CountryProfiler 2018 Edition
GAMINGMALTA 2018 EDITION
Malta: , THE WORLD S iGaming Capital
Meet the Team
CountryProfiler 2018 Edition
GAMINGMALTA 2018 EDITION
Malta: , THE WORLD S iGaming Capital Cover montage: Ramon Micallef Cover image: Fritz Grimm
CountryProfiler Ltd is a specialist publisher of country information that assists corporations managing operations across national borders with trade, investment and relocation decisions. CountryProfiler is recognised by senior business executives, government representatives, institutions and global organisations as a leading provider of informative, insightful and actionable country intelligence.
Garvan Keating Regional Director
Sonja Lindenberg Editor
64, St Anne Court, Suite 2, Bisazza Street, Sliema SLM 1642 - Malta T: +356 2034 2034
Suite 21-2123, Walkers Line, Burlington, Ontario L7M 42Z9 - Canada Tel: +1 905 645 1130 Fax: +1 905 963 7968
Giulia Desogus Editorial Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
Email: email@example.com Website: www.countryprofiler.com
Alan Carville / George Scintilla Fritz Grimm / Viewingmalta
DESIGN & LAYOUT
Morgane Stein Project Manager & Business Development Executive firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramon Micallef - email@example.com
Moira Scicluna Zahra
Gutenberg Press, Malta
Melissa Puglisevich Office Manager
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without the written permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in Gaming Malta are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publisher cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs, or illustrations.
Ramon Micallef Art Director
Your Trusted Partner in Malta CSB Group offers its clients a spectrum of specialised business and commercial services that guarantee a complete turnkey solution to clients wishing to setup or relocate their business to Malta. Working hand in hand with a selected network of international partners, the Group aims at exceeding clientsâ€™ expectations through a sound and results-oriented business approach.
Corporate | Trust | Tax | Accounting | Immigration Recruitment | Credit Risk | Relocation | Real Estate
What has established our global reputation in the gaming industry? A leader and a world-renowned regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is considered as a flagship authority within the gaming industry. Bolstering a strong worldwide reputation, the MGA regulates one of Maltaâ€™s major economic contributors; the local remote and land-based gaming industry. The MGA is responsible for approximately 513 remote gaming licenses and 266 companies, whilst also regulating all types of gaming and gambling activities including national lotteries, bingo halls, casinos, gaming parlours and remote gaming. Whilst being the role model for other jurisdictions thanks to its excellent track record, the MGA always thrives to achieve its main aim; that of exceeding the expectations of its licensed operators, its business partners and its stakeholders at large.
Malta Gaming Authority Building SCM 02-03, Level 4, SmartCity Malta, Ricasoli SCM1001 T: +356 2546 9000
Malta and iGaming at a Glance........................................................8 iGaming Jurisdiction Overview......................................................12 Industry Representatives............................................................... 22 GamingMalta: Home of Gaming Excellence................................ 24 Interview with Ivan Filletti Head of Operations and Business Development of the GamingMalta Foundation...............................................25 Interview with Silvio Schembri Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation................................................. 26 iGaming Perspectives................................................... 27 The Regulator............................................................................ 29 The Operator..............................................................................35 The Affiliate Network.................................................................37 The Accountant......................................................................... 40 The Investor............................................................................... 44 The Founder.............................................................................. 46 The Consultant.......................................................................... 48 The Telecoms Provider............................................................. 50 The Lawyer.................................................................................52 The Platform Operator..............................................................54 Gaming meets Gambling..........................................................57 David Hawkins, CEO of Exient................................................ 58 Dean Sharpe, CEO of 4A Games.............................................. 60 Patrick Streppel, CEO of Insel Games..................................... 62 The Silent Interview .......................................................................65 Top Stories, Top Trends..................................................................75 A Story of Growth........................................................................... 84 CEO View Points............................................................................. 86 Talent Retention: is Salary Enough? . .......................................... 94 A Destination for Talent: Great Places to Work .........................97 Insider Tips....................................................................................105 Better Together: MRGC Calls for more Industry Collaboration....................................................107 Regulatory Update . ......................................................................109 Malta: A Global Gaming Hub is Reinventing Itself . .................109 All Roads Lead to the MGA . ........................................................ 110 20 Things you need to know about Malta’s new Gaming Law....111 Licensing Overview....................................................................... 116 Compliance at a Glance................................................................. 121 Director’s Handbook.....................................................................130 iGaming Events.............................................................................138 iGaming Events Calendar.............................................................142 The Evolution of Fantasy Sports .................................................145 What you need to know about Real Estate in Malta ..................146 Expat Guide...................................................................................149 Malta Business Profiles................................................................. 161
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Malta and iGaming at a Glance Located in the centre of the Mediterranean, between Europe and North Africa, Malta is the European Unionâ€™s smallest member state. Famous for its 7,000-year history and 300 days of sunshine, Malta has emerged as one of the most remarkable success stories in the Eurozone. Recognised for its pro-business attitude, state-ofthe-art infrastructure and modest costs of doing business, it has become the goto country for growth-minded entrepreneurs and multinational companies.
Location: Southern Europe Mellieha
Official Name: Republic of Malta St. Julians
Area: 316 km2 Capital: Valletta Memberships: European Union, Eurozone, Schengen Area
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Malta’s Economy in 2017 GDP Growth:
General Government Balance:
Debt to GDP:
Source: European Economic Forecast, Autumn 2017
The Maltese Islands were, just a decade ago, best known as a holiday destination. However, over recent years, the country has sought to diversify its economy beyond tourism by promoting a range of sectors and activities, including financial services, tourism, iGaming, construction & real estate, manufacturing, life sciences, maritime and aviation.
population of which: Maltese: 94% - Foreign: 6%
days of sunshine/ year
Temperature average: Winter 12ºC Summer 31ºC
Maltaâ€™s Gaming Sector GDP Contribution:
Gaming Tax Revenue:
Full time Employment:
Number of iGaming companies in operation:
Number of licences:
(+13% year on year) Player profile: 18-24 years:
Source: Malta Gaming Authority. All figures as of June 2017 unless otherwise indicated.
Maltese & English
International Dialling Code:
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
iGaming Jurisdiction Overview
Where Big Players Meet Game Changers Malta is set to disrupt the status quo with a brand-new regulatory framework, while positioning itself as a thought-leader on topics such as cryptocurrencies, blockchain and skill gaming.
With the advent of the New Gaming Act in 2018, Malta will be the place to be. Already home to 280 gaming companies, Malta will be even more attractive for companies to establish themselves in, mostly due to the streamlined B2C and B2B licensing framework which shall make the time-tomarket really short for those B2C operators seeking to offer games from B2B providers. Reuben Portanier Founder - Avviza Advisory and Afilexion Alliance
alta has long been a Mecca for gaming companies and suppliers. The island is the birthplace of regulated online gaming and nowhere has iGaming taken off as briskly and been as rapidly embraced as it has in Malta. While many have sought to dethrone Malta as Europe’s iGaming capital, the island has become a destination of choice for the world’s largest operators and fast-growing startups. Malta’s iGaming community is now looking forward to a year of change as the long-awaited new Gaming Law is expected to enter into force in the summer of this year. An ambitious agenda for regulatory reform was set up three years ago, and has been the road map for this journey. The aim was to simplify and streamline processes and avoid duplication, as well as to create a framework that can cater for any future forms of gaming. While the pace of this transformation had been slower than many had hoped, with the draft law still awaiting parliamentary approval, the new rulebook will most likely come into play in July 2018.
the online boom. Blazing a new trail, Malta, unlike many other countries that sought to protect their monopolies, allowed commercial operators to set up and enter the gaming market, with the first online betting businesses established under the Public Lotto Ordinance in 2000. The government quickly recognised the need for a dedicated regulatory framework; set up a regulatory authority for this young industry and released the Remote Gaming Regulations in 2004, just before Malta joined the European Union. This move gave licensees the added benefit of being located in and regulated by a jurisdiction that forms part of the largest single market in the world. In spite of its modest size and numbers – the island is just over 316 square kilometres in area and is home to 440,000 people – Malta has emerged as a leading iGaming hub. The industry contributes around 10% to Malta’s GDP and employs more than 6,000 people directly, with an additional 3,000 to 4,000 providing ancillary services such as web hosting, security auditing or legal work.
The Great Growth Story
Who is here?
No country has welcomed gaming companies as warmly as Malta. As the first EU country to license online gaming, Malta can look back at almost two decades of growth in the iGaming sector. Over this time the island gained the best understanding of the environment iGaming companies need to flourish and be successful. The first online gaming businesses arrived on the island in the late 1990s, well before
Malta is now widely regarded as the most prestigious address for gaming operators. The list of new companies joining Malta’s thriving iGaming sector is growing by the year. Industry heavyweights, such as Betsson, Paddy Power Betfair, Interwetten, Unibet and Tipico - to name but a few, have long understood Malta’s unique advantages as a gaming jurisdiction. In more recent times, industry leaders such as Pinnacle Sports and bet365, as well as US fantasy sports giant DraftKings, have received licences from the MGA. In total, some 280 companies hold licences from the MGA for online offerings such as casino-style games, lotteries or sportsbooks. With consolidation in the iGaming industry now moving at a faster and more discernable pace, much of which is being driven by Maltese licensed operators, the island is quietly becoming home to the largest and most powerful operators in the business.
start-ups & high-growth groups
Over the past 10 years, many of Malta’s first arrivals have grown from small start-ups to global giants, who are now acquiring the innovative brands of their smaller, faster growing rivals. Freshly minted, having sold their companies, this next generation of gaming executives and founders are themselves funding promising
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
start-ups whose market strategies, products and technologies have the potential to disrupt the global gaming scene. Firms such as LeoVegas, Casumo and Fantasy Football platform Oulala have all been launched from Malta. There is also a new army of start-ups emerging from the gaming giants, having cut their teeth working for the bigger companies. These start-ups are hoping to make a big splash, and some are already being looked at as acquisition targets by the more established outfits. Malta has also attracted the attention of high-growth groups in the supplier and affiliate segments. Game developers such as NetEnt, Evolution Gaming and Play ‘n Go have long discovered the benefits of Malta as a gaming jurisdiction and have been joined by affiliate marketing firms such as Catena Media, Raketech, MatchingVisions and the Highlight Media Group, who are among the market leaders today.
Unique Gaming Ecosystem The country’s main draw card is the ease of doing business and a very supportive regulatory environment. Malta’s gaming industry is incredibly international and diverse, attracting people from all corners of the world and offering companies the benefit of being physically close to a critical mass of gaming companies and network of professionals. A deep talent pool, strong business support services such as experienced gaming law firms, accountants, corporate service providers, and industryspecific infrastructure have cemented the island’s position as the leading EU jurisdiction for iGaming operators. The presence of data centres, online payment processors, security auditors, gaming software developers, and platform providers contributes to a tailor-made environment that is conducive to growing a successful business. The island also boasts technical expertise to support critical operations in areas such as search engine optimisation and affiliate management companies, with experienced consultants always on hand. Equally, the island’s lawyers and accountants have a wealth of experience, thus ensuring that a vibrant and creative cluster of talent and knowhow is in place to help companies manage their operations. This is unique in Europe and goes a long way towards explaining Malta’s identity as a gaming location.
Brexit Opportunity Service providers report that many companies are currently analysing the option of setting up in Malta as they finalise their contingency plans to deal with Brexit. The island has also emerged as one of the big winners of the global M&A frenzy as newly combined companies are injecting fresh capital into the island and hiring more people for their Malta offices. In addition, legal uncertainty in many European countries and a fragmented regulatory landscape have led to a surge in interest from both EU multi-licensed operators, as well as non-EU companies that are looking at Europe as the next frontier for growth. The Maltese licence is the only licence in the EU that does not restrict the licensees to the particular jurisdiction of the licence, which gives iGaming companies the opportunity to exploit white and grey areas in the rest of the world. On an international level, Malta’s service providers are regarded as being among the most competent and experienced experts in the iGaming sphere. Many of them service licence application in other countries than Malta and offer multi-jurisdictional support on a wide range of issues.
Game-changing Reforms Despite all the success, Malta realised that it would need to continue to evolve if it wants to remain relevant as a jurisdiction. The iGaming industry is today facing technological disruption and change like never before. The increasingly maturing industry demands smoother processes, as well as better regulation for new forms of gaming. Hence, some three years ago, the MGA initiated a process to develop next generation legislation, including a complete regulatory overhaul to streamline, consolidate and futureproof all gaming sectors under one legislative umbrella. Eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, simplifying pre- and post-licensing processes, and speeding up time to market for operators are some of the key changes in the pipeline. The new Gaming Act is expected to enter into force in July 2018 after making its way through the Maltese Parliament. One of the major changes will be the introduction of only two different licences: a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer licence. A new set of licence fees and compliance contributions are also being introduced. Another change will be that licences issued by the MGA will no longer be valid for a 5-year period, but instead for a 10 year-period.
Malta has access to an educated, dedicated and multilingual workforce that is instrumental to the companies in the iGaming industry. The fact that Malta is a full EU member state offers iGaming companies access to the EU’s market of over 500 million people. Kris Deyanov Head of Business Development - MiFinity UK Ltd Malta, having been involved in the iGaming industry since 2004, is today a leading jurisdiction, which keeps attracting international companies to set up or relocate to the island. Further, the island has the relevant resources, legislation, know-how and infrastructure to support iGaming businesses with their operations, including a mix of both commercial and residential property within prime and key locations. Michael J. Zammit Director & Joint Owner - Malta Sotheby’s International Realty
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Skill Games and Cryptocurrencies The MGA is also proving to be a dynamic, onthe-ball-player. When the iGaming industry started to move towards skill-based games, including Daily Fantasy Sports, Malta saw a new opportunity in regulating this emerging industry segment. A new skill games licence was singled out as a top priority and introduced in January 2017, ahead of the new regulatory package. A year later, Malta has already handed out skill game licences to more than 15 companies. The island is now looking into the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. Initially, Malta was reluctant to accept, and possibly regulate cryptocurrencies. However, the MGA made a U-turn and committed to introducing a sandbox live environment for cryptocurrency usage, while also drafting guiding principles for the application of Distributed Ledger Technologies and its various adaptations. Many within the industry believe that Malta could reap multiple first-mover advantages by paving the way for digital currencies, crypto-banks and blockchain technology in general, which is being seen as a key tool for information and business process sharing in a wide range of industries.
New Talent Pathways Attracting and retaining the best people is a top priority for many iGaming companies at the moment. There are signs of a strain in the talent pool given that the industry often requires specialist knowledge that cannot be sourced locally. Although Malta’s iGaming workforce is incredibly international and diverse, and the island has attracted people from all corners of the world, demand for top talent outstrips supply, which inevitably creates an upward pressure on wages. Today, two-thirds of those employed in the sector are foreign expats. Efforts to attract the best and the brightest include: a 15% tax cap on the salaries of highly qualified foreign professionals in the gaming sector; and a fast-track service for work permits of highly specialised third-country nationals employed in Malta, given that many companies have extended their search for talent beyond Europe’s borders. However, a fresh approach to recruiting and developing future talent is required. Malta must produce more home-grown talent who are fit-for-employment in the sector to ensure
companies do not need to fight tooth-and-nail for talent. As a short-term measure, upskilling initiatives are being put in place. For instance, a new gaming academy, the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM), has been launched as a joint venture between the Malta Gaming Authority and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST). EGIM seeks to provide training and development opportunities for non-experienced personnel wanting to join the gaming industry.
Industry Challenges The negative outlook of the international banking sector on gaming continues to present one of the biggest challenges to gaming companies in Malta. There are only a handful of banks servicing the sector. Paradoxically, while the industry is experiencing difficulties with basic banking services, iGaming companies are coming into view of the global investment banks due to the sector’s increased funding needs to support their M&A activity. Many companies have grown significantly in size and scope, and are today listed on major stock exchanges around the world. This has resulted in a desire to show a high level of corporate governance. Stricter anti-money-laundering laws and new data protection regulations are also being viewed as important steps towards improving the sector’s relationship with the banking sector and its overall reputation with the general public.
Slots will continue to dominate the market with the focus on sharing. This is why a large part of our production aims to provide the social experience through multiplayer slots. With these social slots, we’ve gone beyond the usual human-machine relationship and replaced it with human-human interaction where the machine is only a means of union. Stefania Luccio Product Manager Talenta International Being one of Malta’s leading IT service providers to the iGaming industry, we deal with some of the best iGaming operators this industry has to offer. In my opinion flexibility, tenacity and a drive for quality are what separate the successful from the rest. Christian Sammut CEO - BMIT
YOUR IT SIMPLIFIED
GREENTUBE INTERACTIVE GAMING SOLUTIONS
GREENTUBE INTERNET ENTERTAINMENT SOLUTIONS GMBH firstname.lastname@example.org www.greentube.com
It will be an exciting 2018 for gaming companies licensed or applying for a licence in Malta, in light of the announced overhaul of the gaming regulation. The three key objectives for this year should be compliance, innovation and adaptability to change. Companies should see this as an opportunity, not as a challenge. Joseph Borg Senior Advisor - WH Partners
The power of rapid scaling is a huge competitive advantage for companies setting up in Malta, which is positioning itself as a key innovation hub for the sector. The start-up and creative culture is being channelled into a vast array of products and services such as analytical tools, games development, fantasy sports and eSports. Meanwhile others are developing products in areas such as virtual and augmented reality, cloud platforms based on artificial intelligence; as well as new and innovative payment forms. Technology and service innovation go hand-inhand, and the island is carving out a niche for services that are not on offer in other iGaming jurisdictions: Malta can be a disaster recovery site, a base for payment companies and back office activities. The competitive pressures of recent years have seen the customer service function become more important when it comes to player acquisition and retention. There is a strong case this trend will continue, and Malta is expected to benefit. Malta’s success as an iGaming hub is also having the knock-on effect of enticing other industries into establishing a presence of their own. Case in point: video game developers and publishing companies, as well as gamers themselves, have relocated to the island to take advantage of business incentives and high quality of life. GamingMalta, an independent non-profit foundation tasked with promoting Malta as a gaming centre, offers incoming and established companies many helping hands with setting up and operating from the island.
Infrastructure Investment Ultimately, the aim is to make Malta a centre of excellence for gaming-related companies, where executive decisions are made that drive global gaming businesses and where start-ups and innovative ideas are nurtured. However, the sector’s fast expansion, in tandem with
many other sectors that are experiencing similar growth rates; the influx of companies and capital, as well as an inflow of expat workers, are also putting pressure on Malta’s infrastructure. To enable the iGaming sector to attract the best talent to the island, Malta urgently needs to address certain capacity constraints in terms of schooling and kindergarten facilities, which reduce the island’s competitiveness. iGaming professionals report that there had been cases in which foreign professionals had not taken up positions being offered because they could not find schooling for their children. Most iGaming companies choose to locate in Sliema and St. Julian’s, which thus have become popular residential areas for iGaming executives. The high demand has driven up rent for both offices and apartments. Investment in highquality office space in other localities, coupled with improvements in transport and road infrastructure, would enable the sector to grow out of its traditional hotspots and spread across the island.
A Model for the Future Malta is Europe’s undisputed centre for iGaming companies. It is home to CEOs and start-up founders, investors, support professionals and entrepreneurial talent. The island saw strong growth on the back of its regulatory framework, which was revolutionary at that time and lured the sector’s strongest companies to the island. However, the future will be written by the level of regulatory, financial and technology innovation prevalent in Malta’s iGaming industry. The island’s success will also be built on its ability to constantly attract new entrepreneurs; Malta needs to accommodate global players while acting as a magnet for start-ups. To ensure that Malta fits into the business plans of the world’s largest companies, the country is working hard to have all the right elements in place. This includes the availability of cross-sectorial talent, the depth and breadth of industry clusters, good air transport links and ICT infrastructure, as well as a reputation as a good place to live. Malta has the opportunity to be a truly global centre for the gaming industry, similar to what New York, Hong Kong and London are to the finance industry. The gaming industry in global terms is still in its infancy and expected to expand significantly in the coming years. Malta understands the current and future value of the iGaming industry and is truly embracing it to unleash the sector’s full potential. n
Silvio Schemb ri Parliamenta ry
Secretary Parliamenta ry Secretary for Financial S ervices, Dig ital Economy an d Innovation Office of the Pr ime Minister Auberge de Cast ille, Valletta VL T 1061 Email: silvio.sche email@example.com
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GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Home of Gaming Excellence GamingMalta is an independent non-profit foundation set up by the Government of Malta and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Tasked with promoting Malta as a centre of excellence in the digital and remote gaming sector globally, it is also responsible for liaising with the local relevant authorities to improve Malta’s attractiveness as a jurisdiction and enhance the ecosystem surrounding the gaming industry. GamingMalta | Network, Connect, Meet Up | July Edition
European Fantasy Sports Summit, SiGMA
Affiliate Grand Slam, Talinn
EU Digital Assembly Conference
IdentityMalta Outreach Programme
GamingMalta | Networking, Connect, Meet up | May Edition
EiG | Start Up Pitch Winners ELOPLAY
GamingMalta is committed to: ♥ ♣
Promoting ownership of the Malta brand among all stakeholders to strengthen Malta’s position with the gaming industry
Accelerating growth in the gaming sector by creating a dynamic marketing mechanism anticipating market changes
Engaging with stakeholders and providing business support to ensure that Malta is the most attractive environment for the gaming industry to thrive
Establishing the necessary expertise and foresight to futureproof the gaming sector in Malta
Standing out through innovative ideas and leading the iGaming industry through research and promotion of the Maltese jurisdiction so as to be a proactive, dynamic catalyst for change
Supporting the MGA in implementing the brand strategy and road map development for the gaming industry
Bringing stakeholders together – ensuring close cooperation while creating business and networking opportunities for firms working in the sector
Collaborating with other Maltese sectoral promotion bodies to promote the overall image of Malta
GamingMalta Foundation, Building SCM 02-03, Level 3, SmartCity, Ricasoli SCM1001 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2247 3000 • E: email@example.com • W: www.gamingmalta.org
Ivan Filletti - Head of Operations and Business Development of the GamingMalta Foundation
Joining the Dots: How Gaming Malta helps Companies Succeed
Malta offers iGaming companies a plug-and-play environment, says Ivan Filletti of the GamingMalta Foundation, whose main aim is to ensure that Malta remains attractive to digital and gaming companies.
What do iGaming companies typically highlight as main advantages of operating in and out of Malta? It’s really a sum of all parts. A richly networked and growing ecosystem which lends itself to creating new opportunities for growth and innovation, complemented by a forward-looking and responsive Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) that embraces new business models. Malta is increasingly one of the most advanced and respected online gaming jurisdictions in the world, as well as having the most licensed operators. We want to keep it that way and continue to narrate this success story. Coupled with this, business gets done here. Malta is also the place where ingenuity and determination pay off. You come, you settle, you succeed. Connecting with like-minded individuals is of paramount importance. Our strong economy, EU member state credentials and resources, people and culture, as well as a strong presence of B2B and B2C companies and an affiliate cluster, give any operator an immediate plug into the gaming sector. To this, add the lifestyle on this sunny Mediterranean island, which is something special.
What is GamingMalta doing to improve Malta as a gaming jurisdiction and how are you assisting companies on the island? We are there to engage with all the key stakeholders and ensure we connect with the different parts of the ecosystem to promote, strengthen and accelerate the growth across all gaming sectors. Tangibly we do this by working closely with the public sector, for example with Identity Malta, where we facilitate the service given to iGaming companies and incoming talent. We also hold Identity Malta outreach programmes at our offices in Smart City, which have been met very positively by the sector. These outreach programmes also extend to us visiting gaming companies to address their employees and also hear their feedback about the jurisdiction.
Joining and connecting the dots within the ecosystem is a vital component of our game. Our networking events and international roadshows serve as a platform for this. These also help to attract investors to the iGaming industry. We are increasingly reaching out to other non-gaming channels. Many people are not aware of the skills that are required to work in the industry. iGaming companies are today tech companies, requiring very specific talent. Our European Fantasy Sports Summit during SiGMA was our first foray into organising a largescale sectoral specific conference, which brought international speakers to a Daily Fantasy Sports Summit. This is to become a must-attend event in the global Daily Fantasy Sports calendar, and we are looking into more sectoral events being organised on this front. The work doesn’t stop here. We support many initiatives on other fronts, including poker and eSports tournaments. We also support and promote start-up events on our international roadshows and ensure that start-up founders are given a platform to present their new business models.
Taking into consideration the entire gaming industry, what segments could be developed further in Malta?
Remote gaming is only a part of this marvelous world of gaming. So we are working on three other verticals – Daily Fantasy Sports, eSports and Video Gaming. Our European Fantasy Sports Summit already explained to a wider audience how Daily Fantasy Sports engages with Millenials. eSports also has huge potential. By 2019, eSports will be a billion-dollar industry, and Malta has a lot to offer in this respect. Video gaming is an example of ‘digital manufacturing’ requiring and developing a blend of transferrable 21st-century skills. We already have successful video gaming companies based here, and we want to ensure that structures are built to give further and sustainable impetus to this sector. This is all boils down to a talent game. We want to work closely with the sector in order to attract key talent to Malta. We will be intensifying our efforts in all these areas while ensuring that we consolidate and support organic growth of the remote gaming sector. n
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
SILVIO SCHEMBRI - Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation
Committed to Growing
the iGaming Industry Listening to the iGaming industryâ€™s concerns is one of Silvio Schembriâ€™s biggest priorities. The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation says that Malta wants to develop new talent within the industry while positioning itself as an international hub for DLT and blockchain operators.
Malta offers the complete gaming ecosystem. We have the resources, people and culture to give iGaming professionals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals where business gets done.
Attracting foreign workers is key to our future, and we want to smoothen the process for anyone looking at taking up a position in Malta.
We are committed to addressing the skills mismatch and strengthening the iGaming industry. We have set up the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM).
A brand-new Gaming Act will enter into force in 2018, which will eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify licensing processes and speed up time-tomarket for operators.
Malta has seen licensed operators reach record numbers, and we continue to attract operators from all over the world.
Our island is experiencing significant growth and continues to attract foreign gaming companies, but we can only stay on this successful path if we embrace new technologies and gaming activities, such as Daily Fantasy Sports, eSports and video gaming.
Gaming is unquestionably a key contributor to our economic growth. Not only are gaming companies net contributors to Malta in terms of revenues, but there are also strong economic multiplier effects from expatriate workers relocating to Malta.
We are acknowledging trends in the field of cryptocurrencies by allowing the use of virtual currencies in the industry within a sandbox environment.
I would like to put Malta on the international map as a blockchain hub; my wish is to create an entire new industry based on blockchain technologies and attract innovative start-ups. We are willing to throw our doors wide open to help companies develop new solutions.
the regulator Joseph Cuschieri - Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)
A Package Full of
Change Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), talks about the long-awaited roll-out of Malta’s new regulatory framework, the MGA’s desire to introduce a test environment for cryptocurrencies and Malta’s big plans to become a blockchain hub in the Mediterranean.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
How did the iGaming industry perform during 2017 and what is your outlook for 2018?
into how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies can play a greater role within the industry. We wanted to position Malta, and in particular the MGA, as a thought-leader in regulating the gaming industry, and I think today we are being perceived as such. We have built up a reputation for working with the industry, rather than against it wherever possible, and this in itself makes us an attractive hub for gaming companies.
2017 will surely go down as a year to remember for Malta’s iGaming industry, which in many ways exceeded our expectations. Figures for the first six months of 2017 show that the gaming industry contributed almost 12% of the total value added to the Maltese economy, and we expect this trend to be reflective of the sector’s performance for the whole year. This means that the gaming Malta’s critics claim that the MGA is a regulator industry consolidated its position as the third-largest productive of convenience; and during 2017 the island and its gaming sector hit the headlines of the international sector of the Maltese economy. Today Malta is synonymous with a thriving gaming media. What’s your opinion about such criticism? ecosystem, and the iGaming industry directly generating more than 6,400 jobs, a figure that goes up to more than 9,000 if one I’d like to point out that one can find many inaccuracies in media reports, which seem to be the result of lack of takes into account the indirect effect. More than knowledge and worse, misinformation. We 280 companies held licenses in Malta at the are not turning a blind eye on illegalities, and end of June 2017, and this figure grew by 6% “The industry when it comes to allegations such as money since December 2016. We are still seeing huge never stands laundering, we closely collaborate with the interest in the sector; this points to a successful Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU), the 2018. However, this year will also be a year of still, and Malta Police Force, the Malta Financial Services change for both the Authority and the industry neither Authority (MFSA) and the banks. In fact, we in Malta, given that our new legislative package do we as a usually get criticised due to the amount of will finally enter into force once it goes through information that we request from operators. Our the parliamentary process. regulator. on-boarding process is very rigid today, and we In 2017, go into a lot of detail prior to granting or renewing What have you identified as key we started a licence. I am not saying that all our processes drivers of this recent growth? are perfect and bullet-proof, there is still room licensing for improvement in certain areas, but we are Well, for one it is our reputation and experience betting on often being criticised for the wrong reasons. I in this sector. Malta started regulating iGaming lotteries as also believe that many times this criticism is way back in 2004 at a time when it was a growing, politically motivated by other EU member states’ novel economic activity yet largely unregulated, a gaming desire to defend their own gambling monopolies which required a more specific approach in activity.” and policy frameworks around gambling even if order to address the risks usually associated they directly contradict the European Treaty. I with gambling. Our framework was designed to make Malta a remote gaming hub of repute. We have put a lot of am a firm believer in regulation, and I think it is counterproductive effort into promoting Malta internationally, while endorsing and to criminalise an industry as it will only drive it underground. advocating the importance of strong and transparent regulatory frameworks instead of prohibition. Furthermore, Malta today Can you tell us more about the new Gaming Act? hosts many operators and gaming services providers who provide We have been working on this new piece of legislation for the world-class services to the industry. However, more important than the legacy has been the work past three to four years. In 2017, we published the white paper that we have carried out during the past four years. The fact proposing the changes, and the feedback we received from the that we set out to develop a new Gaming Act sent a very clear industry was extremely positive. The legislation is currently message that Malta is a forward-looking jurisdiction, eyeing the going through the parliamentary process, and the new Gaming next generation of games and gaming operators. This has helped Act should become effective from 1st July 2018. I am aware that to attract new companies and provided certainty to existing many within the industry think it took quite long to come up with licensees who expanded their operations in Malta. We also this new legislation, but we really wanted to make sure that our looked at new products, with the introduction of our controlled new framework, which also includes the subsidiary legislation skill games regulation in 2016 – the first in the European Union under this new Act, is robust, innovative and able to future-proof catering for daily fantasy sports and other forms of controlled the jurisdiction, which is facing ever-increasing technological skill games. This led to a surge in interest. To date, we have issued disruption. We have also ensured that organisationally there more than 15 licences for this emerging sector. The industry would be the necessary skill and resources to implement and never stands still, and neither do we as a regulator. In 2017, we transition the licensed industry players into this new framework, started licensing betting on lotteries as a gaming activity. We are focusing more on risk and outcomes rather than on a “tick box” also open to disruptive technologies and are currently looking or prescriptive approach.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
What are the key points of the new legislation that operators need to be aware of?
"We had to ask ourselves what Malta stands for as a gaming jurisdiction. I think the new Gaming Act will reposition Malta as the most innovative jurisdiction.”
We are proposing a two-tiered licensing structure: a business-to-business (B2B) licence and a business-to-consumer (B2C) licence. This regime will oversee both physical and online gaming activities. Another major change will be the shift from prescriptive to risk-based instruments and controls; underpinned by a set of principles and policy objectives that will provide the MGA with the necessary powers to regulate gaming activities. As much as possible, we want to avoid the duplication of regulatory and administrative requirements that have already been met; this will speed up the time it takes new products to market. For instance, the new regime will be technology neutral, meaning that we recognise that a game can be provided through different channels, including desktop, mobile and tablet. We are also looking at extending the licence period from five to ten years and proposing a new tax and administrative fee structure. B2B licensees will be exempted from gaming tax, and we are envisaging that this will make Malta more competitive as a hub for B2B gaming activities.
How do you plan to handle the transition period with regards to tax and licence fees? Given that the new regime will come into force in July, operators will be required to pay taxes and fees in accordance with the current Remote Gaming Regulations until 30 June 2018. As of 1 July 2018, they will start paying gaming licence fees under the new regulations. At the end of 2018, we will calculate the difference between what was due for the first six months of 2018 and the rest of the year under the new regime. Licensees who have paid more than what was due will receive tax credits equivalent to the excess amount paid, and licensees which have paid less, shall pay the difference accrued by the end of the year 2018.
What other new and novel concepts will you be introducing? The new Gaming Act will also introduce the concept of administration. So far, in the scenario that we suspend a licence for a gaming company and investigate them if we suspect they violate the regulations, the company has to stop operating. The company could lose a lot of business until the investigation is finalised. In the end, even if no violations are found, this can cause a lot of damage to the brand. Introducing an administrator who oversees the operations of the company in question can therefore protect jobs and player funds. Also, if the company is found to be in breach of regulations, the administrator will help wind down the operation.
Many within the industry are now eager to learn more about the technical standards. When can they expect them? We are working on them but we also wanted to get the legislation out first. I would like to assure the industry that there will not be any surprises. I don’t think we need to start writing them from scratch, but we will build on what we already have while taking into account new developments, for instance cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. We will also be mindful of the technical specs already adopted in other member states. Where possible, we will aim for alignment to avoid duplication and unnecessary costs for the industry without undermining the desired outcomes.
What is your opinion on cryptocurrencies and blockchain for the gaming sector?
Currently, we do not accept cryptocurrencies, although we don’t have a problem if a player exchanges bitcoin for euro, and the exchange is taking the risk and the operator accepts that. It’s ok for us as long as the exchange has an EU/ EEA licence. However, there is no denying that we are in the midst of an unprecedented technological revolution, one that is transforming the way gaming services are supplied and consumed. While we need to embrace these changes, we have to ensure a safe operating environment and assess risks and implications properly. Hence, we envisage implementing a sandbox, which would involve introducing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies within a controlled environment. The idea is that we don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to innovate simply because we don’t know what effects it will have on the sector. In the sandbox, we want to see what issues come up. I see this soft rollout as taking on a calculated risk, which will provide further clarity on the use of virtual currencies, in a real time-environment. We have already received interest from some 50 companies wanting to be part of the sandbox. I truly believe that should this exercise be successful, Malta would be in a position to be among the first countries developing regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies.
Malta is keen to position itself as blockchain hub of the Mediterranean. How is the MGA helping realise this vision? The blockchain opportunity is even bigger than the cryptocurrency potential, and Malta can become a key player in this sector. Blockchain technology could decentralise gaming services just as the internet has decentralised media and information. We have reached out to the industry to gain their insight. We know that a lot of expertise lies within the industry, with a number of innovative projects and concepts already available on the market.
I would like to see our own systems running on blockchain technology. I think this would be another step towards achieving greater efficiency and innovation in the way we conduct our regulatory function.
During 2017, affiliate marketing came under renewed scrutiny. What’s your position on regulating affiliates? Affiliates are an important marketing tool, and for many operators they are ‘mission-critical’. Nonetheless, they have avoided the scrutiny of regulators for years. However, I think the incidents of past years have clearly shown that regulators cannot ignore their existence and their role in the industry. To date, and like many other regulators, the MGA has focused its regulatory attention on the licensee who is ultimately responsible under the licence, irrespective of sub-contracted third parties. However, our outsourcing policy and our new gaming legislation allows us to assess the operator-affiliate relationship on a case-by-case basis. This allows us to put in place a condition that affiliates may be held directly responsible for breaches of advertising rules, without departing from the principle that the operator also maintains responsibility. In my opinion, the affiliate industry should also look into adopting a code of conduct, which clearly outlines standards and accepted marketing practices and is agreed upon by all stakeholders.
The worlds of video gaming and iGaming are moving closer together. What’s your view on this development? eSports are a rising phenomenon, and our new Skill Games Regulations empower us to have governance over the sector. However, we will not regulate eSports competitions as such, but we are closely following developments in the sphere of skin
gambling, integrity in eSports competitions and challenger websites. These could be categorised as controlled skill games and thus be subject to increased oversight, given that operators hold funds on behalf of players. We are also following the current discussion on video games that feature loot box mechanics, as these could potentially also fall under our controlled skill gaming licence.
How do you expect the gaming industry to develop in Malta in the coming years? In the wake of a fast-changing global regulatory landscape, we had to ask ourselves what Malta stands for as a gaming jurisdiction. I think the new Gaming Act will reposition Malta as the most innovative jurisdiction, and we hope that the measures we are taking now will ensure that the industry will continue to grow in Malta. Innovation is becoming mission critical and our outlook as a jurisdiction has always been more forward thinking than most other European countries. The fact that many companies based here are expanding their operations, while new ones are moving in, is very positive. Malta is the place to be for any start up, as well as fully fledged and operational gaming set ups. I expect that we will also see growth in the B2B sector given that we are putting in place attractive incentives, as well as growth in new verticals such as eSports and Daily Fantasy Sports. I remain confident that notwithstanding all challenges and risks and with the support of all stakeholders, Malta has a bright future ahead, not just as a place of establishment but as an innovator in gaming regulation.
After four years at the helm of the MGA, how much of your plans and priorities do you think you have achieved? We have achieved a lot; the new Gaming Act is just one of the many projects that we have pursued. We have heavily invested in our IT systems and ‘right-sized’ the MGA in terms of its human resources requirements and organisational capacity. I believe that any authority needs to be equipped properly to regulate effectively. After four years, I can say that we are not perfect, but we have created a culture of excellence in everything that we do. Furthermore, we have a relentless drive to change and continuously improve. There is still a lot of work to be done and exciting times ahead for this growing industry. n
BIO Joseph Cuschieri is the Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority. He is a certified public accountant and fellow member of the Malta Institute of Accountants, specialised in management and finance. Prior to joining the MGA, Mr Cuschieri was Chief Commercial Officer at Vodafone and senior consultant at Ernst & Young. He has also spent five years as Chief Operating Officer at the Malta Communications Authority.
Malta. Ukraine. UK. Australia
Alexander Stevendahl - CEO of Videoslots
Customer Experience Seriously
Videoslots has built up a reputation for fast payouts and quick, responsive customer service. The company has also made the conscious decision not to target VIP players, says CEO Alexander Stevendahl, as gaming should be fun and entertaining above all else.
the OPERATOR Can you tell us your personal story of how you became successful in the iGaming industry? I started as a poker player when I was 18 years old. I remember I had a friend who earned a huge amount of money, and I obviously wanted to make what he was making. So I decided to read a book about how to play poker. I started to play freerolls and won a lot. It was the early days of online poker, and I jumped in at the highest tables. Then there was a period where I lost a lot, and I decided to take a break from playing and moved over to the affiliate side. I started a site called Rakebacklovers that exploded and became the biggest Scandinavian rake provider. I was very successful until things went sour and poker went downhill. At the time, I also collected a lot of domains, and I put a bid in on videoslots.com. During our first two years at Videoslots we experienced a few ups and downs, however from 2013 onwards we always registered growth. Today, we have 120 employees and are currently looking to hire 30 more people.
What do you believe is the secret to your success? I think it is our products and our customer service. In terms of product innovation, we have brought new concepts to the industry. For instance, we were the first company to offer players to play against other players in real time on online slots. Nobody had done that before. Our customer service also sets us apart. If we see that something is wrong, we try to fix it immediately. We also built up a reputation for fast pay-outs. Together, these two factors helped us grow organically, with little reliance on affiliates. In fact, we’ve only spent €7 million on marketing since we started operating. That’s not a lot for a company of our size.
It was only very recently that we started investing in affiliate channels; and in terms of bringing in new customers, affiliates now account for some 30 to 35% of our business. The majority of our new customers still come from Google because the domain is so strong.
In your opinion, does the industry rely too much on affiliates? Yes. Affiliates do a really good job, but they take all the profits, and often operators pay them more than a player is actually worth, especially if you consider that some companies pay up to €500 for a player. However, I think operators will rely less on affiliates in the future, and we have already seen some companies dropping affiliates completely. The termination of Sky Bet UK’s affiliate programme is one example. There is increased regulatory pressure on affiliates and operators, with regulators saying operators are responsible for what their affiliates are doing. It is a tricky situation, and many operators are not able to check up on thousands of affiliates. We have taken on the challenge of checking all our affiliates, but we don’t have that many.
