Drones, Esports, The Sopranos, We’ll Always Have Pinnacle’s Paris
Legendary iGaming Chief Executive Paris Smith has decided to step down from her position at the top of Pinnacle Sports.
But while she is out, Smith, a pathfinder gambling industry leader and one of the first women to head a significant online outfit, is not down.
She is to take on a new “advisory” role with the Curaçao- and Malta-based operator.
Appointed in 2006, Smith served as Pinnacle CEO for almost 17-years, steering the company through some difficult times, most notably the company’s retrenchment from the US market in 2012 following an FBI investigation into illegal gaming and alleged money-laundering breaches.
With her outsized, take-no-prisoners, persona and love of statement attire, Smith was a big draw on the iGaming conference circuit, drawing significant audiences eager to tap into her first-hand knowledge of the perils and pitfalls of compliance and off-shore gaming.
Announcing her corporate transition in a LinkedIn update, Smith said she had decided to step down from the “intense” day-to-day cut and thrust of CEO leadership and was now aiming to move into an advisory role with Pinnacle..
“I hope I have created a lasting legacy in my time as Pinnacle’s CEO, as I have always said it is an [honour] to have the privilege to lead such an incredible brand and organization. The confidence that has been given to me is greatly appreciated,” she wrote in her farewell social media message.
“I am excited to be able to focus more on the long-term strategy and business opportunities as I continue to promote, network, and create the connections to continue the success of Pinnacle.
“My passion for leadership and mentoring will be a focus for me moving forward. I will continue to be representing Pinnacle externally and share the updates and successes of the company at the conferences.
“I am excited for this new challenge as this will allow me to explore some new opportunities and strategic projects alongside [Pinnacle owner] Magnus Hedman – while still remaining close to the strategy and support of the beloved Pinnacle team.”
Smith will be a tough act to follow.
Under her stewardship Pinnacle pioneered the so-called “Reduced Juice” low-margin, high-turnover pricing model.
The company was also one of the very first global bookmakers to offer odds on esports – and the innovative, cutting-edge moves continued with gambling on drone racing.
But perhaps Smith’s greatest theatrical triumph was the fact that Pinnacle once made an episode of the legendary Sopranos television series.
Recovering in hospital, Tony Soprano is told by a fellow patient that he has just placed US$50,000 on a boxing match.
“With who?” asks the mobster boss.
“Pinnacle, man, Pinnacle,” comes the answer.
Not a bad epithet for a woman who made a then-man’s world her own.