The Judges 2022

Account Manager

Tanya Axisa

Head of Account Management

I've been in the Account Management side of the B2B business for the past 8 years, with previous experience in the B2C side. I am passionate about providing a good service to customers and helping the business grow to reach new heights. I find this gives me great work satisfaction and of course being with the right company and team is essential. Throughout my career in Account Management I have built a good network which has always helped keep the strong relationships. I look forward to finding the next Account Manager Idol for the year!

Irina Roman

Customer Success Manager

I have started my journey in the iGaming industry in 2013 in Romania, with EveryMatrix. Since then I kept  learning and discovering  the ins and outs of the AM role, enjoying every challenge and every experience, working with professionals from all around the world, either from the  diverse Bucharest city office or the sunny Maltese ones.

Thomas Bijman

Director, NetEnt Affiliate

Thomas Bijman is the director of the affiliate business unit at Evolution.

He is tasked to transform and monetise the ever-growing B2B games portfolio of the group through a collection of high performing B2C affiliate sites reaching players across Europe and the US. As Director, he is responsible for the P&L, affiliate commercial strategy, and product development.

Before joining Evolution, Thomas worked at super-affiliate Catena Media where he held several integral roles and was a key member of the team which grew the business from a small start-up based out of a penthouse in Sliema, to the stock-listed powerhouse it is today.

An avid traveller at heart, Thomas has lived in four different continents including an Aboriginal community in Australia, a Muay Thai training camp in Thailand, and Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador.

Affiliate

Oksana Xerri

Head of Sales and Affiliates

I have been working in Affiliate Marketing for over 10 years. Started in online software industry then moved to iGaming. Had a pleasure working for both operators and affiliate sides of the business. Right now I am leading a team of 6 Affiliate Managers and Coordinators. It's an honour for me to be a Judge and I am grateful for this opportunity.

Nathalié Bjurenborg Wirf

Head of Affiliates

Liam Dyson

Senior Affiliate Lead

Casino Dealer

Cassandra Falzon

Head of Academy Live Casino

Deandra Zanca

Head of Live Casino Academy

I am Deandra Zanca, married, mother of 2 kids.

My journey in the gaming industry started in 2009. I started my career in a land-based casino where I started to learn and deal casino games. 2013 I moved to the online gaming and continued to learn and grow within the industry. I joined the live casino academy in 2016 and my aim was to share all my knowledge I have gained through the past years. Teaching, developing and motivate others are my main goals. While working in the Academy I was responsible of organizing and delivering training schools for Game Presenters, Managers, Trainers, and other staff that require the knowledge of the live casino games and product.

In 2021 I have joined Stakelogic and now I am part of the Live Casino team as Head of Academy where I got the opportunity to live a dream of building up an online Live Casino from scratch which our product will be live in the beginning of 2022.

Kevin Kilminster

Head of Live Casino Innovation

Casino Product

Henrik Fagerlund

Chief Operating Officer

Experienced iGaming exec since 2005, specialising in Casino Products.  

Simon Hammon

Chief Product Officer

Simon has been involved within the b2b gaming sector for over 15 years covering Bingo and Casino.  Spending 7 years as Chief Product Officer of NetEnt and more recently since 2018 Chief Product Officer of Relax Gaming, Simon has an end to end understanding of both product development, commercial landscape and regulated positioning of a new product entry. 

Cristiano Blanco

Chief Product Officer

I have been in the iGaming industry since 2007, pioneering the iGaming growth in international companies and holding senior positions with significant strategic, commercial and organisational responsibilities. I have a profound expertise in Product management (Sportsbook, Casino & Gaming), product delivery, P&L management and owns a strong data-led approach across the business. I have a proven track record in managing multinational teams in the iGaming corporations, such as Kindred Group and ComeOn Group.
I studied law and got a Master in Business Administration at Derby University (UK).

