The judging panel

Our panel of expert judges are carefully selected for their wealth of experience, ranging from former executives of public companies and household-name gambling brands, highly successful entrepreneurs and key advisers to the industry. Judges are assigned a group of categories that match their expertise and avoid any of conflict of interest.

Ed Birkin
Leisure analyst, Credit Suisse
Ed Birkin has worked as a leisure analyst since 2007, specialising in the European gaming stocks. Before joining Credit Suisse in 2013, Ed worked at Dresdner Kleinwort and Barclays Capital, also focusing on the European gaming sector. His reports on the sector have been requested by both the UK Government and the Gambling Commission.

Daniel Burns
Director, Carbon Group

Karl Burns
Associate director,
travel and leisure research

Panmure Gordon

Karl Burns joined Panmure Gordon in April 2012, prior to this he spent five years working as a travel and leisure analyst at Shore Capital. Panmure Gordon’s travel and leisure team was ranked second in the 2014 Extel survey.

Michael Byrne
Michael Byrne is a senior executive in gaming, currently exploring new opportunities. He is the former head of mobile at William Hill, CCO at Probability and until recently held the role of senior director of interactive at GTECH, an IGT company.

Ian Chuter
Gambling Consultant
Ian Chuter has worked in both the land based and online gambling Industry for the last 30 years. His most recent roles have been at William Hill and Betfair whereas Group Operations Director he was part of a management team that saw the companies through significant change and subsequent success.

Steve Donoughue
Gambling consultant GamblingConsultant.co.uk
Steve Donoughue has been a management consultant specialising in the business strategy and politics of the gambling industry for the last 20 years. Becoming KPMG's gambling consultant after working at the University of Salford's Centre for the Study of Gambling, Steve has been a freelance consultant for the majority of his career, working around the world on both online and bricks and mortar projects. He has advised most of the major operators and suppliers, governments, trade associations and regulators over this period. Most recently Steve has advised the government of the Turks & Caicos Islands on overhauling their gambling laws and the Dutch Finance Ministry on Casinos Holland. Steve has spoken at, chaired and designed a multitude of gambling conferences over the years and has published many articles, mostly on UK gambling politics. Steve is the Secretariat of the UK Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group, a part-time PhD student at the University of Westminster where he is researching the history of the Gambling Act 2005 and in 2011/12, Steve was Special Adviser to the UK Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee inquiry into gambling.

Chris Harrison
Industry head, Google
Chris Harrison is an industry head at Google overseeing the gambling and financial trading industries. As part of his role, Chris spends a lot of time working with large advertisers, helping them to overcome their biggest digital marketing challenges. Prior to joining Google, Chris was head of UK online marketing at Betfair, responsible for all online, mobile and social marketing activity.

Patrick Jay
Partner, Regulus Partners
Patrick Jay has spent more than 20 years on the front line and at the cutting edge of the sports betting sector in Europe and Asia. Whilst looking after multibillion US Dollars in annual betting turnover, he has also assisted on a number of external bodies – World Lotteries Association, European Lotteries, European Sports Security Association, INTERPOL, FIFA etc. As a partner at Regulus Partners, Patrick consults to the global digital and land based betting and gaming as well as sports sectors.

Ivor Jones
Director, travel and leisure equity research
Numis Securities

Ivor Jones joined Schroders in 1987 as a graduate trainee in the corporate finance department, moving to corporate broking and then to work in the Chairman's office. He started covering leisure companies in 1998, latterly as head of the European leisure team at Citigroup. He left Citi in 2006 and, after periods at Panmure Gordon and Evolution Securities, joined Numis in February 2010.

Alex Kovach
Former managing director, Camelot
Alex Kovach has broad, commercial and digital experience with over 14 years’ online experience in media, gaming and lottery. At Camelot he was the managing director for global services where he was responsible for driving international growth. He led and won the bid to manage the Irish lottery for 20 years. Alex was the CEO for international development at Ladbrokes, the world leader in global betting and gaming market for over six years. During his time here, he helped create a Hong Kong-based Chinese Lottery company. Prior to Ladbrokes, Alex was vice president of portal and communication for Lycos Europe, a digital media platform. Other experience includes a senior consultant at PwC, focusing on marketing, and the UK consumer marketing manager for Shell.

Alen Lang
Director, Coloring Up
Alen Lang is director of Coloring Up – a company established by him in 2013 to provide commercial support to online betting and gaming operators and suppliers wishing to develop businesses outside of their core products and markets. Prior to this, Alen performed the lead development role for PartyGaming and bwin.party from 2005 to 2013. Alen was also managing director of the Group’s London office.

