HomeIn-depthCasino Guru Awards Judges: “A deep dive into industry processes helps us reward only the best of candidates"

Casino Guru Awards Judges: “A deep dive into industry processes helps us reward only the best of candidates"

12 min. read
Casino Guru Judges

Enter the exciting Casino Guru Awards 2024, where responsibility is the main character. The Casino Guru Awards originated as a symbol of recognition of excellence in gambling, and now the second year of these prestigious awards is underway.

Our panel of judges consists of internal Casino Guru judges who evaluate categories such as The Fairest Bonus Policy, The Fairest General T&Cs, The Most Transparent Casino, and The Most Effective Handling of Complaints.

They were joined by approximately 20 other judges, external experts, who, focused primarily on the categories The Most Impactful Social Responsibility Initiative, The Best Implementation of RG Tools, and The Most Ethical Approach to Marketing, together with our own Daniela Sliva, Šimon Vincze and Maroš Gašparík.

This Casino Guru Insiders article takes you behind the scenes, revealing the careful process behind making sure only the very best get honored with an award. Join us as judges directly from Casino Guru share their experience and reflect on more than 30 calls that were made with shortlisted candidates for the Casino Guru Awards.

Get ready, get set, go!

It's a Thursday morning, November 30th, and Bratislava is buzzing with excitement. Judges from all around the world gather to participate in the selection process for the prestigious Casino Guru Awards. The focus is on picking the winners from the shortlisted candidates, and the stage is set for an exciting day.

Representatives of Casino Guru form a significant portion of the judging panel. Beyond their expertise in the seven award categories, they play a crucial role in ensuring the values of Casino Guru resonate throughout the selection process. The non-Casino Guru judges – experts from various institutions, organizers, and content creators – navigate conference premises, creating an atmosphere of anticipation.

This year, meticulous preparations have been made for online calls with shortlisted participants. A precise time schedule and audio-visual setups, including connected cameras, promise a seamless experience. Two panels of judges operate simultaneously, each handling different categories. Moderators join the calls and handle contestants who join the sessions one by one – a novelty introduced this year.

"The moderators brought notable improvement in this year's performance. They were taking charge of the introduction, fielding judges' questions, concluding with final remarks, and managing the overall flow of the calls with a dose of professionalism," remarks Peter Ješko.

A huge amount of video content recording is happening throughout the entire event, and our fans can now read about the process on Casino Guru News. If you wish to see what it looked like, what interviews with external and internal judges were carried out, check out our YouTube channel.

Casino Guru Judges 1

Gathering insights

As we sit in one of the judges' conference rooms, the enormity of the task ahead becomes evident. The judges from Casino Guru are well-prepared, having thoroughly reviewed materials provided by the shortlisted companies themselves – their nomination letters and short standardized forms.

These materials are used so that the judges can objectively compare the casinos and various projects one on one. Soon, however, this information will be enriched by a unique presentation of the nominee's efforts. And to make the discussion fruitful and two-sided, each judge has their own specific set of questions prepared for speakers and representatives, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation.

Each nominee is allocated 30 minutes, during which many present prepared information relevant to their respective categories. Following the presentations, judges pose additional questions – some challenging, some complementary, some purely out of curiosity. A question leads to another question and, before you know it, the debate is flowing.

After all, these are the people who have many relevant things to say about the industry they all know so well. Some companies are introduced by numerous people, and in these cases, we want to give space for everyone to express themselves. However, being on a tight schedule, our moderators have to enter the debate from time to time.

Despite the high standards, the atmosphere during the calls remains pleasant, with judges maintaining friendliness and candidates displaying professionalism. The venue enhances the overall nice experience with its inviting ambiance, situated within a historic hotel.

While some candidates miss scheduled calls, it doesn't disrupt the process. This time is utilized for discussions among the judges, occasionally revealing differing opinions. Interestingly, candidates unable to join calls for whatever reason still have a chance at winning.

Daniela Sliva, the initiator of the Casino Guru Awards, says: "Even shortlists who do not participate in calls can be chosen as winners. However," she emphasizes, "the significance of the calls, showcasing effort, a desire to excel, and that extra step – these are the qualities we look for in winners."

Casino Guru Judges 2

The value of interactive calls

Interactive calls add a human touch to the evaluation, moving beyond achievements on paper. The aim of Casino Guru Awards evaluation process is to feel passion and dedication firsthand. Despite differing requirements for candidates in each category, a responsible approach in the gambling industry and excellent execution unite them all – a theme evident in every conversation.

During calls, judges weren't merely checking boxes; they were engaging in meaningful debates that revealed the essence of each company and their processes. Discussions involving personal anecdotes, industry challenges, and future aspirations emerged as a common occurrence. "It's consistently more effective to have direct calls with candidates rather than solely relying on written documents."says Peter Matúška.

"The calls allowed us to understand the industry behind the professional façade. We wanted to know how each, and every candidate approached player protection, not just as a concept but as a deeply ingrained value,"adds Šimon Vincze.

And it works both ways. The casinos themselves can get to know the Casino Guru Awards more closely from our calls and understand what our philosophy is about in general, not only during the Awards ceremony. Another unique advantage of our interactive calls is that many awards within the industry do not involve judges to the extent that we do.

