As far as awards ceremonies go there’s few better in the iGaming industry than the piece de resistance of the year, the eGR awards. This year’s ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening in the party-friendly atmosphere of the Artillery Garden at the HAC in the heart of London’s financial district.
Popular up-and-coming comedian Jack Whitehall will be the master of ceremonies for the event interjecting the presentation of each award with an equal dosing of humour, before the inevitable party later on in the evening.
CalvinAyre.com will provide on-site video coverage of the event, meaning that yes, you can get your hands on the DAF award if you don’t manage to pick up one of the others. How can you win it? It’s easy really – take advantage of the night’s favourable drink offerings and then find the people walking round taking photos and having a ball doing so. That’ll be us.
Apart from the DAF award though, there’s something for everyone to get his or her hands on. Whether it be the prestigious Operator of the Year, or one of the newly created affiliate categories there’s plenty to be had. Who’s likely to win what though?
Well the full list is available here, but we’ll go through a few of the bigger awards and whom we reckon’s going to be walking out the HAC with the award.
With no further ado’s, one of the award’s that will be hotly contested, as it’s taking place at the centre of the iGaming universe, is the UK Sports Betting Award. As with the Sport and iGaming Conference earlier this month, we’ve already seen how important the relationship between them is, and the four companies up for this award are certainly at the forefront of this huge industry.
In Ladbrokes, William Hill Online, Paddy Power, and Betfair we have a group who are extremely hard to separate. Paddy Power has again gone from strength-to-strength with their aggressive investment in the mobile gaming area, which we will come back to later. Betfair’s IPO and floatation cemeted their position as one of the country’s most successful and innovative companies, and last year’s winner will be hard to knock off. Ladbrokes and William Hill were just as they always are, and forever will be – land-based operators who are dabbling in the online game, very successfully mind you. If I were a betting man I’d plump for either Betfair or Paddy Power for this award, but who knows.
Next, we’ve got that all-important mobile gambling sector award. Under this category Paddy Power can expect to be up there, after a year which has seen them launch mobile gambling apps for a number of different systems, signaling their intent for the future. Last year’s winner probability shouldn’t be ruled out for this award, mainly down to the number of contracts they seem to be tying up, but Paddy’s likely to be skipping all the way to the stage, lucky heather in hand with this award.
The award for best European Sports Betting operator is a very significant one; thanks to the aggressive regulation, we have seen across the continent over the past year. If they’ve wiped enough tears away to be able to see properly, Unibet will likely be high on the list after their triumph last year. Mangas Gaming’s Betclic would be my favourite for this award, mainly due to their success in the newly regulated French market, which has been particularly impressive. Bwin shouldn’t be counted for this award, and neither should the Swedish operator Betsson, but I’m sticking with Betclic.
Casino operator is another one of the categories that will be too close to call, the number of high-class operators up for the award almost reaching double figures. The incumbent from last year 888 will be as difficult an opponent as any to dethrone from their win last year, but with operators such as PartyGaming, Sportingbet, and 32Red on the award’s menu, 888 may not make it two years in a row.
The final award of the evening is THE big one. Operator of the Year is what you win to well and truly put your name on the map. It’s like Super Bowl MVP, the Cy Young, FIFA World Player of the Year, and Best Actor at the Oscars all rolled into one.
Last year’s trophy was taken home by Bwin…they’re not even up for it this year, meaning we get a new champion!
The eight companies who will have CEOs penning tearful acceptance speeches are as follows (tip: search Youtube for Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar speech): 888, Bet365, Betfair, Betsson, Gamesys, PartyGaming, Unibet, William Hill Online.
Who’s going to win it though? It’s a very close one to call, but I’d err on the side of caution and go with Bet365 – after all, they were just named as top of the eGR Power 50 so what more proof do you need?
More important than these awards though is the after party that will take place at the same venue, previewed in our very own Becky’s Bender.
Tables are still available and you’d be rather mad to miss the event of the award’s season.