Having been on both sides, how do you think the affiliate-operator relationship will evolve in the future? I think all signs point towards licensing of affiliates, and that will result in tough times for affiliates. In many countries there are also cheaper marketing channels such as TV advertising. We have tested this in Sweden, where it turned out to be more cost-effective to run TV commercials than acquiring clients from affiliates.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
You have firmly positioned yourself in the online slots segment. Are you planning to move into other verticals? First of all, I want to improve our mobile offering. Our desktop product is quite amazing, but the mobile version is still not perfect. We are also working on reviving online poker, because I think an online casino needs to have a good poker product. In a land-based casino, I also expect a good poker room. Our product just doesn’t feel complete without a poker offering. But I want to keep this small, I don’t need a million tables. In an offline casino you also find only a couple of active tables and that’s what I want to replicate online. I am looking at small tournaments, so that players actually know that they have a chance to win. Next year, probably some time between March and July, we will also launch our 3D casino product after acquiring PKR’s software. We have also started working on a sports betting product, but this will take some time to be launched. I believe we can continue to own the slots vertical and have other products on the side.
What are the key challenges that you are currently facing? Compliance and regulation, and we are fighting many different battles so to speak. We are only targeting regulated markets. We recently had to close our Australia operations when a new bill was passed that bans online casinos from targeting residents in Australia. Then there was the UK Gambling Commission, which forced us to change our game characters, saying that they are too child-friendly, despite them approving the games initially. We are obviously looking at areas such as Anti Money Laundering and KYC; we now have seven in-house lawyers and a strong team of analysts. I sometimes feel as if I am running a bank!
What’s your approach to responsible gambling? We have created our own system that flags people that might have a gambling problem. However, more importantly, we actually encourage players to bet low, and all our promotions are built around that concept. We don’t reward players that bet big money with more free spins and don’t target the VIP segment. We position ourselves firmly in the entertainment spot. As soon as we realise that someone has a problem, we have to tell them. But the big question for us is: are we actually allowed to stop someone from playing when we feel they have a gambling problem?
BIO Swedish-born Alexander Stevendahl started playing poker when he finished school. He then moved on to becoming a poker affiliate before founding and investing in Videoslots in 2011 together with Mattias Sesemann and Magnus Hyltingö. In 2013, he was appointed CEO of Videoslots.
How do you find Malta measures up as a base for iGaming companies? Is it a handy Head Office location or are there other countries that you could easily move to? I have mixed feelings. The MGA is a good regulator; they are working with the industry, not against it. I also think that Malta is a good start-up location as it is easy to find your way around. But I think there is one big problem: while Malta has managed to build the biggest gaming hub in the EU, most of the professionals working in the gaming companies are foreign because the locals don’t possess the necessary skills. I think Malta has made a big mistake by educating its own people to a level required by the industry. This, in turn, also creates a problem for the industry. It is relatively easy to bring in staff from abroad, but only a limited number of people stay for a very long time on the island. This means operators need to constantly recruit and train new people. Then there is the hike in rental prices, which affects our staff and also our ability to attract people from abroad. We are advertising the high quality of life on the island, but when people come here and find out that they can only afford a shared room in a shared flat, they are rightly questioning the quality of life.
Thinking about the future, where do you want to go from here? Would you consider a listing? We want to stabilise our business and complete our product, and that will take some time. We are looking at new markets. We just completed our licence application for Denmark, which I think was the most comprehensive licence application so far. We are also targeting licences in Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal. In the future we could also develop a B2B product as technically we can act as a platform. We are not planning an IPO at the moment, simply because there is no need for it. We are well capitalised and financially strong.
What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up a gaming company in the current climate? I think it is really hard to start up these days. If you want to build something of scale, you are in for a challenge. You will require a lot of money and won’t have much time for a life outside of work. n
Dennis Dyhr-Hansen - CEO of Matching Visions
Time to Get the House
in Order As affiliates are coming under pressure from policy-makers, regulators and operators alike, Dennis Dyhr-Hansen says regulating the affiliate sector would significantly improve the industry’s standards.
THE AFFILIATE NETWORK Can you tell us about the roots of Matching Visions and explain where the company stands today? Matching Visions was founded in early 2014. Our idea was to offer a proper affiliate network. Building on the great connections we had in Malta, we were able to strike a number of good deals with online casinos. Our network since than has been growing at a quick pace. In addition, we focus on paying our affiliates on time, which is often not the case within the sector. We pay our affiliates within 15 days of the end of the following month. This means we pay our affiliates before we get paid. 2017 was a very good year for us, and we registered growth every month. We now have 20 people in the office and we take care of some 20,000 affiliate accounts. We are very trusted in the industry. Both operators and affiliates come to us if they encounter any problems, and we have no issue being an interlocutor. We know that the affiliate sector is coming under serious pressure, but we also see the regulation of the affiliate sector as a positive step towards improving industry standards.
What is the affiliate landscape looking like right now and what is the profile of the affiliates that you are working with? Consolidation is still the order of the day, with larger companies acquiring smaller ones. However, there are still many smaller affiliates in the market, and this means affiliate networks remain a vital source of traffic for operators. We act as the middle man, so we bring together thousands of affiliates and hundreds of operators. This helps affiliates as they can work with different operators, plus it gives the operator access to a large pool of affiliates through one contact. Affiliates are also still an important marketing tool for operators. In some cases, affiliate revenue accounts for over half of an operator’s revenue. Our affiliates vary in size and stature. I would say roughly 20% or our affiliates can be
described as a ‘one-man show’, but the other 80% are companies with up to 10 people. Once affiliates reach a certain size, there is usually no need to use a network and they negotiate deals directly with the operators. However, we also work with some pretty big affiliates who don’t mind that we take a ‘cut’ because they know that we make life easier for them. We guarantee them one easy payment each month, we help them to get content for their newsletters and websites and we help them in dispute cases with operators, where our size gives some weight to the argument.
The affiliate industry has seen significant growth in recent years. How has this changed your approach to the market? We have already started cleaning up our database, as we only want to work with serious affiliates. Next year we plan to continue this process. In Scandinavia there are five new online casinos opening every week, and the sheer amount of sportsbooks and casinos in the market means we can’t possibly work with all of them. There comes a point where we have to choose with whom to work with. So we are cutting down on brands that are not performing, as well as on affiliates that drive very little traffic to those operators.
The UK Gambling Commission has become a key protagonist of responsible advertising within the affiliate industry and is holding gambling operators responsible for the actions of their affiliates. How did you react to these developments? There is a lot of confusion in the UK market at the moment. We have suspended our UK operations for the time being; it is just too risky. We want to comply but are waiting for some solid information on what the regulation would look like. It obviously does not help that the authorities are not really willing to collaborate. They appear to just want to shut down the industry.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
What steps are you taking to ensure your affiliates follow good marketing practices? From our end, we ask affiliates for copies of e-mails sent out. We do this periodically, for instance to make sure that they include information on responsible gambling. E-mail spamming is one of the biggest malpractices, and it will eventually backfire on the industry. It has got to the state that operators want to preapprove every e-mail which will be send out by an affiliate. This obviously creates a huge operational burden for both the affiliates and the operators, but it is also understandable. Operators can receive hefty fines for irresponsible marketing, so they want to be able to hold their affiliates responsible too.
Player KYC is gaining in importance due to new AML requirements. What impact does this have on the affiliate network? Our knowledge of the player is very limited. In some affiliates systems, we might get to know the IP address but that’s it. For us, it would be very difficult to verify the players that an affiliate passes on to an operator.
All signs point towards regulation of the affiliate sector in the future. What do you tell your affiliates that they need to be doing in terms of compliance and what processes are you following at the moment?
BIO Originally from Denmark, Dennis has been at the forefront of the gaming industry in Malta for several years and works closely with hundreds of casinos and affiliates on a daily basis. In 2014, he and his partners at Power Media Group founded the iGaming affiliate network Matching Visions. The company’s portfolio is constantly growing, with involvement in several big brands such as UK-focused Betting Gods and several other SEO sites, as well as co-founding SiGMA alongside Eman Pulis.
While there are still many unknowns, we expect that we will be required to provide full verification of our customers at some point. We are currently putting processes in place to work out how we receive documentation from an affiliate and forward it to an operator in a safe and secure way, as we need to keep in mind legal and compliance aspects, as well data protection regulations. For us, this mainly means we need to know who the affiliate is, and we’re more than ready to adapt and move with the industry on this front.
What effect would the regulation of the affiliate sector have on your margin? I don’t think it will damage the margin. The margin, in the worst case, will stay the same. In the best case it will increase. Once we have our system in place, affiliates can save a lot of time. If we approve an affiliate, the affiliate will not need to go through the same process with all the operators he or she is working with – provided that the operators accept our system of ‘pre-approval’. Imagine the hassle if you are an affiliate working with 200 casinos and you need to submit your information to all 200 casinos. I believe if we integrate the compliance function into our system, it will attract an even larger share of affiliates to work with us.
In your opinion, what will the next years look like for affiliates, and do you think smaller affiliates will find it more difficult to operate once the market conditions change? No, there always will be smaller affiliate companies. Affiliation is a massive and fast-growing industry. We know of companies that started six months ago, and they are now well on their way to becoming important players in the market. Then there is also the trend of operators acquiring affiliates, which is also fuelling growth within the affiliate industry. I think in the coming years the industry will continue maturing due to increased compliance. But many people think that affiliation is a wild west industry with lots of cowboys; this is not the case. Yes, there are a few shady guys in the industry, just like in many other industries too. However, the majority of affiliates have proper set-ups, and they want to comply and don’t even have issues with affiliate regulation.
Beyond iGaming, there are many other industries that use affiliates to market their products. Do you see regulating the wider affiliate industry as another big opportunity for Malta? Yes. Regulation makes it much more attractive for the serious market players. Regulation could give affiliates from all industries a seal of approval, and I believe Malta would make an attractive European hub in this scenario. n
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GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Mark Attard - CEO of BDO Malta
Don’t Start Without a
Long-Term Plan There are still a large number of individuals that enter the iGaming sector without experience, says Mark Attard, CEO of BDO Malta. He adds that product innovation and player experience are critical factors for success in today’s very competitive iGaming industry.
THE ACCOUNTANT Can you tell us a bit about BDO’s approach to the gaming industry? The remote gaming business accounts for an important part of our clientele. Therefore, we have taken several measures over the years to ensure that our service offering and operations reflect the importance and prominence of this sector to our business. First, we developed in-house technical competencies across the key professional and corporate services areas, including taxation, accounting, audit, legal, risk & compliance, licensing and advisory. The second step was to ensure that our gaming clients experience the advantages of our integrated approach. Managing different professionals – lawyers, tax advisors, auditors and others – may sometimes prove challenging in terms of timeframes and coordination. So we built our own business process to provide a seamless and integrated workflow, focusing on a project team drawing on different professional skillsets available under one roof. To ensure even higher degrees of efficiency, we have dedicated Remote Gaming Desk Coordinators, whose sole objective is to deliver exceptional service to our gaming clients.
What are the main mistakes that many iGaming companies make when starting up? It is a well-known fact that the gaming industry is lucrative, and this sometimes leads to individuals entering the market without the necessary experience and without having done the necessary market research. Another common mistake is failing to define their strategy and products well enough, and this reflects in the legal and compliance setup. Over the years BDO has gained in-depth experience and knowledge in what is required, to ensure that the start-up process of gaming companies runs smoothly. Therefore, we have built a methodological approach to the process in order to further ensure that our gaming clients can also effectively set-up and obtain the applicable licence within the shortest time frame. As an advisor, I would highly recommend that entrepreneurs seek our advice at an early stage, prior to setting up their intended
companies in Malta. That way, we can leverage our experience to guide new gaming companies on the optimal way forward both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
What are the three things that you would advise startups to consider before kicking off iGaming operations? A sensible approach would be to conduct specific research with respect to the critical business fundamentals, as well as the experiences that potential customers are presently demanding. Whether you are new or an industry veteran, always seek advice from consultants on the latest legislative changes within the jurisdiction you are considering. Such changes may affect your operation, your financing and your profitability, which ultimately means the difference between winning and losing. In today’s competitive environment it is imperative to have a long-term plan in place, with adequate financing considerations, licensing and compliance functions, and a customer-oriented approach, which will essentially provide the requisite competitive edge. Players are spoilt for choice with many platforms to place their bets. Ask yourself, why would a customer choose to place a bet on my platform and not on my competitor’s site? Product innovation and player experience are critical factors to success.
From your experience, what is the average profitability of iGaming companies and what should these companies be targeting? There are many factors that affect profitability within this sector. For example, an online casino that is heavily dependent on affiliation to drive its traffic will have a different cost-base to those platforms who invest in building organic traffic. One must also consider at what stage of life the company is. Companies in their first two to three years of operation would not generally make any net profit since they would be focused on reinvesting any available funds into marketing, with the sole aim of growing their brand, and as a result their turnover.
In terms of auditing a gaming company, what are the big issues that you encounter? Many gaming companies use custom software to run their business. This means that an auditor cannot assume that everything has been recorded. As auditors, we are obliged to confirm that the financial statements reflect what is in the system and therefore, we look closely at their IT systems to understand the transaction flow. An in-depth IT audit is usually the first step to verify processes and controls, followed by the auditing of what typically is referred to as ‘the numbers’ part. Auditors also need to have the right knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry and its different contractual obligations and operations. Needless to say, regulatory and tax issues are quite significant for gaming companies, particularly in relation to their online operations, due to a constantly changing environment in multiple jurisdictions. There is also a global dimension to consider - many gaming companies may have a base in Malta, however, they are very likely to have structures in other jurisdictions such as Israel, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Gibraltar. In fact, I would say that there are hardly any structures that involve only Malta. Our BDO network, present in 165 different countries, provides immense support in other jurisdictions and global auditing services. We have a consistently shared global audit methodology that manages our clients’ and our own risk effectively.
When advising on a merger or an acquisition, what areas are you looking into? Company financials, value of future opportunity, tax issues and legal implications are always critical components of any M&A activity. These transactions are typically very complex because they are likely to involve different jurisdictions, with several structures in each jurisdiction and therefore wide tax and legal implications. As advisors, we are typically working as a team with other M&A professionals to conduct the necessary due diligence work, valuation verifications, risk management, compliance checks, audits and other factors as already mentioned.
VAT registered person, since this entails that the operator would be unable to claim any credit for input VAT. In reality, since online casino operations are deemed to be electronically supplied services and, therefore are deemed to take place where the customer, in this case the punter, is established, the online casino operator would be required to collect Maltese VAT only when the customer is established in Malta. When considering the global gaming environment, Maltese punters would amount to an insignificant proportion of an operator’s customer base. In any case, since the supplies are deemed to be taxable for Maltese VAT purposes, the online casino operator would be able to recover in full all input VAT incurred or self-assessed. In addition, the changes should lead to a reduction, and in certain cases the complete removal, of the use of a non-Maltese entity in a joint-venture setup.
Can you describe the ideal Chief Financial Officer for a gaming company? A gaming CFO needs to be ‘wired’ in the same way as the industry is. That is, comfortable operating with lightning speed, in a continuously changing environment where profits are high, but risks are also very high. Working with top management within the gaming industry, a CFO needs to ensure that proper risk management and prevention of money-laundering and fundingof-terrorism processes are in place to mitigate the company’s compliance and regulatory risk as much as possible. The ideal CFO must be fully capable of setting financial policy and direction for the gaming company to ensure efficient control of financial resources and maximisation of profits.
What’s your future outlook for the industry? Positive; we will see more growth driven by new technologies and enhanced customer experience. n
Corporate substance is becoming increasingly an issue. What’s your advice to companies setting up in Malta? Corporate substance is mandatory for companies to benefit from refunds and other mechanisms. New company formations require appropriate physical presence, registered employees on their books and all other requirements typically associated with the activity of the company.
New VAT guidelines will come into force in January. What will change for operators in Malta? The guidelines issued by the Maltese VAT Department have removed the exemption from VAT on online casino and peer-topeer games such as poker. Although an exemption from tax is generally believed to be a positive status, this is not the case for a
BIO Mark Attard is CEO and partner of BDO Malta. He has more than 22 years of professional experience in accounting, business development, IT consultancy, company restructuring and finance. He is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 15 years post-qualification experience.
Growing the brand internally by developing a robust and well-rounded employee experience that has its employees singing praise at the Saturday night dinner table! Just like the rest of Videoslots, our HR department has also been through some exciting winds of change. Lorraine, who was one of the first to join the company has recently been assigned a new role, focused around employer branding. This will see new and improved changes, not only in the way we promote ourselves externally but also how we retain and grow our people. We want our employees to feel proud and cared for
As part of our new learning and development strategy, Justin was recently brought on board to develop this crucial function. He will foster a continuous learning culture as well as support our internal branding though the strengthening of HR processes. His background in coaching and organizational psychology offers our staff the necessary support to develop themselves personally and professionally.
Anna whoâ€™s focus has been on attracting and selecting the new team members of our power house reached the 100th employee mark in June 2017 and is now seeking to recruit more! From a branding point of view this year will see her focus on strengthening our talent acquisition processes. Gemma our most recent addition will oversee the whole function and ensure that our HR strategy is aligned with our organisational objectives.
Progress and Development Plans
Transport for shift workers.
Fresh Fruit daily, Soft drinks, a wide range of alternate coffees such as Dolce, Intense, Delicato and Decaffeinate flavors, as well as a nice variety of flavored tea selections.
Annual Company Team Holiday VIP tickets to events and festivals highlighting world class DJâ€™s.
firstname.lastname@example.org Vibrant Offices
Gambling can be addictive, play responsibly. Videoslots.com is operated by Videoslots Ltd, a company registered in Malta having registration number C 49090. Videoslots Ltd is regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority under licence number MGA/CL1/956/2014, MGA/CL1/1048/2014, MGA/CL1/1047/2014, MGA/CL1/1091/2015, MGA/CL1/1261/2016 and MGA/CL1/1262/2016 and theGambling Commission in United Kingdom under licence number 000-039380-R-319311-007. The facilities provided to UK players is solely made in reliance on the latter licence.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Robin Reed - CEO of Gaming Innovation Group
Now is the Best Time for
Start-ups to Scale
Robin Reed, CEO of Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), says disruptive and innovative start-ups can today take advantage of a strong and mature iGaming ecosystem to grow their business, but good tech needs to be at the heart of every new challenger brand.
THE INVESTOR You founded Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) together with Frode Fagerli. Can you tell us more about the roots of GiG and your business model? The predecessor of GIG was a poker forum and social network called Donkr. We launched it during the Facebook boom when we figured poker players would not want to discuss their game in their Facebook feeds. Moderating a rapidly growing community ourselves, we realised what a large gap there was between the players’ perception of the industry and how the industry wanted to portray itself. We wanted to put an end to this and decided to launch Gaming Innovation Group in 2012 in order to work towards our vision to make iGaming an open and connected ecosystem for the benefit of all. The first milestone was the launch of White-label Guts.com in 2013. We wanted to control the front-end and customer service to improve the user experience. Guts grew quickly and to pursue our vision, we had to obtain our own licences. We wrote our own platform from the first line of code. We sold the platform in order to enable a sharing economy. By integrating suppliers and operators, we could avoid them having to do duplicate work, thus freeing up resources to improve the UX for all stakeholders. In 2015, iGamingCloud was launched following the vision of making the iGaming industry lean. iGamingCloud is today the beating heart of our interconnected eco-system, with currently over 50 integrated casino brands. In 2015 we also went public on the main stock exchange in Norway, in order to gain access to the capital markets and to turn GIG into a liquid instrument. From there we proceeded to create a publishing business and called it GiG Media. Too many people are writing with a one-sided view on our industry. We wanted to highlight all the amazing products and services on offer. Since then, we have built one of the largest affiliate networks in the industry through organic and acquired growth. Today, we are the largest affiliate in the Nordics in terms of Google traffic. It’s a unique business model with many moving parts. Some of them are only coming into play as we speak and in the near future;
such as our new games studio in Marbella and our sports services provider BettingCloud. However, it‘s all working in harmony. Today, the company employs more than 600 people. Fuelled by our vision to open up iGaming, we are aiming to become the most influential company in the industry.
As an investor in B2B and B2C products, what criteria do you look for when choosing a company to invest in? We would want to see a core group of dedicated, insanely knowledgeable and motivated staff, who are in for the sport. While not a fully fledged solution, there would need to be good tech at the heart of the business. They would need to be socially conscious and inspired by regulatory compliance. Most importantly, however, they need to be absolutely relentless and committed to improving the user experience.
Many companies actually say there is very little innovation happening within the iGaming industry. Do you agree with this statement or do you have a different point of view? Over the past decade, the iGaming industry has seen a lot of iterative innovation, but very little disruptive innovation. This is probably due to the heavy regulatory burden, however, it is also due to bad habits within the industry; I expect this to change though. The world of tech is accelerating its pace of innovation, which is spilling over to our industry and creating a lot of opportunity to re-shuffle the value chain.
GiG runs its own accelerator programme. Why did you choose to do this and what meaningful impact does it have on the business? ‘GIG Growth’ is an accelerator programme where we invest into early stage businesses. Rather than simply investing financially, we align products and start-ups with our eco-system and we can
share our wealth of tech know-how. We are also working on a knowledge-sharing programme of educational events and gettogethers for programmers and techies around the isle and a broader CSR initiative. This will be a non-profit which seeks to inspire, promote and celebrate entrepreneurism for a better and even more progressive Malta. By collaborating with the many great existing organisations and individuals around the isle, we can ultimately make Malta an even more successful iGaming hub and reap the benefits down the line.
Malta’s government and the Malta Gaming Authority said they wish to make Malta a start-up destination for many sectors, including fintech and gametech. How do you see Malta performing as a place for start-ups and what elements could be improved? Malta has performed exceptionally well in recent years. To continue scaling horizontally and vertically, one needs to attract top competence, and grow the standards of everyone involved in the eco-system. The governmental bodies need to be frontrunners in this process and enable and facilitate growth by rapidly developing education, schooling, infrastructure and culture. Finally, I would also like to add that hard-working people thrive with a great work-life balance. Beautiful nature, healthy leisure and recreation options, are some keywords. We now have the best opportunity in the history of the island to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
Growth through acquisition is one of the main drivers for iGaming companies to grow their market share. From your experience, what are the main challenges when integrating an acquisition? The cultural aspect can’t be overstated enough. Neither can the challenge of leadership. Making people who were in control of
BIO Robin Eirik Reed started his iGaming career as a community manager before founding and operating several iGaming-related businesses. In 2008, he co-founded Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) and was appointed Group CEO in June 2015. GIG has grown into one of Malta’s largest iGaming companies, which is heavily investing in start-ups and talent within the iGaming industry.
their own roadmap suddenly a part of a larger group is no easy task. After that has been achieved, everything can be sorted, and I guess the generalist solution is: in order to solve the largest and most exciting problems, one needs to have lots of sharp minds. When you put smart people together and empower them, beautiful things happen.
As a foreign investor, what do you believe Malta needs to do to remain attractive and competitive as a location for iGaming companies? We are recruiting peak numbers of people in iGaming every month, with an increasing amount of people needing housing and schooling. Employees have been increasingly voicing their concerns about the pressure on the infrastructure. Rental prices are soaring in central areas, and it is tough to get your children into the international schools. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly challenging to attract the best talent. This is the time to invest on a grand scale into infrastructure and to distribute the wealth amongst everyone and develop Malta even further, for the decades and generations to come.
How do you see the gaming landscape evolving over the next five years? These days there are a range of established companies operating on strong platforms. This is a trend which is guaranteed to continue over the coming years. These companies have a sustainable edge in their culture. They are in a position to consolidate, and it is becoming very hard to compete with them at a large scale. That said, there has never been a better time for start-ups. The differentiation is the quality and targeting of your business. The infrastructure and technology is so powerful these days, and the industry has grown much larger. One can quickly tap into the eco-system and reach scale with something disruptive and differentiated.
GiG has enjoyed great success. Where do you want to go from here? We want to bring something new and innovative to the world of sports betting. Hence, we are working on a product called GiG Sports (Betting Cloud). It will allow sportsbook operators to design their front-end for all of our APIs, and we are designing our own odds from the ground up. It’s all based on quantitative data models and real-time feeds and allows us to produce a more accurate probability, at a much lower cost. Our most ambitious B2C start-up to date is called Highroller.com. It’s an online casino that launched in mid-November. It’s all about taking the fun and gamification features of existing casino products to a new level in order to create improved appeal for the industry to a new demographic in social channels. With Rizk.com we created the fastest growing operator in 2016. With Highroller.com we believe we can do the same in 2017 and 2018. And then there is the new adventure we have embarked on with setting up our own games provider, GiG Games, in Marbella. n
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Georg Westin - Founder of Hero Gaming
Extra Reasons to Stick Around
Company founder Georg Westin says in todayâ€™s competitive marketplace new start-ups need to use their funds wisely given the ever-increasing costs for marketing and compliance.
Can you tell us a bit about Hero Gaming and its beginnings and explain where the company stands today? Hero Gaming was founded in 2014 and went live with its first brand in June 2014, which was then called Casino Saga. I have personally worked many years in the gaming industry, being CTO at Betsson and Betsafe and co-founder of Casumo. After I left Casumo when the company moved completely to Malta I had an idea that the gamification of casino could be taken even further. I then started to outline the concept of Casino Heroes, where players move forward on a map, find treasure, can jump between islands and collect Rubies - the extra currency of the site. Since its launch, Casino Heroes has been very successful, especially in the Scandinavian countries, but now also with its recent launch in the UK market. Casino Heroes also has a Japanese version, called CasiTabi. As of November 2016 Hero Gaming launched its third brand, Betser, which is a Sport brand with gamification features such as the Betser League and the loyalty programme Balls & Brains.
What was your route to market and how long did the process take from idea to market? I started off as a programmer and still love technology. I think that the most interesting things happen at the intersection of brands, creativity and technology; so deciding to build our own platform was key to our success. It took us one year to build the platform and launch the first brand.
Many iGaming companies are offering the same products. How did you define your unique selling points and how difficult do you think it is today to position a start-up in this industry? Hero Gaming is the leader in gamification of gambling, so our unique take in our brands is always to give the players an extra game, loyalty programme or feature that makes it more fun and gives the player extra reasons to stick around. Being a start-up in this industry is becoming increasingly harder. The amount of money needed for marketing is becoming very vast and the added regulatory challenges are a burden on us all. It can be done, but to be successful you need to stand out in the market.
What were the big challenges that you encountered in terms of funding and financing a new gaming company, and how did you rise to the challenge of securing investment? I was lucky to have a good name in the industry, so receiving money for Hero Gaming was not that hard. I am glad to say that it was a very good investment for the investors, and we do all we can to make it become better every day.
How did you manage to grow and scale your business, and what were the main issues along the way?
rents have lately gone up quite a lot and that cannot continue without companies looking for somewhere else to go.
To scale up you have to be very smart with the means you have. One core problem is knowing how much money should be put into brand-building marketing activities. Doing tactical acquisition marketing is easier since you can quickly measure what works and what does not. In the case of long-term brand building, you need to let it play out for several months before seeing an effect and it can become very costly. We have managed to grow our business a lot and are now approaching 100 people, so naturally organisational issues will occur. To me, something that helps in a growing company is to have a company culture that makes things run smooth and avoids office politics.
Can you mention three areas that Malta could improve on in order to make it even more attractive to start-ups and early stage companies from the gaming industry?
Many companies are quickly reinvesting profits and often spending a significant share on marketing. Whatâ€™s your view on this business model?
What is your best piece of advice to someone wanting to start-up in the gaming industry today?
It is understandable and in most cases reasonable. However, I think that some companies go overboard here, and it can create a culture that profit is not important at all. With the added taxes and costly compliance requirements, it can put companies in a bad spot over time.
Looking back at your journey, is there anything that as a founder you would have done differently? I think that one would always do some small things better if done again, but none of these would be vital in my case.
How would you rate Malta as a start-up location? Quite good; Malta is a nice place to find good people and the weather, culture and language are also plusses. Salary rates and
BIO Georg Westin is the owner and the founder of Hero Gaming, a company that combines sports betting and casino gaming with gamification and storytelling through brands such as CasinoHeroes and BETSER. Georg previously co-founded Casumo and was CTO at Betsson and Betsafe.
The first one would be to work fast to becoming more efficient as a society. Make processes - ranging from better internet banking to getting a personal ID - faster, more reliable and digital. The second one would be to focus the educational system more on innovation and creativity, and the third one would be to market Malta as a good option for young entrepreneurs throughout Europe.
I think the best start is to become players themselves. There is a tendency in our growing business that we donâ€™t gamble as much as we should. We forget what it is about; when it is fun and exciting and when it is not. If you play, you can understand what is missing in the market and go all in on that.
On a more personal level, what was your route into the iGaming industry? I played my first Black Jack hand when I was 18 years old in a club, and my cards were 10, 9 and the dealer got 8, Jack. At that point I understood the rush and the feeling that gambling gives you. When I studied at university I created my first casino site that was really an affiliate site for a download casino called Casino Lux. I went around the Casino Cosmopol in Malmo and put up signs on the cars to promote my online casino, highly illegal probably. n
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Alan Craig - Partner of Mazars Malta
No Need to Panic about
Tighter Data Protection Rules Alan Craig, Partner of Mazars Malta, says that good corporate governance has become a top priority of many iGaming companies. He believes that the majority of iGaming operators just need to tweak their systems in order to comply with the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
THE consultant Can you give us an overview of Mazars’ gaming practice? We have been servicing gaming companies since the onset of the industry in Malta. We provide a one-stop shop service, assisting in corporate structuring, tax planning, licensing, VAT optimisation and compliance, accounting and audit services. We are also approved MGA compliance and systems auditors, and have been serving in this role for the past seven years.
of view, we want to ensure that the Maltese tax imputation system is used to its best potential. We make it very clear to clients that they should not look at Malta as a tax base. Companies need to have substance in Malta, and this means more than just an office and a few employees. The Malta operation needs to add value to the group, and decisions must be taken from Malta.
The iGaming industry has evolved and matured during the past years. How has your client profile changed?
There have been calls for greater tax harmonisation in the EU. How do you view the future of Malta’s tax system, and how would any potential changes affect iGaming companies?
The industry has definitely grown and matured, and so has its outlook and approach. When we started around 15 years ago, many of our clients had limited substance on the island. They had a licence, but only small office set-ups. Since then, some of these clients have grown and developed into large companies, with a number of them listed on stock exchanges around the world. Corporate governance is much more relevant today than it was a few years ago. We also see an environment where, for some time now, there have been several mergers and acquisitions. Our longterm outlook for the market is that it is principally a ‘big boys’ market. Larger companies are acquiring smaller operators and start-ups, whose strategies are often geared towards a buy-out.
Current developments centre on the OECD’s measures on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), while in 2019, the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive will also kick in and affect areas such as thin capitalisation rules. Moreover, transfer pricing for the acquisition of intra group services would also need to be analysed in this context. However, most of our clients are already developing their structures with such a framework in mind. In the gaming sector, many companies are currently ‘getting their house in order’, especially companies that are preparing for an IPO and want to showcase the highest level of corporate governance. We have a number of listed companies in our client portfolio, and they are very much ahead of the game.
When a new client comes through your door, what kind of approach do you take to meeting their requirements?
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, what are the most common mistakes you see in start-ups and early stage companies?
We first need to understand their product and what markets they are planning to operate in, so that we can advise them on the licensing part. Subsequently, we tackle the issue of VAT structuring, because the same product might be vatable in some markets but not in others. In the case of group structures, we proceed to guide our clients with regard to which companies within the group should acquire which services. From a tax point
iGaming is not an easy industry to start up in nowadays, although this obviously depends on the particular business model. The industry is maturing, and entering the market is not easy. Innovation, focus, leverage, resilience and experience are all elements that should be present in every successful start-up. Our experience indicates that start-ups typically require anything
up to 36 months to become financially sustainable. Estimating the required cash burn and ensuring a sufficient capital base at the onset remain critical. Meanwhile, exploring the application of B2B platforms in business models may reduce initial capital requirement, risk and lead time.
A brand new Gaming Act will enter into force in 2018. What are your thoughts and opinion on the content of the new legislative package? Updating our regulations has been a necessary step in order to render Malta’s regulatory framework future-proof. The riskbased approach to regulation that the MGA plans to adopt is very positive. It is time to move away from a rule-based approach and take a more in-depth look at operators and their risk profile, and then regulate accordingly. This approach should also reward companies that invest in their systems and achieve certain certifications. So far, we have only seen the draft regulations, and not the technical requirements. The industry is now eagerly awaiting these as sometimes the devil is in the detail. Operators dislike uncertainty, and we really want to know as soon as possible when the new regulations will apply. Although I also understand that there are certain processes that need to be followed that are beyond the control of the MGA.
Many iGaming operators comment that compliance and regulation are among their biggest challenges. Do you share this view?
that the industry suffers from. It will also serve to improve the industry’s relationship with other entities and the public at large. Moreover, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force this year, with the threat that non-compliance can carry hefty fines. Having said that, I am more of a realist than an alarmist. Firms are already familiar with Data Protection Regulations, and many have policies and practices in this regard. It is probable that most entities already satisfy a good 70% of the GDPR requirements. In my opinion, it is not a question of reinventing the wheel, but more of adapting and fine-tuning.
Some companies say that they find it difficult to find the balance between AML and data protection and are concerned regarding potential crossborder issues. Are these concerns justified? AML places an obligation on entities to carry out due diligence, and in doing so collect and process personal data. In contrast, GDPR seeks to limit the personal data collected and processed. iGaming companies are obliged to meet the AML obligations, even where these may appear to contradict the spirit of the GDPR. The GDPR principles, such as retention, security, and purpose of process, continue to apply within the ambit on an entity’s AML obligations. GDPR will bring on new cross-border challenges and complications, where Data Protection Commissioners in multiple countries may be handling the same complaint.
How do you see the future of the iGaming industry?
Compliance departments of iGaming companies have grown and become much more important today than they were a few years ago. The 4th Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive lists iGaming as a relevant activity. Although the industry was initially hesitant, I believe that in the medium to long-term this will serve as an opportunity to remove certain stigmas and perceptions
Consolidation is already happening, and this will lead to an industry with fewer and larger players. Innovation and technology have always been at the heart of the iGaming industry. As the players continue to grow and mature, greater emphasis will be placed on efficiency. I expect to see greater investment and initiatives in the automation of operational processes, reducing cost and improving player experience. Understanding customers through business intelligence and data analysis will also continue to play a critical part in product innovation, personalisation and optimisation. On the other hand, I would really like to see in the near future, a solution to the multi-jurisdictional regulatory regime within the EU. This is currently overly testing on compliance departments, and probably adds little value to the bottom line. At the end of the day, there needs to be greater mutual respect, cooperation and recognition between regulatory authorities. I strongly believe that Malta can play a key role in realising this vision. n
BIO Alan Craig joined Mazars Malta in 2004. He is the partner responsible for business advisory services, and the firm’s lead partner for iGaming. Before joining Mazars, Alan gained experience with Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young, and served in a senior position in one of Malta’s leading communication companies.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Harald Rösch - CEO of Melita
Gigabit Economy Harald Rösch, CEO of telecoms operator Melita, intends to give Malta the best telecoms infrastructure in Europe.
the telecoms provider Can you give us an introduction to Melita and explain your position in the overall telecoms landscape in Malta? Melita has grown into the leading quadruple play provider in Malta. We are market leaders for TV services, we deliver approximately half of all broadband Internet connections in Malta and now also have more than 100,000 active mobile subscribers. Over recent years Melita has completed substantial infrastructure investments. Together with the investments of our competitors these have enabled Malta to be placed at the top of the European charts for next-generation broadband coverage. Melita’s investments include a nationwide deployment of nextgeneration broadband with speeds up to 250Mbps. We have invested in a nationwide 3G mobile network, a submarine cable connecting Malta to mainland Europe, the construction of a tier III state-of-the-art data centre for co-location and hosting services, as well as the roll-out of Melita WIFI – the next-generation WiFi service providing seamless superfast connectivity across Malta and Gozo. We had plans to join forces with Vodafone Malta but decided not to go ahead with the merger as we were unable to meet the conditions stipulated by the competition authority. However, this decision does not really affect our future plans, and we will continue investing in our network.
You recently said that Malta will soon have the strongest and fastest telecoms network in Europe. Can you tell us more about your plans and priorities? Malta already has a very strong telecoms infrastructure, and we want to build on this. In Malta we have recently introduced gigabit speed internet. This is already commercially available in St Julian’s, Sliema and Valletta and will be rolled out nationwide
shortly. Malta will soon have a gigabit infrastructure on the fixed side everywhere, and this is something very unique. I don’t think other countries can achieve this as quickly as Malta can. We will see it rolled out in many urban areas but not in the entire nation. On the mobile side, Malta has three networks, two of which are currently already quite advanced. Now we will invest significantly in our network as well and upgrade it to the latest 4.5G standards. Even 5G is around the corner. I can very well imagine that Malta will be the first country to deploy 5G in Europe, and we are expecting this to happen in 2019 or 2020. We will also further invest in our connectivity to Europe. Our international connections to the big Internet Exchange points on the continent are exceeding 100 Gbps now and will soon be fully redundant with the use of multiple carriers on land, as well as full redundancy over a second undersea cable.
What’s your relationship with Malta’s gaming community? I think it is fair to say that traditionally many companies used to look first at what our competitor GO, and in particular their data centre, had on offer. For many years, Melita’s focus was on the retail segment and not so much on the business-to-business (B2B) offering. But we are firmly committed to strengthening our B2B offering, and the upgrade of our data centre was just the first step. Over the past years, we invested quite significantly in our datacentre, and this has put us in a very strong position. In fact, in 2017 we invested €20 million, and a significant part of it was channelled towards the further development of our datacentre and dedicated local and international connectivity for B2B customers. These investments have helped us to attract some well-known brands in the gaming industry.
Can you tell us more about the data centre services? We have recently extended our data centre and effectively doubled our capacity. Our data centre has been built to Tier III specifications and covers a fully fenced footprint of 10,000 m2. This means the facility is also the largest and most unique of its kind in Malta. The take-up has been quite positive with client racks hosted doubling year on year. We run a mature and nationwide fibre optic network and provide our data centre peers with leading Tier 1 providers. We offer access to redundant submarine cable links towards mainland Europe, as well as private leased circuits for international pointto-point Ethernet connections. Not only do we score high in terms of diversity of access, but we are also very quick. For instance, in the past it used to take between three to six months to deliver a circuit from Malta to Milan. Due to our recent investment, it now only takes a couple of weeks. This is of particular interest to gaming companies who need their own secure route.
Many companies comment on the high cost of bandwidth in Malta. What’s your view on this issue? I can say that as soon as we introduced our own submarine cable and our own data centre, we forced the cost per megabit down drastically. Some customers may still view bandwidth costs as high as they are still tied to legacy agreements with other providers, which are a result of a time when the infrastructure in Malta was less well developed and Malta had less competition. We are always happy to talk to igaming and other companies and help them reduce their hosting and connectivity costs. When compared to mainland providers it is also fair to say that Maltese operators do face additional costs when delivering connectivity because Malta is an island. Melita owns the infrastructure as far as to Sicily, but from then onwards we need to buy access, so we have very little influence on pricing. However, I don’t think we have lost business because of price. Most companies see cost as a whole. The slightly higher cost of the broadband as a result of being far away from mainland Europe is cushioned by the fact that operations here generally cost less. It is also a fact that on the retail and the business side we offer a competitive packages comparable to European pricing. In terms of bandwidth, the question is always how much sharing the business can accept.
Do you see a way that Malta could become, while not the cheapest in Europe, still a competitive option? I think that there is a great opportunity to play ‘the best connectivity card’. Malta’s telecoms infrastructure offers great appeal to anyone in the online world, and in particular to tech start-ups. We are approaching another digital transformation with the Internet of Things (IoT), and Malta is a great place for trials and testing of new technologies considering the level of connectivity available and the incentives that the government is putting in.
Businesses are increasingly using remote workers. How can Melita help companies connect and manage this mobile workforce? In Malta, companies can get our 1Gig internet speed at home. If they are based in another location somewhere in the world, we would usually advise to set up a virtual private network (VPN), which will be the most cost-effective solution.
