Sports betting and gaming technology provider SBTech US has strengthened its leadership offering with the appointment of Melissa Riahei, who will take up the role as President.
Riahei, who has considerable experience across the gaming and lottery industries, will oversee US operations with the task of focusing on building out the groups’ US infrastructure to support SBTech’s existing customers and establishing its presence in a number of additional states as more begin to legalise.
“We are delighted to have Melissa on board leading our US business, as we assemble a world-class team to steer us into the next chapter of the company’s growth. Melissa is an extremely talented executive, with a rare blend of business, legal and political acumen and a varied breadth of experience across all sectors in gaming,” said Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech.
“I’m confident that she will serve as a great leader for our US team on the ground and our partners. This appointment demonstrates our continual commitment to the US market by providing dedicated leadership of our US teams to support our partners’ ambitions.”
Riahei has previously worked in the management in the legal affairs of a $2bn annual gaming enterprise as General Counsel to the Illinois Lottery, as well as serving in executive roles at on-line gaming and horserace wagering companies.
“I’m thrilled to join SBTech at such a momentous time in our industry. As legalized sports betting rapidly takes root across the nation, I look forward to leading SBTech’s US expansion, establishing our operational footprint in new states, and contributing our global expertise to the growth and success of this emerging market,” said Riahei.
“SBTech has already seen great success here through our valued partnerships with Churchill Downs, Golden Nugget, Resorts and most recently – the Oregon Lottery. We plan to build on that success and solidify SBTech’s position as a market leading supplier in the US.”
During her career, Riahei helped pioneer the legal challenge submitted to the US Department of Justice’s federal prohibition on online gambling under the Wire Act on behalf of Illinois. Her efforts, in coordination with the New York Lottery, resulted in the monumental 2011 DOJ decision that has enabled states to legalize and regulate most forms of online gambling, leading to the emergence of the growing market in the US today.
Riahei’s appointment follows the recent hire of Gavin Isaacs, who was appointed to the role of non-executive chairman of SBTech. The former Scientific Games CEO joined SBTech as the firm’s new Non-Executive Chairman with a view to looks to grow its US presence.
“Melissa has made valuable contributions to the advancement of our industry and will be a great asset to SBTech as we grow and cement our US presence and leverage the unprecedented opportunities that lie ahead,” concluded Isaacs. “We’re excited to have Melissa joining our team, and I look forward to working with her.”