Announcement of official nominees for 1st IRAA awards – voting is open until November 26


Inside Asian Gaming is pleased to announce the 20 official nominees for the 1st IR Academy Asia (IRAA) Awards – 10 nominees for each of the two categories which will be presented at the awards ceremony on November 30, 2021 at Londoner Macau.

As explained previously on AGI, the first prices in 2021 will be a rather discreet affair, the two price categories being Rising stars, for IRAA members born in 1981 or later, and Industry icons, a full generalist award for those in our industry who have stood the test of time and demonstrated a consistent contribution to the overall growth and success of the industry.

Voting for the awards opened today and will remain open until 4 p.m. on Friday, November 26. Voting is only open to IRAA members. Anyone who meets the IRAA eligibility criteria can join the IRAA for free by registering on the IRAA website at The main requirement for membership is to work in the legal land RI or gaming industry as a player or not for at least two years.

Voting is a preferential system, which means IRAA members can still have a say even if their first preference is not accepted. Members must vote on the IRAA website.

Full details of the nominees can be viewed on the official nominees page of the IRAA website, as well as below.


José Alvares | Partner | Lawyers CA
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José co-founded CA Lawyers at the age of 29. He is a member of the board of the Macao Lawyers Ethics Council, after a six-month internship and five years working with a seasoned Portuguese lawyer based in Macau. He provides political commentary in local Macau media and enjoys playing sports in his spare time.

Vicky Chan | Assistant General Manager – Corporate Sales and Marketing | MONKEY
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An expert in gaming products, Vicky has spent over 13 years in the gaming industry. Her primary responsibility is to establish sales targets by planning and developing annual regional sales quotas in Asian territories. It is also seeking new products and strategic partnerships with electronic game machine (EGM) suppliers and machine rental projects.

Chun Howe Saw | Director of Electronic Games Operations | Paradise Entertainment
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Howe is a highly accomplished, tenacious and seasoned professional with over 16 years of gaming experience in both the OEM and Operator industries. He has an in-depth knowledge of business management principles including strategic planning, budgeting, forecasting and compliance. Howe holds an engineering degree and completes his MBA next year.

Mark Howell | Head of Sales | TCSJohnhuxley
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Mark has worked in Africa and more recently in the APAC region for the past 10 years. He developed the profile of TCS JOHNHUXEY in the APAC region through strong relationships and steady growth in TCS JOHNHUXLEY market share. Mark is passionate about the gaming industry and proud to represent TCS JOHNHUXLEY.

Amit Patel | Systems Sales Director, Asia | Scientific games
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Amit is a highly accomplished and tenacious professional with over 13 years of experience. With an in-depth knowledge of casino management systems he moved from technical roles to systems sales. Systems Manager for SG Gaming in Asia, he was instrumental in increasing SG’s market share in the region.

Ankur Sharma | Regional Account Manager, Asia | Scientific games
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Ankur began serving Bally’s systems customers around the world and has accumulated over 13 years of experience. He has worked on projects in Asia, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Ankur is a tenacious and dedicated professional who sells slots, tables and utilities and is continuously dynamic in sales.

Dave Smith | Director | Asiul Trading Co. Ltd
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Dave has run Asiul, a specialist in perfumes and scented products in Macau, for 14 years. He has grown the business considerably in recent years, working closely with all of the major RIs in the Asia region. He plays a pivotal role in the design, supply and continued development of the gaming and hotel fragrance industry.

Phil Stormonth | Key Account Manager, Asia | Macau aristocrat
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Based in Macau for 10 years, Phil is an experienced Director of Sales and Business Development. A law graduate in the UK, he has held positions in EGM project, systems sales and account management teams. Phil is continually learning and bringing a new perspective to clients, colleagues and players.

Rishi Tirupari | Vice President of Sustainability | Wynn Resorts Macau
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Rishi is responsible for the development and implementation of Wynn’s sustainability program and for promoting the concept of responsible luxury, which balances luxury and sustainability. Prior to Wynn, Rishi worked at Sands China and Las Vegas Sands. He has been working on improving sustainability in the gaming industry and integrated resorts since 2011.