How do you expect Malta’s telecoms landscape to evolve? One segment that I think will see massive improvements in the coming years is customer care. I joined 18 months ago and since then, we have already made huge improvements. Our ‘Net Promoter Score’ - the commonly used metric of customer loyalty based on whether people would recommend a company to a friend, has risen from negative values in July 2016, to very high positive levels a year later. I also have no doubt that we will drastically improve the telecoms infrastructure. We have always stated that we are committed to our plans, no matter whether the merger with Vodafone goes ahead or not. In addition to our own plans, I think we also need to look at bringing more telecoms infrastructure underground. The government’s decision to invest in Malta’s road infrastructure means now is the ideal time for this to happen, but we at Melita cannot do this on our own. This requires a joint effort by all stakeholders. n
BIO Harald Rösch joined Melita in April 2016. Previously he was CEO of Blizoo, the largest cable operator in Bulgaria; CEO of Kabel Baden-Württemberg and CEO of HanseNet in Germany and head of the Internet division of Telecom Italia. He also worked for six years at McKinsey&Co and held several Board positions including Sky Deutschland, United Digital Group, Internetstores and Seat Pagine Gialle. Harald holds an MBA from INSEAD.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Dr Ian Gauci - Partner, GTG Advocates
Sector Needs to Shoulder more
Responsibility The iGaming industry can be difficult to navigate due to its ever-changing regulatory landscape. Operators have to focus not only on their legal responsibilities, but they also have to act ethically says Dr Ian Gauci, Co-Founder of Afilexion Alliance.
the LAWYER Can you give us an introduction to Afilexion Alliance and the services it offers? What gap in the market do you seek to fill? Afilexion Alliance was established as a joint venture project between GTG Advocates and Avviza in 2016. At that time, we realised that while both firms were already amongst the leading mid-tier firms in their respective fields, our combined expertise and experience created exponential value to our clients. Today, Afilexion Alliance has one of the most comprehensive advisory and support services portfolios for gaming regulators and law makers, gaming operators, gaming platform providers, affiliates and service providers to the gaming industry. We focus on areas such as corporate law and services, insurance, administrative law, taxation, gaming, data protection, technology law, cryptocurrencies and blockchain, as well as fintech and regtech. Coupled with a strong litigation department and our business-focused approach, this enables us to provide a 360-degree service to our technology clients, which is something few other outfits are able to offer on the market.
From a legal point of view, what are the biggest issues that your iGaming clients are dealing with at the moment? Undoubtedly the diverse laws, regulations, risk parameters and compliance obligations in the different countries they operate in. This ultimately boils down to disproportionate costs because of lack of harmonisation. The hot issues at the moment are the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, the upcoming new Malta Gaming Act, and the proliferation of blockchain uses, including cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
From your experience, to what degree do iGaming companies need to improve their AML processes as a result of the new legislation, and do you believe this will help improve the iGaming companies’ reputation? The 4th AML directive brings about more focus on evidencedriven and risk-based approaches to AML and counterterrorist financing. The gaming operators will build upon their existing AML compliance programmes and put more focus on applying technology and effective indicators for a robust risk-based approach. From this angle, I see this as an evolution of what they were already doing, especially for those operators licensed in Malta and the UK, who de facto were already following the 3rd AML framework. It could also improve confidence in customers and transactions, and thus potentially pave the way for a better understanding and appreciation of the gaming industry by banks.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in 2018. Can you give us a brief overview of the regulation and what operators should do now to prepare for it? The current data protection regulation already aims to strike a balance between individual privacy rights while still allowing data to be used for business purposes. The GDPR builds on this premise when it comes into force on 25 May 2018, but it also brings significant changes to the existing data protection regime. For instance, the data subject – the player of an online casino – will be empowered with extended rights and remedies and afforded more protection, while there will be more obligations on Data Processors and Data Controllers. The territorial scope has been increased, while regulators and data subjects will be notified of data breaches. There will be a requirement in certain instances to appoint a Data Protection Officer, as well as hefty fines for noncompliance. My advice to operators would be to implement these data-subject centric criteria as part of corporate governance. This needs to be translated in a living privacy programme, which needs to be nurtured and updated constantly from May 2018 onwards.
Responsible marketing is becoming ever more important. The UK has come down hard on iGaming companies and forced them to remove characters that could appeal to children. What’s your view on this?
I fully endorse this step, but operators also need to grow up and take on more responsibility, and be more ethical and prudent in what they do, as well as more savvy. If these criteria were followed, there would have been no need for the bad publicity dished on UK media, which is harming the whole gaming industry and a knee-jerk reaction to mitigate the damage. From our end, we always advised our UK-licensed gaming clients to fully respect advertising guidelines, and we are glad that our clients appreciated our advice, and consequently are not affected negatively by the recent regulatory moves. On a more general level, I’d like to emphasise that there could always be instances where certain issues are not clearly black or white in law. However, my advice would be that a gaming company should act prudently, reasonably and responsibly. Where something is wrong and disproportionate, even though not clearly illegal or unlawful, they should avoid it.
You are also a member of the Government’s blockchain taskforce. How do you believe iGaming companies can benefit from Malta’s ambition to position itself as a blockchain hub? In my view gaming companies, particularly given the highly technological background, stand to benefit immensely by tapping into the whole new ecosystem, which Malta wants to endorse and officialise. The benefits could be endless. Blockchain, given that it is foundational technology, may bring about a new paradigm in the gaming industry starting from innovative payment methods, and the day-to-day running of their business; to regulatory compliance, and innovative services, as well as more robust security and trust parameters.
In terms of crypto-payments, what are the key challenges and opportunities for iGaming companies? Cryptocurrencies will undoubtedly bring about innovative facets for the gaming industry, for payments and settlements, intelligent and legitimate funding and innovation through ICOs, as well as massive cost savings. There are also however some challenges. Given that cryptocurrencies are not yet regulated and harmonised, nor are they seen as regulated legal tender, they create a grey area for operators, players and also authorities. When cryptocurrencies are used in a way where there is omission of an individual’s name, address, identification number and where coin mixers are used, this will make it harder to track each of the transactions made, source of funds and the individuals behind them. This also means it will be difficult for gaming operators to comply with AML regulations. There are also other factors which can have negative effects on the gaming companies, such as: the lack of a coherent ecosystem backing a crypto-economy, the high volatility of cryptocurrencies, the diverse altcoins in circulation, a nonharmonised and still developing crypto-community and service providers, certain operational limitations because of the nascent DLT and blockchain deployment; as well as transaction costs, network speeds and security issues.
How do you expect the industry to develop in Malta and globally in the coming years? I believe Malta will further develop its status as Europe’s most complete gaming eco-system; and as a gaming hub, it will become even more akin to what the City of London is to Financial Services. Irrespective of the myriad regulatory changes happening across Europe, I strongly believe that Malta’s pedigree of excellence will continue to attract industry operators to establish themselves, or grow further in Malta to serve their multi-jurisdictional operations.
In your opinion, what is most important in order to be successful in the iGaming industry today? Over the years the online gaming sector evolved and transformed itself. I see a lot of commonalities with sectors like telecommunications and the financial services industries. The online gaming industry has become more cut-throat, sophisticated and structured, as well as fast-paced. My advice to whoever wants to make a real positive impact in this industry today is to have a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the industry, as well as the regulatory terrain and new value streams. Plan well, build a strong knowledge of regulatory approaches and lead by innovation. n
Dr Ian Gauci is the Partner responsible for Communications, Media and Technology within GTG Advocates and one of the founding partners of Afilexion Alliance. He is also a founding member of the Maltese IT Lawyers Association & Blockchain Malta. Prior to joining GTG, he was the regulatory and legal advisor for the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) and co-authored the Maltese Electronic Communications Framework. Dr Gauci is a member of the Government’s task force advising on the implementation of Malta’s national blockchain strategy.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Kostandina Zafirovska - CEO of Btobet
Get Ready to Embrace
Augmented Reality Kostandina Zafirovska of Btobet is convinced that Augmented Reality will shortly become an important tool for iGaming companies and urges operators not to underestimate the level of innovation that is required to stay ahead in this industry.
the platform provider Can you give us an overview of BtoBet? BtoBet is a multinational company with 20 years of experience in IT, software development, telecommunication and e-commerce; we widely invest in technology research and development. The experience earned in these advanced environments helps us to deeply understand the requirements of the market, in order to catch changing trends and anticipate bookmakers’ and operators’ needs. BtoBet is a true partner in technology, offering a standalone platform and services for the iGaming and sports betting industry. BtoBet allows licensees to be unique and stand out in the market, giving them the possibility to personalise their offers through a stable, flexible and scalable cloud-based platform, tailored for sports betting and iGaming business, both online and mobile. We aim to expand a lot over the next few years, and for this reason we still consider ourselves as a start-up, even though we have grown a lot, especially during 2017. We now employ 110 people and have offices in Macedonia, Serbia, Italy and Malta. Our developers are based in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Belgrade, Nish, Tirana, and Rome. Malta hosts the commercial and marketing centre.
What differentiates Btobet’s iGaming and sports betting platform from others? We are driven by the desire to challenge industry standards and perspectives when it comes to innovation and technologies. Our platform is supported by Artificial Intelligence – a form of machine learning – and a sophisticated Recommendation Engine. The system collects and analyses player data, behaviour, activities and preferences, and then predicts what players would like to bet on next and makes suggestions. The software basically guides the operator to make the best decision for the management, acquisition and retention of players. We also developed our platform as a B2B product, whereas platforms
developed by operators are often generated first as a B2C platform, and the operators only decide later to also offer the product as a B2B option to mitigate the high cost of its creation and maintenance. The privacy of players is something very delicate and sensitive and operators must be very attentive when choosing their technological partner. In contrast to our sophisticated software, simple software from a company with no experience in the industry can only provide a short-term answer to licensees’ needs, without proper organisational structure and without the ability to update the product continuously. BtoBet is a trusted technology partner for operators seeking a reliable platform provider that has the capability to aggregate all the available content while providing players with a seamless customer journey.
You have stated that you want to deliver technology output which will deeply affect the industry’s current value chain and stagnant processes. Can you explain this a bit more? We still see very little automation in the iGaming industry, and staff spend countless hours monitoring player behaviour. The innovation of AI, in combination with the Recommendation Engine, enables operators to automatically cluster users according to their interests and preferences, manage them across all channels and provide them with cross-channel marketing solutions. Our system also analyses a huge amount of key player information - such as a player’s engagement level, type of player and player segment - and allows the micro-segmentation of gamers dynamically according to their behaviour. This system also automatically identifies potential fraud and notifies the operator, allowing licensees to take actions promptly, guaranteeing more secure and automatic business management, thus cutting the costs compared to manual labour.
What do you think most people get wrong when predicting the future of gaming?
Why should an aspiring iGaming entrepreneur partner with a platform to enter a market?
Players today are pretty tech savvy. The millennial generation is entering the iGaming market, and although most companies are targeting them, only a few are fully embracing the latest digital trends and developments. I am pretty sure that we will soon see Augmented Reality (AR) playing a greater role in the industry. There are still so many companies out there with legacy software and systems that are just not flexible enough to cater for the demands of today’s players. I think both operators and suppliers often underestimate the level of innovation that will be required in the future to stay relevant.
The iGaming industry has changed significantly over the past five years and navigating that landscape has become much more complicated. There is so much more content available, and there are so many new regulations to follow. This means setting up is not only time-consuming, but also a costly exercise, and it gets even more complicated if an operator wants to target players in three to four different markets. The technology nowadays is advanced and the development of a technological platform takes some years. New entrants will probably achieve more with less money and in a shorter time frame. Opting for an inhouse platform, they need huge investments in development for suitable products, but we should not forget that to be successful in today’s iGaming industry with its many big players, it is also important to grow and scale fast. For this reason, they should choose a robust platform and reliable technological partner, allowing them to focus more on their operations.
What role do you believe AR will play in the industry? Inhabiting a fully-immersive computer-generated world is a seductive idea. AR is changing the gaming industry and creating interactive entertainment, offering players an extremely appealing gaming involvement in response to their desire for a new and exciting gaming experience. Sectors such as automotive, e-commerce and trading are already implementing AR in their systems by adopting AR combined with geo-positioning. In this way, they guide consumers while choosing products and offering them a more enjoyable buying experience. There is no reason the iGaming sector cannot do the same.
Entering markets in Africa and Latin America has long been on your priority list. Which markets have you entered already and what was the strategy driving this decision? The domestic betting markets have changed in a very dramatic way, and the evolution of the mobile payment system is influencing the growth of sports betting in African regions. We are expanding our business in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria with wide growing potential for the sports betting industry. Kenya differs from other African countries and represents the place where mobile betting has seen the largest expansion to the detriment of retail. Additionally, I firmly believe that the widespread use of mobile payment is changing the landscape of retail business in Kenya and in other Eastern African countries such as Tanzania and Uganda. At the moment, Western African regions are not enjoying the same technology payment and mobile evolution as the East side, but they will get there too.
What markets still offer growth opportunities? Africa still has a lot of potential for European companies, including small markets such as Botswana. However, I think one has to be quick and enter within the next two years before the market will become saturated. South America should also be looked into since it is still developing. We are now eagerly waiting for Brazil to issue regulations.
What are Btobet’s plans for the coming years? Our target by 2020 is to make a massive impact on the market as a reliable technological partner in the iGaming and sports betting industry worldwide. From this perspective we are working on getting licences in new markets in Latin America and Europe. Last but not least, we will obviously continue improving our software technology to offer our partners the most advanced tools available in the market and by implementing our new partnering approach, focusing on a really collaborative and interpersonal relationship between our internal team and our clients’ team. n
BIO In 2017, Kostandina Zafirovska was appointed Chief Executive Officer after serving as Btobet’s COO for two years. She has over 17 years of experience in Computer Science Engineering. Before joining BtoBet, she enjoyed a successful career as COO at IT company Seavus and rose to that position after spending 6 years as head of other departments, assisting high-profile clients from various industries including insurance and finance. Her specialty is designing and developing IT software products aimed at improving customer experience and simplicity of use.
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GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
David Hawkins - Managing Director of Exient
Stronger Ties between Video Gaming and iGaming David Hawkins, Managing Director of Exient, says that if iGaming companies want to offer a more entertaining experience to their players, they should look to the video-gaming industry for inspiration.
Can you tell us a bit about Exient and explain what type of games you produce? Exient has been around since the year 2000 and throughout the years we have produced games for the biggest brands within the industry, including Fifa, Need for Speed, The SIMS, Angry Birds and many more. Many game developers have one big title in their portfolio; we have around 20. For the first 12 years we worked predominantly as a hired studio, so we developed games according to other people’s requirements and IP. We still do that, but in more recent times we are also taking out licences ourselves. From 2012/2013 onwards, we also started moving more into free-to-play games, while initially we were focused on developing console games mainly for retail. Angry Birds GO, Angry Birds Transformers and Lemmings for instance, are some of the wellknown titles that we have worked on. We also work with an iGaming company: PokerStars. They have a product called Power up Poker. We did all the visuals for it, but did not do any of the coding or games design.
Based on your experience, what can the videogaming industry bring to the iGaming industry? First of all, our visual and audio quality typically is much higher compared to the standards of the iGaming sector. We tend to be inspired by movie quality reproduction and aim for that in our productions. Also, we are very focused on the user experience. In free-to-play games you lose the player very quickly if the user experience isn’t great. I think the iGaming community could take advantage of our experience in this regard. We tend to develop games at a much faster pace than the iGaming industry. We need to know very quickly if a game is going to be successful and have to adopt a fail-fast approach. We are also a bit quicker in game development because our industry is not regulated. When working with iGaming companies, this also means that we won’t necessarily get it right from a regulatory point of view straightaway, but our content will most likely be a lot more creative and diverse.
Many iGaming companies want to make their products more social, fun and appealing, but often face regulatory constraints. The UK has come down hard on iGaming companies and forced them to remove characters that could appeal to children. What’s your view on this? From my experience in video games we observe that children want to grow up quickly, and a mature character can be as appealing to them as cartoon characters can be. In fact, they often like mature characters more because they represent what they aspire to be. Look at Disney for instance, every Disney princess is a teenager and typically older than the core demographic. I am also pretty sure that if we had to take a look at an iGaming company’s portfolio, we could help to make their games more creative, more appealing and more mature for them without losing the qualities of the original work. For example, today in video gaming and movies we also use new scanning technology, which enables accurate capture of an actor’s performance and looks at a moment in time. So an actor at a certain point in time, will in digital form eternally retain that look and at that age. We can also augment the actor with skills and qualities for a character which may not be those of the actor, for example stunt work or other specialist skills demanded of the character one is trying to create. We are talking about a more authentic character than the real actor can portray. Just by looking at it on the screen, you won’t be able to say whether that character is real or a graphics model. I think this is very interesting technology for iGaming companies. I really believe that the iGaming industry could take much more from the video-gaming / movies industry – more than they actually know exists. I believe that potentially they don’t know what is possible because they are not part of this community. We should work on building stronger ties between the two industries.
So how did your relationship with PokerStars come about? If I remember correctly, they actually approached another videogaming company in the UK, but they pointed them to us because
they felt it was more our area of expertise. This is another difference between video-gaming and iGaming - video-gaming companies share what they do. The iGaming industry is very secretive about everything they do. They are afraid that their competitor might get to know it. Personally, I don’t care if other companies copy us. It is the most sincere form of flattery, and frankly without going through the process to arrive at the creation, one can copy but, more often than not, will not understand its value. I believe our industry will improve by sharing our knowledge and experience, and we will get collectively better.
and the fact that it was a European nation with a shared history. However, I also liked the fact that we had easy access to decision-makers. I had the feeling that they wanted to build up this industry. I was hoping that we could build this sector together. We still kept our UK office in Leamington Spa though.
How has your Malta experience been so far?
Malta in many ways offers a plug-and-play environment, and I think many British people feel very much at home here. However, although my initial hopes were that we could create a David Hawkins is the cogame development ecosystem on the island, The video-gaming industry has come founder, owner, and CEO of EXIENT, an internationally three years later I have to say that thus far we under fire due to the increased use of renowned award-winning have had limited success, but there appears to be pay-to-win loot boxes, which are virtual developer of video games. growing momentum. There are a few issues that boxes with random contents that one can EXIENT has developed games need to be addressed. This industry needs highly purchase through video games with real across various technology technical and creative people, and so far we have money. Critics say that the rush of buying including Handheld, Console, PC/The Web and more recently seen limited co-operation with universities in them is similar to the psychological the development of Free-to-Play Malta and abroad. More importantly, Malta is sensation one feels when gambling. mobile & tablet games. Included not tax competitive on the world stage. It does What’s your view on the controversy? amongst EXIENT titles are not offer what video-gaming companies actually games developed for IP such need. Video games suck up a lot of cash before Loot boxes are a gambling product. There is no as: Angry Birds, F1, Lemmings, Little Big Planet, CSR Racing, they make money. Corporate tax credits are not question about it, and are very similar to many FIFA, Madden, Tiger Woods, valuable to us. What is needed in my opinion is other gambling products. Recently, Apple added The Sims and Need For investment and development support, ideally a requirement that loot box odds are displayed Speed. David has also served a good package for R&D, cultural tax breaks, on screen, which is a clear indication of the on the Board of TIGA (The assistance for getting students into the industry, gambling nature of the purchase. The reason Independent Games Developers Association), he has an honours as well as some support for investors. I believe the industry had been getting away with it is that degree in Computer Science. Malta really needs to look at what competing the player is not receiving money back, however, locations are offering such as Canada, the UK, they are receiving value. In the iGaming industry it is very different, as players believe there is a change that they France and Finland, and then create its own system. With costs rising in Malta, it is actually cheaper for us to operate from the UK may win money or a prize. In video games the value is in the entertainment, and it at the moment. Ideally the Maltese authorities should consider is about the emotional journey through the game. We engage devising a framework and incentive package specifically for the our customers in a broader diversity of emotions than I believe video games sector, as other jurisdictions have done. is observed in iGaming. That’s why video gaming is firmly established in the entertainment sphere. I think that once How do you see the future of Exient in Malta? iGaming companies start thinking more about the emotional connection that they want to create with their customers, they We are staying and have invested significantly in Malta. For will be able to offer a much more entertaining experience to their Malta to become the video-gaming hub we crave; we need players. political support, educational support, investment support and development support through an appropriately competitive tax regime. Without building the industry and bringing in more You opened your studio in Malta a few years companies and talent, we cannot survive. Without the above, we ago. What attracted you to Malta initially? would be wise to consider locations that already do so. Recently, Five years ago the UK was one of the most expensive places to it feels like the winds of change are beginning to build, and the develop games due to low-cost competition from China and India government and their agencies appear to be demonstrating a and government support for the sector from nations such as huge will to make this happen - for that I applaud Malta. In my Canada. So we had to find a way to lower our cost base. I looked experience, Malta is unique in their willingness to engage with at Canada, which has a great reputation for game development. industry, to understand their needs and to work on finding a However, in Canada we would have also been a small fish and solution. By working together, I am confident we will find a place in a sea of sharks. I liked Malta due to its proximity to the UK for Malta in the huge industry that is video gaming. n
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Dean Sharpe - CEO of 4A Games
Great Potential but
Game Changer Needed
The video-game industry could be Malta’s next creative industry but it will take time to build up a deep talent pool, says Dean Sharpe, CEO of 4A Games.
Can you outline the roots of the company? The studio was established in 2005 in Ukraine by experienced game industry professionals. The aim was to create premium quality games for consoles and PCs. We are the franchise developer for the Metro series, and have recently also released ARKTIKA.1, which is a highly immersive AAA, action-packed, first person shooter designed for Oculus Touch. In 2014, we moved our headquarters to Malta, but a studio still exists in Kiev. It took a number of years to plan the relocation – given that it is not easy to relocate an entire studio, as well as our staff and their families. When tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated in 2014, we thought it was the right time to move forward with our plans. The conflict wasn’t the main reason, it was more that we found it increasingly difficult to attract talent to Ukraine as it is not an easy place to live if one doesn’t speak Ukrainian or Russian.
Why did you decide to relocate to Malta? We had looked into a few other locations. We were considering Montenegro but the telecoms infrastructure was not very strong. Then we thought about Lithuania. The authorities there actually offered us a very attractive package, including cash grants and residency permits. But the country was not very interesting from a quality of life perspective. One day, out of the blue, one of my business contacts from the US contacted me and asked me if I wanted to open a studio somewhere else, and I told him ‘yes I am actually looking into it’. He mentioned Malta, I did not even know where Malta was, so I googled it. It looked like a tiny dot in the middle of nowhere, but I liked what I read and was being told about Malta. There was a strong will to attract video-gaming companies, and besides us, a number of other companies have opened studios on the island. Most of these companies are active in the free-to-play segment, and there are also some start-ups working on interesting projects that could develop into something big. However, Malta’s video-gaming scene could be much bigger if the island was to put the right incentives in place.
What would you highlight as the main reasons why the video-gaming industry has yet to take off in Malta? A key problem is lack of knowledge; the authorities simply don’t know what is involved in running a games studio. But the biggest problem is that they don’t understand the level of commitment that is required to create an eco-system that would provide sufficient talent. Game development is a highly technical industry, which requires very specific skills. At the moment, the growth of this sector is held back by a lack of senior talent. But growing this pool of expert talent will also take time – probably around 10 years. For instance, students that study at universities with established gaming-related degree courses in other countries are still at the very bottom of the career ladder when they complete their course. They need to learn so many more things, and it will take at least two years of on-the job-training before they will be able to deliver anything of value to us.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) offers a course to those interested in a career in gaming. What’s your take on it? I find their curriculum way too detailed. In this industry, specialisation is very important, and the required skills cannot be obtained in a three-year course that tries to cover every aspect of the industry. In my opinion, Malta should look into developing a co-operation with one of the well-known gaming schools. This would allow students to follow an established curriculum, while lecturers could be flown in.
How do you rise to the challenge of recruiting and retaining your top employees? We have 67 people in Malta, but we should be close to 85, so we are understaffed. Then there are close to 100 people in the Ukraine office. In addition, we work with around 500 freelancers across the globe. As I already mentioned, we thought that the move to Malta would make it easier to attract talent, but this is
not always the case. Sometimes employees simply miss the support of their families and return home. Then there is the issue of rising costs, and in particular property prices. We have already considered setting up a fund to support employees to purchase a property, in order to guarantee that they can get a loan, given that it’s so difficult at the moment to get one from the local banks.
In your opinion, are there any similarities between the iGaming and the video-gaming industry, and is there anything that the two industries could learn from each other?
could compete. In addition, to establishing industry-specific facilities, it would help us if we see some improvements in terms of Malta’s telecoms infrastructure; bandwidth in Malta is more expensive than elsewhere in Europe. But more important than infrastructure is that Malta comes up with a new incentive package if it wants to attract more companies. Game developer studios are not necessarily profit-making companies, so tax credits are not really of interest to us. If we make more money, we just pay our people more. We usually require cash for the development process. When we negotiate a deal with a publisher, we negotiate it at the beginning of the project. We calculate our budget and need to plan ahead for the entire development process, which usually takes about three to four years. That’s also why rapid price rises – like the ones we are currently experiencing in Malta – are affecting us so badly.
In my opinion, there aren’t many similarities. There is Dean Sharpe is the CEO of 4A Games. He was born in Detroit, a little bit of cross-over in Michigan in the USA, and started his career in the 1980s terms of eSports, but eSports with video game company LucasArts. He ran his own games competitions are just based development studio for many years before moving to Ukraine in 2004 to work on a project on behalf of video game developer on products that the videoand publisher THQ. He then got in touch with the people behind gaming industry develops. 4A Games, who had just signed a contract to develop the Metro When it comes to production series. He led the relocation of 4A Games’ headquarters to quality, the video-gaming Malta and became a shareholder in the new Maltese company. industry is way ahead of the iGaming industry. I do see a desire to up production values in the iGaming industry, and they Considering all the challenges, what are could look to the video-gaming industry for inspiration. 4A Games plans for the future?
In terms of infrastructure and facilities, what could be developed in Malta to grow the cluster? Malta should consider setting up a motion capture studio, which could be used by the video-gaming and the film industries. We currently have to use facilities in the UK. I also believe there is great potential for game testing and localisation in Malta. Many of our employees originally started as testers. This gives someone with entry level skills a place to be productive immediately while at the same time learning what is really involved in the day-today development of a video game. For example, currently we do much of our testing in Poland and India due to the low cost of living in those places, and I think this is an area in which Malta
I don’t see us leaving Malta. Despite all the challenges we are facing, Malta also has many positives. Just the fact that English is one of the official languages makes a big difference. We also find that the authorities are very accessible and willing to help. They were quick to resolve some of the issues we had in the past, for instance the time it took to obtain work permits. This process has been sped up significantly. We are also ready to engage with the government. Malta has the potential to build up a great cluster of video-gaming companies, and we would like to shape the future together. On a company level, we might look at going more into selfpublishing. I don’t think we will change our entire business model but self-publishing could become a part of it. n
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Patrick Streppel - CEO of Insel Games
Standing Out in the
Patrick Streppel, CEO of games publisher Insel Games, says that the sheer flood of new games makes it very difficult to gain players’ attention these days, while the use of in-app purchases means a game has to motivate people to keep on spending money.
Can you tell us a bit about Insel Games and your experience in the gaming industry? Insel Games is a publisher of Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) Games on PC and Mobile Devices and was set up in 2016. I am a gamer myself, and I started my career as a journalist, but I was then hired as project manager by big German media houses, including Bertelsmann and Axel Springer, who wanted to get closer to the gaming industry in the early 2000s. In 2006, I set up my own company IME in Hamburg, which grew into a global consulting company and content agency for the Online and Mobile Games industry. IME mostly services Asian companies wanting to enter Western markets. We assist in game production and monetisation strategies for free-to-play online and mobile games, as well as in licensing and community management. Through IME I also got in touch with many game developers, who were seeking a publisher, rather than a service company. That’s why I also founded Insel Games, which focuses on the publishing part. Our strengths are in marketing and community management, as well as in the localisation of Asian games for Europe and North America.
A few years ago, a game developer needed a publisher to make sure the game found an audience. With easy access to game platforms today, how do you view your role as a publisher? We are a start-up, and although we sometimes pay royalty advances, we call them minimum guarantees; we don’t finance games at the moment. We see ourselves as advisors to the game developer, especially when it comes Patrick Streppel studied Media Management in Germany. In 1999, he started to work in the games industry as a journalist before being employed as Project Manager for Bertelsmann AG (Fremantle Media, arvato) and Axel Springer AG. He re-structured, grew and internationalised Games Publisher gamigo AG as “Vorstand” (CxO). He founded IME GmbH in Hamburg in 2006, Insel Games Ltd. in 2015 and Miles & Games Ltd. in 2017.
to developing or localising games. Developers are often very much in love with their game, so when it comes to game testing, we try to be the voice of the gaming community. However, our main job is to market and sell the game. This is also reflected in a typical revenue-share agreement. The publisher usually keeps 70% of the revenue, with 30% going to the developer. However, we will spend around 30-40% of our revenue on marketing.
What are the major challenges in marketing games today? The fact that it is so easy to publish games on platforms like Steam also means that standing out is more difficult. I have read a report that said that the number of games released on Steam in 2017 has surpassed 6,000. That’s around 1,500 more than last year and almost as many as the total number of games released between 2005 and 2015. The sheer flood of new games makes it very difficult to gain players’ attention. Distribution platforms are also very much algorithm-driven these days. It is all about personalisation, and it is difficult for a game to appear on the front page of Steam. If your game has really good KPIs, it will show up on the front page. If it doesn’t, it won’t be on the front page and will be low on the list. That’s also the reason why publishers are still needed, even though self-publishing is relatively easy these days, to kick start the communities on these platforms by drawing attention through external marketing.
So what makes a good game? We are looking at similar KPIs as the iGaming industry, such as the player retention rate and the conversion rate for a free-to-play game, but it is extremely difficult to say what makes a good and successful game. For instance, even releasing a new version of an old game can be quite profitable, as many players are very loyal to a game. I have also seen games which I thought were ridiculously bad,
but had good KPIs and turned out to be very successful. Generally speaking, graphics are extremely important for any video game; a game simply has to look good, but more importantly, it has to be fun. Defining what is fun for a large number of people is difficult. We also have to talk about monetisation when it comes to free-toplay games. The increased use of in-app purchases means a game has to motivate people to keep on spending money. I would say it is almost impossible to predict if a game will really fly. That’s also why it is still a hit-driven business, very much like the film industry. Most companies actually just score one, or perhaps two, massive hits, which then fund their entire content line-up.
Looking at the iGaming and the video gaming industry, how do you see the two industries evolving?
There are certainly similarities between the PC gaming and iGaming industry. Both industries are very technology driven. We sometimes employ the same people, especially when it comes to the marketing and customer support side. Many online casinos are also trying to provide a more social and entertaining experience and are looking at the gaming sector for inspiration. This will slowly but surely increase production values in the iGaming industry. I think gambling and gaming are definitely moving closer together. Then there is the issue of pay-to-win loot boxes in video games. Different regulators are currently assessing whether these constitute gambling.
What’s your opinion on loot boxes? Loot boxes have been around for many years. In the beginning they were mostly about selling vanity items that define how a character in a game looks like. They didn’t contain anything that was needed to win the game and were just a way to monetise the game. However, there are currently a few examples where those loot boxes contain items that can help the player progress through the game. They are essentially a lottery because they reveal randomised rewards, and that’s why many people view them as gambling. I don’t think that’s true, but what is certain is that the line between PC gaming and gambling is being blurred.
Compared to the iGaming industry, the video-gaming sector is small in Malta. In your opinion, what makes Malta an attractive hub for companies from your sector? I think Malta is particularly attractive for start-ups. For us, the funding that we received was very important. We participated in Malta Enterprise’s B.Start programme and subsequent programmes. Initially, we received a grant of €25,000. This is obviously not a big amount, but when you put together a financing plan, including angel investors and your own money, this suddenly helps a lot. I also found the attitude and openness towards gaming start-ups very refreshing. There is a clear desire to attract companies from the wider digital gaming industry to the island. When it comes to costs, Malta certainly beats Germany, especially in terms of salaries, but also for other operational costs. Then there are the tax advantages; however these did not play a
role in our decision. The reason for this partly being that we are a start-up and not profitable yet, but also because I believe if one lives and works in a community, one has to give his fair share back to that community.
You said earlier that there is an overlap between gaming and iGaming in terms of recruiting staff. What talent are you currently seeking to hire? We primarily require product managers and community managers in addition to marketing staff. It is important that our product managers have strong project management skills and our community managers know how to deal with customers, mostly in writing. But more important than anything else, is that they are gamers. They need to understand the industry, they need to know how gamers think, how demanding gamers can be and understand the language they use.
What role do you expect Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to play in the gaming industry? I think the development will be similar to what happened in the mobile games sphere when the iPhone came along. Mobile games suddenly exploded. Once VR devices are better and become more main-stream, the sector will be huge. VR is an amazing piece of technology. We are actually planning to launch a VR game but we are not planning to launch that game to make money. We are simply launching it to gain experience and learn about the market and the technology. I really believe that one day VR will be big, but right now there are still big problems, for instance when it comes to motion sickness. I have less of an opinion on AR, but with Pokemon GO we have seen a glimpse of how big it can be. However, the hype also went away, and there hasn’t been anything else of the same scale since then.
What are your plans and priorities for the future? We are planning to launch our first console game next month, as well as a PC MMO game, which had a production value of 8 million euro and had been in production for 3 years. We are also planning to launch our own portal, where we will present not only our own games but also third-party games. This is an attempt to be a bit more independent of the big portals like Steam, where we have no control what is shown to the users.
How do you see your relationship with the iGaming sector developing? I think we can learn a lot from each other and should talk more to each other. We, at Insel Games are open to cooperation, for instance when it comes to cross-promotion. PC gamers seem to be very receptive to online casinos. They are achievement-driven, hard-core players and they are already online. We have already met a few companies that are interested in gamifying their iGaming offering a bit more. I really think the exchange can work both ways. n
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Silent the silent interview Interview
A picture is worth a thousand words
Dr James Scicluna, Partner at law firm WH Partners, and Dr Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor of WH Partners; Alessandro Fried, Chairman of Btobet; Jeremy Fall, Head of Marketing of Fair Play Bets Limited; as well as David Mann, Sales and Business DevelopmentÂ Manager of Wazdan, say nothing but reveal a lot when they let pictures speak about their jobs, their companies and their success in the iGaming industry, as well as life in Malta.
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How has 2017 been for you and your business?
What can your company do better than your competitor?
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, What s important to be successful in iGaming?Â
BUILD YOUR BUSINESS WITH SHORTLISTED
SHORTLISTED Rising Star in Sports Betting
BEST NON-ENGLISH AFFILIATE PROGRAM
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, What s your best piece of advice to someone joining the gaming industry?
What part of your job do you like the most?
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, What s the most important thing in your life?Â
What do you do on your days off?
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eGamingâ€™s award winning multi-jurisdictional hosting solution
Industry Review & Outlook
Top Stories Top Trends Now that 2017 has come to a close, we look back at some of the most important events and developments for the iGaming industry. We believe thereâ€™s a lot on the horizon for the gaming industry in 2018 and beyond.
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Tighter Control of Affiliates Sky Betting and Gaming’s announcement at the beginning of September 2017 that it was closing its affiliate programmes for the UK sent shockwaves through the industry. The move comes as regulators, including the UK Gambling Commission, have moved to tighten control of affiliates and hold gambling operators responsible for their actions in trying to recruit new customers. Also other operators, including Malta-based companies, have cut their ties with affiliates in the UK. There is widespread agreement that hard times are ahead for affiliates as more regulators are keeping a closer eye on affiliate activities. However, not all in the industry believe this is a bad thing. Proponents of regulation argue that tighter rules would lead to better practices and improve industry standards in the long term. In any case, affiliate regulation will surely be a topic that will feature high on the industry’s agenda in 2018 and beyond.
Further Consolidation of the Market The merger mania in the iGaming industry continues, and the list of gaming companies that joined forces with another company, or at least entered into mergers and acquisition talks, seems endless. One of the latest pairs in the gambling industry have been Ladbrokes Coral and GVC Holdings, which just before Christmas revealed they had reached an agreement over a takeover that would create one of the largest gambling companies in the world. However, while in the past few years we have seen strong consolidation mostly driven by larger operators acquiring smaller operators, as well as in the affiliate segment driven by larger affiliates buying smaller ones, 2017 added a new dimension to M&A activity in the iGaming sphere as operators set out to acquire affiliates. Some operators seem to see this as a way to mitigate the high costs of acquiring traffic from affiliates. One prominent example is Malta-based Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), which offers casino and sports betting, but through GIG Media, it has signed a number of deals to acquire affiliate networks, including affiliate websites, accounts and associated agreements, transforming the company into one of the leading affiliates in Europe. The industry’s addiction to consolidation shows no sign of stopping in 2018. The higher costs of compliance, along with rising taxes and marketing costs mean that economies of scale will become ever more important.
Africa and South America Many within the iGaming industry have set their sights on the growing Latin American iGaming industry. With a population of more than half a billion people combined, Latin America is a virtually untapped resource with massive potential. Columbia became the first country in Latin America to issue gaming licences. However, Colombia’s market is tiny, and international operators are far more interested in seeing if and when Brazil will follow Colombia’s lead. Reports estimate Brazil’s iGaming market to be worth more than $2.1billion. Unfortunately, Brazil did not get on board in 2017, however if reports are to be believed, 2018 could be the year where everything changes for Brazil’s gaming sector. Africa is another region that looks hugely enticing for operators. With some 70% mobile penetration across the continent, and a market of almost a billion people, iGaming operators have just started to gain traction in a prospective new boom-market. However, many warn that the market can become saturated much faster than most expect and that the best time to look at Africa is now.
Top Stories Top Trends
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Top Stories Top Trends European Markets More EU countries officially regulated their iGaming markets during 2017, for instance the Czech Republic and Poland, while others, first and foremost Sweden, have come under pressure to update their regulations and open up state monopolies. In March 2017, the Swedish government published its long-awaited report on the re-regulation of the iGaming market, which includes a proposal to introduce a licensing regime that would allow private operators to obtain a licence based on the Danish system. The Swedish government has expressed a desire to have the new regime in place by 2019, with licence application submissions expected to begin in July 2018. The Netherlands made the headlines quite often over 2017 in relation to the long delayed regulation of its gambling market, with latest reports indicating that the new online gambling law can be expected to come into effect on January 1, 2019. Germany’s online gambling saga will also likely continue. A new version of the 2012 Intestate Treaty on Gambling was introduced last spring and was hoped to be approved by Germany’s 16 states, but in September the state of Schleswig-Holstein voted down the amended treaty. It argued that the revised treaty still violated EU laws and confirmed its intention to introduce its own gambling law that would also regulate other online gambling options. The amended Intestate Treaty covered only sports betting. Other countries, for instance Norway, reaffirmed their stance that the monopoly model was the best for their residents in terms of the safe and socially responsible conduction of gambling activities. Some industry observers also comment on the growing protectionism in some Eastern European markets, highlighting that this is something the industry should watch out for during 2018.
Virtual Reality I Augmented Reality
Bitcoin and Crypto currencies
It is impossible to talk about iGaming without mentioning the potential of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The hype has largely cooled for virtual reality, although some iGaming products with VR elements have already hit the market. However, many agree that thus far VRâ€™s biggest potential is in the videogaming industry and not in iGaming. We can be certain that during 2018 the PC gaming ecosystem will keep developing VR products, which will become more innovative, accessible and adaptable as a result. VR is also limited by its hardware wherein the content mainly relies on the capabilities of the device that is being used. However, before VR will become mainstream and make its way into iGaming on a broader scale, many predict that augmented reality (AR) will significantly surpass VR in market size for a number of years. VR and AR, although similar, are distinct technologies with unique characteristics. VR lives strictly inside a headset and transports people to anywhere in real or imagined digital worlds. AR, on the other hand, layers digital objects on top of real-life settings, for instance by using a mobile phone camera. AR has experienced some explosive growth in the recent past thanks to games like Pokemon GO, but we can expect even bigger AR games, as well as overall improvement of AR technology and applications during the coming months.
There is no denying cryptocurrencies are already part of the global gaming ecosystem, whether regulators like it or not. Bitcoin casinos were quick to spring up once the currency gained momentum. Some of these casinos are newly launched Bitcoinonly casinos and sportsbooks, while others are already established casinos that have begun offering Bitcoin as a payment/withdrawal option like any other banking method. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are now accepted currencies for payments in the jurisdiction of the UK Gambling Commission, while Malta is currently looking at establishing a cyptocurrency sandbox, where virtual currencies could be used in a controlled environment. Despite the fact that they have caused some controversy in the online gambling and betting industry, virtual currencies are considered the future technology in the iGaming industry due to its irreversibility, making it more resilient against chargeback fraud and money laundering.
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Top Stories Top Trends
Blockchain Technology Many hail blockchain technology as the best innovation for the gaming industry since the intervention of the internet. Blockchain technology has become one of the hottest topics within the industry, and many operators agree that the blockchain tech revolution has just begun. More than just a distributed database for bitcoin, the technologyâ€™s ability to send, receive and store information has the underlying power to truly disrupt the status quo of the iGaming industry in the years ahead. The implications of decentralised ledger technology mean the industry could address a myriad of transparency issues and re-design its business processes. For instance, experts argue that smart contracts offer the ability for random number generation (RNG) to take place in a decentralised and verifiable way. Even where RNG is not fully decentralised, blockchain technology would allow players to review the RNG process in order for them to verify fairness for themselves. While the use of decentralised blockchain technology will pose a number of regulatory challenges that the industry will need to address, blockchainâ€™s relevance will only continue to grow. The intelligent adoption of blockchain could well prove to have the biggest non-product impact on iGaming companies in 2018 and beyond.
