The Judges 2023

Account Manager

Marga Benitez Alahija

Head of Account Management 

Marga is a dedicated professional who has found her passion in the gaming industry. With over 14 years of experience in this captivating field, she has developed a deep understanding and expertise across various aspects of the industry.

Known for her approachable nature and innate ability to inspire and motivate teams, Marga finds fulfillment in achieving targets and delivering high-quality outcomes. Her effective communication skills enable her to establish meaningful connections with individuals at all levels, fostering productive relationships and ensuring seamless collaboration.

Currently, Marga holds the position of Head of Account Management at Gaming Innovation Group, where she leads by example, leveraging her extensive experience to drive success. With a solid background in Sales and Account Management, she has gained a comprehensive understanding of the gaming industry and thrives in adapting to its ever-evolving landscape.

Thomas Bijman

Director, NetEnt Affiliate

As the Director of Affiliation at Evolution, Thomas is responsible for growing the Affiliate Business Unit, including strategy, new sales and account management, search engine optimization, and web
and product development.

Prior to joining Evolution, Thomas worked at Catena Media where he held several integral roles and was a key member of the team that grew the business from a small start-up based out of a penthouse in Sliema to a large, stock-listed powerhouse.

A passionate traveler, Thomas has lived on four different continents, including an Aboriginal community in Australia, a Muay Thai training camp in Thailand, and Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador.

Shirelle Zammit

Chief Financial Officer

Shirelle started her career in 2013 with PricewaterhouseCoopers Malta within the assurance line of service with her portfolio encompassing a number of the renowned operators within the i-gaming industry. Shirelle was seconded to the PwC New York office whilst working for PwC Malta. In January 2017, Shirelle started working as a Senior Accountant for Comeon Group and in 6 months she was promoted to Head of Accounting leading the accounting and treasury functions. In September 2022, Shirelle joined Hit Gaming Group as a Chief Financial Officer and Director. Shirelle presently leads the finance and legal functions within the Group.

Affiliate

Aleksandar Stosic

IGaming Specialist and Consultant

For the past decade, I have honed my career in the iGaming industry, beginning in Affiliate Marketing and progressing to an Operator side. This dynamic and fast-paced field has allowed me to connect with incredible people and learn something new every day, making my work a true passion.

My experience as Head of Sales has proven invaluable in navigating tough negotiations and ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties involved. My results-driven mindset, focusing on ROI and KPI, has been instrumental in achieving success and driving growth.

As a skilled Manager, Marketer, and negotiator, I am adept at recruiting and mentoring top talent, building brand awareness, and promoting brands on international stages. My expertise in these areas has helped me develop a unique perspective on the industry and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Key Specialties: Online Gaming, Management, Marketing, B2B Negotiation, Recruitment and Mentoring, Brand Awareness and Promotion, ROI, and KPI Optimization.

Christofer Holmgren

Head of Affiliates

A casino and sportsbook enthusiast. With more than 10 years experience in the industry.

Katy Stafford

Director of Acquisition

Katy is a passional affiliate marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience in the online gaming industry with solid affiliate and digital marketing experience in Casino, Sports, Lotto and Poker verticals.

Responsible for creating short and long terms strategic plans to achieve optimal traffic and revenue performance, tracking and reporting performance metrics, forecasting and budgeting and managing a team of account managers and operations staff.

Casino Product

Henrik Fagerlund

COO

Experienced iGaming professional, focusing on games and products, since 2005.

Daniel Mitton

Director of Gaming

Proficient Director of Gaming with key experience working within the iGaming industry. Adept in product analysis/development, operational efficiency, commercial negotiations & optimisation, marketing lifecycle,
roadmap/execution & team management within Casino sector.

Vitali Matsukevich

COO

13 years in the industry, 9 years with SOFTSWISS, vast experience in the different business areas related to gaming

Compliance and Regulated Markets

Claudio Caruana

General Counsel 

Active in the gaming industry for over 12 years, starting his career in a full-service law firm specialising in gambling regulation, privacy, and corporate law. Joined GiG in 2017 to found a dedicated GRC team to support GiG's international expansion and strategic focus on regulated markets. Claudio holds an LL.D from the University of Malta and an LL.M degree in Internet, Telecommunications Law and Policy from the University of Strathclyde.

