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PENN Entertainment Names Aaron LaBerge as Chief Technology Officer

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PENN Entertainment announced that Aaron LaBerge has been named Chief Technology Officer (CTO) effective July 1, 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals. Mr. LaBerge will report directly to PENN CEO & President Jay Snowden.

In his new role, Mr. LaBerge will be responsible for driving the technology strategy and execution for PENN, while leading the multinational team of technologists and serving as the key business leader for the company’s Interactive division.

Mr. LaBerge spent more than 20 years at The Walt Disney Company, in two stints separated by five and a half years as a technology entrepreneur. He was most recently President & Chief Technology Officer for Disney Entertainment and ESPN where he was responsible for driving all technology and product development in support of The Walt Disney Company’s two media divisions. In that role, he helped set the vision and strategic leadership for how Disney uses technology to enable storytelling and innovation, drive its business, and create unparalleled consumer experiences with entertainment and sports content.

“We are thrilled to have someone of Aaron’s caliber join our PENN executive team. Having overseen a global organization of thousands of engineers, product developers, designers, technologists, and data scientists that created some of the largest scale and most successful media properties in the world, there is no better candidate to lead our Technology and Interactive division into its future. I know Aaron is looking forward to working with Todd George, our head of operations, and our entire Executive Team to continue growing our position as a leader in online gaming, sports betting, and digital sports media,” Mr. Snowden said.

“I’m excited to join another talented team at PENN Interactive and lead our technology strategy. PENN Entertainment is at the forefront of the fast-changing gaming and sports media industry. I plan to use my experience from Disney and ESPN to help make ESPN BET an essential piece of the sports fan experience. Together, we’ll push the limits and redefine how fans interact with sports and gaming,” Mr. LaBerge said.

Prior to his most recent role at the Walt Disney Company, Mr. LaBerge was Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at ESPN from 2015 to 2018. At ESPN he played an instrumental role in the growth of ESPN’s consumer-facing digital media products and services – leading many of ESPN’s most ambitious and challenging projects and helping establish ESPN’s position as the leader in digital sports and innovative sports technology development. He was a key architect in the design, development, and engineering of ESPN’s state-of-the-art facilities in Bristol, CT; Los Angeles, CA; Charlotte, NC; and Austin, TX, as well as data centers and infrastructure that connect those facilities around the world, as well as the technology design and development to support the launch of the multi-platform SEC Network.

Between 2007 and 2012, LaBerge was co-founder and CEO of Fanzter, Inc. – a venture-funded consumer software and digital product development company. At Fanzter, he directed all day-to-day operations and led the development and launch of a variety of consumer-focused internet and mobile products, ground-breaking social and commerce technologies and more.

Industry News

iGB L!VE announce LaunchPad, a new feature for start-ups with ‘innovation in their DNA’

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Industry professionals attending July’s edition of iGB L!VE will have access to a vibrant new feature which will showcase ground-breaking tech and innovation courtesy of the brightest start-ups and small businesses in gaming.

The iGB L!VE LaunchPad (Pulse Stage: 18 July 16.30hrs – 18.00hrs) will feature five companies to present their innovations to a panel of judges with each presentation followed by a probing Q&A session designed to interrogate the viability and commercial prowess of each product pitch.

Introducing the new feature Portfolio Director Naomi Barton, said: “iGB L!VE is constantly evolving in order to meet the business needs of stakeholders. The research programme that we undertake with customers has consistently highlighted a shared desire to always be ahead of the curve, being the first to access the very latest innovations from the start-up community is part of what iGB L!VE 2024 will deliver.

“In addition, we want to provide a platform for new talented businesses to grow by giving them extra exposure in front of an influential C-Level audience of industry investors and influencers.

“The top five products will be hand-selected by the iGB L!VE team and invited to present from the Pulse Stage. In order to help these businesses, we are providing cash prizes of £5,000 for the winner, £2,500 for second place and £1,000 for third.”

She continued: “We will be giving the feature an authentic iGB L!VE twist with the emphasis on competitive fun. To ensure this, I am delighted to confirm that 25+ year industry veteran and non-exec Clarion Gaming Chairman Michael Caselli has agreed to be our MC and will also head a panel of judges drawn from across the iGB L!VE community of industry professionals, investors and sponsors.