We really want the best to win, which cannot be judged only through a nomination. Thanks to the calls, we can go deeper into the areas that interest our numerous judges, or we can also clarify inconsistencies that otherwise did not make sense in the context of the nomination. These calls are a particularly useful assessment tool, and they also provide an opportunity for candidates to give their best. The success of their nomination lies solely in their hands.

Our constant endeavor revolves around the meticulous selection of nothing but the finest, a distinction which cannot be judged only through a nomination. And we have seen it firsthand. Those candidates who agreed to the call, and came carefully prepared for them, surprised us in a good way time and time over, even though their nomination might not have been the best at first glance. "It definitely made my decision making more difficult," admits Petronela Kontos.

Looking forward

With Friday coming, our judges have a clear idea of ​​what excellent spirit that the industry can show looks like and, on the flip side, what some nominees underestimated during their preparation. What aspects should contestants focus on to convey to the judges of Casino Guru Awards that they are winning material?

Here are our Casino Guru judges' recommendations and observations:

  • Each nominee should be ready to answer why they deserve to win in their category, as this question was frequently asked.
  • It is important to avoid generic responses and be ready to defend one´s position with well-chosen arguments, even if they may not align with the judges' initial expectations.
  • A focused presentation tailored to the specific category of nomination is always agood idea, as is having a spokesperson well-versed in the topic and internal processes to handle challenging questions from judges.

"I'm looking forward to next year's Awards, confident that it will be another high-quality event. Each year, both we and our nominees show improvement, incorporating valuable feedback into our processes," says Maroš Gašparík.

There are several areas we aim to enhance and improve. Our primary focus is on obtaining even more relevant information from participants. Additionally, we are contemplating the optimal medium for our video calls, and we also aspire to enhance the technical aspects of the event one step further.

The second day of the gathering is marked by several interesting categories, among them The Fairest Bonus Policy and The Fairest General T&Cs. In The Fairest Bonus Policy, the judges come across an interesting case – two very different casinos that offer great insight into their operations, both with glassy approaches that, eventually, caused positive lengthy debates among our judges.

There was also a case of the operator who very shortly skimmed through the nomination without much of the details. However, in the following debate, they were able to go in depth and present areas that were not even mentioned in the nomination. It greatly improved the overall impression and certainly influenced later decision-making.

During the assessment process, the majority of our internal judges directed their attention towards analyzing operators. However, it's noteworthy that Daniela Sliva, Šimon Vincze, and Maroš Gašparík actively engaged in evaluating candidates beyond the operator's spectrum in categories such as The Most Impactful Social Responsibility Initiative, The Best Implementation of RG Tools, and The Most Ethical Approach to Marketing.

Casino Guru Awards Judges 3

The aftermath

By Friday afternoon the work is still not done, although the calls had ended. The judges have more weeks to choose their winners. All the materials from the nominations and recorded calls were conveyed to the judges so that they could re-evaluate their selection even after a time gap.

It adds to the transparency and real objectivity in the evaluation. The judges praised this procedure. Daniel Dolejší "Sometimes, the nominee is not the best in the given category, but it has such an engaging presentation and such great people speaking for it, that it simply impresses the judges. It can get overwhelming, and sometimes a powerful presentation is stuck in your head so much that it clouds your judgment."

However, if the judges get extra time to think, they can evaluate the individual nominees more clearly and, finally, vote for their favorite. The winners are picked in a democratic way – each judge has three points which they distribute among the contestants. They can grant all three points to one contestant or divide the points between several nominees. After counting the points, the winner is determined. And as was the case last year, this year too we will reveal the winners during the online broadcast in February.

Right now, the organizers are already preparing for the awarding of the winners in February, our content creators are processing the material from the gathering of judges in November, and judges themselves are, at the time of writing this, still voting for the winners of Casino Guru Awards 2024.

The best part about this whole process of selecting the winners of the Casino Guru Awards is creating a unique opportunity for experts from the industry – to meet and talk with colleagues, find out what’s new in the gambling world, and be present to unraveling of some of the best casinos, tools, projects, and their implementations out there.

Such a unique meeting is appreciated not only by us at Casino Guru, but also by external colleagues who were willing to come to the center of Europe and enjoy, among other things, the beginning of the Christmas atmosphere in Bratislava. Perhaps they, too, continued to draw on what was heard on the calls, and also outside of them, for a long time after our meeting.

And how would Daniela Sliva, the mastermind behind it all, describe the evaluation process this year? "Compared to last year, we have certainly moved a step further. Our shortlists were better prepared, and so were we. I'm glad that we all enjoyed this gathering as a whole, and I have to say, I’m very proud of everyone who contributed to making it happen."

If you would like to read more about the whole Casino Guru Awards experience, subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you won't miss out on upcoming compelling articles and the latest updates. Anticipated insights from our external Casino Guru Awards judges are coming soon.

This article is part of Casino Guru Insiders, a series of interviews during which experts from Casino Guru share their unique workflow, reveal insider information, and offer an exclusive overview of experience-packed know-how.

Image credit: Casino Guru News

22 Jan 2024
12 min. read
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