Appointing a new CEO is a big change for a company. It could mean the introduction of a new corporate strategy, a new focus on products and markets, or even a complete overhaul of the brand’s identity. 

In a roundtable with CasinoBeats, we quizzed some of the industry’s newest C-Suite appointees to discuss some of the biggest changes taking place within the igaming sector and their strategies for becoming leading names in 2023.

CasinoBeats: How has igaming evolved since you started in your role? 

Daniel Heywood, Co-Founder and CEO of NuxGame: The enduring change has, without question, been the rise of crypto in igaming. The number of operators who either offer crypto or specialise in it is growing all the time, with big brands like and Rollbit leading the charge. 

This is making all the other operators sit up and ensuring suppliers like NuxGame offer and continue developing new solutions for crypto, like our multi-balance wallet and Web3 crypto wallet integration.

Alex Kornilov, CEO of BETEGY: When I started  back in 2012, affiliate marketing was king – so that was the essential part of discussion. Back then, social media was just an idea – a bit like the blind man feeling the elephant. It was exciting to be part of it all and it was labelled as a golden era of growth so as such, the only way was up! 

The image of the industry since I started a decade ago has also changed for the better. Ten years ago, it was seen as possibly an industry lacking a bit of morality. Let’s take ICE back in 2012 for example – full of sports cars and scantily clad women. 

A decade on, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that we’re a tech industry now – a Monte Carlo shoot off and I am very happy about the change as we’re closer to Silicon Valley than ever before. 

Since the huge changes that have swept this industry, no-one’s impressed with your Rolex anymore or looking to have a glass of whiskey, it’s all about business and that’s only a good thing. 

CasinoBeats: What have been the learnings/highlights you have accumulated since joining?

Ewa Kazmierska, CEO of BF Games: There are no easy years to take on the role of CEO of an ambitious company like BF Games, but the intense geopolitical challenges of 2022 made for steep learning curves. We successfully entered several new European markets in recent months, including Bulgaria and Switzerland, and more is yet to come.

We’ve been developing a less traditional slot offering that appeals to a broad demographic of players. Hitting this balance between classic and innovative slot features has been the most valuable lesson from 2022. This has placed us in good stead to stand out from the crowd and compete comfortably with young and dynamic studios.

Our agility across our entire approach to business, from product development to project management and our decision-making process has also been a significant factor in making this a reality. This has informed our swift reactions to changing priorities and our ability to make the most out of brainstorming opportunities.   

It’s been a year of challenges but one that has proven the value of never giving up, no matter what difficulties are presented. Being consistent and stubborn was the key to 2022 and it will serve us well in the future too.  

Simon Hammon, CEO of Relax Gaming: There’s always a lot to learn when at the helm of a fast-growing company in an increasingly competitive industry. Much of Relax’s growth in recent years has been driven by the casino area, in which I have been heavily involved. 

So while this shift has required some adjustment, my fundamental mindset and approach that have guided development at Relax remain unchanged – it’s more a matter of scaling up those factors up to suit our new opportunities and taking the broader company and employee base into consideration.

Sergei Belikov, CEO of Mobinc: It’s always exciting to discover more about the new technology that has the potential drive a business forward. For instance, we’ve recently started to use artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to enhance our products. 

While this is nothing new, seeing all of this first-hand has been a fantastic learning curve for me. It’s also allowed me to see how these tools can limit challenges, for example, our expertise into real-time data analysis has allowed us to stay on top of challenges around compliance – improving our player protection by enabling us to evaluate and predict risk levels with ease.  

CasinoBeats: How will what you have learned in this position inform your approach to 2023? 

Ewa Kazmierska, CEO of BF Games: We managed to navigate all the struggles of the last few years because of the passion and dedication of our employees. We have an enthusiastic team committed to making games as original and engaging as possible.

I will certainly carry over the trust I have in their abilities to drive our business forward. I will continue to be the bridge that facilitates this success by listening, evaluating and acting effectively. This means being prepared for battles though – I highly endorse having arguments and backing up your judgments, but always being fair. 

All the while, I encourage my team to always have goals – short-term, mid-term and long-term. Enjoy the feeling when these goals are met or exceeded, but always be hungry to achieve more. This will enable us to build our reputation as a modern, reliable and credible studio. In the meantime, we are excited to expand into new and lucrative markets such as those emerging in North America. It’s going to be a big year for igaming and BF games – I can sense it. 

Sergei Belikov, CEO of Mobinc: The industry’s relationship with technology is fascinating. It’s been incredibly enjoyable to identify and utilise such innovations to position Mobinc as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. In the next 12 months, we’re going to see huge strides with technology continuing to advance. 

We look forward to taking what we’ve learned about artificial intelligence and its potential to revolutionise the way we use data. This promises to elevate our ability to detect fraud, prevent abuse and optimise campaign costs. This will allow us to decrease churn rates, improve retention and allow us to exceed the expectations of customers in 2023. 

Simon Hammon, CEO of Relax Gaming:  The success of any good company boils down to its employees, who must be driven, focused, and happy. Ensuring this throughout 2023 and beyond is a priority for me while we navigate this volatile market. 

If recent years have taught me anything, it’s to embrace regulatory change and that flexibility in decision-making is essential. Continuous and aggressive regulatory change is a reality that we need to contend with, especially as expanding our footprint into global regulated spaces remains a key focus for us this year. 

While facing these shifts can be a challenge, we believe that quality is king and that engaging, innovative games will always stand out in a crowded market. These lessons served us well throughout our record-breaking 2022 and I’m excited to bring everything I’ve learned into 2023.

CasinoBeats: Given that growth, where would you like to see the industry steer in 2023? 

Daniel Heywood, Co-Founder and CEO, NuxGame: It’s not so much where I’d like to see the industry go, as where I can see it heading at rapid speed: ever-quicker adoption of crypto. 

Traditional payments will lose their grip on the market, players will have much easier access to operators across borders which are no longer there, and operator revenues will climb accordingly. If you’re not on the rocket ship, you need to ask yourself why.

Alex Kornilov, CEO of BETEGY: Efficiency is the main buzzword within all of this and what we are trying to achieve. We’re a tech industry, so it’s all about hard wired KPIs. Everything needs to be measurable value-based spend such as display ads, programmatic ads, AI-driven CRM, you name it – that’s what it’s all about in the year ahead and it fills me with excitement to see the industry taking this course.

The US is specifically a case in question, where customer acquisition is so competitive – look at DraftKings and FanDuel in terms of sportsbooks and where they are heading. They have a real dominance across the Atlantic and I expect that to continue to be the case heading into 2023.