Rachel Winberg

Head of Regulatory Compliance

Compliance professional with extensive experience in regulated markets in both B2C and B2B online gaming sector.

Martin Crowe

Head of Risk & Compliance

Customer Service

Myush Kerai

Head of Customer Support 

Myush is an iGaming Professional with 8 years of experience in Online Gaming. Throughout his career, he has worked in a number of industries, but iGaming has certainly offered Myush the best opportunity for professional and personal growth.

In addition to his professional work, Myush also enjoys playing football and tennis as hobbies to keep him active. Myush is excited for the opportunity to share his expertise and insights with the Judging Panel and to learn from the other talented individuals in this competition.

Maria-Alina Cordos

Customer Operations Director

With a background entirely in the gaming industry, both land-based and online, I've had the opportunity of working in different countries and meeting some exceptional individuals.

As a manager and leader, my approach is centered on empowering and developing people, equipping them with the tools and knowledge they need to excel. I firmly believe that people are the competitive advantage of any organization, and when they grow, so does the business.

Adam Hayden

Head Of Customer Experience

Adam has worked in the iGaming sector for almost 12 years. His career commenced as a Telephone Betting Agent in the UK, followed by 5 years in Gibraltar, before joining the ComeOn Group in Malta 5 years later.

Design

Igor Koziavkin

Creation of marketing teams/ CCO

A design industry professional with over 6 years of experience in the market. During this time, they have successfully executed more than 1000 projects of various complexities and directions. Their remarkable ability to create and materialize new brands stands out – having introduced over 20 brands to the market that attest to their strategic and creative approach. The founder of the Kozigroup agency, they have demonstrated their expertise and leadership in the field. Partnerships with renowned companies such as Parimatch, Pelican Partners, Kosmolot, Eclipse Casino, and MOYO
Casino underscore their significant position in the market and their capability to work with the most prestigious and demanding brands.

Jana Moroz

Head of Marketing Design

Beyond her mission to leverage design as a catalyst for solving everyday challenges, Jana is also deeply committed to nurturing the creative community. Outside of work, she leads workshops and creative groups, sharing her knowledge and experience with fellow designers and enthusiasts. This endeavor allows Jana to contribute to the growth and development of aspiring designers, fostering meaningful relationships within the creative industry.

Roberta Galea

Head of Design

Rob is passionate about using design as a gateway to improve everyday problems.

Empowering designers and creators, cultivating meaningful relationships, as well as advocating for pixel perfection. Rob is always hungry to create better user-centric experiences and look forward to drive and empower creatives, question boundaries and push for the greater good.

Rob’s background lies in driving brands to success, through well planned design execution, cutting-edge creative campaigns, and services for a variety of top-level clients. With expertise in building brands from the ground up, from the initial logo stage to full-blown product design; from user research to optimized and responsive product systems.

Developer

David Alamango

CTO

CTO at Videoslots with 14 years experience of the iGaming Industry and 28 years in Tech!

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.

Thies Petersen

Group Head of Software Engineering

Coming from a strong front-end developer
background,
Thies
moved up the ranks into a managerial position.
He did build the whole tech department at Web International
Services (WIS) from scratch before he moved on and joined Catena
Media. He is the Group Head of Engineering, overseeing all
Software Development and Engineering groupwide.

Finance Manager

Lina Pecorella

CFO

Justin Psaila

CFO

Chief Financial Officer at Gaming Innovation Group with 16+ years of experience in iGaming. Awarded as the Most Innovative iGaming CFO in 2019 by AI Global.

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

Viktoria Soltesz

Payment Consultant

Viktoria is the founder of the payment consulting firm, PSP Angels (pspangels.com), dedicated to assisting online businesses in optimizing their payment flows and costs through the identification of optimal payment and banking solutions.

She holds the position of Founding Partner at Saxe-Financial, a comprehensive corporate advisory partnership specializing in mergers & acquisitions, policy advocacy, and corporate development. The firm exclusively serves clients within the realms of blockchain technologies, financial services, and the digital economy.

