An Interview with Christina Thakor-Rankin from 1710 Gaming Ltd
Christina Thakor-Rankin – Principle Consultant, 1710 Gaming Ltd
Christina was interviewed by Jordan Crossley – Conference Producer at Eventus International. He caught up with the 1710 Gaming’s Principal Consultant, and quizzed her about her influential rise, her thoughts on emerging tech, and the African regulatory landscape.
Christina has been in the betting, gaming and gambling industry for over twenty-five years. She started out in the offline era, her career spans land, internet and mobile, across all aspects of betting and gaming operations. She’s held senior roles with some of the world’s best-known brands, and has been responsible for management across a wide array of disciplines and responsibilities.
Christina will be chairing the 4th Annual Sports Betting East Africa Summit and sharing her wealth of expertise with delegates by moderating some of the panel discussions.
How did you first get involved in the gambling industry?
Ironically, by chance. I started working part-time in taking bets over the phone at William Hill as a student – better pay, conditions and hours than working in a bar or fast food chain. I’ve always been into sport and the fact that I was able to watch the football and cricket whilst at work was fantastic.
Having finished my degree and not sure of what to do next I decided to just take some time out and started working there full-time. At the same time, I got into horse-racing and betting – and discovered that if I put in the effort I was quite good at it. Unsurprisingly, the more successful I was at betting, the more attractive the industry became, but not to the point that I was considering it as a career option. The tipping point was on a work’s night out when during a chance encounter I was advised in rather strong terms by someone who considered themselves to be the font of all industry knowledge that whilst I might be ‘lucky at betting’, a woman could ‘never make it in the industry’. Not true – there were already women making their mark at that very Company, but he was drunk and bigoted, and I was drunk and determined to prove him wrong, and in that moment made a decision that I have never once, for a single moment, regretted. With the benefit of hind-sight I owe a lot to that man!
Christina, you are very involved with the African gambling industry, what excites you about the African gaming sector?
Africa today reminds me of where the UK was when I first started out in the industry. This incites feelings of comfort and excitement in equal measure. Comfort because as it feels like familiar territory. Excitement because if I am right then Africa is at the start of what could be an incredibly exciting journey, which will see what is often seen as a minority interest transformed into a mainstream leisure and entertainment activity on the back of technology, consumer education and savvy marketing.
This in turn will generate a natural evolutionary process and constant search for improvement and the next iteration of products – the perfect conditions for the conception of new ideas and innovation and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if one of the ‘next big things’ in the world of betting and gambling comes out of Africa.
For me right now, Africa is a really, really, exciting place to be.
You have been a part of Eventus International’s events for some time now, what keeps you coming back every year?
For me Eventus events do what very few events do, they strike the right balance between globalisation and localisation.
By this I mean that every event is tailored to meet the needs of the jurisdiction in which they are held, bringing together and allowing all of the key stakeholders starting with the regulators, and widen out to include operators, law enforcement, social responsibility groups, investors and interested parties, to share a common platform which supports open and constructive debate, discussion, and collaboration.
At a time when most conferences and events are trying to be all things to all people, and so big that it can sometimes be difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’, or miss out due to conflicting sessions taking place at the same time, the Eventus conferences are in my opinion pretty good value in that an attendee can experience and participate in everything on the agenda without compromise or having to choose between conflicting and competing sessions.
Christina Thakor-Rankin was also speaking at the Human Capital and Resources conference at SiGMA 17.
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