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.

Winners

5 Star Top 20 Awards winners 2021

Biography

Lena Yasir, Vice President of Malta Operations, Pragmatic Play. Award: Leadership.

Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) she built significant iGaming industry knowledge across different companies with Ongame Network, Evolution Gaming and Play’n Go with over 12 years of iGaming knowledge.

She joined Pragmatic Play in August 2018 after moving from Play’n Go, where she played an integral role in establishing the Malta office and operations, she was responsible for setting up the account management and sales departments and was highly involved marketing, compliance and the product development strategy.

Biography

Andrea Boratto, CEO, WordlMatch. Award: Leadership.

Andrea studied at the University of Padua (mechanical engineer) and after he enters the military school for engineering officers of the Italian Army.

He served as a paratrooper lieutenant and after the military leave, Andrea founded WorldMatch, becoming one of the first real pioneers in the industry. After bringing WorldMatch to Malta he contributed to the first draft of the Malta regulations on gambling, even auditing some of the technical key points.

In 2004 he obtains the first online gambling license in Malta. Since 2001 he has been the CEO of WorldMatch and still to this day is constantly working to strengthen the company’s name and offer all over the world. For more than two decades Andrea has been guiding WorldMatch to maintain its spot as a leading company in the gaming industry.

Biography

Claire McDaid, VP of Bingo, Pragmatic Play. Award: Product and innovation.

A highly experienced senior P&L owner with a proven record of accomplishing growth results, McDaid has previously headed up multiple functions from operations, brand marketing, customer retention and product development for leading operators including GVC, , Rank Group and GalaCoral.

A strategic thinker, McDaid is process-driven using customer insight and data to deliver lucrative ROIs and launch best-in-class products. Passionate about results, she is proactive with a focus on EBITA objectives whilst keeping customer needs central to all actions. Dedicated to team development through mentoring and coaching , a highly effective communicator and comfortable in influencing stakeholders.

Since joining Pragmatic Play in 2018, the Bingo product was launched under her stewardship and has gone from strength to strength.

Biography

Huw Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer, Digital at Scientific Games. Award: Marketing.

The success of Scientific Games’ OpenGaming and OpenSports product suites in the previous 12 months has been driven in part by a clearly defined corporate and marketing strategy.

Through the vision and leadership of Huw Thomas, Chief Marketing Officer, Digital at Scientific Games, these leading products have proven eye-catching to some of the world’s leading operators.

The brand awareness and marketing strategies deployed have undoubtedly played a part in the numerous commercial deals secured by our team in recent months. This includes new agreements with BetMGM, Entain, FanDuel, Golden Nugget and many other world-class operators who entrust our services to propel their online offerings.

Biography

Dima Reiderman, Chief Operations Officer, BtoBet. Award: Rising star.

Dima Reiderman joined BtoBet’s ranks from parent company, Aspire Global, where he served as Chief Operations Officer for over two years. Throughout his career he garnered wide experience in strategic leadership and a strong industry knowledge, playing an integral role in the growth and success of Aspire Global throughout his seven-year tenure.

His experience and leadership are focused on developing and delivering technology-driven business services and solutions, providing outstanding client service, and driving profitable revenue growth. His main aim is not only to ensure that BtoBet excels with its sportsbook product in new markets but also to maintain leading positions in emerging markets such as Africa and Latin America.

Biography

Cathryn Lai, SVP and General Manager, U.S., Digital at Scientific Games. Award: Operations.

Scientific Games has significantly expanded its presence across the burgeoning US market this year, with several high profile digital sports betting and iGaming launches. Cathryn Lai, SVP and General Manager, U.S, has been at the heart of SG Digital’s commercial delivery, ensuring a smooth onboarding process that delivers strong customer satisfaction.

Cathryn is responsible for SG Digital’s U.S. operations, which has experienced significant growth following several new commercial wins across the division’s iGaming and sports betting product areas.

Biography

George Shamugia, CEO, Singular. Award: Leadership.

George Shamugia, the CEO and co-founder of Singular has an educational background in Computer Science and a deep understanding of the FinTech industry. George has more than 10 years of experience within the iGaming industry with a special focus on Platform development with high scalability demands. Shamugia holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of East London and has wide experience with Mobile APP developments.

He is particularly knowledgeable in building applications for next billion users across Africa and other emerging markets. Although holding a managerial position within the company, he is actively engaged in the development of the company’s technological vision and architecture.

Biography

Iva Tomova, Head of Retention, Aspire Global. Award: Operations.

Always available 24/7 to ensure that customers get the best possible service. She manages a team of 17 Retention execs via a very structured framework with clear targets and expectations. She has also put in place a very effective attribution system that measured how much value each of her team members drive every month making it easy to monitor performance and to take decisions.

