG Group is one of the biggest international producers and operators of gaming technologies and Europe's largest VLT supplier. Today the company exports equipment and solutions to more than 70 countries, and operates around 216,000 gaming and video lottery terminals. Through its international subsidiaries, the Novomatic AG Group is fully active in all segments of the gaming industry. Throughout the pandemic, Novomatic’s teams continued to work together, and make every effort possible for the best service and support for customers and partners. Scientific Games is transforming the gaming industry through core innovations and utilising technology to engage players and empower customers to meet operational challenges and opportunities. These innovations include cutting-edge hardware, such as the new Kascada slot cabinet, Quartz, the new immersive ETG cabinet, and products to help navigate the new casino environment, including cardless and cashless technology with Unified Wallet. Scientific Games also continues to deliver great games, such as Rainbow Riches, Monopoly Money Grab and more. Next up is SuzoHapp, a technology company with over 50,000 gaming, amusement, sports betting, lottery and bingo products for casino operators and gaming OEMs. Products include LCDs, sport betting solutions, toppers, hoppers, locks, coin/bill/reel mechanisms and buttons/decks. The company is also a leading software and hardware supplier of complete cash management solutions typically found anywhere from cashier cages to large-scale back-office operations. Merkur Gaming presents a wide gaming portfolio that is multifaceted and country-specific. In response to the global pandemic, Merkur developed a traffic light admission system that is optimally suited for regulating visitor flows. Recently, Merkur signed a Memorandum of Understanding and cooperation with Ukraine’s Expert Advisory Council of Gambling and Lotteries Regulation Commission, to assist Ukraine in its creation of a strong, well-regulated gaming industry. And completing the shortlist for the category is Alfastreet. Despite the pandemic slowdown, Alfastreet continued to work tirelessly on developing new products and updating existing ones. With casinos and other gaming venues starting to open up, Alfastreet will launch its “ultimate software package”, Kawaii, and its brand new Verso single terminal cabinet. Kawaii has been in development and testing for close to two years; and now, with the public returning to venues, offers operators an innovative, full-suite gaming solution.



ONLINE CASINO OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Fast Track provides the only player engagement platform built specifically for iGaming. Tackling operators’ main scalability challenges in a heavily regulated landscape; Fast Track is on a mission to digitalise the iGaming industry and deliver the first self-optimising engagement platform.

888casino

Paf

LeoVegas

Optibet

Mr Green

Lucky Casino

BitStarz

VideoSlots

Megaways Casino

Cherry Casino

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 43


Online casino was one category that absolutely soared during the pandemic, meaning this Award winner will have truly stood out With many land-based casinos forced to close their doors throughout the pandemic, online casino was very much the only way forward for many operators to survive. It was, therefore, somewhat of a race to offer high-quality games, as operators aimed to bounce back from the initial limitations posed by lockdowns across the globe. Despite a highly saturated market, a handful of companies proved that hard work and determination can generate success within this vertical, thus producing a fiercely competitive category for this year’s Award. Our first nominee is 888casino. An established leader in the igaming market, 888casino had a great 2020. The casino gaming site released more than a few new games exclusively available to 888 players. 888 also made a significant investment in its Live Casino offering and most recently partnered with supplier Playtech. As part of the deal, Playtech will host a bespoke 888 branded live casino studio which will feature a range of leading live casino games. Next up is Paf. The Finnish operator offers a wide selection of games from leading suppliers such as NetEnt, Playson, Microgaming, including online slots, table games, video poker and live casino. Last year Paf increased its presence in Sweden by acquiring operator Mandalorian Technologies. The company also recently lowered its loss limit by another €5,000 ($6,100), meaning that the maximum amount Paf customers can lose in one year is now €20,000. Our third nominee is LeoVegas, which has delivered continued solid growth and profitability during a period of exceptional circumstances. Supported by a record customer base, the company adapted to the new landscape; launching smart product innovations, a swathe of new exclusives, including its very own LeoVegas MegaWays slot, and entering new markets with a recor number of new depositing customers. Going forward, LeoVegas continues to provide a commanding product portfolio of slots and live table games, with approximately 1,500 titles on offer, thanks to extensive relationships with both big and upcoming providers. Optibet is our next nominee. Enlabs’ flagship brand, which is most popular with players in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, offers the latest games from the industry’s top suppliers. Last year the operator completed the migration of Optibet.lv onto its proprietary New Gaming Platform, meaning that the online casino now offers players a faster and more stable gaming experience, while providing real time dynamic reporting and player management tools. Next up is Mr Green. William Hill International’s Mr Green operations managed to deliver strong results in 2020, overcoming challenging market conditions. The operator delivered significant site stability and product improvements across markets; optimised process and team structure

