Tonje Sagstuen has been granted the permanent CEO role at Norsk Tipping after a temporary spell in charge.

Sagstuen replaced previous CEO Thor Gjermund Eriksen on 1 September, who announced his intention to leave the role less than a year after joining.

Former assistant professor Sagstuen has been part of the state-owned gambling monopoly’s senior management team since 2014 and served as deputy CEO since 2018.

Additionally, she worked as director of Norsk Tipping’s responsibility, society and communication department.

“Today I am pleased to present Tonje Sagstuen as the new CEO of Norsk Tipping,” said board chair Sylvia Brustad.

“With her, Norsk Tipping is getting a skilled and experienced manager who knows the company and its employees very well.

“The board has appreciated the work Sagstuen has done as acting managing director, and is pleased that she has accepted the position on a permanent basis. We are convinced that Sagstuen is the right person to lead Norsk Tipping going forward,” Brustad added.

Norway’s monopoly model: Going forward alone?

The news will see Sagstuen take over Norsk Tipping at a critical time for the business, as Norway looks set to become the only country in Europe to retain a gambling monopoly system.

The Finnish government is committed to ending its monopoly model by 2026 in the face of a persistently low channelisation rate.

That will mean Sweden, Denmark and Finland have all opted to introduce a licensing system in the past 25 years, leaving Norway as the last Nordic country to retain such a system.

In September, the European-wide online gambling trade body, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) urged Norway to transition to a licensing system.

However, the country for now shows no signs that it intends to reform the current system.

“I am grateful for the trust the board shows in me, and humbled by the responsibility I have been given,” said Sagstuen.  

“Norsk Tipping is a large company that plays an important role for the whole of Norway, and I look forward to leading the work on our important social mission further.”

Newly appointed CEO of 888 Holdings Per Widerström has more than doubled his previous shareholding in the operator via the purchase of a further 1.1 million shares.

Added to his existing stake in the business, the purchase brings Widerström’s total shareholding to 2,066,535 ordinary shares in 888 Holdings.

His latest purchase saw the new CEO snap up just over a million shares at an average price of 84.3p – consisting of 125,539 shares bought at 81.3p each and a further million shares bought at 84.6p.

That prive gave the transaction a total value of around £949,000. At an average purchase price of 84.3p per share, Widerström’s total shareholding is now valued at over £1.7m.

Elsewhere 888 chair Jon Mendelsohn, who led the business through an interim period between former CEO Itai Pazner’s resignation and Widerström’s appointment, also increased his shareholding late last week.

Mendelsohn bought an additional 50,000 shares in the business at 79.5p each, bringing his total shareholding to 250,000 ordinary shares.

Widerström focuses on 888

Widerström’s apparent confidence in the value of 888 may have been driven by his now exclusive focus upon the company’s leadership.

In order to begin his tenure as CEO, Widerström left behind non-executive director and chair roles on the boards of at least eight other companies, as he said the new job would require his “complete dedication”.

His time was previously divided between roles with a variety of different businesses across the online gambling, banking, and investment sectors.

Share price performance

The current share price of 888 may also have led management to believe there is significant value still to be extracted from investments into the business.

Shares were trading more than 50% higher than the purchase price of Widerström’s newly acquired shares just last month, at upwards of £1.30.

That price still remained a far cry from 888’s share price highs of recent years. In September 2021, shares were trading for more than £4.50 each.

BetComply, a leading player in the iGaming compliance advisory sector, is excited to announce the appointment of Daniel Brookes as its interim CEO.

Daniel will assume this role with immediate effect, bringing his vast expertise and a proven track record in the industry to lead BetComply during this growth period.

Daniel Brookes is a distinguished professional with an extensive background in the iGaming sector and a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape.

He previously held the positions of COO at Betable, director of compliance at ActiveWin Media, and currently serves as the CEO of Rdentify, where he has successfully led this innovative player protection business to new heights.

