Close

Every gambler has a story to tell. And so does every person who chooses to make a living in this unique industry.

In our “Reel Lives” seriesCasino Reports shines a spotlight on people working in the gaming business, from executives, to analysts, to media members and communications pros, and all points in between.

The subject in this interview: Jamie Shea, a native of Florida who grew up around the horse track and trained to become a schoolteacher before finding her calling  in sports betting. Shea is currently the chief marketing officer at Strive Gaming, following a run as VP of sportsbook operations at DraftKings. 

Casino Reports (CR): Not long after school, you went into race sports league management at Flamingo, your first role in the industry. Was that a role you sought out or something that you kind of stumbled into?

Jamie Shea (JS): You know, it’s funny, my first role in the industry was actually at the Sands under Bob Gregorka. Sheldon Adelson had bought it and it was broken down, like old-school Sands. There were stray cats everywhere. It was just a funny book, and that was my entree to the business. Before that, I had gone to school to be a teacher, but I did my student teaching and said, no, this is not where I want to be.

My dad had owned racehorses when I was growing up, and so I knew horse racing — exactas, trifectas, all that stuff. So I saw an ad for a part-time ticket writer and I went and applied and said, I’m gonna go back to school and figure out what I wanna do, and I fell in love with sports betting. I had some really good mentors in Bob Gregorka, Jack Love, Johnny Avello, and those guys, and they said you have a knack for this, let’s teach you how to book. And so they taught me how to book and I haven’t looked back since.

CRWhat’s one of the biggest changes you’ve observed in the actual gambling products today?

JS: Content. It’s the content. If you think back, even pre-PASPA, what you could bet on, there wasn’t that much. The Westgate would come out with their Super Bowl props, and when I was running the Hard Rock we had like six or seven pages of props for the Super Bowl and things like that, halftimes and quarters.

But it wasn’t 24/7 at your fingertips with in-running betting and more. The amount of content makes it so much fun. There’s something for everyone and everyone’s betting style. I love it.

CR: What is an underappreciated challenge, or maybe a misunderstood aspect of leading the company’s marketing team and its initiatives?

JS: You really have to think about lifetime values. You can’t just go and throw money at things. These promotions and bonus programs need to really be well thought-out and conceived. The amount of time and the intensity that you spend getting these to be really good, solid promotions that are fair and good for the customer. But also bring people in to see your product and see how good your product is.

It’s a lot of work and I think that people have a misunderstanding that these things can be produced haphazardly. Especially when I was at DraftKings, we would spend months coming up with different promos, asking, how do we do this? What do we want to do with this? And so I think it’s misunderstood how much time and energy goes into that kind of marketing and the retention and acquisition marketing.

CR: That’s kind of what you’re involved in now at Strive Gaming, right? With the player access management?

JS: With Strive, we have a platform that everything runs through, so content runs through it, too. It’s integrated with pretty much everybody. KYC payments for fraud. It’s got the marketing pieces of it. You can do bonuses, you can do targeted bonuses. It really helps you to create an efficient spend with a holistic view of your customer. And we make it all nice and tidy for you where it’s one back office and you get a holistic view of everything going on with your business in one really good location, easy to use, easy to access, and easy to build promotions and bonuses.

CR: What’s a valuable lesson you learned early in your career that you’ve carried with you?

JS: A good lesson I learned was you don’t know everything, and you should be learning from everyone around you, especially when you’re younger and even if you went to school for this. Don’t assume you’ve got this, that you understand this. It’s not necessarily true, so always be open and willing to hear other people’s ideas. And you may not have the best way to do something, and somebody sitting in that room with you does. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room — have the smartest people in that room with you. 

CR: How do you like to spend free time away from work? Any interesting hobbies or secret talents?

JS: My husband and I are big foodies. We love trying different Michelin restaurants, we have put a budget together for trying different restaurants. And we love the outdoors, hanging out at the pool, nice kind of kick back, and traveling to Florida where I grew up and visiting with family. 

Reel Fast

Favorite sport to watch and favorite sport to bet on, if not the same?

Football to watch, tennis to bet.

Who’s another person in gaming who has your utmost admiration?

Anika Howard (of Wondr Nation)

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen at a craps table, whether dealing or playing?

Boy, the level of intensity at craps … I’ll say, when people don’t really understand what they’re betting and you see them bet against themselves and they have no idea.

First vehicle you drove?

Pontiac Sunbird.

