Issuu on Google+












Editorial | SiGMA


Eman Pulis & Dennis Dyhr-Hansen

EDITORIAL WE HAVE GONE GLOBAL! FROM A LITTLE EXPO DOMINATED BY MALTA-BASED COMPANIES, SIGMA HAS THIS YEAR BECOME A MULTI-NATIONAL SHOW WITH THE LIKES OF GOLDEN RACE, MARATHON BET, TRUSTLY, NMI, PRAGMATIC PLAY, GANAPATI, BETRADAR, GLI, ALIQUANTUM, PAYSAFE, W2GLOBAL, PEGASUS GAMING AND OTHERS GRACING OUR FLOOR PLAN (P 10). THESE BRANDS HAVE LITTLE OR NO OPERATIONAL PRESENCE IN MALTA, YET BELIEVED IN HAVING A SOLID PRESENCE AT THE SHOW. Having a sold out floor plan since last April meant that we could focus on building a truly 360⁰ showcase based on networking all year around. Wining and dining go a long way in this industry so we treated sponsors, exhibitors and top c-level executives to a string of lavish dinners throughout the year (p120). We worked hand in hand with the Maltese Government, the MGA, Gaming Malta as well as GamCrowd to create a startup pitch on Maltese shores for the first time ever. A number of seasoned investors and bright startups will meet in a Dragon’s Den-like environment (p30). We are also opening the SiGMA doors during the last few hours, on day two between 2pm and 6pm, for a career convention. Anyone who has been to any expo can attest that numbers tend to dwindle a bit towards the end. So the timing seemed right for a careers convention to help meet the insatiable demand for talent. Graduates from the University of Malta, MCAST and various private institutes will be personally invited to this careers convention. We’ve quite literally embarked on a three-month head-hunting mission for all. Who

knows? They might likely meet their best employer to date! The expo floor and conferences take place on the 17th and 18th November – but with so many networking events taking place on the 16th and 19th, we encourage you to fly in early. The BiG Foundation Dinner, a networking poker tournament, networking drinks and a welcome party to name a few activities take place on the 16th (p22). In addition, in an unprecedented move, we have secured 300 booked flights for affiliates, no expense saved, most of which will be flying in on the 16th or earlier. We’re signing the brightest, most experienced speakers from within and outside the industry, covering a range of themes. Sports, affiliation and SEO, regulatory, payments, disruptive technology and HR will pave the way for some animated panel discussions. We’ve lined them up for you: 100 speakers, 150 sponsors/exhibitors and 3,000 quality attendees. We look forward to welcoming you at this show in the heart of the iGaming industry and have little doubt that everyone will walk out a winner.


Contents | SiGMA






62 78


Message from the MGA 07 Experience and knowledge for global aspirations 09 Floor plan 14 SiGMA conferences & partnership events 16 Startup pitch 30 Networking bonanza 34 The headlines 40 Cover story with Vera&John 53 Strengthening the game ecosystem 60 Keeping up with the regulator 62 They call him Mr. Casino: twitch affiliate 67 Mathematics joins creativity and innovation 78 4th Anti money laundering directive: know the score? 81 Time to go live! Interview with Edward Ihre, Codeta 85 Japanese themed games 89 Compliant – to be or not to be 93 Good governance to AML 97 Real world black hat SEO 98 Young Maltese entrepreneurs launch new casino 104 Meet with Ahmet Celebi, Queen Vegas 111 Making the affiliate industry better 112 Regulating skill games 116 Hospitality & networking 124 Meet Georg Westin and Kristifer Bergdahl, Hero Gaming 145 Casual games: a serious business 161 Who’s Who in the Malta Gaming Industry 167 Media Partners 213

Editor: Eman Pulis Consulting Editors: Dennis Dyhr-Hansen & Sacha Kinser Sales: Jarek Górny, Sophie Crouzet & Anthony Medica Design: Nicholas Cutajar Photography: Aleksey Leonov


Hand delivered to various expos worldwide, executive lounges, Maltese embassies and government institutions. The magazine is also delivered by post to 4,000 leading gaming companies worldwide. For information regarding promotion and advertising kindly call (+356) 2131 4191 or email SiGMAgazine is published by Viking PC Health Ltd., Sundial Court, 7, Victor Denaro Street, Msida. MSD1604, Malta.


All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited without prior consent in writing. Opinions expressed in SiGMAgazine are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations.



Regulation | SiGMA

MESSAGE FROM THE MGA BY JOSEPH CUSCHIERI THIS YEAR IS PROMISING TO BE YET ANOTHER YEAR OF SATISFACTORY PERFORMANCE FOR THE I-GAMING SECTOR IN MALTA AND THE JURISDICTION IN GENERAL. [WHILE THE NUMBER OF LICENCES ISSUED BY THE MGA HAVE INCREASED AT A HIGHER RATE THAN LAST YEAR, REVENUES OF COMPANIES ARE INCREASING AT A HEALTHIER PACE]. THE NUMBERS SHOW ENCOURAGING SIGNS OF HEALTHY RESILIENCE, THAT IS EXCEEDING OUR EARLIER EXPECTATIONS IN VIEW OF THE NUMBER OF CHALLENGES THAT MALTA AND THE SECTOR CONTINUE TO FACE. Some would argue that the iGaming sector is now saturated and that the industry is growing at a slower rate and is, or will be, dominated by a smaller number of mega-operators. Indeed, this is a development of every industry sector but, myopia and stagnation are not features of this dynamic and innovative sector. New products, channels and business models are continuously being brought in line at a fast pace in the quest of becoming more efficient and effective in providing a player experience better than their rivals on the market. The gaming regulatory scenario in the EU and beyond is yet extending the country by country regulation, subjecting operators to national licensing regimes and thus the duplication - or rather a multiplication - of regulatory compliance mechanisms and costs by operators which, outside of their base in Malta, operates in other EU and non-EU markets. The political climate to reverse this trend or indeed use lessons learnt to develop any form of uniformity in regulation seems to lack the necessary appetite at the national level or indeed by the European institutions. This is expected to be the norm for the immediate and medium term in all markets. It is with this in mind that in the 3-year plan launched in 2014, the MGA set to, progressively, consolidate and reposition Malta as a centre which fosters excellence, efficiency, and an intelligent and responsible gaming industry. The regulatory overhaul is now being progressively rolled out. Prior to the white paper, the MGA has published various policy papers and, importantly, the draft regulations concerning Skill Games (notified to the Commission in August 2016) and the Legal Notice which exempts Fantasy Sports Games from the current regulatory requirements. The generally new and innovative approach, which the Government and MGA are proposing in the new legislative framework for the governance of the sector, co-existing with more traditional mechanisms of regulation, are being

presented as part of wide consultation process which will precede presentation to Parliament. While the MGA has soughtinput from various and a wide of stakeholders, all parties are encouraged to provide any feedback they think is appropriate in order to make this new regime a winning one for all involved in the sector. The new regulatory regime is a cornerstone of the consolidation and repositioning strategy by Malta in the global gaming sphere. However, both Government and MGA are well aware that there are other critical contributory factors that sustain this important and economically significant industry in Malta. The focus is indeed to strengthen this position as as we move forward, in order to support its investments in innovation, diversification, operational and regulatory efficiency, skills development and long term success. One of the challenges Malta faces, like a number of other jurisdictions, concerns direct taxation. It is no secret that Malta does not agree with EU tax harmonisation, or measures that will have a similar effects. The government is committed in its resolve and will continue to strive in order to ensure that Malta’s tax regime is retained. Malta is today also endowed with a fully developed and sophisticated eco-system of infrastructure and services that support the i-gaming industry along with its dynamic development. While Malta may not provide the lowest cost of total operation, it offers one of the most reliable, costefficient, transparent and business-friendly environments for the industry, which is valued by hundreds of operators. This dynamic environment provides a advantage over other potential jurisdictions for both start-ups and bigger established businesses to relocate as the numbers continue to show, year on year. We will continue to support the existing ecosystem and take the necessary measures to address any shortages or new needs that growth has brought or may bring about. The MGA conducted a multitude of studies, and have listened to various individual stakeholders highlighting the need of certain skills and competencies. In 2017 the Government will be revising its measures in order to make it even more attractive to secure and retain the right skills and competencies in Malta. The Gaming Institute will also be launched and commence its operations to provide the professional development of industry specific competences necessary. There will be other initiatives and projects during the coming year, which will continue to cement our resolve and commitment towards this sector. These may be peripheral to the regulatory structure and processes. Simplifying establishment and operation by gaming companies, this will create equally, if not more exciting and innovative projects.


Interview | SiGMA




SiGMA | Interview


It has been almost three years since you became Aspire Global’s CEO – how would you summarise them? It’s been an amazing journey, both personally and professionally. My family relocated to sunny Malta for this job and it’s been an exciting experience for us all. Malta is the best place to meet colleagues, other operators and suppliers on a regular basis. It’s not just the business meetings either; being able to socialise with other gaming professionals is really useful too. It is so much easier doing business with people whom you know in real life. The fact that so many colleagues decided to put their faith in us and become partners in our journey is amazing. This growth has given us the ability to add more tools to our system, integrate new 3rd party content providers, and bring on board a wealth of new sources. It also means that we’re now well-known in the industry, which is really exciting since it opens the doors to a whole host of new opportunities. Tell us about the market trends from your experience over the last three years. The two main trends in the last three years have been regulation and competition. The growth of regulation has been great in terms of opening up more acquisition channels and improving public perception. However, it has also increased operating costs for gaming businesses. We’re not just talking gaming duty, although that can be painful – there are also the added expenses of ensuring operational compliance and the technical overhead of regulatory reporting. We are also seeing increased competition, with more small and medium operators in the market now offering different unique selling points and targeting different market niches. Whether it’s bigger bonuses, better user experience, faster support, or offering popular localised games, this competition can only be good for players. Since a happy player is a loyal player, it’s good for the operators who get things right too. Overall, these two trends have led to many operators feeling the squeeze on their margins. While revenues have been growing nicely, profits are lagging for many companies. How did you cope with these trends? Fortunately, Aspire Global isn’t new to the online casino game. We have been able to adapt gradually to the new operating environment by implementing methods to cope with multiple markets and changing regulations. We are currently preparing to enter our sixth regulated market, and have already launched several casino apps in the ones in which we already operate. Our team is very experienced with the process of gaining regulatory approval. Something we do differently, rather than just better, is lifetime value estimation. We have developed an analytical system with a formula to identify the likely lifetime value and cash flow of a player after just a few days in the system. When I say lifetime value, I mean it. We can tell our operators a few days after they start a campaign what their players are really worth. This means that they can quickly reinforce their

“Platform stability is vital. You can’t make money if a part of your service has gone offline or isn’t communicating with another part. Players these days simply will not put up with anything less than 100% uptime when they have so many other choices” 010

successes and cut their losses. The industry is currently too competitive to waste money on ineffective marketing. Now that 2016 is almost behind us, I can summarise and say that it has been a successful year for Aspire Global in terms of new white label operators. To what do you attribute this success? It was indeed a very good year. I’m glad that we invested in making sure our infrastructure was easily scalable before the start of the year. The most significant reason for this growth is that we have great partners. They are achieving success working with us, and because of this, they are recommending us to others. No salesperson is as effective as a happy customer at generating new business. I’m also really proud of the fact that some of our operators are so happy with their results that they are opening second brands with us to allow them to expand even faster. We are always delighted when our operators are successful. We enjoy very close relationships with all our partners and care for their businesses as though we own them ourselves. We know that ultimately, our partners’ results will determine how far we go, so we are determined to resolve any issue or request they might have quickly and efficiently. We want to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and is forgotten. We know from our partners’ results that this approach works, and we know from the number of referrals we get that they truly appreciate our ownership approach. From your experience what are the 3 most important things for your potential partners? Through years of experience in the market and by undertaking in-depth research, I can conclude that firstly partners are looking for a platform provider that offers a full turnkey solution. It must be capable of doing everything the operator needs. Otherwise, you will be dealing with multiple providers, and that’s when things can become confusing and inefficient. Secondly, platform stability is vital. You can’t make money if a part of your service has gone offline or isn’t communicating with another part. Players these days simply will not put up with anything less than 100% uptime when they have so many other choices. Thirdly, a


dynamic provider, which can operate in multiple regulatory environments opens up more options for expanding an operator’s business and makes their life much easier than having to deal with compliance alone. Do you think anyone can become an operator? No, I don’t think anyone can do it, but I think a lot more people could do it than currently are available. The path to success is to focus on what you do best. In our industry, there are many companies, and even individual affiliates, who are experts in marketing and branding, but either don’t try to do the other stuff or don’t do it well enough. That’s where we come in. Our business is designed to provide a solution for this sort of person. By taking care of the operational side of things, we free them up to focus on marketing their own world-class product. Who are your potential partners? Broadly speaking, we work with three main types of companies. The first is existing brands that want to improve their profitability. We are able to offer them better tools and a more stable platform, ensuring that they’re not held back by their platform provider. We also work with affiliates who want to become operators. Affiliates are already doing all of the hard work in marketing other people’s brands, so partnering with us is the next logical step for them. We take care of all the operational tasks, so the main change they see is being able to own their players and keep more of the revenue. Increasingly, we’re seeing media companies without any gaming experience enter the space. They already have the audience; it’s just a matter of plugging in our turnkey solution to get their casino up and running. Your business model is a little different from those of other platform providers - can you explain how and why? Our guiding principle is to create genuine partnerships with our operators. We want to have customers who are happy and successful because that’s the best way to create a business relationship for the long-term. The two most notable things that are different about our business model are our scalability and ability to charge based on Net Revenue.

Interview | SiGMA

“2017 is going to be a very exciting year. We will be introducing Sports Betting, which will be a new vertical for most of our partners.” Because we have a large network of operators, we are able to obtain very competitive rates from payment providers and for 3rd party royalties. Adding a mark-up to these external services is a hidden source of income for some providers, but can create a conflict of interest. The thing I’m most proud of is that most of our charges are based on our operators’ Net Gaming Revenue. This is not the industry standard, but we believe that it is the best way to fully align our interests with those of our partners. What can you offer to to operators that are unique? In terms of acquisition, we offer different apps for different countries. Over the last two years, we have seen the effectiveness of this approach as our operators have been able to generate a significant number of new players from channels they weren’t previously exposed to. Once they have acquired the players, we offer them over 100 in-house games that they will only find in our network. The variety of options offered by the combination of our proprietary games and a wide selection from third party providers increases player satisfaction and lifetime value. What can you tell us about AG’s plans for 2017? 2017 is going to be a very exciting year. We will be introducing Sports Betting, which will be a new vertical for most of our partners. We are also planning to launch in our sixth regulated market. There will be more nice surprises for our partner operators next year, but I don’t want to give too much away at the moment.


SiGMA | Expo Plan


EXPO PLAN P Media Stream








Main Entrance NetEnt

Registration Desk



Bet Construct


Karamba Lounge








Slots Million

Pragmatic Play

MGA Tipbet


iGaming Cloud

Join Games



EGO Skill on Net

Leo Vegas Lunch Area

Honest Partners

BDO Atlas


Has Traffic Wow Media


eGaming Caspo Lab


Betting Jobs


Wow Media

Gold Lion Equinox


Media Hut





Act Consultants

EP Fantasy


Extra Mile

Western Union



iSoftBet iCentre Betsson

Defined Branding The Palace Touring Med

VIP Response Pay360

Forbes Fone

Safe names Forty Two Aliquantum

Marathon Bet

Call Credit



Coffee Area CSB



Expo Plan | SiGMA



Every Matrix

Catella Bank


Tom Horn

Optimizer Eight Gaming iGaming Invest Startups Malta Business


Conference Passage Stanbet



Mr Green

HiPay Tipbet


Bethard VIKS

W2 Global

Tipco Careers

Room 1 iGaming Forum


Green Tube Main Room SiGMA Conferences KPMG eSummit

Lucky Streak





iGaming Academy

iGaming Go Wild Academy


Premier Matching All in Live Translations Visions


Catena Media

Wire Capital


Casino TV


Golden Race Catena Media HR Wunderino



Freaky Vegas



Energy Casino

Room 2 Human Capital & Performance




SiGMA | Conference







Emerging Trends: live betting, player vs player betting, game play and more Nikkos J. Frangos, President, Arenacube Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor, WH Partners John Barnes, Commentator & Expert, ESPN & SuperSport Tal Itzhak Ron, Chairman, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. (Moderator) There are various emerging trends in betting. Players can now compete against each other using a combination of betting skills and strategic game play, rather than betting against the house. There are also new possibilities where a player can get one or more selections wrong but still win. At the operator level, can the running costs be optimized and can the requirement for tied up cash collateral be removed?

Fantasy Sport and its growing popularity across continents Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer, DraftKings Ben Carlotti, MD & Co-Founder, Oulala Serge Shapovaloff, CTO, EP Fantasy Michele Magro, Senior Legal Advisor, MGA Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor, WH Partners (Moderator) Fantasy sport is today recognized as a game of skill rather than a game of chance, distinguishing itself from sports betting. In this animated discussion we will explore the increased popularity of fantasy sport and its role in European markets.



Coffee Break Omni-channel sports betting Johan Styren, CEO, LeoVegas Alessandro Fried, CEO, BtoBet Simon Planzer, Partner, Planzer Law T. Jack Williams, President, Paymentcard Services, Inc. James Scicluna, Partner, WH Partners (Moderator) Various operators rely on land based as well as online traffic for their sports book. What are the emerging trends between the two sources of traffic? Are the two business models kept distinct or is a more seamless omni-channel experience the way forward?


Inplay Sports Betting Bernard Marantelli, CEO, Colossus Bets Keith McDonnell, CEO & Owner, Assaf Stieglitz, Owner, Lennart Gillberg, Founder, Spiffx Simon Planzer, Partner, Planzer Law (Moderator) This panel discussion will analyze In-Play time, specifically user engagement in live betting environments.

Conference | SiGMA







Chief International Officer, DraftKings

CEO, BtoBet

Commentator & Expert, ESPN & SuperSport

CEO, LeoVegas





Senior Advisor, WH Partners

Partner, Planzer Law

President, Arenacube

MD & Co-Founder, Oulala




Partner, WH Partners

CTO, Fantasy Sports Solution

CEO, Colossus Bets







President, Paymentcard Services, Inc

Founder, Spiffx

Senior Legal Advisor, MGA


TAL ITZHAK RON Chairman, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co.


SiGMA | Conference









“Survival of the fittest affiliate” - myth or a reality? Robin Reed, Group CEO, Gaming Innovation Group Inc. Ory Weihs, Co-Founder, XLMedia Erik Bergman, CSO & Co-Founder, Catena Media Michael Caselli, Founder & Editor in Chief, iGaming Business Love them or hate them, affiliates remain a major pillar in the iGaming ecosystem, responsible for over 50% of global traffic. Many affiliates merge or sell their business to bigger affiliates or operators. This has resulted in the biggest affiliates, the ones making most of the acquisitions, able to leverage their position for bigger CPA and rev share deals with operators. Is this creating a situation where smaller operators are struggling to penetrate the market?

Affiliate Presentation Erik Bergman, CSO & Co-Founder, Catena Media Black Hat v.s. White Hat - Google Law v.s. Law of the land Gary R. Beal, Managing Director, Vanguard Online Media Sergio Montebello, Founder & MD, Fibonacci Marketing Alex Sakota, Founder, High Creative, Growth Hacker Tal Itzhak Ron, Chairman, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. In this heated panel discussion, four experienced speakers will battle it out on stage. Given Google’s constant algorithm updates, should affiliates adopt new techniques to improve SEO ranking? Are there any legal implications?


Coffee Break


SMS and Email Marketing: the hot seats. Straight questions, straight answers Yancy Naughton, Founder, HasTraffic/WantsTraffic Jonathan Caruana, CEO, SMSwarriors The Next Cold War - Google Ranking v.s. Artificial Intelligence Paul Reilly, CEO, Media Skunk Works


The presentation is a must-attend for operators, software developers and all CMOs. Google Search have been training machine learning algorithms since 2012. Deep neural networks, modeled loosely on the human brain, represent the new challenge for SEOs. Just how can modern SEOs compete with machine intelligence? Paul Reilly founder and CEO, Media Skunk Works provides a gentle introduction to machine learning before covering actual, “in-production” specifics on how machine learning and natural language processing is being used by today’s SEO pioneers to compete with machine intelligence.


Advanced Session 1 for CMOS by Random Consulting Aideen Shortt, Director Random Consulting


Advanced Session 2 for CMOS by Random Consulting Aideen Shortt, Director Random Consulting

Conference | SiGMA







Founder & Editor in Chief, iGaming Business

Group CEO, Gaming Innovation Group Inc.

Co-Founder, XLMedia

CSO & Co-Founder, Catena Media





Managing Director, Vanguard Online Media

Founder, High Creative

Managing Director, Fibonacci Marketing

CEO, Media Skunk Works





CEO, SMSwarriors

Chairman, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co.

Founder, HasTraffic/WantsTraffic

Director, Random


SiGMA | Conference





CONFERENCE 3: Regulatory Update





Welcome Address and Opening Remarks Hon. Manuel Mallia, Minister for iGaming, Government of Malta Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, MGA Ivan Filletti, Vice Chairman, Gaming Malta A series of short presentations by major stakeholders in the industry.


Catapulting Malta into the future Ulrik Bengtsson, President & CEO, Betsson Group Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, MGA Olga Finkel, Partner, WH Partners Anton Cristina, Executive Director, CSL As the industry matures, the MGA has revamped its regulatory regime to reflect current challenges and future needs. Are the new, MGA-granted licenses generating more jobs in Malta? How are they affecting already established license holders? What are the seeds that we should sow to maintain our attractiveness as a Gaming jurisdiction?


The Brexit Looking Glass Steve Donoghue, CEO, Robin Le Prevost, CEO, Le Prevost Consultancy Russell Kelly, Partner, KPMG IOM Edwina Licari, Chief officer, Legal, EU & Int Affairs, MGA (Moderator) Malta has been listed as one of the countries most vulnerable to the ramifications of a Great Britain outside the EU. What does Brexit mean for the gambling sphere in England, IOM, Gibraltar and Malta? What are the risks and potential benefits? What are the data protection implications?


Entering a regulated market versus staying in the comfortable grey zone Quirino Mancini, Partner Advisor, Tonucci & Partners What is the most commercially sensible strategy for an international gaming operator nowadays?


The Complexities of Compliance Michaela Meilinger, Tax Associate, KPMG Austria Susan Breen, Partner, Mishcon de Reya Lawrence Hanlin, Risk Consulting Supervisor, KPMG Gibraltar Simon Planzer, Partner, Planzer Law Trevor De Giorgio, Managing Director, Greentube Malta Michael Ellen, Partner, Regulus Partners (Moderator) This session will focus on industry concerns, outlining the European legal viewpoint of ongoing compliance and the implications for Gaming operators.


Effort and Ingenuity – the Road to Consolidation Tim Stocks, Managing Director, James Stocks & Co WSince 2014 the online gambling industry has seen a significant number of M&A transactions. However the pace of consolidation is not set to slow down. The consolidation trends are led by the need to increase scale to fund rising costs arising from tax changes and compliance costs, access to technology and mobile penetration as well as competitive pressures and the drive for market share.


M&A and Capital market activity from an operator’s perspective Justin Psaila, CFO, Gaming Innovation Group Tim Stocks, Managing Director, James Stocks & Co Donal Barron, Commercial Dev. Manager, Paddy Power Betfair Ory Weihs, Co-Founder, XLMedia David Pace, Partner, Deal Advisory, KPMG Malta (Moderator)


Responsible Gaming Presentation Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA How can responsible gaming change the outside in perspective of gambling?

Conference | SiGMA







Minister for iGaming, Government of Malta

President & CEO, Betsson Group

Executive Chairman, MGA

Executive Director, CSL




CEO, Le Prevost Consultancy

Vice Chairman, Gaming Malta

Secretary General, EGBA






Partner, WH Partners

Managing Director, Greentube Malta

Commercial Dev. Manager, Paddy Power Betfair

Managing Director, James Stocks & Co





Partner, KPMG IOM

Chief officer, Legal, EU & Int Affairs, MGA

Partner, Regulus Partners

CFO, Gaming Innovation Group





Partner, Mishcon de Reya


Partner Advisor, Tonucci & Partners

Tax Associate, KPMG Austria




Partner, Deal Advisory, KPMG Malta

Risk Consulting Supervisor, KPMG Gibraltar

Co-Founder, XLMedia

Partner, Planzer Law


SiGMA | Conference







The transition of online gaming Alexandre Tomic, Co-Founder, Alea Gaming David Sargeant, Founder, iGaming Ideas Carla Maree Vella, CEO & COO, Optimizer Invest Anton Kaszubowski, Director, Greenlaw Limited (Moderator) What will be the next disruptor in traditional betting? The discussion will look into the new opportunities to leverage these new innovations, VR, payments, smart CRM systems, data insights and engagement, emotional biometrics.

Virtual Reality: a game changer for egamers Martin McDonald, CEO, Parallel66 15:15‑15:30

Whichever way you look at it, VR defies normal business metrics and for very good reason – because it is unlike any medium consumers have experienced to date. Brand and business owners say we want to be involved but how do we connect Virtual Reality to a business model that works for us?


Bridging the gaming industries for millennials Georg Westin, Founder, Hero Gaming Nikolai Livori, CEO, Yobetit Valéry Bollier, CEO & Co-Founder, Oulala Jim Brown, Managing Director, Jim Brown Consulting Russell Mifsud, Senior Manager, Gaming Specialist, KPMG Malta (Moderator)


The power of data Abdalla Kablan, Founder, Scheduit


Defining and engaging the audience, the power of game mechanics and how to engage the masses for small sums, with high volumes. Game mechanics are important features to include in an offering to millennials. The majority of millennials never gambled but often played games. Can game mechanics, gamified strategies and immersive gameplay engage the masses in playing games for small sums, but in high volumes? Could DFS and eSports be scratching the surface of something far deeper?

Tangible example of how Data insights can help improve your efficiency + future

D&A Abdalla Kablan, Founder, Scheduit Adrian Mizzi, Associate Director, KPMG Angelo Dalli, CEO, Bit8 Ben Carlotti, MD & Co-Founder, Oulala Eric Muscat, Partner, IT Advisory, KPMG Malta (Moderator) Using algorithms and predictive analytics to spot fraud, enhance retention and build a competitive advantage




Cyber risk - what is it? George Quigley, Cyber Security Partner, KPMG London How effective are my security controls? What risks am I running? Do other parts of the business understand their incident response role? Have I got the right balance of controls?

What’s the risk to us? Jason Chess, Partner, Wiggin A risk assessment methodology for financial & other service providers to the gambling industry.

Opportunities arising under PSD2 and open banking standards Jason Chess, Partner, Wiggin Peter Howitt, Founder, Ramparts Andrew J. Zammit, Managing Partner, GVZH Advocates Mark Curmi, Senior Manager, KPMG Malta (Moderator)

Conference | SiGMA







Founder, iGaming Ideas

Co-Founder, Alea Gaming

Founder, Scheduit

CEO & COO, Optimizer Invest




Founder, Ramparts

Partner, Wiggin

CEO, Bit8






Managing Director, Jim Brown Consulting

Managing Partner, GVZH Advocates

Director, Greenlaw Limited



Partner, IT Advisory, KPMG Malta

CEO, Parallel66



Cyber Security Partner, KPMG London

Associate Director, KPMG Malta





Senior Manager, Gaming Specialist, KPMG Malta

Senior Manager, KPMG Malta

CEO, Yobetit

Founder, Hero Gaming

CEO & Co-Founder, Oulala

MD & Co-Founder, Oulala


SiGMA | Partnership Events


in Malta, whereby we shall be incorporating SiGMA’s regulatory & payments conference into a KPMG eSummit. The events have thus far been rolled out in the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, so it is extremely satisfying and rewarding to join our KPMG member firms in actively partaking in an event that has progressively evolved into one of the most reputable and sought after events in the global eGaming calendar. With the event securely established in both the Isle of Man and Gibraltar, delegates have since gathered annually to discuss contemporary and perennial issues. Topics have been as diverse as remote gambling, the requirement to balance economic freedoms with consumer protection and the need to raise tax revenue, changes in online payment technologies and their impact on regulators, operators, customer acquisition as well as many others. We augur that the Malta KPMG eSummit is a success that can be replicated year-on-year. Who normally attends the KPMG eSummits? The eSummit has successfully attracted high calibre speakers and panelists from multiple facets of the industry. This has, in turn, acted as a veritable pull-factor in attracting the intended targeted audience of C-level executives, operators, regulators and government decisionmakers – basically the movers and shakers of the industry. Due to the high-quality content at the eGaming summits, the event has progressively attracted an increasing number of representatives from complementary industries, such as telecommunications, data hosting, corporate services, law and payment facilitation. It is interesting to note that the events have always attracted delegates from outside the host country. Today, the eGaming Summit is unquestionably international, with the majority of attendees stemming from across Europe. The comprehensive and dynamic nature of the eGaming Summits have meant that all of the major changes and controversies affecting the eGaming industry since the inaugural summit is provided with the right forum whereby participants can engage in an interesting debate where the exchange of opinions and ideas is solicited in an open and transparent manner.

ISLE OF MAN, GIBRALTAR AND NOW MALTA: KPMG ADDS THIRD ANNUAL eSUMMIT Can you tell me what the KPMG eSummits are about? The Remote Gaming sector continues to be one of the most dynamic and innovative industries in the world. Indeed, the industry has transformed dramatically since the first eSummit took place seven years ago. The KPMG eSummits’ aim is to bring greater focus to, and understanding of, the Remote Gaming sector. While the content covered at the eSummits has, from year to year, changed considerably and been adapted to reflect the reality on the ground, the blueprint – under which themes are divided into local and global iGaming issues, with industry leaders sharing their knowledge and experience on each and every delegate participating in the discussion – remains unchanged and has been hugely successful. It’s a proud moment for KPMG in Malta as, this year, it will be launching the very first KPMG eSummit 026

What value do you aim to bring by hosting a KPMG eSummit out in Malta? We have been rigorously and methodically preparing for this event and we are very satisfied with the final program. It promises to be a thought-provoking day, filled with knowledgeable industry specialists, who will share their experiences and provide in-depth insight in their relevant area of specialisation. The informal layout of the main conference hall is set out to provide the right conditions to capture the audiences’ attention and create a comfortable environment for questions. Our intention is to provide meaningful and practical tools to our audience, in order for them to apply this insight into their own operations. The major outcome from this event is envisaged to revolve around the usability, validity and applicability of the sessions. The KPMG eSummit in Malta promises to be a lively day, which will be delivered through a combination of short presentations accompanied by topic-centric panel sessions. We are going to be time conscious but value-driven. (Should you wish to gauge a further appreciation of the themes that are set to be discussed on the day, then kindly refer to our advert on the inside front page cover of the SiGMA magazine) Why have you decided to partner up the KPMG eSummit with SiGMA this year? SiGMA has grown from strength to strength since its inception 3 years ago. It is the largest Gaming event on the island and is garnering much support by carving a reputable niche as a yearly calendar mainstay in the international arena. We have decided to partner up with SiGMA because we feel as though the combination of SiGMA’s reach and proven track record, coupled with KPMG in Malta’s network and expertise in the field, will offer the audience an enriching forum, within a fun environment.


Partnership Events | SiGMA

FIRST EDITION OF iGAMING FORUM DURING MALTA GAMING WEEK THE IGAMING EDUCATION FORUM, WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE DURING THE SIGMA CONFERENCE ON THE 16TH, 17TH & 18TH NOVEMBER, AIMS TO BRING TOGETHER INTERNATIONAL GAMING COMPANIES OF ALL SIZES AND INDIVIDUALS NEW TO THE INDUSTRY, TO PARTICIPATE IN INTENSIVE TRAINING WORKSHOPS. IT IS DESIGNED TO GIVE EACH PARTICIPANT A UNIQUE TRAINING PACKAGE DELIVERED BY REPUTABLE IGAMING TRAINERS WITH EXPERIENCE IN BOTH IGAMING AND AS IGAMING ACADEMY TRAINERS. The Malta-based iGaming Academy, a trailblazer in industry training and education has announced that it will be joining forces with SiGMA to present its biggest training event to date. The iGaming Education Forum, which will bring together international gaming companies of all sizes, as well as individuals who are new to the industry, will be held during the conference (16/17/18 November) in a dedicated venue. The Forum will deliver comprehensive, current and relevant content and has been designed for any individual who strives to hold a successful position within the iGaming industry. Each participant will be provided with a unique training package, suited to their interests and professional demands with the workshops delivered by experienced iGaming professionals who are also proven iGaming Academy Trainers. Explaining the link-up, iGaming Academy Director, Jaime Debono, stated: “With SiGMA now established as a premier recruitment event, adding a dedicated and professional training operation is a natural partnership. As every business leader will testify, sourcing and securing the right talent is no easy feat and with a solid workforce of some 12,000 people, Malta provides an ideal recruitment backdrop.” Turning his attention to the content covered by the Forum, Jaime Debono said: “Three of the major areas of contemporary interest to the industry will be discussed, including Compliance – which will touch on the various regulatory aspects of the industry such as AML, AntiFraud and Payments and of course, Responsible Gaming. A day has been dedicated to product specific topics, such as Sportsbook and Casino management – and introducing one of the newest contenders for a market share – eSports. We will also feature an Acquisition and Retention workshop, where we will look at Customer Relationship Management, Social Media Marketing and Affiliate Management as three key topics. And to wrap it up, all participants will be given free entrance to the expo as SiGMA delegates, providing a unique opportunity to build and grow networks, in what is an established networking environment.” 027

SiGMA | Partnership Events


FUELING AN INCREASING DEMAND FOR IGAMING TALENT IN MALTA THIS NOVEMBER AT SIGMA, CASTILLE WILL BE ORGANISING TWO PANELS IN RELATION TO HR, REGULATION, ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY. Panel number 1 will be discussing the delicate subjects of Skills Shortages, Emerging Employment trends and the Legal, Tax implications of same. With the knowledge of leading legal, audit and recruitment firms, the contribution to the discussion will be invaluable. This panel has an HR base with a regulatory spin.

The ability of employees to create, innovate and develop products of their own, which they are passionate about is important. Giving these employees the opportunity of growing and providing time for their own creations can prove to be crucial in engaging the right employees and also retaining them.

The first panel will start by discussing the reasons and evolving trends behind skills shortages, with candidates capable of software development being a prime example of the situation faced by many firms around the world, with demand exceeding the supply of available talent. The panel will discuss ways of mitigating these shortages through different methods, mainly through targeting of more EU candidates and third party nationals, using remote working, providing Internships and partnering with outsourcing providers.

With the continuously growing number of opportunities available, digital workers are more careful in analysing their career choices, and will look to join a company whose culture fits their own.

The last method can assist firms by helping them plug into a readily available workforce, and is easily scalable according to client needs. Other important points for a firm to consider when looking for skilled talent include attraction & relocation packages, employment law in Malta, Intellectual Property implications and Income tax. The second panel will have a greater focus on Employee Engagement for Digital Workers. From the experience of specialists & industry research, it is known that Digital Workers request & need varying workplace elements, not necessarily requested by other industries. 028

The panel members will contribute by using their experience in using the “HR Tool Kit� in order to optimise employee engagement and retention. This HR toolkit assists organisations by using a number of methods which research has shown to have an effect on happiness and loyalty demonstrated by employees. Such tools include Training and Development, Rewards and Compensation, Technical Challenges, Positive Working Environments, Diversity in the working place and the possibility for employees to thinking outside the proverbial box C Castille is a specialist recruitment firm for tech, finance and executive careers. Their proposition is consultative and knowledge based, providing clients and candidates with an expert view and a specialist network.