Skill Gaming During 2017 weâ€™ve seen rising evidence that consumers are hungry for new products. Markets for eSports and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) have grown remarkably. The European fantasy sports sector has been propelled to the forefront due to the introduction of a skill game licence by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) last year, which resulted in a surge in interest. More than 15 skill game licences have already been issued. At the same time, large tournaments, an infusion of venture capital and mainstream media coverage have helped eSports, as well as the betting on eSports, gain popularity. eSports wagering is in particular seen as a way of attracting Millennials, and an increasing number of iGaming companies no longer consider eSports as niche or novelty, but offer eSports betting markets alongside mainstream sports like soccer and basketball. The expectation is that this market will continue to grow in the coming years as more eSports enthusiasts will reach the legal age to gamble.
European Commission It was one of the biggest blows to the online gaming industry in 2017: in December the European Commission (EC) announced that it will drop all pending infringement proceedings against member states relating to online gambling, arguing that it was not a high priority and member states had ultimate jurisdiction over the sector. The EC said it will leave it to national courts to handle infringement cases as it believes they will be able to do this more efficiently. Both the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) have accused the Commission of abandoning its duty as a guardian of the European Unionâ€™s treaties with the move.
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Top Stories Top Trends Automation & Artificial Intelligence As in many other industries, iGaming operators are trying to automate as many operations as possible to reduce staff costs and provide a more quality service. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in this regard as it allows companies to offer highly customised content and to market their products based on player preferences. Computer simulations of the human brain, called neural networks, mimic humansâ€™ capacity to learn. Using massive amounts of data and complex algorithms, an AI system gradually learns to recognise similarities and distinguish differences. It is taught to recognise patterns within massive amounts of data. Many operators are currently exploring ways to grow market share on the basis of content personalisation and recommendation engines. Personalisation becomes even more important with the growth of â€˜In-Playâ€™ markets and players desire to be able to bet in real-time on in-play events. A clever gaming intelligence solution allows operators to automate their operations, which will save time and costs, while giving players exactly what they want, and should increase customer loyalty, brand respect and revenues.
Video Gaming & Loot Boxes Many believe that the worlds of iGaming and video gaming are moving closer together. The iGaming industry is increasingly looking at ways to make their games more fun and entertaining (the buzzword here is ‘gamification’), while the video-games sector is seeking new monetisation strategies due to the rise of freeto-play games. However, the increased use of ‘loot box’ models has attracted the attention of regulators in 2017. Loot boxes are yet another ‘in-game’ item that players can purchase with real money. Unlike the usual purchase though, players do not know in advance what they are buying because the contents of a loot box are generated randomly. For many, some of these loot box systems look a lot like gambling. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), an American self-regulatory organisation that rates the age-appropriateness of games, says loot boxes are not gambling because players always win something. The controversy is unlikely to end any time soon, and it could well be an activity that regulators will look again at in 2018.
Gaming, Media & Responsible Gaming The iGaming sector’s relationship with the media industry can be described as a love-hate-relationship, and it was arguably one of the most recurring stories in 2017. While many media companies launched their own gambling products to find new revenues, the media’s relationship with the iGaming sector at large seems to have deteriorated in 2017. There have been numerous cases where mainstream media outlets criticised gaming companies due to weak adoption of responsible gambling methods. A few bad apples can clearly impact the industry as a whole, and in the future gaming companies must take their responsibilities towards problem gambling seriously. Responsible gaming will surely be one of the big topics this year.
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A Story of Growth
Tumas Gaming operates the gaming division within the Tumas Group. Since its humble origins in 1998, the Oracle Casino has expanded to include Portomaso Casino, Portomasolive.com and Portomaso Gaming, an online casino platform. The company has also throughout that time opened numerous Bestplay outlets around the island. Tumas Gaming is the only multi-casino operator on the Maltese Islands. ORACLE Casino
The popular Oracle Casino is located in Qawra, the main tourist spot in St. Paul’s Bay within the new Dolmen Resort Hotel. The Oracle features a wide variety of live gaming tables and top-of-the-range slot machines. This is all complemented by a popular Mediterranean Restaurant serving hearty buffet dishes. For the sport fans, the Sports Lounge Pizzeria offers a great atmosphere to watch and bet on live streamed sports together with bar offers. Oracle Casino is also a spectacular place to hold events. The extensive areas inside Oracle Casino, as well as the areas around the Amazonia Beach Club, are ready to be converted into places ready to host players, bloggers, journalists, and dining areas. Not to mention accommodation at the newly refurbished Dolmen Resort; just this year Oracle Casino hosted the European Poker Adventure, its first ever international poker event.
Amazonia Beach Club
Portomaso Casino, set in the heart of St Julian’s and operating since June 2006, was yet another important milestone for Tumas Gaming. Over the years since it first opened, Portomaso Casino has gained a reputation as one of the island’s most highly esteemed establishments for poker entertainment. It has built a long-term solid structure to cope with the tremendous effort demanded by poker events in terms of organisation, logistics and, above all, the human factor. This year alone we saw thousands travel to Malta to compete in one of the most recognised and successful poker tournaments in Europe: The Battle of Malta. Over 140 dealers were flown in to secure and guarantee a smooth and efficient event. Portomaso Casino also boasts the biggest and most popular poker room in Malta, offering a variety of daily poker tournaments with a total €15,000 worth of guarantees every week. The newly renovated restaurant at Portomaso Casino recently welcomed a new Head Chef, Daniel Farrugia. Chef Daniel has worked alongside renowned chefs such as Jamie Oliver, as well as at restaurants such as the UK’s 2-AA Rosette Restaurant, Zodiac and Malta’s Palazzo Parisio. “My priorities are to deliver finesse; art as well as flavours. Each individual ingredient is handled with care and with a passion that comes from the love I have for cookery. My vision is to taste every ounce of that passion in every dish I create”.
Portomaso Gaming is an online gaming platform based on a real live Casino. It combines the glamour and glitz of the most prestigious casinos in the Mediterranean region, together with the latest technology and presents it on a platform which takes online gaming to another dimension. Portomaso Gaming operates from Malta and works in close collaboration with its partners to provide a unique portfolio of products for the gaming industry. Live casinos are brought together into one virtual lobby, greatly expanding the gaming possibilities to the online players. The platform offers its online users a chance to participate in Live Casino gaming and experience the intensity and exhilaration of competition. The Platform captures the action and gameplay of a glamorous Casino and successfully extends it into the cyberworld. By utilising the Studio Casino platform, and through collaboration with various operators, clients are able to customise the interface with their own branding and corporate image. This includes customisation of the tables, equipment and backdrops that can be pre-set according to the location where the game is being offered. As of October 2017, Portomaso gaming completed the installation of its innovative Real Live Casino System, in the most luxurious, land-based Casino
Portomaso Casino is located within the Portomaso Complex
operators with the capability to engage their players through the excitement found in a real casino”. Today Portomaso Gaming has more than 25,000 registered users, over 350 different games and is present in 15 different countries.
in Riga: Royal Casino. Royal Casino is part of Royal Entertainment City, and boasts the highest level of luxury, relaxation and entertainment. Land-based and online convergence doesn’t get any more exciting than this. The land-based gaming experiences of Roulette and Punto Banco are captured using several HD cameras, as well as audio equipment, and are delivered to online players through Portomaso Gaming’s Live Casino Platform. Both Roulette and Punto Banco are streamed Live 24/7, and the games are available on Desktop and Mobile Devices. Just recently EveryMatrix signed with Portomaso Gaming to supply operators its live casino content via CasinoEngine Platform. Stian Horsletten, CasinoEngine CEO and Co-Founder of EveryMatrix describes Portomaso Gaming as “a reputable, award winning company in the iGaming field based in Malta, which offers a great experience for online players. Through a combination of innovation, quality and expertise and along with a very talented team, Portomaso Gaming showcases products which allow a high level of flexibility and are easy to tailor based on a client’s requirements. Effective synergies have been combined to deliver state-of-the-art solutions which guarantee excellent returns on investment”. He adds: “The iGaming scene has recognised the significance and popularity of live dealer casinos and we have an increasing number of clients that are beginning to deal with it. Therefore, we are excited to partner with Portomaso Gaming as their unique approach provides
Portomasolive.com, created in 2008, gives players the thrill and excitement of real life without leaving their sofa. They can participate online in a variety of games including Roulette, Blackjack and Punto Banco, which are streamed live through numerous webcams installed in strategic locations around the casino. Portomasolive.com is powered by state-ofthe-art technology delivering the ultimate in realism, performance and security. All casino dealing and transactions are audited, thus guaranteeing players complete peace of mind. The Group's Bestplay outlets have been operating on the island since 2012. The latest addition to the fleet is in Zejtun, and it is the seventh outlet. These outlets serve as mini-casinos that are close to clients' homes, as they are spread out across different locations around Malta. All outlets are equipped with Slot Machines and sports-betting terminals where Sports fans can bet on their favourite sports and watch live streaming on the monitors installed in each and every shop. For the future the Bestplay team will be working on offering a better experience to their customers with the installation of new games and the introduction of Jackpots.
On Expansion Course
By leveraging convergence between online and live gaming, Tumas Gaming established itself as a pioneer for offering comprehensive business solutions, while boosting partnerships and opportunities for growth. Following its expansion plan, Tumas Gaming just launched a new campaign aiming to recruit over 80 employees. Gianfranco Scordato, executive director at Tumas Gaming, said: “This unprecedented recruitment campaign complements our overall talent development strategy, which goes beyond traditional recruitment. We are looking for individuals who are passionate, enthusiastic and committed to excellence. We will also spare no effort in creating a new local base of gaming professionals. Our own internal training schools will offer an opportunity to those willing to learn and start an exciting career in gaming.” n
Are you passionate, enthusiastic and committed to excellence! Do you want to join the only hybrid multi-casino operator on the island? Then visit the ‘Careers’ page on tumasgaming.com for further details about these vacancies or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
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CEO View Points
Group CEO and Co-Founder of LeoVegas
Malta’s CEOs Say Yes to Both Challenges and Opportunities
Ariel Reem CEO of Genesis
Four CEOs of Malta-based iGaming companies discuss current trends, Malta’s new regulatory framework and their most important priorities for 2018.
Jesper Kärrbrink CEO of Mr Green
David Flynn CEO of Dumarca Gaming Division
As the CEO of a major gaming company, what are the issues that are currently taking up most of your time? Gustaf: At LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group, we managed to keep the start-up vibe, so even though I am the Group CEO, I am still extremely involved in all parts of the business. I am constantly in the loop when it comes to things such as product, brand, innovations, marketing, development and organisational changes. However, I must say that lately I have been putting a lot of attention towards our new company culture, dubbed as LeoCulture, which we have successfully implemented within the entire Group. This will ensure that despite having different companies in different countries, we still function as one team. Jesper: We spend a lot of time on building and developing smart digital tools to learn as much as possible about our players, in order to serve them the most entertaining gaming experience possible in a responsible environment. Ariel: Regulation is taking a large portion of my time. We are looking at utilising resources to enhance our technology; finding different ways to engage with customers and in general; constantly improving all areas as technology advances and becomes available to the market. We are also focusing on real-time engagement to enhance the customer experience. Last but certainly not least, it is time-consuming to compete against others in the market whilst still being able to generate a satisfactory level of revenue and net profit. David: Having recently joined Jackpotjoy Group as the CEO for the Dumarca Gaming Division, one can imagine that, like any new employee, the focus is on understanding the company, its people and the magnitude of the many opportunities that lie ahead of us. In an ever-changing landscape, one must remain attentive to regulatory change, both in terms of individual countries and the wider EU landscape, while ensuring that we continue to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
What are the topics that will feature high on your agenda in 2018? Jesper: We are working on becoming the most attractive workplace in Malta. As we are growing as an organisation and constantly expanding, we need to continuously recruit new competent colleagues. We are also preparing for the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and for regulation in Sweden and the Netherlands. Our other priorities in 2108 will be to position Mr Green as the top Green Gaming brand; to bring innovation to Sportsbook and Live Casino, as well as launching in Denmark. Ariel: The focal point for this year will be to invest in the people and tools that we use within the business, allowing us to be efficient and effective in everything we do. This will help us enhance the customer experience. Nevertheless, we will also be focused on penetrating new markets and launching new casino brands. David: Our main focus for 2018 and beyond has to be how we can continue to delight our customers. With our customers at the heart of everything we do, our other ‘vital organs’ will focus on how to expand at a pace that allows us to ensure the best possible service and quality product in the market. This involves strategic decisions such as organic growth versus acquisition, to more tactical decisions such the product and marketing mix. If I had to provide five topics, they would be Customer excellence, Customer experience, Customer retention, Customer offering and Customer acquisition. Gustaf: It seems that 2018 will be one of the busiest years so far. We will, of course, continue in our drive to ensure that LeoVegas is leading the way into the mobile future. We are able to achieve this through product excellence and further market growth. We will also continue working on our strategy of further expanding our operations in regulated markets. In 2017 we managed to do this already by launching in three regulated markets: Italy, Germany and Denmark. 2017 was also the year in which LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group acquired its first companies. So, during the next twelve months we will continue exploring various similar opportunities. Moreover, another topic close to my heart that will definitely feature high on my agenda is the hiring of the right kind of people with a ‘make it happen’ attitude to ensure they will be a right fit with our culture.
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Level 5 Quantum House 75 Abate Rigord Street Ta’ Xbiex XBX 1120 • Malta Telephone: (+356) 2092 5100 Web: www.whpartners.eu
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
The gaming industry is often being criticised for not taking greater responsibility for issues such as gambling addiction, money laundering and criminal activities. What is your response to this criticism and is it fair? Gustaf: While this may have been the case in the past, the industry has quickly realised that we have a duty of care towards our customers and that we need to go to great lengths to ensure that the service we provide is not only entertaining, but also safe. I am extremely proud that over the past weeks, at LeoVegas, we launched the LeoSafePlay platform, which is intended to serve as a source of information about the risks associated with gambling. We are also offering multiple tools for free to potential problematic gamblers. One of the most recent tools that we are offering is free software licences to block off online gaming websites on multiple devices. As I said earlier, I think the industry has really matured on this subject, and today most operators in the industry have specialised departments dealing with Responsible Gaming, risk and fraud to make sure they are compliant in all these areas. Jesper: I donâ€™t think that is entirely fair. The industry is doing a lot but it is unevenly spread among the operators. Some do a lot, and some almost nothing. For us it is easy, we have Green Gaming in our DNA; it has been part of the brand strategy since the company launched in 2007. Now we are taking it a step further by launching a unique set of Green Gaming products, whereby the Green Gaming Predictive Tool is the first one. The aim is to use smart digital tools to learn more about our players and based on the knowledge we gain, we can be proactive and support players with increased risk behaviour in relevant ways. We see it as good business practice, and it makes us feel good about what we do and hope others will follow. David: It is unfair to categorise the gambling industry as entirely deficient. Many reputable companies such as ours take Responsible Gaming and Anti-Money Laundering extremely seriously. Trustworthy and eminent companies such as ours, not only appreciate, but also welcome these measures, and we implement policies and procedures to be on par, if not in excess of the regulatory requirements. From a personal perspective, I was involved in the creation of the first online responsible gaming system back in 2004, which included items such as self-exclusion, cool-down periods and responsible gaming assistance. These elements have become cornerstones of several jurisdictional regulations in more recent times. Ariel: The online gaming industry has seemingly worked in the same way for a substantial period of time, however that machine is now rusty and falling apart. Something new is coming. Genesis recognised and reacted to this radical change back when there were a few hints or signs that suggested the future direction. We have dedicated large amounts of resources to not just implement the required regulatory changes, but also to ensure that they remain a top business priority in the future. We are also embracing these changes and believe that they will allow dedicated and experienced professionals like us to flourish, while eliminating those who are just looking to make a quick buck.
Malta just released a new gaming law. Do you think the island got it right or could they have gone further? David: The MGA has been extremely competitive within the gambling industry in general, and although the previous gaming law was looked at as workable, it was also time for an upgrade, both for the MGA and for operators. The act of splitting the different classes into a B2B & B2C will allow the MGA to be more agile in its decision making, while decreasing unnecessary operational burdens for operators and software providers. We as a company see this as a positive change. Gustaf: Overall the MGA is on the right track and seems to be favouring a more practical, yet regulated approach by enhancing protective measures as an obligation to customers, but also not increasing unnecessary burdens on operators. We feel confident that there will be further tweaks to the legislation where gaps remain and also look forward to more in-depth guidelines in terms of processes and measures that operators such as ourselves will now be obliged to implement. Jesper: The new Gaming Law is the next step for Malta as the key player in the industry, and I think it is very much in line with how the industry is developing. Ariel: The recent release of the new gaming law was a positive step forward, with the main advantage being that administration will dramatically be reduced. This will allow us to focus on other areas of our business. We would now like to see the MGAâ€™s position on the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies as soon as possible.
A number of high profile incidents highlighting bad business practices have recently come to the fore, resulting in calls for even more regulation, stronger oversight and higher taxes. What steps are industry leaders actively taking to work with influencers, the media, politicians and policy-makers to explain what the industry is doing and to alter public perception? Gustaf: As a listed company, we are transparent with what we do in all jurisdictions. Our strategy is to further grow in regulated markets. We are active participants in any consultations that are made available to us. We are also interested in regulatory progress in currently unregulated jurisdictions. Furthermore, we are in constant communication with regulatory authorities in regard to any changes or proposed changes in that particular jurisdiction. As I said earlier, the industry is maturing and the incidents you mention are all things that other industries have previously gone through. David: This industry continues to grow and is far from static, thus, its lobbyists and reputable organisations, who hold first-hand experience in the field, continue to influence regulators and policy-makers. This is achieved by giving their input on the effectiveness that certain regulations, policies and acts will have on the gaming industry. What is pivotal is that the means are proportionate to the desired result. Policies and regulations must be implemented to safeguard, first and foremost, our customers, and then the wider industry and its stakeholders. Jesper: There are several trade associations that are working relentlessly on these questions. They are trying to get the industry to understand the importance of being ahead of what is expected from it, but also talking to and educating politicians and media. Both these things are needed and need to be better handled in many organisations. Ariel: Industry leaders are pro-actively engaging with operators such as ourselves and encouraging them to begin the long-term task of changing public perceptions by looking at internal procedures and policies. This has created an open forum, whereby both B2B and B2C operators are simplifying the way in which they operate and communicate to their customers. This will create total transparency for customers. Communication starts to change internally first, and then flows to our customers. Therefore we must try to clearly communicate our terms and conditions, following regulatory instructions. This also includes extensive and on-going training for our employees so that they are able to send the right message to our customers.
From a consumer product point of view, what areas do you believe offer the greatest opportunity and which are you investing in? David: As a casino-orientated business, one can imagine where most short-term investment is placed. However, the sector will continue to evolve and those that lead the way will be delivering products and services that are relevant for the changing lives of their customers. What is important to a customer today may be taken for granted tomorrow. One must think at least 5-10 years into the future to prepare for the services that will be important in our everyday lives at that point in time. Gustaf: A few trends that definitely stood out in the past months in the industry are live streaming, video content and mobile entertainment consumption as a whole. I also believe that the casino area is still growing a lot, and there is still a lot of room for further development, especially in areas such as interactivity and personalisation. As a group weâ€™re at the forefront of mobile gaming and the recent acquisition of the casino streaming network, CasinoGrounds, is just one example of how we are investing in this. Ariel: One of the biggest opportunities available to operators is to provide their customers with a tailored and unique experience. This can be achieved in various ways, such as general product improvements or customised promotional offers. We direct our energy into the technology behind this, which will produce an automated segmentation tool with a degree of artificial intelligence. This means it will send offers to customers according to their behaviour. Jesper: For sure our Green Gaming Predictive tool is an innovation with the players best at heart. We encourage all our players to opt-in to the programme as an extra safety layer, so they can focus on having fun and let us take care of the rest.
MAZARS MALTA iGAMING SERVICES
Perfect balance starts with the right foundation. We deliver innovative services that help your company capture new opportunities in any business environment, helping you become a leader in the iGaming industry
LICENSING – TAX – COMPLIANCE – ACCOUNTING & PAYROLL – STATUTORY AUDIT – ADVISORY – INFORMATION SECURITY
Mazars Malta 32, Sovereign Building, Zaghfran Road, Attard ATD 9012, Malta Tel: +356 21345 760 | E-mail: email@example.com www.mazars.com.mt/iGaming
What’s your vision of the gaming industry in the next 5 to 10 years? Gustaf: My opinion is that we are moving towards a regulated environment with most of the world being regulated. This will also see an improvement in the industry’s reputation which will in turn attract more talent to join. I also think that in the coming years, the industry will be a lot more data driven and the company that holds the best tools for handling big data and for understanding customer behaviour will naturally lead. Jesper: We are on the threshold of the next big leap within the gaming industry, where entertainment will be taken to new levels and player safety will become key. I believe what we have seen in the fields of AI and VR will completely disrupt the gaming industry within the next few years, and I look forward to it. Innovation within the gaming industry has been at a standstill for far too long. Ariel: Virtual Reality is a technology that has been highly anticipated and talked about with the industry for a while now, with several operators already providing this to customers. This technology is still in its infancy, however, it will soon dominate the industry, providing customers not only a virtual gaming experience, but also a new level of interactivity and way to immerse themselves. We expect to see mobile game play becoming more dominant with the arrival of new platforms and device technology. This will create a bigger live streaming audience, when combined with advances in internet provider services and video technology. Operators will be able to create enhanced experiences, similar to the much sought-after land based casino experience; while table and card tables games will become almost obsolete. We can also expect eSports to become as popular as video slots, as it is one of the fastest growing products in the industry at this time. This will in turn challenge the regulatory bodies massively and provide room for further development of the quality of experience on video slots. I expect improvements in graphical elements, animations and player interactions. David: I’d say that my hope for the gaming industry is that more jurisdictions not only regulate gambling, but also embrace each other’s regulations so that we obtain a centralised system that regulates on a global basis. Will we get there in five to ten years? It’s unlikely, however, how far we get is entirely up to the reputable companies in the industry. The inevitable consolidation in the sector will continue at the same pace for the coming three to five years, but will slow down after that as less and less sizeable opportunities will arise. With this, the sector will enhance its search to expand into other segments of gaming, financial instruments and other digital sectors using the expertise built up over the past 15 to 20 years within the industry.
Malta has established itself as one of the main gaming hubs. What does it need to do to remain relevant in this global industry? David: Malta has capitalised on its position as a gaming hub over the past decade by creating an outstanding regulatory framework, which is attractive to the industry. Even though many leading companies are established here, and approximately 9,000 plus employees work in the industry today, it is sometimes challenging to find talent for certain roles, and therefore, one must resort to overseas hiring, which effectively means higher costs. Malta is a beautiful country and, as one of few countries with a strong balance sheet, I believe Malta must inject some of its reserves into its ecosystem and infrastructure, further developing its public transport systems and creating a sustainable environment for its inevitable growth. Gustaf: From a regulatory perspective I think that the gaming legislation overhaul being undertaken by the Malta Gaming Authority is a welcome step in the right direction already. Malta should also seek to maintain reasonable levels of fees and taxation for gaming companies. It should also seek to evolve and change, adapt and improve, legislate and regulate hand-in-hand with the innovation envisaged as part of gaming company culture, whether technical or otherwise. From a workforce perspective, operators are constantly looking for the right talent, so Malta needs to foresee the industry’s upcoming trends and be able to provide an adequate pool of talent with the right skills. Inevitably, as the industry grows, there will also be more expats moving to Malta, so as an island it also has to look into having the right infrastructure for this growth, such as housing and international schools. Jesper: Malta has been in the news lately for the wrong reasons. The government needs to take this seriously. More markets are opening through regulation; and talent recruitment through relocation from other European tech hubs is already a major issue. Infrastructure is also a major issue on this extremely small Island, and the construction boom we see today needs to be planned carefully as it is already tough to get from point A to B. Ariel: Malta needs to ensure it remains ahead of the game on many levels if it wants to remain relevant to the industry’s future. In addition to the obvious updates from time-to-time to its regulatory framework to include new forms of technologies and gaming, Malta must also address the issue of human resources. The island is experiencing an economic boom, and there is no doubt that our industry is flourishing. That being said, it is becoming increasingly clear that Malta cannot keep up with the human resources needed to supply our industry and many others. It is essential that Malta promotes itself as an island where expats will want to settle down, but for that to happen Malta must improve its infrastructure and address the issue of soaring rental prices to attract and retain resources on the island. Moreover, the educational system should also address this by encouraging young locals to pursue careers in areas that are in demand by our Industry, to partially address the shortage of skills.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Talent Retention: is Salary Enough? What brings employees to the door is no longer enough to make them stay. Organisations need to think about what they can do to create an environment that ensures they retain talent that is willing to invest their time and effort into growing and developing the organisation. The iGaming sector in Malta has flourished over the past 13 years, and today contributes towards a large percentage of Malta’s overall GDP. As a result of this exponential growth, the country now hosts over 280 gaming operators, has issued more than 500 licences, and possesses a large workforce of thousands of multinational industry professionals. The growth and dependence on the thriving iGaming sector ensures that Malta constantly works towards safeguarding and renewing its jurisdictional benefits in order for international operators to continue to choose our island as the ideal location for their operations. However, as the industry develops, it also creates one challenge that some may fail to consider, that of effectively managing talent. An organisation’s talent is its greatest asset. It is through its people that an organisation will be able to achieve its business objectives and reach and maintain its competitive advantage. Thus, managing talent involves anticipating the need and type of talent (human capital) required by an organisation, and then setting a plan to meet that need. It also involves ensuring an organisation is in a position to attract, acquire, develop, and retain talent, i.e. organisations must bring people to the door, provide them with the tools and skills necessary to help them develop themselves and the organisation, and most importantly keep them happy and activated in order to not only stop them from leaving, but also to perform better. It is common knowledge that iGaming companies have invested a lot in ensuring that they attract and acquire talent, through offering higher salaries and better benefits than most other industries are able to offer. However, with the competition for talent within the industry being at an all-time high, is this enough to manage talent effectively and achieve business objectives? Staff turnover rates in the iGaming industry clearly show that, no, it is not enough.
“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”
With which of the following do you feel the iGaming Industry struggles with the most?
Acquiring Talent (attracting and recruiting the right people)
Developing Talent (training and developing employees)
Retaining Talent (preventing people from leaving the organisation)
27% 46% 27% * Data collected from a survey conducted by KPMG’s People and Change Advisory team at the 2017 Malta iGaming Summit – SiGMA
If salary and benefits aren’t enough, what makes people stay, and go the extra mile? Research and practice both show that one of the key factors linked to employee retention is the emotional bond an employee feels with their employer, i.e. how engaged an employee is with their organisation. This is not to be confused with employee satisfaction. Whilst employee satisfaction may be seen as a facet of employee engagement, it does not account for the emotional bond that characterises employee engagement. A satisfied employee may show up to work without complaining and be relatively satisfied at work, however, it is unlikely that they will go the extra mile and they will probably be easily enticed by another organisation offering a slightly higher salary. Employee engagement involves unlocking employee full potential to drive high performance; capturing employee discretionary effort, the above and beyond effort people could give if they wanted to.
Highly engaged employees are
more committed to helping their company succeed
more likely to recommend improvements
more likely to recommend their organisation as an employer Disengaged employees are
more likely to leave their job
more likely to be led by disengaged managers
of CEOs recognise that disengagement is the largest threat to their business
When organisations talk about retaining staff, they should be thinking about what they can do to ensure that an employee feels emotionally linked to their organisation and its goals, and therefore highly engaged. That being said, this emotional bond and high level of engagement is not something that develops overnight. It is a journey that an employee and an organisation must embark upon together. The first step in this journey is for an organisation to take stock of their current engagement levels. Before moving forward, it is essential that the organisation knows where it stands. It must listen to employees and obtain an understanding of what is driving engagement/disengagement levels in their organisation. By looking at the drivers related to engagement, organisations will get a clearer picture of, and define, what is truly working and what can be improved. This, in turn, will support an organisation in developing an employee engagement strategy that truly nurtures the development of an emotional bond between employee and employer.
Things that get measured get managed The most commonly used means to measure employee engagement is through an online diagnostic tool. However, if organisations want to increase retention through engagement, then choosing which survey to conduct is critical. It is essential that the survey chosen actually does assess what is driving engagement. KPMG People and Change’s Employee Engagement Plus Index does exactly this. It is a tool that supports organisations in taking stock, and measuring their current engagement levels through an online questionnaire answered by employees. The unique edge of this tool is that it appreciates that engagement is a multifaceted concept and thus, does not measure engagement as a standalone construct, but holistically, also incorporating other scientifically proven drivers of engagement, such as leadership, communication and work commitment. Furthermore, the tool also allows for the evaluation of an organisation’s HR management practices that act as a vehicle to achieve employee engagement. Together, all of this uniquely derived data, will provide business leaders and decisionmakers with invaluable information related to their organisation’s strengths, areas for improvement, areas of critical concern, and therefore, ultimately, support the organisation in reaching its final destination of a highly engaged workforce.
The KPMG Employee Engagement Plus Index¹ provides for the ideal foundations upon which to build and implement specific and targeted actions that truly work towards increasing employee engagement in organisations. By understanding what is driving or inhibiting engagement, an organisation will be able to treat the root cause of any employee engagement issues, and thus be in a better position to develop a strong emotional bond with employees, subsequently creating an environment that ensures they retain talent that is willing to invest their time and effort in growing and developing the business. KPMG’s People and Change Advisory Team is actively working within the iGaming sphere, through providing its clients with strategic talent management interventions that are grounded in an evidence-based approach. 1 – You may find more information about the KPMG Employee Engagement Plus Index at www.kpmg.com/mt/eepi-malta
Malcolm Pace Debono - Director People & Change Advisory Services firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Gallup Studies
Petra Sant Manager People & Change Advisory Services email@example.com
These are Some of Malta’s Best Places to Work – and They are All Hiring! Malta’s gaming industry has attracted people from all corners of the world. More than 6,400 people are directly employed by the sector. Many of Malta’s iGaming companies still have ambitious growth goals and have dozens of job openings posted on their websites. We have reached out to some companies to find out what makes them a great place to work. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there’s nothing scientific about our sampling. It’s just a snapshot of the state of the workplace in the iGaming sector, with no rankings and in no particular order. There’s also a list of some of the on-the-job perks available in the industry. There is a bevy of benefits out there, including free lunch (every working day), breakfast smoothies, exclusive company trips, a remote working allowance and employee discount schemes.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
How would you describe your workplace culture? Friendly, passionate and multicultural.
France, Malta, Italy, United Kingdom, Portugal Areas of activity:
Online Gaming Brands:
Betclic, Expekt, MonteCarlo Casino, Imperial Casino, Everest Casino, Everest Poker Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2005 Years in Malta: 12 Open jobs: 0-10
Why should someone join your company? We offer a friendly environment to a team of 40 different nationalities from all over the world. Every day we are involved in several exciting projects relating to Sports betting, Poker, Casino and Games.
What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Private Health Insurance, two Travel Benefits per annum, Fitness Benefit, Employee Discounts Scheme Corporate Programmes: Training & Development Programmes offered Social: Monthly Company Events, Sports Tournaments CSR: Events held in aid of NGOs and charitable institutions
7 office locations globally, with our Head Office in Malta Areas of activity:
Affiliate Marketing: Casino, Sports, and Financial Services verticals Brands:
Numerous, including AskGamblers, JohnSlots, Netent Casino, Freespins. se, AskFans, Sbat and CasinoBonus360 Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta: 170 In business since: 2012 Years in Malta: 4 Open jobs: 25-50
Why should someone join your company? We’re proud to have recently landed the title ‘Employer of the Year’, awarded based upon independently acquired feedback from our own team. We have a strong company culture and encourage our people to embrace failure and celebrate our (many!) wins. We’re a professional, curious team who are passionate about what we do.
What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Healthy lunches cooked daily by our in-house kitchen team; breakfast smoothies every morning, office gym, Friday Fika, sports benefit, relocation support, private health insurance, flexible working hours. Corporate Programmes: Internship programme Social: Social meet-up and drinks every Friday evening; annual Summer and Christmas company events CSR: We support a number of local charities and Maltabased NGOs. We are also committed to working towards a Green office at our Malta headquarters in 2018.
What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? • Full Stack .Net Developer (Angular 2) • Senior BI Developer / DW DBA • Salesforce Developer • Fraud and Payments Analyst • Customer Service and Retention Specialist (Finnish speaking) • Service Management Coordinator • Legal Counsel - Junior
How would you describe your workplace culture? We have an open, transparent culture where innovation is positively encouraged and our leaders are inspirational and approachable. We’re all about inspiring creativity and supporting professional development. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? We currently have a large number of roles to fill, across all departments, including SEO, Tech, Content and Marketing. Visit www.catenamedia.com/ careers/ to find out more.
Genesis Global Limited Office locations:
Malta, Israel, France & Poland Areas of activity:
iGaming (Casino) Brands:
Sloty, VegasHero, Casino Cruise & SpinIT Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2015 Years in Malta: 1 Open jobs: 10-25
Why should someone join your company? You can describe Genesis perfectly by using the seven letters that make up our name. We are Giving - with the large number of employee benefits we provide, Entertaining – not only for our customers but we host staff parties too. New – not to the industry but to Malta. Empowering – we always want our employees to grow and provide the tools to do so. Successful – we have launched two brands in the last year and won’t stop there. Innovative – Genesis is always looking for the next best thing, and last but not least, we are always supportive of our employees with great management and HR to help them along their journey.
What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Health Insurance & Flexible Benefits (employees have an allocated allowance and they choose the benefits that suit them best from holidays to a private pension.) Depending on the nature of the role, we also offer relocation support and flexible working hours. Moreover, new employees sit for a thorough two-week Induction Programme, providing them with the fundamentals needed to work in our industry and much more. Social: At Genesis we understand that employee happiness is dependent on several factors, including great social events. In addition to our annual Christmas and Summer Party, we also organise regular social events, as well as breakfast every Monday and lunch once a month. CSR: We believe in ‘going beyond’ and giving something back to our host country and its community. In addition to the philanthropic and environmental causes, we also believe in creating quality and a secure employment for locals and expats alike. In 2018, we will definitely be stepping up our CSR, and we look forward to making a positive contribution.
How would you describe your workplace culture? Genesis is distinctly fun and ambitious. We are a dynamic, strong team, working together to take the company to the next step. We believe that our employees are our main asset and their feedback is essential to us. We are against having a hierarchical structure, instead, we adopt a flat structure and promote open communication between all employees regardless of one’s title or position. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? • CRM Operations Manager • SEO Specialist • SEO Manager • Data Analyst • Senior Business Analyst • Customer Support Agents – NO/FI/SE/DE • VIP Agents – NO/ FI/SE/DE • Salesforce Specialist • Senior Product Manager • Internal Marketing Executive • Mobile App Marketing Executive • Content Writers – NO/FI/SE/DE • Copywriter - EN
malta 100 GAMING 2O18 EDITION
Gaming Innovation Group (GiG)
LeoVegas Mobile Gaming Group
Malta (currently 3 offices) Marbella,Gibraltar Copenhagen, Oslo, Kristiansand (also Norway)
Malta, Sweden (Stockholm, Västerås, Växjö), Italy, Poland, UK and The Netherlands
Areas of activity:
iGaming Backend Solution and Service Provider, Sports Betting Service Provider, Performance Marketing Service Provider, Games Studio and Games Provider, Online Casino Operator of seven popular brands. Brands:
iGamingCloud (iGaming Platform Solution and Service Provider), BettingCloud (Sports Betting Service Provider), GiG Media (Performance Marketing Services), GiG Games (Games Studio and Provider) GiG Gaming (Online Casino Operator Brands): Highroller, Rizk, SuperLenny, Guts, Kaboo, Betspin, Thrills Number of employees:
635 and counting
Number of employees in Malta:
400 and counting
In business since: 2008 Years in Malta: 7 Open jobs: 50-100
Areas of activity:
Casino, Live-Casino and Sportsbook Brands:
Why should someone join your company? We let our Developer in Test, Sherrylene Gauci, from Lija reply: “The company culture at GiG is one of a kind. The people, the quality of the day-to-day work-life and the appeal of the projects in hand all contribute to having a great work environment. However, if I had to pick one, I would say that GiG care a lot about their people and their needs.” What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Free lunch, every day (Malta), relocation allowance, paternity leave, flexible hours, training/ development budget per team, health insurance, mobile plans, Beer Fridays (Get-togethers across locations from 16:00), as well as other perks depending on office location.
Corporate Programmes: Internship and Apprenticeship Scheme from 2018 Graduate Scheme from 2019 Socials: Plans for 2018 in the making. CSR: Platinum sponsor and active support of “Girls in Tech” Gibraltar Sponsorship and speaker at 100 Women in Finance event (SiGMA) Active support of Malta Clean-Up Day How would you describe your workplace culture? We’re going all in to make the whole industry open and connected like never before. This is your chance to put your mind to some pretty amazing work; to make great stuff! We get sh#t done and challenge the ordinary. Think about it: who doesn’t want to be a game changer?! What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? Apart from the obvious Developers and Designers openings, we have many interesting roles across departments and business areas - please have a look now: https://www. gig.com/careers/.
LeoVegas and Royal Panda Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2012 Years in Malta: 5 Open jobs: 25-50
Why should someone join your company? Because with LeoVegas, every morning is a roaring morning. We cultivate a fun and friendly environment and provide great career opportunities. We’re an innovative company, so we encourage individuals to take responsibility and give them the ability to be self-driven. At LeoVegas you can truly be yourself as we nurture an environment that celebrates diversity and equality. To top all of this, we also have a great benefits package and throw amazing parties, which usually are the talk of town. Statistics speak for themselves. In an independent survey, 91% of our employees would recommend LeoVegas as a great place to work to their family and friends. And the LeoVegas’ Employee Programme has been awarded as the Best in iGaming in Malta at the 2017 Malta Gaming Awards.
What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: You’ll get a very competitive salary, training allowance, private health insurance, relocation support, and a great place to work and progress in your career. Social: Monthly afterwork events, quarterly team building events, lunch training sessions in one of Sliema’s best fitness centres, a scrumptious breakfast every week, the best winter and summer summit events on the island, multiple snack fridges that are constantly full with fresh fruit, nuts, cereal bars, yogurt, and more. CSR: LeoVegas is very active in various social responsible causes. As part of our fifth anniversary, we founded the Leo Initiative, focused on making a hands-on difference for lions everywhere. As part of this, we’re supporting: The Wildlife Conservation Network - our donation was one of the first assigned to the Lion Recovery Fund; Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary - a South-African familyrun organisation with semi-wild rehabilitation for rescued lions. As part of this we sponsored two lions and established a volunteer program for LeoVegas’ employees. We’ve also supported the
Malta Community Chest Fund (a charitable foundation, under the auspices of The President of Malta with the aim of helping philanthropic institutions) and The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (a Malta-based foundation dedicated to preventing loss of life to refugees and migrants in distress at sea). To cement our commitment towards diversity and equality in the workplace, we were the Main Sponsor of the 2017 Malta Pride Week. We’ve also participated in national clean-up initiatives. How would you describe your workplace culture? • Open, honest, inclusive • Fast-paced, no day is similar to another • Diverse • Fun and friendly • We have a ‘make it happen attitude’ where we get things done faster to stay ahead of competition What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? We seek to fill a variety of positons from entry level to senior level. One thing special about LeoVegas is that we are constantly growing, and many of our Lions quickly find a successful career within the company.
Ta Xbiex, Malta
Areas of activity:
iGaming - casino, live casino, sports betting Brands:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2015 Years in Malta: 2 Open jobs: 10-25
Why should someone join your company? When someone joins LV BET, they are not just joining a company, but rather a family. Though we have a very successful product, and are growing, we have been careful to maintain that personal, friendly atmosphere. To us, our employees are not just numbers, but real individual people. What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Very competitive salary and bonuses, medical insurance, gym subsidies, generous paid holiday allowance Corporate Programmes: Opportunities for paid training and professional development
Social: Exclusive events and parties How would you describe your workplace culture? The LV BET office is home to a cosmopolitan mix of real characters, hailing from all over Europe and beyond, making it a very inspiring place to work. One of the most noticeable things about the LV BET office is the approachable, welcoming atmosphere that enables everyone to flourish and grow. This creative atmosphere, combined with hard work has been key in helping LV BET achieve industryleading growth rates, and attract and retain some of the most talented iGaming professionals. Of course, it is not all about work at LV BET, as we believe in rewarding results with more than just pay. Whether it is parties, team building events, or even luxury weekend getaways, LV BET is an exciting company to work for. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? • Head of CRM • Junior Data Analyst • Turkish Speaking CS • Risk and RG Coordinator • Customer Support Agent - German Speaking • Customer Support Agent - Swedish Speaking • Fraud and Payment Analyst • Latvian Country Manager
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Mr Green Ltd
Areas of activity:
Online Casino, Sportbook, Live Casino, Bingo, Keno Brands:
Mr Green, Garbo, Bingosjov, Bingoslottet, Balletbingo Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2007 Years in Malta: 7 Open jobs: 10-25
Why should someone join your company? At Mr Green, we want to build products based on the passion and personality of our employees. Therefore, we want to inspire, guide, and motivate our teams, with the ambition that their efforts will improve the daily life of our players by making it a bit more entertaining. This mindset has created a unique corporate culture where the employees are in the limelight, to the benefit of our customers. We see a great level of pride and
camaraderie, there is a true sense of team spirit and many who come to Mr Green stay for many years. Of course, there is a long list of benefits to be expected, but we believe our main asset to our employees is being an employer who understands and appreciates a healthy work-life balance. The management is willing and eager to invest in talent and understands that the business growth will only come from a mutual development process between the company and the employees.