Compliance and Regulated Markets

Claudia Cassar

Head of Legal & Compliance

Dr. Claudia Cassar has 12 years of experience practising litigation and advisory in the commercial and iGaming fields. Dr. Cassar heads the Legal and Compliance team at EveryMatrix, an international leading gaming software company. In her role she is responsible for the Group’s legal and regulatory matters, including maintaining the company’s licenses initiatives, entry into new regulated markets, implementation of appropriate compliance plans, managing audits/regulatory assessments, anti-money laundering measures, corporate governance, contracts, risk and liability and providing insights in face of evolving challenges faced by the business. Dr. Cassar holds the Malta Gaming Authority Key Function role for legal and compliance matters, a Personal Management License issued by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, acts as company secretary for the Group’s Maltese companies, has held director positions and acted as the Group’s MLRO.

Claudio Caruana

General Counsel

General Counsel at GiG. Formerly Head of Regulated Industries and Senior Associate at ARQ Group and Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal. Former board member and key compliance of a number of well respected online gaming businesses operating in various European markets.

12 years active in the gaming industry. Have built and led a top performing legal & compliance team at GiG. 

Graduated from the University of Malta with a degree in law, and hold a masters in Internet Law & Policy from the University of Strathclyde. 

Sara Condo

Director Regulatory Compliance

Sara is currently Global Compliance Director at IGT Plc. She has established a 15-year track record directing and leading compliance teams and critical decision-making processes, for leading publicly listed companies.  Her areas of expertise are regulatory, licensing and governance in the gambling industry. 

Customer Service

Mette Saliba Lorenzen

Director of Global Customer Service

Mette Saliba Lorenzen, currently holding the position as Global Head of Customer Service at Kindred Group. She has a background in marketing and communications and has worked with Customer Service from different aspects and roles within the industry and Kindred. She is passionate about transforming Customer Service to new levels through a people first approach and with focus on sustainability.

Noel Zammit

Operations Director

I have been working in the iGaming industry for several years now. Started as Head of Customer Support and was eventually entrusted with other departments like Risk, Fraud & Payments, Responsible Gaming and AML. Have always been involved in operational roles for over 20 years in various industries, and I love it because you’re always in the middle of the action. Currently holding the position of Operations Director at LeoVegas.

Tsvetelina Rizzuto

Head Of International CS

After 16 years of experience in land based casinos, i have moved to iGaming 8 years ago. I started as CS agent and I have worked my way up to Head of CS For Betfair International . I am a proud mother of 2 years old twin girls an cannot wait for them to grow up a bit more so we can travel the world together 

Design

Christopher Farrugia

Head of Design and UX

Head of design and UX with over 16 years of experience, working within the iGaming sector specialising in products such as; Casino, Sportsbook, Lottery, Affiliates and Backend Platforms. I have also built SaaS products within the Fintech and AutoML industries.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working for some of the best gaming companies within the industry such as; Expekt, Cherry, Betsson, Casumo, GiG and Flows. Working with such prestigious companies and being a part of some of the best design teams within iGaming has enabled me to have an immensely vast career within my field.

Daniel Durrans

Creative Director

I've led creative teams across a number of gaming and entertainment brands over the past 13 years, seeing design take on an increasingly important role as a catalyst for growth within the industry. Since 2013 I have been fortunate to work with some incredible designers, marketeers, engineers and product people at Casumo, crafting end to end experiences that players love. I believe that design teams, through their focus on quality and execution, can help set the cultural tone within an organisation whilst also driving massive value by putting the player at the centre of everything.

Tristan Dexter

Head of Product & Design

I'm Tristan, and I'm Head of Product & Design at GiG working within the Media business unit. Managing both Product and Design teams means that I get to have an overview of the whole product development process. Having a creative team of designers powering the feature development and keeping our products up to date with the latest design trends, and having a group of superb Product Managers and Product Owners ensuring those innovations come to life. I believe strongly in empowering people and trusting my team to collaborate across the business to come up with solutions that not only generate us revenue, but that also aid our colleagues in improving their workflows and internal products.

Developer

Thies Petersen

Software Development Manager

Thies is a passionate Software Developer with work experience, among other things, in Java, C#, PHP and JavaScript. During the past years, Thies has built the whole Development Department at WIS from scratch, consisting of three DEV divisions and QA, Agile, DevOps and IT Divisions.
After five successful years and currently being Head of Software Development at Web International Services Ltd (WIS), Thies will join Catena Media as a Software Development Manager mid of July.

David Alamango

CTO

25 years in the tech industry and joined the igaming industry in 2009. Since 2005 been in senior management posts and currently CTO of Videoslots Ltd. 