James Wong | Assistant Vice President for Marketing Communications | Suncity Group
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James acts as a coordinator between Suncity’s head office and its various subsidiaries and business units. He was previously at the Venetian Macau, Grand Hyatt Macau, Crown Plaza Osaka, and Conrad Macau. With an MBA, he is trained in hotel and game management and teaches at the City University of Macao.


Cheryl Callaghan | Executive Director Customer Experience and Service | Sands China Limited
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After studying in London, Cheryl spent 24 years with Crown Perth in training and operations, followed by three years in the hospitality industry. Arriving in Macau in 2013, Cheryl has since worked at Sands in customer service and experience roles, first for Venetian Table Games and now for Sands China in general.

Ciarán Carruthers | Chief Operating Officer | Wynn Macao Limited
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Originally from Ireland, Ciarán has been in the Asia-Pacific gaming industry for over 30 years. He was COO of StarWorld from 2002 to 2009, then for four years was CEO of a game consulting department. He was SVP at Sands China for three years prior to his current role.

Michael to your health | Sales Director – Asia | IGT
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Michael is responsible for IGT’s operations in the Asian region, providing the company’s portfolio of games, systems and services products and leading the IGT Asia team. He has extensive industry experience in Asia Pacific, having worked at IGT for over 20 years in key positions in Australia, Singapore and Macau.

Michel French | Senior Vice President, Gaming Operations | Suncity Group Management and Consultancy Limited
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Michael French has been with Suncity for a little over a year. Prior to that, he spent two years at Grand Lisboa Palace, five years as a self-employed consultant and two years focusing on Baha Mar in the Bahamas. He has over 35 years of industry experience in the Americas and Asia.

Michael Jensen | Co-founder and executive director | VISION Entertainment
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New to the Australian club industry, Michael made a short stint in South Africa before managing slot operations at Macau Tower. This was followed by a year at Crown Macau and seven years at MGM Macau, in operations and marketing roles. He established a casino services company in 2016.

Ken Jolly | Vice President and General Manager, Asia | Scientific games
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Ken Jolly’s global experience in the gaming industry spans over 40 years, making him one of the most recognizable figures in the industry. From Australia to the Americas and Europe to Asia, Ken’s experience spans all facets of a successfully managed gaming product supply company with proven global experience and growth.

Olivia Lee | Director of Business Development | Mega Fortris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
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Starting her career in the equity sector in Malaysia, Olivia joined Mega Fortris 20 years ago. She is a formidable driving force and a major contributor to the profitability of her business in its casino and resort supply business. Describing herself as passionate, committed, autonomous, motivated and responsible, Olivia is an eternal optimist.

Panos Makridis | Assistant Vice President, Financial Compliance | MGM
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After a decade of Crown Melbourne table games, gaming integrity and responsible gaming, Panos moved to Macau in 2008, joining Galaxy in the areas of compliance, cage operations and responsible gaming. After stints at Shuffle Master Asia and Dolphin Gaming, he joined MGM China, and now heads up credit, collections and financial compliance.

Herman Ng | Chairman and CEO and Executive Director | Asia Pioneer Entertainment Holdings Limited
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Herman is a talented specialist with extensive experience in the Macau electronic game industry. He and his partners created APE in 2006. In 2017, APE successfully went public. Herman also led the establishment of a smart vending machine business in 2021, successfully launching the machines in Macau and Zhuhai.

Harold Tsakmaklis | Vice President of Casino Operations | Sands China Limited
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With 18 years of experience in Macau and 10 in Australia, Harold is a casino gaming executive with high credentials and a proven track record of success. His broad knowledge includes integrated gaming operations in resorts and casinos, including premium and VIP gaming, strategic planning, forecasting, budgeting, financial planning and compliance.


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