About Shona ODonnell, Head of Operations at iGaming Business & SportBusiness.
Interview with Shona ODonnell.

I am the head of operations for the leading publishing, events and research company in the business of sport and online gambling, which includes SportBusiness Group and iGaming Business.

In this role I am responsible for all of our events, marketing, customer services and a few other bits that fall between the cracks. I’ve been in the industry for 8 years and love working in two exciting sectors.

Outside of work I love eating and drinking and trying new restaurants , I also love to cook at home, food is a big passion. When I’m not eating I go to the theatre and the gym, or enjoy time relaxing with a good book.

As a heavyweight of the industry, how do you see iGamingbusiness.com role in the International gambling arena?

Our role is as the leading provider of information in the sector, whether that be in the form of our award winning magazines, iGaming Business, iGaming Business North America and iGB Affiliate, our online Intelligence Centre or our live events such as the iGaming Super Show, London Affiliate Conference or iGaming 4 Bitcoin Conference. 

We provide those in the industry with the information, data and analysis they need to make better-informed business decisions.  Through our events we also provide a platform for buyers and supplier, affiliates and operators to come together and networking face to face.

How does the site manage to stand out in a very crowded market place?

We invest heavily in our editorial and have lots of news added on a daily basis. For our subscribers we take this a step further and provide them with the analysis of these stories so they can understand the impact it has on the market and to their business. 

We have a huge wealth of information on all verticals in the form of webinars, reports, data, white papers and conference sessions, by ensuring our authors in the magazine are industry experts we always know that what we are bringing to the table is relevant and timely.

The online gaming industry is often tainted by corruption and greed. If an operator is unethical will the iGB blow the whistle on it?

The industry has matured a great deal and working across sport and gaming I would argue that there is more due diligence in gaming than in sport, just look at what has happened to football clubs in the UK in the past 18 months. 

If we get reports of operators working in unethical ways we will investigate and speak to the affiliates that have told us about it.  The forums in the industry are very active so it’s difficult for an unethical operators to stay around for any length of time, the industry in that sense self regulates massively and nearly everyone we work with is Gamcare certified.  Despite not being an operator all of the iGaming Business team are Gamcare certified and we fully support the work they do in the industry.

What’s been the highlight/s of the iGB during the past year or so?

I think in the industry in general seeing the first three states in the US come online was exciting even if it was a bit of an anti climax.  On a personal level I think seeing the Super Show in its 5th year really develop has been amazing. 

We aim to bring the entire industry together at one event, with eight different conferences and it’s a huge amount of work to bring together the top CEO’s at the Executive Conference, to attracting new affiliates for the Amsterdam Affiliate Conference and provide marketing professional with something new and relevant.  This year we had such amazing feedback, it made me really proud to be a part of something that served a real purpose within the industry.

Have you attended any conferences (Amsterdam, London and Barcelona)? If yes, of all the conferences which one is your favourite and why?

As I’m responsible for the events I attend every single one and I have to say I love them all.  London is our flagship event and the first I was involved with, Amsterdam I’ve worked on since it started so I feel a different responsibility for it and Barcelona as the smallest is a little more relaxed and easier.  It’s too hard to pick a favourite but maybe Amsterdam for now as I love the city and team we work with there.

If an operator wants to advertise with the iGB are there specific criteria/guidelines the site looks at before it accepts?

All our advertising is very clear online and in the magazines, we don’t offer paid for editorial as its very obvious and our reader’s can see it’s an advertorial and then don’t trust the content.

From the looks of things ‘Mobile Gaming’ is the next big thing. What’s your take on the mobile market to date and where do you see it in years to come?

Mobile is definitely here as vertical within iGaming with many companies now generating more revenue from this than their traditional desktop offerings. Saying this though, I still believe there is a lot of opportunity in this area from the user experience through to the games themselves that are being offered as no operator has truly got this right yet.

From our perspective, as publishers mobile is also critical for our business success so last year we re-launched iGamingBusiness.com as a responsive site which has made a big difference on our traffic coming from mobile sources. In addition we have invested a lot in our event app and have seen the interaction on this go through the roof, in Amsterdam for example we had over half a million interactions!