Daniel Schembri

CTO

Daniel Schembri is the CTO for Enteractive and is responsible for overseeing all technical and technology aspects of the company. Prior to joining Enteractive in 2016, Daniel spent a number of years in the UK providing software development consultancy for a number of multinational organisations across a range of industries. Bringing extensive technical experience to the table, he has been instrumental to the company’s growth strategy execution.

Finance Manager

Lina Pecorella

CFO

Lina began her career in 2005 with Personal Exchange International Ltd – one of Malta’s first igaming companies, a publicly traded German online sports betting company where she built and lead a team for 11 years as Head of Finance. She then joined MoneyMatrix in 2016 which is a payment processing platform and subsidiary of EveryMatrix, and took on the role of Head of Finance.

Then in 2019 Lina joined the rapidly growing company Rootz, a next-gen iGaming platform as their CFO. She oversaw the launch of a number of products namely as Wildz, Caxino, Wheelz and Spinz.
Since 2015 Lina has also founded a couple of projects aimed at alleviating poverty & social exclusion for youths & elderly in Malta.

Adrian Mifsud

Finance Director

Adrian started his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers Malta (PwC) as auditor and advisor specialising on clients within the I-Gaming industry. His experience within PwC also included secondments to the Channel Islands and Sydney offices. Following an appointment with Betit, a start up Gaming company, Adrian eventually joined Betsson Group in 2014, as a business controller within the Finance Function, and in 2016 was promoted to head the Financial Planning and Analysis Function reporting to the CFO of the operations in Malta. Later in April 2019, Adrian was appointed as the Finance Director of the Betsson Group , reporting to the CFO, leading the whole Finance Function which principally consists of the Financial Reporting & Controlling, as well as the Financial Planning & Analysis Functions.

Raffaele Amodio

Head of Finance / CFO

HR Business Partner

Marie Theobald

Chief People Officer

Marie is the Chief People Officer at Hero Gaming. Passionate about business, culture, and people, she is responsible for organisational and culture development, organisational structure, talent acquisition, talent development, and employee retention. With a combination of an academic background in Business and People Management and over 14 years’ experience in the talent management field in banking, hospitality, telecommunications and gaming, and a passion for developing people and organisations, Marie has developed a strong level of expertise in developing talent and managing people within Start-ups, SMEs and large organizations. Marie is intrigued with unique individual qualities in people and is passionate in finding ways of bringing people to work together more productively.

Cordelia Morgan Cooper

Founder, CMC Consulting

During my decade of international HR and Recruitment experience, I have developed a passion for driving happiness and wellbeing in the workplace and have seen first hand the impact of an engaged workforce when it comes to both recruitment and retention. I have been really lucky to have been asked to speak at a number of conferences globally about this! 

 Earlier this year I set up my own HR Consultancy company - CMC Consulting- focused on providing strategic support to Gaming companies going through periods of exponential growth and the challenges (and opportunities!) that they face in attracting and retaining great people.

 When I’m not hunting unicorns for clients or in a warrior pose on my trusty yoga mat, you’ll probably find me falling in love with any cat that crosses my path.

Fiona Ewins Brown

CHRO

With over 25 years’ experience working in HR, Fiona has amassed a wealth of HR skills and knowledge in a variety of areas and industries. 

Fiona’s HR background has seen her work within global organisations with offices around the world. She has gained HR experience in Australia, the UK, the US, and Malta.

Prior to her current role as CHRO at Catena Media, and member of the senior management team, Fiona worked with such reputable organisations as Morgan Stanley, GFI Software and Ernst & Young.

Her extensive CV has seen her working across all HR-related disciplines, with an emphasis on talent management and leadership development, driven by her interest and qualification in executive coaching. 

Fraud and Risk

Annika Karlsson

Fraud Specialist

I came into the industry by coincidence when trying out life abroad after finishing university, and I found out that I really have a passion for it. Since then I have gathered over 12 years experience in risk & fraud prevention in the Igaming industry within different roles and companies. The hunt never ends and that’s why I think this area is so interesting. Always new fraud trends to learn about and always new measures we can take as a company to protect ourselves and our players. 

