Golden Nugget Online Gaming Founder Thomas Winter Leaves Company

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Thomas Winter, the founder of Golden Nugget Online Gaming (GNOG), has announced his departure from the company a decade after its inception and a mere 18 months following its acquisition by DraftKings.

Winter has been the DraftKings general manager of North American iGaming, the online casino, since 2022’s $1.56 billion merger between the two operators.

In a post on his LinkedIn, Winter looked back on his long career in senior management at U.S. online casinos. He also thanked many of his colleagues over the years and displayed some of the awards his companies had won during his time at the helm (pictured).

“10 years after founding Golden Nugget Online Gaming, 3 years after taking it public and 2 years after its acquisition by the almighty DraftKings Inc., time has come for me to close this extraordinary chapter of my life and open a new one, this time focused on the latter part of work-life balance,” Winter wrote.

Good Memories and Leadership

Winter’s journey with GNOG has been nothing short of remarkable.

He navigated the company from its early days as a minor player among New Jersey online casinos to one of the state’s biggest operators and a national presence.

“So many good memories come to mind,” wrote Winter.

“From taking GNOG from dead last to number one online casino in New Jersey to opening the first live dealer studio in the U.S., being voted casino operator of the year four years in a row, spinning off GNOG then taking it public, merging with DraftKings and having the privilege of leading the two brands to become, together, the US #1 online casino operator.”

In May 2022, DraftKings acquired GNOG in a deal valued at 0.365 DraftKings shares per GNOG share. That put the valuation of the deal at some $1.56 billion.

Winter then transitioned to the role of General Manager for iGaming in North America at DraftKings, where he continued to influence the trajectory of online casino markets across the country.

Thanking Shrewd and Trusted Colleagues

In his social media post farewell, Winter also thanked many of his senior management colleagues at DraftKings, as well as other people in his career.

“I express my special gratitude to DraftKings founders Jason Robins, Matt Kalish and Paul Liberman, as well as CBO Ezra Kucharz and CFO Jason Park, who understood the benefits of a multi-brand strategy and trusted GNOG was the right addition to deliver on it.” Winter wrote.

He also had praise for Tilman Fertitta, the owner of the Golden Nugget Casino chain that licensed its brand to the online casino business. The billionaire was heavily involved in the early days of GNOG.

“To Tilman Fertitta, the shrewdest and most impressive businessman I’ve ever met, as well as his brilliant lieutenants Steve Scheinthal, Rick Liem, and Dash Kohlhausen, all of whom trusted a foreign rookie to build and lead their online gaming business,” the post said.

Winter’s departure is seen as a notable moment in the industry, given his substantial contributions to GNOG and the iGaming sector at large.

 “Although I’ll miss the action, I can’t wait to see what the amazing DK/GNOG casino team, led by uber-talented Gregory Karamitis and superstar Signe Yama, will deliver to stay atop the U.S. igaming world for years to come. I’ll be rooting for y’all.”

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