Furthermore, she is a Partner at a boutique firm situated in Malta. This firm was established to enhance the payment processing infrastructure for clients operating specifically within the iGaming industry.

With a presence spanning over 15 years, she operates a finance and tax consulting firm in Cyprus, showcased at viktoriasoltesz.com.

Her extensive expertise encompasses payment-related challenges and high-risk industries. She has previously lectured at the University of West London and regularly takes the stage as a speaker at conferences related to iGaming, blockchain, fintech, and investment

Fraud and Risk

Mario Petraglia

Head of Regulatory Risk

i-Gaming executive with 14 years of experience in legal, compliance, and risk roles in the industry both on the B2B and the B2C side.

Timothy Roberts

Legal Director

Timothy Roberts is the Head of Legal & Risk at Authentic Gaming, and Legal Director within the Light & Wonder Group. He is experience in both the B2C operator and B2B supplier elements of the iGaming industry, and understand the challenges that iGaming compliance professionals face on a daily basis.

HR Business Partner

Christopher Grech Bonett

Head of HR

Marie Theobald

CPO

Marie is Chief People Officer at Rhino Entertainment. With a strong commitment to business, culture, and talent, she oversees key areas such as organizational and culture development, talent acquisition, talent development, and employee retention. Leveraging her extensive academic background in Business and
People Management, along with over 15 years of experience in talent management across diverse industries including banking, hospitality, telecommunications, and gaming, Marie has cultivated a
remarkable proficiency in nurturing talent and effectively managing people within startups, SMEs, and large organizations. She possesses a genuine fascination for individuals' unique qualities and is dedicated to discovering innovative approaches that foster greater collaboration and productivity among teams.

Geraldine Gilford

Human Resources Director

With over 23 years of experience in the HR field, Geraldine is a resultsoriented leader who delivers talent acquisition, retention and motivation solutions. Highly strategic-thinking professional who influences and
advises leaders as a business partner fueling positive organizational development and a high-performance culture. At the core of her passion for developing high-performing teams, is her excitement in building individuals who have a shared vision, purpose and competencies. Prior to her current role as HR Director at Betclic Group and a member of the senior management team, Geraldine has worked in various other industries ranging from manufacturing to retail where she has acquired extensive experience across all HR functions.

Manager

Samuel Barrett

Founder & CEO

15 years experience building and scaling financial technology businesses as a commercial leader in Gaming & Payments.

Most recently, successfully exited after building out the gaming division at European unicorn Trustly. Now an early stage investor in fintech, payment advisory expert, holding advisory roles across various financial institutions in the EU.

Lahcene Merzoug

Chairman & CEO

Lahcene is an entrepreneurial executive with a strong background in business development and marketing. He has held several C-level titles in the industry with companies such as ComeOn Group, Mr Green, Evoke Gaming and he is currently CEO and Executive Chairman of PressEnter Group.
He also has over 20 years of experience in angel investing and in late 2020 he became co-owner of iGaming NEXT.

Virginie Luce

CMO

Virginie has the best part of 20 years’ international marketing experience. She previously worked for blue-chip tech and lifestyle brands Philips, TomTom, Vodafone, and Microsoft, where she grew business through strategic marketing and multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns. As the CMO for ARRISE powering Pragmatic Play, Virginie leads a global team delivering premium marketing content and experiences for iGaming customers worldwide.

Marketing Manager

Andrew Sammut Dacoutros

Head of Marketing

Shlomit Kedem

VP Marketing

Shlomit Kedem is a highly accomplished marketing leader with a wealth of experience in the industry. As the Vice President of Marketing at NeoGames, she oversees all aspects of marketing, including brand
strategy, budget management, and goal setting. Shlomit is known for her keen analytical skills and ability to stay on top of the latest marketing trends.

With a track record of success in various marketing roles, including Vice President of Marketing & HR at Aspire Global and Marketing Manager at Cellcom, Shlomit is an expert at building and maintaining a positive brand image. In her role at NeoGames, Shlomit is driving the company to even greater heights through her exceptional marketing expertise and leadership abilities.