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delivering record number of campaigns; focused on monitoring, analysis, innovation and automation; and drove continuous improvement of CSAT and NPS scores throughout the year. The operator also managed to enter a number of new online markets including Spain and Latvia. Lucky Casino is our next shortlisted nominee in this category. Glitnor Group decided to buy the Lucky Casino brand in 2018, having seen a market opportunity ahead of Swedish market re-regulation. Following the market opening, Lucky Casino has become a true success story. Not only is Lucky Casino the fastest-growing online casino in Sweden, but the team behind it has proven that, with the right expertise, it is possible to enter a saturated market and succeed. BitStarz began life in 2014 as a Bitcoin casino, but soon began to accept fiat currencies, becoming the first fully regulated online casino to do so. Since then the operator has grown its player base through innovative targeted promotions including BTC offers, free spins and prize opportunities. The platform now includes more than 3,000 slots, table and live casino games. Players can also deposit and withdraw using a range of payment methods in a wide range of currencies. Also nominated is VideoSlots. VideoSlots has added more than 1,000 games to its already-extensive library throughout the course of 2020. The platform now boasts over 5,000 titles from 155 different game providers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Betsoft, Play’n Go, Greentube and many more. Megaways Casino, the latest addition to the Gamesys UK-branded portfolio, is our penultimate nominee. It was launched in partnership with developer Big Time Gaming, inventor of the ‘megaways’ game mechanic. The Megaways Casino site hosts a range of BTG’s ‘megaways’ games, as well as Gamesys’ selection of exclusive games, such as Tiki Totems Megaways. Megaways Casino also features a range of daily free games, bonus offers, regular promotions and ‘Mega promotions’. Last but not least is Cherry Casino. One of the most popular brands in Scandinavia, Cherry Casino worked hard to stay on top of its game throughout 2020. The platform offers over 500 games, including live dealer games, table games, progressive titles and video poker. All of Cherry Casino’s games are instant play/no download and several progressive jackpots offer payouts of €1m or more. A significant part of Cherry’s success can be attributed to the variety of bonuses and promotions available to players. With such a competitive field, the astounding annual growth of some of these online casinos means this year’s Award will produce a truly worthy winner. Will last year’s champion, LeoVegas, defend its title or might we see a new winner this year?



ONLINE CASINO SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

As a multi-channel sportsbook and casino platform provider, we work tirelessly to innovate and provide our customers with a product that delivers on quality, drives productivity and most importantly, increases profits. Our sportsbook covers a market-leading 70,000+ live events each month and more than 3,000 betting markets. Our team of 700+ traders have access to our proprietary platform utilising in-house algorithms and tools, with state-of-the-art technology that matches each trader with a specific event depending on their skills and knowledge.

Lightning Box Games

Relax Gaming

Play’n GO

Big Time Gaming

Pariplay

Evolution

Yggdrasil Gaming

Kalamba Games

Habanero

Pragmatic Play

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 47


We take a deep dive into the 10 Shortlisted companies for Online Casino Supplier of the year, and the global conditions that provided fruitful results With a rapid rise in online casino, suppliers have certainly been kept on their toes throughout the pandemic, with demand for new and exciting products increasing rapidly. Fortunately for operators, a handful of suppliers have worked tirelessly to offer new innovations, resulting in an extremely competitive field in this year’s Online Casino Supplier category. Our first nominee for the award is Lightning Box Games. Despite the global pandemic, Lightning Box has enjoyed a successful 12 months thanks to a string of product releases and partner integrations. Lightning Box’s titles continued to be successful throughout Europe, the US and the company is also looking at new jurisdictions, including LatAm. Lightning Box Games grew its revenues above market average for a small game design studio, with 2020 notably seeing the company release a sequel to its hit Chicken Fox entitled Chicken Fox5x Skillstar. Then we have Relax Gaming, which has demonstrated the ability to deliver high-quality games that stand out in today’s market. Throughout 2020, the company saw a 44% increase in overall game win, 47.3% of which was through mobile; a 56% increase in proprietary slot players; 78 new deals signed with major operators; the successful launch of Money Train 2; and the company gained IP rights to BTG’s Megaclusters and to ReelPlay’s Infinity Reels. Play’n GO is our third nominee. Play’n GO has grown substantially over the past two decades and continues to launch market-leading games. 2020 saw the supplier provide its highest ever output of gaming content in a calendar year - 52. Providing such a range of titles meant Play’n GO brought more to operators and their players than ever before. The company brought new innovations with games like Wildhound Derby, Diamond Vortex, Gold Volcano, Rally 4 Riches and Riddle Reels: A Case of Riches. Also making the shortlist is Big Time Gaming. The Australian slot studio is well known as an innovator in the igaming space, with its Megaways technology continuing to impress year after year. The company furthered this reputation in September 2020 when it debuted its highly anticipated Megaquads mechanic with the launch of Slot Vegas Megaquads. Most recently, Big Time Gaming and Gamesys Group joined forces to launch a new Megaways branded casino site in the UK, which went live in February. Pariplay also made the Shortlist cut. Pariplay is a leading aggregator and content provider, well known for its innovative Fusion aggregation platform and Ignite Studio development program. Founded in 2010, and now part of Aspire Global, Pariplay has offices across the globe, and is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Gambling