SiGMA | Startup Pitch



FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MALTA, WE ARE INTRODUCING THE SiGMA STARTUP PITCH, BRINGING TOGETHER EIGHT GOOD STARTUPS AND SEVERAL INVESTORS UNDER ONE ROOF. WITH SO MANY INVESTORS WANTING TO JOIN THE GAMING SCENE IN MALTA AS WELL AS WORLDWIDE STARTUPS THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO LAUNCH THIS SESSION. Each startup will have six minutes to present their project, then face a session of Q&A from the investors and the audience in a Dragon’s Den-like environment. Are you a startup? Seeking mentors and investors?

Meet the Startups:

In association with

Betters’ Rift is an eSports-focused, free-to-play betting website, which aims at becoming the European leader on this market. They believe that eSports aren’t just a new category of sport. It is a dynamic and fresh way to experience competitive entertainment and needs a new approach when it comes to betting. To that end, Betters’ Rift chose to create a free-to-play online betting platform, infused with tried-and-tested video games mechanics. Their business model rests on incentivized advertising, selling virtual good and providing B2B services focused on eSports. They are now ready to provide operators with white-label eSports betting platforms. To that end, Betters’ Rift chose to create a free-to-play online betting platform, infused with tried-and-tested video games mechanics. They are now ready to provide operators with white-label eSports betting platforms.

SkillCorner is a startup coming from the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry incubator. They are developing artificial intelligence algorithms and apply them to professional team sports. From a simple video, their algorithms are able to locate the players, the ball and the referees, to identify automatically each player and to understand tactical aspects. The recovered data (20 million/match) is used and valued by different customers: bookmakers, broadcasters, media then clubs.

This London-based start-up offers a range of high-quality instant wins where players are in charge. From their award-winning skill game shows to instant win with cash out and gorgeously engaging scratch, Gamevy combines innovative game design with massive jackpots and a focus on a broad demographic of players. Try the games here. You can play the games for real money on Lottoland, MarathonBet, Betsson and other operators as Gamevy rolls out the games across Europe. Gamevy is licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission and the Gibraltar Commission.

Nextwin is a social betting network (web & mobile) for tipsters and sports passionate that give to users the opportunity to play for fun with no risk using a virtual currency (nextcoin), learn from the best bettors identified relying on statistical algorithms and improve real performance (profits), challenges with friends, share results and knowledge and get social visibility. Nextwin is not a bookmaker, but a social game. Their business is based on selling virtual goods to enlarge playing opportunities , B2B agreements (affiliation + white-labeling services) and selling advertisement.

SportsbookCloud is a massively scalable, high-performance sports betting platform. The company uses the most sophisticated Database services on the market giving their clients unlimited odds compiling capabilities. SportsbookCloud is helping Operators transform their business into immersive omni-channel experiences. They automatically manage the complexity of unlimited scalability. SportsbookCloud delivers a business-ready platform with customer’s design within weeks.

InboundMuse is a digital marketing consultancy helping mature B2B companies get more customers online. Their digital marketing services focus on continuously improving B2B websites with the most powerful marketing & sales tools. They provide all the knowledge, skills, and processes needed to completely transform the way to find, close and keep clients. is a Polish startup, backed lately by Robert Lewandowski - a world-class soccer player. It is a platform that uses algorithms and visualization to show the most important facts and conclusions in a nice, graphical way. Sporticos monitor online discussions about upcoming games, learn the sentiment and combine it with stats as an element of its prediction algorithm. Sporticos track tipsters around the world and accumulate their expertise for smart betting. Currently, it has 8 language versions and over 1 million users on a monthly basis.

Commologic is an innovative sports betting soft games B2B provider based in Israel and licensed in UK, Malta and Denmark. Our first game - BetUP, the world’s first inplay betting cash tournament game, has just recently gone live with Unibet and The Football Pools. BetUP is a unique tournament game that asks predictive questions during live football. Players select what they believe will happen next, through a host of fun and innovative questions. This fun game format allows both experienced sports bettors and novices to BetUP against each other on a level playing field, and challenge themselves with a combination of skill and luck to predict the action.

Startup Pitch | SiGMA







Kleing Group AS

Optimizer Invest



Morten Klein is a Member of the Board at Cherry AB and the Founder & Chairman of the Board at Klein Group AS. He’s a successful entrepreneur and investor with an extensive expertise in online gambling industry. In 2012, Morten was acknowledged as one of the 50 most significant people in the world within the Gambling Industry by Gambling Intelligence.

Carla is the CEO/COO at Optimizer Invest. Her entrepreneurial and innovative drive is supported by 10 years experience in online marketing, and 5 years in iGaming. She specialises in digital marketing, user experience, technology, operational efficiency, data, and CRO.

Ory Weihs is one of the founders and the CEO of XLMedia Group. He’s responsible for business development and strategy, focusing on expanding the groups reach and technological abilities. Ory is an industry expert, who has been heavily involved in iGaming and digital advertising for over 10 years.

Mitsuya Fujimoto is the CEO of Ganapati Plc, an online casino game supplier with offices in Tokyo and London. Mitsuya has extensive experience in TV and music production and artist management in his previous roles where he worked on many prominent international artists and projects with major brands, such as Yamaha and MTV Unplugged. In 2006 he became an independent consultant and established a music media agency called Life Is So Cruel. He worked for a variety of projects around the world providing foreign countries with Japanese content, which he will continue to do in the iGaming industry.

About Kleing Group AS: Klein Group consists of a group of companies with different investments within the iGaming industry, e-commerce, real estate and venture companies. Klein Group is fully controlled by Morten Klein. The 20% ownership of the publicly listed Swedish gambling company Cherry AB, is the main investment of the Group and stands for the continuation of the business corporation called NorgesAutomaten established by Morten Klein in 2006, together with Betsson AB and sold to Cherry AB in 2010.

About Optimizer Invest: Optimizer Invest is a Scandinavian venture capital company headquartered in Malta. The company helps young businesses and entrepreneurs to develop their full potential for profitable growth. The founders and owners have a successful track record in iGaming, and therefore primarily invest in consumer-oriented and online businesses.

About XLMedia: XLMedia is a leading provider of digital marketing services. The company uses proprietary tools and methodologies to generate high-value traffic. XLMedia operates across a number of verticals with specific expertise in the iGaming industry. The Group partners with over 150 online gaming operators in more than 20 countries.





Go Beyond

iGaming Ideas

Nikolai Livori was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Yobetit earlier in 2014 however, he co-founded the company in Malta in 2012 and since then has spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts. In this position as the CEO, he has assumed the overall responsibility for Yobetit including product, business and technology strategies.

Jean Paul is a partner at Go Beyond Investing, heading the Sales & Operations functions. Jean Paul has 20+ years experience in Technology, Strategy, Sales, Operations & People Management in Technology, iGaming, Oil&Gas and Startup Investing.

David drives new products, strategy, and innovation, working as a consultant for gaming operators and product suppliers, and running an iGaming incubator – www.

About Yobetit: Yobetit is a sports arbitrage bookmaker with its main product being a browserbased Sports trading platform. Yobetit scans the global sports odds market and then presents unique cross bet arbitrage opportunities to its members.

About Optimizer Invest: Go Beyond Investing enables individuals to access angel investing as an asset class through its unique platform, tools, training and expert angels.

David has 14 years experience in the gambling and technology sectors. He works across many iGaming verticals including Sports Betting, Horse Racing, Virtual Sports, Casino, and Lottery. He has experience deploying strategies, products and solutions across UK/Ireland, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. About iGaming Ideas: iGaming Ideas aims to add innovation to the Sports Betting and iGaming sector by helping new ideas get to market. We are a consultancy, a startup incubator and seed fund for the sports betting and iGaming space.

About Ganapati: Ganapati Plc is a group of innovative game studios, production companies and media platforms. They have a series of successful social networking apps which are available in Japan and are currently developing a series of unique slot games which will be released globally over the next 12 months.



SiGMA | Careers Convention


CAREERS CONVENTION FOR SiGMA AND MALTA GAMING WEEK THE MANTRA “AS STRONG AS YOUR WEAKEST LINK” NEVER APPLIED BETTER THAN IN THE CASE OF HUMAN RESOURCES. MANY GAMING COMPANIES BASED IN MALTA HAVE SET UP THEIR OWN DEPARTMENT FOR HEAD HUNTING AND RECRUITMENT, MAKING SURE THAT THE BEST TALENT FILLS EACH AND EVERY VACANCY AVAILABLE. SO THIS YEAR AT SIGMA, DURING THE LAST FEW HOURS, ON DAY TWO, BETWEEN 2PM AND 6PM, THE DOORS WILL OPEN FOR TALENTED GRADUATES AND IT DEVELOPERS, BUT STRICTLY BY INVITE, FOR A CAREERS CONVENTION. In the words of Eman Pulis, “Anyone who has been to any expo can attest that numbers tend to dwindle down a bit towards the end. So the timing seemed right for a careers convention to help meet the increasing demand for talent.” Graduates from the University of Malta, MCAST and various private institutes will be targeted and personally invited to this careers convention. Eman went on to elaborate, “We’ve quite literally embarked on a three-month head-hunting mission for all, not only in Malta but also in Scandinavia, where request for Scandinavian talent is on the increase. Who knows? They might likely meet their best employer to date!”

of graduates looking to form part of the gaming industry. This is where SiGMA can provide an excellent platform on Maltese shores.”

Between 2pm and 6pm on Day Two of the expo, the doors will open to graduates and IT developers who are looking at the possibility of a new career in iGaming. Partners MyEvetntsPlanner has secured solid partnerships with student faculty organizations ICTSA, ELSA, ASCS, UESA, GHSL and others.

Those attending will be entitled to shop around the expo floor as well as attend a conference on Human Capital and Performance. Networking drinks and the closing party will also be accessible to the Careers Convention attendees. The organizers are signing the brightest, most experienced speakers from within and outside the industry, including TED speakers, covering a range of themes and paving the way for some animated panel discussions.

SiGMA’s ultimate goal is to bring the entire gaming community together, from affiliates and operators to regulators and vendors. However, this year, it also wants to serve the purpose of recruitment in Malta. In the words of SiGMA’s Dennis Dhyr Hansen, “It is well-known that recruitment remains one of the trickiest aspects, often leaving developers in short supply and an increasing number 032

When asked about the partnership with SiGMA, Managing Partner at Event Planner James Cassar said: “I’ve worked on various events with Eman for a long time and this partnership should pave the way for some great opportunities for graduates who are seeking a career in iGaming. Through this event we want to create a bridge between students and the betting company world where great employment opportunities exist.”

The organisers have lined them up for you: 100 speakers, 150 sponsors/exhibitors and 3,000 quality attendees. For further information visit

SiGMA | Networking Events



AFFILIATES DINNER Strictly by invite 19:00HRS-21:30HRS Sciacca

A networking dinner only for affiliates and SEO executives.

PRE-REGISTRATION DRINKS Free for all delegates 20:00HRS-21:00HRS InterContinental, 7th Floor Carissa

FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT FREE for all delegates by subscription 10:00HRS-16:00HRS Luxol

Participants can enjoy some drinks and pre-register for their badge during the networking reception, beating Thursdaymorning queues.

A fun, sporting social for early arrivals and delegates based in Malta.

THE BIG FOUNDATION DINNER €175 SiGMA registration page 19:00HRS-21:30HRS InterContinental Conference Centre

A charity dinner hosted by the BiG Foundation.

POKER TOURNAMENT 30€ – ticket entrance SiGMA registration page 22:30HRS-01:00HRS InterContinental, 7th Floor Carissa

Following the networking reception, an ice-breaking poker tournament will be held on Wednesday evening. Most delegates travelling for SiGMA will be in Malta by this time.


Networking Events | SiGMA



Free for all delegates 13:00HRS- 15:00HRS InterContinental Conference Hall For the first time in Malta, we are introducing the SiGMA Startup Pitch. Each startup will have a six minute presentation, then face a session of Q&A from the investors and the audience in a Dragon’s Den-like environment.

LUNCH OLYBET WELCOME PARTY Strictly by Invite 23:00HRS-02:00HRS Casino Malta

Free for all delegates 12:30HRS- 15:00HRS InterContinental Arena Free, standing lunch will be provided within the expo.

With a majestic casino underneath the expo, it was only a natural move for SiGMA to have a welcome party at the same casino, courtesy of hosts OlyBet and Casino Malta


Free for all delegates 09:00HRS- 18:00HRS InterContinental Arena We’re proud to be using a premium brand, Lavazza, supplied by P. Cutajar, for all of our coffee breaks.

NETWORKING DRINKS Free for all delegates 18:00HRS-20:00HRS Tapaz

At the end of each summit, sponsored networking drinks will be held at Tapaz Lounge, outside the InterContinental, Bay Arena.


SiGMA | Networking Events



Free for all delegates ALL DAY InterContinental Arena We’re proud to be using a premium brand, Lavazza, supplied by P. Cutajar, for all of our coffee breaks. These coffee breaks are an excellent opportunity to meet fellow colleagues and exchange business cards.


Free for all delegates 12:30HRS- 15:00HRS InterContinental Arena

SUNSET HARBOUR CRUISE €70 -SiGMA registration page Free for affiliates, strictly by invite from EGO 18:30HRS-20:30HRS Westin Pavillion

This sunset cruise will provide a breathtaking backdrop for two hours of quality networking.


Free, standing lunch will be provided within the expo.

Free for all delegates. €20 for non-delegates 22:00HRS-02:00HRS Westin Pavillion


Organised together with Ambassador Events, the SiGMA Closing Night has cemented itself as the biggest gaming party of the year in Malta

Free for all delegates 14:00HRS-18:00HRS Expo Floor

Between 2pm and 6pm on Day Two of the expo, the doors will open to graduates and IT developers who are looking at the possibility of a new career in iGaming. MyEventPlanner has secured solid partnerships with student faculty organisations ICTSA, ELSA, ASCS, UESA, GHSL. We recommend HR departments with a booth to be present at those times!

NETWORKING DRINKS Free for all delegates 18:00HRS-20:00HRS Tapaz

At the end of each summit, sponsored networking drinks will be held at Tapaz Lounge, outside the InterContinental, Bay Arena.


€85 SiGMA registration page 11:00HRS-15:00HRS Paranga Participants will have their last chance to meet fellow delegates and top up some tan at Paranga Beach Lido before travelling back home with this unique drinks and brunch session.


SiGMA | The Headlines



“We are incredibly proud of acquiring AskGamblers which is one of the best brands in the affiliate market and whose operations are a perfect fit for Catena Media. AskGamblers is an extremely important site for casino operators and, through its stringent requirements for certified casinos, contributes to creating a better iGaming industry.” said Robert Andersson, CEO of Catena Media.

Betsson announced new London Technology Centre Betsson AB declared the opening of its ‘Applied Digital Technology Centre’ in Holborn, London.

Unibet paid €7.5 million to former iGame owners

The company opened its new London office while partnering with collaborative workspace specialist WeWork, in order to focus on improving the firm’s technology development and data capabilities.

Online games provider Unibet PLC, confirmed that it paid an initial €7.5 million to the former owners of iGame Group Ltd in accordance with its agreed August 2015 corporate acquisition terms.

According to a corporate statement issued, Betsson AM governance stated that its branch in London became an integral part of its business, aiming to create further ‘direct synergies’ with its corresponding teams.

In a statement to investors, Unibet disclosed that iGame Group had managed to meet its initial performance targets set for the financial year ending 31 December 2015.

The opening of the firm’s London technology hub corresponds with the operator re-launching of its sports betting subsidiary Betsafe for the UK market.

The cost of paying the maximum earnout of €20 million was fully provided in the financial statements of Unibet Group on 31 December 2015, so this payment has no impact on Unibet’s earnings for 2016.

Catena Media acquired for €15 million On 3rd April 2016, Catena Media acquired the acknowledged and highly regarded affiliate website for EUR 15 million and thereby consolidated its position as Europe’s fastest growing company in lead generation. The transaction was the largest in Catena Media’s history. 040

LVbet Online Casino went live LVbet, the Malta-based gambling operator, launched its first online

casino. is a fully licensed casino and regular online casino players can recognise many of the games on offer which are created by some of the best game providers like Microgaming, Net Entertainment, Thunderkick and Wazdan. Commenting on the launch, Marcin Sapinski, a representative for the startup gambling company, said that they are extremely excited to be introducing the new casino to the online gambling market. Mr. Sapinski further noted that they want to make their players feel special and to know that they matter to the online gaming brand.

MAY 2016

LeoVegas launched sports betting product After the initial public offering on Stockholm Nasdaq in March 2016, the mobile casino LeoVegas went live with its sports betting product named LeoVegas Sport. Gustaf Hagman, CEO and co-founder of LeoVegas Group commented on the launch: “LeoVegas` mobile DNA and innovative strength are the foundation for our market-leading position in mobile gaming. I am very proud of our employees who have enabled us to launch a product that will bring mobile sports betting to a new level.” “We launched LeoVegas Sport in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands and Canada. We’re looking at expanding into more and new markets shortly”, commented CEO of LeoVegas Gaming Ltd. Johan Styren.

The Headlines | SiGMA


JUNE 2016

Cherry signed acquisition agreement with ComeOn Swedish gaming company Cherry AB acquired 49% of ComeOn Malta Ltd.’s shares, with an option to also acquire the 51% remaining. The acquisition strengthened Cherry’s position in Scandinavian markets significantly and provided great opportunities for international expansion. CEO of Cherry AB, Fredrik Burvall, said: “This acquisition will strengthen Cherry’s position in online gaming against competitors in Scandinavia and other European markets. Both Cherry and ComeOn are growing considerably faster than the market as a whole, which facilitates further investments in existing brands and continued expansion in new markets. We will add several strong brands and will profit from the strong entrepreneurial spirit within ComeOn.”

Gaming Innovation Group acquired Betit Holdings Gaming Innovation Group signed an agreement to acquire all shares in iGaming operator Betit Holdings Ltd., which owns some of the biggest operators in the Scandinavian iGaming market including SuperLenny. com, and The deal is worth approximately €54 million. Robin Reed, CEO of GIG, said: “Through this agreement, we team up with some of the most accomplished entrepreneur’s in the industry, significantly enhancing our reach to end-users, marketing partners and professionals. Our vision is to make the industry an open and connected eco-system and we will all benefit from the commercial and operational synergies. The acquired technology will accelerate our ability to grow and strengthen our base for further M&A activity.”

Mr Green launched Sportsbook product MrGreen extended their portfolio with a Sportsbook product powered by Malta-headquartered provider Kambi. Malta-licensed operator launched its sportsbook ahead of schedule announced in February - a few days before the UEFA Euro 2016. Per Norman, CEO of Mr Green & Co AB commented: “By launching a Sportsbook, we are meeting our customers’ demand for betting and odds. Together, we have managed to build the Sportsbook in record time thanks to our new, efficient product platform. We have built a Sportsbook of the same high quality as our online casino.”

JULY 2016

SBTech secured Software Licence in Romania EveryMatrix launched Development Office in Vietnam Originally founded in Copenhagen, EveryMatrix reached a significant corporate milestone by launching its new development office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Ebbe Groes, CEO and co-founder of EveryMatrix, said: “The present iGaming industry displays a significant commercial potential which translates into a growing number of clients for our company. This reality required a new development office so that we can offer the same high-quality products and respond to the latest demands of our clients for responsive desktop and mobile solutions.” EveryMatrix’s global office portfolio now consists of the UK, Romania, Denmark, Norway, China, Malta, Ukraine, Philippines, Armenia and Vietnam.

SBTech was granted a B2B Class 2 Software Provider License by the National Gambling Office in Romania. Romania is the latest regulated European market to license the company, which allows it to continue expanding its existing portfolio of awarded permits in numerous regulated markets such as UK, Ireland, Portugal, and more. Richard Carter, CEO of SBTech, commented: “Increasing the number of regulated markets in which we operate is a key part of our strategy and I am delighted that we are entering the Romanian market, having met the high standards set by the ONJN.”

Tipbet extended ‘Premium Partnership’ with Fortuna Dusseldorf Tipbet Ltd extended its ‘Premium Partner’ sponsorship of Bundesliga 2 football club Fortuna Dusseldorf for the 2016/17 season. Conducted by Infront Sports & Media, a representative marketing agency for Fortuna Dusseldorf, for Bundesliga 2 season 2016/17, the Tipbet trademark gained a widespread coverage all the way through the ESpirt Arena (capacity 50,000) on match days. Product Marketing Manager for Tipbet, Philippos Naskos, said: “Tipbet Betting stands for passion in sport! We are therefore very pleased to continue our commitment with Fortuna Dusseldorf as a partner for the new season.”


The Headlines | SiGMA


Kyte Consultants partnered up with Featurespace Aspire Global launched Lucky Bets Casino Aspire Global launched its fifth white label of 2016 with LuckyBetsCasino. com. “The growth rate shown by our B2B division this year shows that our solution has the value that our partners are looking for. As such, we are seeing an increase of companies wanting to work with us, offering them an additional channel to monetize their assets in today’s ultra-competitive environment”, said Jov Spiero, VP of the B2B division at Aspire Global. “LuckyBetsCasino are delighted to partner with Aspire Global. With a high quality web and mobile solution, we can now offer a variety of the most popular games in the market”, said LuckyBetsCasino’s CEO.

Kyte Consultants entered into an agreement with Featurespace, provider of machine learning fraud and compliance products to the gaming sector, to be official resellers of Featurespace’s ARIC™ products to gaming operators and financial institutions in Malta, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Alan Alden, Director at Kyte Consultants, commented: “We chose to partner with Featurespace because their ARIC engine offers the most advanced machine learning solution in the market, and is already successfully deployed by some of the world’s leading gaming operators and financial institutions. Featurespace’s ARIC engine will help our clients to grow their businesses while complying with regulatory requirements.”

888 Holding launched localised service in Romania 888 Holdings launched a new localised service in Romania. The company’s Romanian version, will unify its poker, casino and sport arms all together in a single account. “Our flagship brands, 888poker, 888casino and 888sport, operate in several regulated markets around the world, including the United Kingdom, Spain and Denmark, and have been an online destination of choice in these markets for years. We aim to offer to Romanian players as a global brand with a unique, local flavour,” commented Chief Executive of 888 Holdings Itai Frieberger.


Tipico released Prepaid Deposit App in Germany Tipico strengthened its service offering by launching a brand new prepaid payment application for customers in Germany. With this prepaid app, sports bettors can top up their account easily via smartphone; the application is available for free download on both Android and iOS. Prepaid cards are available in several shops across Germany, tobacconists and tobacco shops, grocery stores, gas stations, and various other providers guarantee an area-wide service. Furthermore, the Tipico Pay application always leads the customer to the nearest point of sale, on the shortest route available.

Daily Fantasy Sports to be regulated in Malta

KPMG to aid creation of National Self-Exclusion Platform in the UK

Malta has intentions of regulating Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) which will make it the first European country to specially regulate DFS.

The Remote Gaming Association (RGA) recruited KPMG to assist in the creation of the online gambling selfexclusion system in the UK.

The Malta Gaming Authority announced that daily fantasy sports will no longer require a gambling license.

The company will initially assist the trade body by undertaking a scoping study which will help to shape the development of the National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme. It will then support and advise the RGA during the implementation process which could take place before the end of 2017.

This decision towards the skill based licensing framework is expected to attract an extensive arrival of new operators to this small Mediterranean island as well as propelling Malta into the very center stage of DFS action in Europe. Valery Bollier, CEO of Malta based operator stated, that MGA’s team has foreseen a few years ago the rise of a future Skills Game industry in Europe.

RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood commented: “Selfexclusion can be a vitally important tool, especially for problem gamblers or those who are at risk of developing problems.”


The Headlines | SiGMA


NetEnt went live with Rank Group NetEnt entered into an agreement with major UK gambling operator Rank Group. Following a seamless integration process, online players at Rank Group can now enjoy titles by one of the world’s leading providers. This move came as part of NetEnt’s strategy to further extend its presence in the rapidly growing UK online gambling market that is so highly competitive. Enrico Bradamante, Managing Director of NetEnt Malta Ltd. said that they are happy to sign a deal that would expand their presence in the regulated UK market, and further noted that their titles will most certainly be enjoyed by Rank Group customers.

full range of mobile and online gaming casino integrated into the prominent mobile and online casino games supplier iSoftBet’s Game Aggregation Platform.

This will include premium virtual content such as horse and greyhound racing, virtual football, tennis, Real MMA Fighting, keno and lottery. Vahe Baloulian, CEO of BetConstruct commented: “Aside from the founders of BetConstruct, I don’t know anyone else in this business who is more passionate about what they do than the founders of Golden Race. BetConstruct is happy to put its distribution power behind Golden Race content. We are confident that it will contribute to the success of both companies.”

BetConstruct entered into an agreement with Golden Race to provide their virtual sports clients the full range of Golden Race virtual sports content.

Paysafe confirmed acquisition of Income Access Paysafe Group confirmed the agreement to acquire Income Access, the leading industry affiliation and acquisition marketing software for CAD$40 million (US$30.5 million/€27.4 million).


BetConstruct implements Golden Race virtual sports content

CEO of Tom Horn Gaming Ondrej Lapides commented: “The partnership with iSoftBet is a key success for Tom Horn Gaming and we are extremely happy that they will be offering our full portfolio to some of the largest and most successful e-gaming operators.”

iSoftBet and Tom Horn entered partnership agreement Software developer Tom Horn Gaming secured a deal with iSoftBet which will enable them to continue their expansion across the European gaming market.

CEO of Paysafe, Joel Leonoff said: “By adding Income Access’s affiliate technology to our product suite alongside our Skrill and NETELLER brands and deepening our merchant relationships, this transaction delivers on Paysafe’s strategic objectives to provide relevant payment solutions that serve the evolving needs of our merchants.”

This agreement will see Tom Horn’s

Meet the Shortly after the dust settled on SiGMA15 last November, we felt it was the right time to invest and grow the show into a landmark, international event. Serious growth requires a talented and motivated team and we couldn’t be happier to engage Anthony, Sacha, Sophie and Jarek. Anthony brings with him a wealth of experience in business development, specifically in gaming. Sacha, Sophie and Jarek will be handling all sales, marketing and reservations.

ANTHONY MEDICA Business Development (+44) 7701 301 206 Skype: anthony.medica1


SOPHIE CROUZET Sales (+356) 7777 3092 Skype: s.crouzet

SACHA KINSER Sales (+356) 7777 3092

JAREK GÓRNY Reservations (+356) 7777 3092 Skype: j.gorny



Interview | SiGMA




The new premises situated in St. George’s Bay, St. Julian’s, Malta, for iGaming Cloud.


SiGMA | Interview


Nice to have you with us, Ben. iGaming Cloud has a solid presence in Malta. Did the tiny state meet your expectations to date? Tell us about your upcoming shifting from Ta’ Xbiex to what’s arguably the sexiest office building in St. Julian’s. Malta has exceeded expectations and I am always overwhelmed with the level of talent and warm personalities that we find on the Island to join Gaming Innovation Group. I admit we are all really excited about the move next year to what is arguably one of the most technologically advanced and and, as you say, sexiest buildings in Malta. To quote Robin Reed, group CEO of GIG, “We want to attract the most passionate people and we want to give them an environment and a community where they can be the most effective and innovative version of themselves.”


We have always had really great offices in Malta but I think this one is going to take the cake. More and more EU states are introducing their regulatory frameworks, asking for specific licenses to operate in that particular jurisdiction. Is this trend paving the way for an eventual relocation to another jurisdiction? With such brands operating in multiple continents, how relevant is Malta? I don’t believe so. Malta is a great country to have an HQ and we have been really fortunate to find great talent on the Island and it is not that hard to convince people to move to the sunny Med. Malta’s infrastructure has also very much improved over the years and their licensing regime is also adjusting to the times. Can you take us through a journey in time for the company GIG, and for iGaming Cloud specifically, shedding light on some of the most remarkable moments, challenges and achievements in the brand’s history? There have been so many remarkable moments over the past 3 years but the moments that stand out the most would be launching Guts, moving into the GB building into


Interview | SiGMA

“I would say there has been some growth as we have gone from less than 10 employees in 2013 to over 300 employees today across multiple countries. Growth of course has its challenges to overcome but despite the growth we have always maintained an amazing company culture and provided an environment where people are inspired and can inspire others. I think people stay with us because we don’t stop innovation and we provide people with a surrounding that allows then to grow both personally and professionally” a space so large which we thought we would never outgrow but basically did before we even moved in. Deciding to build, what is now known as iGaming Cloud turned out to be a monumental moment and I still have found memories of our first stand at ICE in possibly the worst location as we booked it so late. Our first client, Betspin, going live was very special and was a proud moment for everyone that put their heart and soul into the development of the platform as was the migration of Guts to IGC in 2015. Something very inspiring is that we keep creating remarkable moments so I am sure next year when you ask me the same question I can add a lot to the above list. Has the company seen a sporadic growth in employees? And has this growth slowed down creativity and increased red tape? On an employee level, what makes employees stay with the company? I would say there has been some growth as we have gone from less than 10 employees in 2013 to over 300 employees today across multiple countries. Growth, of course, has its challenges to overcome but despite the growth we have always maintained an amazing company culture and provided an environment where people are inspired and can inspire others. I think people stay with us because we don’t stop innovation and we provide people with a surrounding that allows then to grow both personally and professionally; and of course, the amazing lunches that we serve everyday at the GB Building is not keeping people away. In terms of the end user, what distinguishes your brand from the many competitors out there? Our vision is to make the iGaming industry lean and connected, a vision that has been very well received. With regards to stability, I don’t think there is a better platform out there and we are constantly opening up our APIs to support innovation in gaming allowing operators to offer some really amazing player experiences.

“Malta has exceeded expectations and I am always overwhelmed with the level of talent and warm personalities that we find on the Island to join Gaming Innovation Group.”

iGaming Cloud is developing products for the future and not just reacting to what is happening today. E-sport, fantasy sport, binary; has any of these buzz words made it to the GIG board room yet? Are there plans to delve into these markets? Interesting buzz words indeed. The thing is we are not really “delvers” so when we decide to something we go full steam. I cannot divulge what is coming in the near future but I can say whatever we do we will do it the GIG way. Tell us a bit more about you. How did it all start? How long have you been working in this industry? Was online gambling always a part of the mix or did it only evolve at a later stage? About 11 years ago, I was was working for MGM in Las Vegas when I met with some guys from Party Gaming who offered me a job as an executive host for their US players. I gladly accepted and next thing I know I was on a plane to Gibraltar. 3 years later my now wife and I (we met during training at Party Gaming) were on a plane to Malta onto new opportunities and I guess the rest you can say is history. What’s life like outside work? Do you manage to squeeze in some free time? How do you spend leisure time? I have a seven-year-old which keeps me really busy and I love to play golf but finding the time is difficult to say the least. I also love to cook and which is a hobby that my wife welcomes and I really like to read unless a new season of Narcos is out and then I am glued to Netflix. We are thrilled with your regular participation at the show. What are affiliates, operators B2B and new recruits expected to meet at the booth? We are thrilled to be back and SIGMA has turned out to be a highlight of the year’s event calendar. This year I will be there of course, along with Roger, our Head of Sales, and a whole lot of GIG and IGC people from our marketing communication manager to engineers to the CTO. Please come down and see us at SIGMA and meet the great people from GIG and IGC. Anything we missed? Nothing from me; just really looking forward to SiGMA this year and I am sure it is going to be bigger and better than ever. 049


Social Betting | SiGMA


Social Betting has been around a while and companies have been attempting to crack the market since 2014. BetBanter founder Damon Booth thinks he may have developed an app to crack the UK market at least. While making a bet with his friend over a football match his friend didn’t pay up the losing bet. “I thought to myself, what if there was a platform for friends to bet against each other on sports and random events but ensure that people paid up?” BetBanter was then born. “Companies have attempted to do similar things before but have not quite scraped the surface of the potential of casual and social betting. Either the engagement isn’t quite there or the marketing is a bit off or too broad. The demand is definitely there, all my friends, especially in the UK are constantly betting each other and then making fun out of the losers on social media.” The online UK sports betting industry is valued at over £3 billion each year and mobile apps are driving much of the industry’s growth. That figure could never account for personal bets made between friends and would be much larger if it did. “One or two operators have tried but never really pushed the social betting angle due to their making more profit in fixed odds; it was more of a service to their existing customer base rather than a whole new revenue stream. An alternative is needed – casual betters might never utilise a betting account and perhaps won’t even go into a bookmakers.”

Many experts agree that social betting has large potential. Fantasy sports, especially in the US market are huge and its an area that could be developed further. The marketing strategy is key and Damon feels he has a winning formula. “We know our market, 18-40 year old men in the UK. I am an 18-40 year old man from the UK so we feel we can cater to them as we are them!” With enough reach and the correct engagement these types of social betting sites and applications could indeed stir the industry up a bit and create another option for casual betters to enjoy gambling without worrying about any potential negative impact. Engagement is also key and to combat the issue BetBanter will ensure that users keep returning to the app. “We have added some unique elements to make sure customers keep coming back which were very excited about.” So far companies in the social betting field have managed to raise in excess of $7 million in start-up funding so Venture capital companies and the like obviously see the vision as well. “It’s still new waters but we have to jump in at the deep end to really penetrate the market. We’re keen to push the concept of social betting as an alternative to standard betting, we obviously cannot compete with the big players on the operator side but there is a decent slice of the pie up for grabs.” It’s definitely an emerging gaming market to pay attention to!



Cover Story | SiGMA



SiGMA | Cover Story

“Complementing the pure gambling experience, we have tried to add on extra features to enhance the experience,” Johan said, “and this includes our winning guarantee, which means telling everyone that big money is being won on our site every day.” The company started out when founders Dan Andersson and Jörgen Nordlund identified an opportunity to set up a focused casino brand targeting Europe. The concept was created back in 2010 following thorough background studies, and the site was officially launched on the 23rd of February 2011. Vera&John is a pure online casino, Johan explained, meaning that it is not a one-stop-shop with more gambling products. Apart from offering a wide range of payment



options and a great overall service and experience, it also offers other fundamentals including professional support, being customer centric, and of course, the content itself. “Complementing the pure gambling experience, we have tried to add extra features to enhance the experience,” Johan said, “and this includes our winning guarantee, which means telling everyone that big money is being won on our site every day.” The casino’s loyalty program allows players to play games whilst simultaneously engaging in the site and contributing to it, which Johan stated is “one thing that we’re really proud of, and of course, looking to expand.” The Vera&John casino also offers non-provider-specific tournaments, meaning that they can mix games from different providers without relying on outside providers and promotion tools. These are merely a few of the great characteristics of the casino. The aim for every casino is to stand out from the rest, and this is no different for Vera&John. Johan emphasised that the key is to be a bit different and stringent in what one sets out to do: “One of our goals was to integrate as many suppliers as possible where customers could find the most games available in one place. Back in 2011, a few other operators were already adding more suppliers, but there was still definitely no one offering the widest range of games.