Corporate Programmes Career development: Star programme – Management leadership programme powered by thirdparty professional management consultancy firm Stardust. Mr Green Academy – Professional training in all relevant areas based on role and responsibility. For example, Green Gaming training produced by industry-leading company Sustainable Interaction. Health programmes: Personal coaching sessions with professional work coach to maximize the employee journey based on individual development plan. Personal Training programmes with training sessions and individual nutrition programmes
CSR Employee voluntary programme where you get 1 month paid leave yearly if you dedicate your time to charity work and share your experience with colleagues to What would I get if I worked for your company? inspire others to do good. Save the Sea - in collaboration Perks: with University of Malta and • €250 yearly health & York we manage a branded fitness allowance • Health and dental insurance rib boat circulating the waters around Malta picking garbage • Life, injury and long term and measuring the health sickness insurance levels of the sea. In summer • Travel insurance 2017, four students spent 2 • Study sponsorships • Relocation support – flight, months picking plastics and excess cargo allowance and garbage out of the sea and accommodation for 14 days studied the hot spots for litter around Malta’s coastline. • Employee Voluntary Programme (up to 1 month paid leave when supporting charity work) • Exclusive company trips and events • Exclusive branded merchandise • Lunches, Breakfasts, After-works events, Fruit, Snacks and much more…
How would you describe your workplace culture? We are a tech-driven, curious & fast moving brand and love those who dare to challenge the norm. We offer a thrilling and rewarding employee journey like no other operator. Mr Green’s home is a modern, digital and inspiring workplace with plenty of room for creativity and is packed with culture, colourful individuals and inspiring stories. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? • CS Specialist • VIP Account Manager x 2 • Affiliate Manager • Casino Marketing Manager • Junior Number Suite Product Manager • Gaming Performance Manager • Gaming Projects Coordinator • Marketing Business Analyst • ECommerce Payments Manager Job Des • Senior Fraud Specialist • ECommerce Product Manager • Head of Campaigns and Loyalty • Legal Associate • Lead VIP Account Manager x 2 • Sportsbook coordinator • Central Admin and internal projects • Head of Organic Traffic • Web Analyst • Web Analytics Implementation Specialist • IT Office Administrator
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malta 104 GAMING 2O18 EDITION
Areas of activity:
iGaming affiliate media and content marketing for sports, casino and poker. Brands:
CasinoGuide, Betting.se, TvMatchen.nu, BeXpert.dk Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2010 Years in Malta: 7 Open jobs: 100+
Why should someone join your company? Raketech is on a company journey and will continue to do great things. We need great people to do great things. We value and reward the hard work of our talented people who grow with the company and achieve personal goals.
What would I get if I worked for your company? Entitlements: Private health insurance, flexible working hours, 12 Days remote working, wellbeing allowances, relocation package, training courses, professional counselling, breakfasts, lunches, after- work events, charity work leave. Social: Weekly wellbeing events, sports, yoga, breakfast and lunch, teambuilding. CSR: Our social committee has its own budget and supports different charities including environmental, social and animal welfare projects. How would you describe your workplace culture? We are a young team of driven and focused people. The culture is very openminded and collaborative, which empowers everyone to achieve and celebrate great results together. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? • Content Writers • DevOPS Engineers • Full Stack Web Developers • QA Software Engineers • PHP Developers • Product Owners • SEO Specialists
St. Julians (Malta), Germany, Croatia, Gibraltar, Colombia Areas of activity:
sportsbetting & casino Brands:
CasinoGuide, Betting.se, TvMatchen.nu, BeXpert.dk Number of employees:
Number of employees in Malta:
In business since: 2004 Years in Malta: 14 Open jobs: 100+
Why should someone join your company? Different programmes and events at Tipico focus on team involvement and give every employee a voice to design a working environment that is safe, comfortable and appealing. Recognition of a ‘job well done’ is a vital component of employee satisfaction within our team. The company nurtures employee development and creates a fun working environment while being transparent; creates an atmosphere of
trust, is a great listener and acts on employees’ feedback. Furthermore, Tipico invests in the physical and emotional well-being of its employees through career paths, HR Business partners and regular one-to-ones on career progression. We ensure that our approach is always one of putting our people first; we invest in our people. What would I get if I worked for your company? Perks: Good salary, employee discount card, sports incentives, social events, performance bonuses, subsidised car park, health insurance, dental insurance Corporate Programmes: Internship, Graduate and Exchange Programmes are offered How would you describe your workplace culture? Tipico’s culture is built on trust, which creates engagement and which ultimately drives the business and performance at work. What vacancies are you currently looking to fill? The variety is vast; ranging from engineers to marketing specialists, designers, customer service agents, software developers and much more. The range goes on; we have 100+ jobs across all locations.
Be prepared; understand what you are getting into and the type of investment needed to make an impact. Investing bit by bit just drains your resources slowly. Getting a licence should not be the destination, but part of the journey. Choose your suppliers and partners carefully, as they will ultimately be key components of your venture. Success is not guaranteed; differentiation is important, but not essential for success.
What key piece of advice would you give to someone joining Malta’s iGaming industry?
Try to be as efficient and professional as possible, while also constantly adapting to the ever-evolving iGaming industry which has flourished in Malta. Surround yourself with the best service providers in order to get ahead of the competition. Especially in light of new laws that are set to be implemented in 2018, which are focused on increasing the already substantial growth that the sector has recently seen. David Gonzi Managing Partner - Gonzi & Associates
Alan Alden Managing Director - Kyte Consultant
Make the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) your first port of call. Do not rely on third parties for facts on how the Maltese iGaming sector works, but instead go straight to source and speak to the MGA. The regulator is the most knowledgeable on the subject at hand. Trevor De Giorgio Chief Legal Officer - Greentube
Don’t let your preconceptions limit yourself. The Maltese iGaming industry is still a wide vista of opportunity, and really does embrace enthusiasm and potential. Even if you have to start at the bottom; determination and persistence will open doors for you, so you genuinely can achieve your dreams. Simona Pinterova PR Manager - LVBet
There is a lot of misinformation being put forward when it comes to the Mobile Communication and Engagement market. It is of paramount importance to choose a partner who has the required expertise and experience in the sector. Chase value and ROI before price; a positive customer experience is everything. Glen Warren CEO - Fortytwo
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In order to succeed in this industry you need to be a game changer. Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to break into the industry, or an individual looking for a challenging career, it is your spirit of innovation and willingness to participate in change that will give you the required edge. Also studyÂ a lot; technology is changing daily, and whatever you learnt a few years ago is almost certainly obsolete. Keeping up with the latest and greatest is key to finding the route to the future.
What key piece of advice would you give to someone joining Maltaâ€™s iGaming industry?
Do research on the sector and its players. If a firm is looking to setup in Malta, it is key to partner up with a top consultancy firm to truly understand the legal and regulatory requirements. On the other hand, if an individual is seeking to join an already established iGaming firm on the island, it is important to collect as much information on the company as possible.
Trevor Westacott Head of Marketing - NetEnt
Roger A. Strickland Jr Director and iGaming Consultant - CSB Group
The iGaming industry in Malta is massive and has a multitude of jobs that range from administration, to customer support, communications, HR and more. While in some cases previous experience would be required, qualities such as being able to interact with people at different levels, delivering on time, and working long hours when required, are usually very critical to being eligible for some of these opportunities.
Success is achieved by aiming for high standards in operation and management, as well as player experience. The high standards and full compliance will provide companies with the stability to grow in a sustainable manner. Finding the right balance between innovation and regulation is the real challenge. Finding the right partners is key to success.
If you are an acquisition marketer working with an operator in the iGaming industry, the main realisation seen is that most profits are derived from affiliates. One piece of advice is to take care of those affiliates, track them and manage them through a reliable and easy-to-use performance marketing solution. Making money is one thing, making even more money using a data-centric approach, through critical decision-making is another.
John Dimech General Manager - VacancyCentre
Vladimiro Comodini Business Advisory Partner - RSM
Thomas Mahoney Head of Marketing - NetRefer
MRGC Calls for more Industry Collaboration The iGaming industry needs to work closer together to influence policy, and decision-makers in Malta and abroad, writes Alan Alden, Secretary General of the Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC), a nongovernmental organisation bringing together all stakeholders in the industry. Alden thinks the iGaming industry needs to play a much more active role in shaping the right conditions for the sector to thrive. He points to the MRGC as a forum for discussion, whose members want to help the industry develop and protect it.
’ll try not to make this article a history lesson, but history has to be touched upon to properly understand Malta’s iGaming journey. Contrary to common belief, online betting in Malta started in 2000 under the Lotto Ordinance Act and applied only to online sports betting operators. Most companies in those days took quite a bulk of the bets over the phone, and the telephone system was a key element of the operation. Only a few companies settled in Malta, but most of those are still here in some form or another and have grown considerably. Expertise in the industry was non-existent; the potential was unknown. The learning started and the creation of the knowledge pool began. Telecoms providers benefitted, as did Malta. Starting off with one cable, we went up to four supplying international connectivity within a few years. Operators wanted to be properly regulated and pressured Malta to come up with some form of regulation for casino and poker. The opportunity with Malta’s accession to the EU on the horizon was identified and acted upon. The Lotteries and Other Games Act in 2003 was quickly followed by the Remote Gaming Regulations in May 2004. The new kid on the block had arrived.
industry, without a shred of evidence or proof to back their claims. Malta survived the recession of 2008 practically unscathed thanks to the Gaming and Financial Services industries. Malta also got into the eurozone thanks to these industries. Today, nearly 18 years later, the industry is still here and going strong. Finally, after years of asking for it, the regulator will be launching new laws and regulations to facilitate the complex licensing process. A long overdue update. So we, as a country, at every level of society, owe the industry a lot. Yet we see and hear so many people shoot down the industry in Malta, more out of ignorance and repeating what they hear, rather than because they are familiar with it or understand it.
Dynamic ideas and quick turnaround in legislation due to our size were the perfect ingredients to hit the industry by storm. Companies flocked to Malta to be regulated in the EU and able to operate there. Banks chased operators to open accounts with them. The other EU countries didn’t know what had hit them. The state monopolies and lotteries were caught napping. Their reaction was eventually ruthless and went against the whole principal of the EU. But it was gambling that we were talking about, and it was easy for an organised lobby group to throw mud and dirt at the
Inflow of Expat Workers
We are also encountering a ‘new’ phenomenon, foreign workers. Previously, in industries such as textiles, the model was that people invested in industries in Malta and the Maltese did the work. Now we have an influx of workers from all over the EU and beyond settling in Malta and working for these companies.
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This influx has created mixed feelings among the island population and new challenges too. It seems that there is a strain on skilled and trained resources. It seems our education system is not preparing people for filling the roles needed in the iGaming industry. There are specific courses for gaming that are available. But we have to ask ourselves, is it enough to create the level of skillful people that are needed? Some established operators do not think so as they struggle to find personnel. When personnel move from operator to operator usually its for a better salary, and this pushes salaries up artificially. These shortcomings could be having a negative impact on the industry and stunt its growth. We should seriously look into it and work on solutions.
“Dynamic ideas and quick turnaround in legislation due to our size were the perfect ingredients to hit the industry by storm.”
The Infrastructure Question
Infrastructure is not only about bandwidth, office space, roads, water and electricity. The infrastructure for the services industry also includes an important element: people. If people aren’t available locally and the operators have to relocate personnel to Malta, then Malta must be family friendly too. But, the important question is, is it? Are there enough international schools? Are there enough parks for kids to play in? Is the quality of life adequate enough to make Malta an attractive place to live? Are there good family homes available? Is the rent reasonable and are the tenants getting value for money? With regards to office space and cost, are we starting to lose our competitiveness? Are we keeping Malta a viable place to invest in? What are we going to do about the banks and their general reluctance to accept gaming companies as clients? Does the damage to the Maltese reputation have anything to do with this situation? How does the Government intend to restore Malta’s reputation? These are but a few of the questions that need to be asked regularly to the industry. If we can’t give a positive answer, then we need to act quickly and effectively. If we want the gaming industry to stay, so that we and the industry can continue to benefit, not only financially, but in many other ways too, then we have to listen to the complaints and act. If we can’t be proactive, then let’s be reactive in a timely manner.
The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC) has been around since 2005. It has always been ready to listen and communicate.
BIO Alan Alden is the General Secretary of the Malta Remote Gaming Council. He began his career at a bank in 1979 and later developed into an Information Systems Auditor. In 2000, he left to join Deloitte. In the same year, he also began assisting and advising the first remote gaming companies arriving in Malta. In 2006, he and another co-founder launched Kyte Consultants Ltd, specialising in remote gaming and the payment card industry.
Any shortcomings, wishes, suggestions and complaints have been regularly communicated to the necessary authorities on behalf of the industry. It has helped formulate policy, regulation and direction through constant interaction with the authorities. The MRGC has had its finger on the pulse from day one. It is extremely important that the players in the industry start acting and behaving as a single industry. Too many have gone for it alone, each with their own different agenda. Together we stand, divided we fall. Had the industry been united, it would have been stronger and could have fought against other lobby groups. Now that Malta has become the main player in the industry, a position that will be further strengthened after Brexit, the troops have to rally and unite and provide a common front against the constant attacks that are carried out against a well-regulated industry. With the 4th AML Directive and the inclusion of remote gaming operators as obliged entities, we have more ammunition with which to fight. Malta is the only country that is willing to fight for the industry, even if that means going it alone against the other 27, soon to be 26, member states. However, Malta needs to be backed by the industry and work as one force, and not independent of each other. The MRGC is going to be the industry’s voice and a force to be reckoned with. Now it is needed more than ever, and it is ready to continue serving the industry so that the journey will carry on and the bumps and obstacles in the road can be overcome. n
A Global Gaming Hub is Reinventing Itself Tiny Malta has gained outsized influence on the world stage as a hub of global gaming. The island had a solid head start in 2004 when it became the first EU state to introduce specific regulations and to bring forward new concepts in the iGaming industry. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the sole regulator responsible for the governance of all forms of gaming in Malta, has now come up with a brand new legal framework, which is expected to enter into force during 2018.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
All Roads Lead to the MGA M
alta has always been well ahead of the curve when it comes to regulating the gaming industry. The island made a bold and visionary move back in 2004 when the Remote Gaming Regulations were launched. State gambling monopolies across the European Union suddenly faced disruption from an agile iGaming industry rising from Malta. Betting services previously established under the Public Lotto Ordinance found their new forte in the Remote Gaming Regulations and the Malta Gaming Authority, previously named the Lotteries and Gaming Authority. The stringent obligations put on iGaming operators in Malta created a level playing field and helped the authority develop into a respected regulator. The legitimacy of the iGaming industry in Malta has contributed to the creation of an entire eco-system, and Malta is often praised as the iGaming capital of Europe. It wouldn’t be a far-fetched prediction to assume that in due time Malta will take on the mantle as the world’s most progressive gaming jurisdiction.
The Advantages of Regulation
All gaming companies operating in and from Malta require a licence, either issued by the MGA or another regulatory authority, given that Malta fully respects the EU’s single market and recognises licences issued by authorities of its fellow EU member states. Malta’s strict regulation of the industry is seen as a feature, which gives Malta-based operators a winning edge over iGaming companies based in other jurisdictions. One of the major advantages of regulation is consumer
trust. Regulation provides players of Malta-based operators with the added comfort of knowing that their monies are secure and that the games offered by such operators are fair and free from fraud and other irresponsible gaming practices.
Not Standing Still
Malta’s regulator is aware of the need to constantly reinvent itself to remain attractive to iGaming operators and to regulate the industry in the best possible way, to ensure player safety. The MGA has embraced growth opportunities in sectors such as eSports and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and, in 2016, introduced regulations for controlled skill games. Cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain are also high on the MGA’s agenda. While in previous years, the MGA was unsure whether or not it should allow the use of virtual currencies, the authority has committed itself to launching a sandbox, which would involve introducing cryptocurrencies and the underlying technologies within a controlled environment. During the past three to four years, the MGA has also developed a new regulatory framework that is intended to be more responsive to the fast-changing digital environment and to a wide range of market innovations in the iGaming sphere. A key change envisioned is the design of a new licensing framework and the introduction of two different licences: a business-to-business and a business-to-consumer licence. The legislation is currently making its way through parliament, and the new law is expected to come into force on 1st July 2018. n
Executive Management Committee
General Counsel – Legal and International Affairs
Chief Officer – Regulatory
Chief Officer – Enforcement
Chief Officer – Finance
Chief Officer Programme Management & Information Systems
Head – Human Resources & Corporate Affairs
2O18 2018 EDITION
20 things you need to know about Malta’s
new gaming law Malta’s regulatory overhaul has made significant progress in recent months. After public consultation in 2017, the proposed bill has been passed on to parliament, and Malta’s new Gaming Act is expected to enter into force on 1st July 2018. The fact that the legislation is still making its way through parliament also means that there might be some small changes to the draft law consulted upon; the main points are reflected below.
The Gaming Act
The MGA is proposing to replace the current legislation with a single primary act called the Gaming Act, which will be the governing framework legislation regulating all gaming services in and from Malta. It will be complemented with subsidiary legislation covering the main areas of regulation, as well as a series of directives, codes and guidelines.
Risk-based regulation and supervision lie at the core of the regulatory proposals, which will see the MGA adopt different approaches to different categories of games, depending on the risk they pose to consumer protection and integrity of the games and the operation. The Gaming Act also brings about a shift from vertical to horizontal regulation and licensing.
This reflects a change in the way specific sectors are thought of and dealt with by the public administration, and a willingness to embrace technology convergence across different channels of distribution of games.
The changes would include replacing the current multi-licence system with a two-licence system – a business-toconsumer (B2C) licence and a business-to-business licence (B2B) – covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels in order to cut through unnecessary bureaucracy. A second tier of approvals will address the systems, game types and channels used under one licence. Prior approval will only be required when the change or addition significantly changes the operation, such as the addition of a new game vertical which may change the risk profile of the operation.
Licences issued by the MGA will no longer be limited to a 5-year period; the licence term has been extended up to 10 years. The regulations also provide for a licence with limited duration, leaving the term open for the Malta Gaming Authority to establish the gaming activities thereunder. This ‘limited duration licence’ is ideal to be used in a disaster recovery scenario.
Under the new law, all operators of licensable gaming services would need to pay gaming tax amounting to 5% of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated from customers located in Malta. The proposal thus abolishes any gaming tax previously payable as a fixed fee. There is also a shift to a point of consumption model, and gaming operators are
only required to pay tax in Malta on revenue from Maltese customers as defined by law. The financial provisions also cater for a compliance contribution, as per the recently published gaming licence fee regulations. Furthermore, B2B operators will be exempt, hence will only be paying the annual licence fee.
The new law proposes to introduce a fixed licence fee of €25,000 annually, together with a compliance contribution fee to be added to the fixed fee calculated on gaming revenue generated. The variable component of the licence fee includes a minimum payable fee of €15,000 or €25,000 (€5,000 for skill games), as well as a maximum capping of either €375,000, €500,000 or €600,000, depending on the type of games offered. The variable compliance contribution fee is payable monthly.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Providers of critical supplies are also subject to a licence fee, varying according to the service provided. Game providers are subject to a yearly licence fee ranging between €25,000 and €35,000, depending on the revenue generated by the provider. Providers of back-end services, or a control system whereby essential regulatory data is captured, stored or otherwise processed, shall be subject to a fee ranging between €3,000 and €5,000 annually. Given that the new regime is expected to enter into force in July, existing operators will be required to pay tax and fees in accordance with the current legislation until 30 June 2018. As of 1 July 2018, all operators will start paying gaming licence fees under the new regulations, and a true-up exercise will be conducted, to calculate the difference in taxes paid as from the 1st January 2018. Licensees who have paid more than what was due will receive tax credits equivalent to the excess amount paid. Licensees which have paid less, shall pay the difference accrued by September 2018.
Key Official & Key Functions
Under the current regulations, the Key Official has developed into the key compliance person for Malta licensed operators, but that doesn’t always mirror reality. The new regime is proposing that key functions within licensed companies need to be notified to the MGA, with the Authority approving the person or persons conducting said functions. They should prove their competence through certification, relevant
experience and continuing professional development. Persons holding these positions shall be required to have a sound understanding and knowledge of their obligations, as well as gaming operations compliance methodologies, attested by a certificate that can be obtained by following an accredited training programme. In terms of proving professional experience, the MGA is considering two years’ experience in the five years preceding the application as a legal, finance or compliance officer in a gaming or financial services company, as sufficient. The MGA is proposing that key functions must continuously keep themselves updated on developments in the regulatory and compliance areas, directly or indirectly affecting the gaming sector.
Types of Games
The regulatory framework covers games of chance, games of chance and skill, as well as skill games. A list of criteria will guide the MGA in determining into which category a game falls. Another key change proposed is shifting from a prescriptive approach to one based more on regulatory objectives and principles. This should make it easier to deal with innovation in the gaming sector, and should give the MGA the ability to license new types of products and activities in the future, which today do not exist with flexibility and without the need to amend the law.
Non-profit games, tombolas and advertising lotteries will be classified under the
new framework as Low Risk Games. Rather than requiring a licence, such games will be required to acquire a Low Risk Games Permit, and subject to the relevant parameters, will be exempt from paying gaming tax.
Skill games were formally regulated in Malta by means of the Skill Games Regulations of 2016, which came into force in January 2017. Malta has recognised that several games, including fantasy sports, vary substantially both from pure skill games such as chess and also from games of chance. The new law embodies this approach and will supersede these Regulations.
Operator Compliance & Monitoring by the MGA
The proposed legal framework grants the MGA extended monitoring and enforcement powers. In the future, greater emphasis will be placed on ongoing and transparent access by the MGA to operators’ regulatory data. First and foremost, a compliance review process has been formally introduced in order for the regulatory framework of the MGA to be more transparent to licensees. This process will be kick-started in cases of reported or suspected breach of laws, or on an ad-hoc basis underpinned by a risk-based approach. New reporting procedures with respect to suspicious transactions will be introduced in line with the latest AntiMoney-Laundering laws and implementing procedures.
List of nonCompliant Operators
The new law would empower the MGA to roll out a new procedure whereby it can issue a list of non-compliant operators, allowing those operators to make submissions to the MGA clarifying and/or addressing a lack of regulatory compliance in order to be removed from the list. This is aimed at ensuring that players are aware of noncompliant operators and the risk that may be incurred when making use of their services.
Concept of Administration
The legal proposals also include the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist in winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds. The nomination of the administrator is to be confirmed by the Civil Court (Voluntary Jurisdiction Section) to ensure oversight of the judiciary on the process. This concept is widely used in the financial services sector and is now being extended into gaming services.
The introduction of a clear administrative review procedure is a new tool in the rights granted to applicants and licensees alike, in order to appeal and challenge any decision of the MGA which they deem to be wrong or unfair. This highlights the MGA’s commitment to render the regulator more accountable, while improving transparency
in the way it conducts its regulatory function.
Corporate Group Licence
The licence holder must be any person established in the EEA, and such persons may hold a licence for themselves or for a corporate group. If a licence is issued for a corporate group, the approved members of the corporate group are jointly and severally considered as the licensee.
Social Causes Fund
The proposal is to strengthen the MGA’s role in the promotion of responsible gaming and safeguarding minors and vulnerable persons, by incorporating the functions of the Responsible Gaming Foundation under the remit of the Authority, in order to better leverage the necessary resources and expertise to achieve these objectives to the fullest. A Social Causes Fund is also envisaged, which mirrors and improves upon the structure of the Good Causes Fund established under current legislation.
activities has been widened. Supplies which are deemed to be critical to the delivery of the gaming services have been considered to be licensable activities owing to their intrinsic importance from a regulatory perspective. This includes the supply and management of control and back-end systems controlling, processing or capturing regulatory data. With regards to affiliates, the MGA states that when the role of the outsourcing provider is limited to advertising and marketing, the regulatory risk is limited to matters relating to adherence of advertising laws. Given that the responsibility for compliance with such laws rests with the licensee, there is no scope for additional regulatory involvement. On the other hand, where the outsourcing service provider also conducts other activities related to the gaming service, intervention may be necessary. Where the outsourcing service provider processes payments and handles player registration, the service provider shall itself be deemed to require a B2C licence, unless such services are being carried out solely on behalf of the licensee, in which case they shall be deemed to be covered within the remit of the licensee’s authorisation.
players from being incited to gamble. The new framework outlines stronger limitations as to where advertisements can be placed, and the manner in which such communications can be made. The framework also introduces rules specifically relating to sponsorships, bonuses and promotions, misleading advertising and advertising aimed at self-excluded persons. Some of the proposals deal with the following: • Licensees are not allowed to publish false information on chances of winning, or suggest that gambling can be an investment. • Gambling cannot be promoted as a way of gaining prestige. • It is also not allowed to use celebrities in advertising and making the player believe that gambling was behind their success, or that skill can influence the outcome in a game of luck. • When it comes to social media, companies need to make sure that under-age persons are excluded from the target audience, while social media accounts also need to contain an educational message on responsible gaming, and an age-limit warning.
The MGA highlights that the nature and complexity of outsourcing arrangements may result in increased regulatory risk and therefore certain situations may warrant some form of intervention by the Authority to ensure that compliance is not undermined. It is in this context that the scope of regulation of B2B
Technical Standards Commercial Communications
The MGA has developed a new set of commercial communication standards. The new regulations aim to better protect vulnerable persons and underage
Many have expected to see draft technical specifications included in the draft published for consultation by the MGA. However, the MGA felt the need to get the feedback on the framework first, before delving into further details.
The technical standards will be developed based on Malta’s own experience and best practices from other jurisdictions. The idea is to promote a set of technical standards that shy away from being prescriptive and instead move towards more objective-based requirements, so as not to stifle innovation and technological developments being proposed. While the MGA is aware that the industry is eagerly awaiting these, operators can rest assured that the technical standards will not include something totally alien. They will in fact reflect current industry standards, while catering for the necessary transitory periods for eventual roll out. It is also envisaged that the MGA will be providing the industry with adequate consultation along the process.
Malta shall continue to recognise gaming licences issued in other EEA jurisdictions (the mutual recognition principle) in line with European Treaty Principles, and licensed companies are allowed to operate in Malta. However, under the new law, such operators would need to notify the MGA in view of reputational risks to the jurisdiction. In such cases the MGA may maintain adequate controls over such operators, who are based in Malta. The recognition notice is subject to a yearly fee and may also be revoked.
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Other MGA Priorities Unified Self-Exclusion System While land-based operators have long been integrated in a unified self-exclusion system, remote gaming operators are not. While they are obliged to offer this facility to their players, there is no unified system in place. The MGA is committed to designing a unified self-exclusion system across all channels.
Virtual Currencies The MGA is committed to allowing the use of crypto-currencies by its licensees in the immediate future, and will roll out a sandbox-initiative in order to better assess the risks of virtual currencies.
Automation Further to a consultation which was launched in 2016 regarding the introduction of an Enhanced Automated Reporting Platform, a tender process was initiated recently for the provision of such a system for the land-based sector, with the intention of eventually moving towards automated reporting for remote gaming operators as well. To this effect, various initiatives are currently being explored, including pilot projects, to ensure optimum results with minimal impact on the compliance and other operational costs of our licensees. This serves a twofold purpose: facilitating licensees’ adherence to their reporting
obligations, whilst also increasing the Authority’s access to information and thereby strengthening effective compliance oversight.
Licensee Relationship Management System A new web portal is reshaping the way the MGA communicates with its licensees. The MGA teamed up with Microsoft Malta to create a dedicated Licensee Relationship Management System (LRMS), which was rolled out in phases during 2017. The intention is to transform the way the MGA does business. Going paperless is high on the agenda. The CRM system digitises the communication between prospective and existing licensees, which thus far relied heavily on manual processing of information. The platform automates and simplifies licensing procedures, while a dedicated dashboard gives applicants the possibility of following the status of their application in real time, ensuring efficiency and transparency. Applicants and licensees can already use the following types of online applications and services: new licence applications for Remote Gaming and Skill Games, Dynamic Seal URL requests, Players Liability Reporting, Tax Reporting, Declaration of Go Live Application, Incident Reporting, Change in Approved Company Details, Change in Approved Personal Details, and Change in Technical Setup.
“During the past four years, the MGA has articulated a new path underpinned by a strategic repositioning of what Malta stands for as a gaming jurisdiction, this includes amongst others the Authority’s Gaming legal overhaul which will be coming into force this year. We will streamline our licensing structures, extend the licence period from five to ten years and we have also provided a new tax and administrative fee structure. On technical standards related to the new licensing framework, we will be consulting with the industry in late 2018. Our rationale is to avoid duplication and unnecessary costs for licensees, by aligning with gaming industry standards already in force, as well as preparing for the necessary transitory periods. We see no point in creating something that is completely different from what Denmark and the UK already have. Thereby we will take up any best practices along the process and introducing others as necessary.” Edwina Licari, General Counsel Legal and International Affairs
European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM)
Addressing the Skills Shortage
To address the skills shortage in the iGaming industry, the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) has been launched. This strategic initiative is the start of a journey which will lead to the development of talent in the gaming sector and the creation of more long-term careers for both local and foreign students, through educational programmes which will enhance the sustainability and growth of the workforce in today’s digital economy. EGIM is a joint venture between the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), which has the objective of developing training and educational programmes for the gaming industry. EGIM aims to offer the best possible mix of short-term courses, diplomas and masters programmes for potential candidates coming from non-related gaming industries to familiarise themselves with an area of choice within the gaming industry to achieve adequate knowledge and skills. EGIM’s objective is to understand the current and future skill requirements of the industry and most importantly, forecast and prepare for the upcoming skill sets needed to build and create educational courses based on future technology and product trends.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
APPLICATION PROCESS Applicants are requested to submit all the required information in one go, and the MGA commits itself to the analysis of all information through multiple internal process streams. The MGA stresses that the submission of an application for a gaming licence should be the end result of thorough considerations made by the prospective applicant. Applicants should acquire knowledge of the regulations and ascertain themselves whether they are committed to complying with the high standards. The implications of getting a Maltese licence - such as taxation, human resources, operating costs and legal implications to name but a few - should also be taken into consideration. Currently, there are four different classes of licence, and companies setting up in Malta will need to obtain a licence to the class appropriate to their operations. Licences are valid for a period of five years. Once Malta enacts its new Gaming Law during 2018, this will change as it is being proposed to shift from multiple licence types to a simplified system with two types of licence: business-to-business (B2B) and/or business-to-consumer (B2C) licences. Once granted, a licence will then be valid for ten years.
MGA Performs Probity Checks
Probity Checks OK?
MGA receives Remote Gaming Application In the application stage the MGA assesses whether an applicant: 1. Is fit and proper to conduct gaming business. 2. Is correctly prepared from a business strategy perspective. 3. Has the operational and statutory requirements to meet the obligations prescribed by law and policy. 4. Has correctly implemented what has been applied for, on a technical environment before going live.
Types of Licences Maltaâ€™s new Gaming Law proposes to introduce only two licence classes: business-tobusiness (B2B) and/or business-to-consumer (B2C) licences. However, until the new law is approved and enacted, operators can apply for the following licence classes. Class 1 Remote Gaming Licence which shall mean a licence to provide games of chance played against the house. The outcome of which is determined by a random generator, and shall include casino type games including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker played against the house and lotteries.
Class 2 Remote Gaming Licence which shall mean a licence to provide games of chance played against the house. The outcome of which is not generated randomly, but is determined by the result of an event or competition extraneous to a game of chance, and whereby the operator manages his or her own risk by managing the odds offered to the player.
Class 3 Remote Gaming Licence which shall mean a licence to provide games of chance not played against the house and wherein the operator is not exposed to gaming risk, but generates revenue by taking a commission or other charge based on the stakes or the prize. Shall include player versus player games such as poker, bingo, betting exchange, and other commission based games.
Class 4 Remote Gaming Licence which shall mean a licence to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee himself. Operators with this licence are B2B operators that provide management and hosting facilities on their gaming platform to other B2C operators and EEA licensees.
Application Process Terminated
MGA receives Remote Gaming Application
MGA carries out review of Business Plan
MGA obtains from applicant any clarification required
MGA carries out review of Statutory & Operational Documentation
MGA obtains from applicant any required clarification
Business Plan accepted?
Statutory & Operational accepted?
12-16 weeks This process is usually completed within 12 to 16 weeks, assuming all information is complete and correct. Inconsistent and low quality applications are dropped and the respective applicant will have to re-apply.
System Audit is conducted
Licence is issued
Application Process Completed
Application Process Terminated
The MGA conducts a fit and proper exercise on the applicant by assessing all information related to persons involved in finance and management and on the business viability of the operation. As part of this process, the MGA conducts probity investigations with other national and international regulatory bodies and law enforcement agencies. Any nondisclosure of criminal records or misleading information will result in automatic disqualification.
The MGA conducts an in-depth financial analysis of the applicant’s business plan. The applicant’s business plan is expected to have a detailed forecast of the operation, inclusive of marketing and distribution strategies, HR plan and growth targets.
The application is examined on the instruments required to conduct the business. This process includes examining incorporation documents; the games, the business processes related to conducting the remote games; the rules, terms, conditions and procedures of the games; the application architecture and system architecture of the gaming and control systems. Furthermore, a remote gaming applicant is subject to minimum issued and paid-up share capital requirements. Class 1 and Class 2 licence holders are required to retain a minimum share capital of €100,000 whilst Class 3 and Class 4 licensees are required to retain a minimum share capital of €40,000. Companies with multiple licences are required to meet the above share capital requirements cumulatively up to a minimum capping of €240,000.
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Licensing | Compliance | Affiliation | Mergers & Acquisitions Company Formation | Data Protection (GDPR) | Intellectual Property | Patents Brand Protection | Software Licensing | Corporate Governance | Tax Gaming Policy | Skill Games | Blockchain | AML | Business Planning | Strategy IPO | Commercial Litigation | Dissolutions | Restructuring | Employment Law
Anti-Money-Laundering Following the transposition of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, gaming companies are legally subject persons in accordance with Legal Notice 372 of 2017 about The Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations. The licence procedure will meticulously ascertain that the applicant has followed AML policies and will take affirmative steps to prevent money laundering, terrorist funding and other suspicious transactions. In fact such procedures must include: • The Human Resources Roles & Responsibilities document should include the role and responsibilities of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer and the Key Official. • Fraud Management Procedures. • Know Your Client (KYC) Procedures. • Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Risk Assessment Policies & Procedures. • Payout Management Procedures.
System review & Issuing of the Licence The final phase consists of a detailed audit of the applicant’s completed and operating business. Once the MGA informs the applicant that the application was successful, the applicant will be allowed 60 days to complete the technical roll-out. If the applicant does not complete such technical roll-out within the mentioned 60 days, the application will be considered as suspended and subject to reapplication unless a reasonable justification is submitted for the MGA to consider. At any stage within those 60 days, the applicant must request an external systems review. The systems review will audit the live environment against the proposed application. To test whether the applicant complies with the regulations, the auditor will have a close look at the front and the back-end applications as well as how they manage and maintain policies and procedures. Further documentation required includes copies of signed agreements with all third parties that may affect the gaming or control system, such as the agreement with the equipment hosting providers and payment processers. Also required is the paperwork for any other contract where functions are outsourced, which must clearly outline the responsibilities to be carried out by such providers. If there are significant changes to the gaming system, the applicant must resubmit all updated documentation and will have to undergo another systems review.
“For existent licensees, the transition between the current and the new regime will be pretty much seamless, but to do this, it requires a substantial amount of effort from the MGA, particularly from the Regulatory directorate, who needs to lead the migration. That said, we are eagerly looking forward to the new legislation, as it brings with it considerable improvements for both licensees and the Regulator, specifically with the introduction of the businessto-business and business-to-consumer licences, which are set to replace to current licence-by-class system. Apart from streamlining the licensing process, this will also change the way we conduct compliance reviews on our licensees; a change that will allow us to move away from the current model which is tied to the various licences by class type held by licensees, to a more comprehensive one, based on risk.” Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Officer Regulatory “2017 was a busy year shaped by the 4th Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Directive. We created a complete new Anti-Money Laundering team, who will work alongside the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). We have already started conducting some test inspections so that the MGA and the operators can familiarise themselves with the new requirements. A major change for operators will be that player verification will now need to be carried out once player deposits have reached €2,000, regardless of if the amount is reached in one day or if takes two years. Given that most companies are active in many different countries, and there might be some small variations in how these countries have implemented the 4th AML Directive, we usually advise operators to check which jurisdiction has the strictest rules and then build their AML processes and procedures around those requirements.” Dominic Micallef, Chief Officer Enforcement “This year, we will implement the Advanced Automated Reporting Platform. We have chosen a supplier, and once we get the system up and running, we will first provide it to a selected number of gaming companies – to test the prototype. We will start in the second quarter of 2018, and expect that we can roll it out to the entire industry by the end of this year. We want to reduce paper as much as possible. Last year, our new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system went live, which primarily acts as a game licence management system, enabling licensees to submit e-forms. This is a win-win situation as it offers licensees and the authority a new, and more efficient, communication channel.” Andrew Naudi, Chief Officer Programme Management & Information Systems “With some 160 people, we have now reached the ideal staff size. The MGA continuously invests in its people to enrich their knowledge and competencies and to provide them with the necessary skills to contribute to the success story of the Authority. We are also seeing more highprofile applicants, including many foreigners. I believe the MGA has built up a very strong reputation in the global gaming industry, and this helps in attracting very talented people.” Christopher Formosa, Head of Human Resources & Corporate Affairs
malta 120 GAMING 2O18 EDITION
Licence & Compliance Fees
Licence Fees • Application Fee: €2,330 (on submission of application for a remote gaming licence)
In accordnace with the Gaming Licence Fees Regulation, for licensees the below Licensing and Compliance dues apply:
• Licence Fee: €25,000 (on issuance of licence and subsequently per annum; where an operator has multiple B2C licences, only one annual licence fee applies)
Licence & Compliance Dues
• Licence Renewal Fee: €1,500 (on submission of application for renewal) After the transitory period, fees will change in line with the Gaming Licence Fees Regulations
“2017 has been an interesting year for the Authority, we have been working relentlessly to be in a position to launch the new Gaming Licence Fee Regulations which were necessary in preparation for the legal overhaul which is due to be launched in July of this year. 2018 will be a busy year in that the Authority is geared up to ensuring that the new regulations are implemented in the most efficient manner, and that they provide a close-toseamless transition for operators.” Peter Spiteri, Chief Officer Finance
Licence fees payable as per First Schedule of the Gaming Licence Fees Regulations 3 (1) and Second Schedule 3 (2) Class 1 - B2C Type 1 Gaming Services Minimum* €15,000 - Maximum €375,000 Compliance Contribution for the Financial Year** For every euro of the first €3,000,000 For every euro of the next €4,500,000 For every euro of the next €5,000,000 For every euro of the next €7,500,000 For every euro of the next €10,000,000 For every euro of the remainder
Rate 1.25% 1.00% 0.85% 0.70% 0.55% 0.40%
Class 2 - B2C Type 2 Gaming Services Minimum* €25,000 - Maximum €600,000 Compliance Contribution for the Financial Year** For every euro of the first €3,000,000 For every euro of the next €4,500,000 For every euro of the next €5,000,000 For every euro of the next €7,500,000 For every euro of the next €10,000,000 For every euro of the next €10,000,000 For every euro of the remainder
Rate 4.00% 3.00% 2.00% 1.00% 0.80% 0.60% 0.40%
Class 3 - B2C Type 3 Gaming Services Minimum* €25,000 - Maximum €500,000 Compliance Contribution for the Financial Year** For every euro of the first €2,000,000 For every euro of the next €3,000,000 For every euro of the next €5,000,000 For every euro of the next €5,000,000 For every euro of the next €5,000,000 For every euro of the next €10,000,000 For every euro of the remainder
Rate 4.00% 3.00% 2.00% 1.00% 0.80% 0.60% 0.40%
Class 4 - B2B Gaming Services Annual Licence Fee Where annual revenue does not exceed €5,000,000 €25,000 Where annual revenue exceeds €5,000,000 but does not exceed €10,000,000 €30,000 Where annual revenue for the year exceeds €10,000,000 €35,000 * For new licencees, minimum is not applicable for the first Financial Year ** Compliance contribution during the first 12 months of operations, shall not be payable for new licencees fulfilling the criteria for start-ups.