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Commission, Malta Gaming Authority, and more. Going forward the company will continue to focus on building value for its clients through its range of products and tailored solutions. Another nominee for the category is Evolution. Evolution’s Game Show offering has gone from strength to strength since its launch. 2020 saw the company count more players than ever on its Live Casino platform, and it has responded in turn by expanding localised variants of Lightning Roulette and Mega Ball and craps. In the year gone, the supplier also expanded its hugely successful First Person range with three new games, and, in addition, Evolution’s acquisition of leading slots provider NetEnt significantly boosted its global brand. Yggdrasil Gaming is our next nominee. Last year it unveiled three game-changing mechanics: Splitz, MultiMax and Gigablox. The Gigablox framework enables dynamic reels to spawn blocks up to 6x6 stacked, and besides leading to potentially massive wins, the mechanic enables the innovative GigaBlox battles experience. This particular mechanic has been a hit with players, after being featured in several successful games such as Lucky Neko and Hades. Other suppliers who are part of YG Masters programme quickly adopted Yggdrasil’s revolutionary mechanic into their own games. Up next is Kalamba Games. In 2020, disruptive developer Kalamba Games not only doubled in size but established itself at the forefront of a number of markets. The development and release of Sadie Swift Guns ‘n Glyphs was an industry first, and Kalamba Games also collaborated with Kindred on developing Ducks Till Dawn. Blazing Bull generated over 20% more turnover than any other Kalamba release for the year while Sky Hunters’ new LuckyLoops feature saw nearly 20% more rounds played than average. Also on the shortlist is Habanero, which creates quality online slots for both Western and Asian markets. The company provides world-class products, reliability and support to enable every client’s success. Currently certified in 16 countries, Habanero continued to expand its global presence over the course of 2020. Most recently, the company launched its suite of more than 100 games with BLOX, boosting its reach in Italy. Our final nominee in this category is Pragmatic Play, whose product offering hit new heights in 2020, with the igaming content supplier now providing four verticals. These grew at a rapid pace: total year-on-year increase of 176% in Bets; total GGR increase of 194%; number of total UAP increase of 175%. The company also launched its first game show product – Mega Wheel, released 13 titles onto its Live Casino vertical, remained committed to releasing new original slot titles, and pushed its bingo vertical to new extents, launching an exclusive product - Bingo Blast.



AFFILIATE PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Elys Game Technology, Corp., is a B2B global gaming technology company operating in multiple countries worldwide, with B2C online and land-based gaming operations in Italy. In Italy, Elys offers its clients a full suite of leisure gaming products and services, such as sports betting, e-sports, virtual sports, online casino, poker, bingo, interactive games and slots. Elys Game Technology is a true vertically integrated gaming supplier managing every phase of online gaming and sports betting within the company.

Kindred Affiliates

bet365 Partners

LeoVegas Affiliates

7 Stars Partners

PlayAttack

Betsson Group Affiliates

Campeón Gaming Partners

1xBet Affiliates

HollywoodBets Affiliates

ActiveWins

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 51


Gambling Insider assesses the nominees looking to claim the Affiliate Program of the Year Award In an ever-digitalising world, affiliates are playing a greater part in the betting ecosystem. With online gaming soaring during 2020, and namely during the Covid-19 pandemic, the online operators with the strongest affiliate programs have been able to stand out the most. Bet365 has dominated this category to date, lifting three out of three Awards since 2018. Can anyone conquer the reigning champion this time around? Our first nominee is Kindred Affiliates. The operator’s affiliate program offers affiliates access to 10 large online gaming and betting brands, all fully licensed and regulated across Europe and Australia. Supported by a dedicated team of marketing professionals and now in its 12th year of operation, Kindred is constantly innovating in the online gaming and betting affiliate space. Kindred Affiliates offers tiered revenue share, hybrid and CPA deals, plus commission boosters. The three-time winner is next: bet365 Partners. The operator’s in-house affiliate marketing platform remained integral to the company’s operational focus in 2020, offering enhanced support to thousands of partners. Throughout the year, the bet365 team additionally focused on improving the tracking and attribution functionality, which integrates AppsFlyer in various markets and allows affiliates to deliver incremental volume year-on-year. All of this was managed while also implementing a rebrand to bet365 Partners, with a new brand, website and platform to bet365’s affiliate partners. LeoVegas Affiliates follows after a strong year for the operator. The LeoVegas Affiliate Program offers affiliates the traditional Revenue Share, CPA, and CPL structures, while also being flexible in providing alternatives that suit partners best. Last summer, to show appreciation to its dedicated affiliates, the LeoVegas Summer Affiliate Tournament was launched, with €50,000 ($60,800) in total prizes. In addition, when signing up to the LeoVegas Affiliate Summer Tournament, affiliates received an extra exclusive promotion, where their players also had the chance to win a prize. During 2020, 7 Stars Partners consistently burnished its credentials as one of the top affiliate programs in the

“With online gaming soaring during 2020, the online operators with the strongest affiliate programs have been able to stand out the most” 52 GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM

industry. The company works with more than 4,000 affiliate sites and over 100,000 clients. 7 Stars Partners efficiently deploys programs such as Netrefer and Income Access to support the management of its 17 popular brands. Another affiliate program that enjoyed success in 2020 was PlayAttack, the affiliate program behind five licensed online casino brands: SlotV, Frank Casino, Mr Bit, Drift Casino and Aplay. Adapting to trend changes throughout the ever-tumultuous 2020, PlayAttack now operates a separate project for casino streamers, has organised top affiliate contests, and placed great value on exploring interactive channels and mediums to communicate. Elsewhere, Betsson Group Affiliates manages the affiliate marketing for 15 multi-region gaming brands. This broad staple of verticals gives partners the flexibility to promote what works best for them, and the Betsson suite of advertising tools and traffic analysis allows affiliates to successfully segment markets to increase conversions. 2020 highlights for the affiliate program include: 2.4% growth in new affiliate partners; a 6.6% increase in accounts that actively promoted Betsson Group’s brands; and a 24% rise in first time depositing players. Campeón Gaming Partners’ mission is to constantly maximise the effect of affiliate marketing, and theyaccomplish this by operating its own brands and creating white label solutions, all supported by high-impact marketing strategies. It has built a strong affiliate network over the years, with a growth rate of 85.16% since the first half of 2019. Another challenger looking to take this year’s title away from bet365 is 1xBet Affiliates. The 1xBet affiliate program is a truly global affair. Covering 39 languages and available across four continents, there are no barriers as to who can become a1xBet affiliate. The operator’s platform allows partners to register in a matter of minutes and to have commission paid directly into their 1xBet account. Our penultimate nominee is Hollywoodbets Affiliates. The affiliate program from South African operator Hollywoodbets offers CPA, revenue share and hybrid deals. The brand also often launches new products, which is a huge revenue driver for its affiliate partners. Hollywoodbets is now licensed in the UK and IE, and affiliates who operate in those regions can earn up to 30% revenue share, as well as additional revenue through a new introduction program. Finally, the ActiveWins Program works seamlessly to provide innovative and competitive marketing tools to improve online gambling affiliate traffic conversion. With access to some of the best brands in the industry, ActiveWins’ dedicated account managers tailor each of their incentives around individual affiliates, meaning they can best target their specific player demographics. ActiveWins offers affiliates industry-leading commission including CPA and hybrid options. Let battle commence.



SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Our igaming solutions for emerging markets are trusted globally, tailored locally and delivered seamlessly. Armed with market-specific online platform, sportsbook, casino and retail products, we combine a technology-led approach with vast industry know-how. We’re dedicated to providing clients with a rapid and reliable service that’s fully customised to their needs and, importantly, the needs of their customers. With over 35,000 live sports events a month, 6,000+ casino games and the best speed-to-market in the industry, leading operators choose us to give them the competitive edge.

Great.com

Kindred Group

IGT

BBIN

Hippodrome Casino

Mr Green

Casino de Monte-Carlo

Global Players Network

Bojoko

NetBet

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 55


During such a tough year globally, Gambling Insider looks at the firms nominated for their social contribution to the world around them Corporate social responsibility is an aspect of growing importance for firms around the world, not just in gaming. But given the associated risks that come with gambling, the spotlight is even greater on gaming firms in this area. As such, we have nominated 10 firms that don’t just treat social responsibility as a tickbox but genuinely try to make a difference. Paf was last year’s winner of the Corporate Responsibility Programme Award – who will triumph in the 2021 Awards? Kicking off this category is a business literally based around the idea of philanthropy. Great.com is a charitable initiative started by Swedish entrepreneur Erik Bergman. The company is the world’s first charity affiliate in igaming. Great.com-owned casino affiliate sites generate revenue of which 100% of profit is donated to environmental charities. As of November 2020, Great.com has contributed approximately €1m ($1.2m) to charities. Our second nominee is Kindred Group. Kindred was the first operator to openly say how much profit it has made out of high-risk gamblers. The group published the figures as part of its commitment to achieving zero revenue from harmful gambling by 2023. By doing so, Kindred also contributes to a fact-based, open and constructive dialogue on the topic with decision-makers and other stakeholders. Supplier IGT is the third company nominated in this category. IGT’s commitment to employees’ well-being, high standards of integrity and ethical conduct, diversity and inclusion, and professional development are improving the company from within. The company currently has three business operations certified by WLA and G4 for its responsible gaming programs and for focusing on player protection.IGT also supports the communities in which it operates through programs that align with nine of the United Nations SDG (Sustainable Development Goals). BBIN has been supporting global social welfare issues through its The Gaming Beat Charity (TGB Charity) since 2018. In 2020, BBIN partnered with Cambodian Children’s Fund to support vulnerable children education; launched an event for World Water Day; and collaborated with the Japanese charity organisation Playground of Hope to help rebuild affected communities. The latest program is BBIN supported India sanitary education with charity organisation SAATH. Up next is London’s Hippodrome Casino, which has spent years working hard to ensure not just the Hippodrome but the entire West End of London is thriving. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the casino volunteered the use of its assets to support the national effort against the virus, and a large number of its staff also joined volunteer schemes. “The Hippodrome is one of the cornerstones of entertainment in the West End, part of an ecosystem that thrives by working together,” commented CEO Simon Thomas.

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A previous winner in this category, Mr Green is nominated once again for its Green Gaming Predictive Tool, which combines results from a self-test and gameplay data to provide players with a detailed risk analysis. The tool gives the individual player personalised recommendations and interacts with players via notification if the risk score changes. Mr Green’s latest improvement is BMIs (behavioural motivational interventions), motivating players to change should their gambling behaviour become too excessive. In late March last year, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer hung banners saying #StrongTogether from its iconic institutions including the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo in solidarity with staff who were struggling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The solidarity campaign received a huge response from the community, with both HSH Prince Albert II and the Monegasque government joining the initiative.