That was something we worked really hard on – to integrate as many good providers as possible, which was then complemented with great content.” Johan compared this situation with a striking example: “Compare it to clothing stores, for instance, like a denim store: we all have our Levi’s, Lee, and so on. That’s the reality we’re facing, so by working with the brand and differentiating it, the product itself helps us to distinguish ourselves from our competitors.” In fact, this is how the casino’s name came about. Back in the day, many casinos focused solely on the product, and therefore gave less importance to their own brand. With the urge to build a solid brand in addition to a great casino website, and also show customers that they catered for both genders, the team spent a long time brainstorming different name ideas until they reached the name that they were happy with. The appealing colour scheme of cyan and magenta was also part of the marketing plan, which is something that they wanted from the beginning. At the time of conception, the combination of the two colours really stood out in advertising and it also complemented the site. The Vera&John team has worked very hard in trying to make

Cover Story | SiGMA

different offers available, which is why they focused so much on building their bonus engine in an attempt to come up with promotions that did not focus on percentage deposit bonuses and free spins. “There’s still plenty to do, and I think that everyone in the industry would agree that a kind of constant evolvement is necessary. It is no good to do today what you did 5 years ago – you have to keep up with the times, which is a challenge.” For loyal customers to feel valued, the brand promises to treat existing or active customers in the best way possible without flirting with new players with better offers. Components such as loyalty programmes, tournaments, bonuses and the winning guarantee allow Vera&John to stand out from their competitors. Johan noted: “In this competitive environment, it pays off to focus on these areas and, more importantly, the players that are investing in the packaging of the product to create a unique selling point.” The Vera&John team is forever growing, which means that structure and processes are crucial. Johan said: “It is challenging to grow, and it does take a lot of effort to evolve the company’s organisation whilst at the same time stimulating a high level of growth and innovation. Red tape needs to be removed to minimise frustrations.”


SiGMA | Cover Story


“One of our goals was to integrate as many suppliers as possible where customers could find the most games available in one place. Back in 2011, a few other operators were already adding more suppliers, but there was still definitely no one offering the widest range of games. That was something we worked really hard on – to integrate as many good providers as possible, which was then complemented with great content.” He added that employees are the most valuable asset in any company – a growing organisation in itself is a great opportunity for people with ambition. Equally, having an inspirational working atmosphere is important. “Creating a sense of belonging and delegating responsibilities strengthen the bond within the company,” Johan added. “Our internal core values are sharing, caring and rewarding – and we try our best to live up to those with our employees as well as our customers.” Not only is the Vera&John team expanding, but the brand itself is working to increase the strength of its product and develop it. The brand currently holds an MGA license as well as a UKGC license, and is in the process of acquiring a Danish license also. “We had a limited Danish license, but now we’re going on to the full one,” Johan explained. “The more compliant we are, the faster and easier it will be for us to pick up any new requirements on additional regulations, so we’re looking to see what other regulated markets we are currently not in, and other markets that we could potentially enter.” More and more EU states have been introducing their regulatory frameworks and asking for specific licenses to operate in that particular jurisdiction. Johan said that it’s always important to evaluate and assess the current situation, but added that Malta and the MGA have so far done an excellent job at keeping up with the changes in the industry. “That’s why the island continues to serve as an attractive place to base a gaming company,” he explained. Basic principals in the EU support companies within the Union, allowing them to target the whole market on equal terms. The established and emerging regulatory frameworks are put in place on a member state level in order to safeguard both national interests as well as an open market within the Union. In order to continue enjoying the favourable position currently held amongst gaming companies today, Malta and the MGA have a number of different focus areas which they are tackling. “Measures that were taken in the past have been very successful, ranging from the initiatives to recruit highly qualified professionals for Maltese companies, to bridging different regulatory frameworks,” Johan pointed out. “Malta’s favourable corporate tax structure for companies mainly doing business outside Malta is definitely a main component at the moment.” Leading such a successful company comes hand in hand with its fair share of stress, and 056

according to Johan, when it comes to coping mechanisms, there are mainly two things that help: “The first is to have really good staff and excellent people working in the company,” he said with a smile, adding that this helps to take off a lot of the burden. “We work a lot with company culture and internal branding to give the much-appreciated people an inspiring environment to work in.” The other key, he continued, is trying to stay one step ahead. “You need to try to monitor what’s going on and have an idea of where things are going. If you’re always trying to catch up, that adds a lot of stress. With all the re-regulations going on, it’s quite a challenging feat. Combine this with fierce competition, and you can easily let the stress get the better of you.” Originally, Johan got into the iGaming area by complete coincidence. He discovered Poker in early 2000 and realised that it was great fun. At the time, he used to work with business intendants and software replication development, which is an entirely different industry. When he was on parental leave, he did the very conventional thing of answering an ad and attending an interview and became highly interested in the field. “Eventually I joined a Bingo company in 2007, and from then on, I was hooked,” he continued. “Being a numbers’ junkie, I became addicted a couple of hours into my first day, and since then I’ve been working in the online gaming industry. The rest is history!” Speaking of his love for Malta, Johan said: “I think Malta is a great place to live. People are genuinely friendly and open to new acquaintances. Coming from the north, the fantastic climate here gives a constant sensation of being on vacation, and offers us so much opportunity to spend time outdoors.” He mentioned how his family loves to spend time by and in the sea, and how in spite of being a small island, there are many things to discover – and being so small, all those undiscovered things are conveniently close. Vera&John will be participating as gold exhibitors at the awaited SiGMA16 event in November, which will be their first exhibition yet. “We’ve chosen SiGMA to be our very first appearance and we’re absolutely thrilled about it – especially as it covers so many aspects of our business. We are looking forward to engaging with new fantastic people to join our team.”


Cover Story | SiGMA

“We’ve chosen SiGMA to be our very first appearance and we’re absolutely thrilled about it – especially as it covers so many aspects of our business. We are looking forward to engaging with new fantastic people to join our team.”


SiGMA | Gaming Ecosystem


STRENGTHENING THE GAMING ECOSYSTEM IN MALTA SHORTLY AFTER THE BIG LAUNCH OF GAMING MALTA, SiGMA SENT A SERIES OF QUESTIONS TO IVAN FILLETTI, HEAD OF OPERATIONS AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, TO FIND OUT HOW THIS NEW FOUNDATION WILL COMPLEMENT THE OPERATIONS OF THE MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY. On a personal level, tell us a bit more about you. From high profile senior marketing roles & CEO across various industries to Gaming; how do you find this portfolio? I am sure it comes with many challenges, opportunities and rewards! The first months into the job have been focused towards market orientation. So I immersed myself in meeting key stakeholders across the ecosystem, understanding both the issues and opportunities as well as asking lots of questions! Ultimately, it’s all about honing into what adds value to the Malta brand. It’s been interesting in a way that I’ve met a number of very passionate local and foreign entrepreneurs, employees, and specialists who really want to make a difference and take their ideas and innovation to the next level. Their enthusiasm is infectious. I’ve encountered a number of expatriates working in the industry who are highly enthusiastic testimonials to Malta and the local gaming ecosystem. Many pin their success on having their operations run from Malta. That, I would say, is the biggest reward. Malta is really the home of gaming excellence. No more conflicting roles – the MGA will focus more on regulatory issues. The newly set up Gaming Malta will focus more on promotion. How is the MGA establishing itself as the jurisdiction of choice in an increasingly competitive environment? Moving forward, what will Gaming Malta be focusing on? GamingMalta is an independent non-profit foundation set up by the Government of Malta and the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA). So in essence we are tasked with the remit of promoting Malta as a centre of excellence in the remote gaming sector globally. Additionally, the foundation, is also responsible for enhancing the ecosystem surrounding the gaming industry, liaising with the local relevant authorities to improve Malta’s attractiveness as a jurisdiction, whilst spearheading efforts to enhance the ecosystem surrounding the gaming industry. Going forward we have identified four major strategic pillars: 1) Engagement with all stakeholders; 2) Serving as a communication hub for the sector; 3) Working closely with the public sector to continue to enhance our game; 4) Ensuring growth within the sector. How will Gaming Malta support the continued challenges and opportunities facing the industry against a backdrop where Malta is still recording record growth? Success breeds success and, inevitably, challenges. To address these challenges and opportunities Gaming Malta is committed to: • Promoting ownership of the Malta brand among all stakeholders to strengthen Malta’s position with the gaming industry; • Engaging with stakeholders and providing business support to ensure that Malta is the most attractive environment for the gaming industry to thrive; • Standing out with innovative ideas, lead the industry through research and promotion of the Maltese jurisdiction and to be a proactive, dynamic catalyst for change;


• Accelerating growth in the gaming sector by creating a dynamic marketing mechanism that anticipates market changes; • Bringing stakeholders together – ensuring close cooperation with all relevant stakeholders while creating business and networking opportunities for firms working in the sector; • Establishing the necessary expertise and foresight to future proof the gaming sector in Malta. • Supporting the MGA in implementing the brand strategy and road map development for the gaming industry; • Collaborating with other Maltese sectoral promotion bodies to promote the overall image of Malta. Online gaming today is characterised by new developments, including games of skill, fantasy sport as well as emerging disruptive technology such as Virtual Reality. The regulator in Malta seems adamant on establishing a regulatory framework that is flexible enough to cater for this permeability of change, while minimizing the risks. How will Gaming Malta ensure that these regulatory frameworks are promoted abroad? Do you think the new licensing regime will be attractive enough to persuade companies to relocate on our shores? The Malta Gaming Authority will be completing its regulatory overhaul in the coming months, whilst also establishing a regulatory framework for new emerging developments. In preparation for the opportunities which will arise, the Gaming Malta foundation will embark on a series of initiatives, in full alignment with the Authority, to promote Malta as a home for gaming excellence – one which is fully supported by the latest regulatory framework. The foundation will promote Malta during fairs, exhibitions, conferences and with potential operators and service providers that are, interested in setting up shop in Malta. Together with the promotion of Malta’s gaming ecosystem, we can maintain our pole position as a leading gaming jurisdiction in Europe.

SiGMA | Legal

Keeping up with





Legal | SiGMA

How has the gaming scenario evolved in Malta? JS/JB: Malta was the first EU member state to regulate online gaming, at a time when most other countries were still scratching their head as to what to do with this online “phenomenon”. Malta being ahead of the game in terms of regulation resulted in a significant chunk of the industry choosing Malta as its base. Many operators and suppliers actually started off here and are now sizeable multinationals leading the way in the industry. This critical mass also lead several other very large operators which originally decided to establish themselves elsewhere to moving parts or all of their operations here. Today Malta is at the centre of the global remote gaming industry and keeping this leadership role requires regulatory innovation and investment in improved infrastructure locally. Mergers and acquisitions seem to be taking the whole industry by storm. This must mean a lot of work for firms like yours. Are you worried that ultimately this bubble might implode?  There has been significant M&A activity in this industry over the past eight to ten years or so, but the last few years have seen the stakes get progressively higher. There is increased consolidation in the industry with acquisitions by operators interested in expanding to new markets and some very significant private equity groups looking at this as a real opportunity to build shareholder value. We’ve seen mergers of equals or quasi-equals which on paper should have worked due to complementary products and increased efficiencies, but these are always harder to manage in practice. On the expansion side competition is cut-throat and certain markets have become quite saturated. Product innovation, costcutting and focus on increased customer loyalty are, in our view, all essential for the industry to continue to thrive. The brave will be looking for new markets in geographic areas many wouldn’t have previously considered. We are actually seeing all of that happen and as the big fish get bigger and others become interested in this sector, we expect to see continued high levels of M&A activity over the next year. The main challenge which the industry has faced for some time now is over-regulation, the increase of compliance costs which is resulting from market fragmentation as well as taxation and the application of rules in certain markets so as to give an advantage to local incumbents. We do not believe that this is a case of a bubble that could burst. The industry is here to stay. However, the scenario is evolving and as it does so business must evolve and regulation must keep up with it. Tell us a bit about landmark cases that might have helped reshape the course of iGaming law. As you readers will know, in Europe the industry was shaped to a large extent by a number of judgements of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Unfortunately, while initially decisions of the CJEU suggested that a single market for remote gaming was an achievable reality, more recent judgements favoured a national authorisation regime approach which, in itself, has reshaped the industry to what we have now. Probably the turning point was the Santa Casa case in 2010. That being said, there are several EU law rights which can be availed of by operators in this industry, such as that to establish their business wherever in the EU they deem fit. 063


Legal | SiGMA

graduates but also about their quality, not only in academic terms but also in terms of their communication skills, critical faculties and openness to the world.

There never seems to be a dull moment. From AML to EU trade secrets to changes in EU (data protection) law, Brexit and more... how do you see the legal landscape evolving?  There are several areas of EU law which are harmonised and cut across sectors, which have a strong impact on the gaming industry. Recent changes to EU AML laws are being implemented across EU countries at the moment. These will add further compliance burdens on operators, but in the end, operators will comply and continue to do business under these new laws. The same applies to important changes in EU data protection laws. The industry is maturing very quickly and most stakeholders have learned and are equipped or are equipping themselves to comply with these new obligations. We feel that the industry can survive added burdens which are logical, fair and necessary for the better regulation of the industry itself and the protection of the consumers. Brexit is a completely separate argument. It is unfortunate that Britain has taken a decision to leave the EU. In our opinion it is a tragedy for the EU, Malta included, in the longer term. In the short term this decision has created more interest in the Maltese regulatory regime, especially from operators that are based in Gibraltar. However, it is also true that Malta has lost one of its biggest allies on the EU negotiation tables. In gaming, the UK was probably the only member state, apart from Malta, that was more open to the needs and the specific realities of the industry. It was also the jurisdiction that was more open to harmonisation of certain technical standards for the gaming industry, thus simplifying cross-border market access to gaming operators. So all in all, in our opinion, Brexit is a bad thing that we have to live with. Esport, Fantasy Sport, Digital Games of Skill, Virtual Reality.... is it possible for legislation to keep up with such a fast paced industry?  The only way for regulation to keep up with the industry is by having the technology and game neutral regulation. Technology neutrality and game neutrality favour innovation and development. It is also essential that the regulator is granted the adequate tools and a high-level framework to regulate the industry effectively and efficiently. This is what the industry is expecting from the legislative overhaul announced by the government and the MGA. This is what needs to be achieved in this process. Given gaming’s impact on local GDP and the increasing demand for talent, do you feel there is a need for the University of Malta to introduce more related academic modules? There is certainly a need for a larger supply of skills related to the gaming industry in the local labour market. This is important for the growth of industry here. In the short term the supply can, in our view, only be satisfied by those having the skills moving to Malta, so to say by “importing it”. In the medium and longer term, we would like to see Malta’s academic and technical institutions churn more developers, people interested in marketing, accountants and lawyers, amongst others, minded to work in the area of technology. Fundamentally, it is not only about churning numbers of

Where do you see the Maltese gaming industry in the next five years? Five years is a long time in such a dynamic industry. It is difficult to predict. Much depends on the regulatory overhaul which the government and the MGA have embarked on. Achieving a technology and game neutral regulatory framework as well as cutting down on red tape by simplifying procedures whilst keeping a high level of consumer protection is the goal. A lot also depends on Malta’s ability to improve its physical infrastructure, roads, urban planning, quality accommodation and on keeping inflation in check. However, the future future also depends on external factors that may create new challenges as well as new opportunities for the industry in Malta. Time will tell. What is certain is that Malta cannot just sit and wait. JAMES SCICLUNA, partner and co-founder of WH Partners is a Malta Advocate and a Solicitor of the Senior Court of England and Wales. He is well-known for his in-depth knowledge of the gaming and gambling industry and advises some of the world’s major gaming brands on significant transactions. James is a highly-ranked lawyer by the foremost independent legal directories in a number of practice areas, including gaming & gambling by Chambers & Partners Global.  James is a member of the Advisory Team to the Malta Gaming Authority on the overhaul of gaming regulations in Malta and has also advised the MGA on other matters.  He is a sought after speaker at gaming & gambling conferences, and has authored several articles in reputable industry publications, as well as chapters on gaming legislation and the legal insight of the industry in Malta.  He is a member of the International Association of Gaming Advisors and of the International Masters of Gaming Law, amongst others, and is a lecturer in gaming law at the University of Malta. JOSEPH BORG is a Senior Advisor to WH Partners and mainly provides advice to the Gaming, ICT, Real Estate and Financial Services industries.  Joseph is well-known for his vast experience in the gaming and gambling industry both in Malta and overseas. Prior to joining WH Partners, Joseph served as Chief Regulatory Officer at a leading regulatory authority.  During this time he was an elected Member of the Board of Trustees of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR). He had previously served as Legal Counsel at a well-known global telecoms company.  Joseph is a general member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and is a lecturer in gaming law at the University of Malta.  He is a member of the Advisory Team to the Malta Gaming Authority on the overhaul of gaming regulations in Malta.  Joseph is often invited to speak at topical international conferences, and has authored several articles in reputable industry publications.  Besides holding a doctor of Laws degree from the University of Malta, he also holds a certificate in Regulator Development from the International Gaming Institute, University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV) and a certificate in Casino Management from the same university.



Affiliate | SiGMA




SiGMA | Affiliate


“I like to try out different casinos and I always contact the people behind the specific casino that I play on to ask if I can do giveaways in the stream. Two times a day I raffle out free spins to create more value in the stream and because I want to give something back to the viewers.” Who is Mr.Casino and how did you start streaming? My name is Joel and I am currently living on the beautiful island of Malta. I work as a construction manager and have most recently fallen into the wonderful world of affiliation through my Twitch Channel. Twitch is a huge platform on the internet where people live stream directly through their computers. Over a 100 million people watch streams on Twitch every month and it is growing every day. Most people play video games when they stream but I discovered that some were streaming when they gamble online. I have been a fan of gambling my entire life and being able to share the excitement with others through Twitch seemed too good to be true. I quickly fell in love with the idea of having an audience while gambling and after a while of watching the others I started my very own casino stream. I am now one of the biggest casino streamers on Twitch and come by the name Mr Casino, hence my username on Twitch: Casino. Tell us a little bit about how it works. I stream when I gamble on online


casinos about 6 hours a day while using a face cam and a microphone at least five days a week. Everything is live and I have a chat in the stream where the viewers can communicate with me. They ask questions about me, the casino and general stuff about gambling. I like to try out different casinos and I always contact the people behind the specific casino that I play on to ask if I can do giveaways in the stream. Two times a day I raffle out free spins to create more value in the stream and because I want to give something back to the viewers. From the casino’s point of view this is basically a 6 hour live-commercial of their product so most of the time they are more than happy to provide me with free spins to hand out to my viewers. What do you like about streaming and why do people like to watch you? I must say that it is because of the interaction that I have with my viewers. Some of them have been with me from the start, keeping me company and supporting me in good and in bad. The thing I love the most is when I get a really big win. You should see

Affiliate | SiGMA


come visit me in Malta. I am amazed and very grateful by the positive feedback and love that I have received from my viewers. Playing slots for 6 hours a day, that must be expensive. When I started streaming about 4 months ago I had a gambling budget of €12,000 to spare for this project. My plan was to stream for a while during my vacation but I actually made €7,000 in profit the first week. The next week I won a decent amount as well and it just kept on going! Overall it has been very profitable for me even though I have always had the odds against me. I must admit that some weeks have been really bad and I have lost large amounts of money but it has always turned around. The biggest win that I have had in my life is €6812 and it was on a bonus game in the game Montezuma and that actually happened live on Twitch. Was twitch your first encounter with the affiliate scene? Yes, it was and I actually got the idea from one of my viewers during the stream. A lot of people were asking about the casino I was playing on and wanted to play themselves. That certain viewer, who is now a good friend of mine told me about affiliation and said that I should definitely get an affiliate link for the stream. I contacted the casino and they explained everything to me and I signed up to their affiliate program. Apparently, anyone can be an affiliate and it was surprisingly simple to start. Now when I know more about affiliation I have plans to take it to the next level and improve the stream as much as I can. Perhaps in the future I might be able to stream when I gamble full time and have it as my main source of income. I have been working with construction my entire life and to be able to make money on what I actually enjoy doing is like a dream come true.

the chat when I get a huge hit, everyone goes crazy! To be able to share such moments with other people from all over the world is truly amazing. I have grown very fond of my viewers these past couple of months and consider them my friends. Some of them have even invited me to their homes. I have also told them that they are always welcome to

“It’s safe to say that this event exceeded expectations and delegates are looking forward to next year.” Rebecca Liggero

“SiGMA is an excellent networking and knowledge sharing opportunity for local gaming operators, service providers and other industry players seeking to operate in or from Malta. I believe that events like SiGMA can showcase Malta’s unique attributes and strengthen our position as a world class gaming jurisdiction” Joseph Cuschieri Executive Chairman, Malta Gaming Authority

“That certain viewer that is now a good friend of mine told me about affiliation and said that I should definitely get an affiliate link for the stream. I contacted the casino and they explained everything to me and I signed up to their affiliate program.”

069 069

Gaming Foundation | SiGMA



campaign and a national gambling helpline 1777, briefly discussed below.


In 2015 the RGF launched an education campaign with the intention to educate individuals on responsible gaming. It was targeted to reach around 100 classes which approximately translate into 2000 students of fourth year primary students. However this target was surpassed and since the start of the scholastic year 2015-2016, the Responsible Gaming Foundation has delivered talks to more than 161 classrooms in 71 different schools with a reach of nearly 3000 students. The response from the informal sessions has been great. Chippy, the Responsible Gaming Mascot, had a great influence on the learning of the children and the understanding of the concept of responsible gaming.

The Responsible Gaming Foundation is a tangible proof at international level of Malta’s pro active approach to promote responsible consumption of gaming, further entrenching its reputation as a responsible jurisdiction. Such efforts are aligned with the main principle of gaming regulation in Malta, namely that gaming shall be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, minors and vulnerable persons are protected, and that gaming is kept free from crime and corruption. In order to achieve these objectives the RGF embarked on various projects such as the education


The Helpline 1777 is the first national helpline that is dedicated to dealing and providing support to problematic gamblers and their relatives. The call-centre is an integral part of our operations because it is the bridge between problematic gamblers and their relatives with the Foundation. The personnel of the call-centre are given regular training and exercises in order to maintain and improve their standard of professionalism when it comes to dealing with the sensitive calls that the Helpline 1777 receives.




THE ULTIMATE VIP GAMING EXPERIENCE WITH ITS ELEGANT AND UNIQUE INTERIOR, EXPERTLY DESIGNED WITH ORIGINAL AND BESPOKE FURNISHING AND LIGHTING, CASINO MALTA SETS ITSELF APART FROM ANY OTHER CASINO ON THE ISLAND. ASIDE FROM BEING THE LARGEST CASINO ON THE ISLAND, WITH THE LARGEST NUMBER OF GAMING TABLES AND SLOTS, IT HAS SUCCESSFULLY DEVELOPED AND CHANGED THE GAMING EXPERIENCE IN MALTA, OFFERING A MORE ELEGANT AND LUXURIOUS EXPERIENCE TO ALL THOSE WHO ENTER. Spanning over 3000m2, the casino includes 303 slots machines, 2 electronic roulette tables, 29 casino and poker tables and also a sports betting area. Casino Malta is designed and operated with entertainment and luxury as its primary focus, with many quality events organised throughout the week. The casino also includes 2 large bars, one of which is 10 meters long. Whether you’re an experienced player, or simply looking for a way to unwind on the weekend, Casino Malta’s exciting calendar of events are guaranteed to keep you entertained. Their stage hosts local and international live bands, cabaret shows and other entertainers, replicating the very best of Vegas.

yet for one year, they have already hosted multiple poker tournaments, one of which was the Unibet Live, where, for the first time in history, one player from the Czech Republic took home €65,000. Whilst focusing on client service, Casino Malta has definitely created a new scene for tourists and Maltese locals alike. Although focusing on gaming, they have created a venue packed with entertainment open to anyone looking for a different way to spend their dayΩ

Setting itself apart from other casinos in Malta, Casino Malta boasts a specific VIP area, closed off for their ‘high roller’ costumers. With a lounge area and all kind of table games including roulette, BJ, Mini Punto Banco and Casino Malta Poker, all premium clientele can enjoy playing in the comfort of a closed off room with exclusive service from dedicated dealers. Players will also be assigned a waitress to ensure full food and drinks service. The VIP area also consists of a lounge area with 2 sofas and TVs, allowing players to relax and watch games on screen. Casino Malta also allows players the ease of smoking in a specified, very well-ventilated indoor area, filled with slot machines, roulette tables and more. Continuously striving to offer Malta’s most luxurious gaming experience, Casino Malta has placed itself at the pinnacle of gaming tournaments in Europe. Not open 075

Employment | SiGMA





For more information about all IGaming career opportunities available to you, contact us on: or call to speak to us on (+356) 2720 4520.


SiGMA | Interview


MATHEMATICS JOINS CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION IN AN INTERVIEW WITH JOIN GAMES CEO LUIGI SPINA, SIGMA FINDS OUT HOW THIS VETERAN ENTREPRENEUR MANAGED TO PENETRATE SUCCESSFULLY A VERY COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT SO LATE IN THE DAY, WHERE SLOTS HAVE BEEN BATTLING IT OUT FOR ONLINE MARKET SHARE FOR TWO DECADES. Few miles away from the Sliema-St. Julian’s area (the heart of the online gambling industry) I met with Luigi at his stylish offices in Valletta Waterfront. “How come you’re not based in the heart of the industry, at walking distance from most operators, your B2B clients?” Luigi, true to his Italian roots, shows me his scooter helmet and is quick to point out that he’s five to ten minutes away from any gaming company, adding that Valletta Waterfront is free from all the excess noise that comes with traffic congestions, loud construction machinery, towering cranes and the occasional drunk tourist. The bustling restaurants under his office and the scenic view of what’s arguably the most beautiful port in the Mediterranean complement his theory. The conversation shifts to his brand. The name Join symbolizes the fusion of creative ideas and talented individuals. It also symbolizes a point where traditional slot games meet innovation and disruptive technology – CineSlot and virtual reality, both of which have found their place in the Join Games portfolio. Luigi explains that for the past year the company has been developing a suite of games that feature real live actors embedded in their slots, a feature which is seldom seen on any casino sites. With the CineSlot concept the company has literally set up a recording studio in Rome and shoots talented actors in a green room, then embed optimized footage in the slot games. Since the launch of the first CineSlot, the company is now accepting requests from operators for their custom CineSlot. However, innovation doesn’t stop in the green room. Preparations are underway to launch an innovative VR game at ICE in London this February. Luigi wouldn’t divulge much more but encourages me to attend the show and visit his booth. In addition, his legal team is also working on patenting a unique feature that enables the slot button to be

dragged from left to right, making it easy for both left and right handed players to enjoy the Join games on mobile devices. Finally, Luigi is looking more into gamification – his team of developers have gamified some of the slots in his portfolio, such as Zombie, making them more interactive. Player retention is key and this gamification feature has really boosted their numbers. The company is merely two years and counting but the directors – Luigi Spina and Borut Leban - have over thirty years of combined experience. In Luigi’s words, “The business is competitive, true, but we believe that with the right angle, there is a lucrative market out there that will play our games. It is important to have good graphics, innovative features, good mathematics as well as sterling B2B customer service. All these factors contribute to that ‘wow’ factor.” He goes on to elaborate, “We are putting a lot of emphasis on the mathematics behind our slots. We have some unique algorithms that have been converting exceptionally well. Players seem to play more often and for longer periods.” Financially speaking, the company has seen some great results since integration began with a number of operators a few months ago. But numbers aside, Luigi believes in maintaining strong working relationships based on professionalism and trust. “Our company is growing fast and it is essential to ensure that the customer support team, the developers handling integrations, the servers can handle the load without downtime or, even worse, can thwart DDoS attacks.” He concludes, “It is imperative that working relationships remain strong not only between me and other C-level executives, but also among our developers, our PR teams. Only then can I look forward to more victory laps with operators as we file for more licenses and release new games into the market.”

“The business is competitive, true, but we believe that with the right angle, there is a lucrative market out there that will play our games. It is important to have good graphics, innovative features, good mathematics as well as sterling B2B customer service. All these factors contribute to that ‘wow’ factor.” 078


Interview | SiGMA



Anti-Money Laundering | SiGMA


AN EXTRACT FROM OUR WHITEPAPER - WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE ONLINE GAMBLING INDUSTRY To ask what a gambling operator should do if a Simon Mann turned up as a new depositor isn’t a trick question. The world will recognise the name Mann as a notorious mercenary with an extremely chequered past. But to a gambling operator, that name should prompt a red flag in need of further investigation. Such a scenario is an example of how the gambling industry is affected by wider geopolitical events, particularly when it relates to the policing of anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing. The adoption by the international community in June of the fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD) for the first time specifically places online gambling within the directive’s remit, whereas previously only land-based casinos were included. As Warren Russell, chief executive at web-based online screening tools provider W2, puts it, what was once best practice is now a regulatory requirement. “There hasn’t been that big stick previously,” he adds. In September 2015, we saw two gaming operators set aside a combined £1.7m due to failings in AML. These effective ‘fines’ show the true cost of compliance – or the cost of what happens when you have insufficient compliance protections. It puts into perspective the comment from W2’s chief commercial

officer Martin Pashley who suggests that when he talks to potential clients about the company’s BSMART screening tool there is often a “misapprehension” over the cost of implementation. BSMART (or the Batch Screening Monitoring and Reporting Tool) screens international sanction lists, politically exposed person lists, global law enforcement notifications and wanted lists, disqualified directors and regulatory enforcement actions. It is the product that would help an operator sort its mercenaries from its upstanding citizens, yet Pashley says concerns over increased compliance expenditure still abound. “People know that say, you pay a pound to initially screen someone at the on-boarding stage then they assume that if I have a million customers, it’s going to cost me a £1m a week to screen these customers,” he says. “There is that misapprehension, but because the screening is done on an annual licence basis, the frequency of screening doesn’t affect the price. Also, significant volume discounts can be applied.” If you would like to learn more about how W2 can help you comply with 4MLD and simplify customer on-boarding please email the team on enquiries@



Design Update | SiGMA

PASSION, QUALITY AND INNOVATION FUEL ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT THESE ARE THE DEFINING PILLARS OF ISOFTBET’S SUCCESS, A FRUITFUL COMBINATION THAT HAS DRIVEN THE COMPANY SO FAR TO BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING ONLINE AND MOBILE CASINO GAME SUPPLIERS. SO, WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING AT OUR END LATELY, APART FROM THE REGULAR GAME RELEASES? In recent times alone, we have improved our iconic slot games with a touch of fresh air(brush), polished our Game Aggregation Platform (GAP), opened a much-needed office in the heart of Asia, in Philippines, Manila and introduced new features for our well-performing mobile games, all for the sole enjoyment of our players and operators alike. And if that is just one slice of the pie, imagine what we plan to do in the future! Things are moving fast in the online casino industry and we plan to stay ahead by continuing our innovation legacy. We’ve kept an ear to the ground while scanning the playground for novelty, and by working enthusiastically on new games from a different viewpoint, we’ve tried to reach all kinds of passionate players; because the year is coming to an end, we rush to release these fresh products and bring Christmas one step closer to all players! So, step forward and let’s unpack together!

this-world experience for players to enjoy thoroughly starting this Halloween. We’re always looking to enhance our offer and expand our network, so whether you are an operator in search of a quality games provider, or a passionate player who appreciates fair and responsible gaming, look no further than booth number B53 at SIGMA! Take a walk down for a chat and let’s see if our passions collide so you can become more than a just visitor, but a brand new partner!

Without exception, iSoftBet’s new games have a halo of coolness, whether it’s a change of concept or a design upgrade, our products always strive to become hits amongst our players. Take for example our one-of-akind slot game, centred on the hexagon, Slammin’ 7s or Cherry Trio, a unique slot game that radiates the Las Vegas extravaganza, while introducing in your private space a real casino feel. Robo Smash is another state-of-the-art slot game, targeting the geek in all of us, an adventure that has pushed the concept of the classic slot game to new frontiers. The jewel of the crown is unquestionably Paranormal Activity, an out-of083

Interview | SiGMA



GO LIVE! Edward, tell us a bit more about your experience in the gaming scene; from consulting to operators, to running an affiliate network, and now running the brand Codeta. I have been in this business ever since 2002, starting off on the operator side of things and one has to say, these were the early days of igaming. Back then the opportunities were both very big in terms of reach, but also limited in terms of the marketplace itself and various legal obstacles to take into consideration. Not because the law was extremely clear; on the contrary, most geomarkets had outdated laws but no one knew how to interpret them into .com-terms. It was a very innovative time back then, where the winners were the fast-paced and innovative companies and individuals that quickly understood the massive opportunity that was in igaming (post .com-bubble). I was on the operator side of things up until 2009, when I was at MD of Ladbrokes Poker, and my family and I decided to move back to Sweden. I didn’t intend to set up a consulting company as such. As a matter of fact, the intention was purely for me to be able to work with gaming companies from a legal perspective (again!) based out of Sweden. However, I quickly identified a need and an opportunity for the affiliate management background which I had as Affiliate Director of along with All igaming companies were still desperate for customers and who were the ones that could surely provide them? Affiliates. Fortunately, I knew them. So I started to hire people with similar backgrounds and the similar unique networks of contacts within the affiliate industry. Suddenly, operators started to appreciate our way of business, which was basically a brokerage, rather than a network. The difference in the fact that we broker a deal between affiliates we know - in order to make it suitable for the same affiliate. Once the deal is done, the affiliate gets introduced to the operator’s affiliate program and management, hence; full transparency and the relationship with the affiliate is being handed over, therefore; they are not solely relying on us to get involved. Affiliates appreciate our expertise in the marketplace, i.e. knowing which brands to trust, which brands convert well in certain markets and also our ability to cater to their requirements in terms of price, material and customer management. Since we have grown into a substantial player on the market, we have also become a force within it. So for instance in case of a situation where an operator doesn’t do right for themselves versus the affiliates we have referred to them, we are able to put pressure on them. It has happened a couple of times, most recently with 10bet/Comfortlink-brands not doing right for themselves and paying what is owed. Today, they see little promotion through Nordic affiliates and are clearly paying the price. If there is anything that I have learned after being in this industry for 14 years, it is the fact that this industry is still quite small, therefore; your biggest asset is your reputation. If you are willing to gamble with that, you are most likely looking at a short career within it as the most accurate description of our industry is “what goes around comes around.” 085

SiGMA | Interview

Now, ca 14 months ago, I finally decided, after watching on the sidelines for too long, that it was time for me/us to set up a proper brand. Our unique approach, differentiating us from other casinos, was in the amount of research regarding marketplace and consumer insights. Once this was completed, we decided on a game plan. Codeta was born, as was our positioning in becoming the leading global table games casino. We were told you are the majority shareholder in this up and coming brand. What makes it unique? Combined years of experience? Ihre Consulting and associated co-founders own some 60% of Codeta, whilst external investors own the other 40% stake in exchange for €2m in investments. Our positioning and ambition of becoming THE table games casino. I would actually go as far as saying that actually having and stating a positioning is unique. Perhaps with the exception of LeoVegas as a major mobile casino, we are quite unique. Other factors that make us stand out include: • Our ability to know exactly what our customers need and how to motivate our target market. • The group participation in our digital experience and how it is delivered to our players. • The experience behind our management and affiliate team. With so many mergers and acquisitions, affiliation is becoming more and more expensive! Do you think this is still the way to go in your case? You have a lot of experience in this field. Yes, we certainly feel an initial affiliate strategy is suitable for us, however, it is expensive and is not for everyone. You need an even more experienced affiliate team now in order to find the value in a lot of deals, as there is definitely value out there. We will use our experience, our contacts and funding to initially gain proper traction for Codeta. We will already after the summer, start doing begin with more traditional marketing investments, in the Nordics in particular. As previously stated, our aim is to build Codeta into a proper brand. and Naturally, I don’t believe you can build that brand via affiliates alone as they naturally are more focused on customer acquisition. whilst building a proper brand, you need to also do more traditional above the line marketing (as well).While building a brand, traditional, above the line marketing is also just as important. Under which platform will you be operating and which markets will you be focusing on? Why did you go with this platform? Would you exclude working with other live tables besides Evolution? We decided, through careful research, that Everymatrix provided us with the best solution therefore, we are using their API/Platform. We will initially be focusing on the Nordics + English speaking markets (CAN, AUS etc) and then launching UK and DACH in September. We work both with Evolution Gaming and NetEnt in terms of live casino offerings. We will likely adopt others that deem themselves appropriate for the live casino experience. Our selective nature for live 086


casino providers comes from our desire for our customers to have the best possible experience when trying out our live casino. Table Games. Is there a large market for it? Can you give us some numbers? During our research phase, we did find out that there was VERY little reliable data/stats to get access to. We did manage in the end (after several months and numerous consultants/agencies involved) to estimate how big this was. We see a great opportunity in taking a leading position within Live Casino. The segment is worth €770m in Europe alone, and is the fastest growing sub-segment with its annual growth of 44% between 2008-14 in Europe. It is expected to grow at an annual rate of 18% globally until 2018. Was it easy raising 2M? What made the investors trust your startup? A long working relationship? Family and friends? Do you have any feedback to give to budding entrepreneurs who would like to take off with their own venture? Considering that we have never raised investments before, I would say yes! We managed to secure the investment in less than 4 weeks. The investors decision relied upon several factors, however, the most important were: • Trust in the experience of Ihre Consulting in the marketplace. • Our positioning and research backing that up • The other parties we had involved in the project that added the expertise that Ihre Consulting were less strong in The additional parties whose involvement in the project added the expertise that Ihre Consulting lacked. The majority of investors are friends & families, but the last couple of investors that came in (once the rumours started to go around) are from the industry and have invested more than the average investor. You also engaged LynxEye Brand Consultants. Has this been an integral ingredient so far? Yes, they have been and still are. We used them to conduct the research into our target group and understand them properly in terms of what drives them to play, what they seek, what they miss, etc. Once we had that, we have worked closely with them to fine-tune our positioning and understand what we need to deliver and focus on. This is continuous work and Lynxeye is and will be a long-term partner of ours. You are based in Stockholm. Ever thought of relocating to other jurisdictions? And if yes, which cities do you find attractive as a base for gaming? Yes, we are based here and will continue to be based here at least until we get our own license, as we now use an Everymatrix license. I also think that the more we can have the people with and for Codeta gathered under one roof, the better as our journey has only begun, not only as a company but also as a brand. Our other resources sit remotely in London, Tel Aviv, Prague, and Bucharest.


