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Career Guide: How To Lead, Succeed and Make Money in iGaming

Career Guide: How To Lead, Succeed and Make Money in iGaming

Sat 18 Aug 2018

Ambitious to hit the big time in your iGaming career? This is your guide to landing the most senior iGaming jobs, achieving leadership level and attaining the top-tier salaries to match.

In this guide, we’ll share the tried-and-tested strategies for success. We’ll look at the big winners of the iGaming world, analyse how they got to where they are today – and how you can get there tomorrow.

Plus, we'll explore specific jobs in iGaming for leadership talent and share salary guidelines, earning potential and entry criteria, ideal for those searching for senior positions in the online gambling sector.

Ready to apply now? Check out our Gaming & Gambling Jobs or our Senior Management Jobs 

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01 Intro

So, you’ve established yourself in the iGaming industry. You’re knowledgeable, experienced and generally happy with your work. But maybe you’re thinking that something is missing, however comfortable you are. 

Perhaps you still have ambitions...

...You can’t quite shake off the certainty that you have the skills, insight and drive to go all the way to the very top...

...You want to savour the sensation of being best in class, with a salary to match... 

...You believe you have it in you to create something big and special.

The good news is that in the world of gambling and gaming, there will always be the potential for people just like you to plot a path to the peak of your profession. This guide will help you plot your course to the really big positions – with the salaries to match.


02 Biggest Winners

So, who are the people you are trying to emulate? The stories of some of the individuals at the very top of the iGaming industry give an indication of the attributes that mark out those destined to reach that summit.

Let’s look first at the richest and most powerful people in iGaming. According to Forbes, (Casino News Daily) the five wealthiest individuals in the industry at the end of 2017 were:

  1. Sheldon Adelson – net worth $30.4billion. The founder of the iconic Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, who went on to build an empire of resorts in Nevada and the Far East

  2. Carl Icahn – net worth $16.4bn. Another doyen of the USA’s casino scene, he started by operating the Stratosphere in Las Vegas and progressed to owning properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, as well as having interests in several other industries.

  3. Lui Che Woo – net worth $12.1bn. Like the two above him on the list, a man of humble origins who built Hong Kong’s first star-rated hotel and went on to found Galaxy Entertainment, which brought him into casino ownership and whose flagship property is the Galaxy Macau resort.

  4. Johann Graf – net worth $7.2bn. The founder of the Novomatic Group, which was in at the start of the popularisation of electronic gaming machines and is now at the forefront of a billion-dollar industry.

  5. Mark Scheinberg – net worth $4.5bn. Along with his father, Isai, he founded PokerStars in 2001 and surfed the wave of the gigantic boom in online poker in the years that followed.

We will look later at some of the attributes that mark out the most successful business people, but some clear trends are emerging already.

Adelson was born in one of Boston’s poorer neighbourhoods. Icahn grew up in relative poverty in New York. Lui also had a tough childhood in Hong Kong, while Graf was raised in a single-room apartment without running water.

Not a single silver spoon in sight. Yet each of these leaders had the character to rise to a level where their wealth today is barely credible to most working professionals.

What It Takes: Lessons From The Big Winners

It’s clear that, if you aspire to high office, you need to be comfortable with the demands of such a position – either as an owner or as a C-level executive of a successful business.

You could also be a licensee of a particularly lucrative product, service or set of rights. Often it’s those who can spot the “opportunity behind the opportunity” who win big, even if they escape the immediate limelight.

One more “big winner” whose strength of character and astute commercial acumen has reaped rewards is UK businesswoman Denise Coates.

She founded Bet365 with her father Peter in a Portakabin in Stoke in 2000. A series of incredibly shrewd business decisions in the next few years, combined with incessant work to improve the firm’s proposition to online customers, have made Bet365 the biggest online bookmaker in the world. Coates was paid £217m in 2017.

The House Wins: Who Else Earns Big

You don’t have to be the boss to be extremely well paid. There are a host of specialists and consultants working in the industry who command fees of several thousand pounds a day.

In fact, not everybody who wants to be a mogul of the iGaming world can ascend to the altitude of the individuals mentioned above.

iGaming, though, is a huge global industry with ample room for multiple big winners. Those who can find their niche, and who are prepared to work hard to perfect it, have a great shot at success.

Society as a whole benefits from a successful industry like this one in terms of employment and business turnover. Latest figures Gambling Commission suggest more than 106,000 people make a living in the gambling industry in Great Britain alone, where there are more than 8,500 licensed betting shops. And the gross gambling yield of the British industry in the year up to September 2017 was £13.9bn.

