The SBC Awards 2019 ceremony in London last night saw bet365 and LeoVegas again collect the big prizes, as a record 34 different companies and five industry leaders were recognised for their excellence in the sports betting and igaming sector.
Hosted by Kirsty Gallacher and Ruud Gullit, the event at Battersea Evolution brought together 700 industry professionals to celebrate the achievements of the best-performing and most innovative operators, suppliers and affiliates.
The evening culminated in bet365 being named Sportsbook of the Year for the sixth consecutive year, having earlier picked up the Football Sportsbook of the Year and Best Affiliate Programme honours. The Stoke-based bookmaker was also highly commended in the Racing Sportsbook category, only to be pipped at the post by William Hill.
LeoVegas proved to be the pick for voters in the casino categories, and the Swedish giant retained the Casino Operator of the Year title and also won the Innovation in Casino Entertainment prize.
Joining them in registering multiple victories were Betradar (Best Live Streaming Product, Best Virtual Football Product and Best Sports Data Product) and Trustly (Payment Innovation of the Year and Payment Solution of the Year).
The event also honoured some of the individuals who have made key contributions to the success and reputation of the industry over the past 12 months. The Leader of the Year awards went to Jesper Svensson, CEO - Betsson Group (Sports Betting), Alexander Stevendahl, CEO - Videoslots (Casino), Charles Gillespie, Chief Executive - Gambling.com Group (Affiliate), Martin Wachter, CEO - Golden Race (Supplier) and Khalid Ali, CEO - IBIA (Association).
Andrew McCarron, Managing Director at SBC, said: “Congratulations to all the winners selected by our voters and judging panels. We had a record number of entries this year and the quality of them was hugely impressive, so the victors had to be truly exceptional to stand out from the other contenders.
“The operational excellence, innovation and commitment to driving up standards demonstrated by the award winners and shortlisted companies is a really positive sign for the future of the industry, and we’re excited to see what further developments they come up with in 2020.”
The 34 award-winning companies also included Betsson Group in the Socially Responsible Sportsbook of the Year category, while Kindred Group took home the Socially Responsible Casino prize, and Sky Betting & Gaming was named Employer of the Year.
As well as the established big hitters, the SBC Awards honoured some of the newer entrants to the market and the Rising Star prizes went to Stoiximan / Betano Group (Sports Betting), Play Ojo (Casino), Shape Games (Sports Betting Innovation) and BetGames.TV (Casino Innovation).
In the affiliates section, Better Collective triumphed in the hotly-contested Sports Affiliate of the Year category, while Catena Media took the corresponding Casino honour and 1XBet collected the Best Affiliate Product Innovation trophy.
Completing the operator honours, Parimatch’s promotional work with UFC star Conor McGregor clinched the Marketing Campaign of the Year award, but it was just edged out by Dafabet for Sponsorship of the Year - a third successive win in the category for the Philippines-based operator, which is the shirt sponsor of Celtic, Fulham and Norwich City. Betway also enjoyed repeat success in retaining the Esports Operator of the Year prize, and a first triumph for Poland’s STS saw it named Omni-Channel Operator of the Year.
In the supplier section of the awards, there were wins for SBTech (Sportsbook Supplier of the Year), Betgenius (Best Live Betting Product), Playtech BGT Sports (Best Land-Based Betting & Gaming Product), Golden Race (Best Virtual Sports Product) and Pinnacle Solution (Esports Supplier of the Year).
Scientific Games was named Standalone Platform Provider of the Year, Together Gaming picked up the White Label Supplier of the Year prize and BetConstruct’s VRT-based gaming assistant earned it the Innovation of the Year title.
NetEnt emerged triumphant in the Casino Game Developer of the Year category and Evolution Gaming collected the Innovation in Casino Entertainment prize, while there were also wins for Optima (Best Multi-Channel Supplier), Optimove (Best Acquisition & Retention Partner) and Xtremepush (Marketing & Services Provider of the Year).
Joining Trustly in celebrating success in the payments section of the SBC Awards were Jumio (Fraud & Compliance Solution of the Year) and MuchBetter (Mobile Payment Solution of the Year).
McCarron added: “It was a good night made possible by the support of our sponsors and media partners. We can’t put on the events we do without their involvement, so I’d like to thank BetConstruct, Scientific Games and Trustly for being headline sponsors and all the other companies that believe in what we are trying to provide to the gambling industry.”
As mentioned earlier, at the end of September SBC conducted its first forum dedicated to safer gambling.