What started with humble beginnings, the online gambling industry now generates tens of billions of pounds in revenue each year, and if the forecasts are accurate, the industry will be worth north of £100 billion within the next ten years.
Strangely, there was a time when leading names, including Ladbrokes and William Hill, insisted that online betting and gambling was merely a fad, and punters wouldn’t turn their back on the high street. It’s safe to say; those predictions have proven to be slightly wide of the mark, which brings our attention to the top CEOs of the online casino gambling industry. These are the people who have propelled this juggernaut to record-breaking levels through their vision and unbreakable determination to succeed.
Itai Pazner – CEO of 888
888 is one of the most recognisable online gambling companies in the world, operating bingo, sports betting, poker, and, of course, the iconic 888casino. The company was founded by two sets of brothers in 1997, and Itai Pazner joined the firm in 2001. Having worked his way up through the ranks, Itai became the CEO in 2019, and he’s now regarded as one of the most influential figures in the industry.
In a recent interview at ICE 2020, he stated his commitment and desire to continue driving the industry forward through innovation. 888casino is renowned for exclusive in-house slots, live dealer tables, and classic card games, like https://www.highstakesblackjack.co.uk/888-casino/.
Denise Coates – Joint CEO of bet365
No list of the most successful online gambling casino CEOs would be complete without mentioning Denise Coates, who founded bet365 in 2000. Raised in a family of bookmakers, Ms Coates saw the potential in the online market early on. When bet365 first launched, it was focused on sports betting, but other products, such as bingo, poker and a first-class casino, have since been added.
bet365 is now one of the world’s largest online gambling companies with more than $2 billion in revenue each year, and Ms Coates is said to have a personal fortune upward of $10 billion. Hard work, attention to detail and a stern focus on customer experience have made bet365 what it is today, and this is evident from the numerous accolades Denise Coates has received for her services to the industry.
Peter Jackson – CEO of Flutter Entertainment
Not everyone follows the same path to be a CEO of a top online gambling company. While people like Itai Pazner and Denise Coates have dedicated nearly all of their adult life to the industry, Peter Jackson’s journey to CEO of Flutter Entertainment came by way of Lloyds Banks, Banco Santander, and Worldpay UK.
Having been Flutter’s CEO since 2018, Jackson was instrumental in the acquisition-merger of The Stars Group, which further enriched this company’s portfolio of brands to include Paddy Power, Betfair, PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, Sky Casino, Sky Bet, Sky Poker, Sportsbet (Aus), and several others. While not doubting Mr Jackson’s passion for the industry, his resume suggests that his appointment is more geared to the financial business side of things, which is great news for shareholders.
Gustav Hagman – CEO of LeoVegas
From McDonald’s to the CEO of a hugely successful online casino – that’s the story of Gustav Hagman. Admittedly, he worked for McDonald’s while still in high school, but one’s origins should not hold you back.
Hagman, an economics graduate, has been involved in gaming and gambling for most of his working life and he founded LeoVegas in 2011. He recalls noticing the start of a trend in mobile casinos, but existing operators were trying to force their desktop casinos onto mobile screens. Realising this wasn’t going to cut the mustard, Hagman and Robin Ramm-Ericson decided to build a mobile casino from scratch, and that’s when LeoVegas – the King of Mobile Casinos – was born.
The right thing at the right time – LeoVegas hit the ground running, and under Hagman’s astute leadership, the company has flourished. Along with 888, LeoVegas Casino is now available in most of the world’s regulated markets; such has been the immense growth of this company.
A Final Word
We wanted to include Peter Jackson in the top CEO list to highlight that people can come into this industry from other walks of life. However, he is certainly an exception. Most of the current successful online casino CEOs have gaming and gambling entertainment in their blood. Some, like Mr Pazner, have risen the ranks, while others, notably Ms Coates and Gustav Hagman, started with their own idea, and they had the strength and conviction to bring their visions into reality.
Even with the online casino sector now going through many changes, these CEOs appear well-equipped to steer the industry through into the next phase.