Interview | SiGMA


She Ninja Suzu © Ganapati (Malta) Ltd., Character Design SEI NAKASHIMA


SiGMA | Interview


The mission of Ganapati is to spread Japanese Culture worldwide. How are you embarking on such an ambitious and exciting project? It was natural for us to focus on Japanese culture because it was something very familiar to us and has so many aspects to be explored; from the rich traditional culture to the modern-day anime and manga culture. Only a selective amount of our culture has made it out of Japan into the rest of the world – there is so much more to share!

Your company has the backing from the Japanese Government - how has this partnership been instrumental?  The Japanese government for the last few years has been quite proactively promoting Japanese culture, through a very strict system of authentication. We are happy that, even though there is still stigma attached to gambling in Japan, the Japanese government was able to acknowledge the potential in our business model, which goes above and beyond a basic distribution business.

We wanted to spread Japanese culture through something that is already well integrated into everyday life in Europe. The igaming industry was ideal in a sense that it is well regulated, integrated into everyday life and is a place that our products will be well appreciated.

You’ve been at a few shows already. Which markets have been more receptive to embracing Japanese culture in general and how has your ideas and concepts been received? Yes, we attended ICE and the Super Show in Amsterdam earlier this year. We have had such a great reception from everyone we met and spoke to there. I cannot say which markets have been more receptive because we received a lot of positive feedback from the operators and suppliers that service in all markets across the globe. Everyone seems very interested in Japanese culture and the unique aspects we can bring to the games, which is extremely encouraging. We even met a few manga and anime fans which show how popular Japanese culture is outside of Japan. Our ideas and concepts have been received well and I am determined to bring those aspects to this industry for all of our enjoyment and entertainment. It’s hard not to get excited about this kind of momentum and I look forward to launching our games!  

How are your games promoting Japanese culture? What are the features of your games that showcase Japanese culture in a unique way? We will be focusing on the traditional side of Japanese culture, the arts and the graphics, as well as closing up on the more recent culture which has gained more popularity worldwide through games and anime culture. Our designated staff, well equipped in both Japanese and European culture inside and out, will determine what content will be best to represent Ganapati and what aspects of Japanese culture would be the most interesting to share with the European market.     What ideas have you been implementing to promote your games? Why do you feel your content is different? In the past, content with a supposed Japanese feel has not really represented the true culture which we feel we are able to deliver on. We bring not just the Japanese-look to the slot games, but also the technology and essence that makes things “Japanese.” Our content is different from any others because we are authentic and only choose the best of what Japan offers. We are working with top creators in studios in Hollywood and Japan to deliver high-quality 3D imagery on our games.

As a new entrant to the online gaming industry, what do you feel you will add to the industry as a whole? Whilst we may be new to the industry we have a good understanding of what the end user likes and understands. We believe our products and brands have an association with the consumer which is hard to replicate unless it comes direct from the creators with which we have relationships. We have a team of talented game developers and can use the technology in Japan to continually create content which I believe has not yet been seen in the industry yet.

“We wanted to spread Japanese culture through something that is already well integrated into everyday life in Europe. The igaming industry was ideal in a sense that it is well regulated, integrated into everyday life and is a place that our products will be well appreciated.”


Interview | SiGMA


Can you tell us a bit about the background of the company and yourself? Ganapati Plc has been around for two years now. We are a listed entity on ISDX in the UK and have offices in Japan and London. We have several business entities worldwide already providing social apps and other services. The gaming industry is an area we have looked at since our infancy, however it is only recently that we have decided to make an entrance into the market place. With this in mind, we had to ensure we were able to support the product and the industry through proper means, which required employing the right team and gaining the right knowledge. We are now in a position to launch our first products in the gaming industry.

Tell us about your roadmap for your games. How do you intend to distribute your products and when will you be ready to launch on to market? We have three games ready for distribution just after ICE in Feb 2017. These games will be Japanese-themed slot games which will showcase our animators and technology and various aspects of Japanese culture. After this initial release, we will be releasing our other games which are in the production schedule. For the first year our main theme will be the Japanese-style fighting games and from there our content will continue to diversify and grow, but continue to share the uniqueness of Japanese culture and technology through each game and deliver high quality imagery.

As for me, my background is mostly in TV/ music production and artist management where I have worked with major brands and artists worldwide. Despite being new to the iGaming sector, I have extensive experience in the entertainment industry and have been enjoying the exploration of this new avenue.

GUNGRAVE © RED Character Design YASUHIRO NIGHTOW She Ninja Suzu © Ganapati (Malta) Ltd., Character Design Sei Nakashima Crypt Battle © Bank of Innovation

“...will be best to represent Ganapati and what aspects of Japanese culture would be the most interesting to share with the European market.”

“In a crowded calendar SiGMA was a personal choice for me to attend. Love the island, love the guys doing it. EveryMatrix is proud to be part of the inaugural SiGMA.” Ebbe Groes CEO, EveryMatrix

“Malta is a major and highly innovative hub for gaming services; SiGMA itself is a great opportunity for industry representatives and regulatory staff alike to access and share valuable expertise and networks.” Simon Planzer Planzer Law


Crypt Battle © Bank of Innovation


Legal | SiGMA


COMPLIANT – ‘TO BE OR NOT TO BE’ WITH APOLOGIES TO WILL A bustling city, full of people and traffic, rushing in every direction to get somewhere. Fog or heavy rain can cause everything to slow down, change direction, re-think their destinations, postpone meetings, or whatever was on the day’s agenda. The bustling city stutters, slows down, there is a mood change, a change in pace. Why didn’t I bring my umbrella? Should I have gone earlier? Should I have taken the train? We start to ask ourselves what we could have done or should have done, to reduce the interruptions to our day. Is there a way of knowing what is expected, or could happen? Don’t check and plan accordingly and you suffer the consequences. What has this got to do with regulations and compliance you may ask? Well, not much


really, but it’s an example of understanding the environment you work in. Dubai would obviously not have the same climate risks as London or Paris, though the sand storms are said to be wicked and totally disruptive. Regulations, standards, best practices, together with globalisation through the Internet has had an effect on practically every industry in some way or another. If you are in the food business, such as a restaurant, you have to comply with various health and food safety regulations. Data Protection and/or Anti-Money Laundering will soon be a compliance requirement for practically everyone. With regards to AntiMoney Laundering / Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) as criminal spend is considered to be money laundering, it will 093

SiGMA | Legal

more or less affect anyone who sells something or another to a customer, whether online or offline. When Malta introduced the Remote Gaming Regulations in 2004, I would not be exaggerating if I were to state that the RGRs of Malta revolutionised the way the online gaming industry operated and brought jobs and funds to Malta and the EU. A newly regulated industry was born. Twelve years down the line and the industry has grown in leaps and bounds and forged ahead embracing new technologies and satisfying customers’ increasing demands. However, regulation has also developed and affected the industry. Different jurisdictions with different regulatory requirements probably cause the biggest headaches to operators. Wouldn’t it be just great if they just had to follow one comprehensive set of regulatory and technical requirements! Thankfully there are people out there who understand this and are working, when possible, for standardised requirements. The CEN workgroup (The European Committee for Standardisation) has already agreed to, and drawn up, the document: CWA 16259:2011: Responsible Remote Gambling Measures. Now there is a workshop that is working on the standardisation of reporting requirements for gaming companies. These measures should simplify compliance requirements in these two areas at EU level for gaming operators. A blue patch in the grey sky and some sun rays bursting through. The thick fog engulfing this bustling city and causing limited visibility I would say are the VAT regulations governing electronic services that started to affect the industry in January 2015. Compliance is made simpler when the rules are clear, however, VAT rules are unclear when it comes to gaming transactions with advice provided by experts not always providing the same conclusions and solutions. The same can be said, to a lesser extent, about gaming tax calculations in some jurisdictions. It was said, a few years ago, that the drive by EU countries to nationalise licensing of gaming operators would lead to the destruction of liquidity based games such as poker, bingo, betting exchanges, etc. This prediction came through and poker networks have taken a huge blow. Now there is an attempt to allow countries to share liquidity by permitting players from one jurisdiction to play on a network licensed in another jurisdiction. Let’s see how this goes and whether it will work. I can predict once again that the main stumbling block will be gaming taxes and who will collect them. Taxes have been the main reason for the insistence by jurisdictions to go against the EU treaty and exclude gaming from the



cross-border services provision. Of course, they could not say that, so they came up with unfounded accusations against the industry, such as fraud and money laundering, and a danger to public order. But that is another story, that storm has come and gone. Back to compliance and what gaming companies have to contend with. Let’s list the main laws and regulations a licensed gaming company has to be aware of and comply with: Company law, tax law, VAT law, Remote Gaming regulations of various jurisdictions including directives and license conditions, computer misuse, e-commerce, data protection, AML/CFT, consumer affairs (namely ODR and ADR). Gaming companies are also required to comply with ISO 27001 and/or PCI DSS depending on where they are licensed and whether or not they store, process and/or transmit credit card data. We have to look at the weather forecast and rely on what the meteorological office says. It is no wonder that most gaming operators now have legal and compliance teams’ setup in their organisation with an important role, which is basically to keep the operators on track and reduce their risk of fines, brand and reputational damage, through noncompliance issues. Some fines can be quite high and can be linked to noncompliance with AML and responsible gambling or advertising. Partly cloudy in the morning, with strong possibilities of rain during the day. The UKGC has issued new License Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) that will come into effect on the 31st October 2016. The main condition is licence Condition 12.1 which relates to the requirement to carry out a risk assessment and implement policies based on the results and to monitor and update, as and when required. This condition is more or less in line with the 4th AML Directive’s risk-based approach. We still do not know what other jurisdictions will be doing in relation to this Directive and it is hoped that in this sensitive matter there is more or less a standard approach by the Authorities. One other thing, let’s also hope that the Authorities accept the results of the risk assessments. I am anticipating that the results will be in conflict with the rubbish that has been thrown about at EU level, and conveniently believed, about the high risks from online gambling and betting in relation to AML and CFT! At least we know that the UKGC shares the industry’s knowledge and understanding about the real risks of AML/CFT.


Legal | SiGMA

“You cannot fight compliance, you cannot avoid it, so you must manage it properly, not once but constantly. The good news is you’re not alone and there are ways and means to do it efficiently and effectively.” Weather front affecting different parts of the city, some areas with the sunshine, others with the possibility of thunderstorms. The 3rd Directive on Data Protection is another 2017 regulation that gaming operators have to be aware of. Penalties are expected to be exceptionally high and a proportion of the profit, but also based on the number of employees. Under the new EU Data Protection law, fines for non-compliance can be up to 2% of “annual worldwide turnover” for companies with more than 250 employees. So if you run a loss making company and have 249 or fewer employees you should be relatively compliant or at least not risk hefty fines. Joking apart, gaming operators should not be too worried about this unless they intend on abusing player data, which they do not normally do. The main issues are always data retention and satisfying the different statutory requirements and system limitations. In a nutshell, I would say that all data should be held at least for five years after closure of the account, after that, well, it is pretty much debatable. It’s more what you do with the data and where you retain it, in my humble opinion than how long you keep it. We do not need to contemplate death as Hamlet did in his famous soliloquy; compliance is not that bad once you get used to it, like the weather in London, or the heat of Dubai. The important thing about compliance is knowing what you need to be compliant with and then invest in the right people and tools to ensure that you have an effective compliance strategy. Too often companies think that by creating a compliance role and implementing basic policies they have satisfied the requirements. If compliance is not built into the workflow and you do not have the right processes and tools for effective monitoring, then at some point or another, the company will fail in its obligations. Check the weather forecast, select the preferred route, mode of transport, attire, check again and then head out. A structured approach to compliance is required. Plan, Do, Check, Act in a recurring cycle. Anyone familiar with ISO Standards will recognise this approach. ISO has once again, like with so many other issues, provided a standard that can be followed. Look up ISO 19600:2014 and buy it if you are involved with compliance. You do not need to get certified, but it will provide you with the approach and structure to tackle a role and responsibility that gets more complex by the day. Get a good umbrella and boots and do not buy a convertible. With regards to getting the right tools, especially for AML/CFT monitoring, look carefully and invest wisely. The resulting fines and players’ bad experiences could cost you dearly. The chosen tool should be adaptable, should not interfere with the customer experience, should not give you too many false positives and should give you the desired results i.e. alerting you to suspicious players/transactions. Ideally, a single tool that satisfies all your requirements and is not too labour intensive would be preferred. It is difficult but very possible to find such tools. You cannot fight compliance, you cannot avoid it, so you must manage it properly, not once but constantly. The good news is you’re not alone and there are ways and means to do it efficiently and effectively. Your business plans and budgets should now have a compliance cost built in which should properly reflect the company’s efforts to comply. Where you do not have the resources internally, either in number or in knowledge and skill, outsource to a competent third party, but do not ignore, for, like the weather, it will not go away.




GOOD GOVERNANCE TO AML GOOD GOVERNANCE IS THE KEY TO PROPER ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING FOR OBLIGED ENTITIES INCLUDING THE GAMING SECTOR. THIS ARTICLE EXPLAINS HOW TO IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE AML FROM A TOP-TO-BOTTOM PERSPECTIVE. It has been a year since the European Union approved its Fourth Money Laundering Directive and there is one year to go for the closing of the transposition period. For new sectors which will be covered under the ‘obliged entity’ definition, this means that the time is running short to ensure that proper anti-money laundering (AML) culture has soaked in the system and day-to-day checks are in place at client on-boarding and servicing. Promoting such culture requires a firm board commitment and inclusion of AML as a component of good corporate governance at obliged entities is an important requirement at Gaming entities. Directors should invest time and dedication in order to attain an effective culture change. The purpose of this article is to present the main pillars that the directors should put in place for this project which are: Communication, Leadership and Control. LEADERSHIP Effective leadership is the catalyst of culture change. The first step is to start including AML as an item on the Board’s agenda. The directors should not just skim through the subject but should dedicate enough time to discuss the entity’s policies, how AML milestones are being achieved and whether these are effective enough. The directors should challenge and assess whether the policies, procedures and processes, are commensurate with the business risks and can effectively mitigate the money laundering risks. For the everyday implementation, the Board should consider the delegation of this important project to a dedicated working committee. In smaller entities an individual could be appointed to oversee this project, and where necessary assisted by external expert consultants. Whatever the type of set-up opted, the Board of Directors should ensure that the persons that are involved in this project are not only knowledgeable on the subject and on the regulatory requirements but actually have hands-on experience on AML. Also, the MLRO that will be appointed is suitably qualified to lead the AML function following the coming into force of this legislation and is able to manage the AML risk efficiently and effectively. In addition, such individuals must be of an independent mind and should be provided with the right opportunity to positively challenge the system. Of course one cannot underestimate the importance of resources and the directors should actively support the provision of appropriate budgets both at the implementation of the project but in support of ongoing AML requirements. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION Effective training on AML ensures that staff not only understand the regulatory requirements but also appreciate its importance. This is also an excellent opportunity for the Directors to ‘set the tone’ on the matter. In general, the training, whether online or in a classroom set-up, should at least cover the legislative framework, the entity’s policies and procedures on customer due diligence, record-keeping and reporting of suspicious transaction reporting and the name and contact details of the MLRO. Repercussions of non-compliance clearly outweigh any perceived nuisance that comes with adhering to the policy. The final AML Policies and Procedures need to be easily accessible and in this regard the use of intranet systems are a good option to consider. Internal circulars should at least cover the need to comply with AML and such messages will have a higher weighting if this is issued directly by the Chief Executive Officer, for example, or by board members collectively. The

message should be a positive one but at the same time tough on non-compliance and non-cooperation during such project and post-implementation. As goes by saying you have to be ‘cruel to be kind’ and this approach can re-align employees’ attitude. CONTROL Basic as it may sound, control involves listening. This important process will assist in understanding the drivers that are helping or hindering the right culture and good governance. However, it makes sense that any controls are calibrated. Too many controls and restrictions can hinder the business and might be excessive to the type of money laundering risk at hand. On the other hand, high money laundering risk situations call for enhanced due diligence and appropriate controls. Moreover, at each stage of this project and also post-implementation the directors need to reassess whether the control processes are efficient and effective to manage money laundering risk. This also ensures that the whole AML system is updated with the external macro and micro developments which are impacting the day-to-day evolvement of the entity’s business. As part of the ‘listening’, the Directors should request reports by the responsible persons on AML. At AML project implementation, this needs to be presented by its respective Chairman of the working group or the person responsible on this project. As part of the AML regulatory requirements and post-implementation, the MLRO should be then the person responsible for presenting such report. During such reviewing and discussion, the Directors, in particular those occupying non-executive roles need to ask themselves whether the confirmations provided are actually closing the relative compliance gaps and where need be, they should constructively challenge the system as part of this exercise. Another important aspect that needs to be considered are the control functions such as compliance and internal audit. Whilst noting the latter, the engagement of a compliance officer at senior management is a mandatory regulatory requirement in terms of the Fourth Money Laundering Directive. On the other hand, the appointment of an internal auditor needs to be considered by the same directors based on the scope, scale and complexity of the entity’s activities. Going back on the principles of leadership, the knowledge and experience of persons engaged in this function is of the essence in ensuring that good filters are in place. FINAL THOUGHTS ON CORPORATE GOVERNANCE This is an overall description of the good governance to AML. Yet, whilst this concentrated on AML one should not disregard the principles of good governance on a separate exercise such as having the right mix of non-executive and executive Directors which are now becoming a ‘must have’ in regulated set-ups. On the other hand, the high financial repercussions and reputational damages brought by non-compliance could put the entity at stake and Directors cannot continue to disregard this requirement and cannot afford to postpone this further. Moreover, a sensible and intelligent approach to AML achieved through proper governance can really have a positive culture change. Claire Camilleri Gauci is a leading Compliance Specialist and Director of Aid Compliance Limited a leading compliance and governance consultancy firm.





BLACKHAT SEO BlackHat SEO is the process by which you manipulate elements on a website that you believe, or were told, can actually affect your positions with search engine rankings like Google. This is also known as SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, GreyHat, and yes…WhiteHat. I’ve always tried to deliver information that Affiliates and Operators could put to use, rather than twist it in a ‘why they should hire me to do it?’ way. I’ve been heavily criticized for authoring many articles and conference sessions on many of these techniques. Do I teach how to hack a WordPress site? No. But can we? You better believe it! Want to know how to run a constant DDOS attack or get a website de-indexed? I wouldn’t go that far because there’s always that one nefarious individual who’ll use it against you, and I talk about it so openly. This approach I’ve adopted has obviously given critics reasons to complain. I have two problems with this criticism: firstly, I started as an Affiliate 20 years ago, so I understand how difficult it can be. Knowing what the competitors may be doing to hurt your income and having the ability to protect yourself should be a no-brainer. If you know what they’re doing or may do in the future, you can protect yourself and be proactive about it. I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.


Secondly, I do the work for the big guys and Affiliates do the work themselves. I can do this because typically, the giants have a ‘no brand-bidding clause’ in their Affiliate agreement. This doesn’t mean your competition/fellow affiliate isn’t targeting your website. It also doesn’t mean I can’t monitor new domain purchases and scoop your .net and .org or a ccTLD and hold you hostage or rank better than you for your brand and become an Affiliate. Anything that increases rankings essentially qualifies for BlackHat status. When I write about BlackHat techniques I’m not referring to DDOS attacks, Spoofing or Trojan viruses. I’m referring to the type of rank manipulation, or BlackHat, that anyone can do: a competitor, an upset client or an exemployee you fired. THE REAL WORLD BLACKHAT EFFECT According to a Harvard University study, a single review on Yelp can affect your yearly income by 10%. Another showed that 80% of all online shoppers did their homework online, regardless of whether they actually bought it online or in the brick-and-mortar or



offline store. One of the most seemingly “clean” dating sites, eHarmony has almost 2000 negative reviews on Yelp alone. Are the other hundreds of dating sites they compete against doing aggressive BlackHat or is eHarmony actually doing something to cause these? There are many causes, ranging from auto-pay issues to fake profiles. Every dating site has them. It’s inherent. Similar to cheats in online gambling, or Amazon con games that give step-by-step instructions for the Dark Net. Websites like and can be used for this and many other services that can hurt your websites rankings and reputation. As an SEO Company that specializes in Reputation Management, we’ve seen these tactics becoming more common and successful. You can either be proactive or reactive. Guess which one is much more expensive? The most popular tactics which manipulate review websites are lesser used tactics (although very effective), like subdomain and subdirectory attacks. I mainly deal with Dating and Casino sites and trust me, there’s noone more motivated than someone with a broken heart or empty wallet. These people are relentless and will stop at nothing to feel vindicated. Apart from such types of negative content, your competitor is accountable for the other 40%, and will likely not surrender, unless they can afford a hundred dollars or so per month. Then there’s the issue of combating these attacks when (not if!), they happen. Moreover, there’s the matter of how the right prevention tactics can protect your websites – a well worth it to the investment. BRAND-BASHING STILL WORKS In certain cases, the internet is a useful consumer tool that puts us in the driver’s seat. As an Affiliate you have competition, as an Operator you have competition and Affiliates to contend with. You’re tasked with dominating the top 10-20 or become a part of that 10% statistic. Reduce your traffic and revenue by 10%, then factor that into a lifetime

value… Many companies spend money for CRM and Social Media, yet spend nothing on proactive Brand Protection or reactive Reputation Management. In many cases, they have absolutely zero Engagement as well. Most Brand-Bashing is a result of an unhappy customer that can be made happy. THE COST The following is a list of realistic costs associated with negative content: Payroll - what it costs to be reactive and pay staff to handle negative sentiment rather than spend their valuable time proactively creating positive sentiment and a game plan for engagement and retention. Payoffs - many clients have elected to offer a payoff or return what this person spent. It’s just the cheapest and quickest way out in some costly circumstances. This is especially true for instances where we’re in the wrong. Repeat Offenders - They did it once. Who says they can’t create a new Gmail account and repeat whatever they did before and hold you hostage again? However, this time, you have to pay in Bitcoin so you can’t track them and know it’s the same person. Rinse. Repeat. DMCA - Digital Millennium Copyright Act - 1996 saw this ‘Supermarket Turtle’ rear its head in, ready for action. It can protect you against some of these negative tactics, but besides the average 2 months it takes to get it removed, there’s also the time and money it takes to enforce it by your staff. Legal - The last and most expensive result. Most of the guys using Real World BlackHat know that a ‘Lawyer Letter’ means nothing. At best, it means they got your attention and are even more motivated. In the worst cases, it could even mean litigation or case filing costs. And drumroll please….the top reason why being reactive rather than proactive is so expensive? The Real Estate. Remember the 10% rule; One negative review in the top 10 results = 10% less revenue. Over time this will snowball and then you get two pages/websites at the top 10, then three. It’s all about protecting your real estate. THE TACTICS Besides the obvious places, negative content can end up in search results on such sites like Facebook Pages, Google+ and many other Social Media websites, there are a dozen other techniques anyone can implement. They can learn how to do it themselves on YouTube or they can pay someone to do it for them. Below are the most common techniques used to steal your real estate: Subdomain Hijacking/Injection - Imagine a well-ranked site that targets your niche, then add a subdomain. Later, host it on a server in your target geographic region and start building links on some of your other sites using your brand as anchor text, or not. You’ll rank top 10 for your brand or website. An even more seriously nasty tactic that is used along with the next one (Wordpress Hacking) is when these guys find a WP security hole and exploit 100k sites running WP or a certain plugin, and then through this newly created back-end access, they add a hidden page the website owner never sees, but the Search Engine Spiders can see. Wordpress Hacking - Probably one of the easiest things to learn in terms of ‘actual’ hacking and can be found all over 099


YouTube. Every time a Wordpress update or one of the 15 ‘really cool’ plugins that enhance your site, appears, leaves a gaping hole. Take the easily obtained code and place it alongside the code of the old plugin. Note the differences and employ a good WP guy to find a vulnerability. From here, you can get into the site and change or delete pages, add a no-index command and get completely purged from search results. Subdirectory Hijacking - There are dozens of people that are the equivalent of website hitmen, and they’re more than willing to sell their services. One of them can take a 50,000 website-strong network and inject 50,000 pages of scraped and scrambled content, putting your brand/website on a new optimized subdirectory page on their websites. No link, just your brand/website in the content and the URL. Negative Link Buys - Everyone knows you can buy good links, but you can also buy bad links. Alternatively, you can use SEOMoz or Ahrefs and get a trust rank comparison and just choose the de-indexed, penalized or porn sites to post a link to you or the ranking page you have in the search results that you want gone. Hate-Site Creation - Anyone can buy a domain (with or without your brand/website in the URL), host it and have a Wordpress theme installed for under $50. Done correctly, this site can rank for your brand/keyword/domain, especially if you don’t have other pages in this real estate that outperform this new hate-site. Startup Hijacking – So you spend your time and money obtaining all that’s required to get an Operators license and open a casino, or you’re an Affiliate that is going to



market your site that reviews one of these niches. You can use one of the many free tools available to target keywords. DomainTools will email you whenever someone buys a domain with one of these keywords in the URL. Someone sets up a domain sniper that will automatically buy these domains for a few dollars. Now that person owns Automated Tools and BlackHat Networks - Remember it’s not always about a competitor trying to steal your real estate, it’s also about the haters that will inevitably wish to harm or steal your traffic. ScrapeBox, XRumer and SENuke are just a few of the tools meant for something other than BlackHat techniques when they were created, but they are widely used by the ‘guy next door’ that doesn’t know a thing about coding or hacking. Review Websites – Sites like SiteJabber and TrustPilot are showing up in the top 20 results for almost every brand/ website search that has a review posted. They carry a lot of trust with Google and the other search engines. For a hefty and ongoing price, you can have some control over what’s posted about you, but again, the time and cost factors need to be considered in the overall business equation. Add to this to the powerhouse presence Social Media has become and the real estate thins significantly. The Defense - Fortunately, most of these tactics can be proactively prevented from happening. Subdomain Hijacking/Injection - Probably one of the worst and easiest methods because the only defense you have against this is reaction rather than prevention. Once you’ve been hit, the only way to fix it is by contacting each website



via email or WhoIs Webmaster/Admin details and notify them of the page so they take it down. Usually, telling them it’s a scrambled/ spun mess of non-relevant content will motivate them to remove it. In some cases, there’s no one to do it. They paid a friend of a friend to install a Wordpress site and it is still running an antiquated version of Wordpress, the theme or a plugin. This means you may have to take the DMCA route through Google. But not updating it will just invite another attack. Wordpress Hacking - Personally I avoid WP whenever possible. Primarily because it can slow sites down for several reasons like running cache on them or code-heavy plugins, but also because it creates a need for additional security measures that cost money, and also constant updating that’s required depending on the number of plugins you have. Subdirectory Hijacking - This can happen on a private network of their own, or on lots of sites running Wordpress but not updating them or installing SiteLock or taking other security measures. But again, the only way to fix it is by contacting each website owner via email or WhoIs Webmaster/Admin details, and notifying them of the page so they remove it. Negative Link Buys - Run a tool that analyses your backlinks once a week. SEOMoz, LinkAssistant and Ahrefs are among a few that can do a comparative analysis and identify the spammy links. Create a disavow file. This states you don’t approve the link. Be sure to disavow at the domain level to prevent future attacks and be careful when selecting links, because you can hurt your site if you’re lazy and don’t do the research.

Automated Tools and BlackHat Networks - Because of the sheer number of tools and techniques widely available to the people looking for them, these networks and tools they use are constantly evolving. If you aren’t budgeting at least the same amount you do for CRM and legal networks/staff on Reputation Management and a proactive plan to defend your property, then you need to run the numbers and see for yourself why this is an essential part of your overall strategy. Review Websites - I despise these sites. I despise them like I despise decaffeinated coffee and people who give me road rage. But alas, these are some things I cannot change. The difference is, that I can’t add caffeine to my coffee, or ask the turtle in front of me to move it along…calmly, but I can defend my rank status on most review sites. You must be prepared and have your Social Media and CRM people working together with your Rep Management people to proactively reduce your risk and exposure. We use it for data analysis. And did I say it’s free forever? It’s software called WebGenius. It monitors a brand, website or even your name. Where most tools fall short is that they only use Google’s API. If the negative content is on a de-indexed page, you’ll never know about it. It still counts as negative sentiment and potential risk. Or maybe it gets re-indexed and suddenly appears. This tool covers all Search Engines, data centers, forums, blogs and 2-3 tiers deeper than the tools currently available. And they cost money! Negative content poses a potential threat. Create positive sentiment, engage with your client, and rule Social Media for your site or brand. This is how to protect yourself against Real World BlackHat.

“As a fast growing gaming venture licensed in Malta we are happy to see a dedicated gaming conference established down here. We are looking forward to participating and exhibiting at SiGMA.” Johan Styren CEO, LeoVegas

“At, we want to cover the big conference and interview the best experts in the gambling industry. We definitely wanted to be in Malta to cover SiGMA” Bill Beatty Editor in Chief,

Hate-Site Creation - These can get very serious because anyone can create them with little or no knowledge. If they find a few people that feel the same as they do then online sentiment starts to kick in and you get the ‘snowball effect’. It may not rank now, but let it get a few good backlinks and it comes out of nowhere. We’ve seen this time and time again. Remember, broken hearts and empty wallets are a big motivator - in some cases they replace searching for a date or a gambling habit. Startup Hijacking - This one is easy. Someone buys and .net domains for a few dollars, creates a typepad or other simple site immediately. Add an RSS feed if you’re lazy or add content to the primary domain and forward the others. Do a few social bookmarks and manually submit it through Google Search Console to get it indexed and you’re good to go. 0101

SiGMA | Maltese Entrepreneurs





Maltese Entrepreneurs | SiGMA


How did the Maltese trio come together? Tell us a bit about the cumulative years of experience the trio has. The team has come together after meeting from within the industry. We got to know each other for a while where we saw that we all shared the same vision and principles. After brainstorming each other’s ideas we came up with a common vision and decided we would build a product with our principles as its core pillars, that of creating a safe, fair and fun environment for all our customers and business partners. Together we agreed to create a product which is simple and sleek. Easy navigation is our core strength while maintaining industry standards upholding quality and efficiency across all devices. What are your backgrounds? Strengths each player brings into the equation? The team at FreakyVegas brings together ample experience in various roles within the online gaming industry, which are proving to be a priceless asset for a startup like ours. Having had experiences from ground up in companies like Betsson, Videoslots and more, we all have seen through small projects that were driven by a clear direction and passion become something unique for the players. With that in mind, we have come up with our own ideas on how the user experience of the future should look like and how the user really benefits from the operations behind the casino. Our young team has vast experience in Marketing, CRM, UX and Operations to name a few. Knowledge is abundant and creativity is rife. What we have come up with is essentially a “Simple is better” approach yet - not simpler.

local and foreign in all key areas required for an operator to succeed, and one cannot ignore all the precious hours which we would need to spend travelling when most of our partners are sitting 15 minutes away. Recent developments in Fantasy Sports within the MGA also assure us that the authorities are on tip toes, making sure the licensing regulation keeps moving along in this constantly changing environment. Strengths and weaknesses of working from Malta? Having most operators on such a small island tends to become challenging at times to attract the best talent so one needs to be on constantly on the lookout in order to not miss out on any potential successful candidates. 300 days of summer tends to be a popular perk for anyone interested in moving to Malta. The high level of expertise already found on the island make this island a place you want to be part of if you are interested in the gaming industry. The industry is vibrant on the island with something going on every other week, events like the Malta Sports Day are perfect examples where the gaming industry community comes together to kick back and play. SiGMA, of course, tops it all off to make sure for a stellar “closing of the year” by bringing the whole industry to Malta to plan for the year ahead. We are quite sure this year’s initiative to bring even more affiliates are welcomed by all operators and we will be looking forward to catching up with all of our existent and future partners at

Where do you see the company heading in two, five years’ time? Any exit plans already? Selling, merging? With the current state of legal legislation in mind we have opted to go for an “Agile practises” to our business approach, so while we have our eyes on our objectives, we would rather focus on our next challenge which is “now”. Having said that we have our eyes on multi branding which we have seen develop in the more saturated markets, sportsbook and also E-Sports. How do you find basing your operation in Malta? Would you consider working anywhere else? Being Maltese we “might” be a bit biased in saying “we are convinced Malta is the best place to operate an online gaming business”. We think that the current legal framework has produced a regulatory environment which is both accessible and robust allowing the operator to focus on the things that really matter. The island is abundant in talent both 0105

Legal | SiGMA







SiGMA | Legal

In view of this recent spike in popularity, regulatory authorities in various states have cautioned against the risks involved in eSports, with issues such as cheating, match-fixing and under-age betting becoming a legitimate concern. With papers such as that issued by the UK Gambling Commission, the implication seems to be that regulation is inevitable. In terms of the local dynamic, a distinction is made by virtue of which betting on eSports falls within the ambit of a Class II licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), whilst organising of tournaments is not considered to be licensable by the MGA. In its position paper ‘Digital Games of Skill with Prize’ issued in December 2015, the MGA suggested that digital games which include chance but are ‘significantly influenced by skill’ should be licensed with a ‘lighter touch’ than other gambling games, stating that the requirements should reflect the risk posed by the operation, whilst simultaneously distinguishing such games from those of pure chance. In fact, in August of this year the authority issued a notice stating its intention to introduce legislation regulating certain skill games to mitigate increased risks to the consumer. In the interim, Legal Notice 271 of 2016 has exempted daily fantasy sports from requiring a gambling licence but no such equivalent exists for eSports as yet, so it will be interesting to see whether eSports will be catered for by the entry of this new legislation. It may be stated from the outset, that regulation is both encouraged and embraced and is an indispensable tool to avoid incidents such as the conviction in South Korea of StarCraft II star Lee “Life” Seung for match-fixing earlier this year. As with all growing industries, regulatory checks and balances are imperative in the fight against corruption. With that being said, the manner and form of regulation are factors which must be carefully



assessed, in the words of the MGA, so as not to ‘go beyond what is necessary to ensure a safe and fair environment for consumers, free from criminal activity’.