“It is incredibly exciting to have someone of Daniel’s experience lead the business,” said Mike de Graaff, director of BetComply. “His track record and industry knowledge will be instrumental in driving our commitment to excellence in gaming compliance.”

In his new role as Interim CEO, Daniel Brookes will collaborate closely with the BetComply team to ensure the smooth and efficient provision of the company’s core services.

These services encompass license application support, policy drafting and implementation, technical compliance for products, internal audit services, and the development of improvement plans.

Under his leadership, BetComply aims to continue delivering these core services to the highest standards, reinforcing its commitment to excellence and integrity in the industry.

“I am honoured to lead BetComply during this period and am enthusiastic about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” said Daniel Brookes.

“The team behind BetComply are known for their dedication to excellence in gaming compliance, and I am committed to upholding and furthering this reputation.”

iGaming industry veteran Per Widerström has officially begun his role as the new CEO of 888 Holdings.

In a post shared on LinkedIn earlier today (16 October), the executive revealed that he has stood down from eight separate non-executive director (NED) roles at a variety of other companies.

The decision comes as his next step as 888’s CEO “will require my complete dedication,” he said.

Former board appointments

In addition to his previous role as CEO of Fortuna Group, Widerström has acted in several non-executive board roles at a variety of different businesses for many years.

He was a NED and chairman of the technology board committee at Stockholm-listed digital bank Nordnet from November 2017.

He also held a role as non-excutive board member at affiliate group Catena Media from May 2019, and was chairman of the board at Swedish enterprise AI and automation company Turbotic from 2020.

He was also a board member or chairman of several companies on behalf of private equity investor Nordic Capital, where he was also held the role of operating chair and industrial adviser from March 2022.

His appointments via Nordic Capital included those with financing and payment service provider Qred AB, loan intermediation supplier Sambla, and German mortgage brokerage Bilthouse GmbH.

In addition to those roles, Widerström was also previously chairman of SaaS-enabled marketplace for health and beauty, Bokadirekt, and also acted as chairman for Malta-headquartered online gambling operator Casumo from July 2022.

Full attention

From today, Widerström puts his whole focus into his new role as CEO of 888 Holdings, which operates its flagship 888 brands as well as William Hill and Mr Green across several markets globally.

Widerström was announced as the incoming CEO of 888 in July this year, after a months-long search to replace former chief executive Itai Pazner.

In the interim period, 888 has been working under the direction of its chairman, Lord Mendelsohn.

When Widerström’s appointment was first announced, Mendelsohn suggested that following “an extensive and comprehensive search process […] Per was the clear standout candidate to lead the group to build on the strong platform for growth and value creation that has been established.”

Widerström added today: “I am very enthusiastic to have the opportunity to unite with the extraordinary people at 888 Holdings, ready to navigate the exciting journey ahead of us.”

Patrik Hofbauer, who has led Swedish state-owned gambling company Svenska Spel as its president and CEO for nearly five years, is set to leave his post at the end of January 2024

Svenska Spel has already begun the process of finding a successor to guide the company through its next phase of development.

Hofbauer steered the company through a period of significant changes. 

Svenska Spel stated that his expertise, dedication and exceptional leadership all played a pivotal role in shaping Svenska Spel into a “modern organisation that offers sustainable gaming experiences”.

One of the most significant challenges faced during Hofbauer’s tenure was the 2019 re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market.

Svenska Spel noted that Hofbauer, in close collaboration with the board and his team, established a clear vision for the company’s future.

Svenska Spel chairman Erik Strand commented: “Patrik is a person and company leader who makes a real difference, and on behalf of the board, I would like to extend a warm and big thank you to him for his valuable contribution to Svenska Spel.” 

Hofbauer, meanwhile, emphasised the deep connection he has with the company and its stakeholders: “In recent years, I have had the privilege of leading Svenska Spel. It has been a fantastic journey together with our customers, partners, and, not least, employees. 