Justin Psaila

CFO

Chief Financial Officer at Gaming Innovation Group with 15+ years experience in iGaming. Experienced in managing financial risk, analysing and reviewing financial data, preparing and controlling budgets as well as providing insights for take effective business decisions.

Awarded as the Most Innovative iGaming CFO in 2019 by AI Global.

Maltese. Ex-Futsal player. Father of two dogs and one boy!

Awarded as the Most Innovative iGaming CFO in 2019 by AI Global.

10+ years of experience in iGaming. Maltese. Father of one human and two dogs!

Raquel Santos Martins

Manager

Boris Chaikin

CEO

An online gambling executive with 21+ years of experience in setting up and managing high performing businesses.  

As CEO of Soft2Bet, over 4 years Boris grew the company result over 30 times, while the team expanded from 80 to over 1,000.

Kristina Hambardzumyan

Regional Director Malta

Kristina Hambardzumyan has been born in Armenia and moved to Malta in 2014 when she has been appointed as Regional Director at BetConstruct for Malta. Ms. Hambardzumyan has graduated from Private University in Armenia, the faculty of Economics. Advanced knowledge in business operations, marketing, economics and foreign languages enabled for her a great background of Finances and Management. She is highly motivated and target driven with a proven track record. In 2002 she took a responsibility of accountant at  a Charity Fund “Parmani”, where she worked on projects granted by “Eurasia foundation”. After two years she was employed in “Vivaro Betting” LLC. This was a new start of her employment journey at Betconstruct, a leading software provider in Gaming industry.
Within more than 15 years of working experience she held different positions in different departments, such as Accountant, Content Manager, Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, etc. 
Currently she is the director of Soft Construct (Malta) Limited and Vivaro Ltd. companies based in Malta.

Dmitry Starostenkov

CEO

Dmitry Starostenkov has been leading EvenBet Gaming from the company foundation in 2001, from a local custom development startup to a worldwide renowned online poker software brand. He has over 15 years of expertise in online poker market and is passionate about its future growth, including the vertical development in the emerging markets. Dmitry’s ultimate experience not just in iGaming, but also in startups, crypto technologies, software development, and business strategy allows him to estimate every gaming project from nearly all possible angles.

Marketing Manager

Amy Riches

Head of Marketing

Trevor Westacott

VP Marketing

Trevor has spent the last 20 years managing and developing marketing teams in a variety of industries, from start-ups, to fast growing tech companies. He is passionate about brand culture that drives extraordinary customer engagement and specializes in B2B brand strategy. He moved into the gaming industry 9 years ago through NetEnt where he headed the marketing team. Trevor is currently employed as VP Marketing and leads a multi-disciplinary team of marketing and design professionals responsible for Marketing and Brand Strategy at Playtech.

Stacey Bevan

Marketing Director, Global Head of Performance Marketing, CEO & Founder

Stacey has over 15 years experience in marketing and is one, of a small number of Google approved training partners in the world, who is renowned for her global training abilities and extensive digital capabilities.

She is also known for her strong leadership skills and has built, managed and developed large teams of Digital professionals. She has worked for the likes of William Hill/Mr Green International and Catena media and at preset she is the Marketing Director for Zecure at Betsson Group, and based on Zecures expansion her contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed. 

Stacey is strategic in her approach and has a track record of digitally transforming multinational businesses. 

She is also a highly experienced public speaker and is sought after by many companies for her extensive knowledge in Marketing. She has trained some of the largest companies in the world, has lectured at top universities, and is also recognised for her work by Global Awarding Bodies including the CIM and DMI.

Sports Betting Product

Christopher Naudi

Director of Sportsbook

Chris learnt his trade with one of the first Sportsbooks to come to Malta in 2004 – Heathorns International. After a brief stint in London with Premierbet, he came back and spent 5 years as Head of Trading at GVC. After launching Sportsbooks for Scandinavian companies, Chris now works in the African market and is Director of Sportsbook for a large Pan African company. Chris is highly passionate about anything iGaming related and in his free time loves nothing more than a game of poker, staying up-to-date with gambling industry trends, following streamers and researching betting opportunities.

Ed Clark

Head of Sports

After seven years at the London Stock Exchange, Ed made the switch to the iGaming sector in 2018 after relocating to Malta. Currently Head of Sportsbook for the Rest of World territories at William Hill / Mr Green, Ed is responsible for markets including Austria, Canada, Finland and Japan.