Compliance at a Glance COMPLIANCE REVIEW
The MGA’s rigorous application process is designed to ensure ethical behaviour and fair play, from the strict due diligence process each company undergoes prior to being issued with a licence, to the monitoring and supervision of the operations once they are set up and running. The MGA mandates that after going live a licensee undergoes a number of compliance reviews in order to ensure that the licensee is compliant and operating in accordance with the applicable requirements. Therefore, licensees need to be aware that the licence application process is just the beginning when it comes to compliance requirements.
The MGA requires the following reviews: • After the first year of operation once licensed by the MGA. • On the third year of operation after being licensed by the MGA, following a risk-based assessment. • Prior to the expiry of the licence for its renewal. • At the discretion of the MGA, based on the risk rating of the licensee, or when this is deemed necessary, specifically in cases where the licensee is suspected to be conducting its operations in breach of the applicable requirements.
Failure to carry out or successfully undergo a compliance review may lead to administrative action from the MGA, including the suspension of a licence.
SUSPENSION AND CANCELLATION
The MGA may order the suspension or cancellation of a licence for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to: cases where the licensee or the Key Official is convicted in any country of an offence which is punishable by imprisonment; the licensee fails to comply with a material term or condition of the licence, fails to pay taxes and other fees or is insolvent; fails to meet commitments to players; has obtained the remote gaming licence by providing false or misleading information or is in breach of the laws or regulations for the prevention of money laundering.
Every licensee is obliged to appoint at least one Key Official who is responsible for supervising operations and to ensure that the licence holder complies with all laws, regulations, conditions and any directives issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The official must assist the MGA with any investigations
and queries relating to the licensed operations; oversee and audit processes, ensure that all games are fair and correct, and that the remote gaming system is wellkept and maintained. The Key Official role holds great responsibility, and therefore the selected person should be readily available in Malta and has to be approved by the MGA.
GAMING SYSTEMS AND CONTROLS
In applying for a gaming licence, the applicant must present to the MGA the software used and the specifications of the control system that will be used to conduct gaming operations and which will be subject to verification testing. The operational manual must include the following details: game description, software, reporting requirements, and a full list of the terms and conditions with the rules of the games. It should also include: the general procedures to be followed for the operation of remote gaming software where applicable; the procedures for recording and paying prizes won in remote gaming; and the accounting systems and procedures to be followed to play a game. The MGA also requires the following to be submitted: the procedures and standards for the maintenance, security, storage and transportation of equipment to be used to conduct remote gaming; the procedures for the setting up and maintenance of security facilities including general compliance and internal controls relating to access to critical systems, a disaster recovery plan, and an adequate system of data backup. Before a new gaming system becomes operational, a licensee must provide adequate certification to the MGA to confirm that the gaming system was tested within the previous six months and found to comply with all technical specifications. These requirements confirm that the system is technologically sound, secure and unbiased. More specifically, the data in the gaming system must be randomly generated, unpredictable and unable to be reliably reproduced. The operation of all gaming equipment must have the prior approval of the MGA. The requirement for randomly generated data means the system must pass appropriate statistical tests of randomness to prove that the data is unpredictable and that it is computationally unfeasible to predict what the next number will be. If, for example, the sequence generator is activated again with the same input, it must produce two completely unrelated random sequences. Moreover, the outcome of the game event, and the return of the player, must be shown to be independent of the CPU, memory, disk or other components used in
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
the playing device. Nor must the game event outcome be affected by the effective bandwidth, link utilisation, bit error rate or any characteristic of the playing of the game. Operators must seek prior approval from the MGA before making any changes to the system. The gaming system must also be capable of producing monthly auditable and aggregate financial statements of gaming transactions, and calculate accurately all taxation and other monies due to the MGA. The gaming system must maintain information about all games played and the identity of the player.
REGISTRATION OF PLAYERS
The regulations require players to submit certain information to the licensee before they can be registered as players and participate in the games. These include the following details, which the operator is obliged to obtain from each player: that the player is over 18 years of age, the player’s identity, the player’s place of residence, and the player’s valid e-mail address or mobile number. The database server must be physically located within the European Economic Area or any other approved jurisdiction and could be subject, if necessary, to inspection by the MGA. The MGA also requires the presence of a mirror server in Malta that replicates in real-time the data on the database.
PLAYER ACCOUNTS AND PAYMENTS
Operators granted a Malta licence must set up and maintain a player’s account for each player registered, and the licensee cannot accept a wager from a player unless a player’s account has adequate funds to cover the amount of the wager. The licensee is barred from accepting cash from a player, and funds can only be received from the player by credit/debit cards, electronic transfer, wire transfer, cheques or any other method approved by the MGA. It is a strict provision that a licensee must not provide credit to a player or act as agent for a credit provider to facilitate the provision of credit to that player. When a player requests to withdraw funds from their account, the licensee must remit such funds within five working days, if practical, and a licensee must not personally deal with the credit of a player’s account. Once player deposits reach €2,000, the player’s identity, age and place of residence have to be verified in line with the new Ant-Money-Laundering rules. A payment may only be remitted by the licensee to the same account from which the player’s funds originated. Inactivity for 30 months on a player’s account permits the licensee to remit the balance in that account to the player or, if the player cannot be satisfactorily located, to the MGA. The licensee must keep players’ funds separate from the licensee’s own funds in a client’s account held with an approved credit institution. The licensee must instruct and authorise the credit institution at which a
player’s account is held, to disclose any information as may be requested by the MGA in respect of a player’s account. The licensee must also submit to the MGA a Player Liability Report on a monthly basis, to confirm that player funds are controlled in accordance with the applicable requirements.
The regulations oblige all licensees to display at all times, in a prominent place on the entry screen of the website, a warning of the addiction possibilities of gaming and links to other websites assisting compulsive/problem gamblers. In addition, every hour an automatic reality check that suspends play must appear which: indicates how long the player has been playing, displays the player’s winnings and losses during such period of time, requires the player to confirm that the player has read the message, and gives an option to the player to end the session or return to the game. All amounts displayed must be quoted with the symbol of currency that the player is playing with. Full-screen games cannot be offered unless a real-time clock is displayed on the screen at all times and players are given the facility to exit the game.
Self-barring gives players the option of managing their gaming activity effectively. All registered players must: be given the facility to set a limit on the amounts wagered within a specific period of time, set a limit on the losses that the player may sustain within a specific period of time, set a limit to the amount of time the player may play in one session and exclude the player from playing for a definite or indefinite period of time. If the game is displayed on a screen, an automatic counter must indicate the player’s account balance.
Malta’s commitment to player protection includes an obligation to provide safeguards to ensure responsible gaming. The dangers of compulsive gambling and other gambling related problems are well recognised by the legislation and regulation governing Malta’s remote gaming industry. The MGA has put in place a variety of checks and balances to prevent the abuse of gambling and the proliferation of compulsive players who feel they should exclude themselves from playing for a period of time. Self-barring also includes provisions such as limiting the amount per wager, or limiting losses.
ABORTED OR MISCARRIED GAMES
A licensee is to take all reasonable steps to ensure that its computer system enables a player whose participation in a game, after they have made a wager, is interrupted by a failure of the electronic communications system
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
or a failure of the player’s computer system, is able to resume playing, when the system is restored. If a licensee’s computer does not enable a player to continue, the licensee shall ensure that the game is terminated and the amount of the wager is refunded to the player by placing it in the player’s account.
The MGA takes complaints from players very seriously, and every licensee must give players the possibility of filing complaints. Every licensee is obliged to enquire into any complaint made, and in the event that the complaint is escalated to the MGA, the licensee must provide the initial feedback within 21 days from the date on which the complaint has been lodged.
The framework also lays out detailed guidelines on advertising, and licensees are not permitted to carry out advertising that, among others: implies that remote gaming is required for social acceptance, personal or financial success or the resolution of any economic or social problems; contains endorsements by well-known personalities that suggest remote gaming contributed to their success; that encourages individuals under 18 years of age to engage in remote gaming; or that sends unsolicited electronic mail, whether it is through its own operation or by the intervention of third parties.
KEEPING RECORDS, ACCOUNTS, LICENCE AND COMPLIANCE DUES
Licensees are required to keep accounts and records that show a true and fair view of the financial position and state of affairs of the licensee. Within 180 days from the end of its financial year, the licensee needs to file with the MGA an audited set of financial statements. Within 30 days from the end of the half yearly period, the licensee has to submit interim financial statements. The gaming tax based on the licence class has to be paid monthly by the 20th of the following month. MGA licensees are obliged to display the following information on the homepage of their websites: • the registered name of the licensee’s company • the address of the company’s registered office • the official number and date of issue of the licence • a statement that the licensee’s operations are regulated by the MGA • hyperlinks to the websites of MGA-approved organisations specialising
in helping problem gamblers • hyperlinks to the rules of the games or betting offered and the procedures adopted by the licensee for the registration of players under the kitemark of MGA, which shall double up as a link to the MGA website • any other information that the Authority may deem necessary
The Fourth AML Directive came into force in June 2015 and has been transposed into Maltese law. Remote Gaming licensees are legally subject persons in accordance with Legal Notice 372 of 2017 about The Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations. They are obliged to operate according to their AML/CFT obligations as outlined in this Legal Notice and the implementing procedures issued by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). The new rules present a legal obligation for iGaming companies which requires more robust due diligence and more onerous obligations to prevent money laundering, while bringing about an obligation for all gambling operators to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) once player deposits reach €2,000. A guideline process for the registration of players and suspicious transaction reporting is depicted below and is considered as a minimum standard by the MGA for the prevention of money laundering and funding of terrorism. n
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Wazdan’s ‘Passion for Games’
is changing the fundamental concept of slots for a richer player experience. Malta-based Wazdan, the major casino games producer with products covering slots, table games and video poker has ushered in a new era in the development of slots games through the unique ‘Wazdan Features’, which give players more control over the outcome. This breakthrough is based on Wazdan’s legacy of innovation as well as an advanced development lab that produces outstanding research into slots technology.
The unique Wazdan features, Volatility Level, Energy-Saving Mode, Double-Screen and Unique Gamble Feature enhance the slots game for operators and players alike, while Wazdan’s portfolio of engaging and innovative HTML 5.0 slots can be enjoyed on mobile, desktop and tablets. At the heart of slots gameplay is the concept of slot variance, or as Wazdan call it ‘Volatility Level’, that is fundamental to how a slot game ‘feels’ to play. Slot volatility is a measure of risk associated with playing a slot machine. With Wazdan’s world’s-first ‘Volatility Level’, players can set to a low variance where the game has regular but smaller wins and to a high level where the game has fewer but bigger wins. Alternatively, the player may decide not to alter the ‘Volatility Level’, leaving the setting at ‘Normal’ where the Wazdan game reverts to its standard RTP. Wazdan’s distinctive approach to slots game development starts by recognising that slot players are gamblers. While the physical interaction of hitting a spin button is simple enough, the psychological, emotional and intellectual engagement is complex as evidenced by researchers such as Professor Mark Griffiths, an industry consultant. Gamblers base their decisions on what they perceive as the potential in terms of how the game features work and what sort of wins or near-wins they experience. Wazdan Features such as ‘Volatility Level’ contribute significantly to an enhanced player experience and take Wazdan’s games to a higher level for players and operators. Recently Wazdan agreed a deal to integrate its content onto EveryMatrix’s Casino Engine platform, a move that takes Wazdan into a highly competitive position. Wazdan’s popular portfolio includes titles such as Magic Target Deluxe, Valhalla
and Wild Guns. Upcoming titles include Los Muertos, Mayan Ritual and Captain Flynt, among others. They will all feature on the EveryMatrix platform together with over 100 other games from the popular games developer whose ‘Passion for Games’ is quietly spreading across the industry; to operators, platforms, aggregators and affiliates. Notably, Stian Hornsletten, CasinoEngine CEO and cofounder, said: “We are always looking to add the very best slots titles on the market to our casino aggregation platform. Wazdan’s portfolio hosts an array of beautifully-designed games to suit passionate players.” Recent new game releases from Wazdan include Dracula’s Castle, Tetri Mania Deluxe, Fruit Fiesta, Mystery Jack Deluxe, Book of Magic Deluxe, Magic Fruits 4 Deluxe, Magic Hot 4 Deluxe and Magic Fruits Deluxe to name just a few. With over 100 game assets currently in production, Wazdan’s portfolio will be expanded to over 200 titles by the end of 2019. The latest smash release from Wazdan, ‘Dracula’s Castle’, is packed with spine-tingling excitement and more than a nod to Bram Stoker’s original 1897 Gothic horror. The new slot game takes place at Dracula’s castle where the 5 reels are filled with sinister, ghostly, and unnatural symbols. These include goblets of blood, Dracula, bewitching Transylvanian concubines, and other themed icons in this multi win-line slot. It’s hard to forget the young, sadistic, mysterious and threatening concubines. Dark, seductive and hungry, the brides of Dracula appear often in-game to torment players. Some of the symbols in the game have special abilities, such as the blood from the prince of darkness, which take the
place of standard game symbols after a win. They introduce an exciting gamble feature to choose the correct goblet filled with blood, the blood from the prince of darkness. This doubles wins in an instant with just one click. Wilds help players out by filling-up the reel to reveal Dracula himself, thereby extending the win. Keeping apace with market developments, Wazdan has also released Tetri Mania Deluxe, a cool twist on the famous classic retro-game with colourful cubes, players collect the Tetri-block symbols in this 4-reel, multi win-line slot to cash in. Relaunched with an innovative gamble feature that includes more symbols, players get a second chance at winning and even double-winning. There’s also the Tetri Joker, a wild who helps boost balances. With its advanced graphics that run smoothly on phones and tablets, this is a slot that really stands out from the crowd.
Casinos, Betclic and Evoke Gaming where he was brand custodian for Bertil Bingo and Casino as well as MamaMia Bingo and Casino. Prior to his time at Wazdan, Fall was with WebFusion and New Era Publishing in high-profile marketing roles. Follett is the former Head of Evoke Core at Evoke Gaming, responsible for managing the product strategy and implementation of systems and services. Follett is also a CRM specialist and has significant exposure to consultancy and revenue-building around customer acquisition, retention and reactivation. Mann has over a decade of industry experience, formerly head of sales at Spigo after spending a number of years with William Hill and Betway before his appointment at Wazdan.
Lauryn Duncan former Head of Sales and Marketing at Jeremy Fall, Head of Marketing and Brand at Wazdan said: NetRefer takes over a sales and business development role “The Wazdan brand is synonymous with innovation and we’re at Wazdan and will lend her strategic expertise to help grow getting strong responses from casinos based on the quality the business. She was previously Head of Operations at of our product portfolio, our successful NetRefer after executive positions at S.A. track record of good performance with Ladder in South Africa and Hirst Handling, leading operators extends over years in her experience spans Europe, Africa and The Wazdan brand the industry.” Asia following a stint in Hong Kong.
is synonymous with innovation
Wazdan has lived up to its name as the game developer that is constantly introducing new and exciting online slots and also including an important element of player choice into the games that results in a more personal and enjoyable gaming experience. Slot players get something out of winning and Wazdan’s games developers understand that slots are all about the experience. They are masters of surprise, triggering a rare bonus game with differently presented mechanics that breaks the repetition. During the latter part of 2017 Wazdan significantly strengthened the management team and has appointed former Rank Group executive Jeremy Fall as head of marketing and brand while naming veteran IT specialist Michael Follett as head of product management with David Mann in the business development role and Lauryn Duncan in a key sales role with new and existing clients. The strengthened team are based in a new office building in Birkirkara, close to Malta’s main financial services centre and minutes from capital city Valletta. Fall has taken up the new role after serving with Grosvenor
Many of Wazdan’s games are powered by their innovative suite of added-value tools, Volatility Level, Double Screen Mode, Unique Gamble Feature and Energy Saving Mode, which provide operators with the ability to activate multiple features designed to enhance customer experience and engagement, improve retention, encourage extended play and produce higher yield. Malcolm Ferrante, a Director of Wazdan, said: “Jeremy, Michael, David and Lauryn all share our unique Wazdan vision, and are now supporting brand penetration as well as spearheading the development of a number of investments to further bolster our outstanding innovation in game development.” Ferrante continued, “We believe their passion and professionalism in the casino industry will help us on our mission to be the industry’s first choice for slots games that have outstanding features including our world’s-first Volatility Level. It’s a very exciting time for Wazdan and we will be making further major announcements during 2018 that truly exhibit our passion for game-making.”
For further information visit www.wazdan.com
Wazdan, the major casino games producer with products covering slots, table games and video poker have announced a number of key management appointments; from the left, David Mann, Lauryn Duncan, Michael Follett and Jeremy Fall.
malta 130 GAMING 2O18 EDITION
Setting up in Malta Malta is rolling out the red carpet to iGaming companies and can be rightly proud of its thriving iGaming sector. A key pillar of the island’s success has been the support provided by the country’s skilled technical and professional services sector. Equally, the island’s lawyers and accountants have a wealth of experience, thus ensuring that a vibrant and creative cluster of talent and know-how is in place to help companies manage their operations. This is unique in Europe and goes a long way towards explaining Malta’s identity as a gaming location.
Regulation / Licensing Malta’s iGaming industry has many factors working in its favour, but none more so than the island’s regulatory framework that was introduced in 2004. The country was the first jurisdiction to develop the idea of needing a licence to operate in the iGaming sphere and has been a role model for many other countries ever since. A few years ago, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) set out to find a better way to regulate the industry, which today has to deal with an ever-growing web of regulatory, legislative and compliance challenges. Malta’s new Gaming Law is expected to come into force in July 2018, and it promises to be one of the most business-friendly regulatory frameworks for the industry. Some of the proposed changes include: • Streamline the current multi-licence system into two different licences: a Business to Business licence (B2B) and a Business to Consumer Licence (B2C) • Broaden the MGA’s scope of regulatory oversight in order to crack down on activities such as money laundering and funding of terrorism • Establishing a more effective process for criminal and administrative offences • Introduce an administration to assist in the closure of an operation, to protect jobs and player funds • Add new obligations to monitor sports betting and report suspicious activity, in line with the National Anti-Corruption Task Force • Make taxation more efficient and allow B2B licensees to be exempt from gaming tax
Incorporating a Company Forming a company in Malta is relatively easy and only takes a couple of days. The Maltese legal structure is a
hybrid system of Civil and Anglo law. While it is based on the civil law pattern of Continental Europe, most administrative and fiscal legislation is constructed on the British model. While Maltese law does not have a specific requirement on the nationality and residence of directors of a company incorporated under the laws of Malta, iGaming companies are required to appoint a Key Official, who must be resident in Malta. Maltese law does not lay down any specific requirements on the shareholding of a gaming company, and the iGaming company may be owned indirectly through a Maltese holding company or directly by non-resident shareholders.
Corporate Tax Regime Malta puts great emphasis on the fact that it is not a tax haven. The country ensures its regulatory framework is in sync with the changing demands of the industry and is fully in line with the requirements laid out at EU level. With the island’s accession to the EU in 2004, Malta’s tax regime – which had been in place since 1948 – was approved by the European Commission. The country operates a full imputation tax system under which companies are taxed at a rate of 35%. However, shareholders are entitled to refunds for the tax paid by the company. The refund may be equivalent to either 2/3rds (when double taxation relief is claimed), 5/7ths (in the case of passive interest and royalties) or 6/7ths on trading income. Income and gains from a participating holding, where a company holds directly at least 10% of the equity shares of a non-resident company, or meets certain other criteria set out in the law, are exempt from tax. Malta’s network of some 70 Double Taxation Treaties further strengthens the country’s position as a key corporate location. Malta also meets international tax standards and is included in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) white list.
15% flat income
tax rate for highly qualified foreign professionals
and services. Throughout the past years an increasing number of member states have implemented national regulatory regimes. Malta, however, stands firm on the principle that a licensed operator from Malta should be able to use that licence in any EU member state, without the need for an additional licence from other member states. Operators in Malta highlight the fact that that despite the European market becoming more restricted, the Maltese licence still holds value by providing access to countries that have not introduced national licensing regimes. In addition, Malta-based licence holders may find it easier to acquire a licence in other jurisdictions, such as the UK, as there are certain similarities between the Maltese and UK regimes.
Advertising & Marketing Gaming Tax and Licence Fee Under Malta’s new Gaming Act, expected to enter into force in July 2018, all operators of licensable gaming services would need to pay gaming tax amounting to 5% of the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) generated from customers located in Malta. B2B operators will be exempt from gaming tax. The new law also proposes to introduce a fixed licence fee of €25,000 annually, together with a variable fee to be added to the fixed fee calculated on gaming revenue generated.
Personal Taxation & Expat Taxation Individuals are charged on their income at progressive tax rates up to a maximum of 35% (for income over €60,000). The top rate of income tax for those who earn less than €60,001 is 25%. To attract highly qualified personnel from abroad, Malta has introduced an incentive scheme targeting foreign executives. iGaming professionals can benefit from a flat personal income-tax rate of 15% on income up to €5 million. Any income over that figure is tax-free. To qualify for this tax incentive, the employee must earn a minimum of € 82,353 per year (basis year 2016), among other criteria. EU nationals can benefit from the reduced tax rate for an unlimited period; EEA and Swiss nationals for a period of ten years and third country nationals for four consecutive years. Malta is also an attractive place for retirees, as well as high-net-worth individuals and their families, with separate programmes allowing them to benefit from a reduced tax rate if they relocate to the island.
Market Access Malta was the first country in the European Union to create dedicated legislation for remote gaming that is based on the EU’s freedom of movement of goods
Malta offers a well-established infrastructure that supports the creative needs of iGaming companies. The island has become renowned for its creative industries such as film, website design, graphic design, animation, digital media and advertising. Over recent years, the island has succeeded in attracting key players and supporting companies to establish operations in Malta, ensuring that iGaming companies can tap into areas such as SEO, affiliate management companies and consultants. Due to Malta’s lower cost base, iGaming companies can source services at a lower rate here than in Continental Europe. Due to the fact that advertising guidelines vary in European jurisdictions, the Malta Gaming Authority recommends that operators seek advice in relation to if, how and what can be advertised in other jurisdictions. Companies will have to abide by a new Code of Conduct on Commercial Communication when advertising in Malta one Malta’s new Gaming Law enters into force. The new code aims to better protect vulnerable persons and to make sure minors are not gambling.
Telecoms & Data Management Given its size, the island’s telecoms infrastructure is disproportionately strong. Hosting and co-location services can be easily sourced. Data centres are provided with international bandwidth through the three main telecoms service providers; GO, Vodafone and Melita. There are also several other independent data centres. Malta is internationally connected through two satellite stations (one to the Atlantic Ocean region and the other to the Indian Ocean region) and five submarine fibre optic links to mainland Europe via Italy. GO has two fibre-optic submarine cables linking the island to Sicily, whil Vodafone
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
and Melita have one each. In addition, Melita has teamed up with US-based provider Level 3, one of only six tier-one operators in the world, and a new fibre link connects Malta to Milan. To reduce Malta’s reliance on the existing links, Malta’s government plans to invest in a new fibre optic cable to Marseille, France. Bandwidth in Malta is slightly more expensive than elsewhere due to the fact that Malta is an island, but increased competition from multiple market players is expected to drive telecommunications prices further down in the near future.
Banking & Financial Services Malta has a robust financial services sector that continues to grow year-on-year. The sector offers a full range of services to the iGaming industry and has developed industry-specific products and services. More than 25 foreign or privately owned credit institutions are present in Malta, offering the full set of banking services ranging from retail and investment banking to wealth management, trade finance and custody services. The World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index 20172018 rates Malta’s banking sector the 17th soundest banking system in the world. Bank of Valletta (BOV) and HSBC are the largest players in the local retail sector. BOV is the main player in the iGaming sector, while Satabank, Sparkasse and Mediterranean Bank are also servicing this industry. Most iGaming operators in Malta maintain merchant accounts and player fund accounts with top tier overseas acquiring banks such as RBS and Lloyds, while the local Maltese banks are used for operational funds, personal bank accounts and wealth management solutions.
Payment Services Malta is also home to credit card companies, payment service providers, payment gateways, card issuers and eWallets, regulated and overseen by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). The island’s financial services legislation is modern and sophisticated, and superior to many of its competitors in the areas of e-commerce regulation and facilitation. Specialist PCIcertified payment service providers offer a full range of payment services. Payment service providers in Malta maintain their own in-house data centres with redundant connectivity and power, and extremely high security, and are connected to a large number of international and local banks, eWallets and financial institutions.
Stock Exchange Listing The Malta Stock Exchange (MSE) has set its sights on persuading iGaming companies to list in Malta instead
of Stockholm, London or Frankfurt. With a market capitalisation of some €10 billion, the MSE may be small by international standards, but it provides companies with a solid alternative venue to access the EU market and to raise funds through its recognised and reputable regulatory framework, a cost-effective fee structure and a speedy processing time. The Exchange uses Deutsche Börse’s Xetra trading platform, while on the settlement and custodial side the MSE has a link with Clearstream Banking, the global liquidity provider of Deutsche Börse Group, which facilitates international investor access. Although equipped with and connected to the latest technology, what sets the MSE apart is its very high standard of personal service. While iGaming companies have yet to discover the advantages of the MSE, the Exchange highlights that generally companies can go through the preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) with more support than on a larger exchange. In addition to this, costs and fees remain competitive. Companies can also benefit from ancillary services that range from admission and trading, to depository and custodial services.
HR & Recruitment It is no secret that foreign talent has been a key ingredient to Malta’s gaming success. While Malta produces its fair share of IT and finance specialists, a country of 440,000 people needs talent from every corner of the globe. The island’s comfortable lifestyle and magnificent climate make it easy to attract expats to relocate in Malta, and some 70% of the sector’s workforce is foreign. Maltese staff tend to fill positions in IT, finance and general management, while the more specialist gaming, customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing posts are filled by expats. While a favourable tax rate is doing its part in attracting creative gaming minds, Malta is also opening its doors to third-country nationals to meet demand for business intelligence professionals, marketing professionals, affiliate managers, online marketing managers, Java and front end developers, .NET developers, systems engineers (Linux/UNIX) and digital designers.
Recruitment Agencies & Training To cater to the high demand for experienced gaming professionals, a number of specialist gaming recruitment companies have set up in Malta, including iGaming Elite, Pentasia, Betting Connections, Reed iGaming, People & Co, Quad Consultancy, VacancyCentre.com, and CSB Group. These companies can assist operators in deciding how and where to recruit the human resources necessary, using their international networks to reach potential candidates from around the world. Most of the larger companies on the island now also
17th Soundest Banking System
(World Economic Forum, Global Competitiveness Report, 2017-2018)
have their own gaming specialised HR departments. Training companies and some educational institutes provide industry-specific training, while the launch of a new Gaming Academy in a few years’ time is set to expand the current offering by providing training modules that are to be tailor-made to industry needs, targeting Maltese nationals and foreigners alike. A new official initiative is also the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM), which is set to provide education and training solutions in tandem with private and public institutions.
Salaries & Staff Cost Malta remains significantly cheaper than other European capitals in terms of staff salaries and other costs. Although the iGaming industry tends to offer remuneration that is some 30% higher than other industries in Malta, the figures are still lower than the European average. In the gaming sector, financial packages range from €20,000 for customer support staff to €80,000 for department heads and €200,000 for CEOs. The lower cost of living in Malta also means that staff actually enjoy a much higher quality of life on a lower salary than they would on a higher salary in locations like London or Stockholm.
Work Permits & Approvals Visa obligations for foreign nationals reflect EU regulations and obligations. Non-EU nationals must apply for and obtain an employment permit, and the granting of the permit is subject to a labour market test. Due to the nature of the industry and the specific knowledge that is required, the granting of employment permits even to non-EU nationals is generally an uncomplicated and smooth process, according to operators and recruiters. To attract specialist talent from non-EU countries, Malta recently relaxed its rules for work permits, and iGaming companies can now hire experts for certain roles, including IT consultants and system analysts, without having to prove that they were unable to find a suitable EU employee. To protect the reputation of the jurisdiction, operators that are licensed in Malta need to submit certain due diligence, such as a police conduct certificate and a passport copy, of their prospective personnel to the Malta Gaming Authority for their approval before the employee can start work.
Professional Services Malta has a solid cluster of firms that specialise in providing professional services to iGaming operators, guiding them through the licensing process and postlicensing requirements, as well as in the setting up of
a Malta company, establishing operations, offices and recruiting HR. In addition, the iGaming community in Malta is strongly supported by a large range of accounting and auditing practitioners ranging from small boutique practices to the global Big 4 accountancy firms, as well as most international network brands. The jurisdiction also has various companies providing excellent back-office services such as bookkeeping and payroll services. Some companies have also started to provide multi-jurisdictional advice, responding to recent changes in the legislative landscape and the opening of new markets. Most of the country’s legal firms are part of international networks, such as Lex Mundi and Lexis Nexis, and are regularly ranked on Chambers, Martindale-Hubbell and Legal 500. Malta is able to offer operators professional services such as accountancy, business consultancy and legal services at costs that are generally lower than in other Western European locations.
Technical Support Technical services are well catered for in Malta with a number of firms being set up to exclusively support the iGaming industry. These include iGaming specialist firms offering comprehensive security audit services, custom-tailored assessment and examination programmes to test every aspect of iGaming system security and also the testing of all types of games on a wide range of gaming platforms. Malta has also proved an attractive location for software developers and platform providers supplying the iGaming industry. Another area registering significant success in Malta is the setting up of call centres offering multilingual services. While most of the larger iGaming operators in Malta have in-house customer relations teams, many smaller outfits are turning to outsourcing opportunities.
Commercial Property Malta offers enviable real estate with sea views and marinas as well as prestigious landmark office complexes within easy commuting distance of residential areas. Although sales and letting prices have gone up recently, they are around two-thirds of
Employment Regulation Regulation: Employment & Industrial Relations Act Type of contract: Fixed or indefinite, full-time or part-time Probation Period: Six months Standard working week: 40 Hours Maternity Leave (paid): 18 weeks Parental Leave (unpaid): 3 months Employment Agency: Jobsplus
WE�RE ALL GAME The ever-evolving casino business thrives by managing what’s next; new games, new ways to play, new tools, new rules. It’s always your move. No one can hide behind game characters. We don’t. We’re people with passion and precision who keep delivering innovative, world-class entertainment, always with an edge.
those charged for comparable spaces in Continental Europe. Most iGaming offices are located in the vibrant areas of St. Julian’s and Sliema, but many have also chosen to move into the more central areas of Malta such as Mosta, Naxxar or Birkirkara. Office space comes in many flavours, ranging from purposebuilt office blocks, converted houses, apartments and palazzos, to new, large mixed-use areas currently under development. The latter are generally located in key urban areas with sea views. Modern office space is also available in SmartCity Malta, a dedicated IT business park based on the model of Dubai Internet and Media City. A large number of local and international realestate agents provide sales and letting services and can assist in locating suitable property.
Start-up Incubators Gaming start-ups find Malta a particularly attractive place due to the concentration of suppliers on the island. Face-to-face meetings with those companies can easily be arranged. The island is also stepping up its efforts in helping to create new businesses and has expanded the scope of support for innovators. Based at the University of Malta, TAKEOFF is Malta’s first technology business incubator. The programme is specifically designed to help innovators and aspiring entrepreneurs create successful science, technology, engineering, creative media and knowledge-based start-up businesses. The Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), Malta’s national IT agency, runs an Innovation Hub at SmartCity Malta, Malta’s media and IT city based on the model developed in Dubai. The hub provides a location backed by software tools and all the necessary resources in which students, web designers, software developers and start-ups can share ideas and develop prototypes under the mentorship of world industry players. To back their projects, future web entrepreneurs and innovators will have access to a number of software and cloud technologies, and support programmes.
Start-up Support Malta Enterprise, the national development agency responsible for promoting and facilitating international investment, provides incentive packages to support research and development from the initial stages to post-implementation of certain projects. Incentives include part-financing of the costs and business advisory services. A government website, BusinessFirst.com.mt, provides information and tools that are designed especially for start-ups, established businesses and those who support them and advise them. An ‘Innovative Start-Up Programme’, which is also available to businesses that have the potential to develop innovative products or services, provides start-up advisory services, business incubation, grants to cover costs related to investments in tangible and intangible assets, and access to finance. Start-ups can also benefit from a number of other initiatives and institutions such as the Microsoft Innovation Centre at SkyParks Business Centre, PwC’s 1Million Euro Startup Fund initiative and the Malta College of Arts Science and Technology (MCAST), which has recently been assigned a number of units at the Kordin Business Incubation Centre managed by Malta Enterprise. In addition to the support available from the public sphere, venture capital firms have started to move into Malta, offering iGaming start-ups a new avenue to access finance.
Co-Working Spaces As Malta’s start-up community is expanding rapidly, a number of co-working spaces have opened up offering entrepreneurs the opportunity to work in a vibrant and dynamic environment that will not only foster their ideas, but also create invaluable business connections while still being affordable. The HUB Workspace, Soho Office and THAT Space are all companies offering shared office solutions.
€20,000-€200,000 iGaming Sector Salary Range
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
The Perfect Platform to Mingle and Network
Malta is home to some of the biggest and most exciting iGaming events, with SiGMA – the Summit of iGaming – firmly leading the charge. However, a string of other networking events and conferences are organised on the island, including the iGaming Idol Award Show. The Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) is set to return this year after its organisers joined forces with publisher and events specialist iGaming Business. 6,000 Attendees SiGMA has established itself as a must-attend exhibition in the iGaming event calendar, and the 2017 edition that took place in November impressed many people and surpassed expectations. The show, in its fourth year running, moved to a new venue, the Malta Fairs & Convention Centre (MFCC), to accommodate some 200 exhibitors, 150 speakers and around 6,000 delegates. SiGMA is not merely an expo, but in 2017 included nine conferences, a start-up pitch, a careers convention for those wanting to explore a new career in Gaming in Malta, as well as countless dinners and related networking events. “I think SiGMA is truly becoming a 360-degree showcase for the online gaming industry: we attract not only affiliates and operators, but also B2B, regulators, start-ups, investors and, unlike any other show worldwide, HR,” organiser Eman Pulis said. The conference rooms were packed for most of the time, and in particular, the Start-up Pitch attracted the crowds. Following a very successful first run in 2016, the SiGMA Pitch was back with an unprecedented 100 startups, all of which had an opportunity to have a small booth at SiGMA. Ten of the 100 start-ups were chosen to present their innovative offering to a panel of judges and eSports-focused PVP.ME was crowned the winner. On the first day of the event, the European Fantasy Sports Summit (EFSS), organised by the Gaming Malta Foundation in cooperation with SiGMA, explored challenges and opportunities for the sector and promoted fantasy sports as an iGaming vertical. Another well attended conference was the KPMG eSummit, which attracted high-calibre speakers and panellists from across the world. Team SiGMA keeps raising the bar, year after year, and 2018 is already promising to be another record year. Practically all exhibitors have already confirmed their participation in 2018.
Recognising talented Employees
A New Beginning
Another event – iGaming Idol – has also swiftly grown from its first edition in 2016. The 2017 edition doubled in size. More than 430 gaming executives attended a black tie dinner at the Hilton in September to celebrate top talent in the iGaming industry in Malta. During the award ceremony, 17 outstanding individuals and one employer in the iGaming industry were crowned “Idols of the Year”. iGaming Idol is the first award show in the iGaming industry to exclusively recognise individuals, not companies or projects. With its many categories it covers almost all parts of a typical online gaming operation. It is also the first award show in the industry, where nominees have to prove themselves in front of a panel of judges. iGaming Idol is organised by iGaming Idol Ltd, which is a joint venture between Michael Pedersen, MiGS Ltd, Ramona Mifsud and Ambassador Events. You can already mark your calendar for the next edition, which will take place on 26th September 2018.
2018 is also expected to see the return of the Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS). Last year, the organising company of (MIGS) and iGaming Business, the leading publishing house and event organiser, announced a partnership to jointly organise the Malta-based c-level iGaming Conference. However, due to the timing of the negotiations to close the deal, it was decided to move the event to May 2018. Michael Caselli, Editor in Chief of iGaming Business, said: “We are very excited about this new partnership. We have been a fan and a major supporter of MIGS since its early years and are happy now that we are planting some seeds in Malta”. Over the last eight years MIGS has cemented itself as a leading conference in the Mediterranean that attracts c-level delegates from across the globe. Previous speakers include Calvin Ayre, Declan Hill, Sue Schneider of eGaming brokerage, as well as Pontus Lindwell from Betsson amongst other major names.
of Gaming ICE VOX
5th-7th February 2018, London, UK (takes place during ICE Totally Gaming)
London Affiliate Conference
7th - 10th February 2018, London, UK
ICE Totally Gaming 6th-8th February 2018, London, UK
Explore at www.clariongaming.com
30th May - 31st May 2018, Miami, USA
Japan Gaming Congress
Location TBC, October 2018
10th - 11th May 2018, Tokyo, Japan
30th May - 1st June 2018, Miami, USA
Autumn Affiliate Conference iGB Live
Brasilian Gaming Congress 22nd - 24th April 2018, SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil
17th - 20th July 2018, Amsterdam, Netherlands
(new event incorporating iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference),
WrB London October 2018, London, UK
October 2018, Location TBC
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
iGaming Events Calendar 2018 Global Gaming Awards London
Affiliate Summit Europe 2018
Hippodrome Casino, London, UK Global Gaming Awards London continues the success of the Vegas awards. The London awards feature new categories specifically designed to embrace, recognise and reward the difference between international markets. New categories for London include Sports Betting Suppliers and Operators, Online Poker, Bingo and Payment Providers. www.globalgamingawards.com
Intercontinental London – The O2 This two-day event features an agenda crafted by a new European advisory board made up of the biggest stakeholders in the European affiliate marketing industry. It is packed with engaging presentations and panels covering the latest industry trends, analysis and challenges. Affiliate Summit Europe is also a networking opportunity that encourages the exchange of open ideas and experiences. www.affiliatesummit.com
05 February 2018
05 - 07 February 2018
ExCeL London, UK ICE VOX is the gaming industry’s knowledge-exchange and educational brand, covering a variety of learning modules. The event will start with the World Regulatory Briefing. The following panels and discussions will deal with topics such as International Casino, Big Data and Machine Learning, eSports, Modernising Lotteries, Blockchain, Cybercrime & Security, Game Design/ Game-to-Watch Competition. www.icetotallygaming.com
ICE Totally Gaming 06 - 08 February 2018
ExCeL, London, UK ICE Totally Gaming represents the entire gaming industry covering land-based and online channels across all sectors. Due to its size and scale, ICE Totally Gaming is the leading industry event, which offers business development and networking opportunities. www.icetotallygaming.com
06 - 07 February 2018
London Affiliate Conference (LAC) 2018
07 - 10 February 2018
ExCeL, London, UK The London Affiliate Conference is the standout show in the iGaming affiliate space. Gathering over 5,000 delegates from the biggest affiliates and operators in the world, this two-day event provides a great networking opportunity in an easy-going environment. www.igbaffiliate.com
iGaming Asia Congress
13 - 15 March 2018
Grand Hyatt, Macau www.igamingasiacongress.com
Prague Gaming Summit 2018 29 March 2018
Andel’s by Vienna House Prague, Czech Republic www.praguegamingsummit.com
Asean Gaming Summit 2018
20 – 22 March 2018
Conrad Manila, Philippines www.aseangaming.com
Brasilian Gaming Congress (BgC) 22 - 24 April 2018
Tivoli Mofarrej, Sao Paulo www.brasiliangamingcongress.com
Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) May 2018
Malta The Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) will return in May 2018. The conference is aimed at professionals in the industry who want to network, learn from speakers and gain new insights.