IS REGULATION FOR ESPORTS REALLY NECESSARY? Providing facilities for gambling without the required licence is an offence in all jurisdictions which regulate gambling. It is necessary therefore for operators and regulators alike to clearly distinguish between activities needing a licence and others which do not. Maltese regulators have stated that currently, games including both chance and skill are licensable if the authority considers that chance is the prevalent factor in determining the result. Games with a negligible amount of chance therefore do not need to be licensed, although certain standards such as age restrictions and financial protection should still be imposed. Opinions are many but conclusions are few when it comes to determining whether eSports would be considered a game of chance, a game of skill, or a combination of both. The MGA has sought to determine the extent of skill in games by looking at factors such as whether the game is played against human players, whether the skilled players win more often than those which are unskilled, and the presence of random draws. Whilst on the face of it eSports would be considered a game of skill, when taking into consideration that the outcome of eSports contests are influenced by a random number generator (RNG), the answer becomes somewhat less clear. Regardless of the above, it is uncontentious that betting on skillgames, which is what betting on eSports would seemingly fall under, is a licensable activity under the laws of Malta; but is a ‘traditional’ gaming licence enough to cover the entirety of the risks posed by eSports, and should the organisation of eSports competitions also require regulation?

Legal | SiGMA


THE ENVISAGED RISKS MATCH-UPS Regulatory authorities across the board seem to be in agreement in acknowledging that betting on eSports should be no different from other events upon which bets can be placed, with the risks presented such as cheating, excessive gambling, and matchfixing being the same as all betting activities. The rise of eSports has also brought about the emergence of companies which offer facilities for players to play against one another (match ups) for prizes. Some of these allow the players to bet on, or even against, themselves. The Gambling Commission is of the opinion that a company offering such match-up facilities would be tantamount to a betting intermediary, providing a service which facilitates the making or accepting of bets between others. This, according to the Gambling Commission, is a licensable activity determined by assessing various factors, most notably the number of people involved in the competition where a large amount of participants would lean more towards the organisation of a tournament (which is unregulated) than that of a match-up. Matchups provide risks of cheating and collusion, where a contestant may on the one hand cheat to win by using tactics such as ‘trigger bots’ allowing players to shoot enemies without the need to aim their weapon, and on the other hand cheat to lose, where players could bet against themselves by maintaining different accounts. MONEY’S WORTH The terms ‘virtual currencies’ and ‘money’s worth’ are often associated with currencies such as bitcoin and litecoin. However, close attention is to be given to in-game items such as skins or even playing accounts, for these can be won or purchased within games and later traded in for cash. These skins are aesthetic upgrades for knives and weapons which are bought, sold and wagered. To boot, because of the lack of regulation, checks such as age verification are non-existent resulting in minors betting high value virtual items which are then converted into real money. Based on this premise, the UK Gambling Commission has in its discussion paper held that when skins are traded or tradeable, and when facilities for gambling with such items are offered, a license is required. This could have various effects on the eSports industry, mostly due to the fact that if the number of skins sites decrease this may indirectly affect the sponsorship of eSports teams by such sites.

marketplaces which usually breach the terms and conditions of the game itself. In order to introduce this new effective addition to our gambling legislation, a risk analysis as to how virtual items such as skins are traded must be carried out, failing which we could be experiencing significant consequences for the iGaming industry. GAMES FOR PRIZES A further factor which needs to be assessed is at what point do eSports games, where a prize may be won, is considered to be a gambling activity. This is determinable based on whether eSports is considered to be a game of chance or a game of skill. It is uncontentious that the outcome of many eSports contests are influenced by a RNG, which gives rise to the question of whether participating in such games for a prize which locally would fall under a Class I Licence. Determining which eSports titles are considered to have a sufficient level of RNG, thereby requiring organisers to obtain a licence, is a difficult task and onerous when considering that the discussion here targets the underlying game mechanics. This would affect tournament organisers who may be required to obtain appropriate licences, and the development of eSports games, where organisers would be deterred from including elements with complex consequences for eSports industries.


“We plan on flying down many of our affiliates to SiGMA16 and combine some quality networking with a bit of fun in Malta!” Dennis Dyhr Hansen MatchingVisions

“SIGMA is a nice place to meet business partners, old and new. Malta is the perfect place to hold a conference, simply because almost all Casinos operate from there and it is a great place to make big business.” Tuomas Jauhiainen Affiliate to Operator

The operative question in the iGaming industry is whether new developments require new legislation or whether it is satisfactory to the industry that games such as eSports are encapsulated within traditional licences. Malta must, as it always has, strive to retain its position as a remote gaming hub and therefore regulation must strike a balance between the protection of the consumer, remaining innovative and the sustainable growth of the industry. This exercise is one which must be carried out with the cooperation from both the authorities and the operators who must, in an effort to avoid complex legislation, display self-regulation and ensure a reliable environment for players. We augur that the process shall involve the various stakeholders in the industry to ensure the appropriate application of modern futurelooking legislation while also avoiding the stifling of this young and growing niche.

An important factor which has been overlooked by regulators thus far is that such virtual in-game items are often only convertible into money via illegal third party


Profile | SiGMA



AHMET CELEBI SiGMA RECENTLY MET UP WITH AHMET CELEBI TO LEARN MORE ABOUT CASPO LTD AND HIS ROLE WITHIN THE COMPANY. As an affiliate and affiliate manager, Ahmet told us that originally there was no intention of opening a Casino. He was contacted by Skill on Net and asked to run one of their Casinos,, which had been lying around. “I personally liked the name and spent a good amount of time researching design ideas and how to approach players, which was never really what we did. It is different from just dealing with Affiliates,” he said. “I see players as customers and I think that every one of them deserves to be treated in the best way possible.” When discussing what factors distinguish his brand from its competitors, Mr Celebi said that he believes it is the design: “New design elements have been added to make us look different from any other Casino.” He also added that they have 20 different languages with native-speaking supporters in all languages, as well as 9 different currencies. These factors provide players with a better, all-around experience, knowing that they can play in the comfort of their own language and currency. Just like any other company, there are, of course, certain plans and predictions for the future of Caspo Ltd. Ahmet said that growing requires adaptation which means adding more departments and bringing in new people – the

crucial part is getting the right people for the right job. With regards to his personal plans, Ahmet jokingly said: “Next, I deserve a very long holiday with no internet or phone connection, where I can just relax.” Caspo Ltd’s offices are in Gozo, but there was no government incentives or other such factors that contributed to Ahmet’s decision to shift to Malta’s sister island. “I moved to Gozo before opening the office and I can personally say that if you are settled, have kids, and don’t need to go to Paceville every day, Gozo is the place for you,” he said, adding that it’s cheaper, safer, more quiet, and much less hectic than Malta. While on the topic of Gozo, SiGMA brought up the idea of building a bridge or tunnel connecting the two islands and asked Ahmet whether he is for or against it, to which he enthusiastically replied: “Bridge or tunnel, I don’t care – but please, please, please with sugar on top, build one of them ASAP,” adding that he would personally choose a bridge over a tunnel. Ahmet has also worked within the iGaming industry in other big cities, namely London and Amsterdam, but doesn’t seem to find any major differences or challenges between them and the Maltese Islands.


SiGMA | Affiliate



AFFILIATE INDUSTRY BETTER BETTER COLLECTIVE HAS BEEN INNOVATING AND EVOLVING IN THE AFFILIATE INDUSTRY FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, BUT THERE’S MUCH MORE TO COME. SiGMA SPOKE TO JESPER SØGAARD, FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE TRAIL-BLAZING AFFILIATES TO DISCOVER WHERE THE COMPANY HAS COME FROM, AND WHERE IT’S GOING. Back in 2002, two school friends came together in Germany to launch a website designed to help punters gain an edge on casino bonuses. At the time, Jesper Søgaard and Christian Dam Rasmussen, self-proclaimed “bonus opportunists”, were unaware that their love of discovering attractive bonuses, which stole a march on the online casinos, would put them on the road to creating one of the world’s leading affiliates. “Christian and I were brought together by a passion for hunting bonus codes and betting and gambling online,” Søgaard recalls. “We used to collect bonuses for a profit, but that had limits. We soon found that many other punters were also interested in making the most of bonuses, but just weren’t sure on how to do it. We came up with the idea of launching a website which did the hard work for you – the beginnings of Better Collective.”

The Danish businessman has always had that entrepreneurial spirit, whether it was running his own tuck shop at school, or baking pastries and selling them for profit around his neighbourhood. But it is Better Collective which has set Søgaard out as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Denmark today. “If someone had told me 10 years ago that Better Collective would be known around the globe, collecting prestigious awards and leading the market, I wouldn’t have believed you. I remember the celebrations when we first made €10,000. Now, we’re employing more than 80 people at our superb offices in Copenhagen, and our products are performing fantastically around the world. It’s an incredible story.” At the beginning, Søgaard and Dam Rasmussen recognised that their customers were sensible gamblers and bettors, looking to make informed bets which would all-but guarantee

“If someone had told me 10 years ago that Better Collective would be known around the globe, collecting prestigious awards and leading the market, I wouldn’t have believed you. I remember the celebrations when we first made €10,000. Now, we’re employing more than 80 people at our superb offices in Copenhagen, and our products are performing fantastically around the world. It’s an incredible story.” 0112


a return. This formed the basis of the Better Collective ethos, and Søgaard says that this hasn’t changed over the past 12 years. “The message and core of the company have remained the same throughout our history, as it’s very important to the way we work and a large part of why we continue to be a success. The technology keeps changing, but our products still do what we set out to do at the very start: provide punters and casino players with all the information they’re looking for, enabling them to make the most informed bets.” The company must be doing something right. Their trophy cabinet is heaving – in recent times they have received multiple eGR Affiliate of the Year Awards, five Gazelle Awards and, this September, they were crowned a National Champion in the European Business Awards. Unsurprisingly, Søgaard is proud of the company’s achievements. “What’s great about the awards we’ve received is that they celebrate many different areas of our business. Our affiliate awards recognise our incredible employees and the understanding they have of our industry. The Gazelle Awards recognise growth, and we’ve always been growing faster than the rest of the affiliate industry. “It was a huge honour to be crowned National Champion in the European Business Awards. Just 2% of 32,000 entrants achieve that title and it really marks a coming of age for us as a major European company.” Better Collective’s portfolio now includes more than 1,000 websites and products, with their flagship tipping site, bettingexpert, boasting more than 350,000 users and generating more than 125,000 new betting tips per month. So, what is it that sets them apart? “The community around bettingexpert is so unique,” says Søgaard, “We have quality tipsters which help drive the content and, in turn, more people come to the site and then move through to bookmakers. Having community-curated content creates an ever-expanding

Affiliate | SiGMA

“The message and core of the company has remained the same throughout our history, as it’s very important to the way we work and a large part of why we continue to be a success. The technology keeps changing, but our products still do what we set out to do at the very start: provide punters and casino players with all the information they’re looking for, enabling them to make the most informed bets.” feedback loop; the top tipsters prove they can be trusted, which increases their following, which then encourages their increased activity.” Talking about his business, Søgaard is visibly delighted with Better Collective’s achievements. There’s a clear sense of the company he co-founded being built on strong values, with ‘respect’ being one of the cornerstones. “From the start, we laid weight on the value of our word,” he says. “Respect works internally with our employees and externally with our partners and customers. An ethos of trust and respect has built our reputation, and people now know us and trust the quality of the tools and services we develop.”


SiGMA | Affiliate


“It was a huge honour to be crowned National Champion in the European Business Awards. Just 2% of 32,000 entrants achieve that title and it really marks a coming of age for us as a major European company.” Better Collective’s offices, close to Copenhagen’s harbour and across the water from the opera house, are the epitome of cool. The building’s clean Scandinavian architecture perhaps echoes their own philosophy – inviting, respectful, nurturing. It permeates through to the workforce, too. “We foster and value the want for innovation in our employees, and look to nurture, respect and reward loyalty in return. Over the years, we’ve been good at recruiting smart people, which forms the main thread through the company. Our leadership team delegates and trusts that our people can cope with big tasks, developing their skills. This freedom gives our employees an incentive to be creative, grow with the company and remain with us. It’s a great atmosphere to work in.” As the company grows, would they ever look to base themselves outside of Denmark? Søgaard is pretty clear on that thought. “Copenhagen is a fantastic city and I don’t see a time when we would want to relocate. There is a highly-skilled talent pool here which has already served us well, while the city itself is an attractive place to live and it’s usually pretty easy to convince people to come here.” “Our values are also rooted in Scandinavian ideals,” he continues, “and partners tend to respect these values when they work with us. We’re very proud to be a successful 0114

Danish company. We’ve seen companies gain rapid growth and then up sticks and leave. We gain respect from Denmark for staying, and want to give back as much to her as she has given to us.”

With a clear mind and distinct vision, Søgaard appears to know exactly where the company he co-founded is going. When asked about the future, he talks of continued growth, increased financial strength and an ambition to continue to be at the cuttingedge of the affiliate and technology industries. After 14 years of sustained growth, market-first products and industry recognition, you wouldn’t bet against him achieving it.

SiGMA | Regulations




IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT THE GAMING INDUSTRY DOES NOT SKIMP ON, IT’S INNOVATION. FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF COMMERCIAL CASINOS, THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN SOMETHING NEW THAT SHROUDS THE INDUSTRY AND SOMETIMES REVOLUTIONIZES IT. The internet created a new form of gaming – and a new form of player. As such, online gaming expanded the market by reaching out to a new audience who had limited or no accessibility to casinos, or were looking at the convenience of playing from home. Today we have enough evidence to demonstrate that the two industries augment each other. But then came the millennial generation for whom both online or offline held less attraction than it did their predecessors. With the probable exception of online poker, the remaining sectors of the industry saw their demographics ageing. Something had to be done to attract the youngest generation to the market. The first attempts were to capitalize on social media and social mechanics within the games; but this effort had little success. The new generation is more interested in sharing cute pictures of cats online than socializing on slots. The traditional casino games are too slow and non-engaging for the younger generation. In a fast slot game, the player hits the button every four seconds. In an online arcade game, it is more likely that the player hits the buttons four times a second. And then, seemingly out of the blue, came three new products that have every stakeholder’s attention at the moment: Skill Games Esports Skin Betting. I say “seemingly” because these games have been around for many years, but the recent exponential growth in terms of users, marketing and revenue simply created a side-effect of massive media attention and exposure. The first gaming license based on a skill game was issued by the LGA (former MGA) in 2005. It was a Class 3 license for daily games whereby each player paid an entry fee of $2 to participate in a league based on the World of Warcraft game to win $1,000 for the first place.


Regulations | SiGMA


The regulator had to overcome many hurdles such as how to create regulatory presence in the game, KYC procedures and how to ensure fair gaming. Ultimately, however, the product was not very successful and the operation was shut down within eighteen months. There were many reasons for its demise, all of which indicate that it was simply before it’s time, rather than not a viable proposition. Social media was in its infancy – at that time Facebook was only available for a closed group of Ivy League colleges students and Twitter wasn’t even an egg. Internet high latency created issues for players located in physically distant locations making fair gaming impossible. But the biggest problem was with the player demographics. Those playing the games were too young to even have a bank account, let alone a credit card – and if they had $2 to spend they saw more value in buying a candy bar then spending it in a game to win $1,000. Fast forward the clock by 11 years and those 10-year-old kids are now 21-yearold adults with a gaming console that churns out HD graphics at 60 frames per second, have honed their skills on their favorite games, have a bank account and are hungry to make money. Another fundamental change is the gaming networks. In the early days the players had to run the leagues on their servers at their expense which attributed to the issues of latencies, incompatibilities and poor levels of service. Eventually these got replaced by large scale service providers such as Steam (Valve), BattleNet (Blizzard), Xbox Live (Microsoft), PlayStation Network (Sony) and Riot Games. Any contest that awards a monetary prize for a stake either requires a license or is outright prohibited by law. So naturally these games caught the regulator’s eyes in many jurisdictions. As always happens, regulators find innovation intimidating so their easy way out is to prohibit. Few have the courage to be the first to look into the emerging product markets and try to find solutions to regulate in order to ensure a fair product to the consumer. Unfortunately, regulating these new games under existing regulations is quite challenging, simply because such games are not gambling per se. Gambling games fundamentally rely on statistically random elements to generate a fair outcome, whereas games of skill are exactly the opposite. They must be precise in nature and have to create the same outcome

repetitively in order to remain fair. The element of difference must completely lie within the skill of the player. In other words, you cannot certify a game of skill for randomness. A great example of this is fantasy sports games. These games depend on a data feed about individual player performance. The algorithm that transforms that data into points must always implement the same rules, otherwise it’s not fair on the players. Regulators must constantly monitor the outcomes to those algorithms to ensure they do not change. The term ‘Theoretical Return to Player’ has no applicability in skill games as the return is precisely known before the game is played. In itself, this is an inherent barrier to fantasy sports as they approach the real-time factor. The other type of gaming is skin betting. At first, this seemed to be in-play betting on the game networks while enforcement went out for the game networks. However, on more careful analysis this turned out to be something completely different. Skin betting is casino style gambling, replacing the monetary stake with virtual items from a game inventory (otherwise known as skins) with the chance of winning a highly valued game inventory. The way of winning is based on a lottery or casino-style game such as roulette or slot games. This is a new form of gambling using game inventory as virtual currency. The reason why millennials are interested in playing such games is solely due to the fact that the prizes have a high perceived value based on scarcity and rarity – which would, otherwise, have to be bought in cash. Currently, there are no formal rules of how scarcity and rarity is controlled or monitored by the game networks. As long as the virtual currency remains in the game, it is possible to argue that this is an amusement game since the prize is simply further credit afforded by the game to play more instances of the same game. However, operators of these games have found ways of converting their virtual items into real cash which brings it back into gambling. We’re not likely to see traditional gambling operators accept skins as account currency (in a similar manner as gambling sites are increasingly accepting Bitcoin), but it doesn’t matter because a sub-section of alternative “indie” gambling sites are growing exponentially in parallel to the regulated gambling industry and the revolution is only beginning.



Telecoms | SiGMA

SKILL, LUCK AND A GOOD GLOBAL CONNECTION WHY A GLOBAL MOBILE SERVICE IS THE NATURAL NEXT STEP FOR ALL GAMING OPERATORS. FORBESFONE IS THE OFFICIAL TELECOMS PARTNER OF THE SUMMIT OF IGAMING IN MALTA. In the old cigar-smelling poker rooms, the players with the cards in their hands had only three true friends: Skill, Luck and the best poker face they could muster. At the Black Jack corner, cards are flicked and numbers are added up quicker than you can say “surrender.” It’s the same story in casinos with slots, the roulette and even with sports betting; elements of luck and skill spice up the games, determine who gets the jackpot - and who goes home broke. Fast forward a couple of decades and luck and skill are not the only players in the game anymore. Mobile has joined the party, and the impact is huge! The digital revolution joined the scene when traditional casinos started seeing potential in going online. There was a new untapped market; players no longer needed to travel, but could experience the thrill of betting from the comfort of their own home. Connectivity became the be-all and end-all to the provision of this service. New gaming needs required better connectivity, enabling the experience to become as enjoyable as possible. In an incredibly short time span, all of this went mobile. When mobile became widespread and people started to move and travel more, new demands started to weigh on gaming. When the average user picks the phone up 1,500 times in a week, there’s definitely something to be said about the relevancy of mobile optimization. One cannot separate the gaming industry from the realities of society: people turn to their smartphones as if it were second nature to them.

Growing trends show that, apart from an increase in online mobile gambling, players prefer in-play bets, which the advances in mobile technology now allow.* More excitement builds in the short interval between live event bets, and with mobile players converting faster and spending more time on mobile it also makes financial sense for gaming companies to offer them. We have also seen an unprecedented growth in social casinos, one of the fastest growing genres on social networks in the past few years. Although this has recently seen a decline when compared to previous sectors, it is only because the more serious players are gravitating towards allin-one casino apps – and away from their PCs.** Over €19 billion gross winnings will have been generated from mobile betting, gaming and lottery by the end of 2018, just under 44% of total interactive gaming gross wins***. 44% - that’s almost half! More and more players are hitting the felts on their mobile device, with numbers surpassing online or desktop poker players. A quick search on Google will give you endless lists of recommended Mobile Casino Apps to download, and they will all tell you the same thing: with more people opting for a smart device, mobile casino apps will not be going anywhere. On the contrary, more and more casino providers will want a piece of the proverbial pie, engaging their mobile customers from their devices too. And if that’s not enough to jolt traditionalists, the next thing will: the mobile gambling industry is expected to be worth $100bn by 2018 and 164 million users will access their mobile to place bets or visit a mobile casino****



The “Survival of the Fittest” gene has clearly kicked in and casinos around the world have scrambled to adapt, optimizing their games and slots to the player who is not only digital but now also mobile and travelling frequently. TROUBLE IN PARADISE One infamous word: Roaming. For many travellers, of which a percentage are players, the very mention of the word is synonymous to dread at receiving high mobile bills. In fact, many opt to switch off data roaming when they travel, preferring not to rely on the vague rates offered by their operators. This alters not only their mobile use but in turn also their gaming and betting patterns. A hunt for free WiFi normally ensues. While there are different options the traveller can go for, it’s very difficult to find a solution which packs it all in one convenient connection.

Telecoms | SiGMA

As part of a retention program, many igaming providers are giving their customers free roaming on a bid to incentivise players to play on their phones even when abroad. Forbesfone offers value-added business packs for companies which want to tap in on their customer’s mobile habits. In other words, we can help you achieve your end result: encourage users to stay online, for longer. HOW DO WE DO IT? We’re not in the business of over-complicating matters for your customers. We want the Forbesfone global connection to fit in seamlessly with your gaming platform, so users are not put off by the extra bits they have to go through to start playing. We’re committed to providing a simple and straightforward service both your company and customers will enjoy. Think of our connection as being another feature your platform offers. Ingrained, not apart - without the extra fluff.

Difficult, but not impossible. This is where we come in. FORBESFONE - REDEFINING ROAMING The Forbesfone Global Connection, which takes the form of a simple SIM card, takes the frequent traveller the extra mile. We offer global connectivity without the hassle of expensive mobile contracts or complicated charging. Travellers usually end up connecting to any Wi-Fi hotspot they can find, with no care whatsoever for the security of their personal data. Many networks are open, unsecured networks, which offer nearly no degree of safety in terms of personal data, apart from the slow, irritating connection shared with everyone else in the café or hotel lobby. We aim to make looking for WiFi hotspots at whatever the cost, obsolete. DESIGNED TO ELIMINATE CREDIT WASTAGE “Roam like a local” never sounded truer: our low worldwide roaming rates help the user save costs he could easily spend on other travel expenses, while the prepaid plans ensure you only spend money on the services you use. On top of that, we really are everywhere: we offer coverage in every continent and in over 200 destinations. Some build walls. We break them down. FORBESFONE GLOBAL SIM + ONLINE GAMING PROVIDERS = $$$ What are the odds that, having a secure, reliable and costefficient roaming solution in place, the mobile player is online for longer? With a Forbesfone SIM connecting the players with the best networks around the world – sans high bills risk – they will be more comfortable spending longer stretches of time on their favourite slot. Simple math, really.

BOTTOM LINE? It’s all good news: for one thing, your own bottom line will look much better. Think: higher retention, higher digits and an increase in customer satisfaction. We can help you improve your customer’s mobile experience, so they are happier pulling the levers on your virtual slot machines and you make more profit. Win-Win. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY We are very flexible with the packages we offer. We understand that every gaming provider has different needs and targets and as such requires a tailored deal. We want you to be able to scale up easily and to adapt to the changing marketing needs as quickly and efficiently as possible. Forbesfone has therefore catered for these prerequisites, offering easily accessible plans, a transparent pricing scheme and simple integration with your existing platform. Ultimately, we simply want to help you retain your customers in the best way we know. ALL IN Forbesfone is proud to be an official SiGMA partner this year. This annual expo is the perfect beehive for gaming providers, casinos, developers, regulators and affiliates to get together, share ideas and network. Forbesfone will be there to lay every card on the table and to answer any questions regarding our services. Talk to us! We’ll be expecting you. *source: Optimove **source: *** Source: H2 Gambling Capital **** Source: Global Online Gambling & Betting Market


SiGMA | Photo Gallery

iGathering 1



Hosted by:


Photo Gallery | SiGMA




Photo Gallery | SiGMA



SiGMA | Photo Gallery

iGathering 2



Hosted by:


Photo Gallery | SiGMA




Photo Gallery | SiGMA



SiGMA | Photo Gallery

iGathering 3



Hosted by:


Photo Gallery | SiGMA




Photo Gallery | SiGMA



Gaming Update | SiGMA


GEEKY GAMBLER SiGMA HAS ONCE AGAIN CAUGHT UP WITH KEITH HATHAWAY, ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF GEEKYGAMBLER.COM. KEITH GIVES US AN UPDATE ON WHAT’S NEW AND ALSO TALKS ABOUT THE LAUNCH OF HIS NEXT EXCITING PROJECT, BONUSBIBLE.COM. The last few months have been hectic but exciting for Keith and his team. Starting with the first Geekygambler concept meeting back in April at Soho Office Hotel, leading up to the launch just 6 weeks later. With many more features to come, the future is looking exciting for this affiliate website with its strong branding and striking identity.

Casino, Sports Betting, Bingo and Lotto world. Bonusbible. com in itself will be a far bigger site in terms of page numbers and posts, as it will have Bingo and Lotto products included. In a nutshell, is aiming to be a fun yet detailed “bible”, with a unique theme, for all Online Gaming Bonuses.

A strong team possessing huge talent and experience is there to back Keith up. One such person is Leanne Kimmings, a South African super star with all round experience, also based in Malta. Leanne, who is also working full-time with Matching Visions, has been a key part of launching the popular NetEnt fan site NetEntBigWins. com. Keith and work closely with Matching Visions - indeed they are partners, literally! Whilst operationally independent, Geekygambler possesses the resources provided by the infamous Dennis Dyhr Hansen and his powerhouse affiliate network, Matching Visions. With its unique concept, a charismatic brand and being lead by industry veterans, Keith and Dennis, what could go wrong?

That’s quite the challenge!

So, what’s next?! Project two is well on its way, with a strong belief that a modern, clean concept site with unique content and great SEO will lead them to further success. Gone is The Geek and in steps the new kid on the block, The Reverend. Visitors to will be guided by the mysterious yet oh so knowledgeable Reverend. He will lead visitors through the vast depths of player bonuses in the Online

A challenge, however, welcomed with open arms by Keith and his team as they are determined to ensure that both and become industry leading affiliate sites. will be launched at Sigma 2016 – which was deemed the perfect place to launch this unique concept. Whilst this mega event is mainly operator focused as far as exhibiting is concerned, Keith and Dennis have something special in store for this exciting launch. Plans are being finalized as we speak (or they simply won’t tell us yet!), but don’t be surprised if you spot a chapel and a reverend whilst strolling along the SiGMA exhibiting area. Participants will be given the chance to confess their sins and get involved with this exciting project right from the start. Sigma wishes Keith and his team the best of luck with both and and firmly believes that they will feature regularly in the ever so vibrant gaming scene.



Payments | SiGMA

COMPLIANCE PORTAL WITH REAL TIME TRANSACTION MONITORING OFTEN A COMPLEX, LABORIOUS AND COSTLY EXERCISE, AND RARELY 100% FOOL-PROOF, DETERMINING THE RISK FACTOR POSED BY BOTH EXISTING PLAYERS AND POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS - PRIOR TO ONBOARDING OR AHEAD OF THE TRANSACTION OF FUNDS - IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SAFEGUARD OF YOUR COMMERCIAL INTERESTS.  In addition to the mandated legal requirement in combating money laundering, tax evasion and financial crime, when carried out extensively and correctly, the identification and classification of customers leads directly to safeguarding profitability, preventing losses amounting from fraudulent activity and full compliance with local and international licensing requirements. The Aqubix KYCP – Know Your Client Portal – is the first solution on the market that allows organisations of any size or type to rapidly collate all information relating to entities and applicants being assessed, while monitoring all transactional activity and automatically scoring the analysed patterns in real time. All in a single, centralised, secure repository with fully customisable parameters, fields, rules, user rights and collaborative practices. Build custom risk assessment programmes, infinite custom entity types, associate document requirements, information fields, pre-built customer questionnaires and a fully checklist mandated set of processes. Seamlessly link with any number of 3rd party screening services and external databases to further assess your risk potential - KYCP takes the guesswork and fragmented task delegation out of the due diligence and compliance process.

Easily verify entities and approve applications thanks to a highly visual interface, automatically recommending applications for approval or rejection based on parameters set versus data submitted. With KYCP’s in-built Transaction Monitoring Engine, all financial activity is monitored in real-time to analyse behaviour patterns as they occur, in sequence. KYCP, according to preset parameters assigned by your system administrators to fit in your processes and practices, automatically assess and scores all such activity as it unfolds, across your entire customer base, notifying in the event of suspected fraudulent or uncharacteristic behaviour. Even when carried out on an individual account level, tracking and analysis can help prevent unlawful activity.  However, KYCP goes beyond assessing behaviour in isolation, but rather provides unsurpassed insight by looking at the bigger picture and providing cross-referenced intelligence into activity for each individual, across accounts, game types and locations, for all transactions. KYCP automatically audits every single entry, parts of the process and subsequent views and changes, including the inbuilt video conferencing and interview recording functionality, with all raw files digitally encrypted and covered by blanket SSL security.



Payments | SiGMA

PAYMENTS PROCESSING EXCELLENCE EFT GLOBAL LIMITED IS LICENSED BY THE MALTA FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY TO UNDERTAKE THE BUSINESS OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IN TERMS OF ARTICLE 5(1) OF THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ACT 1994. EFT GLOBAL IS LICENSED TO CARRY OUT PAYMENT SERVICES AS DEFINED IN THE SECOND SCHEDULE. We deliver a reliable, safe and efficient platform for online merchants in a wide variety of sectors that include multi-currency debit & credit card processing, international wire transfers & other payment options. Our software has inbuilt fraud protection measures that give customers complete confidence in the service. Our expertise, innovation and dedication to excellent customer service means that we are always available to support you and identify your requirements. We deliver a world class payments service to help build your business and grow your sales. We strive to be the best by offering the most customised solutions, expert service standard and bespoke solutions seamlessly integrated with existing shopping carts. EFT Global offers a holistic and innovative range of payment processing services – customised for each client’s exact needs. Partner with us and enjoy a stable, robust platform, competitive pricing & expert technical support strength in service credit card processing. We ensure solutions meet current needs without compromising the flexibility required to adapt to ever changing needs as you grow and enter new additional markets. EFT Global specialises in providing multicurrency processing ensuring a clear payment strategy.

We are a payment service provider that you can trust to guide and support your business, ensuring its success.Our robust, highly secure system offers many functions that enable you to increase sales and reduce overheads. • Great Rates • Multi currencies • Accessible on mobile devices • Once-off and recurring/dd payments • Expert and responsive customer support • Advanced, live reporting options We handle all major credit card processing on behalf of merchants in a broad range of currencies across many countries utilising our PCI Compliant Platform and our Fraud Detection Engine to ensure reliability and complete safety. At EFT Global we ensure that our customers experience world class service ensuring a constant, reliable and secure payment service delivered with excellence and expert customer service and advice. EFT is built on reliable, safe and efficient platform for merchants in low, medium & high-risk markets.



Interview | SiGMA




SiGMA | Interview


“It was a very hectic start and the first 2 years have been really amazing. We have grown from just 10 employees to 75, in the group, with our operational CEO, Magnus Alebo, running the Malta operations and Kristofer taking care of marketing.”

Starting with Georg, nice to sit down and talk with you! It has been some time since the launch of Casino Heroes (previously, Casino Saga). Has it turned out the way you had imagined? It was a very hectic start and the first 2 years have been really amazing. We have grown from just 10 employees to 75, with our operational CEO, Magnus Alebo, running the Malta operations and Kristofer taking care of marketing. I am especially proud that my idea of creating something more compelling in the casino industry has worked. We see it in the player behaviour, the data analytics, and the feedback we receive. Sometimes it appears that Casino Heroes has not evolved much since the launch - are we wrong in assuming this? Of course, there have been massive improvements behind the scenes, as we build and run our own platform. There have been many additions for our customers including mobile app and mobile web improvements, along with three new adventures available for players. Exciting! Can you elaborate on the future? Do you think other sites will be adding similar features? Competitors building features similar to ours is fine. We have hired people from companies with gamification at its core, such as King, and they are now outlining the next generation of Casino Heroes. I am looking forward to releasing this to our players. One thing I’ll add is a hint on our new feature where players will be able to play all adventures in parallel. Imagine trying to get the King’s crown back to Hero Island while simultaneously fighting evil engineers in Rock of Riches!