“Given the associated risks that come with gambling, the spotlight on CSR is even greater with gaming firms”

Our next nominee is the Global Players Network. Australia’s The Lottery Office, operated by Global Players Network, donates a percentage of every lottery ticket sold to the Lottery Office Charitable and Community benefits Fund. This fund regularly donates to local Australian charities and community groups, with well over $400,000 donated to date. Charities that have benefitted from donations include Friends of the Koala, Backpack Beds for the Homeless and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, who were so vital in combating the Australian bushfires of early 2020. Bojoko, also nominated this year, believes online casino affiliates have a key role to play when it comes to social responsibility and in particular safe gaming and responsible gambling. Bojoko has taken steps such as adding affiliate disclosures to all of its pages. It also provides players with information about how they can stay in control of their play, and has even partnered with gambling blocking software provider, Gamban. The last nominee in this category is NetBet.Throughout 2020, NetBet took a different approach to promoting and advertising responsible gambling by educating its consumers on problem gambling. The company became the first operator to advertise and deliver in-house events directly to consumers, allowing attendees to hear from ex-problem gamblersand industry experts on the signs and harms of problem gambling.



PAYMENT SOLUTION OF THE YEAR

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The gaming industry is safer and more responsible thanks to robust payment solutions, which is why the payments sector is essential to the success of any land-based and online operator. This category recognises the companies that offer easy payment processing, the best cashless solutions, digital wallets and any other exciting developments in this fast-changing sector.

Paysafe

IGTPay

Worldpay from FIS

Trustly

AstroPay

Nuvei

BetWallet by BetConstruct

ConnectPay

Passport Technology

GlobalNetInt

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 59


Finding breakthrough innovations surrounding consumer behaviours and cutting-edge technology are key to win the Payments Solution category The Payment Solution of the year is a crucial and very competitive category this year. With the pandemic affecting businesses and organisations alike, it meant the industry needed the safe and responsible yet efficient handling of transactions more than ever. With these 10 candidates competing to take the prize, this will be a close one to call. First up is Paysafe, which has been servicing the gaming industry for the past 20 years through its renowned Skrill, Neteller digital wallets and pay safe card eCash solution. The company has been a vital payment solution provider to the gaming industry and has centralised its payment operations through a single API and robust technology platform. It supplies more than 1,000 operators across Europe and Asia, and also dominates the Canadian market with 100% of coverage. The company is also integrated with 75% of all US operators.

“With the pandemic affecting businesses and organisations alike, it meant the industry needed the safe and responsible yet efficient handling of transactions more than ever” Next on the list is IGTPay. IGT’s proprietary payment technology, IGTPay, is avaliable to over 4,000 EGMs at Svenska Spel venues throughout Sweden. IGTPay can boast offering the industry’s only fully integrated cashless solutions for land-based gaming. The company allows players that are logged into a VLT to draw funds directly from their bank through the mobile payment system Swish. The cashless solution was launched last year, and it already represents over 20% of SvenskaSpel’s net VLT revenue and has led to an 11% increase in active players. Worldpay from FIS is the next nominee. The company offers a scalable online gaming payment system, one that is capable of processing thousands of transactions every second. Its global regulator knowledge, access to domestic payment partners and tailor-made payment solutions makes FIS a strong contender.

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Trustly joins the nominees after launching the industry’s first cashless deposit and withdrawal system called Scan N Play, the system is able to link directly to bank accounts for land-based operators. While it’s Pay N Play solution changed the payment landscape by allowing customers to register with sites and deposit funds in one step, now the online banking provider is brining its technology to the casino floor. Now for AstroPay, the company that offers esports and gaming merchants the chance to grow their businesses in any region via secure and reliable payment method. AstroPay has already become a preferred provider in emerging markets in Latin America, Asia and Africa. In 2020, it developed One Touch, a payment solution focused on immediacy and security. The digital wallet can be intergraated from an auto enrolment channel with little or no intervention required from the merchant. Previously known as SafeCharge, Nuvei has been chosen for its full suite of payment services that is provided through a single integration. Operators that use the Nuvei platform have access to their payment portals, deposit, withdrawal capabilities, a back-office report suite and the support of over 154 currencies and 450 payment methods. Next up is BetConstruct, which launched BetWallet towards the end of 2020. The specialised app can be used for collecting and managing bet tickets and vouchers, aimed at land-based operators. Although it seems to be a ticket management app, it also includes more intricate functions and advantages for bettors. BetWallet allows users to scan the QR codes of tickets, simultaneously receive notifications on status changes and have access to early cashouts. ConnectPay has been nominated for its in-depth regulatory and technological knowledge that offers clients custom-built solutions. These solutions include ConnectPay offers, multi-currency IBAN and merchant accounts, SEPA, SWIFT and prepaid cards. The penultimate nominee is Passport Technology, which offers a multi-jurisdictional payment solution that provides extra player functionalities, such as cooling off periods and a donation functi on, which is truly a first in the industry; to date it has amassed over £20,000 for GamCare. Lastly, we have GlobalNetInt, a safe, smart and multifunctional payment solution. It’s white label solution was designed to solve issues companies might face, and the solution provides companies with an e-wallet, IBAN issuance, SEPA and SWIFT transfers, debit and credit card processing, local payouts in more than 60 currencies, foreign echange and API integration.



