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David Newstead

 

A rundown of this year's e-Gaming Review Awards

12 Nov 2010

By David Newstead
The annual gaming awards are starting to make headlines as the end of the year approaches, with all the major publications, forums and review sites announcing shortlists, nominees and inviting operators to glitzy award ceremonies. The first of the many awards, and largely regarded as the best, are the e-Gaming Review awards. The shortlist has just been announced and I thought it would good to highlight a few of the categories and some of the nominees.

Considered the barometer for the other awards, the EGR accolades generally indicate where others will follow later. Having reviewed those shortlisted it's safe to say the usual candidates are all in the running for the major gongs, but it's nice to see the magazine has added some new categories, including some geared towards enterprising new firms and, for the first time, affiliate-based awards.

Looking from a casino perspective alone, the much revered Casino Operator of the Year award is the one all the big operators are after, and it's not surprising to see all the big operators duly listed. Whether these firms have provided the very best in service, the best in games, reinvigorated the market or have been nominated simply by virtue of size and success alone is debatable.

For this reason I was pleased to see the likes of the One to Watch award, an Innovation award, the Rising Star accolade (though what exactly the difference between this and One to Watch isn't clear) and others. Maybe these are the true indicators of the movers and shakers in the industry, where the bottom line and big net revenue figures aren't the sole factors determining winners.

To that end, to see a casino I have regularly discussed on the shortlist was especially pleasing. Jackpot Games launched this year and into a period of economic upheaval, where corporate acquisitions and mergers, changing EU rules and consolidation were the hot topics. With very few casinos launching - not unsurprisingly - it is great to see one not only start but to do so with aplomb, offering a service akin to that of some of the bigger, older casinos.

So, do EGR really listen to me? I'm guessing not, but it does show that other players and affiliates have appreciated what Jackpot Games have done this year too and with that in mind, EGR may well have listened to feedback when developing their shortlist, rather than just pulling big names out of a hat.

With the likes of Jackpot Games on the shortlist I think adds weight to the other nominees, in my opinion, and, for that matter, the same applies for the candidates listed in other categories. For if they have done their homework on one, then maybe I was wrong to question the decisions behind the Casino Operator of the Year award. They are:

32Red
888
Bet365
Paddy Power
PartyGaming
Sportingbet
Unibet
William Hill Online

An interesting side note to the Casino Operator award this year is the ongoing legal battle between 32Red and William Hill Online, whereby 32Red has actioned a case of purported trademark infringement against the latter for operating a rival casino called 32Vegas – a casino that was acquired by William Hill. Expect boos and food fights at the ceremony on the 24th November, especially if either should win. I hope I get an invite!

Finally, I think it's worth highlighting a few notable casino absentees from the list in Ladbrokes and Intercasino. With no nomination for either in any of the casino awards this year it begs the question, why? What does that mean? Well, you'll have to draw your own conclusions.
 
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