Another year has come and gone, and that means only one thing: the EGR Operator Awards – the UK’s biggest online and mobile gaming awards – has taken place, and we know who the winner are. Some are well deserved first places, while others have some question marks hanging over the choice (at least in my mind). I’ve picked out some of the most important results of the evening for analysis, so strap in and get ready for a rant.
The success story of the night was – and there is very little doubt about this – William Hill. On top of landing the very top spot with the Operator of the Year award, the decades old bookies went on to prove an old dog can learn new tricks, by claiming first place in Casino Operator of the Year, Slots Operator of the Year, and a couple of other minor categories.
Now, don’t get me wrong, William Hill is no doubt a great site, and all its different gaming arms offer some incredibly exciting opportunities of players, but I can’t quite put my finger on what WillHill has done in the last year which makes it eligible for all these prizes now. No doubt it’s ticking along nicely, but there are plenty of other operators who both made it into the shortlists along with William Hill and didn’t who have shown more innovation and originality in the past 12 month… in my humble opinion.
William Hill cleaning up at these awards, and mobile casino sites like Paddy Power and Mr Green coming second – or ‘Highly Commended’ – made the whole awards feel like a bit of an old boys’ club, with very little new blood getting a look in.
I was going to write about this category last, but seeing as what I just said, I thought I’d give you a counterpoint in the interest of fairness. Keen gaming fans may remember that last year’s best new casino was Casumo, which was already making waves with a fresh and exciting approach to online and mobile gaming, and has subsequently gone on to achieve remarkable things in the industry.
I had high hopes, then, for this year’s Rising Star winner Colossus Bets. Unfortunately for me, but perhaps gratifying for fans of sports betting, Colossus Bets focuses only on betting, and doesn’t give mobile casino games or slots a look in. Wah.
Mobile Operator of the Year
Where’s Pocket Fruity? Not only did the nifty little independent casino – which has done so much this year to improve itself and leave the competition in its shadow – not win this category, it didn’t even make the shortlist cut. Nope, instead Sky Betting & Gaming won and BetVictor came Highly Commended. Madness.
Mobile Casino Product of the Year
You know what? I don’t have to say much about this category, mainly because I really agree with the choice. With the winner being named as LeoVegas.com, I regained a lot of my faith in EGR and their awards giving abilities. Leo Vegas has done a ton in the last year to expand its games offering, banking options, and most importantly, mobile accessibility.