“It is not an easy decision to change roles or leave a company that I value so deeply. With a strong culture, a clear values compass, and enormously committed employees and leaders, Svenska Spel is in a position to continue delivering value for our customers, Sweden, and the Swedish sports movement,” he added. 

Telco expert

Before assuming his role at Svenska Spel, Hofbauer served as the CEO of telecom operator Telenor Sweden from 2014 to 2018. 

He boasts a substantial professional history in the telecoms and media sector, having occupied senior positions in a range of companies such as Telenor Broadcast, Canal Digital, NEC Scandinavia, and Clear Channel.

In addition to his corporate achievements, Hofbauer spent approximately 10 years as a professional ice hockey goalkeeper.

As he departs Svenska Spel, Hofbauer is set to return to the telecoms sector, where he will assume the role of president and CEO at Swedish Telia Company, starting on 1 February 2024.

Radar recently unveiled its fraud detection and geo-compliance solution for the iGaming industry.

The company has pitched itself as a cost-effective and developer-friendly geolocation solution for the gaming industry, and an alternative to pre-existing providers.

Below, iGaming NEXT caught up with Radar CEO Nick Patrick.

iGN: Give us a one-sentence summary of Radar as a company and the service it provides

NP: Radar is the all-in-one location platform: geofencing, geocoding, maps, and now a geo-compliance solution for gaming.

iGN: Is Radar new to iGaming? Which industries has it served previously?

NP: We’ve worked with companies in the gaming space for years, such as Sleeper and Everi, but now we’re leaning into iGaming.

We’re planning on launching with our first sportsbook customers in regulated jurisdictions in the next few months. We’re currently licensed in CO, AZ, and WV, with several other states in process.

We’re planning to be licensed in all remaining US states in 2024 and are accelerating our licensing timeline given the immense demand from operators.

In addition to gaming, we also serve customers in retail, restaurant, payments, travel, logistics, and more. Examples include DICK’s Sporting Goods, Whataburger, T-Mobile, and Zillow. We process over 100 billion API calls per year from over 100 million devices.

iGN: Why is geolocation so important in iGaming?

NP: The geo-compliance use case is obviously most important: detecting a user’s current jurisdiction as well as detecting fraud like GPS spoofing, proxy and VPN usage, screen sharing, and so on.

Outside of compliance, Radar can serve many other impactful (but today, underserved) use cases like on-property app experiences, location-based messaging, address validation, mapping, and more.

iGN: What feedback have you heard from the gaming community?

NP: Over the past year, we’ve talked to dozens of experts in the gaming community, including product and compliance leaders at tier 1 sportsbook operators, other vendors, regulators, compliance experts, investors, and more.

Operators want more choice, and they want more cost-effective choices.

iGN: Why is competition in this space important?

NP: Competitive markets are good for customers. Competition drives down prices and stimulates innovation. Both of these things are sorely needed in the geo-compliance space.

iGN: What does your product do differently and how will it attract iGaming customers?

NP: Our industry-leading Geofencing Platform has long supported highly accurate and reliable geofencing, country and state detection, Bluetooth beacon detection, and place visit detection.

With our new fraud detection capabilities, Radar can also detect location spoofing, VPN and proxy usage, device tampering, screen sharing, and more.

These capabilities are supported across all platforms, and our SDKs have passed an audit by Gaming Labs International (GLI).

A few things differentiate our offering:

First, our developer-friendliness. Think of Radar as a “Stripe for geolocation.” Technical teams love our open-source SDKs and our developer docs.

Second, fair and simple pricing. Our solution is significantly more cost-effective than alternatives, with pricing based on monthly tracked users instead of location pings, making it easy to forecast costs and to check a player’s location as often as needed.

Third, more location use cases supported. We recently launched Radar Maps Platform, and our Geofencing Platform supports a wide range of use cases other than compliance, including on-property app experiences and location-based messaging.