Japan Gaming Congress (JgC) 10 - 11 May 2018
Conrad, Tokyo, Japan www.japangamingcongress.com
Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) 15 – 17 May 2018
Venetian Macao www.g2easia.com
Casual Connect Europe 2018 29 – 31 May 2018
Juegos Miami 2018 30 May – 1 June 2018
Miami Biltmore Hotel Panels and discussions at Juegos Miami will focus on the major challenges of the regional gaming sector. Top gaming experts will share their regional and global expertise to support the changing needs and aspirations of the sector. www.juegosmiami.com
Vienna International Gaming Expo 2018
engage across the entire iGaming space at a single event. Website: www.igblive.com
Austria Center Vienna, Austria www.viennagamingexpo.com
Affiliate World Europe
30 May – 1 June 2018
Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GiGse) 2018 30 - 31 May 2018
Miami Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, Florida, United States GiGse follows the interest of the US gaming industry in helping retain and acquire players, while retaining its foothold in the future entertainment industry. With a consistent flow of disruptive leisure venues, surfaces and digital spaces, it is critical for the industry to preserve its value as an entertainment provider. www.gigse.com
World GES - World Gaming Executive Summit 2018 03 - 05 July 2018
W Hotel Barcelona The World Gaming Executive Summit agenda will bring together the best and the brightest speakers in the gaming industry, as they share their expertise and knowledge of future developments. Attendees will benefit from targeted content for the offline and online gambling communities; with tracked sessions including focused case studies and panels. www.terrapinn.com
17 - 20 July 2018
Amsterdam RAI In 2018 the iGaming Super Show, EiG and Amsterdam Affiliate Conference come together at a consolidated three-brand event called iGB Live! The event provides industry stakeholders with a unique opportunity to
18 - 20 July 2018
Barcelona This two-day conference will be hosting 30+ speakers who are inspiring, creative and innovative marketers and authorities in the affiliate marketing industry. Networking opportunities and key takeaways from the industry will help you to increase your profits. www.affiliateworldconferences.com
Central and Eastern European Gaming Conference & Awards (CEEGC) 25 - 26 September 2018 Location TBC www.ceegc.eu
iGaming Idol 2018 26 September 2018
The Hilton Malta iGaming Idol is a premium award show created to recognise top talent in the iGaming industry in Malta. The event is the first award show in the iGaming industry to exclusively recognise individuals; is open to all genders, and offers categories covering almost all parts of a typical online gaming operation. Nominees will have to prove themselves in front of a panel of judges. www.igamingidol.com
Summit of iGaming Malta (SiGMA) October 2018
Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre, Malta SiGMA is the largest iGaming show in Malta, which brings together the three distinct pillars of the iGaming industry: B2B, Operators and Affiliates. www.maltaigamingsummit.com
Autumn Affiliate Conference October 2018
Location TBC The iGB Affiliate conferences take place 4 times a year and consistently attract high numbers of iGaming and forex affiliates to meet with operators and affiliate networks. The Autumn conference will take place in October this year and will include the highquality conference agenda and networking opportunities that are commonplace at these events. The location for 2018 is currently a well-kept secret - keep your eyes peeled for the big announcement. www.clarionevents.com
World Regulatory Briefing (WrB) London 2018 October 2018
London, UK http://europe.wrbriefing.com/
Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Las Vegas 2018
Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS) & Balkan Entertainment and Gaming Expo (BEGE)
Sands expo & Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada www.globalgamingexpo.com
Inter Expo Center, Sofia, Bulgaria www.eegamingsummit.com
09 – 11 October 2018
The Evolution of Fantasy Sports The GamingMalta Foundation organised and hosted the first European Fantasy Sports Summit (EFSS) at SiGMA. The Summit, which will be held again in 2018, discussed the future potential of daily fantasy sports as an emerging iGaming vertical.
Pictured from left: Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation; Michael Kibort of DraftKings; Tal Itzak Ron of Tal Ron, Drihem & Co.; Ivan Filletti of the GamingMalta Foundation, and Mark Davies of Swansea FC.
“The European Fantasy Sports Summit brought together an exciting and diverse portfolio of thought leaders within the fantasy sports industry. I appreciated the opportunity to meet with a range of peers from both established companies and start-ups. The conference produced smart conversations and networking opportunities for those looking to advance the conversation and industry as a whole.” Jeffrey Haas Chief International Officer at DraftKings
At the first European Fantasy Sports Summit at SiGMA in Malta recently, a group of experts discussed a number of benefits that DFS (daily fantasy sports) has over other types of fantasy gaming and iGaming. Highlighting these benefits will be key to driving awareness, acceptance and adoption of DFS, the panel agreed. The panel was moderated by Hampus Hagloff, CEO, FSports, and the panellists were Riccardo Mittiga, CEO, Asap Italia; Michael Kibort, Director of International Business Development at DraftKings; and Jindrich Raichl CEO, Funtasysport.de.
A Social Game of Skill
“DFS is a totally different experience than you can ever have with any other game,” Raichl said. “It’s about challenging your friends, playing for bragging rights with friends and proving that you know more about football. Sportsbook is more about the game of chance.” Kibbort agreed. To be successful in fantasy sports you have to know sports, you have to be a fan “and that requires work”. What DFS brings to the table, he said is that “the season is truncated into a single day and if you are successful, you can get paid for the knowledge and the work you have put in. It’s a very different experience.”
Mittiga argued that DFS is far more engaging for players than other types of fantasy gaming or iGaming. He explained: “With normal fantasy, which has existed for years, every day engagement is the same as at the beginning of the season. When you play DFS, you start a season every day.”
Kibort added: “It’s not just that you watch every game. Every minute of every game matters. A game can be 5-0 in the 88th minute and that last challenge in the last minute can win you an experience or a prize. It’s an experience that is very difficult to replicate.”
Kibort said that integrity is inherent in DFS, and this is a clear advantage compared to other verticals. He explained: “When you look at how the winners are determined in a fantasy sports contest, the winners of the real-life matches really don’t matter. It really has no bearing on the outcome. It’s all of the individual statistics of the athletes, so a professional athlete could not influence or have a say on who is going to win money or win a prize in a DFS contest by purposely performing poorly.” He noted: “That’s one of the key benefits we bring up when I meet with the regulators.” With DFS, there is a much lower chance of addiction and huge financial losses too, Raichl argued, because “you have simply the events, the games that you are following. You can create a line-up for another game but you cannot sit there for hours playing the game because you simply need to wait for the outcome of the other game.”
More to come
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What you need to know about
Real Estate in Malta As the iGaming industry’s demand for properties continues to increase at a rapid pace, Michaela Tabone and Edward Agius of RE/MAX are giving practical tips for anyone looking to rent or buy real estate in Malta.
Rental prices range from €500 to €1,000 per month for properties that can be described as being economical, while rents vary between €1,500 and €3,500 for more upmarket accommodation, and for the most luxurious accommodation one needs to be prepared to pay between €4,000 and €12,000 per month.
We expect Malta’s real estate market to continue growing. We believe that the market is strong enough to carry on with the same pattern, due to the huge demand and the everincreasing supply.
It is all about location. Of course prices are substantially higher in the more sought-after areas such as Sliema and St Julian’s in comparison to the central, northern and southern parts of the island.
Initially, we always recommend to rent a property, especially if a client has never visited or lived on the island. This will help them find their bearings in order to establish their requirements to eventually buy a property.
Most iGaming companies look to create a comfortable working environment by designing a state-of-the-art space. We have seen some companies go to the extent of having in-house chill out areas, cinemas, fully equipped gyms, kitchen and dining areas, complete with a chef, as well as a health section with juicers and more. All new developments meet the demands of these gaming companies, and the older office blocks are being refurbished to meet their requirements.
There is a huge demand for both commercial and residential properties, especially in the more sought-after areas, and this has affected prices. It all boils down to demand and supply.
Some 90% of office blocks are offered finished and ready to move into. This would include air conditioning, suspended ceilings, lighting, toilets and kitchenette. However, any partitioning and upgrades would be at the expense of the client.
BIO With a sound background, and already well established in Real Estate, Michaela Tabone joined RE/MAX in 2005 and soon occupied the position of Senior Letting Associate, excelling in her work and resulting in her winning a number of accolades. As the Assistant Regional Letting Manager, a position she was promoted to in 2017, she now guides and mentors a team of 40 letting associates, working across the islands of Malta.
Properties away from the areas that are in high demand are still reasonably priced. It might make sense for gaming companies to offer their employees either transport or some sort of compensation towards commuting to the office.
Up to 400,000 square metres of office space is expected to come on to the market in the next few years, and thus far we havenâ€™t had any issues in finding offices for our clients. We are positive that the competent authorities will not allow a major surplus and that growth in commercial office space will continue to prosper.
There is room for negotiation, but there is no exact indication of what percentage is negotiable. It is usually easier to negotiate for long leases, and if one offers quarterly, half yearly or annual payments in advance.
RE/MAX has been working hand-in-hand with the iGaming industry since 1999, therefore we know how to handle every clientâ€™s request. We have a team of 40 letting associates, who are qualified to assist our iGaming clients.
There has definitely been an increase in the number of requests for serviced offices, in fact, a number of new centres have opened in the last couple of years. We have assisted clients in finding shared and flexible work space.
When renting property in Malta, one should always check the property thoroughly before committing to ensure that everything is up to standard and all amenities are included in the property. Families and people sharing accommodation should ensure that the landlord is willing to sign form H when registering for utilities with ARMS, Maltaâ€™s utility billing company. Form H is a declaration form enabling one to register the number of persons residing in the property, by doing so one will benefit from lower rates.
Our team is big enough to offer the best possible service, no matter where the client chooses to be located. We have 28 offices in Malta and Gozo, with letting associates in every office, specialising in each area.
Edward Agius has been associated with JK Properties since its foundation in 1999. Originally operating in Real Estate sales he moved to Property Letting, eventually occupying the position of Senior Letting Associate. When the RE/ MAX franchise entered the market in 2004, Edward was appointed Regional Letting Manager. Today he leads a team of 40 letting associates, operating in the commercial and residential market base across the islands of Malta.
+356 2578 3303 Looking to rent property in Malta?
If youâ€™re relocating to Malta, or seeking to rent commercial property, we can help. RE/MAX Lettings brings a strong team of knowledgeable agents who are ready to help you find what you need within the local market. Residential or Commercial, weâ€™ve got you covered.
RE/MAX Associates are direct contributors of the RE/MAX & Friends Foundation Fund (VO/1019) which focuses on helping children in special circumstances.
E x pat G uide
Malta One of the Worldâ€™s Best Expat Destinations
Think of Malta and a few things will immediately spring to mind: the sun, the sea and probably history. But itâ€™s also a vibrant island that blends traditional culture and cosmopolitan life to fascinating effect. Itâ€™s an island that has something to offer everyone, from sunrise yoga and nightly DJ sessions, to swimming in the crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea, visiting megalithic temples; world-class culinary experiences and breath-taking country walks.
malta 150 GAMING 2O18 EDITION
Country Malta is a country of contrasts, where 7,000 years of history meet an increasingly trendy vibe and a progressive society. Anchored in the crystal clear waters of the central Mediterranean, the Maltese archipelago is situated just 90 kilometres south of Sicily and 300 kilometres north of Africa. Just over 316 square kilometres in area, the Maltese Islands comprise Malta, Gozo and Comino. The main island, Malta, has an area of 246 square kilometres, but while small in size, is it surprisingly big on attractions. Popular for decades with tourists, Malta’s proximity to Europe means it is relatively easy to reach. Just an hour away from Rome and three hours from London or Frankfurt, the island offers visitors the chance to get away from it all and experience for themselves the beauty of its languid Mediterranean lifestyle, the charm of its island landscape and the vibrancy of its multi-cultural, multilingual, young and energetic social scene.
History A modern nation with ancient roots, Malta has been home to a wide range of civilisations. The island’s strategic position between Europe and Africa made it a key possession for its many settlers and conquerors: from Neolithic man to the Ancient Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the Normans, the Knights of St John, the French and the British, all of whom have left a wealth of architectural and cultural treasures. The country’s archaeological sites pre-date Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids by more than 1,000 years, and the Neolithic temples are the oldest free-standing constructions in the world. Modern Malta was founded in 1964 following independence from Great Britain. The island became a republic in 1974.
Climate A rocky Mediterranean island with a dry and sometimes windy climate, Malta enjoys around 300 days of sunshine per year. With average summer temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius and winter temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, Malta’s mild, year-round warm climate is considered to be one of the best in the world. Even in winter Malta enjoys an average of five to six hours of sunshine – and more than 12 hours a day in summer. The annual average rainfall is as low as 600 millimetres, mostly falling between October and March.
Language Despite many strong linguistic influences and the fact that English is one of the two official languages, Malta has kept its own language alive. Maltese is a Semitic language believed to have developed during the Arab occupation of the Islands (870–1090), and it is still the only Semitic one to be written in the Latin script. English is the main language of business, while laws and regulations are published in both languages. Many Maltese are also fluent in Italian and some even speak a fourth language, usually German or French.
Time Malta lies in a convenient time zone for doing business across the world: one hour ahead of GMT, meaning office hours coincide with Asia in the morning, Europe throughout the day and the US in the afternoon. The country observes daylight saving time in summer, with the time shifted forward by one hour on the last Sunday of March, making it two hours ahead of GMT. On the last Sunday of October, the time is shifted back by one hour.
Getting There Malta is positioned as a gateway to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. From most major cities such as London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome and Istanbul it takes just two-to-three hours’ flying time to reach Malta International Airport (MIA), the island’s only airport. Regular flights are provided by Air Malta, the national airline, as well as other carriers such as Lufthansa, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, British Airways, Alitalia, Ryanair, EasyJet, and WizzAir. Malta is also a short 90-minute trip by catamaran to Sicily, and car ferries operate on the sea routes between the main port of Valletta and mainland Italy and Sicily.
Hotels Nothing is too far away in Malta, which is dotted with hotels and hostels. Visitors can choose between two and three-star hotels, or a large range of upmarket ones with four and five-star status. Sea views are never hard to find wherever you choose to stay. Global brands such as Hilton, Marriot, Intercontinental, Radisson and Kempinski all have a presence. One of the largest local players is the Corinthia Group. There are also a number of family-run Maltese hotels such as the Hotel Fortina and the Fortina Spa Resort, in addition to boutique fivestar hotels such as the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux.
Working Hours The working week in Malta is 40 hours on average, and 48 hours is the legal maximum, with the additional eight hours having to be paid for in overtime compensation. Daily office hours in the private sector are usually between 08:00 or 08:30 and 17:00 or 17:30. Since most iGaming companies run 24x7 operations, shift work is also very common, especially when it comes to customer-centric roles.
Scale of Opportunities Malta is more than just gaming: the island’s diversified economy is performing exceptionally well, offering exciting and dynamic employment opportunities in a host of sectors such as financial services, education, health, maritime and aviation, to name but a few. For dual-career couples this means that accompanying spouses and partners usually do not struggle to find work.
Efficiency & Productivity Given Malta’s size, its productivity level compares well with other European countries, while increasing efficiency is high on the government agenda. It might be time-consuming to complete certain administrative procedures, however, there is a refreshing lack of bureaucracy in other areas of public and business life.
Work-Life Balance Although working hours do not vary significantly from those in other countries, many expats say that they enjoy a better work-life balance in Malta. Overtime is the exception, rather than the rule, while Malta’s small size means beaches, sports facilities and restaurants are just a short ride away. In a tight labour market, many CEOs also understand that flexible work schedules are one of the top reasons why people enjoy working at a company. Employees are also entitled to 24 working
days of annual leave, and on top of this, there are 14 public holidays each year.
Family Time As in many southern European countries, family plays an important role in Maltese society. This also means that time-off during evenings and weekends is respected, with many expats citing that they are able to spend more quality time with friends and family.
Culture & Social Life Malta has a rich and diverse cultural heritage. Successive waves of traders, occupiers and colonisers have left their mark. The Maltese character is imbued with the British legacy of a strong work ethic and powerful ambition, softened by the natural southern Mediterranean temperament. Maltese are very hospitable and helpful people, exuding the traditional warmth and spontaneity of the Mediterranean region. With such an eclectic mix of culture and a diverse population, it does not take long to feel at home here. In many ways, social life also means family life in Malta, especially during the summer months, when families tend to keep children up late as they all go out for dinner or for a stroll along the seafront.
Traditions & Conventions Malta is a southern Mediterranean Catholic country; and it is socially more conservative than its Northern European peers, though less so than even a few years ago. A series of liberal bills, including same sex marriages, have given Malta a striking new look in recent years. However, there is one tradition, no foreigner living in Malta can escape: the village festa, which in many ways captures the essence of all that is Maltese in one event. Every village has at least one patron saint, and this serves as the basis for the village feast, which comes complete with food stalls, band marches and fireworks.
Religion Over 90% of Maltese are Roman Catholic, with Christianity being prevalent since 60 AD when St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta and converted the local population. The Church still plays an important role in most communities, and most Maltese attend Mass on Sundays – there are no fewer than 365 churches on the island. Other Christian denominations present include Anglican, Church of Scotland, Greek Orthodox and Methodist. Malta also hosts Jewish and Muslim communities.
SMS | INSTANT MESSAGING | VOICE MESSAGING | NUMBER VALIDATION | COMPLIANCE
Foreign Professionals & Expats Malta’s economic growth and investment from international companies have long caught the attention of high-flying foreign professionals. Today, some 6% of Malta’s population is foreign, with many people coming from the UK, Scandinavia, Italy and Spain, but also from France and Germany. The majority of expats finds it easy to meet new people in Malta; and many count locals, as well as other expats among their friends. With English as an official language, language is no barrier, and especially in the smaller towns and villages, locals will be ready to go out of their way to help newcomers in any way they can so that they quickly feel at home.
Crime & Corruption Few locations in the world can offer the same high standards of transparency, security and stability that Malta does. Crime is very low when compared to other major cities, and there is a general level of all-round safety.
Leisure Activities Malta offers visitors a unique experience packed with the best of all things Mediterranean. Sparkling blue seas, excellent food and a buzzing night life have made it one of Europe’s most popular destinations. The variety of daytime activities available in Malta compares favourably with many destinations around the world, despite the small size of the island. Most of the picturepostcard bays are found in the northern part. With warm temperatures and clear waters around the coast you will certainly enjoy a dip in the Mediterranean – to swim or to explore the thriving marine life. You can also test your endurance by rock climbing high above the deep blue sea on the majestic Dingli Cliffs; or wind down with a leisurely round of golf and afternoon tea on the lawns of the Royal Malta Golf Club. Other activities include horse riding, jeep safaris and even sky diving. From autumn to spring Malta turns itself into a green
island. A walk through the countryside is perfect for recharging your energy levels. Another option is to head to Gozo, Malta’s smaller sister island, which is only 20 minutes away by ferry. Gozo is an island idyll of hills, valleys and cliffs, where time moves slower and life can be savoured, minute by minute, second by second.
Best Beaches In Malta, you are never far from the sea, and the Maltese make the most of every swimming spot. Not all beaches are sandy, with most of the coastline being rocky and rustic, but the bright-blue-hued sea is spectacular. Malta is Europe’s best diving destination, but even snorkelling offers you a remarkable window into another world. Golden Bay, Mellieha Bay, St Peter’s Pool and the Blue Lagoon in the small island Comino are just some of the popular swimming spots.
Arts & Entertainment Although Malta is a small country, it has a great variety of world-class attractions. Its stunning historical sites regularly provide the backdrop for events such as concerts, plays or art exhibitions, many of which are free, or remarkably cheap. Every year promises a colourful blend of local and international events, entertainment and exhibitions – from the Carnival in February, to celebrating the arrival of spring in May, with a traditional music and song festival; and a packed social calendar from summer to October, featuring the Malta Jazz Festival, the Isle of MTV music event, Malta Arts Festival and the magic of Valletta’s Notte Bianca.
iGaming Hangouts Most iGaming companies have offices in Sliema or St Julian’s and staff tend to live in the vicinity. There are many venues and bars in this area, meaning that meeting others who work in the industry is guaranteed. There is also no shortage of iGaming social events and parties
Meetups & Conferences A string of networking events and conferences are organised in Malta. The Summit of iGaming (SiGMA) and the Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) offer operators, service providers and affiliates the opportunity to network with like-minded people and potential investors. GamingMalta also hosts several meetups per year.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Nightlife Malta is dotted with cocktail lounges, rooftop bars and nightclubs, with St. Julian’s, Sliema and Bugibba being the entertainment hubs. Malta’s capital city, Valletta, home to a number of trendy bars, is a stylish alternative to St. Julian’s and attracts a crowd which is decidedly more upmarket than in the prime entertainment hubs. Gianpula, near Rabat, is Malta’s largest open-air nightclub. There are also a number of big music events hosted in Malta, including Annie Mac’s acclaimed ‘Lost and Found’ in spring and June’s Isle of MTV, both of which have become fixed dates in the European festival calendar. July 2017 also saw the first edition of ‘Unite with Tomorrowland Malta’, an offshoot of the worldfamous electronic music festival that takes place in Belgium.
Kids Entertainment While the warm climate and endless seas surrounding Malta make hanging out at the beach an obvious choice, there’s so much more to do for families with children. All localities have at least one playground, while there are also a number of outdoor and indoor fun parks with trampolines and climbing ladders. But that’s not all: a petting farm, the Playmobil fun park, Popeye Village, the Splash and Fun Water Park, the Malta National Aquarium, as well as the new interactive science sector ‘Esplora’ will also keep your kids entertained. Some of the best green areas and parks include San Anton Gardens in Attard, as well as the Upper Barrakka Garden and the Hastings Garden in Valletta. The forested Buskett Gardens near Dingli are also a great place to explore.
Shopping Malta has a wide array of shops, catering for all tastes and budgets. Most international chains and brands have a presence in the country, as well as a number of exclusive boutiques – not forgetting the traditional flea markets. The main shopping districts are Sliema and Valletta, and shops usually open from 10am to 7pm, although some close for lunch between 1pm and 4pm. Most are closed on Sundays, except for those located in busy tourist zones.
Sports Water sports are popular in Malta. The conditions for scuba diving and snorkelling are excellent, with great views of reefs, caves and fish shoals. The sea temperature never drops below 13 degrees Celsius, even in winter. The best dive sites can be found around the northern coast of Malta and Gozo. Besides diving, the
Maltese Islands have other forms of sports to offer such as horse riding, hiking, climbing or sailing. Malta has one golf course, located at the Royal Malta Golf Club. Gyms can be found all over the island, as well as football and water polo clubs. There are also a number of highly popular sports events, including national water polo competitions, horse racing, paintball, clay pigeon shooting and football. Once a year the Rolex Middle Sea Race, a highly rated offshore classic, starts and ends in Malta, attracting some 80 participating yachts.
Cuisine Maltese cuisine features many of the typical ingredients of the region: aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, onions and garlic, together with freshly caught fish and seafood. Mediterranean herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, oregano and bay leaves are used in abundance, and flavours are enhanced by virgin olive oil. Typical year-round dishes include rabbit and bragioli (beef olives), and every meal is served with the renowned local bread made with sourdough and baked in a traditional wood-burning stone oven.
Dining Out Dining out in Malta can be a wonderful experience: there are many restaurants which stay open late to enable you to enjoy a pleasant Mediterranean evening: from smart city restaurants in Baroque palaces to family-run trattoria-style establishments or seafront fish restaurants, the choice is wide. Maltese food is served in most restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine. Spinola Bay is literally the kitchen of the iGaming industry, located at the heart of St. Julian’s and offering a wide variety of traditional Maltese cuisines as well as Italian pizza, British fast-food, Japanese sushi; Chinese, Indian and Middle-Eastern cuisine; and even Jewish kosher.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
Gratuity is usually not included in a bill. As in most other European countries, tips in restaurants are usually around 10 to 15% of the total. Tipping at a bar is not expected, unless you are served by a waiter/ waitress. Tipping is not the norm in taxis, however, you could tip up to 10 per cent of the fare.
The Maltese drive on the left, so it does not always make sense to import your own car. EU citizens are allowed to drive their cars in Malta for a period of six out of 12 months if they do not live in Malta. However, if they relocate their residency to Malta, they are required to exchange their licence plates to Maltese and pay vehicle registration tax, road tax and insurance. EU citizens owning a car for a minimum of 24 months in their former home country have the option to apply at Transport Malta for an exemption on Maltese vehicle registration tax.
Public Transport Being small enough to walk from one side of the island to the other in a day, makes getting around in Malta easy. The public transport system is safe and cheap. A network of routes and a fleet of modern buses provide an extensive service across Malta and Gozo. A train service does not exist in Malta.
Car Hire & Taxis Cars can be hired at reasonable rates compared to those in other Western European countries. All the major car rental companies have a presence in Malta. Local firms also offer this service, with or without a chauffeur. There are different types of taxis: the white taxis are fitted with meters and charge government-controlled prices – you can flag these down in the street; alternatively, there are taxis owned by private companies that charge a set price depending on the location. Taxis at the airport operate on a different system, with set fares which must be paid at the taxi ticket booth in the arrivals lounge.
Driving Malta has a road network of 1,500 kilometres, but it only takes one hour to cross the island. EU nationals (aged 18 and over) are allowed to drive on their existing licences, or exchange them for a Maltese one after having lived in the country for more than six months. Non-EU nationals can drive on their existing valid licences for a maximum of 12 months from the date of their last arrival in Malta. As in the UK, cars drive on the left. Traveling time between Malta International Airport and an office or a home is rarely longer than 20 minutes, though this is dependent on the mode of transport, time of day and distance travelled. While distances in Malta are negligible, in similarity to many other successful business centres, the country suffers from traffic congestion during rush hours and it’s advisable to avoid peak times.
Handling the Paperwork EU nationals can work in Malta without an employment licence. It is relatively easy to obtain everything you need to begin work as an EU national; social security numbers can now be obtained online. The social security number together with a promise of employment letter from your prospective employer are needed to apply for a tax number. After being issued a tax number, the employee needs to have an employment contract in original or copy, an engagement form from JobsPlus (the national employment agency), and a passport to apply for an eResidence card. A short trip to Floriana will guarantee you have your tax number within one to two weeks. A second trip to Valletta will be enough to obtain the engagement form, and then apply for a residence card during the same day. The residence card application needs to be submitted at the Department for Citizenship and Expatriate Affairs in Valletta. Thirdcountry nationals require work permits, however, the granting of permits to non-EU nationals working in the iGaming sector is usually not a problem. Permits will be given on a temporary basis and have to be renewed every one to three years. The applicant must possess a professional qualification or a high degree of skill or experience.
Income Taxes, Social Security & Take-Home Pay Malta has a progressive taxation system, under which individuals are taxed between 15 to 35% of their income. Highly qualified foreign professionals can benefit from a flat 15% tax rate on employment income. Both employers and employees each contribute 10% of gross salary to the social security system. In addition to the gaming industry paying above-average salaries when compared to the standard Maltese pay (approx. 30% higher), all staff in Malta also benefit from take-home pay that is higher than in many other European countries, due to the relatively low taxes and contributions.
As an EU nation, Malta’s immigration laws are in line with EU policies. The country is part of the Schengen zone and EU nationals are free to live in Malta. Thirdcountry nationals who are family members of EU nationals living in Malta can accompany them. Non-EU citizens can find details about visa-exempt countries and visa application procedures on the website of Identity Malta (www.indentitymalta.com). The full list of foreign representations can also be accessed on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.foreign. gov.mt.
preferences. Popular villa areas are Santa Maria Estate in Mellieha, as well as Madliena and High Ridge in the vicinity of St Julians/Sliema. A number of five-star developments have recently been built on the island, including Portomaso and Tigné Point, which offer luxury apartments surrounded by commercial, health, fitness and leisure facilities and command the highest prices and rents. Rent is paid monthly in advance. Utility costs are not included in rental charges and are charged depending on usage. Alternatives to renting a flat are hotel-style serviced apartments. Malta’s small size and excellent public transport facilities mean short commutes to work, no matter where you live.
Standard of Living
Average rent prices in Malta
Visas & Embassies
Malta is also one of the easiest places to relocate to in the EU and residents enjoy an exceptional standard of living: 10 months of sunshine, an English-speaking population, and a Mediterranean island setting in which it is easy to find one’s way around. Although Malta is a small country, it offers a variety of lifestyle choices that range from urban, cosmopolitan and luxurious to relaxed and rural. Boasting a diverse range of shopping, cultural and leisure activities, all at affordable rates, Malta provides expatriates with a unique opportunity to live every aspect of life to the full.
Cost of Living Although on the rise, the cost of living in Malta is one of the lowest in Europe and ranks somewhere in the middle in terms of a global league table. On average, the cost is one third of that in the world’s most expensive cities. Everyday groceries are on average more expensive in Malta than in Eastern European countries, however they are cheaper than in most Western countries and in global business centres. Average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the more popular Sliema/St.Julian’s area is around €700 per month, while in other localities it can be as low as €380. Banking, taxation, insurance, social security, utilities and communications services are sophisticated, professional and reliable, offering exceptional value without compromising on quality. State schools are free of charge, and the government pays for childcare services if both parents are working. There are no community taxes in Malta, and the collection of household waste is free for residents.
Housing The island offers a wide range of housing from contemporary high-rise apartments to traditional country houses and villas with a pool, furnished and unfurnished, all at competitive prices – in city, urban or more rural environments, according to lifestyle
(ranging from one bedroom flats to detached houses) Sliema, St. Julian’s, Gzira, Valletta (Central) €700 – €2,700 Mellieha, St Paul’s Bay, Qawra, Bugibba (North) €400 – €2,100 Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, Marsaskala (South) €380 – €1,800
Removal / Shipping There is no shortage of shipping and relocation companies to meet the demands of people intending to relocate to Malta. Sometimes the employer will have an in-house or preferred user who aims to make the move as smooth as possible. Relocation companies also offer assistance with every aspect of the move, ranging from furniture transportation to the sourcing of schools.
Schools & Childcare Malta provides an excellent standard of education. Children can be educated in one of the private international schools, or enrolled in the local state, church or independent schools. All schools use the British model of education, which is compulsory between the ages of five and 16. Most expats and cosmopolitan locals send their children to private schools. Leading schools are San Andrea School, San Anton School, Chiswick House School, St Martin’s College, St Edward’s College and Verdala International School. Tertiary-level education is offered through the University of Malta, as well as other institutes and private colleges. Childcare centres are run by the state, the church and private organisations. If both parents are working, childcare services are free. Kindergarten is not compulsory in Malta, but English-speaking kindergarten and pre-school facilities are widely available.
Healthcare Malta has one of the best health services in the world. The main general hospital is the state-of-theart Mater Dei Hospital in Msida, while most towns and villages have their own state-run medical clinics. Malta also has several private clinics and hospitals, such as the renowned St James Hospital in Sliema. EU nationals resident in Malta are eligible to receive free medical treatment at public hospitals and clinics, but foreign residents are still advised to take out private medical insurance. EU food and beverage standards are strictly monitored in Malta, but it is still recommended to drink bottled, rather than tap water.
Utilities Energy and water supplies are stable. Tariffs differ between domestic and residential, with residential being the lower rate. Energy and water requirements are catered for by Enemalta and the Water Services Corporation respectively. Bottled gas is used in most households and can be purchased from delivery vans (in most areas once a week) or from special distribution centres. The electricity is 240 volts AC, 50 Hz, and sockets accept the threepronged British plug model.
Personal Financial Services Malta offers a wide choice of banking options, including local, international and private banks. The banks operate a strong network of ATMs and branches across the islands. All major cards are issued and accepted. All banks offer 24-hour telephone and online banking services to conveniently and efficiently manage your financial affairs. A host of insurance companies offer all levels of cover, such as home, motor and health
Moving to Malta Checklist
Find out if you and/or family members need a visa and make the application as soon as possible if you do.
If you are renting a house, tell your landlord. Under many contracts you are required to give notice several months in advance.
Sell anything that you are not taking with you (cars, furniture, property, etc). Otherwise you can ask friends to take care of it or put it in storage.
Cancel your utilities in advance: electricity, gas, oil, water, telephone (also your mobile) and internet. Cancel your subscription to any clubs, associations, courses, newspapers, etc. Close your bank accounts unless you think that you will use them. Inform the tax/ local authorities that you are leaving.
Give your new address to your friends, family and business associates.
Redirect your mail.
Prepare a folder with the most important documents such as your new employment contract, new rental agreements, past utility bills and a bank reference – all of which is required to sort out your residency, tax and employment status in Malta.
insurance. If you plan to stay in Malta, it is advisable to apply for a Maltese eResidence document before opening a local bank account as this will speed up the process. If you have not received the eResidence before opening a bank account, you can use your passport. It is absolutely necessary in this case to provide a bank statement indicating your previous foreign address. You can also use utility bills for this purpose. Although procedures vary depending on the bank, your banker will most likely also ask you for an employment contract, an initial deposit and a lease agreement for your accommodation. All banks also offer foreign-currency accounts. Banks in Malta are open in the mornings from Monday to Saturday, with some branches offering late opening hours on certain days such as Fridays.
Home Help Domestic and home help is relatively common in Malta. Many expatriates find they can afford domestic help that they could not have afforded at home. Most choose to employ a helper for cleaning, cooking, general household chores and child minding.
Media & TV Malta’s bilingual culture is also reflected in the media landscape, with half the newspapers published in English. Foreign newspapers can also be easily purchased. In addition to satellite and cable TV, the high penetration of superfast broadband has resulted in the launch of IPTV services. The content is diverse and international, including Italian, French, British and Russian programming. Radio programmes are primarily in Maltese with a number of Englishlanguage music stations. n
EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE FROM THE LEADERS IN THE FIELD
Benefit from our comprehensive Gaming Legal Advice
EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE Contact our winning team for: FROM THE LEADERS Corporate Services | Compliance | Taxation | Key Official | Licensing Directorship | Accounting | Intellectual Property | Contracts | Litigation INData THE FIELD Protection | Work Permits | Back Office Services | General Legal Advice
115B, Old Mint Street, Valletta VLT 1515, Malta T (+356) 2015 7000 | F (+356) 2015 7010 | E email@example.com | W www.gonzi.com.mt
www.gonzi.com.mt Benefit from our comprehensive Gaming Legal Advice
In itto Win it MALTA BUSINESS PROFILES Connect with Malta’s major Legal and Accounting Firms, Professional Advisors and the iGaming Centre’s most influential executives.
GAMINGmalta 2O18 EDITION
In itto W
Accounting & Auditing
Courier & Logistics Services
BDO Malta.......................................................... 164
Griffiths & Associates Ltd.................................. 170 KPMG..................................................................171
Education & Training
Mazars Malta...................................................... 172
European Gaming Institute of Malta................ 169
RSM Malta.......................................................... 174
Conference & Events
Gaming Operators EnergyBet...........................................................168
Clarion Gaming.................................................. 166
Genesis Global Limited...................................... 169
iGaming Idol....................................................... 170
Jackpotjoy Group............................................... 170
LeoVegas..............................................................171 LV Bet..................................................................171
Mr Green Ltd...................................................... 173
Afilexion Alliance............................................... 164
Avviza.................................................................. 164 CSB Group.......................................................... 167
Gaming Platforms & Solutions
DD Consultus Ltd............................................... 167
e-Volve Consultancy Ltd....................................168
KayEm Consulting Limited............................... 170
Espresso Games (Talenta)...........................168
Contact Advisory Services Ltd........................... 174
GreenTube Internet Entertainment Solutions GMBH............................................ 170 NetEnt................................................................ 173 Play’n’GO............................................................ 173 Tumas Gaming................................................... 174 Wazdan............................................................... 175
Win it HR & Recruitment
Office & Business Park
Business Office Services
International (Malta)..................................... 165
Malta Remote Gaming Council......................... 172
Atlas Healthcare Insurance Agency Ltd............ 164
Citadel Insurance p.l.c....................................... 164
Malta Sotheby's International Realty................ 172
Mediterranean Insurance Brokers
RE/MAX Malta.................................................. 174
(Malta) Limited . ........................................... 172
Legal Services Camilleri Preziosi Advocates............................. 166
Regulatory Body Malta Gaming Authority.................................... 172
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates................................ 166
System & Compliance Audit
Gonzi and Associates, Advocates...................... 169 WH Partners....................................................... 175
Media CountryProfiler Malta Limited.......................... 167
Telecoms & Data BMIT Limited..................................................... 165 Continent 8 Technologies.................................. 167 FortyTwo............................................................ 169 Melita Ltd........................................................... 173
Travel & Leisure La Valette Club....................................................171
GAMINGmalta 2018 EDITION
Dr Ian Gauci PARTNER
Afilexion Alliance is a full services advisory firm offering one of the most comprehensive advisory and support services portfolio for gaming operators, gaming regulators and law makers, gaming platform providers, affiliates and service providers to the gaming industry. Afilexion, brings together industry heavy weights and former regulators, together with a team of highly talented legal associates. Afilexion offers a full suite of services including company incorporation, M&A, public listing, GDPR compliance, AML, blockchain & cryptocurrency, IPR, commercial litigation, legal services, software licensing agreements, back-office assistance, tax planning and brand protection. Through its sister firm, Avviza, Afilexion offers licensing assistance in most of the EU jurisdictions. Afilexion Alliance, is a partnership between Avviza Advisory and GTG Advocates.
66, Old Bakery Street, Valletta VLT 1454 - Malta T: (+356) 2124 2713 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.afilexion.com Contact: Dr Ian Gauci - Partner
APCOPAY is a reliable payment platform that facilitates a complete blend of credit card processing and over 200 alternative payment solutions. Fully responsive, PCI Level 1 certified and 100% owned, APCOPAY platform comes with advanced fraud protection and the flexibility to innovate fast or provide clients with any customised solution.
Nineteen Twenty Three, Valletta Road, Marsa MRS 3000 - Malta T: (+356) 2144 5566 E: email@example.com W: www.apcopay.eu Contact: Laura Jasenaite - Director of Marketing
Ian Pellicano DIRECTOR
ATLAS HEALTHCARE INSURANCE AGENCY LTD
Atlas Healthcare, the AXA PPP healthcare Malta agent, occupies a prominent position in the local healthcare market, with a wide range of healthcare products including the only local dental plans – the Malta Corporate Dental range. Health plans offer several unique benefits including access to AXA’s international hospital network, AXA assistance services, a local 24/7 claims assistance service as well as preventive care, chronic benefits, MEDIX and other optional add-ons. Atlas offers the only local group secretaries’ portal allowing updating and exporting of staff lists, flexible billing and monthly reporting of claims. Catherine Calleja
Abate Rigord Street, Ta’ Xbiex XBX 1121 - Malta T: (+356) 2132 2600 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.atlas.com.mt Contact: Catherine Calleja - Managing Director
Avviza is an advisory firm, which was founded in 2014 by Reuben Portanier, former CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority and winner of the 2013 GIQ Hot 50. Avviza offers a complete suite of advisory solutions, both for established gaming companies and start-ups. As Avviza’s associates hold international experience, we serve a number of jurisdictions including licensing and compliance for Malta, UK, Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Romania, amongst others. Avviza also offers advisory services with respect to Mergers & Acquisitions, Investment Brokerage, Business Planning, Tax Planning, Company Incorporation, Recruitment, Policy and Key Official Services. Reuben Portanier FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE ADVISOR
Tereza Court, Level 1, Hal Dghejf Street, c/w 21st September Avenue, Naxxar NXR 1502- Malta T: (+356) 2722 6484 E: email@example.com W: www.avviza.com Contact: Reuben Portanier - Founder & Executive Advisor
BDO Malta has, for several years, acted as auditors, tax advisers and consultants to numerous Maltese and international gaming and betting companies, both private and publicly quoted. We also have extensive experience in advising such businesses during the application process required to obtain a remote gaming licence and accordingly assist with all of the information and documentation required by the Malta Gaming Authority.
Mark Attard CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Tower Gate Place, Tal-Qroqq Street, Msida, MSD 1703 - Malta T: (+356) 9942 1750 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.bdo.com.mt Contact: Mark Attard - Chief Executive Officer
Vigen Badalyan CEO AND FOUNDER
BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with development, sales and service centers in 15 countries. BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of products and services, including Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG & Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy Sports, Social Platform and more. The latest addition is the industry-first complete management infrastructure, SpringBME (Business Management Environment). All partners benefit from the BetConstruct Spring platform with its powerful back office tools and all-inclusive services that empower operators’ growth and help contain their costs. From standalone set up to turn-key and white label solutions, BetConstruct offers its partners unfettered opportunity to succeed.