Iva has been with Aspire Global for almost 10 years. Over the years, Iva has grown into the natural leader she is today. She is loved by her team and her colleagues alike and is no doubt set for bigger and better things going forward.

Biography

Luca Galli, Director of Business Development, Pragmatic Play. Award: Business development.

After completing a degree in Languages in Italy in 1995, Galli worked in sales for the family construction companies until 2007, where he joined an Italian operator soon after the regulation in Italy was announced. After a six-year stint at Puntomatch, Galli joined MyBet before working with Betsson brand StarCasino.

In 2017, Galli joined Pragmatic Play where he has continued to excel as Director of Business Development.

With a strong 360 knowledge of the gaming business, including both B2C and B2B, as well as technical, legal, financial and product knowledge, Galli’s well-rounded profile has allowed him to drive Pragmatic Play’s new business strategy.

Biography

Rob Procter, Content Specialist Director, SG Digital. Award: Product and innovation.

Scientific Games has a proud legacy for developing quality slots that are enjoyed by players worldwide. To maintain our position as a leading game studio, it is vital that we continue to do everything possible to keep on improving the player experience. Our in-house team is steeped in that history and has a love for slots that comes through in the final products that we are producing at the moment.

Rob Procter, Content Specialist Director at SG Digital, is a key figure in our development process and has been highly influential in the high standard of games that have been released this year.

Biography

Ruth Tannock, Head of Customer Operations, Aspire Global. Award: Operations.

Ruth was promoted to Head of CS in November and right away made great improvements in all KPIs. CSAT is at an all time high and Propensity to Contact is the lowest we’ve seen in the past 10 months. She has also done a number of changes improving the quality of our service and in the organization structure of the team. All this over and above all the challenges brought about by the pandemic with more than 75 heads based in Malta and Kiev working remotely.

Ruth has been with Aspire Global for over 8 years and has gone from strength to strength, rising up through the ranks to her current position as head of customer operations.

Biography

Dylan Slaney, SVP Gaming, Digital at Scientific Games. Award: Leadership.

OpenGaming by Scientific Games remains the industry’s leading content aggregation platform, thanks in part to the hard work and leadership shown by our SVP Gaming, Dylan Slaney. In recent months, the OGS aggregation platform has grown significantly with new content added from several of the industry’s biggest providers, including Evolution, NetEnt and Playtech, as well as exciting new games from the sector’s rising stars, such as ELK Studios and Hacksaw Gaming.

The recent acquisition of Lightning Box adds a new wave of games to the inhouse studios. The rich and premium iGaming content available through OpenGaming is what makes it such an appealing proposition for operators worldwide, with Dylan and his team completely focused on ensuring the overall offering evolves in line with market trends.

Dylan is responsible for leading the division that powers SG Digital’s gaming strategy.

Biography

Ivan Montik, CEO, SOFTSWISS. Award: Leadership.

Ivan Montik is the founder of SOFTSWISS, BGaming, Merkeleon. Technology has always been among his top interests. At school Ivan started learning the basics of programming on his own which then led him to studying Information Technology at the Belarussian State University.

However, Mr. Montik found business just as fascinating as high tech, so he decided to combine both: Ivan studied management and finance and got a Master’s Degree in Economics.

That was followed by several years of corporate management in a bank, certain experience in oil trading, and a leading position in a large mass media project.

And then Ivan was fit for starting something on his own: since 2009, he has been running a number of successful projects in IT, fintech, iGaming. He was the first to introduce Bitcoin into the online entertainment industry in 2013: Ivan founded CoinsPaid and Cryptoprocessing.com, crypto payment processing solutions for e-commerce, PSP, iGaming, and streaming.Today the group of companies founded by Mr. Montik employs almost 800 people worldwide.

Ivan Montik is a passionate supporter of democratic rights and freedom of speech, He collaborated with the OSCE mission at the 2004 and 2008 parliamentary elections and the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus.

Biography

Jordan Levin, Group CEO, Digital at Scientific Games. Award: Leadership.

The Digital division of Scientific Games has experienced tremendous growth in the previous 12 months, with Group CEO Jordan Levin’s unrivalled leadership skills and industry experience proving vital in the company’s recent success.

Under the stewardship of Jordan, SG Digital’s OpenSports and OpenGaming ecosystems have remained the pinnacle of the industry’s platform propositions, delivering premium products at scale for the world’s biggest operators.

This has driven several high-profile commercial agreements, with BetMGM, Entain, FanDuel, Golden Nugget and many other world-class operators entrusting our services to propel their online offerings.

Jordan is responsible for defining the business group’s global digital gaming and sports betting strategic direction, overseeing all functions of the business and capitalizing on new growth opportunities and markets.

