Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame entry for Paris Smith, Fred Done and Vigen Badalyan

Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith, Betfred Founder and CEO Fred Done and BetConstruct Founder and CEO Vigen Badalyan will be inducted into the SBC Sports Betting Hall of Fame at this year’s SBC Awards.

The fourth edition of this end of year industry celebration is being held tonight (Tuesday 5 December) at the stunning Artillery Garden at the HAC in Central London..

The SBC Sports Betting Hall of Fame was launched at last year’s SBC Awards to acknowledge outstanding individual achievements within the industry. The inaugural members were Sportradar Founder and CEO Carsten Koerl, Sportingbet Founder Mark Blandford and Howard Chisholm, the long-term Managing Director of Chisholm Bookmakers and co-founder of the Bookmakers Trade Consortium.

Joining this trio will be Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith, who started her gaming career in 1995 by taking bets at WWTS, an offshore sports betting company that was later sold to Betcorp Ltd. Having worked her way up the business to become COO, she joined Curacao-based Pinnacle in the same role from 2006.

Pinnacle soon recognised Smith’s efforts in shifting the focus away from North America towards growth markets in Asia and Europe, by promoting her to CEO in 2008. Almost a decade on, Pinnacle continues to flourish under her leadership. The operator emphasised its desire for data driven innovation by launching a revamped eSports portal in 2017.

Smith commented: “I’m extremely humbled to be recognised for my contribution to the industry, capping another successful year for me at Pinnacle. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve with the new eSports Hub in 2018 – hopefully we’ll be moving into some new and exciting markets ourselves and through our B2B partners.

“It’s always been my goal to make a positive mark on the industry, by ensuring my staff love their work as much as I do. I will strive to support them where possible and continue to champion the high-performance culture that is so important to Pinnacle’s future success.”

One of the founders of Betfred, Fred Done recently celebrated 50 years in the betting game. With his brother Peter, he opened the first ‘Done Bookmakers’ betting shop in Pendlebury on 4 September 1967.

Heading up the family business, the real growth came in the millennium with a name change to Betfred and the opening of a first shop in London. By 2010, Betfred had a high street presence of 800 shops, which grew to 1,350 with the purchase of the Tote for £265 million, an exclusive seven-year licence to run pools betting on UK horse racing.

Fast forward to 2017, Done has consolidated Betfred’s status as a UK betting behemoth, which operates over 1,700 shops and employs more than 11,000 staff nationwide.

Done sent the following message to all delegates at The Artillery Garden: “I’m very, very proud to receive this award, it means a lot to me, and I promise if I last another 50 years I’ll be there to receive my 100th year trophy!”

BetConstruct Chairman Vigen Badalyan also assumed CEO duties for the company in November 2017 following the departure of Vahe Baloulian. Formerly the owner of Vivaro Betting, Badalyan was one of the founding members of the company, which now operates development, sales and service centres in 14 countries worldwide.

Now headquartered in London, Badalyan has overseen the growth of BetConstruct’s online and land-based gaming solutions, with a product range which includes a fully managed sportsbook and casino, alongside sports data and retail betting shop solutions.

As well as inducting Smith, Done and Badalyan, the #sbcawards2017 will also recognise excellence across all areas of sports betting in 2017, with 28 prizes split into 11 Operator/Affiliate awards and 17 Supplier awards. For a full list of the nominated companies in each category, click HERE.

Presenting the Christmas themed end of year celebration will be former Sky Sports presenter Matt Lorenzo and Luis Garcia, a UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool in 2004/05 who now serves as an official ambassador for the Anfield based club.