Fourth, enterprise-readiness. Unlike other upstarts in the space, we already work with global brands. Our customers also love us for our support, and we think of ourselves not just as a vendor, but as a true partner.

iGN: How does geolocation tech differ when used for iGaming compared to other sectors?

NP: We fundamentally see these as geofencing use cases with fraud detection and compliance layered in. Long recognised as the geofencing industry leader, we’re confident in our technology’s ability to support these use cases even in the most demanding situations.

Many of our non-gaming customers have also expressed interest in our fraud detection capabilities. For example, some of our retail customers have challenges with users claiming in-store offers when they aren’t actually in-store, or region-specific offers when they’re not actually in-region.

And some of our logistics customers have challenges with users spoofing their location to prematurely clock in our clock out of work sites. We expect to see broad adoption of our fraud detection capabilities among our non-gaming customers as well.

iGN: What message are you eager to get across at G2E this year?

NP: A viable alternative is finally here! We’ll be sharing our vision for the next generation of geo-compliance solutions. Come hear our talk at 10:30am on Tuesday or come visit us at booth #5427. We’ve heard rumours that a celebrity might be there…

iGN: Do you have plans to expand outside of the US?

NP: Yes. We’re already talking to several potential gaming customers based outside of the US. Outside of gaming, about 30% of our customer base is already outside of the US.

Nick Patrick is the CEO and co-founder of Radar. Companies like Sleeper, Panera, DICK’s Sporting Goods, T-Mobile, and Zillow use Radar’s geofencing SDKs and maps APIs to power location-based experiences across hundreds of millions of devices worldwide. Nick was previously the director of product at Handy and a product manager at Foursquare.

Richard Brown has officially stepped down as CEO of Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) but will continue to serve the company in a board advisory position until 31 December.

Resignation background

Brown’s departure was first announced in May this year, following a strategic review to divide the business into two separate companies.

The change, GiG said, was intended to fully optimise each business unit’s growth opportunities and ensure both could benefit from the strategic and financial flexibility of their distinct business models.

Former SBTech boss Richard Carter was subsequently announced as the CEO of GiG’s Platform and Sportsbook business, while Jonas Warrer will continue to lead GiG Media as CEO of the business unit.

Board chairman Petter Nylander, meanwhile, will take on the role of executive chairman while the strategic review is underway.

Following his resignation, Brown will help support the handover of the GiG Platform and Sportsbook business to incoming CEO Carter, while providing ongoing support to the board of directors until the end of 2023.

Management commentary

GiG said the move would enable both new CEOs to take their respective business units forward while receiving adequate background support from Brown.

“GiG is in a tremendous position strategically and operationally, and with Jonas and Richard now in place to drive the business units towards further success, it is a good time for me to move to a supportive but non-operational role until the end of the year,” Brown said.

GiG chairman Nylander added: “We are very pleased with the progression of splitting GiG into two distinct entities to enhance future expansion and drive shareholder value. 

“We now have two strong CEOs in Jonas Warrer for Media and Richard Carter for Platform & Sportsbook with full operational responsibility for each business unit. 

“Richard Brown has been instrumental in making this possible and the board wants to thank Richard for his valuable contribution to GiG over the years. We are pleased that Richard will be available until year end to secure the succession.”

Future plans

Following the end of 2023, Brown is expected to take charge of B2B and B2C online gambling firm Glitnor Group as CEO.

Glitnor operates B2C brands including LuckyCasino and HappyCasino, as well as owning B2B content house Swintt.

The company was formerly led by CEO David Flynn, who stood down from the role earlier this year to take up a non-executive director role on Glitnor’s board.

Next-generation reconciliation software specialists Aurum Solutions has this month
unveiled a complete brand transformation as part of ambitious growth plans throughout H2 of 2023 and into 2024.

The strategic initiative reflects Aurum’s commitment to continuous innovation and a refreshed brand identity that best resonates with the changing and evolving company.