Ricardo Domingues

Senior Marketer

Linked to the Betclic Group since 2008, he is currently also on the board of the APAN (Portuguese Advertisers Association) and ACEPI (Portuguese Ecommerce Association), in addition to assuming the
Presidency of APAJO (Portuguese Association of Betting and Online Games).

With a background in finance and investments, he graduated in 1995 from Babson College in the USA. However, his true passion lies in advertising and marketing, which he discovered shortly after embarking on a career in banking. Over the past 20 years, he has carved a successful path in the gambling, media and technology sectors, always with a strong connection to the digital world.

Fascinated by behavioral sciences, he has dedicated recent years to advocating for the importance of behavioral economics and neuroscience in marketing and the creation of products and services.

Sales

Nadiya Attard

CCO

Nadiya Attard is the CCO at Relax Gaming. Known for her efficiency and energy, she boasts an impressive track record of exceeding targets since joining the team in 2020.

Attard’s background in commercial and technical areas, including a master’s degree in programming and deep market knowledge have contributed to Relax Gaming’s impressive growth in recent years,
aiding in the significant expansion of the supplier’s network and making her a triple threat.

In just over three years with Relax, she has driven progress across the UK, Italy, Spain, Romania, Estonia, the Nordics, Latvia, Sweden, Canada, Colombia, Greece and Germany and she’s just getting started.

James King

CEO

CEO of Flows, automating and connecting everything iGaming. Flows is a platform that allows you to automate your digital processes, build new features, and produce applications, without code. With Flows you are just a click away from building all of your desired workflows and installing your favourite apps without constraint.

Gareth Hooson Owen

Head of Sales

Gareth Hooson-Owen is the Head of Group Sales & Marketing for Crucial Compliance, always being a supporter of the safer gambling environment for the gaming industry he relishes the opportunity to make a difference. Gareth has a 22-year sales and business development background, across multiple sectors, most recently in telecoms, with Manx Telecom and Gibraltar Telecom, where he was working with some of the top Gaming Operators and Suppliers from across Europe and beyond. He was a key partner in the creation of 3Gi a specialist incubator for new licensed gaming operators entering the Gibraltar market. His latest accolade has come with Crucial winning the Isle of Man Fintech Innovation Challenge, an intense awards process where the company became one of 14 finalists out of 80 applicants, from around the globe. Based out of the Isle of Man, but always on the road, Gareth has amassed a great deal of industry knowledge, experience and contacts across multiple jurisdictions including the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Malta, both in the gaming and blockchain space. Outside of work Gareth is Director and President of Douglas Rugby Club in the Isle of Man and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship by Douglas Rotary Club.

SEO

Ivana Flynn

SEO Director

Ivana Flynn is currently serving as an SEO Director at Comeon Group. Ivana has 15 years of experience within SEO and online marketing, 7 of these in iGaming. She is a well accomplished SEO professional, a contributor on SEO at https://www.sitepronews.com/, well seasoned conference speaker, covering most of the industry relevant summits. As well, Ivana is a confirmed speaker for BrightonSEO Autumn 2023.

Maria Sayapina

Head of Performance

Maria Sayapina is currently heading the Performance department in casino affiliation where her leadership and well-thought-out SEO strategies have had a significant impact on growing products within competitive and emerging markets. In the recent years, Maria has taken an exciting turn in her career, diving into the product world whereby she puts together her vast SEO knowledge and her commercial and business insights to tap into new markets such as Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Italy, delivering online casino products of high quality.

Marta Szimtd 

SEO Director

Marta Szmidt is the current SEO Director at Rhino Entertainment Group, specialising in optimizing website rankings for competitive keywords in diverse niches, particularly iGaming. With a strong background in content optimization, Marta loves implementing data-driven SEO strategies and driving organic traffic. As the former Head of SEO at NetEnt, Marta has proven SEO results in several European and  North-American markets.

Sports Betting Product

Glenn Debatista

COO

18 years in the iGaming industry from Malta, working with Operators, Affiliates and Service Providers.

