Happy Holidays from CalvinAyre.com


It would be a serious understatement to say 2020 was a heck of a year. In January at ICE London, there was already some unease about the coronavirus. Little did we know how much our industry and our world would change.

The Ayre Media team is adaptable. Our office staff were all sent home the second week of March and we’ve yet to go back. Everyone from the writers to the people behind the scenes posting articles, creating images and handling all of our IT needs were able to adjust to working from home. Never having to get out of your pajama bottoms proved a big incentive.

We’re also innovative. 2020 was supposed to be a busy year with our team heading to conferences on four continents. But with travel off the table, the last conference I attended was ICE London. Thanks to the innovative nature of conference organizers – including SBC, SiGMA, Clarion, Reed, and so many others – the virtual conference was the place to see and be seen.

Sure, we weren’t able to toss back a few pints at the end of the day – at least, not in person – but we could still see familiar faces, learn about new trends and make deals, all from the comfort of home. I don’t know if much will open up in 2021, but until we can meet face to face, it’s still great to meet up screen to screen.

Finally, we’re privileged. The online gambling industry allows an easy transition for their teams to work from home. There might have been a few internet upgrades and a rush on webcams, but our industry has fared well compared to essential workers and our brethren in the land-based gambling sector. When we’re allowed back, don’t forget to tip your dealer.

It’s the holidays, so there’s no need for an overly detailed look back on the year’s awful events. Still, the CalvinAyre.com team took a moment to think about the positives that we as an industry experienced, and what we personally were able to salvage from 2020.

Becky Liggero-Fontana

After jetting around the world to gambling industry events continuously since 2005, this year has undoubtedly been a complete 180 for me. Despite the lack of travel, I’ve been able to keep in contact with dozens of industry professionals via my Skype Video interviews, and for this, I am so very thankful.

I’ve also grown to appreciate my time at home base and relish in the “smaller things”- going for a jog in the local park, enjoying that fresh coffee first thing in the morning and having more time for stretching and yoga all excite me much these days. Or maybe it’s just because I’m an old lady now (editor’s note: LIES!).

Next year, I cannot wait to deliver fresh video content to our viewers and to see all my iGaming pals and colleagues again in person.

Daniel Gardner

While the last 12 months allowed me to discover the joys of Belarusian soccer and competitive marble racing, I’m grateful for spending more time with the family. I’m hoping that in 2021 that the time with family and friends continues as the world gets back to normal.

Paul Seaton

While 2020 has been difficult for virtually everyone, I found that connecting with people helped me immensely, and many others, get through the year. From applauding the NHS from our front doors in the UK to calling people up that bit more often to check if they were OK, I hope that if the world returns to normal in 2021, we don’t forget how important it is to reach out and help each other. 

In 2021, I’m looking forward to Manchester United winning the Premier League, Hollywood coming to me with a three-film deal for a poker-playing film franchise and reading 100 books during the year. Realistic? 2021 is the year to dream.

Derek Tonin

2020 was a mixed blessing, wasn’t it? Besides the obvious drawbacks, sportsbooks found some hidden gems, online poker came alive again and the shift to digital is accelerating faster than we could have ever imagined. Eggnog over zoom might not be ideal, but we’ll all be wiser and better adapted when we’ve all gotten our vaccines and can get back to drinking together, so cheers to that!

Erik Gibbs

This has been a complicated year for a lot of people on many levels. However, things are beginning to look up, and it’s essential to always maintain a positive outlook to help us get through those more difficult obstacles life throws our way. I’m thankful for my family, extended family, and what has been learned and, hopefully, unlearned as everyone looks to a brighter 2021.

Jasmine Solana (Now a big wheel at coingeek.com)

2020 has been a rollercoaster ride, but the silver lining for me is that I get to spend more time with the family and reconnect—virtually—with friends. The last 12 months have been wild, but there have been many learnings, and experiences gained. I look forward to a calmer, peaceful and normal—whatever that means now—2021. Stay safe and well, everyone!

Steven Stradbrooke

2020 may have been a proper shitshow, but the fact that most people got through it with a stiff dose of gallows humor gives me hope that the world can handle whatever horrors 2021 may throw at us. Or, you know, the world will resemble something out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and anyone who hasn’t already begun stocking his cannibal house larder is going to end up on the spit themselves. (Use that as an incentive to make 2021 the year you lose that gut…that juicy, flavor-rich, deeply satisfying gut.)

Yikes! We can’t end with that. For myself, 2020 reminded me that I work with beautiful people in an excellent industry. On a personal note, I asked my lady friend a question, and she said, “Sure, why not?” After spending the past nine months in virtual quarantine, I’ll take it!

I want to thank everyone who works behind the scenes to make CalvinAyre.com what it is; even though your names aren’t on the site, you make it easier for everyone who shares their bylines.

To our readers, thank you for continuing to come back.

To 2020, welcome to Dumpsville. Population: you. 

Happy Holidays – CalvinAyre.com