5 Star iGaming Media Top 20 Awards skyrocketing personnel success.

About The Awards

The 5 Star Top 20 Award is the most prestigious accolade that recognises individuals in iGaming.

We aim to uncover and celebrate people who inspire success.

These Awards are not a popularity contest, to win you must impress a panel of esteemed, influential judges all of whom are industry experts. The judging is a robust, credible and transparent two-step process involving pre-scoring and judging sessions where your entry will be discussed in detail.


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5 Star Top 20 Awards winners 2022


Tsachi Maimon, CEO, Aspire Global. Award: Leadership.

Tsachi Maimon has been prevalent in the iGaming industry since 2008, having previously worked at Playtech before joining Aspire Global as a board member and CEO in 2013.

Bringing with him a wealth of industry knowledge, Tsachi has played a key role in the major developments the company has seen. Some of these include listing the company on the Nasdaq stock exchange, as well as the acquisition of games aggregator Pariplay and sportsbook supplier BtoBet. His leadership largely contributed to Aspire Global’s solid positioning as one of today’s most prominent iGaming B2B suppliers.

Tsachi holds an M.A in Business Studies from the College of Management (COMAS) in Israel and is an all-round sports fan with a penchant for tennis.


Oksana Tsyhankova, Chief Operating Officer, Soft2Bet. Award: Operations.

Oksana joined the young and ambitious company in 2018 and has led Soft2Bet to the cutting edge of the iGaming industry in a few years. She managed to find the right approach that unleashed the inner company’s force to constant growth and development.

Oksana Tsyhankova, Chief Operating Officer at Soft2Bet. Award: Operations.

Oksana’s operational superpower is in mutual trust. She knows how to delegate tasks and can rely on the abilities of Soft2Bet employees. Thanks to this, each team member feels essential in the overall processes and is not afraid to offer ideas for business development.

She leads by her inspirations. At Soft2Bet, she has known that the best approach to uplift your colleagues is not with compelling speeches but with your actions. That is our new idea and concept of delegating work. 

Soft2Bet employees voted Oksana as the Woman of the Year at internal awards proving that she is more than just a great manager. 


Gabriele De Lorenzi, Director and Product Manager. Award: Product and innovation.

Gabriele first encountered WorldMatch in 2007 during an internship for his bachelor’s degree. After his internship ended and he got his bachelor’s in Information and Communication Technology, he stayed at WorldMatch in the game development department.

He writes specifications for programmers and artists, exchanging information with mathematicians and compliance office.
He manages relationships with an extensive network of third-party game developers all around the world and maintains customer relationships worldwide.

He recently achieved a master in intercultural competence communication and conflict management.


Marija Hammon, Marketing Director, Relax Gaming. Award: Marketing.

Marija Hammon joined Relax Gaming from Catena Media in 2019 after a successful career in Marketing and Business which began after she completed her dual Masters Degree in Business Administration and Integrated Marketing at the University of Malta and San Diego State University.

Her career at Relax saw her start as Brand and Communications Manager, it was in this role that she quickly made her mark, helping rebuild the brand and revamping Relax Gaming’s website. She later moved into the role of Product Marketing Manager before being promoted to Head of Marketing.


Gil Tal, Head of eCommerce and Payments, Aspire Global. Award: Product and innovation.

Gil graduated from The Open University of Israel with a BA in Economics and Business Management. He brought valuable knowledge to several companies, occupying management positions within the Finance/Payment departments.

Gil joined Aspire Global in 2018 as a Payments Manager and, within just 3 years, made his way up to Head of eCommerce and Payments.

Gil truly deserves recognition for his work over the past year. He has tackled the largest and one of the most innovative projecs his department has seen for years with a confident determination. He was eager to manage the Aspire’s biggest payment project and quickly set about educating himself and his team about all aspects of the project.

His mastering of the project and everything related to it has been a huge asset to the team and implicitly, to the company.


Simon Hammon, CEO, Relax Gaming. Award: Leadership.

Simon Hammon, CEO and former CPO of Relax Gaming since 2018, has been instrumental to the success of the company’s aggregation services and proprietary content portfolio, along with a slew of other departments and initiatives.

Under his leadership, Relax’s casino proposition has gained a strong reputation for driving studio and partner growth, delivering unmatched speed-to-market along with rapid, simple integration.

Heading up the company’s Gibraltar branch, Simon is involved across the board, be that having a hand in game production, marketing or studio partnerships.

This is aided in no small part by his strong background in affiliation and marketing. With such a range of experience, it’s no wonder he was appointed CPO at NetEnt after just six months of joining.


Bobby Longhurst, Managing Director, Sportingtech. Award: Leadership.

Bobby Longhurst was recently appointed Sportingtech’s Managing Director, having achieved three-fold growth for Pronet Gaming in his previous tenure as their CCO.

Prior to that, he was Commercial Director at SBTech and Business Development Manager at Sporting Solutions and has built significant experience within the industry to take Sportingtech to the next level.