We know you like fine dining, but, favorite fast food joint?

I love fast food too and I’m kind of old school here. I love Arby’s.

Last book you read?

So, I’m a big fan of memoirs. The last one that I read was actually Matthew Perry’s memoir.

Favorite non-gambling thing to do in Las Vegas?

Eat.

Which musician do you spend the most time listening to?

Prince.

https://www.casinoreports.com/reel-lives-strive-gaming-jamie-shea/

Welcome to the team, Ian Smith! 

Strive Gaming is excited to announce Ian Smith as our new Chief Technology Officer. Ian joins us with a wealth of experience, bringing over 20 years of expertise to our team.

Ian’s proven track record of driving innovation and growth makes him the perfect leader for our technological initiatives.

Please join us in welcoming Ian to our team. We look forward to his contributions and leadership.

https://www.gamblingnews.com/news/strive-gaming-onboards-ian-smith-as-chief-technology-officer


We are thrilled to announce that Strive Gaming has been shortlisted for the prestigious SBC Awards North America Platform Provider of the Year award! This nomination is a testament to our team’s hard work, innovation, and dedication to excellence. As we approach the award ceremony on May 9th in New York City, our anticipation and excitement only grow stronger. Being recognized by SBC Awards North America is not only an honor but also a motivation for us to continue pushing the boundaries and delivering exceptional products and service.
We are looking forward to the ceremony and hoping to hear our name called as the winners.

Strive Gaming, the leading PAM provider in North America, is pleased to announce the approval of its Interim Authorization for iGaming and Sports Wagering Manufacturer License by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. This license marks a significant milestone for the company as it expands into one of the hottest markets in the United States.

The approval underscores the company’s commitment to providing cutting-edge technology and services while adhering to the highest standards of compliance and integrity. With this pivotal license, Strive Gaming solidifies its position as a key player in the iGaming and sports wagering sector, marking a crucial step in its strategic expansion plans. 

This comes on the back of the recent announcement Strive Gaming made in relation to a funding round led by OpenBet that detailed plans to utilize a portion of that funding to secure licenses in all strategically important online casino states in 2024.Strive Gaming’s mission is to deliver an unparalleled, full service omni-channel iGaming platform, catering to the needs of operators. By achieving this key milestone, the company is poised to further enhance its footprint in the North American market and strengthen its partnerships within the industry.

“We are thrilled to receive the Interim Authorization for iGaming and Sports Wagering Manufacturer License in Pennsylvania,” said Max Meltzer, CEO at Strive Gaming.

“This milestone follows our Michigan state license a few months ago and continues to reflect our dedication to regulatory compliance and our ongoing efforts to deliver a best-in-class iGaming and sports betting PAM solution. We look forward to contributing to the vibrant digital landscape of Pennsylvania and providing our award-winning technology in the state.”

https://next.io/news/strive-gaming-secures-license-in-pennsylvania/

US-focused player account management (PAM) platform Strive Gaming has sealed new investment from major gambling industry stakeholders.

The funding round was led by sports betting supplier OpenBet, which has in return received a significant minority stake in the Strive Gaming business.

Strive Gaming’s proprietary PAM technology will now be integrated into the OpenBet sports betting solution, alongside regulatory compliance features from Neccton.

The deal marks OpenBet’s first strategic foray into iGaming – or online casino – since splitting off from Light & Wonder (formerly Scientific Games) in 2022.

OpenBet expects the investment to provide increased opportunities for both organisations across North America, including in tribal gaming markets.

OpenBet CEO Jordan Levin said the investment would unlock “major new opportunities” for OpenBet as a global industry supplier.

“With the strength of Strive Gaming’s PAM as a future-proofed solution for the US market, combined with OpenBet’s high standards, we can offer US operators a fully integrated, turnkey proposition that will fuel responsible betting experiences,” he added.

“This new partnership sparks a new chapter in our history, and we are looking forward to working closely with the Strive Gaming team.”

Investors with gaming pedigree

Knutsson Holdings AB also participated in the round. The Swedish family-owned fund was previously the largest shareholder in NetEnt before its sale to Evolution.

Finally, specialist gaming fund Astralis Capital Management was added to the investment consortium alongside Betsson, which was a seed investor in Strive Gaming.

Strive to remain independent

Strive Gaming was founded in 2021 by ex-Kambi duo Damian Xuereb and Max Meltzer.

