Career paths often take professionals on unexpected turns, leading them to industries and roles they never envisioned at the start of their careers. Many times, these unexpected paths lead professionals to environments where they can thrive. This was the case for Allen
Ambrogio. While Ambrogio did not have his sights on gaming at the start of his career, a fortuitous series of events led him to the industry, and he is here to stay. “It’s a natural fit,” explains Ambrogio, the director of operations for Tipico’s U.S. business. “I’ve been in sports since I was 2 years old and I’ve loved gambling for a long time.”
Armed with a degree in criminal justice, Ambrogio spent his career in payments and fraud before moving to the gaming industry.
“I love finding the bad guy,” notes Ambrogio. “Saving businesses money and growing their bottom lines is fulfilling.” Ambrogio was steadily moving up the proverbial ladder in payments and fraud, with stints at a luxury fashion company among other consumer-facing businesses, but always felt like there was something missing. Reflecting on his early years, Ambrogio says, “I worked for great companies with great products but I could never fully sink my teeth into the businesses or industries.”
Ambrogio never considered combining his love of sports and gambling with his career until he was out with friends, watching a game and talking betting, when one of his friends suggested he apply to William Hill.
“I looked at their career page the next day and there was an opening for a payments and fraud manager,” explains Ambrogio. He leveraged his expertise and experience to get the job at William Hill and quickly began to soak up as much knowledge as he could within an industry he loved from the outside for years.
Ambrogio does not claim he got to where he is in the industry on his own.
“Within the industry, there’s a long list of people who helped me get where I am today,” notes Ambrogio. When questioned for any specific mentors, Ambrogio highlights three in particular. “Matthew Gerard, Jerry Rau, and Frank Catania all helped to mold me into who I am in this industry,” explains Ambrogio. “Matthew opened my eyes into the sports gaming world and helped me understand the business. Jerry had the expertise and focus on gaming and fraud, and was a consistent support line for me. Frank is a longtime friend and has helped me to navigate a highly regulated gaming market.”
After 18 months with William Hill and developing his own sports gaming expertise, Ambrogio was ready to take on his next challenge within the industry and moved to Tipico to help launch the company’s U.S. operations.
“The challenges are great and keep the job interesting,” he says. “Keeping up on sports betting legislation, how to move into new jurisdictions effectively while competing against others, and how quickly the industry is moving are all challenges, but they’re good challenges.”
Commenting on the changes to his day-to-day professional life since Covid-19, Ambrogio thinks there have been some silver linings with the shutdowns and ongoing remote working environment.
“It gives you more time to focus on strategic decisions,” he explains. He’s not ready to move to a permanent remote work environment, however. Ambrogio says, “I’m big on human, face-to-face interactions, and I like to be in the office for those quick two-minute chats.”
When asked for any advice he would offer to young people in gaming, Ambrogio gives a simple but often overlooked recommendation: “Always take the phone call or meeting and never turn down an opportunity to meet someone new or have a conversation. You never know where it will lead.”