Under Longhurst, Sportingtech has ambitious plans to extend its reach in emerging and regulated markets worldwide, as well as lotteries, with its comprehensive sports betting and casino product offering.

The company will also be building on its strong existing presence in a number of global territories, including Latin America, where a wide range of operators already use its flagship Quantum platform.


Virginie Luce, Chief Marketing Officer, Pragmatic Play. Award: Marketing.

Virginie has 15 years’ experience in marketing internationally. She worked for blue chip tech and lifestyle brands such as Philips, TomTom, Vodafone and Microsoft, where she grew businesses with strategic marketing thinking and running multi-million-dollar advertising campaigns.

More recently, as an independent marketing consultant her focus has been to advise C-levels by leveraging insights and data to drive brand awareness, user engagement and reputation.

Now as a CMO for Pragmatic Play, Luce aims to drive marketing excellence and establish a best-practice marketing framework within the industry to provide partners with innovative and meaningful solutions to their end- customers in a very competitive marketplace.


Uri Poliavich, Chief Business Development Officer, Soft2Bet. Award: Leadership.

Uri Poliavich is Soft2Bet’s Chief Business Development Officer, tasked with overseeing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions of the business. Uri possesses over eleven years of complex industry experience, having worked in companies such as Playtech and IMS Limited before starting Soft2Bet. 

Back to its beginnings, the company started with only a few members and, in six successful years, developed over 1000 employees. Soft2Bet has also opened three offices and became one of the leading operator groups in the region under Uri’s guidance. 

Uri had successfully generated an effective senior-level network in the territory. Uri was also responsible for the customer’s portfolio developing, converting, and carrying out a pipeline of businesses.


Regina Van Leeuwen, CRM Operations Manager, Aspire Global. Award: Leadership.

Regina started back in 2020, and quickly showed her determined mind set and passion towards CRM. After taking on the role of CRM Operations Manager, Regina helped shape the new CRM Team Aspire Global boasts today.

During the last 6 months, Regina focused on taking over the CRM Daily Operations together with her team of CRM Coordinators where they ensure everything runs smoothly, from Partner Tasks being handled with care to CRM Campaigns being executed within tight deadlines and with exquisite results.

Regina has also taken on some big projects like managing the execution of Aspire Global’s successful WINTERFEST €100,000 CRM Campaign.

She worked closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure that everything is up to the Aspire Global standards. She is always there to help and learn and she is recognized as an absolutely amazing asset to the company.


Maria Bashkevich, Head of Marketing, Uplatform. Award: Marketing.

Maria Bashkevich is an experienced Marketing professional. Her career in gambling began more than five years ago. Having held Senior marketing positions at various online slots providers and sports betting platforms based in Europe, Maria has developed extensive experience managing B2B and B2C projects.

Maria’s portfolio includes several recognizable projects as a participant at prominent iGaming exhibitions. Her area of expertise is working in markets such as the CIS, LATAM, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Maria understands and highly values the importance of responsible betting practices and operations and believes in positioning players first and foremost before profits.


Colin McDonagh, Chief Sales Officer, Sportingtech. Award: Business development.

Colin McDonagh is a new addition to the Sportingtech team, having taken up the role of Chief Sales Officer. With extensive experience providing sportsbooks across the globe, he has a reputation for delivering contracts with tier one bookmakers and global lotteries, surpassing even the most aspirational of targets.

Colin joined the company having previously worked for Pronet Gaming and Sporting Solutions, where he was a major driver of growth for both businesses.


Alexia Smilovic Rønde, Chief Regulatory Officer, Relax Gaming. Award: Legal and compliance.

Alexia Smilovic Rønde is one of the industry’s most talented and well-respected individuals having spent over 20 years in regulatory and compliance within iGaming.

Alexia joined Relax Gaming in 2018 as Director of Compliance & Regulated markets after more than four successful years at NetEnt as Head of Regulated Markets.

Alexia’s extensive experience and industry knowledge has ensured that Relax has been at the forefront of requirements and regulatory shifts, expanding across new frontiers frequently and efficiently.


Andrey Starovoitov, co-CEO, SOFTSWISS. Award: Leadership.

SOFTSWISS co-CEO Andrey Starovoitov is marking his five-year anniversary with the company this year. Over the past five years, Andrey has grown from a nascent technology star to a globally recognized leader in the industry.

Andrey holds a bachelor’s degree from the Belarusian State University of Economics. The field of Andrey’s specialisation revolves around economics and business. In the near future, Andrey plans to hone his skills in business administration and enrol in an MBA program.

Andrey started his career in banking industry and his first step was a position of a call-centre specialist in one of the region’s largest banks. Thanks to his strategic thinking, exceptional expertise he was been promoted to Head of the arrears department in a year!

The next point in Andrey’s career path was the construction services company Datcom, where Mr Starovoitov worked for four years as Head of Customer Service.