“Start-ups and small businesses which have innovation in their DNA can sign up for iGB LaunchPad at igblive by the 28 June deadline.”

iGB L!VE is the home of the igaming community and the only event that connects the leading igaming affiliates, operators, tech vendors, game providers and suppliers in order to maximise performance and drive tangible business growth in the following 12-18 months. iGB L!VE, which is the fastest growing igaming event, delivers unparalleled business opportunities with attendees having free access to in excess of 300 exhibitors and sponsors occupying 21,000+ square metres of gross space, a figure which is 35% higher than in 2023.

For more information on iGB L!VE (16-19 July 2024: Expo Days 17-18 July) and to register for free visit: igblive website

 

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Industry News

Ortak x B.F.T.H. Arena Awards 2024 Features Mr. First Ray by Endorphina

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The Ortak x B.F.T.H. Arena Awards 2024 welcomes Endorphina among other top game developers with its Mr. First Ray, a mystical slot game that captures the essence of dawn.

This year’s competition has seen an unprecedented increase in participation, receiving over 100 submissions from more than 70 developers involved in the innovative Ortak initiative. This platform not only promotes collaboration and innovation but also integrates gaming stakes with NFTs on the Bahamut blockchain, thereby broadening investment prospects in the iGaming sector.

Mr. First Ray transports players into a world where each spin can lead to magical wins and enchanting surprises, making it a standout in this year’s entries. As the event approaches, excitement mounts among industry professionals keen to explore this showcase of creativity and excellence in game development, scheduled from July 1 to 4.

Hosted by BetConstruct, the B.F.T.H. Arena Awards provides a prestigious platform for developers to exhibit their creativity and compete for a share of the substantial 3,333,000 FTN prize pool. This year, the event has broadened its scope, introducing new award categories to further celebrate innovation in gaming.

The culmination of the event will see the winners announced at the B.F.T.H. Arena x Harmony Meetup V, ensuring an exhilarating experience for all attendees.

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Industry News

SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP TO PROVIDE EURO 2024 CONTENT HUBS FOR LEADING BOOKMAKERS

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SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP SUPERFEED IN-PLAY CONTENT PROVEN TO INCREASE BETTING ENGAGEMENT BY 20%
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Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content, and media company specialising in sports betting, has partnered with both William Hill and Betfred to deliver content hubs for Euro 2024.

The upcoming international tournament provides a prime opportunity for operators to generate revenue, and Spotlight Sports Group assists in that right through industry-leading content hubs. SSG Content Hubs allow sportsbooks in any territory the chance to offer a premium and rich content experience, without the technical burden.

The end-to-end product and content solution provided by SSG includes expert editorial, data and statistics that are delivered across multiple formats and customisable for individual bookmaker websites. Designed and created in-house, the specific event hubs allow customers to provide interactive betting experiences, compatible across all devices and include live odds and add-to-bet-slip functionality.

In addition, the content hub provides a Best Bet widget that features daily accumulators and Bet Builder picks, as well as the best daily offers and enhanced odds from the bookmaker partners. Video tipping content is also available for every match, as is a scouting report for every team and every fixture, highlighting the most popular players for Bet Builder selections.

Lee Phelps, William Hill Spokesperson said: “The Euros is one of the biggest tournaments around for bettors, and having Spotlight Sports Groups content hubs, means we can provide a real experience for our customers throughout the tournament with editorial, bet prompts and data”.

Mark Hartley, Head of Sports Product at Betfred, was similarly pleased with the deal: We’re delighted to partner with SSG ahead of Euro 2024. We’re excited by the opportunities it brings to us ahead of one of our busiest periods of the year as a bookmaker.”

Sam Houlding, Spotlight Sports Group’s Managing Director of B2B, has shared his excitement at partnering with two of the UK’s leading bookmakers: “It’s great to have two of our key partners taking our content hubs for the biggest tournament of the year. Our content has a proven record of driving revenue, and as it is available in any language globally it appeals to customers all around the world”.

Spotlight Sports Group’s Content Hubs are proven to drive revenues with a rich content experience for betting audiences.

 

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