Vaughan Lewis
Executive director, Morgan Stanley
Vaughan Lewis has worked in the city for 11 years, initially as a portfolio manager with Isis with a global mandate. He joined the award winning European Leisure research team at Morgan Stanley in 2004, now holding an executive director position. Vaughan was ranked 4th highest individual leisure analyst in the recent Extel survey.

Geoff Read
CEO, Dab Gaming
Geoff Read has been in the gaming industry for over 12 years, previously finance director at Foxy Bingo before its sale to Party Gaming, CEO of Mfuse before its sale to Nektan and now co-founder and CEO of Dab Gaming, the leading supplier of freemium bingo games. Geoff’s main passion is the designing and building of feature rich, compelling and strongly monetising games across the bingo, casino, poker and sports betting verticals and Dab’s first freemium game BINGODAB is performing strongly across iOS and Android devices with a single player version of the game due for launch soon and partners including the Express Newspaper and OK! Magazine with four more due to be announced.

Andrew Reader
Director, Velo Partners
Andrew Reader comes from an investment banking background having spent the last 8 years covering technology and consumer businesses, with a core focus on gaming and gambling companies. He currently sits on or observes the boards within the Velo portfolio and continues to manage portfolio development and new investments. Starting his career at Jefferies, Andrew went on to consumer-focussed advisory boutique McQueen (since merged with Houlihan Lokey) where he was a key member of the execution team covering leisure and gaming. Following McQueen, Andrew joined NewShore Partners (since merged with Stella Advisors) where he worked on the strategic development and growth of its gaming portfolio as well as advise across all gaming mandates. Andrew holds a BSc in Business Administration from the University of Bath and holds an ICAEW diploma in Corporate Finance.

David Sargeant
Founder and innovation consultant
iGaming Ideas

David Sargeant has 14 years’ experience in the gambling and technology sectors driving new products and innovation. He works as a consultant for leading gaming operators and product suppliers, and runs a startup incubator specific to the iGaming space – www.igamingideas.com.

Dominic Stammers
Partner, BDO
Dominic Stammers is an audit partner within BDO’s betting and gaming unit. Dominic has advised clients within the leisure industry, with a focus on the betting and gaming industry, over the last 15 years working with fully listed, AiM listed, privately backed international groups across the sector.

Kieran Storan
Partner, BDO
Kieran Storan has been involved in the leisure industry for over 30 years with a particular focus on online gaming for the last 10 years both in the UK and overseas. His key clients include the largest listed and private operators acting as audit partner, undertaking IPO and acquisition due diligence work as well as advising in growth strategies and planning.

Dan Waugh
Partner, Regulus Partners
Dan Waugh has operated at a senior management level in gaming and the broader leisure industry for more than a decade. For four years, he was strategy director at The Rank Group, including heading Government Relations and Customer Insights, having previously been director of corporate investments and director of investor relations. Prior to joining Rank, Dan spent more than five years at Whitbread, where he was head of investor relations. Dan offers a broad range of expertise – from strategic planning to government relations – and a wealth of experience in the gaming sector. In addition, his creation of Rank's International Outreach programme has allowed him to develop extensive global knowledge and a network of contacts in the gaming industry.

Headline categories final judging day

The headline categories are our most hotly contested Awards, and are subject to a unique final judging process.

All companies shortlisted for the nine categories will have the opportunity to send one representative per category they are shortlisted in to present their submission(s) in person to the judging panel. Each shortlisted company will have 5 minutes to present to the judging panel, followed by 5 minutes Q&A.

This will take place on Thursday 15 October at The Langham in London.

The headline categories:

Affiliate of the year (for affiliates only)
Bingo operator
Casino operator
Mobile operator
Operator of the year
Poker operator
Rising star
Socially responsible operator
Sports betting operator

If you are entering any of the categories above, please note this unique opportunity in your diary and if relevant for you, you will be contacted as soon as the shortlist is announced.

Please note that all the other categories are subject to the standard final judging process below.

The judging process

The judging process is rigorous and thorough to ensure that all the entries receive full consideration and that the true winners are chosen. All judges are required to sign a disclaimer form to keep all information about companies and the final winners confidential, prior to beginning this process.

Shortlist judging: Judges will review all the entries based on the criteria and will then take part in a conference call, where the shortlist will be decided. The shortlist will be announced on Friday 2 October.

Final judging: Judges will re-review the entries based on the criteria and will then take part in a conference call, where the winners will be decided. The winners will be announced on Monday 23 November at the awards ceremony.

Please note that the judging period is from 1 August 2014 – 31 July 2015.