PRODUCT LAUNCH OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

Kalamba Games is an international data-informed games studio with a game framework capable of capturing any kind of player behaviour. Moreover, it enables our partners to attract and retain their players. Our newly built Remote Gaming Server, BullsEye, caters for all regulatory requirements, giving us truly global reach.

NetEnt - Divine Fortune Megaways

WorldMatch - Candy Bar

SoftSwiss - Sportsbook

Microgaming - WowPot

Greentube - From Dusk Till Dawn 10

Connective Games - Poker Tournament Live Stream

Swintt - SwinttLive

Scout Gaming Group – Esports

NSoft - Virtual Penalty Shootout

TCSJOHNHUXLEY - Chipper Champ UV

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Gambling Insider analyses the exciting new category to this year’s Shortlist: Product Launch of the Year Much like the launch of this category itself, every industry requires innovation to move forward. Growth can’t be achieved standing still and the most successful gaming companies often depend on the rollout of new products every year. The Product Launch of the Year Award celebrates this, with 10 companies nominated for the launch of their new products over the past 12 months. Who will come forth to claim the first ever Global Gaming Award of this kind? First up is nominee NetEnt for Divine Fortune Megaways. Released in November, Divine Fortune Megaways has been one of the supplier’s top game launches in terms of first 30 days’ gross gaming revenue and turnover. With an RTP of 96.09%, the six-reel mythical-themed slot carries on the Divine Fortune series, but is now loaded with 117,649 Megaways and a maximum win of 4,502 times the stake. The title has already been a big hit with NetEnt players at European online casinos, and as of early this year, it’s also live in New Jersey. WorldMatch follows in our Shortlist with Candy Bar. Channeling the retro arcade games of the 80s and 90s, Candy Bar combines roulette and slots for a unique release. Classic audiovisual presentation supported by a solid, modern back end has seen Candy Bar generate strong player responses since launch. Next up is SoftSwiss with its recently launched Sportsbook Platform, a cutting-edge, all-in-one solution for managing sports betting operations. The Sportsbook platform inherits the company’s extensive experience in the igaming market and features from SoftSwiss’ online casino platform: security, stability, advanced player segmentation and adaptability to operators’ marketing needs. Spinning into action in February 2020, the WowPot jackpot was the latest addition to Microgaming’s progressive jackpot network, which has paid out over €1.3bn ($1.57bn) since its inception. A four-tiered progressive jackpot with a top starting seed of €2m, WowPot has already awarded more than 880,000 jackpots totalling over €23.6m. The WowPot jackpot currently features on four popular game titles and there is much more in the pipeline for WowPot with new games set to launch throughout 2021. Also nominated for the inaugural Product Launch of the Year Award is Greentube, with From Dusk Till Dawn 10. Greentube’s blockbuster slot takes everything players loved about the prequel and builds on it. The iconic film licence resonated strongly in the UK, German and Italian markets, and the 100 win-line game play has proved popular with players. Representing online poker is Connective Games, nominated with Poker Tournament Live Stream. With the world becoming more remote in 2020, Connective Games launched its innovative livestream platform last November to bring the intensity of poker tournaments to home-based players. The live-streamed footage allows viewers to see each player’s cards and features commentary from several

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poker experts, players and fans. At the end of 2020, Swintt unveiled its mobile-first live dealer product, SwinttLive. Powered by Playgon, the product has been designed with the modern player in mind – lightning quick with extensive functionalities while optimised for one-handed play in portrait mode. From launch, players were able to enjoy both American and European Roulette, as well as Baccarat and the hugely popular Tiger Bonus Baccarat variant. In the esports corner is nominee Scout Gaming Group. In April last year Scout Gaming Group rolled out esports to its full client base, empowering partners to enter the growing Esports market. The new platform supports a wide set of popular titles including: CS:GO, LoL, and DOTA2. Scout’s Esports solution was quickly adopted by company partners including Fanteam.com, Stoiximan.gr, and Strendus.com.mx, and the company signed its first esports-only platform, GLFH.gg, shortly after.

“Growth can’t be achieved standing still and the most successful gaming companies often depend on the rollout of new products every year. The Product Launch of the Year Award celebrates this” Elsewhere, NSoft’s Virtual Games Team released Virtual Penalty Shootout in late 2020. To increase the play options for bettors, the virtual goal is divided into 24 sections, from which wagers can be placed on single outcomes; rows and columns; left or right side; odd or even; as well as misses and saves. Virtual Penalty Shootout is presented to operators as a modular game, enabling them to adjust layout and duration to suit player preferences. Finally, TCSJOHNHUXLEY completes our Shortlist for this category, with Chipper Champ UV. Introduced in January this year as part of TCSJOHNHUXLEY’s Care & Protect product range, Chipper Champ UV facilitates the management and disinfection of chips, an essential element of any live casino table game. The introduction of the Chipper Champ UV with its in-built UV-C light technology, a proven sanitation tool, is a game-changer, as chips can now be automatically sanitised at the same time as being sorted without any delay to the game.



SERVICES PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

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This category recognises those that provide the backbone of the industry – from data suppliers to companies offering legal services, risk management solutions, hosting and cloud services or anything else operators or fellow industry suppliers might need in order to thrive.