Glenn Debatista

COO, RevPanda

Over 17 years experience in the igaming sector, having worked with operators, affiliates and service providers, ranging from start-ups to well-established companies. Roles varied between Head of Product, trading manager and risk manager, all related to the sports betting product. Currently working as a Chief Operating Officer with Revpanda.

Rising Star

Dr Christopher Dalli

CEO

Dr Christopher Dalli is the CEO of online casino operator L&L Europe Limited. Prior to joining L&L, Dr Dalli was a Partner at Gonzi & Associates, Advocates, a law firm specialising in commercial and technological matters, where he led the Gaming department and assisted a number of top operators with their licensing and operational needs. Dr Dalli is also a legal expert on the National Anti-Doping Panel.

Perignea Axisa

People Ops Manager

I am a People Operations Manager at GiG, I have been working for GiG for nearly 7 years. I am currently completing a bachelors degree in Human Resources a the university of Malta, hopefully, I will get my Degree in 1 Years time. My passion is being able to help employees where ever possible and making sure the well-being and development of the employees are at the top of the list. My other passion is People Analytics. When not work-related, I Love cooking, baking cakes, and spending some precious time with my family.

Sales

Nadiya Attard

CCO

Oliver Ström

Head of Account Development Gaming

At Trustly we provide the best Open Banking payments solutions on the market. In addition to this our Account Development team makes sure all merchants are well taken care of, informed and provided with the support they need.

James King

CEO

James King is the CEO of Flows, the most agnostic pieces of software on the market, enabling its partners to innovate freely and without constraint. Flows, plug-in no-code platform is supporting businesses in accelerating development, fast tracking integrations and co-ordinating multiple data points in a single interface.

With over 10 years experience in the iGaming space, King previously served as the director of sales at leading industry tech and media powerhouse Gaming Innovation Group. Prior to this James was Group Sales Director at Clarion responsible for delivering all revenue across the portfolio following the successful sale of iGaming Business (in which he served as part of the mgt team) to Clarion in late 2015.

SEO

Marta Szmidt

SEO Expert

Marta Szmidt specializes in ranking websites for highly competitive keywords within various niches, including iGaming. She has a strong background in online marketing, especially in boosting page performance, implementing data-driven strategic SEO plans, and driving organic traffic to websites. As a former Head of SEO at Evolution, Marta has proven SEO results in several European and  North-American markets.

Maria Sayapina

Head of Performance

Ivana Flynn

SEO Director

Ivana Flynn, SEO Director of Comeon Group. I have over 12 years experience in SEO working in some of the most competitive niches, I have been working with iGaming for the last 6 years. I was previously at William Hill/Mr Green international, Catena media and Betsson. My biggest passion within SEO is the technical part of the channel as I love resolving difficult issues and seeing the positive impact of the fixes. I am also a well seasoned conference speaker, covering several conferences in Africa, America and Europe. I am an author of the original SEO test - Can you rank a website using only nofollow links? which I have published in 2 parts with a 1 year follow up on the links and websites performance. I enjoy writing and publishing on SEO and marketing topics and I am a recurring judge on the industry popular iGaming idol for the SEO category.

VIP

Toni Kolehmainen

Head of VIP

iGaming expert specialising in VIP and retention

Ciara Nic Liam

Gaming Product Director

Cíara Nic Liam works at Entain as their Gaming Product Director. She has over 10 years experience in Gaming Commercial and Product roles, most recently coming from Betsson where she worked as a their Global Commercial Director for Gaming, leading them into over 10 new regulated markets in 3 years. Previously, she was Director of Gaming at William Hill in Gibraltar after time leading the Gaming team at Rank and Paddy Power. Her strength lies in bringing customer feedback, data and product capability together to deliver a great customer experience.

Rihards Polis

Head of VIP Enlabs



I've worked for a number of igaming companies in Malta, Bulgaria and Latvia, and the last 7 years have spent at the VIP department. Currently, I'm heading the VIP team at 'Enlabs' company which is part of 'Entain' group. 

My biggest passion is competitive sports and I'm also a bit of geography geek.

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