Trainer Profiles

iGaming Expertise You Can Rely On

Our courses are created in collaboration with leading experts from the iGaming industry and beyond.

Christina Thakor-Rankin

Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd

Course: MLRO 3-Day Masterclass

Christina has over 25 years’ experience in the betting, and gambling industry. Starting out in the pre-dotcom era, she has a career spanning land, internet and mobile, covering all aspects of gaming operations, holding senior roles with some of the world’s best known brands (including William Hill and Virgin) responsible for managing multiple business disciplines, functions and teams across a range of channels, products and customers, including regulatory compliance and money laundering.

She is currently Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd working with start-ups, investors, established operators, regulators, law enforcement and industry groups across the world, advising on all aspects of the gaming and gambling cycle – from market research and analysis, to licensing and compliance, products and marketing, project management and business strategy, to full operational set-up and customer engagement.

She remains an active Compliance Officer and MLRO, non-Executive Director and Board member, and regularly contributes to industry publications and events. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Politics, and a Master’s degree in Classics.

Wendy Zitzman

Digital Fraud, Payments & Compliance Expert

Courses: Anti- Money Laundering, Operational Fraud Management

Wendy Zitzman has worked in a fraud, payments and compliance capacity across the digital sector since early 2003. In 2008 she made the switch into iGaming and since then, has worked in several international companies.

Wendy is currently with iGaming Academy where her role includes the sourcing of new topics, trainers and content partners. Having amassed a wealth of experience and knowledge in the Fraud & Payments, AML structures and procedures as well as the area of Responsible Gaming, Wendy is also an experienced trainer and delivers the iGaming Academy’s Anti- Money Laundering training course.

Maris Bonello

Integrity Analytics Manager, Risk and Fraud Analyst

Course: Responsible Gaming

Maris Bonello currently occupies the role of Integrity Analytics Manager at Unibet.  She started as a Risk and Fraud Analyst with Unibet and after receiving her MSc in Occupational Psychology from the University of Leicester, took on the role of Responsible Gaming Manager.  She has a Diploma in Gambling Addiction Counselling and Psychology, and is now reading for her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Mark Griffiths, focusing primarily on the analysis of the early signs of online problem gambling, responsible gaming tools and responsible gaming promotion.

Whilst recapitulating research for her role, she has started an innovative detection tool with Unibet, known as PS-EDS (Player Safety – Early Detection System).  This has shown an impressive advantage in the company both from a commercial perspective and also internally addressing Corporate Social Responsibility. This same PS-EDS has won the EGr Innovation of the Year award in 2014. Unibet has also won RG awards including the IGA Socially Responsible Operator award and the EGR Nordics Socially Responsible Operator award.

Monroe Schmidt

Cyber-Crime & Money Laundering Expert

Course: Anti-Fraud & Payments Handling

Monroe has worked with top online gaming companies: GVC Group, Betway Group, AMAYA Group, NYX Group and most recently The Jackpotjoy Group. He has been working in the industry since early 2007 and the experiences and training he’s gained have equipped him with all the necessary tools and insights to battle cyber-crime and prevention of Money Laundering.

Monroe has vast experience in Compliance, Payments, Risk, and Anti Money Laundering where he currently practices such at the Jackpotjoy Group. Through iGaming Academy’s Anti- Fraud & Payments Handling training course, Monroe passes on his knowledge and experiences to those looking to learn more on this interesting and important sector of online commerce.

Chris Naudi

Sportsbook & iGaming Product Specialist

Courses: Introduction to iGaming, Online Sportsbook Trading

Chris learnt his trade with one of the first Sportsbooks to come to Malta in 2004 – Heathorns International. After a brief stint in London with Premierbet, he came back and spent 5 years as Head of Trading at GVC. Today, Chris is Sportsbook Manager at Hero Gaming and working on launching a ‘revolutionary Sports Betting experience’ at Betser.com. Chris is highly passionate about anything iGaming related and in his free time loves nothing more than a game of poker and researching betting opportunities.

Chris has been involved with the iGaming Academy both locally and abroad since 2007 and has delivered over 100 training sessions in the past 10 years. He currently delivers the flagship ‘Introduction to iGaming Course’, as well as the ‘Sportsbook Management’ session and has helped numerous iGaming companies in Malta with training needs.

Pierre Mifsud

Course: Online Casino Management

Pierre Mifsud is Head of Account Management at Booming Games, an online slot games provider. He has been in the Online Gaming Industry since 2006 and held various positions with various gaming companies such as Betsson Group & Interwetten both in Malta & in Austria. He graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School. He has passion for the gaming industry especially online Casinos and helping operators to grow their revenues.