Biography

Boris Chaikin, CEO, Soft2Bet. Award: Leadership.

Boris Chaikin, the CEO of Soft2Bet, is a business executive with over twenty years of background within the iGaming sphere. He has created and developed the company’s vision and mission to promote suitable management inputs regarding social responsibility, training, diversification, responsible gambling, and engagement.

Boris brings a wealth of competence in developing and managing divisions that include CRM, marketing, customer support, and general operations. In addition, he possesses profound insight into many facets of the business, covering hands-on experience in both operations and strategic management.

Following his attentive supervision, Soft2Bet has expanded to three international offices. Boris has built up and directed the growth of the company’s long-term strategy and effective business culture.

Biography

Valentina Bagniya, Chief Marketing Officer, SOFTSWISS. Award: Marketing.

Valentina Bagniya is a professional Marketing Manager with more than 15 years of practical experience and strong skills in Marketing Strategy, Market Research, Management, Trade Marketing.

Valentina has a bachelor’s degree of Information & Communication and Master degree of Business Administration from Belarus State University.She started her career in marketing as a Research specialist, this exactly developed her deep analytical skills.

But she got her general experience in strategic marketing and brand building in the international companies such as British American Tobacco, Heineken and Nestle where she grew from Junior Executive to Senior Brand Manager.

After international experience Valentina held the position of Head of Marketing in regional companies (spirits and beer) where she developed and implemented successful marketing strategies that led to brands strength and market share growth.

Valentina also teaches an MBA course at the business school. After her brilliant career in the FMCG industry, Valentina decided to challenge herself and move into the IT industry – so in September 2020, she began the journey with SOFTSWISS.

Biography

Liesbeth Oost, Sustainability Manager, Aspire Global. Award: Rising star.

Liesbeth Oost joined Aspire Global as the company’s first-ever in-house Sustainability Manager. Since joining last year, Liesbeth’s passion for her role has truly shone through and she has succeeded in continually educating the company about all things sustainability.

Since the area of sustainability encompasses such a broad range of topics, Liesbeth manages to break it down so everyone can not only understand it but find areas of it interesting.

From diversity, the environment (both digital and local), and above all else, responsible gaming, Liesbeth ensures Aspire Global’s sustainability targets remain on track.

She has been a crucial part of the company becoming carbon neutral and is always coming up with new and exciting ways to get employees involved with greener activities.
Liesbeth helped to organize a beach clean-up where employees collected rubbish and one of Malta’s best beaches.

As well as this, she led a project which saw a fun and informative video created with two Aspire employees encouraging employees to choose a green route to work.

She serves as a company ambassador, attending panels and conferences, talking about sustainability and the way Aspire Global approaches it and always represents the company in the best light.

Liesbeth joined Aspire Global in 2020 and already made her mark on the company. Liesbeth is motivated and spreads the word of Sustainability in an interesting and exciting way.

Biography

Gilad Naim, Customer Operations Director, Aspire Global. Award: Leadership.

Gilad was promoted to Customer Operations Director earlier this year and immediately hit the ground running deploying a number of tools and improvements related to responsible gambling. He has ensured that that the business can grow in a sustainable manner whilst customers are always protected.

Gilad has been with Aspire Global for over 8 years and has proven his loyalty, determination and skill in his field of work. Gilad has risen through the ranks and has shown himself to be a strong leader.

Biography

Max Trafimovich, Chief Commercial Officer, SOFTSWISS. Award: Business development.

Max Trafimovich is the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at SOFTSWISS. He has been working for the company for almost 8 years, actively participating in the extraordinary growth of SOFTSWISS from a rising tech star to an acclaimed industry leader.

Max holds a bachelor’s degree from Belarus State Economic University. His areas of expertise are International Business Management and International Economics.

While at university, Max won the Global UGRAD Fellowship established by the US Department of State. He spent a year in Minnesota attending university courses in Corporate Finance and Professional Selling among others.

Max’s initial career steps were made in the field of Business Intelligence and website analytics. He joined SOFTSWISS as a Business Development Manager in 2013.

At that time the company counted 40 employees, quite far from the 800 people strong operation with global presence it is now.Max has strong analytical abilities, a systematic approach, strategic thinking, perseverance and an open mind that help him to achieve all the goals set to him.

Biography

Ashley Lang, CEO, Pragmatic Solutions. Award: Leadership.

Working in the gambling industry for more than 20 years Ashley Lang brings a profound understanding of the iGaming industry having worked with Mansion and serving as Odobo CEO for five years. Lang currently holds a non-executive role at betting giant Bet365.

Ashley joined Pragmatic Solutions to tell this story and deliver intelligent platform technology to our operator partners. I am excited about the next phase for Pragmatic Solutions and our operator partners.