Speaking of mobile game developer, King, tell us about your recent struggle regarding the “Saga” trademark. Oh yes! Although it felt like a battle against King and 20 London lawyers, it ended well. The change of name and logo was executed well, transparently involving players in the process. We are all very eager to hear about the new brand coming out but what exactly is Betser? We are already creating a “wow factor” for casino gaming with Casino Heroes, however, now it is time to reinvet Sports Betting. Betser has the first great mobile UX, the best casino games, and fastest withdrawal times. We now have two more concepts that will take the players by storm. First, we have Balls & Brains. This is a concept that I think goes deep into what all gambling is about - do you listen to your brain and take the safe bet or do you have the balls and the courage to really push towards the high rewards? At Betser you constantly collect Balls and Brains points depending on what type of sports player or casino player you are. You can see your balls and brains meter and use the points in our Balls and Brains shop. Secondly, we have Betser League. How may times have players discussed who is the best at betting? Well now you can really know. At Betser you are part of a huge league system with 2-week seasons. You get points for each sports bet you win, as well as based on the odds you receive. The players move up and down in the league system and are rewarded with badges and cool prizes. You can also see other player’s profiles and see how they bet to have a winning strategy!

Interview | SiGMA


“The brand will be launched in November and soon after, we will launch the television commercials. Historically, we see affiliates as very important assets. I cannot understand the operators who treat this marketing channel poorly. It hurts them very much.” Wow, it sounds you will definitely move this vertical quite a few steps forward. Kristofer, when will it be launched and how do you see affiliates who want to promote Betser? The brand will be launched in November and soon after, we will launch the television commercials. Historically, we see affiliates as very important assets. I cannot understand the operators who treat this marketing channel poorly. It hurts them very much. To further prove our commitment to affiliates regarding Betser, we have built a function that makes it possible for affiliates to send traffic to our pre-launch site even before the launch. The tracking codes will be saved along with the player’s details and will follow the player once a full registration is made. There was a really nice event with affiliates and media partners in Italy with Formula 1, showing the new brand to the industry. Why this approach? Well, as with all we do, we want, not only for our players to feel amazed, but also the people we work close with such as affiliates and large media houses. The great days at Monza Formula 1 and all the cool events that we have hosted, showed our dedication and made memories that represent what the Betser brand is all about: competition, cool lifestyle, and a lot of balls.

On a product level, poker will continue as a hard fight with Pokerstars. They have done most things right over the years. I hope that someone can take them on with radical innovation though. Besides this, we have the geographical expansion where it will be the operators navigating the mine fields of licensing, payment options and tailor-made player experiences that will win. We aim to be one of them!

“With Malta being an important and well regulated iGaming jurisdiction in Europe, a conference like SiGMA was an absolute necessity. I look forward to participate at this event.” Ory Weihs XL Media

We are sure you will be. Thank you so much. We look forward to following Hero Gaming and Betser in the future! “We are looking forward to participate in the SIGMA conference in our home country of Malta, where we will share our vision for using our innovative gaming platform as a source of competitive advantage in a business friendly context that is well attended.” Angelo Dalli Bit8

Georg, you have been in the industry for more than 12 years and have seen many trends; how do you see the coming year from an industry perspective? One of my favourite topics! Well, there are the obvious trends, such as the continuous affiliate consolidations along with the smaller operators struggling to handle a more regulated field moving forward. On the operator level, I have seen that many operators have been able to run their businesses completely on growth, without any profits whatsoever. I think this will not be possible moving forward, which likely means that the marketing budgets will be tightened a bit.


Technology | SiGMA



TECHNOLOGY AND ONLINE BETTING Once a pastime that was consigned to bookmakers and casinos, betting is now incredibly mainstream. Its ability to reach across a whole load of demographics makes it one of the most expanding and profitable markets out there.

TipBet was founded in 2014 that is relatively new, even by igaming standards - could you tell us more about the company? The growth strategy? Since its creation in 2014 the company has gone from strength to strength. The position we are in today is impressive, but it is part of a much larger journey of expansion. Our workforce is knowledge and highly-skilled in many parts of the industry and we have recently focussed heavily on recruiting new team members for our business – as well as reaching out to emerging elements – in order to grow as a brand.

We currently offer betting options on many eSport events through our website. At the moment Counter-Strike is a major offering.

Esport is an integral part of the business. What made you venture into this emerging trend? As mentioned, Tipbet is always on the lookout for emerging markets, and eSports is certainly one of them. In recent times, eSports have become increasingly popular with players who join teams and create tournaments that can sometimes have massive prize funds.

Your core markets are in Germany. Which other countries do you focus on? How did you find Malta as a base for your business? Gzira is home to numerous igaming companies, and in such a growing market, there are likely to be even more making the town – or Malta more generally – their home in the foreseeable future. We also sponsor the local football team, Gzira United FC, following their impressive promotion last season.

Put simply, we are responding to a demand from the users of Tipbet, and we are always looking to stay ahead of the competition with regards to technology. This is shown in our offering of free, high-quality sports streaming for customers, including football and ESL eSports. LoL, CS:GO, DotA2 – these are some sports you don’t usually see in a betting company’s offer. Could you tell us more about your recent marriage with eSports? The bottom line is if our customers want us to cover certain events – particularly involving technology – and there is the requisite support, then we do our utmost to support that. With eSports, we recognised that this was - and continues to be - a growing market and trend.

How is traditional sports betting different from betting on eSport? Tell us a bit more about the player habits and their enthusiasm. Players of eSports, in our experience, seem to be somewhat more fanatical about their sport than fans of traditional games such as football. Perhaps because it is a niche that is not quite yet mainstream; eSports tournaments have a feeling of grandeur to them.

You’re right, Germany is a big market for us – we are partnered with SV Werder Bremen, Fortuna Dusseldorf and the easyCredit Basketball Bundesliga– and it is a market we continue to focus on. We have also begun reaching out to Turkish and English speaking markets, and have made substantial investments into our workforce to cater for that. Unlike other sports book, you seem to rely less on affiliates. Is this a perception or does Tipbet invest a lot in advertising? We do deal with affiliates, as shown in the upcoming Summit of iGaming Malta (SiGMA) event in November where Tipbet will, once again, be heavily involved and actively looking for new affiliate relationships throughout the three days.

The main cause of this had undoubtedly been technology and the influx of new possibilities that it creates. One of the most important elements is the creation of handheld devices and their subsequent development to a massmarket product. Mobile phones were initially meant to be for just that: making phone calls and the occasional text. The nearest thing to a game was Snake – a classic on Nokia phones that still holds cult status to this day. Then came smartphones. They promised faster, more powerful phones and incorporated handy extras, like a camera. The market and capabilities of developers soon outgrew this and the dawn of the modern-day smartphone was born. Major system developers jumped at the chance to make their product become part of most households in the world. This created a thirst for more, as seen today in the newest releases. Tablets are also a big deal - being able to take a handheld device around is very appealing to a lot of people – particularly for millennials, but it is increasingly apparent in the older generation. A boom in devices has coincided with the internet becoming ever faster. Many types of businesses have enjoyed increased success due to this incredible partnership – particularly delivery firms, who have been able to supply goods at a click of a button (or screen). For online betting companies this has been the perfect storm. Consumer demand, mixed with available technology and mass-market products. A case-study of this can be found in Tipbet. A sports betting company based in Gzira, Malta, Tipbet has enjoyed incredible success since being founded in 2014. There are a host of branded betting shops in Europe, while a major focus is also on the online aspect. In recent times, technology has been utilized to help grow the company and brand. Casino games and sports betting options are made for a wide variety of devices, while in-play options are also possible. Success has meant that the company is expanding quickly, with expert staff being hired, streaming of events including eSports offered and a host of sponsorship deals with major sports clubs and leagues. This is a trend that is seen throughout the online betting, igaming and eSports markets as a whole. Increased revenues for companies, a new generation of employees and, of course, technologies growing at an unprecedented rate all mean that this golden age is not stopping any time soon.


SiGMA | Mobile Payments


SEQR MOBILE PAYMENTS LAUNCHES ITS FIRST GAMING OPERATOR VERA&JOHN IS THE FIRST GAMING OPERATOR TO OFFER SEQR (PRONOUNCED ‘SE-CURE’) - THE MOBILE PAYMENT SOLUTION - TO ITS CUSTOMERS. INITIALLY, THE CUSTOMERS WILL BE ABLE TO TOP UP THEIR GAMING ACCOUNT THROUGH THEIR MOBILE PHONE. IN THE NEARBY FUTURE, CUSTOMERS WILL ALSO HAVE THE ABILITY TO WITHDRAW MONEY FROM THE GAMING ACCOUNT. FURTHERMORE, IT WILL BE POSSIBLE TO ENROLL NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY USING A MOBILE PHONE. THE ONLY THING THE CUSTOMER NEEDS TO DO IS TO ACCEPT AN OFFER BY CLICKING IT AND ENTERING HIS/HER SEQR PIN CODE. BY DOING SO, THE CUSTOMER BOTH MAKES THE INITIAL DEPOSIT AND PROVIDES ALL PERSONAL DETAILS NECESSARY TO BECOME A CUSTOMER. SiGMA SAT DOWN WITH JOHAN KONINGSLEHNER, CEO AT VERA&JOHN AND PETER BOSTRÖM, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL SALES & MARKETS AT SEQR. Why did you decide to extend your offering on Mobile Payments? “Smartphones have become a big part of our everyday life and they offer infinite possibilities,” says Johan. “We consume media, run bank errands, play games, communicate, and engage in many other activities, so it is only natural for Vera&John to engage the mobile channel in a bigger way. The decision to cooperate with Seqr was an easy one; they are allowing us to make the user journey smoother and more efficient. A new, innovative mobile payment option that serves more of our core markets is strategically very interesting for us.” “Tapping into existing Seqr wallet users, as well as the opportunity to bridge print and regular display advertising with our digital product is something we are looking forward to seeing results from.” How would the customer acquisition work? “Once Seqr is implemented as one of the payment methods, it is an excellent tool to drive sales and to help understand your gamers better”, Peter says and continues: “With Seqr you can turn any type of printed media into a customer acquisition and sales channel. Place the add and Seqr QR code in e.g. the Seqr app, the operator’s app, on a gaming website, advertisement or on social media. A user can then become a customer of gaming operator, or top up the gaming account, just by scanning the QR code and entering their PIN. All the necessary user information is already in the Seqr app and the initial deposit is transferred during the same process.” “Gaming operators can convert marketing and advertising efforts into a direct sales channel just by using Seqr. We work closely together with our partners to create joint campaigns and marketing efforts that boost each other businesses.” Why is Seqr entering the gaming industry? “When Seqr was launched about four years ago, the strategy


was to target physical everyday-purchase outlets, such as supermarkets, convenient stores, fast food outlets and parking to attract every-day-usage and create a consumer base when breaking into niche industries such as iGaming. We succeeded and we are active in 16 markets today, so here we are, with a varied consumer base and an offer to the iGaming industry that solves some of the traditional problems.” What is the added value to operators and white platforms in plugging Seqr? “The added value is quite straightforward; cheaper transactions as we are not using the traditional payment card infrastructure, easy customer acquisition and easy and effective transactions to and from the gaming account.” “In addition, the KYC and security levels are very high. To process transactions from the gaming account via the user’s bank account requires a bank standard KYC of the users. This is made once during the customer’s SEQR registration process and has the highest level of KYC.” Tell us a bit more about how Seqr’s plans are for growing its business: “In July we launched our NFC contactless payment service in Seqr. This means that Seqr customers can pay using traditional card terminals by simply taping their mobile phone to the card terminal. Our NFC technology is based on Host Card Emulation (HCE), meaning we can conduct payments without agreements or integrations with merchants. Any NFC enabled card terminal in the world will be able to accept Seqr as payment tool. By launching NFC, we literally increase the number of payment points to 30 million terminals around the world. This drives our user base significantly as the amount of payment locations increased exponentially.” “The company MEA Wallet provides the HCE technology in our NFC solution. This summer, MEA Wallet was acquired by Seamless, meaning that MEA Wallet now is incorporated


in the same company group as Seqr. We already have a very big portfolio of services based on the payment tool. In addition to this, with the acquisition of MEA Wallet we now have the market’s most attractive offers, both on a B2B and B2C level.” Are people ready to pay with their smartphone and give up the card? “Consumers basically live with their smartphones 24/7. The question is how you use this fact to generate sales. The mobile payment industry itself is relatively new and changing the consumer’s behavior is part of the concept. The possibilities are extensive with a smart device as a payment tool compared to a plastic card! Due to this, the payment industry is experiencing radical changes. A number of large, well-known companies have spent a tremendous amount of efforts to enter the mobile payments market, so the potential is without a question there. As always when something new is introduced, it includes a change in consumer behavior and that is pretty much where the mobile payment industry is at right now.” “To give an idea of the Seqr market, I can mention that between 5% and 10% of the total Swedish population has used the Seqr technology to initiate payments. Considering the novelty of the mobile payments technology, this is an exceptional result within a very short time span.” Could these all be potential players the operators could reach out to? “Yes, of course! We have a wide range of channels that we can use to reach out to our users in order to inform them about campaigns and offers. We are also confident that the operators will see the advantages of the value-added services that Seqr offers and that they will have an interest and a motivation to promote Seqr as a payment tool to their users.” Many operators think they have their payment system covered, with multiple ways. How is Seqr different? “Seqr is much more than a payment method. All payment processes follow the same logic; scan a QR code, enter the

Mobile Payments | SiGMA

PIN: done! However, that is just an enabler for a range of value-adding services that solves real problems for online and physical merchants. We can cover basically any payment situation where a user today would use cash or cards. The payment platform works for all types of funding, but the dominating solution is through the direct debit network. Unique for Seqr is the ability to route transactions outside of the credit card rails to keep costs down.” “This makes it possible for us to offer the gaming industry the lowest transaction costs on the market. We feel that these low-cost transaction costs combined with a simplified customer acquisition process, instant top up, withdrawal from customers’ gaming accounts and the highest level of KYC is a very strong offer to the iGaming companies.” You have proven that QR codes are far from obsolete. Tell us how this app is slowly, but steadily revolutionizing payment in online gaming. “Yes, the QR code has somewhat of a bad reputation, because it hasn’t provided any real value to the user. The QR reader is integrated into the Seqr app and is a hundred times faster than people expect before trying it out. It is also the enabler to make transactions and create sales channels in a way that has never been done before. Just imagine that you can purchase something from a billboard while waiting for the bus by just scanning and pinning. No need to fill out any information, it is already there and the product gets shipped to your door. You can sell anywhere! For the iGaming world, the QR code enables an acquisition directly from any printed media.” “From the payments perspective, the main difference is that Seqr offers lower transaction costs, due to the way we route the transactions. This is possible since we use our own transaction switch that has been in the market since 2001 and processes 3.9 billion transactions annually via more than 600,000 active outlets.” “Nevertheless, the big advantages are from a service perspective, where Seqr offers services that allow our customers to create new sales channels. For example, users can make purchases from various kinds of transaction points—cash registers, NFC terminals, printed media, e-commerce sites, vending machines and much more. Seqr simply offers very fast, cheap and simple transactions and onboarding processes for the gaming operator’s customers.”


SiGMA | Property


GOLD LION HOLDING YES, YOU CAN DEFINITELY BET ON US WITH ALL YOUR PROPERTY NEEDS! AS A CENTRALISED PROPERTY SOLUTION PLAYER IN THE MALTESE MARKET, OUR PRIDE OF LIONS AND LIONESSES OFFER ALL PROPERTY RELATED SERVICES UNDER ONE ROOF, AT OUR LION’S CAVE. With a robust, growing economy, Malta is a hot bed for several industries and igaming is no different! Attractive incentives, taxes, and issuance of online gambling licenses made Malta an iGaming capital. With a customer-centric approach, we strive to hit the bull’s eye with our projects and exceed clients’ expectations. Be it a commercial property you need or a complete facelift for your office, our Real Estate unit will find you the real deal! Our Construction division and Property Development can transform your working space into your working sanctuary. Yes, we do believe in calculated risks but we do not take a gamble with our high quality of service. We believe in creating a professional, inspiring environment where your employees are motivated to create the best gaming solutions possible.


We may be the new lions on the block and like to shake things up a bit! With state of the art offices and a modern, hip approach to business, let’s promote the spirit of healthy collaboration! Instead of always playing games of chances, we can come together and increase our winnings with higher stakes. Hence, not only are we a fun, safe bet; yet a rewarding one too. Give one of our property advisors a call to find your next dream property now! We are located in the heart of Sliema, on Bisazza Street, drop by for a coffee or a friendly chat and we can discuss how to collaborate or visit our website at as it is updated daily.

Office Design | SiGMA




ANGIE SCIBERRAS IS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGN ARCHITECT AND SPATIAL PLANNER, KNOWN AS ANGIE THE ARCHITECT. APART FROM CREATING UNIQUE RESIDENTIAL INTERIORS, SHE HAS HONED IN ON THE DESIGN NICHE OF I-GAMING OFFICES. “I became aware of the way i-gaming has taken off successfully in Malta and how the sector requires well-designed offices that allow for a better-working environment, whilst keeping within budgets and taking in consideration of possible exponential growth over a very short time span.” “Exceptional creative spaces attract the best employees in the industry. Optimal design allows space efficiency, maximising potential for excellent customer support and overall successful operations throughout the company. From experience I am strongly aware that having a good design allows the iGaming company to achieve a perfect balance between work and leisure. Ample unique spaces need to be created to satisfy the multi-characters and the multinationalities involved - spaces for collaborating and communicating, for chilling out, and for concentrating. It must all reflect the dynamic pulse of this industry.” It has been a courageous move for Angie the Architect to categorically concentrate on iGaming clients. Upon going solo, after having worked with a few leading firms, she had only one month’s salary to back her up and not one single client to call her own. But in a matter of a few days, she was well into her first contract. Her personal know-how of the way iGaming companies operate has allowed her the confidence to work her way to a successful choice. In order to get a feel of the company she plans to work with,

Angie the Architect researches heavily about its history and growth curve. “I spend days observing operations, meeting managers and staff, asking questions. It is a time-consuming process but helps formulate a strong brief and a good concept. I don’t have a one-design-plan that fits all. Each project is unique to itself and linked to a clear understanding of the brand it represents. Linking brand and concept to the architecture is imperative in order to achieve space identity.” Foreign investors in iGaming often require Angie’s assistance even before clinching a property deal. “At the property viewing stage, I’m asked to advise my clients regarding property potential and possible expansion. I know my way around the local scene, know all building regulations and work ethics, so I can project-manage from start through to finish. Once we have the right property in hand, my next hurdle is to work out a plan that makes for happy employees. Dynamic work ethics rely on this and my role is to create the right environment to make them and their company flourish.”


Profile | SiGMA


CATENA MEDIA: A TRUE SUCCESS STORY PICTURE A BASEMENT TUCKED UNDER YOUR MATE’S PARENTS’ PLACE. THERE’S A COSY BUT WELLWORN COUCH DRAGGED IN FROM UPSTAIRS AFTER REPEATED PROTESTS, A COUPLE OF LAPTOPS, AND A BALL PIT FOR THOSE MOMENTS YOU NEED TO LET OFF SOME STEAM. After a few late-night sessions, you and your longtime friend, both 20-somethings, have come up with a big idea for making some money while having fun doing it. So, here you are. You’ve both taken that big idea and started working away in a makeshift office within a dingy basement. Fast forward just five years, and you’ve become the co-founders of one of Europe’s fastest-growing online lead generation companies in the iGaming industry, earning quarterly revenue of close to €10 million and employing over 160 staff across three European offices. That’s the Catena Media success story. 0155

SiGMA | Profile


“It all started with poker back in the days.”

“I’ve got a great idea!” How many of us have said at some point in our lives: “I’ve got a great idea…”? It seems like so many of us have had such seemingly brilliant ideas that could make us bundles of cash, hugely successful, or even change the world. If only we could actually do something with that idea, and take it further than being just part of some late-night banter with friends. Childhood friends Erik Bergman and Emil Thidell did just that back in 2007. “It all started with poker back in the days,” explains Erik, Catena Media co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. “I was playing a lot and realised that rakeback was the key to being a winning poker player in the long-run. I started out providing rakeback offers to other players I knew. Back then, I was mainly dealing with CarlosPoker, and they had a sister brand called MariaBingo. My affiliate manager told me that bingo was the future, so we gave it a try. Those were the first sites we built that later became an affiliate company.” The pair started off with a web consultancy agency set up in Emil’s parents’ basement, focussing their efforts on lead generation for online bingo operators. But they both had big ambitions and knew the buck wouldn’t stop there. It was Erik and Emil’s friendship and determination that would ultimately be the catalyst behind building what is now Catena Media. The dynamic between them is palpable. They’ve been a team since childhood, born on the same day in the same hospital to parents that already knew each other. Growing up, they came to develop skills that would make each of them pivotal to Catena Media’s success in their own unique way. “I was the business-oriented person who arranged the deals with all the partners and worked on all kinds of ideas to develop our sites,” Erik explains. “I loved the SEO part of the business and spent most of my time thinking about how this could be enhanced in different ways. These passions combined with a strong stubbornness and some insane ambitions took us a long way,” he laughs. 0156

Emil, on the other hand, who built his first calculator at age 10, was the technical brains of the business. “Emil is a computer genius and took care of everything from a tech perspective. Whatever crazy idea I might have had, he made sure it could come true,” Erik continues. “We brought completely different skillsets to the table and that’s what made us a great team. Nothing of what Catena Media is today would have been possible if it wasn’t for Emil. I knew absolutely nothing on the tech side of things.” After two years of operating an online lead generation business as a part-time hobby from a basement, in October 2010, Erik and Emil decided to move their business out of that basement and to the iGaming hub of Malta. It was time to turn their part-time hobby into a full-time business.

“It’s one thing to do something as a hobby, but it’s something completely different to run a full-time business.”

This means business After their move to Malta, Erik and Emil continued focusing their online lead generation business on online bingo operators. They even started experimenting with a mixed bag of other unrelated markets like mortgages, fashion, travel, and business cards. But in 2012, their focus became clearer. Catena Media was founded, and the company moved to Gibraltar and shifted their efforts to online casinos. “It was a big step for us,” Erik recalls. “It’s one thing to do something as a hobby, but it’s something completely different to run a full-time business. The stakes are a lot higher, and so are your clients’ expectations of you.”

Profile | SiGMA


It was during this time that European investment company Optimizer Invest bought a 50 per cent stake in Catena Media. This partnership brought with it more defined organisational processes and structures, essentially transforming Catena Media from being a start-up operation to a fully-fledged organisation. “For us, this was the point when our idea went from being a hobby a couple of mates dabbled in in their spare time to being the idea behind an organisation that was firmly on the map,” says Erik. By the start of 2013, Catena Media was rapidly expanding. It had entered the Norwegian and Finnish markets in addition to its existing Swedish market. Because of the wider scope of its operations, later that year, Erik and his company relocated back to Malta.

The company has just issued a €50 million bond loan on the Nordic bond market, with a plan to secure even more highquality acquisitions and expand to even more markets. “I’m really proud of what we’ve built,” Robert enthuses. “Since I started with Catena just a year and a half ago, we’ve gone from 30 to 160 awesome employees, while creating a strong company culture. We’ve bought 14 companies, had a very successful IPO, and just closed a €50 million bond. I’m proud that we’ve managed to build a company that can grow so fast and go through such rapid changes while still having a lot of fun doing it.” Robert is adamant about his vision for Catena Media now and into the future. “Our goal is clear,” he affirms.

In 2014, Catena Media enjoyed even greater success, with company revenues continuing to increase sharply and consistently.

“Catena Media aims to become the world’s number one provider of high-value iGaming leads, and we’re only just getting started.”

By October 2014, the company completed its first largescale affiliate acquisition with the purchase of Finix Invest. This acquisition attracted a great deal of attention from the iGaming industry and key players in the business started taking serious notice.

One sure way to get there, he adds, is to keep expanding the company’s already strong and diverse workforce.

Then, in 2015, the company’s mergers and acquisitions agenda became a clear focus, with the completion of eight further large-scale affiliate acquisitions. These acquisitions saw the company further expand into the UK, Dutch and Belgian markets. With a much broader asset portfolio and a rapidly expanding company, it was time for the Board of Directors to appoint a company CEO to take the reins. And, in May 2015, Robert Andersson – former CEO of Swedish digital agency River – was appointed as the company’s CEO. “My decision to join Catena Media was very simple,” Robert recalls.

“Our success as a company wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for our amazing people,” says Robert. “Each person that makes up part of Catena brings their own unique perspective, personality, ideas, knowledge and skills to the table. “But while we’re all unique, we all have the same underlying values – we’re passionate, curious and professional in everything we do. These are the values that have brought us this far, and that will take us to the next chapter of the Catena story.” Catena Media is currently recruiting for a number of roles across a variety of departments, including content, SEO, sales, product and development. If you’re interested in becoming part of the Catena Media success story, you can find out more about current opportunities and apply now via their website.

“The company already had a great base of talented, dedicated people and it was still clear to me that it had a lot of potential and a great future ahead.” In February 2016, Catena Media was publicly listed on Swedish stock exchange Nasdaq Stockholm First North Premier. “It was such a proud moment for us,” Robert recalls with a smile. “It cemented our position as a key player in the industry now and into the future.” In its latest interim report for Q2 2016, Catena Media’s quarterly revenue was reported at €9.58 million – an increase of 217 percent compared with the same quarter the previous year. Gross profit was also reported at €4.87 million – an increase of 117 percent compared with the same quarter the previous year. Currently, the company has over 160 employees spread across offices in Malta, Serbia and the UK.

Where to next?

“Why stop here and now?”

So what next for a company that’s experienced such exponential growth in such a short space of time? “Why stop here and now?” says Robert with an ambitious grin. And it certainly looks like Catena Media is far from stopping. 0157

Infographics | SiGMA





in 2016


55 in 2014


in 2016


1,804 in 2014


38% 32%





DELEGATES FROM 247traffic 2iventures 38marketing 4sight Consultants 7epta7 7red Aa Casino Solutions Absolute Entertainment & Media Ltd Academill Act Consultus Acuitytec Acumum – Legal & Advisory Affiliate Company Affiliate Republik Air Conception Allied Newspapers All-in Translations Altair Entertainment Amaya Gaming Ambassador Events Anchovy Digital Animated Games Apco Asdf Consulting Ltd. Asia Gaming Brief Athens Aeroservices International Limited Atlas Healthcare Insurance Agency Ltd Atum International Trading Ltd. Avviza Azzul B2b Gaming Services Ltd Malta B3d Solutions Babu International Balaji Ltd Bally Tech Bancpay Bank O Valletta p.l.c. Banoop Bdo Malta Beaverclick Ben Essere Rosa Limited Best Games Holdings Limited Bestpay Partners Bet 90 Ltd. Bet25 Bet90 Betclic Everest Group Betgenius Betit Operations Ltd. Betradar Betsafe (Betsson Group) Betsoft Gaming Betsson Group Bettech Betting Connections Betting Gods Betway Beyondbits Media Ltd Bh Sky Limited Bingo Boom Limited Bit8 Blingcity Casino Blue Window Ltd Bnh Limited Boatcare Trading Limited Bonnier Gaming Bonus Casino Directory Bonusser Bonus Vikings Boostcontent Bopnnier Gaming Boston Link Boston Trust And Fiduciary Services (Malta) Limited Bpc International Brombat Ltd Bufallo Partners C Plus Limited C- Shipping Trading Ltd C4 Logistics C4u Malta Ltd. Camilleri Preziosi Candid Gaming Ltd Capaldi Marketing Carboni&partners – Egla Cashpoint Malta Ltd. Casino Care Malta Ltd Casino City Casino Media Casinocruise Casinoextra A Uwin4ucasino Ltd Casinotv Castille Institute Castille Resources Casumo Services Ltd Catena Media Operations Limited Ccp Net Marketing Cherry Affiliates Chestertons Chetchuti Cauchi Advocates Clever Solutions Ltd. Co Gaming Ltd Coe Services Limited Cognitive Technology Ltd Come On! Comonnetwork Ltd. Company Jvh Trading Ltd / Nederpoker Compello International Computime Limited Concept Marine Confident Approach Conz Media Core Group Corporate Limited Corinthia Hotels Corporate Auditors Corporate Fraud Solutions Corrieri Cilia Legal Countryprofiler Malta Ltd Creafi Online Media Credorax Malta Ltd Csb Group Csl Data Centre Services Curvature Solutions Daddy Marketing Resources Llc Dansk Limited Dansk Underholdning Defined Branding Ltd Deloitte Dex Workspaces Dmax & Associates Ltd Dragonara Casino Dragonara Interactive Limited Dragonara Online Casino Dumarca Gaming Ltd E&S Consultancy E2-communications Malta Ebn Internet & Media Ecovis Malta Consultants Limited Efco Malta 15493415 Egamingonline Ego Ejz Comprehensive Business Services Ltd Elinks Services Co. Ltd. Ellmount Gaming Ltd Email Marketing Media E-management Emcsi Corporate Services Limited Emd Advisory Services Limited Energy Casino Enetsport Engel & Volkers Sara Grech Entercash Equiom (malta) Limited Etm-media Eto Limited Euenev Inc Ltd Euro Consulting Emea Eurocredis Limited Europatuo Group Europe Entertainment Ltd European Merchant Services Euroslots Eurostreet Every Matrix Everytip Evolution Gaming Evolution Latvia Evolution Malta Ex Goldbet Limited Exante Exigy Ltd Expert In Gaming Extreme Live Gaming – Novomatic Group F1x2 Gaming Fairwinds Management Ltd Fengaming Fenlex Corporate Services Ltd. Firecask Limited Fixturebet Flow Media Ltd. Footballbetexpert Footprints Fortina Hotel French Embassy In Malta Frosmo Fruzzel Fs Malta Ftiracafe Fx International Ga Corporate Ltd Gambling Malta Ltd Gambling Metropolis Game Lounge Ltd Gamesys Network Limited Gaming Legal Gaming Operations Ltd Gaming Vc Gamon Solutions Inc. Ganado Advocates Gantor International Garbo Get Solutions Inc. Global Capital Global College Malta Global Poker Index Global Translation Solutions Limited Globe and Mail Newspaper Gly Italy Bv Goffiliates Goldbet Golden Age Ltd Goldnet Enterprises Ltd Good Morning Malta Government Of Malta GPWA – Gambling Portal Webmasters Association Greentube Malta Ltd.Grenke Group One Media Limited Guts Gaming Ltd Habitat for Humanity Macedonia Hall Of Gaming Handsonsystems Highlight Media Highweb Media Holdem Informatics Holistic It Group Home Hotdog Media I Gaming Elite Malta Ibos Ichampion Ltd Igame Group Igaming Academy Igaming Business Igaming Norge Ii Igameconsult Imarketing Factory Ltd. Ink Innovative Discounts Limited (discountif) Institute Of Digital Games, University Of Malta Intelligent Payments Group Ltd International Law Guild Tallinn International Management Services Ltd Internet Gaming Directory Irish Wonder It Security Consultant Itwebber Ltd Ixaris Systems Malta Ltd Jadestone Networks (Malta) Ltd Jdk Affiliate Ltd Jeremy Broad Ltd Johansson Media Ltd Join Games Malta Ltd Jvh Trading Ltd / Nederpoker Kajot Casino Limited Karamba Keiem Limited Kinetix Kiss Me Kolikkopelit Group Konnekt Search & Selection Ltd Kootac KPMG Kukiventures Kyoogi/odds24 Kyte Consultants Ltd La Luna Marketing Limited Ladbrokes Languagerie Ltd Lantana Sas Lead Training Services Leovegas Lex Risk Lga Linkinfast Ltd Livesport Media Ltd Ljfk Ltd Lotteries & Gaming Authority Lottotribe Limited Luckydino Gaming Ltd. Magenti Media Ab Malta Business Review Malta Communications Authority Mamo Pace & Associates Mangas Gaming Manticore Ltd Marine Unity Marketing Blah Blah Limited Markit Business Solutions Limited Matching Visions Mattias Lundkvist Consulting Ltd Mbbl Malta Mbr Publications Ltd Mcast Mdina Angels Ltd Med Group Advisors Ltd Mediterranean Conference Centre Melchers, Attorneys, Auditors, Tax Consultants Melita Plc Mib Malta Ltd Microsoft Malta Milk The Casino Minely Ministry For The Economy Investment & Small Business Mitt Casino Mobilbet Moneymedia Marketing Mr Green My Media Nano Eco Fuels Limited Nation Traffic Nativ Communication Natural Intelligence Neogames Net Business Net Ent Net Venture Limited Netbooster Netomed New Age Meda Aps New World Sports Limited New York Best Nexia Nickes-com Sports & Concert Trips Novamedia Llc Online Leads Finland Optimizer Invest Orbidato Otto Malta Ltd Oulala Games Ltd. Outdoor Living Ltd Palos Gaming Ltd Panda Media Ltd. Paylevo Ab Pcm Legal Advocates Pei Ltd Pentasia Pi Interactive Ltd. Pkf Malta Plainpartners/vera&john Casino Play Euro Lotto – Kootac Trading Limited Play Globe Ltd Playson Ltd Playtech Pnny Ltd. Pokerisivut Group Pokerlistings Premier Manco Ltd. Primanetworks Limited Prime Gaming Proinvest Ltd Ptl Limited Punktumcom Aps Pwc Qgen Quasar Ltd Quinel Racebets International Gaming Ltd. Referprom Relax Gaming Limited Reliato Ltd. Reload Nv Remote Gaming International Renidconsulting Responsible Gaming Foundation Return Path Revolution Affiliated Ltd Riana Limited Risk Management Services (Malta) Limited Rival Malta Ltd. Rock Productions Malta Ltd Rockintention – High Light Media Group Royal Panda Limited Royston Limited Rsm Glass Ltd Safeplay Gaming Ltd Salesforce Sandbox Ltd. Sapient Technology Ltd Sara Grech Sbtech Scandinavian Business Forum Malta / Malta Chamber Scandistaff Schneier Gaming Ltd Scroogefrog Tm Sd Services Seltek Sem-verwaltung Seo Solutions Ltd Sigyn Ltd Simka Consulting Sinouts Ltd Siru Mobile Sixteen Limited Sko Ltd Sme Investmentgroup Smp Partners Ltd Softnetsport Ltd Sovereign Trust (Malta) Limited Sp & Co Spigo Sporting Solutions Sports Lion Sportstwinvest Ssci Ltd Stearpoint Business Consulting Ltd Step Enterprises Ltd. Stephanie Cassar Architectural Design Steven Galea Cpa Stirling Safety Solutions Stk Marketing Ltd Streamlogue Group Studio Seven Sunbeam Enterprises Limited Sundreams Travel Sunseeker Malta Ltd Super Tragamonedas Supporter Svt Swegaming Affiliates Ab Swiss Gold Malta Limited Symbiosis Uk Ltd Systemato Tameflow Consulting Tap Knowledge Target Traffic Ltd. Tartech Ltd Tecmark Telesign The Economist – Malta The Lotteries And Gaming Authority Malta The Sportsman Media Group Uk Ltd The Test People Ltd. Think Design Limited Ticonderoga Ventures, Inc Tipico Tivoli Tmg Top Development Ltd Topfire Ltd. Toro Edizioni Totobet Malta Ltd. Tracy P.a.i Management Traffic Lab Aps Trivago Trumbic Ana Trustly Tti International Ltd Tum Ltd Uk Tax Advice Ukash Ultimate Fx Llc Unibet Universal Concept University Of Malta Untangled Media Upper Reach Valhalla Investments Vanguard Online Media Vanilla Telecoms Ltd Vanquish Holdings Verajohn Verdani Group Vianet Limited Videoslots Viking Pc Health Vipstates Vista Gaming Vistra (Malta) Limited Vivendo Group Vodafone Malta Vuetec Ltd Wantstraffic - has Traffic Warehouse 66 Ltd Wdm International Webet2win White November Ltd Wikibetting Wild Card Consulting Ltd Winunited Wise Beluga Limited World Match Ltd Wow Media Wta Gaming Ltd Yatch Management Services Yggdrasil Gaming Ltd Yobetit Youwin Limited Zerafa Advocate Zeturf


Regulatory // Affiliates SiGMA16:



Regulatory // Affiliates & CMOs // Payments & Disruptive Technology // Sports // KPMG eSummit // iGaming Forum // HR, Human Capital & Performance

SiGMA is the only 360° showcase in Malta that brings affiliates, operators, solution providers and regulators under one roof. Between SiGMA14 and SiGMA16, the show witnessed triple the sponsors and exhibitors, four times as many conferences, and double the attendees. To discuss opportunities for SiGMA17, call +356 7777 3092 or email 0159


Interview | SiGMA




SiGMA | Interview


“It’s been a big investment, but now we have over ten partners offering our games throughout Europe, and hopefully we’ll be investing in firms outside Europe too very soon.”