Yana Tsyganova

Head of Casino of Betsson.com

Course: 360° Casino

As Head of Casino at Betsson.com, Yana believes that online casino is one of the most exciting places to be right now – with the development of big data, gamification and the industry in general. Having worked in the online industry for 10 years, in areas such as Marketing, Project Management and Product Development,  Yana says that casino is still the product that excites her the most.

Yana also has worked in various roles with Gauselmann Group and GVC. She has completed an MBA in London in 2015 and has lived in Malta, London, Dublin and Berlin. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge in iGaming Academy’s 360° Casino and being  part of the next generation of excellent casino entrepreneurs.

Piotr Zajączkowski

Professional Life and Business Coach

Course: Key Soft Skills at Work

Pitor has been working in Education and Training industry for the last ten years. Professional Life and Business Coach, Trainer, Teacher and Consultant. Passionate about stimulating people and businesses to develop and grow. Calls himself a “professional people helper”.

Piotr graduated from MBA studies in London. Originally from Poland, he had been living and working in the UK, Spain and Greece for the last 12 years. He moved to Malta two years ago and he is running his own coaching practice. In his free time he reads a lot about psychology and personal development. Piotr delivers the Key Soft Skills training course at iGaming Academy.

Stefan Farrugia

Head of Analytics – Hero Gaming

Course: Business Analytics

Stefan has been working in the iGaming industry for more than 10 years across different companies and functions. This broad experience has given him a solid understanding of the industry dynamics and its trends.

Having a Mathematical and Statistical background he transitioned into Analytics and gained comprehensive knowledge on Data Analysis, Customer Analytics and industry metrics.

Currently Stefan is the Head of Analytics at Hero Gaming. He is also a trainer with iGaming Academy were he delivers the Business Analytics course.

Sarah Psaila

Senior Marketing, Affiliate & iGaming Specialist

Course: Affiliate Management

Sarah has over 10 years’ experience in iGaming and has enjoyed senior marketing and affiliate management roles with some of the leading operators in the field including Betsafe, Tipico and Garbo at Mr Green. Currently Sarah is working as a Marketing and Affiliate Consultant for a number of leading iGaming operators in Malta.

Her academic studies combined with the wealth of experience she has gained in the field over the past 10 years now allows her to deliver successful training programs specifically related to Affiliate Marketing Management, which she shares during the iGaming Academy Affiliate Management training course.

Joshua O’Cock

MD of Digital Agency Growth Gurus

Course: Digital Marketing

Josh has worked in social media and digital marketing since its inception. A University of Manchester graduate (BSc) in Management and IT and (MSc) in Information Systems, Josh has developed his own unique, inspiring approach to digital marketing. He has extensive experience in providing digital marketing strategies – through consulting, managing and executing these strategies with a wide and truly international range of clients ranging from casinos to bitcoin exchange companies.

Josh is currently the Managing Director and co-founder of Malta-based digital marketing and business growth agency, Growth Gurus. Trained in Manchester and New York, Josh is fully up-to-date with the latest and greatest tips in digital marketing which he discusses during iGaming Academy’s Digital Marketing training course.

Eugen Platon

SEO Manager – Guts.com (Gaming Innovation Group)

Course: SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

Eugen Platon is the SEO Manager for Guts.com, the most important brand of Gaming Innovation Group. A Technical University of Iasi (Romania), graduate in Computer Science and a SEO Master Certified by MarketMotive, Eugen has been involved in SEO and Digital Marketing since 2006.

With deep roots in computer science, Eugen developed knowledge and acquired competencies into digital marketing areas within the companies he worked for, optimising websites globally and locally, from strategy to execution and reporting.

Leadership and machine learning along with his passion for SEO and Web Analytics are his focus these days. He is constantly looking for ways to improve strategies and results into evolving and changing field like SEO. Eugen shares his passion for SEO through iGaming Academy’s SEO- Search Engine Optimisation training.

Heidi Lind Jensen

Course: Customer Relationship Management

Heidi has an extensive background in marketing management with a strong emphasis on the creative and analytical aspects. She is the co-founder of a consultancy company which focus is to optimise marketing, strategy-building and positioning for different iGaming companies.

She has a flare for customer analysis, as well as basic psychological drivers, to build meaningful communication strategies that will lead to increased revenue. Heidi is a trainer at the iGaming Academy where she delivers the Customer Relationship Management training course.

Stephanie Grech

Course: Practical KYC

Stephanie has been working in the Online Gaming Industry since 2009 gaining a vast understanding of the industry requirements and workings. She currently occupies the role of Payouts and Risk Department Manager with AspireGlobal – a top platform provider for online gaming operators.

Her main interest and focus has been on fraud prevention and risk assessment. She is of the belief that fully grasping who your customer is through the various measures available will not only aid you in having top quality customers  but will also give you the ability to manage not omit fraud.

She is looking forward to pass on all the knowledge gained throughout the years which in turn will be passed on to others, pushing this industry to higher levels of knowledge and understanding.