Upon deciding to pursue a career in IT, Andrey joined SOFTSWISS in 2017 as Game Aggregator Team Lead, a new business unit for the company. Recently, as a result of his growth within the company, Andrey was appointed co-CEO at SOFTSWISS.


Sagi Ifrah, Retention & Data Junior Product Manager, Aspire Global. Award: Rising star.

Sagi Ifrah is Aspire Global’s Games, Retention & Data Junior Product Manager. He constantly works on product improvement and looks for new ways to impress the industry. His role requires not only immense levels of creativity, but also an eye for detail, quick decision-making skills and high efficiency.

Sagi always tries to think outside the box, coming up with ideas which can truly innovate the iGaming industry once fleshed out. This is a unique trait that brings immense added value to Aspire Global. When it comes to Data, Sagi is rapidly evolving, showing great potential to perform even further in this area.


Chen Haitman, Senior Regulation Manager, Aspire Global. Award: Legal and compliance.

Result driven Compliance Manager with vast experience in professionally monitoring and managing corporates’ compliance efforts and regulatory processes.

Background in evaluating testing procedures, preparing for external audits, reviewing reports for regulatory agencies and monitoring oversight procedures with advanced technology.

As part of my role, I collaborate with department heads, management and business partners in the design and implementation of compliance programs, ensuring organization always minimizes operational risk.

Some of my core qualifications include but not limited to monitor compliance activities, regulatory compliance documentation, internal investigation and audits, and negotiate with enforcement agencies.


Ahmed Baker, Director of Business Development, Pragmatic Play. Award: Business Development.

Ahmed Baker, Director of Business Development at Pragmatic Play, has had a momentous year of professional achievements for the leading multi-product provider.

As a key cog in the supplier’s sales team, he has been instrumental in the delivery of numerous global partnerships and the introduction of Pragmatic Play to new markets, while maintaining the company’s impressive momentum in established markets.

Baker offers multi-faceted experience within the Account Management field where he has utilized his analytical skills, quick learning, and critical thinking to ensure proper processes to better streamline operations within the iGaming sector.

His skills have also afforded him the ability create and implement cost savings and efficiency driven procedures to optimize team function and drive down overall cost. Baker’s keen attention to detail, solid work ethic, and passion for the Account Management field have provided positive feedback at each career interval.


Marina Ostrovtsova, Executive Director, BGaming. Award: Leadership.

Marina Ostrovtsova is an Executive director at BGaming. She leads a game development studio, providing the necessary oversight to help the team achieve its goals. She also oversees the company’s ongoing expansion efforts into new markets.

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Intercultural Communications, she continued her education in the field of Innovation Management.

She started her iGaming career at SoftSwiss, where she worked as an account manager for almost 4 years. As an account manager, Marina mastered her industry knowledge by diving into all the challenges that operators face. In February 2018, the SoftSwiss portfolio of casino games rebranded under the “BGaming” name, and Marina joined the BGaming studio as an executive director.

Since joining the studio in 2018, Marina still participates in almost all the company projects building smooth, transparent processes and assembling a team of unique industry professionals.

Led by Marina, BGaming has become the pioneer in supporting cryptocurrencies and the first major iGaming provider to introduce the “provable fairness” feature in online slots.


Nadiya Attard, COO, Relax Gaming. Award: Business development.

Nadiya Attard was appointed to the role of CCO of Relax Gaming earlier having been the Director of Sales at the company before that.

With almost 20 years of industry experience spanning both B2B and B2C operations, she held several senior positions at NetEnt, which she joined in 2013 after five years with Betfair, with former positions at companies including Pari Match, Marathonbet and Microgaming.

Nadiya successfully led multiple projects relating to business development and global expansion into new and regulated markets.

She joined Relax Gaming in a period of strategic growth, as it continues to expand its geographical reach with the continued addition of sought-after operators and reputable platform providers.


Aliaksei Douhin, Head of Jackpot Aggregator, SOFTSWISS. Award: Product and innovation.

SOFTSWISS Head of Jackpot Aggregator Aliaksei Douhin graduated from two universities ten years apart.

Aliaksei studied technical disciplines at the university where he began his academic career (the country’s leading technical university, the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics) and committed to economics and management at the Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics.

In the years that followed Aliaksei’s graduation, he immersed himself in the world of iGaming and has been honing his expertise in it for over 20 years.

For the last 20 years, Aliaksei’s career has been associated with the iGaming industry. Aliaksei was responsible for developing and implementing specialised gaming systems, games, and electronic entertainment equipment at various points in his career.

Aliaksei has held numerous roles throughout the years, from technical specialist to CEO.

Aliaksei’s extensive experience in creating jackpot systems has aided him in developing a truly innovative product for the SOFTSWISS product portfolio.

Aliaksei joined SOFTSWISS in early 2020 as Head of SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, an innovative multifunctional solution for managing jackpots within an iGaming brand.