Despite the cash injection from OpenBet, Strive will continue to operate independently, with Meltzer continuing as CEO and Xuereb remaining as president and CCO.

NEXT.io understands Strive Gaming will use the fresh capital to obtain licences in all US iGaming states, while continuing to improve its PAM solution and online casino suite.

Strive Gaming currently supports US customers including Four Winds Casino, Golden Nugget (DraftKings), Desert Diamond and Betsson-owned Betsafe.

In December, the firm also landed a contract to develop PointsBet’s online casino product in Ontario.

“Strive Gaming is perfectly positioned to increase our PAM market share and become a leader in the US online betting industry over the coming years,” said CEO Meltzer.

“OpenBet is a key, trusted brand in the global sports betting arena, and we welcome the company’s investment, in a move that will take us in a bold new direction, while maintaining our independence.

“Together, OpenBet and Strive Gaming have expertise across the entire betting industry, combined with strong tech and talent,” he added.

2024 investment landscape

Strive Gaming is one of the first early-stage online gambling companies to announce a major investment in 2024.

https://next.io/news/strive-gaming-secures-funding-with-openbet/

We are ecstatic for our partner, PointsBet, as we celebrate an extraordinary milestone in our journey together!

Sam Swanell, PointsBet Group CEO said, in their recent earnings call, “We also recently announced our strategic partnership with Strive Gaming, which will transform our iGaming offering and accelerate our growth in this critical market.
Through partnering with Strive, we will be able to bring our customers a broader selection of games and enhanced overall experience. We’ve been hard at work with Strive, working through the integration, and we’ve begun the progressive rollout of Strive capability onto our platform. We expect this new offering will accelerate the growth of our iGaming business, helping drive more favorable game mix over time with higher gross margins, along with enhanced retention and customer lifetime values.” – A testament to our successful partnership!

https://seekingalpha.com/article/4666214-pointsbet-holdings-limited-pbthf-q2-2024-earnings-call-transcript

At Strive Gaming, we take immense pride in being instrumental in this remarkable achievement. Together with PointsBet we’ve pushed the boundaries of iGaming, bringing a diverse and exciting array of games to players, and enhancing promotional offerings to create an unparalleled gaming experience.

This record-breaking revenue is not just a number; it’s a testament to our dedication, innovation, and commitment to excellence. Here’s to many more milestones and continued success together!

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7158842316831514624

Check out our CEO and co-founder, Max Meltzer, discussing the North American market on the G3 Pulse podcast.
Strive was built with you in mind, and our PAM is a necessity for anyone looking to succeed in this market. Don’t miss out on this amazing tech!

Watch the full podcast here: https://lnkd.in/dcqxUdsw

Strive Gaming is pleased to unveil our collaboration with the well established Four Winds Casinos, a prominent US operator featuring four casinos. Together, we’re poised to revolutionize the online gaming landscape in Michigan. This strategic alliance will leverage advanced technologies, including operational automation and real-time engagement, with a keen focus on enhancing the overall online gaming experience through a player-centric approach.

Drawing on Strive’s deep market expertise in the North American igaming industry, our platform, operational in multiple states, stands ready to deliver cutting-edge solutions for the expansion endeavors of Four Winds Casinos.

https://www.gamblinginsider.com/news/mobile/23774/four-winds-casinos-partners-with-strive-gaming-to-develop-online-gaming-services

We are proud to share some remarkable achievements that mark a significant milestone for our company.

Max Meltzer, CEO at Strive Gaming, “We are thrilled to announce that Strive Gaming has attained ISO 27001 certification and received a provisional internet gaming supplier license in Michigan. These milestones are a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence, security, and regulatory compliance.”

As we expand our presence in Michigan, we’re bringing not only our innovative technology but also a promise of a secure and enjoyable gaming experience for our partners and their customers.

Our journey doesn’t stop here. We are committed to continuous improvement and setting new benchmarks in the industry.

Join us in celebrating this incredible achievement and stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the coming weeks.

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7149141372619427840

Curious about the future of iGaming in North America? Our CEO, Max Meltzer, spills the beans in a recent interview with iGB. Explore the ins and outs of our industry, from the groundbreaking PointsBet collaboration to the strategic vision driving Strive Gaming.

Read the full interview for an exclusive deep dive

https://igamingbusiness.com/tech-innovation/platform/strive-pointsbet-gaming-platform-deal/


Don’t miss out on the insights shaping the iGaming landscape!