Always a pleasure catching up with you Kasper, one of the very first to trust SiGMA with a booth back in 2014. Tell us a bit more about Spigo. How did it all start? Spigo started in Denmark in August 2006, and we initially launched a community site where players could sign up and play casual games for free and if they decided to, they could subscribe to a monthly subscription and pay to access more features and games on the site. The idea was very much inspired by an American site called I’m not entirely sure if they are still operating, but that’s where the original idea for Spigo came from. How did you get into creating games? Funnily enough, I was never overly into computer games myself, but when I was in high school I bought a graph calculator and figured out how to install games on it. So while my math’s teacher thought I was working out complex equations using my graphical calculator, I was actually playing games on it! That’s where my interest in games development started. After high school, I had gone to university with the intention to study Civil Engineering, but my father had encouraged me to start Computer Science because he saw the massive potential of it. Up until that point, I had been using my Amiga 500 for playing games and writing essays. Initially, university was a big disappointment to me - high school had a healthy mix of guys and girls whereas my Computer Science course at university was all guys and the atmosphere wasn’t very


exciting. After my first year, I was close to quitting, planning to move from Computer Science to Architecture. Thankfully, the person in the faculty who needed to approve my changeover was abroad at the time, so I quickly discarded the idea and stuck it out. After that year, I actually started to enjoy the course and began to understand the language of programming games. The first game I ever made was my own version of Tetris, built on HTML, which was available online and became extremely popular. After the success of my Tetris game, TDC, the largest Danish telecoms company, approached me to develop a set of games which included a game they needed for a Christmas advertising campaign. I was a student, and this huge company was paying me to develop games for them - it was an incredible experience! I even managed to pay off my student loan just from selling these two games. I realised there and then that developing games was definitely the way to go, as people were prepared to pay good money for well-developed games. How do you come up with new ideas for new games? Early on I realised that developing games similar to the gameplay of well-established games was far easier than being too creative and developing games that no one knows how to play. Players decide whether they want to play a game or not in a matter of seconds, so there has to be an element of familiarity to it in order for it to be successful. Obviously, you can’t blatantly copy a game, but delivering

Interview | SiGMA


games that have a similar game play to another wellknown game has helped us become a massive success. So we are very much inspired by existing games but we try and think how we can add more value or enhance them to create something better than what’s already available. Otherwise, you’d simply be developing a game that’s already out there. There are no set rules for coming up with games though. I’d just say that ironically, being too creative in this industry could be a setback. You need to make it easy for people to be able to relate to each game. Funnily enough the first three slots we created for our community sites were created in our current CTO’s kitchen at his apartment in Denmark, so creativity can strike at anytime and anywhere! The secret is knowing what to keep, what will work, and what you should scrap. What has been the most challenging time in Spigo’s history and how did you overcome it? Our biggest challenge was converting the company from a subscription based access, to games service: where we asked players to pay for a subscription to access our games then selling our games on app stores and making them available to play on mobile devices. Around 2010, we decided to go after the app stores and released some games with some success - our Yatzy game was featured by Apple. In fact, they contacted us asking for AdWords and banners to use on their store. And let’s face it - receiving an email from Apple out of the blue is definitely not an email you want to ignore! Our next issue was trying to determine how we could grow through selling our games through the app stores, as it is extremely difficult to compete. With some companies absolutely smashing it, establishing yourself is challenging, so we took the decision to move into iGaming. It just seemed like the right move to me. Luckily for us, at that point in time, the biggest operator in Denmark was interested in our games and approached us. It was hard reinventing ourselves, but to this day, we still have some of our original subscribers who helped us with the transition to the iGaming arena. We also had to rebuild all our software from the ground up to suit the industry. It’s been a big investment, but now we have 10 or 11 partners offering our games throughout Europe, and hopefully, we’ll be investing in firms outside Europe too very soon. How is Spigo different from other game developers? We have a second generation platform that was built for regulated markets where many different types of games

can be hosted - not just slot machines but single player, multiplayer, massive multi player, and games to win real money in a secure environment. The iGaming industry is still very conservative, with thousands of slot machines available online everywhere, but what sets us apart from the rest is, the fact that we can create any game that could even be known locally within a matter of weeks and launch it successfully with the support of our back office. Surprisingly, there are very few in the iGaming industry that are actually doing something different. In the past, more of the same was a sure-fire way to be successful, but I think those days are over. What are you working on now? What’s in the pipeline? We are getting a lot of attention from players and brands that are at the very forefront of the iGaming industry that wants to offer the next big thing. In the past, anyone could just get a license and present a package of slots ( just as everyone else) and be a success. The only reason such firms lasted a few years ago, was because of the rapid growth in the iGaming industry and people who took a shot just rode the wave while it lasted. But I believe times have changed and the industry has evolved since then. Nowadays, operators are looking for innovative ideas that echo their own vision and here at Spigo we want to be right up there helping them to achieve their goals. We are currently working on a new framework for developing slot machines based on HTML5 that runs super smooth. We are proud to develop games that aren’t full of cheap effects as we believe that sometimes, less is more. We let our product speak for itself. Our first slots based on this framework will be coming out before Christmas, so all our partners will be able to get hold of those then. Where do you think the iGaming industry is going? I think we will see both Europe and the US getting more regulated state by state, with the whole world becoming regulated over time. However, regulations will differ since gaming and gambling are also very cultural. Gambling is as old as time itself, and regulations will be determined by local cultures. This is why at Spigo we need to keep offering products that comply with local regulations. The more regulated the world becomes, the better it is for us. A bit more about you; how do you manage time? Do you dedicate a substantial part of it playing yourself for market research? I deal with it very well, to be perfectly honest. I think I work well under pressure. I’ve always led a busy life, so stress has never got the better of me. I used to wake up late and sleep very late, but now I sleep until I wake up. If I don’t have any meetings I won’t set an alarm, I’ll wake up when my body’s ready to. However, I’m always in the office before 10am. While I don’t play a lot of games myself, I cannot get enough of Supercells Class Royale. I get a lot of inspiration from the app store.

“We are getting a lot of attention from players and brands that are at the very forefront of the iGaming industry that want to offer the next big thing.” 0163

Talent | SiGMA




DEMAND FOR IGAMING TALENT IN MALTA IS HIGHER THAN EVER. IN THE 10 YEARS PENTASIA’S BEEN RECRUITING, NOW IS THE BUSIEST WE (AND OUR CLIENTS) HAVE EVER BEEN. TO ATTRACT THE BEST WE’RE WORKING EVER FURTHER AFIELD, HELPING CANDIDATES FROM ACROSS EUROPE AND WORLDWIDE DISCOVER NEW CAREERS HERE. Across Europe, iGaming continues to boom. Despite Malta’s small size, there are over 400 gaming companies registered, employing over 8,000 staff directly and indirectly. Employers regularly have multiple vacancies open at any one time and with limited local supply, more and more are looking for top talent based overseas. On the other side of the equation, increasing numbers of candidates from across Europe and the world are willing to consider moving to Malta. They’re attracted, of course, not only by career opportunities but also an exceptional Mediterranean quality of life. As such, we find we’re as much ‘relocation consultants’ as we are recruiters, bringing staff to the island from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and the U.S.A. to name but a few. Our global office network helps us monitor international markets, ensuring we engage candidates wherever they are in the world. Once they’re here on the island, we make sure they receive a warm welcome, introducing them to employers and guiding them through the move. Why Malta? Besides being regularly voted one of the world’s best places to live and work and boasting

300+ days of sun, there are few places that offer such diversity of culture. For iGaming companies operating in multiple territories, that’s ideal. From a single Malta base, companies can operate in numerous markets with native management and support. And thanks to attractive tax rates, relocation can be financially lucrative for candidates too. Skills required in Malta range from customer support to C-Level positions. Crucially, though, in recent years, the recruitment of technical and development staff has now become the most pressing need. As an example, the software developers required on the Island has increased tenfold since I joined the company three years ago. The campaigns and activity we operate help clients message the opportunity of Malta to this highly valuable audience, on and off the island. Beyond tech roles, the wave of regulation across various European markets are fueling demand for local and language-specific experience. German native speakers, in particular, are in short supply as operators prepare to take advantage of recent license changes. Germany will soon be one of the biggest regulated markets in Europe and operators are competing with each other for the best talent required to secure it. At Pentasia Malta we pride ourselves on meeting the demand of companies on the island by recruiting the best talent locally and from overseas. Growing demands from our clients inspire innovative approaches to candidate acquisition – so here’s to the next 10 years recruiting here in Malta!


Who’s Who | SiGMA


WHO’S WHO IN THE MALTA GAMING INDUSTRY Alistair Sparrow Senior Affiliate Manager

21 Casino is a high-end, luxurious themed online casino. A younger player in the igaming industry, but ran by enthusiastic and experienced igaming professionals. 21 Casino offers players a simple, high-quality gaming experience. For affiliates, we offer high default commission rates, different campaign types and high-quality promotional materials.

Ofir Gerzon Affiliate Director

Since its inception in ’97, over 25M players have experienced 888’s exciting action, making it the largest e-gaming portal. The 888 Group headquarters are situated in Gibraltar and is operated by Cassava Enterprises (Gibraltar) Limited under a license granted by the Govt of Gibraltar. In Sept ’05, 888 Holdings made a successful initial public offering of its shares, which were traded on the London Stock Exchange.

Denitza Dimitrova Senior Consultant

ACT Consultus is based in Malta and specialises in the online gaming industry, online payment processing and the related services thereto. ACT Consultus offers senior international gaming consultancy to all sectors of the gaming industry. The company’s gaming practice encompasses all aspects of gaming law, including licensing, corporate, legal and financial compliance. ACT Consultus professional services also extend to the provision of services in the field of online payments and the acquisition of financial institutions and electronic money licences in Malta, as well as consultancy to online payment processors.

Claire Camilleri Gauci Director

Aid Compliance provides tailor-made compliance support and consultancy services to the financial services and gaming sectors both at pre and post licensing stage. After having worked with various leading institutions, the team at Aid Compliance have broad and hands-on experience as compliance officers, anti-money laundering officers, internal auditors and risk officers.

Andy Jones CEO

Integration of ​award-winning content powers the turnkey ​and bespoke solutions for AliQuantum Gaming’s mobile, kiosk and web software platform. From licensing to launch, our experienced staff provide support and guidance every step of the way. For a Good Deal in iGaming, turn to AliQuantum Gaming!

Roy Pedersen CEO/Chief Editor

All In Translations is the official translations provider for SiGMA and the No. 1 choice supplier for several of the biggest affiliates, platform providers, operators and developers in the gaming arena, including Betfair, Betsson, NYX, Playtech and many more. Their gaming specialised translation and content writing services are available in 70+ languages with quick delivery and great value.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Dinos Stranomitis Director

Altenar offers a complete fully managed Gaming Solution. Our speciality is Sports Betting. Altenar product offering features of BetInAction Sportsbook software with premium content, 24x7 trading, risk management and business support. You can choose from wide range of Casinos. BetInAction Sportsbook solution is also offered as a flexible B2B module.

Geert Polmans Affiliate Manager

Amsterdams Casino is a veteran in the igaming industry, with a steadily expanding team. A strong brand with special monthly player promotions that offer unique engagement. We are offering our affiliates complete transparency, open communication and creative customized marketing materials with flexible solutions and campaigns to cater to your traffic.

Angie Sciberras Design Architect

Angie the Architect is a Design Architect and Spatial Planner who specialises in i-gaming offices, and residential Design. After having worked for key local and foreign architectural firms, she decided to go solo in early 2015. Today she is well-known in her sector, and appreciated for the number of successful projects linked to i-gaming which she has completed over the past years.

Eero Villikka Affiliate Director

Anna Casino is run by the Maltese company Anna Casino Gaming Ltd. and is operating under an MGA license. The casino caters to primarily the softer gaming audience and is presented with a soft color scheme and a clear female touch. The brand focuses on elements such as trust, security and high value offers for regular customers. Net Entertainment, Play N Go, Microgaming and Spigo products make up the game environment. Anna Partners, the affiliate brand of Anna Casino, offers high value deals to affiliates with a focus on growth through customized promotions based on the specific target audience of the affiliate.

Ian Pellicano Managing Director

ApcoPay is a fully-integrated payments solution, an all-in-one platform that provides clients with all they need to cater for multi-channel and multi-currency payment options through a single interface. The solution is designed to cater for high transaction volumes, scalability and continuous improvement. We are specialists in payment solutions with over 12 years’ industry experience driven by a passionate team of experts. With headquarters in Malta, Apco encompasses a blend of over 26 acquiring partners and over 150 payment options to 800 merchants in over 25 countries across the globe.

Tsachi Maimon CEO

Aspire Global is a top platform provider established in 2005, operating under Malta, Denmark, UK and Italian licenses , offering a total “all-in-one” solution that provides a branded and fully managed gaming service for online gaming operators. This includes, among others: gaming platform, market leading CRM, multilingual support & VIP centers, payment, risk & compliance departments.

Catherine Calleja Managing Director

AXA PPP healthcare exercises a flexible approach to company health cover. A core of health insurance benefits and a range of options are available, allowing you to adjust your cover to match your requirements. This means that we can design a solution to suit your needs, and help to provide the most suitable cover for members at every level of your organisation. In addition to standard benefit tables which cover treatment of acute medical conditions, we are also able to quote for additional benefits relating to preventive care treatment and of course, uniquely in Malta, for dental insurance.

Kristoff Zammit Ciantar Managing Director

Aqubix is a specialist IT consultancy and solution provider with a unique remit: that of enabling our customers’ profitability by leveraging technological innovation into real-world commercial applications, to maximise operational productivity, generate revenue stream growth and improve customer retention and acquisition channels.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Jon Grafton Creative Manager

Azure Malta provides Vacation Ownership opportunities, making dream vacations a reality. Azure tailors luxury club memberships to today’s demanding market and has fast become a worldwide leader in the Vacation Ownership industry. Providing exclusive membership opportunities at the prestigious Radisson Blu Resort & Spa, Golden Sands, Malta and with a member base of over 5,000 families at this resort alone, Azure offers flexible usage options and luxury vacation experiences in some of the most sought after destinations in the world.

Mark Attard Chief Executive Officer

BDO Malta, is a Member Firm of BDO International, one of the world’s largest professional services firms. BDO provides accounting, auditing, tax and legal, and consultancy services on a globally integrated basis with over 1,400 offices in more than 154 countries.

Damon Booth CEO

BetBanter is a new social betting app where players login via Facebook and bet against their friends. Allowing casual betters to place wagers against their buddies in a fun and social way. Utilising social media as a key tool it aims to be the biggest alternative to operator sports books in the U.K market and will be available to download on iOS and Android.

Kristina Hambardzumyan Regional Director

BetConstruct is an award-winning developer and provider of online and land-based betting and gaming solutions. BetConstruct’s innovative and proven offerings include an extensive range of market-leading vertical products including Sportsbook, Sports Data Solutions, Agent System, Retail Betting Shop Solutions, RNG Casino Suite & Live Dealer Casino.

Christofer Holmgren Head of Affiliates

Bethard Group is a rapidly growing igaming company with several premium casino and sportsbook brands. Over 120 employees are all working to give our customers the very best experience there is. Our own top of the art platform gives us the flexibility to do just so. Come by and say hi at our stand or at our brand new office building, “The Bethard Building”, just 2 min walk from the Sigma conference. And don’t forget Winners Dare More!

Michael März Managing Director Betting

Having started his career in the online gaming industry in 1996, after almost 20 years in different roles with various B2C operators Michael joined Sportradar as Managing Director Betting where, amongst other areas, he is responsible for Sportradar’s in-play betting products.

Ulrik Bengtsson CEO

Betsson is a unique venture of its own. Its story has become history in the Maltese iGaming sector. It is known as being the largest local employer in the sector and has an overwhelming story of success. Betsson has been welcomed in Malta and has become ‘Maltese’ throughout the years. The set up is done by skilled and professional individuals that contribute to its success. For Betsson, Malta is simply a great place to work and live in for skilled internet professionals.

Allister Bajada Head of Affiliates

Affiliate Lounge and its brands Betsson, Betsafe, Casino Euro and Cherry Casino are all part of the public listed holding company Swedish Betsson AB. Betsson AB invests in companies who provide quality gaming services over the Internet. The demand for transparency and auditing practices employed in public listed companies guarantees that your commission is always fair and 100% right. With a dedicated staff and a comprehensive back-end system, affiliates have support and guidance at hand. Affiliate Lounge strives to be the best partner regardless of the size of your company.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Kay Vella Head of Recruitment

Betting Connections is a leading provider of International IGaming Recruitment Solutions! With more than 30 highly skilled recruitment and career consultants, we provide the best and most personalised service in the industry. Utilising our unique ‘30 Step Recruitment Process’, which focuses on quality of communication, delivery of results and consistency of service, you can rest assured that all your recruitment needs will be met in a thorough, professional and timely manner. Your recruitment solution is our goal!

Darren Moore Director

Betting Gods is a leading provider of sports betting tips, connecting and educating amateur bettors with the help of fulltime professional gamblers. Covering Horse Racing, Golf, Football, Tennis and Greyhounds the site offers something for everyone who enjoys making money from their betting activities.

Fiona Hickey Director is the premier global iGaming Recruitment Consultancy. Now in our 14th year, our success comes from our passion and comprehensive understanding of our clients and their needs. Working with the largest, most influential companies in the industry through to start-ups, our approach is tailored to each recruitment project, delivering a professional & effective solution for our client’s recruitment needs.

Richard Hogg Director

The BiG Foundation is a UK registered grant making charity which aims to improve and enhance the quality of life of injured, sick, or terminally ill individuals globally, with a focus on the healing power of sport. The charity aspires to improve the physical, social, emotional and psychological wellbeing of these individuals, as well as their immediate families and carers, with the provision of specialist care, support networks, sports resources or equipment, assisting access to, participation in and engagement with sports and physical activities.

Angelo Dalli CEO

Bit8 is a gaming platform company that offers an innovative intelligent gaming backend and game content catering for current and future needs of modern gaming operators, both online and land-based. Available in both standalone and hosted versions, and complimented with a variety of professional services, our solutions provide a source of competitive advantage. Operators can customise additional modules to achieve the precise system that satisfies business needs, across multiple game providers, products and verticals and multiple channels.

Marius Filip Head of Affiliates

We are part of the Bonnier Group, one of the largest publishing and entertainment companies in Sweden since 1804. Evoke Gaming Ltd is based in Malta, and is a regulated online gaming company, we have been offering a thrilling and enjoyable online gaming experience to millions through brands that include,, Whitebet. com,, and The business remains true to its founding mission, to offer a fun and responsible gaming experience.

Jonathan Caruana CTO

Bonus Vikings is an affiliate platform providing top rated CPA and revenue share offers in casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook as well as Forex and binary. The parent company is Viking PC Health Ltd which operates from Malta, offering antivirus software.

Daan Mulder Creative Director

Branders is everything design. We are branding, concepts and graphic design. A highly experienced international team that takes every brand to the next level. Design that goes beyond visuals and communicates your business philosophy. Specialized in iGaming and service providers.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Alessandro Fried CEO

BtoBet is a pioneer in new technologies for iGaming operators and the betting industry by using technological intelligence as its main base for its products. Its unique, customizable, secure and flexible iGaming platform and Sportsbook software deliver unprecedented capabilities to drive Sportsbook and iGaming business.

Louise North Business Development Manager

Callcredit Information Group is expert in managing consumer data for businesses across every sector, from financial services, retail and utilities to the public sector, telecoms, insurance and much more. The Group is focused on developing innovative products and services to help businesses make smarter, more informed decisions throughout the customer lifecycle.

Magnus Alebo CEO

Casino Heroes, formerly known as Casino Saga, was the first casino brand from Hero Gaming. It was launched in June 2014 and immediately took off to become the fastest growing online casino world wide. By playing traditional casino games of their choice (currently from Evolution, Quickspin, Play N’ Go, Microgaming, Yggdrasil, Betsoft and Netent), the customers progress in the Casino Heroes adventure by fighting bosses and reaching new regions.

Christos Charistas General Manager

Casino Malta by Olympic Casino provides the most exciting casino experience in Malta. With a mix of Las Vegas type entertainment and the best customer service, they’ve created a unique ambience of elegance and top quality. The 3000 square meter casino features 285 slots, 2 electronic roulette tables and 29 casino and poker tables as well as a wide sports betting and bar area. In addition, there is an EZ-Pay payment ticket system installed throughout the casino. The slot machines installed in the casino are the newest and most modern in the country, guaranteeing the highest world class level of entertainment and gaming.

Kristian Svensson General Manager is run by Ellmount Gaming and licensed by Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gaming Commission. An established brand offering its customers an innovative product on all devices. Operating out of offices in Sweden, Curacao, Costa Rica and Malta. One of the fastest growing online casino operators world wide in 2015.

David Wainwright Director

Right from your home, smartphone, or tablet. CasinoTV is an online gaming experience featuring live games that stream directly from the acclaimed Casino at Portomaso, Malta. CasinoTV isn’t just an online gaming company—we’re a real live casino in the online gaming business. When you’re at our tables, you’ll enjoy the same high standards, excellent service and peace of mind as you would while playing in any one of the Tumus Group’s world famous brick and mortar casinos.

Meny Monka Director of Marketing & BizDev is a complete multi-vendor online casino gaming platform, offering over 1000 high-quality games from the world’s top suppliers and software developers, including Netent, Microgaming Evolution and more. Recently, they launched – their high-end in-house advanced mobile casino. /

Matthew Camilleri Managing Director

Castille is the Specialist Recruitment Agency for Tech and Finance Jobs in Malta. Years of experience have given Castille the possibility to work with leading local and international businesses in Malta. We work hard to gain a unique insight into our professional network and provide our client businesses with recommended talent. This is based on our expert knowledge in our specialist disciplines and on our insight of the businesses and industries we service.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Christian Ferreri Affiliate Manager

Casumo is an award-winning online casino based in Malta. By combining social and real money gaming, Casumo has built the world’s first casino adventure, where the player not only collects winnings, but also points and trophies for every round played. Through design, technology & innovation Casumo aims to disrupt a young but in many ways immature industry. Since the launch in 2012, Casumo is still one of the fastest growing online casino operators in Europe.

Tord Topsholm Managing Director Catella Bank

Catella Bank is a full-service bank, offering a complete range of payment, corporate banking and wealth management services supporting customers succeeding in e-commerce. We take pride in working closely with our customers and develop tailored solutions to meet customer needs. With 25 years within the payments industry, we are well acquainted with the business models and country-specific features of a vast range of e-commerce industries worldwide. Catella Bank is registered in Luxembourg and part of the Catella Group, listed on listed on First North Premier on Nasdaq Stockholm.

Robert Andersson CEO

Catena Media is one of Europe’s fastest-growing online lead generation companies. We provide high-quality leads to our online casino and sportsbook clients by building marketleading and engaging websites that attract the right traffic. We then drive this valuable traffic to our clients in the form of new depositing customers.

Nadia Pace CEO

At Centrecom we are a multi-lingual International Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company offering back and front office services through our Contact Centre based in Luqa, Malta. Our contact centre is manned by native English speakers, as well as a multi-national team speaking more than seven languages – so that we can definitely speak your customers’ language.

Katy Stafford Affiliate Director

As one of Europe’s most established gaming brands, at Cherry Affiliates you will see your earnings blossom! Cherry Affiliates is a forward thinking, flexible and professional program offering up to 50% commission with no negative carryover when promoting our award-wining brands: CherryCasino, EuroSlots, EuroLotto, SpilleAutomater, SveaCasino and SuomiAutomaatti.

Angela Tabone Director

Citadel Insurance operates with a forward-thinking strategy built on its established reputation as a provider of high-quality and value-for-money insurance products and services for both individual and business customers. The company offers an extensive and flexible range of products comprising of motor, home, marine, travel, business, professional indemnity and life insurance including retirement and savings plans, besides other tailor-made products designed around customer’s requirement.

Yarka Svalek Marketing Director

Imagine a world where you can act as your own performance network. Where you have the perfect tool to precisely segment your inbound traffic, target it to the chosen offers, continuously monitor its performance & quickly identify the best converting combinations. This world is clickBakers. Unlike your conventional affiliate trackers, clickBakers is not merely limited to tracking but gives you a benefit of game-changing Segmentation & Optimization. Stop by our booth S8 to chat how proper inbound traffic segmentation & segment-driven optimization can significantly increase your traffic performance.

Edward Ihre Founder & Executive Chairman

Codeta is a gambling site for players who seek a genuine casino experience within table games online. Live Casino technology brings us the best of both worlds. A real dealer, real cards, real wheels processed by modern software with the ability to play from wherever and whenever. This is the closest you will ever get to the real casino experience, wherever you may be.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Charlie Williams Head of Business Development

AXON Gaming provides full integration of your internal systems, allowing you to compile and view data from one central location, in real-time. This, coupled with a powerful rules engine, empowers business users to easily create their own automations based on any player behavior imaginable. Ultimately, AXON Gaming enables iGaming companies to optimize their operation in real-time, which leads to an immediate increase in revenue.

Dobri Ugrenov Affiliate Manager

Powered by Condor Gaming, Condor Affiliates is the premier affiliate program of four unique casino and sportsbook brands: 24Bettle, b-Bets, Casino Sieger and Rembrandt Casino. Condor Affiliates specialises in innovation and collaboration; providing a fresh experience for players and transparency for partners. We’re working together to continue our success.

Maria Florides Affiliate Programme Manager

Crazy Rewards was launched on 2010, since then our good reputation has spread amongst the gaming industry. Our goal is to offer our partners the best acquisition tools. The way we accomplish our goals is by offering generous revenues, a top level support and great products including live casino, slots, mobile, jackpots, scratch-cards, Keno and bingo games. Plus, our brands are strongly focused on Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and UK.

Geert van Maarsseveen Senior Sales Director - Commercial Channels

Credorax introduces an entirely new breed of acquiring — Smart Acquiring — to PSPs, ISOs and online retailers specifically focused on the e-commerce and m-commerce arenas. Credorax’s Smart Acquiring solutions are based on its proprietary single, unified and automated global-domestic payment platform for efficient, cost-optimised acquiring complemented by value-added business tools and dedicated customer care. Credorax is the first, truly global digital Merchant Acquiring Bank, with secured licenses across three continents, covering over 30 jurisdictions worldwide.

Anton Cristina Executive Director

CSL is a Systems Integrator with its own Data Centre Facilities, which are Tier 3 rated, Carrier Neutral and a very aggressive level of service for DDOS mitigation, with a total capacity of 2000 square meters of rack space plus a team of 24 technical resources skilled and experienced in delivering Cloud Services, Colocation, Managed Services up to OS level, plus BC&RS to our customers. We migrated many gaming customers to our data centre over the past 4 years and they will tell you that we can do it faster, better and cheaper.

Cristina Balaceanu Operation Executive Manager

Digital Color Production has been operating worldwide since 2002. We believe in advising clients’ on unique materials and help them to develop innovative solutions. Our aim is to be the preferred digital printing service for corporate companies, dealers, home users, both locally and internationally.

Iwo Bulski CEO

Since 2003, E-Play is associated with the best quality of reliable source on gambling from e-casinos to legal studies. Information portal, printed magazine about gambling E-Play as well as numerous sites about the latest news, exclusive interviews, expert studies and reviews on all aspects of the gaming industry. In 2016 we launched the E-Play Online mobile app, in which we exhibit offers selected from gambling companies we cooperate with. The E-Play brand has been cooperating with leading industry organisations making us able to provide first-hand information and the best quality.

Colin Jones Director & CFO

EFT Global is a Financial Institution that is licensed to execute payment transactions by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). EFT Global provides a large range of payment processing services including VISA, MASTERCARD and Wire Solution for Merchants who integrate directly to payment gateway of EFT Global.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Anja Wunderlich Director

eGamingLab is innovation! The independent INFINITY gaming platform is based on leading-edge technology and flexibility. We build 100% customised, online and land-based, high-quality products for the iGaming industry. We provide hosted turnkey and White Label solutions or API for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the game.

Michael Golembo Sales Director

EGaming Online may be the only affiliate program you will ever need. All brands feature effective, workable promotions, solid player support, and conversion. The company guarantees that whether you are looking to promote one brand or all of them, EGO will work with you every step of the way. Their dedicated team of experienced affiliate managers provide 24/7 support in many languages. EGO offers buttons and text links in a variety of colors and sizes, along with free banners in a number of sizes, including custom made.

Todor Zahariev Managing Director

EGT Interactive games are renowned throughout the industry for their intuitive gameplay that will captivate the current players and dazzle new players, encouraging them to return every day for more exciting iGaming entertainment. We are known for the iconic video slots and we also proudly offer classic casino favorites such as Roulette, Video Poker, Table Games and Keno.

Kristina Nevuche Accounts

EmexGO are a licensed e-money institution based in the UK and Malta. Their unique in-house technological solutions coupled with Swift membership and the ability to issue IBAN’s, ensures EmexGO are ideally placed in the market, offering full trade services and third party payments. Using EmexGO’s cross-border e-commerce expertise, the latest data analytics and fraud management tools, merchants are able to reach out and access new markets around the world with total confidence.

Norbert Varga Head of Affiliates

EnergyBet was launched in 2016, as a sports betting offshoot of the already successful EnergyCasino. Offering one of the industry’s most comprehensive sportsbooks, EnergyBet carries everything from football to eGaming. Licensed in the UK, and operated by Probe Investments Limited which is registered in the European member state of Malta, EnergyBet boasts professional multi-lingual customer support and is quickly establishing itself as a challenger brand.

Norayr Yesayan Senior Business Development Officer

EP Fantasy is a team of devoted sports addicts and software developers building fantasy sports applications that can be smoothly integrated with online gaming/gambling platforms. We deliver high-end quality IT services and contribute to Explicit Profit for gaming/gambling businesses while integrating Fantasy Sports, either stand-alone or within an existent software.

Alex Capurro CEO & Founder

With over 15 years experience, EPG is the next generation one stop payment platform. We offer an online gateway with an ever growing list of over 210 different online payment methods and acquirers worldwide. EPG can offer any online merchant everything they need in order to process transactions online via one simple yet heavily secure API integration and a unique back office where non IT staff can maintain and configure payment accounts, create payment routing rules by drawing a flow chart on the screen using our custom built rules engine or prevent fraud.

Bernard Mallia CEO

Equinox Academy is an NCFHE-licensed further education institution specialising in the delivery of high quality training programmes. It capitalises on the hands-on expertise of Equinox Advisory and conducts team building activities, skills gaps & training needs analyses, HR & innovation audits and bespoke training. Equinox Academy also provides gamingspecific education in AML, data analytics, project management and odds compilation.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Elaine Gardiner Senior Affiliate Manager

EuroSlots offers one of the widest variety of the leading games available online. The company’s motto is: “If the games are not good enough for our customers we simply do not publish them.”

Ebbe Groes CEO

EveryMatrix is an independent company offering awardwinning software solutions to operators of all sizes, including OddsMatrix, a fully managed sportsbook providing more than 23,000 live events monthly; GamMatrix, a complete gaming and payment processing platform; CasinoEngine, the largest aggregator on the market with more than 3,000 games from top casino vendors, and PartnerMatrix, a complete stand-alone affiliate marketing and agent management system. EveryMatrix was founded in 2008 and won numerous industry awards since.

Patrick J O’ Brien Director of Communications

EXANTE Limited was founded in March 2011 with its headquarters located in Malta. EXANTE is a next generation award winning brokerage company that aims to give its clients access to a broad range of financial instruments and markets. Our aim is to design, produce and support cutting-edge infrastructure for greater financial market accessibility and pricing transparency.We believe in liberal financial markets. Our vision is to become a benchmark for transparency and market accessibility in the financial intermediary sector.

Joern Klister CEO & Founder

Extramile Services offers you an all-round customer service via phone, email, live chat or social networks, including also a structured quality and complaint management. If you are a start-up, want to improve your service quality or want good availability with a low price, the experienced team of Extramile Services is your partner.

Adrian Sciberras CEO

Fairwinds Management Limited is a company formation and administration specialist offering a wide range of corporate, legal and financial services. Our customer oriented methodology helps us achieve the objectives of our clients within a cost-effective structure in order to maximise their profits within legitimate and transparent business structures. Whether you would like to start up a company to operate your business or would like to avail of our back office administration services, Fairwinds Management will offer you a level of service which will exceed your expectations.

Sergio Montebello Managing Director

Fibonacci Marketing is a results-driven marketing agency specialising in SEO, content creation, social media marketing, email marketing and online reputation management. Since inception, Fibonacci Marketing has grown to help companies in Europe, Asia and the USA to implement effective digital marketing campaigns.

Antoine Bartolo CEO

Forbesfone is a global mobile operator, partner of Forbes LLC, offering a global connection to the millions of smart travellers who want a hassle free mobile service, with simple pricing and value-added business services. Our aim is to cut down on mobile costs without compromising on quality while offering a flexible, global service to suit every traveller.

John Farrugia Randon Manager

The Forestals Group has been established for the past 80 years and is renowned for its high-end brands such as HP, Lenovo, Cisco, Sony, Miele, Smeg and many others. Forestals First Class is a department within the group that consolidates all products and services offered by the group of Companies. This department specialises in offering a one stop shop for office fit-outs and also on cutting edge technology required in demanding industries.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


​Adrian Gatt Business Development Manager

With solutions that focus on reliability and seamless integration, Fortytwo partners with brands and enterprises in order to provide quality mobile messaging. Since 2001, our specialised team has developed a suite of messaging solutions at the best possible value.Over the years, the Fortytwo brand has evolved to reflect the company’s growth from a small team in Sweden to a trusted provider of global communication solutions, now based in Malta. As your partner of choice for delivering messages worldwide, we work tirelessly to ensure that we exceed your expectations and that our solutions bridge the gap between you and your customers.

Darren De Domenico Chief Operations Officer

Established in 1969, Frank Salt Real Estate is Malta’s most recognisable and trusted Real Estate Company. With 17 branches spread all across the island and having the most extensive selection of properties for sale and to let, we offer a one-stop-shop solution for all your property needs.