03 Starting Points

As that final figure suggests, the gambling and gaming world is a perennially busy, lucrative sector with a plethora of opportunities for people with ambition and drive.

If you’re new to iGaming, let’s start by exploring some “first steps”.

Even the most illustrious career has to start somewhere. And even when you are at base camp, it’s possible to spot the best path to follow all the way to the summit.

For people coming to iGaming from a different sector, there are various possible ways of accessing the industry that will teach you valuable lessons from day one.

  • Customer service: You are at the sharp end dealing with customers – some of whom may not be happy at the outcome of a bet. It’s not always easy, but it’s a wonderful insight into the way your consumers think and feel, and how they engage with your brand. Remember these learnings, they could inform some insightful decisions much further up the ladder.
  • Product management: Products are the lifeblood of an iGaming operation. Presented and managed well, they will attract and maintain customers’ attention and loyalty. This is a chance to learn what works well, what doesn’t – and, crucially, why.
  • Marketing: The rewards on offer ensure that gambling is a phenomenally competitive market. Shaping a message correctly so that your brand attracts and retains a supply of customers could not be more important – and learning how best to deliver that message is a valuable lesson.
  • Compliance: Getting the legal side of a customer proposition right will always be critical to a gaming brand’s success. This area will give a priceless insight into the engine room of a business, a place where the nuts and bolts are dealt with so that the operation as a whole runs smoothly and compliantly.

Whichever area you decide to specialise in, it’s advisable to glean at least a working knowledge of all areas of a company’s activities and its dealings with customers.

As you rise up the ladder, that broad vision and expertise will increase your authority and gravitas and lessen the chances of becoming pigeon-holed and stuck beneath a glass ceiling.  

You can find a more detailed analysis of the various entry points to iGaming in our Guide to Careers in Gaming and Gambling. Qualified and experienced professionals should visit Transfer Into Tech: A Career Guide For Qualified Professionals with Digital Ambitions.


04 Principles of success

If you have your sights firmly set on high office in the iGaming industry, the first step you should take is to take a good long look at the people who currently occupy such positions in your business.

How did they get there? What behaviours do they exhibit that set them apart? How do they carry themselves? How do they lead their teams or sections?

When you can answer these questions, you will have your first insight into what marks out high-achieving business people – and what attributes you need to display to follow in their footsteps.

There are, though, certain characteristics that are common to the majority of successful iGaming business leaders. These can be summarised as follows:

  • Understand your market: Successful leaders have a thorough understanding of their business and insight into its market place

  • Understand your customer: It’s imperative to have an intuitive grasp of what the customer wants – and what the customer will want next

  • Be first: Leaders display a restless, remorseless need to be at the cutting edge and ahead of the curve

  • Never ease off: They refuse to rest on their laurels, and insist on constantly driving forward and having the courage to take risks

  • Never doubt yourself: People at the top have an iron-clad self-belief – or, at least, the convincing appearance of it

  • Listen to new ideas: Pre-eminent business people are open to fresh ways of thinking – anything that could lead to the next leap forward to put their business at the front of the field

  • Focus on execution: Rather than being planners and researchers, leaders like to get stuff done

These are some of the characteristics that define the true leader you aspire to be – a bold operator with ambition, courage and above all, vision. Look at the success stories of people who spotted the next big trend in casinos, online betting and mobile gaming – and reaped the rewards.

What do you think will drive the train next? Crypto-currency gaming? Or eSports betting? Or something nobody else has even thought of yet?

If you know, or believe you know, you could be on course for those lofty positions and enormous rewards sooner than you think.


05 By specialism

So, we’ve seen how iGaming’s biggest winners made their fortunes, and explored some common traits of successful leaders.

Now take a look in more detail at your specialism and the upward path you could follow to hit the big time in your area.

leftAffiliate Management

Path to the top: Create successful affiliate function to earn more senior commercial and marketing positions

Highest value skills: Commercial acumen, marketing, communication, organisation, leadership, ability to build fruitful partner relationships

How to progress: Produce exceptional results, exceed ROI and P&L targets, build advocacy both internally and externally

What success looks like: Leadership of commercial function, C-level appointment

Affiliate Management Salaries:

Generally affiliate managers enter from other generalist marketing roles, but specialism within affiliate can prove an excellent career investment