Sportradar

CSB Group

Omega Systems

Continent 8 Technologies

Fast Track

Enteractive

Internet Vikings

Bayes Esports

VAIX

Wiggin

GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 67


Gambling Insider gets to the heart of the matter to distil the best in class for Services Provider of the Year, and who made the top 10 The Services Provider of the Year is a category that always delivers some of the best-known names, and holds a lot of importance to the industry on the whole. After all, the services a company offers are always at the forefront for any business, whether it’s to be one up on the ever-increasing amount of competition or to attract new clients. Kicking off the category is Sportradar, which offers its services and solutions to more than 1,000 clients in over 80 countries across five continents. The company’s Betradar’s brand allows operators to engage customers and take advantage of its signature sports trading and risk management solution. With the Euros being postponed in 2020, Sportradar was able to play out the entire competition via its AI-driven Simulated Reality Product. Next up is Continent 8 Technologies that has offered highly reliable hosting and global network solutions for business-critical service platforms for over 20 years. The company is currently live in over 60 connected locations across Europe, America and Asia. Last year it expanded its global network, notably in the Latin American market through the launch of its Colombian platform. Omega Systems has been nominated for the enterprise-level OLTP/OLAP platform software solutions it provides to igaming and land-based operators. One of it’s most popular products is Omega Core, a platform which is fully compliant in more than 10 jurisdictions and growing. Omega Core offers over 180 integrated providers to new or existing licenses, as well as a state-of-the-art bonus and loyalty engine that allows operators to attract and retain players. CSB Group has been involved in the igaming industry since its inception in Malta, and today it is a highly trusted service provider that efficiently supports igaming operators. The Group helps operators obtain their licence, consults them on tax and compliance, and assists them with their physical move to Malta. It’s 360-degree approach offers a unique experience to clients by meeting all their needs through one trusted provider. The next nominee is Fast Track, which provides real-time data, player engagement and machine learning platforms designed specifically to help igaming operators scale. To aid operations, Fast Track offers one central integrated business platform that has been shown to achieve a 60% increase in productivity, 10% cost-savings in bonuses and 20% cost-saving with email/SMS. As an industry leader in player reactivation, it’s no surprise for Enteractive to be nominated. In 2020 the company ranked in the top three traffic generators for the igaming sector. In 2020, the company increased activity for clients to 110,000 player deposits from 2019’s 36,000. It also experienced over 100% organic growth in revenue during the last quarter of 2020

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“Services Provider is a category that always delivers some of the best-known names. After all, the services a company offers are always at the forefront for any business, whether it’s to be one up on the ever-increasing amount of competition or to attract new clients” compared to 2019. The next candidate is Internet Vikings, the company has 12 years of experience in the IT industry and provides solutions optimal for igaming businesses. Operators and developers all over the world trust Internet Vikings to handle their most valuable data and support their operations. Now for an esports market leader. Bayes esports has become a market leader in less than two years, a remarkably fast amount of time. The Berlin start-up has seen more than 250% year-on-year revenue growth from 2019 to 2020, and now has 160 betting and media customers. Recently the company developed BEDEX, the world’s first independent marketplace to provide data consumers with reliable and standardised in-game data through a single interface. VAIX uses it’s VIP marketing model to predict which players have the potential to become a VIP. As in 2020, it’s more important than ever to assess which customers are fit for a seat at a metaphorical VIP table. With these predictions, a VIP host can contact a potential VIP and offer them early adoption of the program and receive all the benefits sooner rather than later. Last up is Wiggin. It’s betting and gaming practice has united a team of proven experts in their field, all of whom have the ability to explain and communicate complex issues to helps the company to understand important policy and practical topics. A large number of clients use Wiggin to help them get licensed, expand internationally and buy and sell businesses. The company can also protect clients’ IP, data and observe and shape regulatory regimes.



CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

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AWARD SPONSOR

1xBet is an operator with years of both offline and online experience. 1xBet offers high odds, live streaming, an in-house affiliate platform, 100 payment methods, a wide range of bonuses, live casino, branded slot games, a user-friendly interface, a multi-language platform and 24/7 customer service.

Jesper Svensson (Betsson Group)

Renato Ascoli (IGT)

Gustaf Hagman (LeoVegas Group)

Martin Carlesund (Evolution)

Jordan Levin (SG Digital)

Robert Chvatal (Sazka Group)

Stéphane Pallez (FDJ)

Mark Locke (Genius Sports)

Itai Pazner (888 Holdings)

Henrik Tjärnström (Kindred Group)

Richard Brown (GiG)

Jesper Søgaard (Better Collective)

Per Jaldung (Casino Cosmopol)

Ebbe Groes (EveryMatrix)

Tjaša Luin Peric (Alfastreet)

Kristian Nylén (Kambi)

Mor Weizer (Playtech)

Nik Robinson (Big Time Gaming)

Tsachi Maimon (Aspire Global)

Peter Causley (Lightning Box Games)

Carsten Koerl (Sportradar)

Dmitry Starostenkov (EvenBet Gaming)

Peter Jackson (Flutter Entertainment)

Vigen Badalyan (BetConstruct)

Fredrik Elmqvist (Yggdrasil Gaming) GLOBALGAMINGAWARDS.COM 71


Gambling Insider previews the always-hotly contested Chief Executive of the Year category, as 25 nominees battle it out for the title A ship needs a rudder as an organisation needs a leader. That’s the principle on which larger corporations are built, and while the success of the whole is built on the efforts of the collective, a chief executive is a vital component of any gaming company. Particular leadership has been needed over the past year, as employees turned to senior management for answers and solutions during such a difficult and unprecedented pandemic period. This category honours those at the top of our industry.