2nd level Diamonds International Building, Portomaso STJ4010, St. Julian’s - Malta T: (+356) 2744 9232 E: email@example.com W: www.betconstruct.com Contact: Kristina Hambardzumyan - Regional Director in Malta
Bit8 is an established gaming platform solutions provider. Its crown jewel is the market-tested, award winning, intelligent gaming platform which is available as a stand-alone and hosted solution. The Bit8 gaming platform caters for current and future needs of modern gaming operators, both online and land-based. Due to its modularity it can be customised to satisfy any business needs, across multiple game providers, products and verticals and multiple channels. Bit8 forms part of the Intralot Group, a world leader in gaming solutions. The combined technologies of both companies are at the forefront of the gaming industry. Vassilis Trochalidis CEO
Level 2 Quantum Place, Triq ix-Xatt, Gzira - Malta T: (+356) 2092 5800 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.bit8.com Contact: Nicholas Frendo - Head of Pre Sales
BMIT is Malta’s leading data centre, providing secure facilities and reliable services to a wide range of highly sophisticated industries such as online gaming, financial services and communications. BMIT’s suite of solutions includes: a range of data centre services offered from two facilities in Malta and from POPs in Germany and Italy; access to an exclusive, international private network linked to leading Tier 1 IP providers; Public, private and hybrid cloud Services; Managed IT services and disaster recovery solutions. BMIT’s data centres are ISO 27001 and PCI DSS certified and supported by an expert 24/7 team of dedicated professionals. Christian Sammut CEO
54/55, Triq Manuel Borg Gauci, Handaq, Qormi QRM 4000 - Malta T: (+356) 2258 8200 E: email@example.com W: bmit.com.mt Contact: Nick Tonna - Chief Commercial Officer
BtoBet, operating worldwide, is part of a group with 20 years of experience in software development in IT, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce and banking, strongly committed to technology and widely investing in research and development. The experience gained in these advanced environments, allows BtoBet to be visionary in the iGaming and Sports betting industry with a deep understanding of the requirements of the market and anticipating bookmakers’ and operators’ needs. BtoBet is a true partner in technology, offering a standalone iGaming and Sportsbook platform and services. BtoBet allows licensees to be unique in the market, by giving them the opportunity to completely personalise their offers for Sports betting and iGaming business, online, mobile and retail.
Advanced House, Level 2, 375 Manwel Dimech Street, Sliema SLM 1058 - Malta T: (+356) 2713 5974 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.btobet.com Contact: Alessandro Fried - Chairman
BUSINESS OFFICE SERVICES INTERNATIONAL (MALTA)
Amanda Balzan OFFICE MANAGER, MALTA
Business Office Services offers fully furnished, high-quality, plug-and-play serviced offices within a Business Centre in Mrieħel. Besides office space, clients are offered a full suite of associated business services tailored to their individual requirements. Organisations ranging from start-ups, requiring a minimal amount of space, to larger companies requiring a larger footprint, now have the opportunity to relocate to a business office conveniently located close to the Mrieħel bypass. Business Office Services allows clients to focus on their business, whilst the day-to-day operations are taken care of by a team of highly trained professionals. On-site private parking facilities are also available.
Vision Exchange Building, Territorials Street, Mrieħel, Birkirkara BKR3000 - Malta T: (+356) 9900 4016 E: Amanda.email@example.com W: www.bos-international.com Contact: Amanda Balzan - Office Manager, Malta
malta 166 GAMING 2018 EDITION
CAMILLERI PREZIOSI ADVOCATES
Dr Malcolm Falzon
Camilleri Preziosi commands an outstanding reputation amongst clients and peers as a leading Maltese commercial law firm. The firm is consistently ranked as a top-tier firm by leading legal directories, and retains a strong presence in the gaming and gambling advisory sector. The firm offers online and landbased operators bespoke assistance ranging from the structuring and the incorporation of the prospective licensee through to the license application process and, thereafter, in corporate, financing, compliance, regulatory and dispute resolution matters. The firm’s tax, IP, IT, employment, litigation and corporate support services departments complement the iGaming and landbased Gaming team to meet clients’ ancillary requirements.
Level 3, Valletta Buildings, South Street, Valletta VLT 1103 - Malta T: (+356) 2123 8989 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.camilleripreziosi.com Contact: Dr Malcolm Falzon - Partner
CHETCUTI CAUCHI ADVOCATES
Dr Silvana Zammit
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates is a law firm serving successful businesses and private clients using Malta as an international business centre. With offices in Malta, Cyprus, London, Zurich and Hong Kong, we advise clients on their private and business legal needs. Led by Dr Silvana Zammit, Commercial Law Partner at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, our iGaming practice services start-ups or established operators seeking a fully-fledged set up or a back-up operation within an EU jurisdiction. With experience in the Maltese gaming industry since its inception in 2004, our iGaming practice prides itself of indepth expertise in all aspects of gaming including licensing and compliance, key official services, international tax planning, accounting and company formation & administration.
120, St Ursula Street, Valletta, VLT 1236 - Malta T: (+356) 2205 6200 E: email@example.com W: www.ccmalta.com Contact: Dr Silvana Zammit - Partner
CITADEL INSURANCE PLC
Established in 1997 as the second indigenous insurance company in Malta, Citadel Insurance is a composite company authorised by the MFSA to transact general and life insurance. Citadel offers a wide range of products for business, motor, home, marine, travel, health and life insurance. Bespoke packages are available for SMEs and large corporations ranging from group life, group health, engineering, professional indemnity, liability, property insurance and more.
Casa Borgo, 26 Market Street, Floriana - Malta T: (+356) 2557 9000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.citadelplc.com Contact: Angela Tabone - Managing Director/ CEO
Angela Tabone MANAGING DIRECTOR/ CEO
Kate Chambers MANAGING DIRECTOR
Clarion Gaming occupies a unique position in gaming, providing the full range of services to the global industry, including exhibitions, conferences, and technical training as well digital and print information. Clarion Gaming’s brands are delivered globally and attract more than 50,000 customers annually in locations spanning every continent. Event brands include: ICE, the world’s largest gaming technology exhibition; iGB Live! which is a dedicated igaming event taking place in Amsterdam; Juegos Miami, GiGse, the established World Regulatory Briefings and Gaming Congresses in Brazil and Japan. Clarion Gaming also delivers multi-level training for gaming professionals through the Totally Gaming Academy and produces a variety of print and digital intelligence and resources through iGaming Business, Totally Gaming and iGB Affiliate.
Clarion Events | 69-79 Fulham High Street, London SW6 3JW - UK T: (+44) 7876 476693 E: email@example.com W: www.clariongaming.com Contact: Kate Chambers - Managing Director, Clarion Gaming
CONTACT ADVISORY SERVICES LIMITED
Angelo Vella DIRECTOR
Contact Advisory Services is a licensed Corporate Services Provider that you can depend on for professional, across-the-board consultancy services in Malta and abroad. Contact Advisory Services synergises a team of key professionals with decades of experience in Information Systems Advisory, IT Audit and Assurance and Corporate services. We are dedicated to providing you with an efficient and dependable service that ensures all of your needs are met - no matter how challenging or complex. With years of valuable experience behind us, we are able to offer a vast range of bespoke services that include: assurance, corporate services, remote gaming consultancy, financial institutions consultancy, tax, internal auditing, information security, data protection, management consultancy and back office support.
170,Pater House, Psaila Street Birkirkara, BKR 9077 - Malta T: (+356) 2757 7000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.contact.com.mt Contact: Angelo Vella - Director
CONTINENT 8 TECHNOLOGIES
Continent 8 Technologies provides managed services, network solutions and co-location for today’s online business-critical service platforms. Our customers benefit from our continued investment in advanced data centres, high-quality networks and online technologies. Continent 8 delivers its services over a private redundant highly secure global backbone, and offers services in over 30 connected locations across three continents. Continent 8 provides a truly global service capability to its clients, regardless of geography. Continent 8 is ideally positioned to provide local expertise in the provision of hosting services in both highly regulated and technically challenging geographic locations around the world.
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER
Continent 8 House, Pulrose Road, Douglas IM2 1AL - Isle of Man T: (+44) 1624 694625 E: email@example.com W: continent8.com Contact: Peter Williams - Chief Commercial Officer
COUNTRYPROFILER MALTA LIMITED
CountryProfiler (CP) is an international media company that specialises in the publication of country reports and investment guides on the world’s most innovative and high-growth markets for trade, foreign investment and international financial services. CountryProfiler’s publications provide bluechip companies, their executive management and professional advisors with global business intelligence and market insight they require when managing cross-border operations, investing or doing business with new markets. CountryProfiler’s publications are considered to be among the most prestigious economic intelligence products available. Garvan Keating CEO
64, St Anne Court, Flat 2, Bisazza Street, Sliema SLM 1642 - Malta T: (+356) 2034 2034 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.countryprofiler.com Contact: Melissa Puglisevich - Office Manager
Roger A. Strickland Jr
CSB Group (est. 1987) provides its clients with a spectrum of specialised business and commercial services, offering a complete turnkey solution to clients wishing to setup or relocate their iGaming business to Malta. CSB’s areas of specialisation today include: Corporate; Trust; Tax; Accounting; Immigration; Recruitment; Credit Risk; Relocation & Real Estate services. Furthermore, CSB offers the following services: Incorporation and domiciliation of companies; Trust, Fiduciary & Escrow services; Payroll & Tax Administration; Regulatory & Legal Consultancy; Licensing of iGaming; Licensing of Financial Services, Hedge Fund Registration; Ship, Yacht & Aircraft Registration, HR Consultancy; Residence Permits; Work Permits & Serviced Office Space.
DIRECTOR AND IGAMING CONSULTANT
The Penthouse, Tower Business Centre, Tower Street, Swatar BKR 4013 - Malta T: (+356) 2557 2557 E: email@example.com W: csbgroup.com Contact: Roger A. Strickland Jr - Director and iGaming Consultant
DD CONSULTUS LIMITED
DD Consultus is based in Malta and specialises in the online gaming industry, online payment processing and related services thereto. DD Consultus provides senior international gaming consultancy to all sectors of the gaming industry, including but not limited to online gaming, land-based casinos and arcades, software and platform providers and gaming machine manufacturers. Our gaming practice encompasses all aspects of gaming law, including licensing, corporate, legal and financial compliance, acquisitions, mergers and development. Our consultants have previously occupied strategic posts in the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for a number of years and with their expertise in the gaming industry, provide tailor-made solutions and consultancy to our gaming clients, locally and internationally.
Villa Ichang no. 16, Triq Mons. Alfredo Mifsud, Ta’ Xbiex XBX 1063 - Malta T: (+356) 2137 0333 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.ddconsultus.com Contact: Denitza Dimitrova - Senior Consultant
Charles Schiavone COUNTRY MANAGER
DHL is the global market leader in the industry and “The Logistics Company for the World”. Our popular International Express door-to-door delivery service is available when you’re sending document or non-document shipments anywhere around the world. The company has been operating in Malta since 1983, and DHL Express remains a pioneer, constantly providing new solutions for its customers, solutions that make it the market leader. While maintaining the largest market share, DHL sets very high levels of service and always seeks to serve the customer in the best possible way. Having a constant presence in the Maltese market since 1983, DHL has acquired a deep knowledge of critical shipments as well as unparalleled experience in the specialised handling of express deliveries for each industry sector.
MIA Cargo Village, Luqa, LQA 3290 - Malta T: (+356) 2180 0148 E: Charles.email@example.com W: www.dhl.com.mt Contact: Charles Schiavone - Country Manager
malta 168 GAMING 2018 EDITION
e-Management, a dedicated business division of HBM Group, is a leading specialised turnkey provider of Business Support & Corporate Services to the Online Gaming Industry. We focus on establishing and managing internationally engaged e-Gaming Companies based out of Curaçao and Malta, amongst other jurisdictions. In addition, we also offer support services to core functions including AML / CFT obligations, GDPR and Key Official Services. Following two decades of experience in assisting major software providers and operators with their corporate and licensing requirements, e-Management offers innovative services by assisting all e-Gaming (related) businesses to efficiently and effectively structure their enterprise in an everchanging and challenging business environment without borders.
28, Cathedral Street, Sliema SLM1525 - Malta T: (+356) 2132 3626 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.emanagement-group.com Contact: Sarah Borg - Director
E-VOLVE CONSULTANCY LTD
Michael Spiteri Bailey DIRECTOR
e-Volve is a specialist e-gaming licensing and compliance, accountancy and consulting firm that focuses on companies established by non-resident shareholders seeking to benefit from Malta’s excellent tax regime and regulatory framework for online gaming. We have developed the range of services that new firms in Malta normally require: Tax planning, Assistance with angel investment and venture capital registration, Provision of VAT services, as well as bespoke accounting service. Our expertise in the nuances of Malta’s corporate tax system is second to none, but we also provide comparative insight into the various tax regimes around Europe and further abroad. We provide clear explanations and a range of options for your consideration. In Malta our licensing team has regular communication with a network of interlocutors relevant to the industry, including government officials and officers of the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission.
Suite 3, 1st Floor, Valletta Buildings, South Street, Valletta VLT 1103 - Malta T: (+356) 2122 8535 E: email@example.com W: www.evolvemalta.com Contact: Michael Spiteri Bailey - Director
EMD is an established multi-disciplinary firm based in Malta offering services in the legal, tax, accounting, advisory, ICT, translations and corporate services, through our 80 plus in-house staff complement. EMD Advocates, the firm’s legal arm, boasts of a strong international practice in a number of niche markets, including remote gaming. At EMD we assist and provide legal advice to investors interested in setting up a remote gaming business. We assist during the company incorporation and licensing stage and provide on-going services related to administration services, tax consultancy, back office services, on-going remote gaming compliance services and IT services. Dr Tonio Ellul PARTNER
Vaults 13 – 15, Valletta Waterfront, Floriana FRN1914 - Malta T: (+356) 2203 0000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.emd.com.mt Contact: Dr Tonio Ellul - Partner
EnergyBet is a multi-award winning sportsbook (2016 SBC Rising Star in Sports Betting and 2017 Malta iGaming Excellence in Customer Service), offering competitive odds on a wide range of sports, virtual sports, eSports, and entertainment events. Based in Malta, and licensed both there and in the United Kingdom, EnergyBet is at the leading edge of sports betting technology and innovation, giving bettors the opportunity to enjoy traditional pre-game, exciting live in-play and virtual sports betting. Employing a team of dedicated professional support agents, EnergyBet offers customers award-winning customer service, and has forged a reputation for reliability and transparency. The brand is enjoying growing exposure, especially in the UK market, thanks to several high-profile football sponsorships.
EnergyBet, 109, Level 4, Sir William Reid Street, Gzira GRZ1033 - Malta T: (+356) 9994 5112 E: email@example.com W: https://energybet.com/en/ Contact: Simona Pinterova - PR Manager
ESPRESSO GAMES (TALENTA)
The ESPRESSO GAMES brand was created in 2002 and is currently under the ownership of Talenta International Limited, with head office in London and representative offices in Malta, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Miami. In 2017 the Milan office was opened, dedicated to the production of new, highly stylish games and to the diffusion of the brand in major strategic markets. The portfolio, including innovation systems like Cross-Game Jackpot Tournaments and Multi-Player Jackpots, has revolutionized the dynamic online slots market. This type of innovation is what distinguishes the ESPRESSO GAMES offering, guaranteeing maximum entertainment and top earning power. Tiziana Cannizzaro HEAD OF MARKETING AND SALES
Corso Magenta 31, 20123 Milan - Italy T: (+39) 02 56569536 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.espressogames.com Contact: Tiziana Cannizzaro - Head of Marketing and Sales
EUROPEAN GAMING INSTITUTE OF MALTA
The European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) is a joint venture between the MGA and MCAST which has the objective of developing training and educational programmes for the iGaming Industry. EGIM aims to offer the best possible mix of short-term courses, diplomas and masters programmes for potential candidates coming from non-related gaming industries to familiarise themselves with an area of choice within the iGaming Industry to achieve adequate knowledge and skills. EGIM’s objective is to understand the skill requirements of the industry (current and future) and most importantly, forecast and prepare for the upcoming skill sets needed to build and create educational courses based on future technology and product trends.
MCAST Main Campus Triq Kordin, Paola PLA 9032 - Malta T: (+356) 2398 7143 E: email@example.com W: www.egim.com.mt Contact: Stephen Vella - General Manager MG2i | MCAST
Communication and engagement strategies separate successful brands from the rest. Our world is well and truly mobile, with most aspects of life being influenced through the devices we carry. Gaming is no different, and the rapid growth of mobile gaming companies clearly demonstrates this. Fortytwo enables any company, independent of method or platform, to correctly use our Mobile Communication products as part of their integrated marketing approach and engagement strategy. Founded in Sweden in 2001, Fortytwo has enabled brands to embrace mobile communications. Now based in Malta and with a team of mobile communication experts, we look forward to discussing how our solutions bridge the gap between you and your customers.
HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
129, Casa D’Arte Centre, Labour Avenue, Naxxar NXR 9023 - Malta T: (+356) 2704 1372 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.fortytwo.com Contact: Adrian Gatt - Head of Business Development
GamingMalta is an independent non-profit foundation set up by the Government of Malta and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Tasked with the remit of promoting Malta as a centre of excellence in the digital and remote gaming sector globally, it is also responsible for liaising with the local relevant authorities to improve Malta’s attractiveness as a jurisdiction and enhance the ecosystem surrounding the gaming industry.
Building SCM 02-03, Level 3,Smart City, Ricasoli, SCM 1001 - Malta T: (+356) 22473000 E: email@example.com W: www.gamingmalta.org Contact: Ivan Filletti - Head of Operations and Business Development
Ivan Filletti HEAD OF OPERATIONS AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
GENESIS GLOBAL LIMITED
Genesis Global is a success story that started back in 2014 and became a fastgrowing, data driven and mobile gaming technology company. Genesis offers and develops cutting-edge services through its four B2C products, offering games from the best of breed content suppliers. Genesis is one of the world leaders in the mobile gaming revolution through focusing on creating well designed, highly enjoyable entertainment experiences through each product, marketing channels, technology innovation to maintain an unparalleled reputation of quality since its inception. United in diversity, we are committed to providing the best customer experience, exploring new business ventures and being the employer of choice, whilst staying true to our company values. All of this and much more, is what makes Genesis Global truly great!
CEO & FOUNDER
Level 6A, Tagliaferro Business Centre, Gaeity Lane c/w High Street, Sliema SLM 1549 - Malta T: (+356) 2778 2288 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.genesis.com.mt Contact: Franklyn Brincat - Head of HR
GONZI & ASSOCIATES ADVOCATES
David Gonzi MANAGING PARTNER
Gonzi & Associates, Advocates is an established Maltese law firm specialising in Gaming, Telecoms, IT and Financial Services. Amongst other areas, the firm provides advice on Company formation, Tax planning, Licensing, Compliance, Contracts, Website terms and conditions, Data Protection and Trademark Registration. Our team of lawyers are experts in their respective fields allowing us to provide you with relevant, reliable and experienced based legal advice. The firm is associated with GA Corporate Limited providing international corporate services. Contact us to discover how we can better your business by setting-up or relocating your company to Malta, or by assisting you with legal matters relating to gaming.
115B Old Mint Street, Valletta VLT 1515 - Malta T: (+356) 2015 7000 E: email@example.com W: www.gonzi.com.mt Contact: David Gonzi - Managing Partner
GAMINGmalta 2018 EDITION
GREENTUBE INTERNET ENTERTAINMENT SOLUTIONS GMBH
Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions, the global interactive unit of NOVOMATIC, is a leading developer and supplier of iGaming solutions. Greentube is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NOVOMATIC Group, one of the biggest producers and operators of gaming technologies and one of the largest integrated gaming companies in the world. Greentube’s industry leading Omni-channel technology allows the convergence of online, mobile and land-based games. The well-diversified product portfolio includes Classic Slots, Table Games, Live Dealer Gaming, AWP Reloaded Slots, Server-Based Gaming, Social Casino Gaming, Bingo and more. Michael Bauer CHIEF FINANCE OFFICER/
Wiedner Hauptstrasse 94, A-1050 Vienna - Austria T: (+43) 1 90 171 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.greentube.com Contact: Michael Bauer - Chief Finance Officer/ Chief Games Officer
CHIEF GAMES OFFICER
GRIFFITHS + ASSOCIATES LTD
Established in 1982 and located in Naxxar, our firm of Certified Public Accountants offers a one-stop shop assisting businesses in carrying out activities in, from or through Malta. The firm’s activities include company incorporations, back-office services and international corporate structuring, especially within the context of Malta’s extensive tax treaty network and advantageous tax regime. Being members of PrimeGlobal, an international association of accountants and advisers, adds value to the servicing of clients’ needs within an international perspective. Peter Griffiths MANAGING & TAX DIRECTOR
Level 1, Casal Naxaro, Labour Avenue, Naxxar NXR 9021 - Malta T: (+356) 2738 3631 E: email@example.com W: www.griffithsassoc.com Contact: Peter Griffiths - Managing & Tax Director
IGAMING IDOL LTD
Launched in 2015, iGaming Idol has quickly established itself as the foremost social event in the iGaming calendar and is now recognised as one of the most important awards in the industry. Since it’s inception iGaming Idol has celebrated the individual achievements of many people within the industry and has seen growth in both participation and awards categories; this year will see no less than 17 trophies handed out for a breadth of contributions including amongst others Social Media, Office Manager, Fraud and Risk, and Customer Service. Alongside our prestigious partners and the Maltese Gaming Authority, iGaming Idol also carries out charitable support for one of the island’s most important charities, The Malta Community Charity Fund.
Tower Gate Place, Tal-Qroqq Street, Msida MSD1703 - Malta T: (+356) 7980 5080 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.igamingidol.com Contact: Michael Pedersen - CEO
Jackpotjoy Group offers a range of top-class gaming products for desktop and mobile, each focusing on the user journey. There are hundreds of casino games for its global customer base to explore through well-established brands, such as Vera&John, InterCasino, Finlandia and Regalo. Jackpotjoy Group prides itself on being one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking multi-brand casino companies in the world, and hires the best people in the business. Thanks to this team of talented individuals, Jackpotjoy Group has established itself as a major player within the casino industry. Jackpotjoy staff work hard and play hard, because they love what they do! David Flynn CEO OF DUMARCA GAMING DIVISION
The Emporium, Level 4, St Louis Street, Msida MSD 1421 - Malta T: (+356) 2778 1498 E: email@example.com W: www.jackpotjoygroup.com Contact: David Flynn - CEO of Dumarca Gaming Division
KAYEM CONSULTING LIMITED
KayEm Consulting is a multi-disciplinary firm of accountants and auditors with a proven track record in the gaming industry. Our specialisation covers corporate, fiscal, financial, regulatory and compliance perspectives. The specific design and organisational structure of the firm allows it to understand the requirements of its clients in more focused and timely manner. Services offered include company incorporations, remote gaming licensing, financial institutions licensing, investment services licensing, secretarial services, back office services, accounting, audit & assurance and tax consultancy. Keith Massa MANAGING PARTNER
3, Advance Business Centre, Triq Guze Flores, Santa Venera SVR1950 - Malta T: (+356) 2146 1443 E: Info@kayemconsulting.com W: www.kayemconsulting.com Contact: Keith Massa - Managing Partner
With a staff compliment of around 350, including 30 principals, KPMG in Malta is one of the leading providers of audit, tax and advisory services. Our vision is to be the clear choice for our clients, our people and our community. We are committed to working shoulder-to-shoulder with our clients by adopting a client-centric approach that integrates innovative approaches and deep expertise to deliver real results. This commitment translates into a high level of client satisfaction – the majority of our surveyed clients confirmed that we met or exceeded their expectations. Following the acquisition of Crimsonwing plc, rebranded KPMG Crimsonwing, by a joint venture between the UK, Malta and Dutch practices, KPMG is today the largest professional services provider in Malta with a staff compliment of over 660 professionals.
Portico Building, Marina Street, Pieta’ PTA 9044 - Malta T: (+356) 2563 1000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.kpmg.com.mt Contact: Tonio Zarb - Senior Partner
Kyte is focused on offering a number of bespoke services ranging from Remote Gaming Consulting, PCI DSS Compliance, ISO 27001 compliance, Information Systems Audit & Assurance, Internal Audit, IS Security Services, Data Protection and Anti Money Laundering. With a wealth of experience and qualifications in these areas, we have established ourselves as the leaders in this niche market. Kyte is accredited by the Malta Gaming Authority to carry out System and Compliance Audits of Remote Gaming Operators on its behalf.
Trevor Axiak DIRECTOR
170, Pater House, Psaila Street, Birkirkara BKR 9077 - Malta T: (+356) 2759 5000 E: email@example.com W: www.kyteconsultants.com Contact: Trevor Axiak - Director
LA VALETTE CLUB
La Valette Club at Malta International Airport has been perfecting its VIP services for over two decades, with the aim of adding exceptional value to its guests’ airport experience. La Valette Club offers a variety of membership options, giving members access to the airport lounges and privileges such as complimentary parking and chauffeur and porterage services. Whether a frequent flyer or a business traveller, La Valette Club services are tailored to help guests save precious time and unwind before proceeding with their journey. In 2017, La Valette Club unveiled a completely revamped departures lounge boasting some very unique features, and received a prestigious highly commended rating from Priority Pass.
c/o Malta International Airport, Luqa LQA 4000 - Malta T: (+356) 2369 6516 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.lavaletteclub.com Contact: George Mallia - Head Retail and Property
HEAD RETAIL AND PROPERTY
‘The greatest gaming experience – number one in mobile gaming.’ LeoVegas runs Europe’s fastest and most user-friendly mobile gaming platform offering 1000+ casino games, the world’s largest suite of live casino entertainment in HD and the all new sportsbook, labelled as the sporting event of the year. With cutting-edge technology, innovative data, and a strong entrepreneurial management, LeoVegas has grown to become the gaming provider of choice for thousands of players. LeoVegas is internationally recognised as a leader in mobile gaming and has won several prestigious industry awards. LeoVegas is listed on Nasdaq First North Premier, under the ticker symbol LEO. Today, LeoVegas employs a team of 550+ talented people in its offices in Malta, Sweden, Italy and the UK.
Level 7, The Plaza Business Centre, Bisazza Street, Sliema SLM 1640 - Malta T: (+356) 9931 7809 E: email@example.com W: www.LeoVegasGroup.com/en Contact: Roderick Spiteri Schillig Head of Communications
LV BET is a rapidly growing online casino and sportsbook, offering a leading range of video slots, table games, live casino games and sports betting. Based in Malta, and licensed both there and in the United Kingdom, LV BET compliments a highly successful sister brand catering for the Polish market, which boasts dozens of land-based shops and several major high-profile sporting sponsorships. LV BET has earned a reputation for an excellent product, innovative promotions, a compelling welcome bonus, exciting offers and a unique reward scheme, backed-up by responsive player support and a welcoming and attractive user experience. Adrian Sidowski CEO
Angelica Court, Level 3, Giuseppe Calì Street, Ta’ Xbiex XBX1425 - Malta T: (+356) 7704 1568 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: https://lvbet.com/en/ Contact: Simona Pinterova - PR Manager
GAMINGmalta 2018 EDITION
MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY
Joseph Cuschieri EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN
At the Malta Gaming Authority, our regulatory philosophy, organisational principles and culture are focused on player protection. Malta’s transparent legal framework and experience in regulating gaming has developed into a worldclass eco-system providing effective, innovative and efficient regulation. Our regulatory framework provides assurances both locally and internationally that fairness and transparency are at the core of everything that we do. To this effect, our licensees are associated with the highest levels of integrity and efficiency. We are recognised as a world-class authority in terms of innovation, governance and diligence. Mission Statement: “To regulate competently the various sectors of the lotteries and gaming industry that fall under the Authority by ensuring gaming is fair and transparent to the players, preventing crime, corruption and money laundering and by protecting minor and vulnerable players.”
Building SCM 02-03, Level 4, SmartCity Malta, Ricasoli SCM1001 - Malta T: (+356) 2546 9000 E: email@example.com W: www.mga.org.mt Contact: Yorana Penza – Manager Corporate Affairs
MALTA REMOTE GAMING COUNCIL
The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC) has been the voice of the industry with the Malta Gaming Authority since 2005. The MRGC has carried out important surveys such as the salary survey and the economic survey. The MRGC has contributed by participating in various committees which were set up to tackle ‘hot’ topics and always provided feedback to consultation documents such as most recently the AML/CFT industry-specific guidelines and the new Gaming Act. The MRGC continues to contribute to the industry through participation in EU committees, liaising with other Associations and writing articles for key publications and websites. George Debrincat PRESIDENT
Tower Business Centre, Tower Street, Swatar BKR 3013 - Malta T: (+356) 2546 6672 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.mrgc.org.mt Contact: Alan Alden - General Secretary
MALTA SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
Michael J. Zammit
Malta Sotheby’s International Realty launched in 2013. Our distinct offering extends itself to both local and international clients seeking real estate investment opportunities, those seeking to relocate to Malta, and property owners looking to list and promote their property to qualified buyers. With more than 21,000 sales associates located in 68 countries worldwide, our global network is a commanding presence in the representation of the world’s most remarkable properties. Our team of specialised and well-seasoned property experts offers a professional, confidential and personalised service – artfully uniting extraordinary properties with extraordinary lives. Services include: Residential Sales & Letting, Commercial Sales & Letting, Property Management and Relocation & Residency.
DIRECTOR AND JOINT OWNER
200, Tower Road, Sliema SLM 1602 - Malta T: (+356) 2010 8070 E: email@example.com W: maltasir.com Contact: Michael J. Zammit - Director and Joint Owner
Mazars Malta is one of Malta’s leading multi-disciplinary business advisory and audit firms, with specialist knowledge in the gaming industry, having been appointed by the Malta Gaming Authority as an approved systems and compliance auditor. We take a holistic approach towards understanding your business and delivering our range of services in a more integrated manner. We act as a one stop shop with a niche focus on specialist knowledge in licensing, regulatory, payroll, accounting, auditing, tax, VAT advisory and compliance, risk assurance, compliance audit and corporate services. Powered by Mazars Group, we can call upon the skills of more than 18,000 professionals in 79 countries.
PARTNER, BUSINESS ADVISORY & IGAMING SECTOR LEADER
32, Sovereign Building, Zaghfran Road, Attard ATD 9012 - Malta T: (+356) 2134 5760 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.mazars.com.mt/iGaming Contact: Alan Craig - Partner, Business Advisory & iGaming sector Leader
MEDITERRANEAN INSURANCE BROKERS (MALTA) LIMITED
Joseph G. Cutajar
MIB is Malta’s largest insurance broker and risk management services firm, the local pioneer in this sector with over 40 years of proven track record serving some of Malta’s major public and private corporate entities. MIB is the independent broking arm of the MIB Insurance Group. MIB corresponds with various leading global insurance broking and risk consultancy groups bringing MIB’s clients directly in touch with a wealth of specialist resources and knowledge. MIB is highly specialised but flexible enough to afford the same dedication and professional support to both global companies as well as to individual concerns. MIB are at the forefront to present the Gaming Industry with the latest Insurance products directly responding to today’s emerging risks, such as Cyber Crime and innovative Employee Benefits.
MANAGING DIRECTOR Mediterranean Insurance Brokers (Malta) Ltd. is an enrolled company regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority.
53, MIB House, Abate Rigord Street, Ta Xbiex - Malta T: (+356) 2343 3234 E: email@example.com W: www.mib.com.mt Contact: Joseph G. Cutajar - Managing Director
Built to Tier III specifications, Melita Data Centre is Malta’s only purposebuilt facility covering a fully-fenced footprint of 10,000m2. The data centre has been designed with superior redundancy features on connectivity, power and cooling. With hosting options ranging from shared racks, private cabinets up to dedicated private suites, Melita Data Centre also provides infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions. Clients may also take advantage of its nationwide fibre network for dedicated fibre connectivity and point to point circuits. Using diverse submarine fibre cables connecting Malta to mainland Europe, Melita Data Centre provides high quality connectivity to Malta’s growing financial, remote gaming and technology sectors through its Milan based peering capabilities to the world’s leading connectivity providers.
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES
Bypass Mriehel, Mriehel, B’Kara BKR 3000 - Malta T: (+356) 2727 9911 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: melitadatacentre.com Contact: Malcolm Briffa - Director of Business Services
MiFinity is licensed by the FCA.We offer a range of cost-effective and efficient end-to-end payment solutions. We have more than 15 years of experience in the online payments space with a growing network of global partner relationships and a best-in-class, highly secure and regulated technology platform. We partner with specific providers that support us on our growth strategy across existing and new sectors. Our mission is to be the market leader in the online payment sector. Our product portfolio is aimed at businesses, merchants and consumers. Our headquarters are in Belfast with regional offices in Dublin and Malta. The cornerstone of our core services is the MiFinity eWallet, which supports the transfer of money to almost anyone in the world through our bank network and local payment options.
LS3 – Digital Hub Malta Life Science Park, San Gwann, Malta SGN3000 - Malta T: (+356) 2034 5600 E: email@example.com W: www.mifinity.com Contact: Sales Department
MR GREEN LTD
Mr Green is the true gentleman of online gaming offering a range of awardwinning products in online casino, sportsbook, live casino and bingo. Mr Green has been titled IGA Operator of the Year three consecutive years 2013, 2014, 2015, as well as Mobile Operator of the Year in 2016. In 2017 Mr Green won the prestigious titles IGA Gaming Operator of the year, EGR Nordic Operator of the year and SBC Socially Responsible Sportsbook based on the company’s Green Gaming achievements. Mr Green Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of the Swedish company Mr Green & Co AB, listed on Nasdaq Stockholm main market since 2016. Jesper Kärrbrink CEO
Level 7, Tagliaferro Business Centre, 14, High Street, Sliema - Malta T: (+356) 9939 9293 E: Rikard.Rinaldo@MrGreen.com W: MrGreen.com Contact: Rikard Rinaldo - Communication Director
NetEnt AB (publ) is a leading digital entertainment company, providing premium gaming solutions to the world’s most successful online casino operators. Since its inception in 1996, NetEnt has been a true pioneer in driving the market with thrilling games powered by their cutting-edge platform. With innovation at its core, NetEnt is committed to helping customers stay ahead of the competition. NetEnt is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (NET-B), employs 900 people and has offices in Stockholm, Malta, Kiev, Gothenburg, New Jersey, Krakow and Gibraltar. Henrik Fagerlund MANAGING DIRECTOR
Spinola Park, Level one, Mikiel Ang. Borg Street, St. Julians SPK1000 - Malta E: info@Netent.com W: www.netent.com Contact: Trevor Westacott – Head of Marketing
AND CHIEF OF EMO
Play’n GO is an award-winning game producer and leading omni-channel casino platform supplier that has been in business for over 10 years. We provide solutions for both online and retail casino operators who are looking to increase revenue and customer loyalty. Play’n GO offers products that give players original fun experiences across any device. Our products are based on unique inspirations, creativity and are backed by a solid back-office platform. Play’n GO stands for quality, passion for gaming and innovation.
Johan Törnqvist CEO
T4P4 Piazza Tigne, Tigne Point, Sliema, TP01, Malta E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.playngo.com Contact: Ebba Arnred - CMO
GAMINGmalta 2018 EDITION
RE/MAX Malta is a Real Estate Agency with 27 offices strategically located throughout Malta & Gozo. The company provides a comprehensive service in the form of residential and commercial property sales and letting as well as ancillary services such as Office Relocation, Holiday Rentals, Insurance Services, Property Management and Condominium Services. The company has a team of over 350 sales & letting associates that each specialise in different areas of the market. This, paired with one of the largest property databases on the island, certifies that your RE/MAX real estate agent can easily show you almost any property currently available on the market. Jeff Buttigieg COO
The Quay level - 5 Portomaso Marina, Portomaso, St Julians STJ 4010 - Malta T: (+356) 2015 6800 E: email@example.com W: remax-malta.com Contact: Jeff Buttigieg - COO
RSM was launched in Malta eleven years ago by a team of Certified Public Accountants. At RSM, we exist to empower our clients to move forward with confidence. We employ a unique talent pool of 160 qualified full time professional staff in Audit, Tax, Outsourcing (accounting and payroll), Information Technology and Business Advisory. To make confident decisions about the future, an entrepreneurial, growing business needs a different kind of adviser. One who starts by understanding where you want to go and then brings the ideas and insights of an experienced team to help you get there. Experience the power of being understood. Experience RSM. Vladimiro Comodini PARTNER
Mdina Road, Zebbug, ZBG 9016 - Malta T: (+356) 2278 7000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.rsm.com.mt Contact: Vladimiro Comodini - Partner
SiGMA is all about iGaming in Malta. The new, redesigned portal serves as a jobs board all year round to showcase the hundreds of vacancies and connect talent with great companies. SiGMA also organises a number of lavish dinners, branded iGatherings, to promote Maltese culture, cuisine and history in a friendly business environment. Finally, the next Summit of iGaming in Malta is taking place in October 2018, moving it farther away from ICE, and anticipating another record breaking year with 400 sponsors and exhibitors and 12,000 delegates. Eman Pulis FOUNDER AND CEO
Gaming Hub, Judge Paolo Debono Str. Msida Skatepark - Malta T: (+356) 9926 3626 E: email@example.com W: www.sigma.com.mt Contact: Eman Pulis - Founder and CEO
Tumas Gaming operates the Gaming Division within the Tumas Group. Since its humble origins in 1998 Oracle Casino, located within the Dolmen Resort Hotel, has expanded to include Portomaso Casino, housed adjacent to the prestigious Hilton, and was yet another important milestone for Tumas Gaming. It is the only multi-casino operator on the island. Further expansions included Portomaso Gaming, an online gaming platform based on a real live Casino, which captures action and gameplay and successfully extends it into the cyber world. It also has its own online platform Portomasolive.com, which offers its online users a chance to participate in Live Casino gaming and experience the intensity of real casino games. Since 2012 the company opened numerous Bestplay outlets around the island.
Level 1, Portomaso Business Tower, Portomaso, St Julians STJ4011 - Malta T: (+356) 2138 3777 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.tumas.com Contact: Gianfranco Scordato - Executive Director
VacancyCentre (operated by CSB Group) is a specialist recruitment agency that is committed to working very closely with candidates and local companies alike. Through a careful process of evaluation, we provide candidates with exceptionally relevant opportunities, taking time to match their career aspirations to some of the best opportunities in Malta. VacancyCentre has an extensive network of talented candidates with expertise in the Banking and Finance, iGaming, Information Technology, Legal and Compliance, Sales & Marketing, and Administration sectors. We have a very successful track record of delivering good talent to clients. John Dimech GENERAL MANAGER
Ground floor, Tower Business Centre, Tower Street, Swatar BKR 4013 - Malta T: (+356) 2123 2224 E: email@example.com W: vacancycentre.com Contact: John Dimech - General Manager
Videoslots was established in 2011 and has built a solid name for itself as being a player’s choice casino. Over 2200 games amongst of which it claimed The Best New Casino Award in 2014, and awards for Best Gaming Experience and Best New Casino in 2015. In 2016 and 2017 Casinomeister fans handed the casino awards for Best Casino, Best Casino manager and Best Gaming experience. ‘Battle of Slots’ is its most innovative feature which took the industry by storm in 2015. Videoslots.com will soon launch a 3D poker product after the acquisition of technology assets from the PKR estate. This will continue to enhance Videoslots’ existing product offering. Alexander Stevendahl CEO
The Space, 2/3, Alfred Craig Street, Pieta - Malta T: (+356) 7970 5570 E: Lorraine.firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.videoslots.com Contact: Lorraine Sammut - Employer Branding & Events Manager
Malta-based Wazdan is a major games producer with products covering slots, table games and video poker, creator of the world’s-first real-time in-game ‘Volatility Level’. Wazdan’s games are powered by their innovative suite of added-value tools, Volatility Level, Double Screen Mode, Unique Gamble Feature and Energy Saving Mode, which provide operators with the ability to activate multiple features designed to enhance customer experience and engagement, improve retention, encourage extended play and produce higher yield. Wazdan’s ‘Passion for Games’ complies with MGA regulations as well as Curacao licensing, and the RNG that’s used in their games is certified by NMi, which means that all Wazdan software is reliable, fair and secure.
HEAD OF MARKETING
227 Triq Salvu Psaila, Birkirkara BKR 9076 - Malta T: (+356) 9983 8490 E: email@example.com W: www.wazdan.com Contact: Jeremy Fall - Head of Marketing
Olga Finkel FOUNDER & PARTNER
WH Partners was formed over 10 years ago by co-founders and managing partners Olga Finkel and James Scicluna. The firm has established itself as a leading Malta-based business law firm, best known for its strong understanding of the digital economy as well as for advising stake holders in the fields of education, financial services, gaming & gambling, leisure & hospitality, real estate, taxation and wealth management. The firm’s corporate, M&A, tax, IP, employment and regulatory lawyers are very active advising businesses across a raft of these areas. The firm’s private client practice deals on an ongoing basis with high-to- veryhigh-net-worth individuals and with family offices on matters ranging from succession planning and residency to yacht and aircraft registration. The firm’s lawyers are among the strongest in Malta in their respective practice areas and are well regarded by regulators and clients for their thoroughness, efficiency and knowledge of their clients’ business, as well as their versatility.
Level 5, Quantum House, 75 Abate Rigord Street, Ta’ Xbiex XBX 1120 - Malta T: (+356) 2092 5100 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.whpartners.eu Contact: Rehana Sharma - Head of Marketing and Talent Management
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