Chris 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 at GOAT Interactive. Chris is highly passionate about anything iGaming related and
in his free time loves nothing more than a game of poker, staying up-todate with gambling industry trends and researching betting opportunities.

Jonathan West

Director Of Sportsbook

20 years experience in sports betting in various roles. Extensive knowledge in all areas of Sportsbook, and operated both for existing businesses and start ups.

VIP

Gali Hartuv

Director 

Gali has worked in the iGaming, sports, and casino industry since 2012. Currently the Director of Monetization for High 5 Games, Gali has worked most of his career in the VIP space and was named VIP Idol of the year 2022.

Hanna Finstad

Director Key Account Management 

With over 18 years of experience in the iGaming industry I have developed a profound passion for leadership and people's development.

My focus over the last 15 years has been on Key Account Management and Customer Retention, working with some of the industry's top brands.

What gives me the most satisfaction is inspiring my team to excel in their roles while supporting their personal and professional growth.

I have had the privilege of being a part of the LeoVegas team for the last seven years and currently serve as the Director of Key Account Management.

Knut Beckstrom

Head of Operations

Knut is an iGaming professional with experience from big corporations to small start-ups from when he started his career years ago in Betsson as a VIP Account Manager to where he is today leading the operations of a smaller group of casinos. His passion for online casinos and retention have kept him hungry and he never looked back! He is specialised in Casino, VIP, retention and operations. The Nordics and especially Norway are his markets of expertise. Before entering the world of iGaming, Knut spent 12
years in account management in various big Norwegian companies, most of those years working for Norway's biggest commercial tv channel, TV2 as Head of Sales.

Young Leader of the Year

Kevin Norville

Head of People & Culture

Kevin is an experienced executive in the digital business sector with in depth experience in both the sports book and casino verticals as well as B2B and B2C. He has a proven track record leading startups and fast-growing organizations. His focus has been to implement management and culture-based initiatives, scaling strategies while being proactive and agile. He has a deep understanding of People and Culture functions, including building and staffing organizations, fostering high-performing cultures, leveraging data and automation, establishing effective communication frameworks.

Franklyn Brincat

Director of People & Culture

With over 15 years of experience in Human Resources, I am passionate about creating positive and inclusive work environments that foster growth, engagement, and well-being. As the Director of People & Culture at ComeOn Group, I lead the global People & Culture strategy and operations for a diverse and dynamic gaming company with over 500 employees across 6 countries. I am responsible for developing and implementing policies, practices, and programs that align with the company's vision, values, and goals, and that support the needs and aspirations of the employees. Some of my key achievements include enhancing the employee experience and retention, strengthening the employer brand and culture, and driving the diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda.

Antoine Bonello

Managing Director

Mr. Antoine Bonello started his igaming career in 2008 with Betfair (Flutter), where amongst other senior roles he served as Managing Director until 2017. He subsequently moved to Mr.Green as COO, playing a key role in growing the company towards an eventual sale to William Hill, then moving to the consolidated role of COO for William Hill International. Antoine joined Aspire Global as Chief Operating Officer in 2020 where he oversaw a major drive towards improving operational efficiency and customer experience. Under his close supervision, Aspire Global has gone from strength to strength, establishing the company as a major player in the igaming space. Antoine is a MBB in Lean Six Sigma, holds a B.Eng degree from the University of Malta and an MSc. in Business Management from Warwick University.

Outstanding Contribution to the Industry

Enrico Bradamante

CCO

Enrico Bradamante has more than eleven years of industry experience, and currently serves as Chief Commercial Officer at Pariplay and Chairman & Founder of the industry trade association iGaming Executives Network (iGEN). His previous roles include
Managing Director of NetEnt, as well as key commercial roles at
Kodak and Dell.

Alexander Aigner

CMO

Nicola Longmuir

CEO

Nicola Longmuir, CEO has over 17 years of experience in the igaming industry, gained from pivotal roles with Sky Betting & Gaming, Betfair, Ladbrokes Coral, Gaming Realms plc, and more recently as CCO at Push Gaming. Nicola joined AvatarUX as CEO in Feb 22. She is playing a crucial role in expanding the award winning, AvatarUX studio’s growth and accelerating its product strategy.

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