To cement Aurum’s move towards the future, Tiago Veiga has been appointed as new company CEO – formerly holding the position of head of sales.

Coming to the table with an open and progressive mindset, Tiago has implemented an ambitious growth strategy, aligning the team behind an elevated, shared and common ambition for the future.

Since its inception in 2004, formerly known as Groupit, Aurum Solutions has established itself as one of the leading players within its space.

Today, Aurum works with companies that span sectors including banking, fintech, asset management, hospitality and insurance amongst others.

Attributing its success to a client-centred mentality and ability to develop purpose-built solutions, over nearly two decades the business has worked with hundreds of household brands both in the UK and globally, including Stonegate Group, Octopus Investments, Ladbrokes, HTB, Admiral and more, supporting finance teams and transforming departments’ data quality and operational efficiency.

As the business grows, the team at Aurum wanted to review and refresh the brand – creating a vision for the future. However, in order to best reflect the values, ambitions and identity of the team – and therefore the business – it was clear a comprehensive transformation was needed.

The result of a nine-month process, working alongside Unset Studio and Yambo Studio, who have worked with the likes of Microsoft, Apple, and the Tokyo Olympics 2021, the new brand embodies Aurum core values of transparency, honesty, partnership, and ownership.

Key changes include:

● Evolving and updating Aurum’s tone of voice throughout all communications – therefore updating the first impression and touchpoint which clients – both prospective and existing – will have.

● A modern and updated logo – the rectangle represents an Excel cell, with one corner different from the rest, a true visualisation of Aurum’s process of finding the exceptions.

● A new website which utilises glassmorphism – using the properties of glass to give a transparent look and feel, representing the financial transparency Aurum products bring to financial teams alongside Aurum key values of transparency and honesty.

● The website also uses imagery of people in the business today, vs generic stock images, to showcase everyone in the team, not just the senior members.

● A new colour palette with more colours to allow for growth of new products. For inclusivity, the full Aurum team was asked to share a word which for them best encapsulated Aurum. Each word was translated into a colour, creating the new colour palette for the Aurum brand.

● The development of a brand scent which needed to strike a careful balance between portraying authority and experience, alongside innovation and youth. The resulting scent combines Green Tea, Citrus, and Precious Woods with White Flowers and Musk to evoke peace of mind, body, and soul and a calm working environment.

● New company taglines – alongside ‘Next-Gen Reconciliation Software’, Aurum has also incorporated ‘Together with Aurum Solutions’, emphasising the partnership between Aurum team members as well as Aurum and its partners.

Chief marketing officer, Vasco Vaz Rodrigues, says, “What started out as a simple branding exercise has transformed into the start of a new era for Aurum Solutions. Once we started the process, it quickly transpired how Aurum was presented to the outside world no longer reflected who we are as a business.

“For us, it has been so much more than changing colours here and adding a new logo there – we have completely stripped back, evaluated every element of our business, and planned for the future.

“We are a very different team to the one which founded the company nearly 20 years ago. We want to both celebrate those in our team who have incredible and rich experience, whilst also recognising and championing our fantastic young talent. For us, ensuring everyone feels represented by our vision, branding and aspirations is of the utmost importance.

“In order to give our customers the best and most innovative solutions, we need to ensure our team is happy and working to our optimum levels. In the process of evolving the business, we feel our team has stronger and better unity than ever before.”

Following the rebrand, Aurum expects to launch a series of new products and solutions in 2023 which will further transform data management.

Rootz has promoted chief commercial officer Sam Brown to CEO after one year with the company.

Brown takes over from chief exec and co-founder Lasse Rantala, who will now step up to the role of chair of the board.

Rootz was founded in 2018 and is focused on the backend provision of iGaming software and solutions for casino brands, with a client portfolio led by Wildz.

Brown boasts more than 15 years of experience in the online gambling industry having started his career as a graduate with Ladbrokes back in 2004.

