Top Two Most Influential People in Online Gambling
Posted in Industry December 30, 2019

Top Two Most Influential People in Online Gambling

In the delivery of the best and most exciting gambling experience, we often refer to the top online casinos and leading gambling companies. For example, in the highly-competitive European and the United Kingdom gambling markets, the likes of Kindred, 888 Holdings Plc, GVC, and William Hill dominate the list. And when it comes to software vendors and game designers, Playtech, NetEnt and Microgaming lead the race. 

Although the company and brand names dominate the industry and your options, the real force behind these brands is real persons with a strong commitment to the games and the satisfaction of players and stakeholders. And when it comes to the people who power the industry, there’s a shortlist of the ‘who’s who’ that dominate the conversations. They are the ones who can steer the company to new markets, push the green light (or stop) to innovations, and command attention in an industry filled with competing voices and interests. In celebration of their contributions to the growth of the gambling industry, we take a look at the two most influential people in online gambling.

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Kenny Alexander of GVC

The name may not ring a bell for many casual casino players but for enthusiasts and those who know the ins and outs of online gambling, Mr. Alexander is the king of them all. What shaped the reputation of Kenny is not how profitable the company is (GVC started with €55m) or how large the network of operators is. His reputation is built on one important reason: his decision to invest in the ‘grey markets’.

First, a few words about the ‘grey markets’ and the stand of the established operators in the business. In online gambling, operators are only allowed to operate in markets where some existing laws and regulations govern the services and delivery of games. And there are areas too where the laws are not that clearly defined. This is where Kenny Alexander found a competitive advantage in the business.

When he entered his old firm, the company was struggling with revenue of €55m and was not considered top-tier. And with a business model that focuses on less-popular markets like Brazil and Germany, GVC is a certified second-rate operator. But things changed in 2012 when he decided to take his former company as part of the deal with William Hill that’s poised to control the Spanish and Australian markets. GVC took charge and included a few ‘grey markets’ into the fold and it was considered by many as the start of the ascendancy of Kenny Alexander. He transformed Sportingbet and made stakeholders happy and industry observers paid attention.

While the other players in the industry focused on the established markets, Kenny Alexander took the risk. Faced with concerns regarding UIGEA and the ‘Black Friday’, the CEO took bold steps and collected the dividends. Today, it’s now common to hear executives discussing their plans to enter ‘grey markets’ like Canada or Japan.

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Denise Coates

In late 2018, Guardian ran a story about Denise Coates as the ‘best-paid woman in the world’. In the article, it was confirmed that Coates earned a record-breaking £265m pay packet which is three times the size of the compensation package of Tim Cook of Apple. And this was not the first time that she received an enormous compensation package. A year earlier, she took home £217m from the profits of the company. 

So who is Denise Coates and what’s with the growing attention on her activities and yes, the compensation package? 

Well, she’s the co-CEO of Bet365, a family-owned gambling business that’s raking big money today. She was credited for building the company from ground up after she purchased the Bet365.com domain from eBay for $25,000. Soon, she initiated borrowings to fund the development of the business particularly its leading sports betting technology. The company may not be the leader in different aspects of online gambling but Bet365 is known for delivering the best services. For example, it’s cashout services is one of the best in the business.

The company was not the first to go mobile but it manages to create the best mobile user experience for its customers. Under her leadership, Bet365 managed to marry industry-leading technologies with shrewd marketing initiatives. For example, the TV ad that featured actor Ray Winstone redefined the way advertising is designed and executed.

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Well, the success of Bet365 is not just attributed to one person. This is unfair to another important person to the company, co-CEO John Coates, her brother. Compared to Denise, John focuses on the strategy for marketing and regulatory efforts which are equally critical in the business. Together with Jon Moss as Head of the International Development, Bet365 managed to enter several profitable markets.

Adding to the glowing resume of Ms. Coates is her commitment to charities. She’s a regular contributor to the Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Douglas Macmillan Hospice.

Together with Kenny Alexander of GVC, Ms. Coates helped redefine gambling in the last decade. And it will not be surprising to know if these two personalities retain their influence and power in the next decade and onwards.

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