“While the success of the whole is built on the efforts of the collective, a chief executive is a vital component of any gaming company” Our first nominee is Betsson Group CEO Jesper Svensson, an industry veteran who has led Betsson Group for over three and half years following a four-year period with Betsson Malta. He is followed by another stalwart: Renato Ascoli of IGT, who was this year appointed chief executive officer, Global Gaming of IGT PLC. Entrepreneur Gustaf Hagman makes the list, having led LeoVegas to a strong year of online casino growth across various markets. Industry giant Evolution has enjoyed immense progress in recent years and CEO Martin Carlesund has been at the forefront of it. Recently, the supplier agreed the acquisition of Big Time Gaming, having already added NetEnt (which owns the Red Tiger brand) to its armoury. Fellow supplier CEO Jordan Levin makes the list with SG Digital, as the provider looks to expand its digital brand and presence. At Sazka Group, Robert Chvatal has overseen growth in key European markets, while additionally building on the operator’s UK presence; it is currently bidding for the UK National Lottery licence. In France, Stéphane Pallez continues to lead FDJ, providing a strong role model for women in gaming. Meanwhile, Mark Locke of Genius Sports makes the Shortlist following another successful year for the data company, in which it also acquired a number of firms. Back on the operator side, 888 Holdings CEO Itai Pazner has now established himself in the role as the company enjoys growth in poker, sports

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and casino. Fellow operator Kindred Group’s CEO, Henrik Tjärnström, makes the list too having overseen US growth and focused on responsible gambling progress. Supplier Gaming Innovation Group follows, with CEO Richard Brown overturning the company’s recent fortunes to achieve annual growth in several areas. Affiliates are also making a bigger mark on the overall gaming sector year by year, especially in the US, with much of this expansion led by Better Collective. CEO Jesper Søgaard therefore makes our Shortlist, following a strong year for the affiliate brand. Staying in Sweden but switching over to retail, Casino Cosmopol CEO Per Jaldung qualifies for this list for his astute leadership during a difficult period for land-based casinos. Jaldung is also chairman of the European Casino Association. Meanwhile, seeing huge esports growth during the pandemic and remaining focused on more traditional verticals, EveryMatrix CEO Ebbe Groes is next up in this category. He is joined by Tjaša Luin Peric from Alfastreet, another industry veteran, this time on the land-based casino supplier side. Peric has been at Alfastreet for over 16 years, holding the CEO role since 2010. Sports betting supplier Kambi continues to grow, particularly targeting the US, meaning Kristian Nylén makes our Shortlist once again. Fellow provider Playtech qualifies once more, with long-time CEO Mor Weizer leading the company after years in the role. Big Time Gaming CEO Nik Robinson joins the Shortlist too, having led the supplier to a level of growth high enough to have attracted a takeover from Evolution. Tsachi Maimon, Aspire Global CEO, is our next nominee. As well as digital growth, Aspire Global purchased BtoBet within the past year. Elsewhere, Lightning Box Games continues to create engaging online games, led by CEO Peter Causley. Data giant Sportadar is next on the list, following a stellar year for CEO Carsten Koerl. Vigen Badalyan, BetConstruct CEO, is nominated for leading the supplier through the peaks and troughs of the pandemic. He is followed by Peter Jackson, following a huge year for Flutter Entertainment. With so many brands under its umbrella, as well as constant US expansion, Flutter is truly one of the industry’s leaders. Our penultimate nominee is Dmitry Starostenkov, of EvenBet Gaming, amid a strong year for online poker. And last but by no means least is Yggdrasil CEO Fredrik Elmqvist, with the past year seeing the provider roll out its publishing program, as well as setting out its ambitions in retail. The exciting news for this year’s candidates is that we are guaranteed a first-time winner.



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2021

Putting together the Global Gaming Awards is a massive undertaking. Not just the ceremony itself, but from the beginning to get the nominations collated, assembling the Judging Panel, narrowing down the Shortlist and, of course putting this magazine together. There’s no let up until the confetti is swept up and all the Awards are taken home with their respective winners. The team here at Gambling Insider do a lot of the heavy lifting, but we certainly wouldn’t be able to put on these best Awards in the business without the help, encouragement and inspiration from a few key players. KPMG in the Crown Dependencies, our Lead Partner BetConstruct, all the sponsors, judges and everyone who’s been following the awards to help build its sterling reputation around the world. It’s certainly been a year like no other, as we’re constantly reminded, but the gaming industry has shown remarkable mettle to stay buoyant. It’s not a year most of us would want to repeat, but there were some silver linings to celebrate. So thanks again for your continued support and enthusiasm for the Awards ahead of revealing the winners for 2021, and here’s hoping that next year we’re able to all meet again in London, the way these Awards were intended to be enjoyed.

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