(PRESS RELEASE) -- SBTech, a leading global supplier of sports betting and gaming technology, today announced that seasoned gaming and lottery executive Melissa Riahei will join the company as President of SBTech U.S. In her new role, Riahei will oversee and lead the U.S. business, focusing on building out the groups' U.S. infrastructure to support SBTech's existing customers and establishing its presence in additional states.
"I'm thrilled to join SBTech at such momentous time in our industry. As legalized sports betting rapidly takes root across the nation, I look forward to leading SBTech's U.S. expansion, establishing our operational footprint in new states, and contributing our global expertise to the growth and success of this emerging market," said Riahei. "SBTech has already seen great success here through our valued partnerships with Churchill Downs
, Golden Nugget, Resorts and most recently – the Oregon Lottery. We plan to build on that success and solidify SBTech's position as a market leading supplier in the U.S."
"We are delighted to have Melissa on board leading our U.S. business, as we assemble a world-class team to steer us into the next chapter of the company's growth. Melissa is an extremely talented executive, with a rare blend of business, legal and political acumen and a varied breadth of experience across all sectors in gaming," said Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech. "I'm confident that she will serve as a great leader for our U.S. team on the ground and our partners. This appointment demonstrates our continual commitment to the U.S. market by providing dedicated leadership of our U.S. teams to support our partners' ambitions."
Riahei has more than 20 years of experience spanning across the highest levels of state government, from serving as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Office of the Governor in Illinois, to managing the legal affairs of a $2 billion annual gaming enterprise as General Counsel to the Illinois Lottery, and serving in executive roles at on-line gaming and horse race wagering companies.
Notably, Riahei was instrumental in paving the way for the emergence of legal online gambling in the US. As General Counsel to the Illinois Lottery, she spearheaded the initiative to challenge the US Department of Justice's federal prohibition on online gambling under the Wire Act on behalf of Illinois. Her efforts, in coordination with the New York Lottery, resulted in the monumental 2011 DOJ decision that has enabled states to legalize and regulate most forms of online gambling, leading to the emergence of the growing market in the U.S. today.
"Melissa has made valuable contributions to the advancement of our industry and will be a great asset to SBTech as we grow and cement our US presence and leverage the unprecedented opportunities that lie ahead," said Gavin Isaacs, non-executive chairman of SBTech. "We're excited to have Melissa joining our team, and I look forward to working with her."