Years 1-3: £25,000 - £35,000

Years 3+: £40,000 - £60,000

Senior Management: £70,000 - £90,000+

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leftProduct Management

Path to the top: Develop and deliver excellent sportsbook, casino or lottery products

Highest value skills: Customer awareness, flexibility and acceptance of change, insight into changing market conditions

How to progress: Deliver cutting-edge products with superb P&L performance, display innovation and thought leadership

What success looks like: Leadership of product team and department, C-level appointment

Product Management Salaries:

Salaries for product managers can climb steeply - particularly when niche knowledge is required – peaking at some of the highest salaries on offer

Years 1-3: £22,000 - £35,000

Years 3+: £50,000 - £70,000

Senior Management: £80,000 - £120,000+

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leftAcquisition Marketing

Path to the top: Via excellent and innovative customer attraction and retention strategies

Highest value skills: Marketing, technical expertise, creativity, analysis-driven, strategy

How to progress: Display innovative techniques, insights and leadership capabilities that could benefit the business as a whole

What success looks like: Senior position in CRM or marketing function followed by C-level appointment

Acquisition Marketing Salaries:

Acquisition salaries vary dependent on skillset, but the big money comes for those who truly understand how to monetise a specific market

Years 1-3: £18,000 - £30,000

Years 3+: £35,000 - £55,000

Senior Management: £65,000 - £85,000+

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 leftTech

Path to the top: Become expert in your chosen speciality, lead successful development teams

Highest value skills: Digital mastery, awareness of technological trends, ability to function in cross-functional space, relationships

How to progress: Lead the technical function across the business, excel in tech and communicate effectively with non-tech colleagues

What success looks like: Team leadership, CTO appointment, potential high-earning consultancy positions

Tech Salaries:

High skill requirements ensure tech starting salaries exceed those of other new entrants, and rise quickly for those with valuable skillsets

Years 1-3: £25,000 - £50,000

Years 3+: £60,000 - £75,000

Senior Management: £80,000 - £110,000+

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leftCompliance

Path to the top: Excel by ensuring business has zero legal issues and internal teams are aware of basic compliance principles

Highest value skills: Attention to detail, knowledge of regulation/law, communication, relationship building

How to progress: Ensure all teams are aware of importance of compliance, produce best-in-class documentation and T&Cs, be generous with knowledge to build internal advocacy

What success looks like: Head of compliance leading to general management roles and C-level appointments and lucrative consultancy opportunities

Compliance & Legal Salaries:

The increasing importance of compliance in iGaming has raised senior salaries, but roles vary significantly by level of responsibility

Years 1-3: £25,000 - £40,000

Years 3+: £45,000 - £65,000

Senior Management: £80,000 - £120,000+

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leftSales

Path to the top: Deliver exceptional P&L across a range of products and market places

Highest value skills: Commercial acumen, relationship building, patience, perseverance, self-belief

How to progress: Display commercial expertise and high levels of confidence and expertise, produce results that exceed expectations, build internal and external relationships

What success looks like: Head of commercial function across business, leading to C-level appointment – many CEOs have a strong sales background

Sales & Business Development Salaries:

Established networks and contacts are command a premium, and top salespeople can expect significant OTE – on top of earnings – and even equity

Years 1-3: £28,000 - £55,000

Years 3+: £60,000 - £95,000

Senior Management: £100,000 - £150,000+

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leftManagement 

Path to the top: Through creation and maintenance of positive, constructive workplace with low staff churn and high productivity

Highest value skills: Leadership, commercial acumen, dedication, broad knowledge of business practices, patience, communication

How to progress: Compile and oversee a successful management structure and team that supports the broader business functions across all departments

What success looks like: Leadership at successively high levels, C-level appointment, consultancy opportunities, non-executive directorships

Senior Management Salaries:

As leaders of business growth and productivity, senior management are in line for the highest pay packets. Bonuses and revenue share can increase earnings further still

Director-Level: £70,000 - £150,000

C-Level: £120,000 - £250,000


So what’s next for you?

iGaming is a fast-moving world of intense pressure and constant challenges. But it is also an environment that can reward those who thrive on it, master its idiosyncrasies and rise to pre-eminence.

We’ve seen how the people at the very top of the industry have achieved their status. We’ve analysed the characteristics and behaviours you need if you want to emulate them.

So, where do you go from here? Do you want the rewards, the big money, the status? Because if you do, standing still is not an option. It’s all about action.

Inspired to Apply?

If this guide has inspired you to take the leap, why not Register with Pentasia Recruitment or start applying for jobs today?

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