Overview of the Most Prestigious Awards
The 2018 EGR Awards took place on 25th October at Mayfair House in London. The award ceremony was attended by over 800 industry professionals. A panel of 25 independent judges assessed the shortlisted operators to determine the best performers in each of the 28 categories. The awards have been held each year since 2010, and an EGR award is recognised both by industry experts and players alike as an important factor in identifying the best online gambling operators in all markets.
Perhaps the most coveted title of all is the EGR award for Operator of the Year. This year, GVC Holdings picked up the prestigious gong, beating off competition from LeoVegas, William Hill, MRG Group (Mr Green) and other leading brands. GVC have had a transformational year, completing two successful mergers. In August 2017, the company announced the acquisition of bwin.party had been completed. GVC also completed the acquisition of the Ladbrokes Coral Group in March 2018. This made GVC the UK’s largest high street bookmaker, as well as boosting their significant online presence. In awarding Operator of the Year to GVC Holdings, the judges highlighted the truly impressive achievement the company had made in boldly acquiring brands, with widespread success, particularly across all online divisions.
Big Casino Award Winners
As players and experts in casino sites, the team behind bestcasinosites.net were particularly interested in the awards for online casinos. As such, there were four categories that really drew our attention. The Casino Operator of the Year is perhaps the most highly sought-after title by casino sites. The Game of the Year is equally coveted, with the award given to the game that has made the biggest impact during the year. Given that more and more players are opting to play casino games on mobiles and tablets nowadays, the Mobile Casino Product award is of particular interest in determining who industry experts deem to offer the best product to players. With slots being by far the most popular casino games, the winner of Slots Operator also stands out in the casino awards categories.
Casino Operator of the Year – GVC Holdings
It was a successful night for GVC Holdings. As well as winning the most prestigious overall award for Operator of the Year, they also scooped the best casino operator award. Having acquired the Ladbrokes Coral group during the year, the company strengthened their already impressive online casino presence by adding player favourite sites Ladbrokes Casino, Coral and Gala Casino. The judging panel highlighted the operator’s impressively broad range of initiatives and commitment to customer relationship management, along with the incredible year on year performance of the company.
Game of the Year – Lightning Roulette
Design studios release countless games in the space of a year, ever pushing the boundaries when it comes to creating an engaging and exciting gaming experience. To even be shortlisted in the EGR Game of the Year category, a game must really stand out in the ever-expanding gaming landscape. 11 games were shortlisted for the prestigious prize, mostly consisting of slots. Yet Evolution Gaming swept aside competition from the likes of NetEnt, SG Digital and Yggdrasil to pick up the prize for their innovative live game, Lightning Roulette.
“We were particularly nervous with such tough competition in this category of Game of the Year and we are honoured that our peers in the industry and our customers have voted Lightning Roulette the Game of the Year for 2018.” Todd Haushalter, Chief Product Officer at Evolution Gaming
Lightning Roulette is a revolutionary extended roulette game that combines live gaming with advanced RNG gameplay, creating a truly unique playing experience. You can place all the traditional roulette bets, yet there are more chances to win thanks to Lucky Numbers and Lucky Payouts. Upon each spin of the wheel, up to 5 lucky numbers are selected, with multiplied payouts of up to 500x. The game features impressive sound and light effects along with a host-like croupier, creating a game-show style environment. This is the second EGR Game of the Year award that has been won by Evolution Gaming, after picking up the 2014 award for their much-loved Immersive Roulette.
Mobile Casino Product – Rank Group
The Rank Group are the name behind the hugely popular Grosvenor Casino brand. The company may boast the biggest network of land-based casinos in the UK, yet it was their Live Casino app that caught the judges’ attention. The Grosvenor Live Casino app was launched in August 2017 and has attracted more than 32,000 unique users since its release. The new app is available to download for both iOS and Android.
“We’re thrilled that the Grosvenor Live Casino App has been recognised by the industry as the Best Mobile Casino Product on the market right now. It was our mission to create a forward-thinking gameplay experience that delivered on every level for customers to enjoy so to win a prestigious and well-respected award in the mobile gaming industry is a real honour.” Richard Walker, Head of Grosvenor Live Casino
The Grosvenor Live Casino app features a full suite of games that can be played with real dealers on the go. Popular live games including Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat, Casino Hold’em, 3 Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker and Dream Catcher are all featured on the app. Games are streamed in HQ quality and are fully optimised for mobile play. The Grosvenor Live Casino app has a sleek new lobby design. It also offers notifications of when your favourite dealer is online. In awarding the Mobile Casino Product title to the Rank Group, the judges praised the app’s navigation technology and user-friendly functionality.
Slots Operator – William Hill
William Hill is one of the longest standing and most trusted operators in the UK. They boast a huge range of slots that can be played online. William Hill Casino offers a full choice of Playtech slots. These include big money progressive jackpots, such as Age of the Gods slots, Gladiator Jackpot and Jackpot Giant. Under the William Hill Vegas and Games products, you will find a unique offering of popular slots from some of the best developers in the industry. With slots from industry giants such as NetEnt, Microgaming and IGT, as well as bespoke specialised slot developers, all players are catered for.
In awarding William Hill Slots Operator of the Year, the judges highlighted the high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty with the operator. They also commended William Hill on the remarkable level of their game launches and the collaboration they have with software houses.
Other Significant Winners in the Online Gaming Industry
Of course, egaming does not just involve online casinos. Those of you who want to play at the best bingo sites will be interested in the bingo operators that won awards at the event. Fans of sports betting and poker will likewise want to know which brands shined. Here is a rundown of the winners of some of the other top awards across different sectors of the online gaming industry.
- Bingo Operator – Tombola scooped the award in a highly competitive category that included leading bingo brands such as Wink Bingo and Gala Bingo.
- Poker Operator – With another award for GVC Holdings, PartyPoker was recognised as the best poker operator thanks to company’s growth and commitment to understanding customer needs.
- Sports Betting Operator – bet365 won due to their dominance of many of the major sports betting markets, along with their strong growth in the highly competitive market.
- Mobile Operator – The best overall mobile operator award was won by William Hill, thanks to their product improvement and increased customer engagement.
- Mobile Bingo Product – Jackpotjoy, the popular online bingo brand won the award, with its product recommendation facility cited as its standout feature.
- Mobile Sports Product – bet365’s mobile app won thanks to its functionality and usability, coupled with the market leading brand that sports bettors love.
Player Protection and Support Awards
The EGR Operator awards also recognise the commitment to customer service and social responsibility in the industry. In deciding the winner for Socially Responsible Operator, the judging panel assessed operators’ commitment to player protection, through factors such as age verification, problem gambling assistance and advanced research into gambling. The award was given to Sky Betting & Gaming.
Quality customer service is essential to be considered as one of the best casino sites. To identify the best performer in the customer service category, operators had to demonstrate how they put the customer’s needs first. This was assessed against key criteria such as investment into staff training and development. The Customer Service Operator award 2018 went to the Betsson Group.
The Full List of Winners
We decided not to delve into every single award category in this article. Like selecting the highlights of the Oscars, we have picked out the highlights of the event, the most significant awards that we think you will be most interested in. And if you want to know who won each and every category, then you can find a full list of all 2018 winners here.