Executive roles followed at both Betfair and Betsson, before Brown became a live casino director at NetEnt between 2015 and 2017.

He then netted his first CEO role with Rolla Services, an online casino brand that launched on the GiG technology platform.

Prior to joining Rootz in June of 2022, Brown spent three years as the CCO of Malta-based operator Hero Gaming.

“As I pass on the mantle of CEO to Sam, I am filled with immense pride and confidence.”
Rootz co-founder Lasse Rantala

“After an exciting first year at Rootz my passion for the business has only grown stronger,” said Brown.

“We have a great vision for the future, and have the people, technology, and ambition to deliver it. It’s an honour to be entrusted with the next phase of the Rootz journey.”

Former CEO Rantala worked as a consultant for Nordicbet for more than a decade until 2014, after which time he became the CEO of Rizk Casino.

He then spent a short spell as a product owner with GiG before co-founding Rootz in 2018.

“As I pass on the mantle of CEO to Sam, I am filled with immense pride and confidence,” said Rantala.

“Sam’s commitment to excellence, strategic mindset, and passion for innovation make him the perfect fit to lead Rootz into its next chapter.

“I have full faith in his ability to steer our company to even greater heights and the board is fully dedicated to offering him unwavering support every step of the way,” he added.

Departing Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) chief executive Richard Brown is set to take over Glitnor Group as CEO from 1 January 2024.

Background context

Glitnor Group operates in both the B2B and B2C iGaming sectors, through customer-facing brands LuckyCasino and HappyCasino and B2B content house Swintt.

The business was previously led by David Flynn as CEO, before he stood down from the role in February this year to take up a non-executive director role on the firm’s board.

While the hunt for a new CEO was underway, co-founder Jörgen Nordlund agreed to take over the CEO responsibilities on an interim basis.

Meanwhile, Brown currently holds the position of CEO at GiG, where he has headed up the business for four years after originally joining the company in 2016.

In May, GiG announced that he would stand down from the role from 31 December 2023, following a strategic review which will see the company split into two separate corporate groups, GiG Media and GiG Platform & Sportsbook.

Brown intends to stay in the role until the end of the year “to secure a smooth transition,” according to GiG chairman Petter Nylander.

Move to Glitnor

Glitnor Group said Brown’s time at GiG has provided him with a “wealth of experience” which he will bring to the business from next year.

With more than 15 years’ experience in various managerial and C-level roles in the iGaming sector, Glitnor described his appointment as a “major move for the group.”

After helping GiG enter multiple new markets, complete several acquisitions and achieve record revenue in Q1 2023, the firm added that he will now use his abilities “to achieve similar results for Glitnor.”

Glitnor expects 2024 to begin “an important and exciting next phase for the business,” it added, as it continues to pursue global expansion and strengthen its presence across Europe, North America and Latam.

Management commentary

“By appointing Richard, I believe Glitnor has secured one of the industry’s top C-level talents and I’m looking forward to the positive impact he’ll have on our business as we look to strengthen our brands and enter more markets in the future,” said Glitnor co-founder Nordlund.

“Given the successful nature of his time at GiG and the wealth of iGaming experience he has in general, I’m certain Richard has all of the necessary skills to help take Glitnor to a new level and I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t wait to work with him as we enter our next phase of development.”

Ahead of his start with the company, Brown added: “I am honoured to take on the role of CEO of Glitnor Group. The teams have built a fantastic position in the industry and I look forward to working with them to further capitalise on the number of opportunities the business has ahead of it. 

“The group’s long term ambition is impressive, supported by founders with a proven track record of success and I am extremely excited to help add value towards achieving those goals for the business, the group’s staff and its shareholders.

“I was fortunate enough to enjoy an incredible eight years at GiG – with the last four as CEO – but the time was right for me to embrace a new challenge at what I truly believe to be one of the most exciting business groups in the iGaming industry, I very much look forward to starting in the New Year.”