Mikael Gummerus CEO

Frosmo enables companies to modify any aspect of their online business, regardless of complexity. With our technological approach, you can develop your website faster than ever before. At Frosmo, our mission is to transform online experiences and take the web to a whole new level, benefiting both businesses and consumers.

Dean Nicholls Founder & CEO

Gambling careers is Europe’s number 1 job board run by experienced online gaming professionals with a vast amount of experience within international headhunting and talent acquisition, who recognize the need for change and innovation within the ever changing online gaming space. Gambling Careers is the only platform of its kind and already the leading Job Board within the European iGaming Market place. Partnering with Suppliers such as Net Entertainment, Yggdrasil, Quickspin, NYX and operators such as Cherry Gaming, Unibet, Paddy Power Betfair, Hero Gaming, Casumo, to mention but a few.

Boštjan Torkar Director of Business Development

GameART is an independent online casino software provider and developer, providing innovative games and cuttingedge solutions dedicated to online and landbased gaming operators. The company was founded in 2013 by a group of serial entrepreneurs who have had successful experience in the online and industry in the past 20 years and evolved into a premium B2B provider and developer with offices in Malta, Slovenia, Serbia and UK. GameART’s core business is the development of high-quality slot games and gaming contents not only for online operators as well as VLT and casino industry in the regulated markets.

Ivan Filletti Head of Operations & Business Development

GamingMalta is an independent non-profit foundation set up by the Government of Malta and the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA). Tasked with the remit of promoting Malta as a Centre of excellence in the 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.

Mitsuya Fujimoto CEO

Ganapati Plc is a group of innovative game studios, media platforms, production companies with offices in England and Japan. We have a series of successful social networking apps which are available in Japan and, in addition to this, we are currently developing a series of unique slot games which will be released globally within a year. With our own game developers and animation studios in Japan, we are able to combine well-known fighting games, anime series and puzzles with superb Japanese technology intelligence, entertainment to create games which we believe will be completely unique in the online slots market.

Keith Hathaway Founding Partner

Geeky Gambler and Bonus Bible are the marquee websites for the affiliate specialists who create industry leading themed affiliate websites and social media platforms. A heavy Casino and Sports Betting focus but all online gambling verticals are covered, as well as a high-quality tipping service.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


James Illingworth Director of Client Services

Gaming Laboratories International (GLI®) delivers land-based, lottery and iGaming testing, assessment and professional services to more than 475 jurisdictions worldwide. The company holds U.S. and international accreditations for compliance with ISO/IEC 17025, 17020, and 17065 standards for technical competence in the gaming, wagering and lottery industries.

Daniel Grabher CEO

Global Bet is the largest independent manufacturer and supplier of server-based gaming technology. Our core business is providing the best possible virtual sports products to the industry. Unlike any of our competitors, Global Bet is exclusively dedicated and committed to providing the broadest combined portfolio of virtual sports games on the market.

Matyas Sziraczki CEO

Gold Lion Holding is a customer-oriented, centralised property solution company. We have merged all property services under one roof with our 3 divisions: Real Estate Agency, Property Development and Construction. Property Management – Holiday as a 4th division will be launching shortly as well.

Christopher Dalli Senior Associate

Gonzi and Associates, Advocates is an established Maltese law firm with vast experience in the areas of gaming and gambling, taxation, corporate and financial services. We have assisted various gaming operators and software providers with the acquisition of licenses both in Malta and in foreign jurisdictions such as the UK and Romania. Our gaming team is also involved in the day to day commercial practices of our clients, providing assistance in negotiations and conclusions of agreements, and advising on ongoing regulatory compliance with the rules of the relevant Authority.

Roger Katz Head of Affiliates

The GoWild Affiliates program, representing two of the finest Casino brands out there – & WildJackpots. com has been proudly enabling its partners to monetize their traffic for the last 8 years. The custom reward plans, no negative carry-over and very fast payments make us the best fit for you. With an extensive catalogue of over 500 game titles and dedicated conversion and retention teams, your success is guaranteed.

Trevor De Giorgio MD Malta

As a worldwide pioneer, GREENTUBE GMBH is the leading developer of online gaming solutions specialised in Casino gaming. Through longtime experience, excellent Novomatic and in-house technology, as well as distinctive intuition for gaming trends, Greentube offers unrivaled gaming quality. Constantly complying with international regulation, we only offer our products in well-regulated markets with clear regulatory frameworks.

Martin Wachter CEO and Founder

Golden Race provides winning Virtual Betting Solutions for Shops, Terminals, Online and Mobile, and via satellite worldwide. Live-rendered 3D Virtual Football, the revolutionary Real Fighting, pre-recorded real video races, classics, and new gaming concepts! Golden Race tailors their products to clients, countries and habits, with the most in-depth in-game customization options available. They include their entire unbeatable and proven suite of winning games for free, and their acquisition cost and support are simply extraordinary.

Daniel Yuen President

Gunggo has been a Global Advertising Leader in the iGaming space since 2006. With expertise on both the Demand and Supply side of the industry, we have been the catalyst of success for thousands of iGaming campaigns, for some of the top operators in this market.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Robin Reed Managing Director

Hailed as one of the most successful online casino launches in history, has seen rapid growth since going online in 2013. Focusing on key factors such as 24/7 customer service, fast withdrawals, a wide selection of games and recruiting some of the business’ top professionals, Guts continues to be one of the fastest growing online gaming providers in the business.

Yancy Naughton CEO is the traffic monetization side of the platform. If you are interested in capitalizing on the increased margins available by offering Zero Click redirects to advertisers, but do not want to build your own bidding platform then HasTraffic. com can help. Offer your internet traffic directly to the end consumers of the traffic, avoiding the high margins demanded by the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing and the Second Tier Networks.

Caroline Klytseroff Head of Affiliates

Hero Gaming is a Malta based company which provides a playful casino and also a brand new gamified sports book. Casino Heroes is a new way of playing casino using story telling, a beautiful map and boss-fights. Recently the second version of the site was launched with new boss fights, different adventures and a Rubies concept. With the launch of their second brand, Betser, Hero Gaming is reinventing Sports betting, with a unique concept called Balls and Brains and a league system!

Laurent Reysbosch CEO

HiPay offers iGaming websites, digital content publishers and e-tailers the most relevant payment methods to grow their business. Their solutions benefit from two European banking licences: payment institution and e-money issuer. Hipay’s core activities rely on three main pillars: a unique expertise, a technological innovation and a constant search for optimization. Banking transactions are not an end in themselves. Optimizing and increasing our merchants’ business volume requires to better know their client data, to fight against fraud and to offer the most relevant solutions to improve their success rate.

David Wainwright CEO & Founder

Established in 2006 HollywoodTV is a live dealer/tv studio based in Malta that delivers live Casino games to the highest quality. The company delivers film-like experiences up to 4k for mobile, digital TV, desktop and tablet. The companies brands include Bikini Beach, Cleopatras Lounge and Treasure Island featuring live roulette, live baccarat and Wheel of Fortune. The companies supply the games to operators via direct integration or via leading agregators. Seeing is believing please arrange for a private demonstration of our formats.

Anna Jonson Affiliate Manager

HonestPartners is the dynamic affiliate program of InstaCasino. com. InstaCasino is live since late 2015 and among the targeted markets, you find Scandinavia, all german speaking countries, UK, Australia and Canada. A premium platform and great CRM strategies are InstaCasino’s recipe of high conversion rates and loyal players.

Wayne Said Business Development Executive

SG Solutions Limited has pioneered Apple products and services in Malta and has successfully represented the brand locally for over 30 years. iCentre is the only Apple Authorised Service Provider in Malta. As Authorised Service Providers we specialize in MAC product repairs, data transfer and recovery, upgrades and support as well as MAC system and software deployment in homogeneous and mixed platform environments.

Tommi Maijala CEO

To date our company is composed of 100 ambitious individuals working in Malta and Estonia. The iGame team consists of a wide range of nationalities and offers its services in several languages. We cooperate with industry leaders such as Microgaming, Net Entertainment and Relax Gaming and serve to date around 1 million customers all over the world.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Jaime Debono Director

The iGaming Academy is the leading training provider to the Gaming industry with over 6000 employees concurrently online and 100 classroom attendees each month. Our client list includes companies such as Betsson, Betclic Everest Group, Stanleybet, Lottoland, Betit Group, LeoVegas, Skybet UK, Evolution Gaming, ComeOn, Evoke Gaming, Mr. Green and Pala (US) who have taken up our training services not only to satisfy regulators but also enhance internal staff knowledge and awareness.

Ben Clemes Managing Director

Who are we? We are entrepreneurs, innovators, iGaming enthusiasts with extensive industry experience. We have created and developed iGC using experts in each area to bring together a lean iGamingPlatform which we are proud to call iGaming Cloud.

Roderick Briffa Business Development Executive

i-GSN is a dynamic Network of Companies focusing mainly on i-Gaming Turnkey solutions, offering a vast range of products and services. Apart from accepting ad-hoc Development projects, i-GSN can offer a fully customizable and very user friendly Back office, Sportsbook and Poker platform. Through our direct collaboration with several providers from the industry, we can offer several RNG Games, Live dealer studios & casinos, all integrated into one back-office using a seamless wallet. We have a large variety of payment providers integrated to us and you may choose the best option for your Operation’s needs.

Julian Kunimine Head Affiliate Manager

Ikibu features the most complete casino journey in the world. Dubbed as the most innovative casino launch of 2016, Ikibu. com has positioned itself as one of the most promising brands in the online casino industry. Its visual imagery, fast withdrawals, unprecedented loyalty scheme and wide game selection have made Ikibu a solid contender for the best new casino of the year.

Pierre Mallia Managing Director

iMovo works with customers to face business challenges from all sorts of directions – whether it’s increased regulation in the financial services industry, an increased need for governance in the public sector or the need to improve customer services in the face of increased competition. iMovo helps organisations to take advantage of new business opportunities by strategically using technology and innovation.

Ciara Kaneen Key Account Manager

Isle of Man Post Office can help you drive customer acquisition and retention with an integrated approach, using the power of direct mail. Their mission is to meet your every need with a holistic range of secure services that bring you peace of mind. Their secure data management services make sure you and your customers are protected to optimise your investment. They hold international standards for security and quality. ISO/ IEC 27001:2013 and ISO 9001. Discover more about what they can do for your business with their first class services.

Michael Probert Business Development Director

iSoftBet is an online and mobile casino games supplier, providing games to some of the world’s largest and successful e-Gaming operators. Our games suite includes a wide range of original video slots, stunning branded content from worldrenowned TV & film studios and a unique collection of third party games. With our vast experience and enthralling portfolio, we’re proud to be at the vanguard of game innovation.

Luigi Spina CEO

Join Games Malta Ltd is a new Software Casino Provider founded in 2014 by a partnership between 2 professional business manager who have ample experience in the gaming industry and who share the same vision of creating an innovative Slot Concept. The choice of the name “Join” symbolizes the union between different ideas of the team who together work to reach the same goal; that of becoming a renowned Casino Slot Provider for our creativity.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Arnaud Serour VP Sales

Karamba brings the most innovative slot and casino gaming website into the largest affiliates program. We’re 100% committed to bringing players to the best, fairest, and most trustworthy online gaming site, and this is evident through the dedicated service we have always provided. Karamba offers the leading slot & casino brand, on multiple jurisdictions, which features an impressive portfolio of more than 200 slots, scratch cards, instant wins, casino games and live casino. Join our unique affiliate program.

Etienne Gatt IT & iGaming Recruitment Manager

Nearing a decade since it was established, KONNEKT Search & Selection has become Malta’s leading professional recruitment agency. KONNEKT handles more than 1,200 projects per year and has worked with more than 700 clients, ranging from SMEs to multinational organisations. A dedicated in-house team specialises in providing recruitment solutions for the Information Technology and iGaming industries. We use a wide variety of tools available, and collaborate with the right local and international networks, to source the highest quality candidates for every role.

Don Bush VP Marketing

Boost Sales, Beat Fraud with Kount Complete™. Kount helps online businesses simplify fraud detection and dramatically improve bottom line profitability. Our all-in-one, SaaS platform is designed for companies operating in all kinds of card-notpresent environments, including mobile. Merchants using Kount accepts more orders from more people in more places than ever before. Kount Complete™ is easy to implement and easy to use. Kount’s proprietary and patented technology reviews billions of transactional data points every year and provides maximum protection for all size businesses.

Russell Mifsud Senior Manager

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. Following the acquisition of Crimsonwing plc, by a joint venture between the UK, Malta and Dutch practices, KPMG is today the largest professional services provider in Malta.

Alan Alden Director

Kyte Consultants help clients identify their risk areas & support them in implementing practical & cost effective solutions. Our objective is to assist companies heavily reliant on information & communications technologies to achieve their business objectives in a secure manner. Kyte Consultants are resellers of Featurespace Fraud Management Solutions for Gaming, Financial Services and the Insurance Sectors.

James Grech Managing Director

We are a team of specialists passionate about our work and with a common ambition to share learning experiences with people in the business community as well as with civil servants and civil society. This makes us the only professional training organisation in Malta that can offer cutting edge training programmes across a broad spectrum of topics.

Johan Styren CEO

LeoVegas - Awarded iGB Affiliate Program of the Year 2016 LeoVegas is the innovation leader in gaming entertainment. The new LeoVegas Sport is the most intuitive, engaging and fastest way to bet on sports. LeoVegas’ multi-award winning casino currently offers the world’s strongest suite of casino games with 700+ games on desktop, mobile and tablet. This in combination with top-notch live casino entertainment in HD quality 24/7. Join LeoVegas’ award-wining Affiliate Program of the Year 2016:

Elad Tsafany Head of Business Devolpment

LuckyStreak takes the live casino experience to new heights by merging innovation, style and gamification into an engaging and rewarding live casino experience. We increase player value by integrating personalization features and reward hooks into the live gambling experience that create habit loops, which translate into more engagement and player stickiness. Built on the latest technology LuckyStreak’s live casino platform runs on a high grade, scalable and flexible infrastructure to deliver the optimal user experience for mobile and desktop.



Joseph Cuschieri Executive Chairman

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the single, independent, regulatory body responsible for the governance of all gaming activities in Malta, both online and land-based.

Vasileios Kasiotakis CEO

Maltco Lotteries Limited was set up in 2004 shareholding by INTRALOT S.A. and high profile Maltese individuals. The company operates the National Lottery and other additional games: Super 5 lottery, Lotto, Grand Lottery, Scratchers (instant lottery), U*BET - Fixed Odds Betting and Horseracing, Quick Keno, Bingo75 and Fast Bingo through an extensive retail network.

Michael Rasmussen Head of Acquisition

With more than 10 years of industry experience Michael Rasmussen was handed the task of setting up the official affiliate program at Marathonbet. Prior to working at the international bookmaker, Michael previously worked with other industry leaders such as Bet365, Unibet and Ladbrokes, before creating one of the biggest Danish football websites in the form of

Giorgos Papadopoulos Head of Acquisition

Marsbet is one of the leading online gaming company that operates worldwide. We insist on open, honest and fair relationships with each other, our customers and business partners. We believe this is the only way to do our business and make gambling enjoyable. Our mission is to create innovative, technologically advanced gaming concepts of top quality that pervade as many different environments as possible, bringing numerous physical and cognitive benefits to their users while they are having fun.

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Andreas Lilja Operations Manager

Matching Visions is one of the fastest growing affiliate networks in the industry and is offering its affiliates a long string of high-value CPA and REV share deals with some of the best performing operators in the industry. Matching Visions also offers affiliates simplicity and security. Simplicity in the sense that affiliates will be able to promote a wide variety of gaming operators and receive only one summarised payment per month, directly from Matching Visions. Security in the sense that Matching Visions, through its large volume, has a large influence with operators, ensuring that affiliates get the best treatment and value available.

Karl Dukes Sales & Marketing Director

Mediahut is the leading supplier of specialist direct mail (physical mail) to the gaming industry. From initial acquisition and throughout the player lifecycle, we can print and personalise anything that drops through a letterbox.

Malcolm Briffa Director of Business Services

Melita owns and operates Malta’s largest data centre. The purpose-built facility is fully perimeter-fenced and built to Tier 3 specifications. With more than 20 years’ experience as Malta’s leading telecommunications provider, melita peers directly with Tier 1 carriers Level 3 Communications and TeliaSonera.

Peter Hunt Head of Sales & Marketing

Money+Card, pronounced as “Money Plus Card”, offer new era branchless financial services as a Payment Institution. The Payment Institution is based in the dynamic country of Malta and seated in the capital city of Valletta. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) regulates the Payment Institution. Since July 2016, Money+Card became a MasterCard Principal Member. The addition of the MasterCard relationship completes the circle of transacting payments providing payment cards for account clients. Indeed, it defines the brand, “Money+Card”


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Patryk Klimer Head Of Affiliates

Mr Green, voted ‘Online Casino of the Year’ for 3 years running and ‘Mobile Operator of the Year 2016’. We’re proud to say that the gentleman Casino is the fastest growing Casino online. A fair but fun approach to Casino entertainment is proving hugely popular with players and with growing markets alike. Hosting multiple game providers and unique promotions, you too can get your slice of the Mr Green pie today thanks to Mr Affiliate, the official affiliate program for Mr and your No. 1 partner for success.

Enrico Bradamante Head of European Market Operations

NetEnt 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 AB is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (NET-B), employs 750 people and has offices in Stockholm, Malta, Kiev, Gothenburg, New Jersey, Krakow and Gibraltar.

Igor Samardziski CEO

Nexus Gaming Intelligence is a software company that specializes in the design and development of premium modular iGaming solutions. Notoriously pioneering and inventive, our systems are considered to routinely set the industry standard for modular back office casino solutions in terms of player management, functionality and cost efficiency. We also provide whitelabel solutions, payment options, dynamic segmentation modules, incomparable game management, managed acquisition as well as hands-on consultancy, fully customizable to suit your particular requirements.

Xenophon Giannis Vice President, Sales

Nexusguard is the global leader in DDoS mitigation, protecting clients against a multitude of threats to ensure uninterrupted internet service. Nexusguard provides highly customized solutions for customers of all sizes, and also enables turnkey anti-DDoS solutions for service providers. Headquartered in San Francisco, Nexusguard’s network of security experts extends globally.

Niklas Hellberg Managing Director

Nickes.Com Sports & Concert Trips is a tour operator offering travel packages to sporting events. Since 1997, we have arranged packages to all major football leagues/tournaments around the world, Formula 1, Tennis and much more. Packages included event tickets and accommodation. Plus flights, local transports, events before/after the game if required.

Julian Borg-Barthet Business Development Manager

As a market leading compliance testing and auditing laboratory in the fields of gaming and IT security NMi is committed to maintaining accreditations in all regulated jurisdictions. With over 40 years of experience in the gaming industry NMi offer an established infrastructure in regulated jurisdictions worldwide with labs in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada.

Emmanuel De Giovanni Director

Office Space Solutions in Malta Made Easy. Top notch assistance when scouting for an office space in Malta. Providing a complete list of offices available on the local market and leading the market through experience. This team will definitely get the job done quickly and efficiently. Contact us now to find an office solution that fits your size and budget.

Veiko Krünberg Managing Director

OlyBet is freshly established online operations of the Olympic Casino brand. OlyBet’s Casino Suit includes Playtech, NetEnt, Microgaming, WMS, Novomatic, Evolution and other games, whereas poker enthusiasts are served over MPN network. New players are welcomed with competitive bonus and retained by bespoke loyalty program which runs in parallel with our landbased establishments - Olympic Casinos. Olympic Entertainment Group operates more than 100 casinos in Europe and employs over 3000 people in 8 countries.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Valéry Bollier CEO

OulalaGames launched in August 2013 the most innovative Daily Fantasy football game, called Oulala ( Built with Big Data, Oulala is the first and only skill game of the sector. Oulala is now available for our B2B partners (plug and play white label solution or API for the iGaming sector).

Udo Mueller CEO

paysafecard, a global market leader in online prepaid payment methods, is available in 43 countries at over 500,000 sales outlets and can be used in thousands of online shops worldwide. By using a 16-digit paysafecard PIN, customers can pay simply and safely; neither a bank account nor a credit card is needed. There are many great reasons to become a sales partner!

Anthony Hennessy Managing Consultant

Pentasia is an award-winning, world leader in iGaming Recruitment. It has been providing clients in Malta with permanent, contact and search services for over 15 years. Through the collective reach of its team of specialist recruiters in Malta and 5 other countries, Pentasia connects clients to the best in local and overseas talent.

Johan Törnqvist Group CEO

Play’n GO is the leading developer of smart systems and games for mobile devices, terminals and websites. In addition to premium quality slots and table games, Play’n GO ensures its clients are equipped with superior back-office administration for reporting and unique marketing tools. Their Gaming Account Toolkit (GAT) is an independent e-gaming platform delivered with a comprehensive back office application. It now hosts over 100 games in more than 40 languages, including several bespoke games designed for some of the world’s leading casino brands.

Magdalena Jakobsson Head of Affiliates

PlainPartners is a premium affiliate program established in 2011. Originally focused solely on promoting Vera&John. com, the program now also encompasses the premium brands, and FinlandiaCasino. com. Prompt payments, generous commission structures and serving first-class products all count towards PlainPartners’ ongoing success. Markets successfully served include Nordics, the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Brazil and Japan.

Jason Prasad Head of Affiliates

Pokerstars Partners is the affiliate program that supports Amaya Inc. brands, including the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars. Amaya brands have recently launched 2 new verticals; Betstars which currently host 28 Sports in 12 languages and online casino through PokerStars Casino, which offers slots, table games, video poker and live dealer games, both proprietary and from industry third-party suppliers. PokerStars Partners is managed by a group of seasoned affiliate specialists who bring value and growth to any type of affiliate.

Yossi Barzely Head of Sales & Business Development

Pragmatic Play is one of the fastest growing online casino game providers worldwide, offering operators a unique and innovative in-house library, with an unparalleled player experience that is second-to-none. Our portfolio of 150 slots and table games is designed to create a thrilling gaming experience, driven by passion, excitement and skills.

Sami Kurvinen Brand Manager

Premier Live Casino is a brand new casino that opened its doors in June 2016. We aim at offering our players a Live Casino experience from the comfort of your home combined with the best and latest slots games online. With a modern design and very user-friendly site, we see that there is still a lot of possibility to grow in this competitive market.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Danny Trieger Affiliate Program Manager

Comprising top gaming brands, Prime Partners has the experience and know-how to be the most profitable affiliate program you’ll ever use. Become a Prime Partner and let us impress you! We have a dedicated team of international marketing, analysis and affiliate experts ready to work with you. Plus, to make things extra easy, we take care of your marketing, advertising, accounting and analysis infrastructure.

Vasilis Zertalis Director

Prospectacy Limited comprises a group of companies with a team of expert professionals serving clientele with international business, corporate and legal consultancy services. Our distinct areas of expertise are iGaming, Business Consultancy, IP ad Domain Protection. Prospectacy offers a High Street firm level of service and performance without the associated bureaucracy and price tag.

Peter Bugeja General Manager

PTL delivers tangible and measurable business value through the implementation of IT Business Solutions. PTL Services and Business Solutions cut across many sectors with specialisation in Banking, Retail, Hospitality and Health including Infrastructure and Managed Services. With main offices in Malta, PTL has also delivered solutions in North Africa and the Middle East through its channel partners.

Enrico Piccinini Senior Engineer

Quinel is an ISO 17020/25 independent testing lab, providing certification services for gaming. The company is located in Ta’ Xbiex and operates in regulated markets in the EU, Asia and America.

Ahmet Celebi Affiliate Director

QueenVegas Casino was established in 2011 in Malta. Apart from Malta, the casino holds licenses from Denmark, Germany and UK. QueenVegas simple but user-friendly platform is available in 20 languages and offers 9 different currencies. The casino offers free spins with no wagering requirements and boasts the same day cashouts available 7 days a week.

Silvio Schembri Chairman

The Responsible Gaming Foundation supports good governance, awareness initiatives and enactment of regulations in order to protect vulnerable people in the gaming sector. The purpose of the Foundation is to collect funds for the promotion of responsible gaming through preventative and support measures. Hon. Silvio Schembri is currently the chairman of the Foundation.

Dr. Hans Wolfram Kessler CEO

RGOAL LTD. developed a new approach to self-exclusions. Having identified gambling addiction as one of the fundamental challenges for the industry, RGOAL created the first independent, Pan-European, a multi-operator database for voluntary self-exclusions, which is open to multiple gambling products.

Gavin Mills Global Sales Director

Safenames is a leading global domain name registration company that specialises in corporate domain portfolio management and online trademark infringement protection services. Our comprehensive suite of customisable web based products and services, along with our expert sales and customer support teams, empower your legal, operations and/or marketing departments to efficiently manage and protect your domain names, trademarks and online brand identity.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Richard Carter CEO

Established in 2007, SBTech is a leading provider of interactive sports betting solutions and services and have become a global market leader within the online gaming industry in both regulated and traditional markets. The complete offering includes an innovative, dynamic and customizable suite of turnkey and fully managed solutions specifically designed for top gaming operators, existing bookmakers and land-based networks.

Peter Boström Director Global Sales & Markets

SEQR offers the gaming industry a simplified customer acquisition process combined with instant top up and withdrawal from customers’ gaming accounts, the highest level of KYC and the lowest transaction fees on the market. Launched in 2012, SEQR handles all kinds of payments from retail to e-commerce while creating new sales channels. SEQR is active in 12 markets and powered by Seamless Payments (Nasdaq OMX).

Michael Golembo Sales Director

SkillOnNet provides the best value entertainment of the highest quality for casino players and the most state of the art flexible, customisable and user-friendly online gaming platform for their B2B Clients and Partners. With a decade of front-line online gaming experience SkillOnNet has a fully customisable turn-key solution for your online gaming needs. Powering over 21 successful Online casinos come and find out how their ‘Winning Formula’ software solution can work for you!

Alex Tomic Co-Founder

SlotsMillion, owned by ALEA, is the world’s first real-money virtual reality casino. SlotsMillion VR is fully functional, Oculus-ready, futuristic and features existing games from developers like NextGen, Microgaming and NetEnt.

Graziella Mercieca Director of Sales

Sending personalized, bulk SMS has never been so easy and affordable. SMSwarriors is a new and easy way to send local and international personalized, bulk SMS. We’ve been in the industry for a long, long time and understand well what the marketer needs. We’e put a great deal of energy into making SMSwarriors simple, reliable and effective. Introduce bulk SMS in your marketing mix and enjoy better results!

Kasper Kau CEO

Through innovation and ingenuity, Spigo lead the way in developing both customised, branded slots and casual games for the casino industry. Our unique products allow operators to stay ahead of the pack and capitalise on the ever growing casual gaming sector, creating a cross over where casual meets casino. Easy to integrate and HTML5 based, our portfolio includes casual games as well as bespoke slots games, where we work with clients to create a game tailored to localisation or branding needs.

Dr. Andreas Blaue Head of Legal Department and Director Entertainment

Sport1 is the only free TV and pay TV based 24/7 Sports channel in the german speaking market reaching more than 24 Mio viewers per month and nearly 8 Mio digital unique users with the platform mobile. Sport1 is offering attractive sports content through various channels LIVE, talks, previews and reports, having the main rights of the UEFA Europa League and several rights of the Bundesliga. It is the first mover in advertising Poker, Betting, Casino and Lotto and therefore Sport1 is the perfect entry into the german gambling market.

Felix Sandberg Head of Affiliates

Staybet has been rapidly growing since launch in 2015, Staybet offers a wide selection of casino games togheter With sportsbook and live casino, Focusing on giving our players the absolute best gaming experience. We offer a transparent cooperation with our affiliates with taylor made deals of up to 50% revenue share.

Nominated for several innovation awards, SlotsMillion VR ramps up players’ engagement levels and creates exciting new social aspects.



Ylona Schroevers Head of Acquisition

SuppClupp is the outsourcing solution to your support challenges. Specialized in customer support and VIP management, we tackle any challenge that involves support and retention. A flexible solution for all your support needs. Contact us to talk about all the different solutions available.

Christian Hellman Sales Director

Founded in 1999, Tain’s main strength lies in its range of inhouse products, including a market-leading gaming platform, payment gateway, casino games, and a comprehensive sports book and odds feed. The company has also integrated top-tier game providers such as NetEnt, Evolution and Play’nGo.

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Tal Itzhak Ron Advocate

Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. Law Firm - the award winning gaming law firm since 2003, boasts a team of 11 lawyers and jurists headquartered in Tel Aviv, part of a larger group of privately owned companies spanning 8 jurisdictions. The group, headed by Advocate and Notary Tal Itzhak Ron, focuses exclusively on Online Gambling law, Ad Tech and Financial Entertainment, representing the biggest names in these sectors and recommended by all leading platform providers as the first point of contact.

Andy Tanti Business Development Manager

The Palace is a 5-star hotel, highly rated for its services, gastronomy, organization, professional level and surroundings – and it has succeeded in creating a luxurious space in the city. Chic and comfortable accommodation is offered together with mouthwatering dishes served at our award winning restaurants and leisure facilities to suit all.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Erik Hedberg Affiliate Director

Thrills Casino was founded by a group of casino enthusiasts with a clear goal: to bring colour and life to the world of casino entertainment. Our vast experience from the casino industry has taught us both what’s important to players and what could be done simpler and more exciting.

Andrea Eminyan Sales & Corporate Director

Based in Tower Road, Touring Mediterraneo is a travel agency that specializes for online gaming companies - B2B and B2C. Touring Mediterraneo has been entrusted by SiGMA with the complex task of flying all 300 affiliates to Malta from all corners of the world.

The journey towards a more entertaining and colourful casino experience has started.

Ioannis Pagounis Product Manager

Despite its inception being only two years ago in 2014, Tipbet is already a major player in the sports betting market. Their state-of-the-art sportsbook technology incorporates a smooth interface with a plethora of betting options and markets that cover all major sports and leagues. Their growth has resulted in major partnership deals with football clubs SV Werder Bremen and Fortuna Dusseldorf, as well as the easyCredit German Basketball Bundesliga. They also offer high-quality live streaming of sports events, such as football and ESL eSports, to customers.

Kevin Norville Director of Human Resources

Tipico Careers was launched in January 2015 and has since become an established careers brand within the online gaming sector in displays the benefits Tipico has to offer, the company’s history and success story, its offices and a spotlight video about Malta.

Ondrej Lapides CEO

Tom Horn Gaming is leading certified casino games supplier with offices in Malta, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Costa Rica. We develop unique content with proven successful results in both online and land-based environments. Our portfolio includes a full suite of casino games including roulette, video pokers and most popular video slots.

Alex Spiteri Gingell Director

With more than 15 years’ experience, Transcripta is the leading provider in Malta of legal, business and technical translations. Our clients include EU institutions, Government Authorities and companies from the legal, financial, pharmaceutical and i-Gaming industries. We are officially authorised to issue legally certified translations in compliance with ISO 9001 and EN-15038 quality standards. Cost-effectiveness, strict confidentiality and timely delivery are guaranteed.

Sam Barrett Head of Gaming

Trustly is a Swedish payments company that is revolutionizing the way people pay online. Trustly works with more than 100 gaming companies to provide instant deposits and withdrawals, fulfilling players’ needs for speed and security.

Will Fyler Business Development

TXOdds products underpin the foundations of leading bookmakers and professional betting syndicates around the world. From the fastest and most robust price feed available, to an archive of pricing data, to bespoke business alerting, TXOdds offer a range of products that empowers clients by feeding them the information that they desire from the best data obtainable.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Gary Beal Managing Director

Vanguard Online Media is one of the only agencies with both a deep penetration into the gaming market and experience with international and Multilanguage SEO. In addition to SEO, Vanguard SEO pride themselves on having a team proficient and experienced in other areas such as PPC, Affiliates, Usability Testing, Blogging & Social Media, Brand Protection and Training.

Nicky Genovese Affiliate Manager

VIKS is an innovative and engaging Online Casino for thrillseeking gamblers. Alongside 800+ Casino games which consists of Video Slots, Table Games and Live Casino Tables, VIKS offers a newly launched Sportsbook with hundreds of different sports and thousands of live events on around the year – all this on desktop, mobile and tablet.

Gijs Liekens Sales Manager

VIP Response is an online marketing network. From our offices in the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and Malaysia we work worldwide in lead generation, affiliate marketing, mobile user acquisition, mobile subscription and list management.

Warren Russell CEO

W2 Global Data provide a wide range of SaaS screening tools to help organisations conduct regulatory Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Fraud prevention due diligence, in a domestic and international capacity. Services include ID and Age verification, PEP and Sanctions screening and device location or reputation management.

Stephen Ford Business Development Manager

Western Union Business Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of cross-border business payments. With expertise in moving funds around the globe, access to over 130 currencies, and a global financial network spanning more than 200 countries and territories.

Olga Finkel Founder & Partner

WH Partners is a Malta-based business law firm with focus and a sound reputation for its work in gaming and gambling, ICT, digital industries, privacy and data protection, financial services and e-payments, corporate finance, M&A and taxation. The firm has won international awards for its service levels and is ranked and recommended, together with its partners and lawyers, by the foremost independent legal directories.

Daniel Eriksson CEO

Viral Technology is a one stop shop for bespoke online gaming solutions with state of the art back office and internal payment and games integrations. The company provides fully serviced turn-key solution with a unique branding. The customers only need to focus on business development, marketing and customer retention in their selected market area. Ready selection of Tier 1 game and payment providers ensures competitiveness in any focus market.

Jason Chess Partner

Wiggin is a law firm focusing exclusively on the media and technology sectors, and on brand protection. Wiggin’s Betting & Gaming practice is the largest in the UK and offers an unrivalled breadth of expertise in the full range of legal issues, including regulatory, corporate, commercial, technology, IP, data protection, tax, privacy and advertising guidance – all from lawyers with in-depth sector knowledge.


Who’s Who | SiGMA


Mark Abela Schinas Head of Product

Wikibetting offers Social betting solutions that can be tailored to Operators specific requirements. Wikibetting is the first P2P social betting platform to be licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority under a class 4. The platforms tap into a new demographic of players and offer players a customised betting approach, where they can literally “Bet On Anything”. The revenue opportunity for the Operator is 100% risk-free. It can also help with B.I, player acquisition and retention. The integration is a seamless streamlined process, which can be either a standalone setup or integrated into your current core platform as a product addition.

Ory Weihs CEO

Leading provider of performance marketing services XLMedia uses proprietary tools and methodologies to drive high value users to their clients’ websites. Within the online gambling and mobile games sectors, XLMedia’s clients include more than 200 gambling clients and 200 non gambling ones.

Julia Chevela Business Development Officer

WireCapital is an international multi-bank payment processing center operates in EU, America, CIS, Asia and in additional jurisdictions worldwide as well. WireCapital strives to provide its customers and partners with flexible and transparent front-end to variety of online-payment methods while delivering the highest possible performance numbers and other business KPIs.

Nikolai Livori CEO

Yobetit was founded in 2012 by iGaming veterans and data mining experts and has been operational since 2014 with Yobetit Surebets; a browser-based sports trading platform. In 2016, Yobetit Sports was launched using the same proprietary technology which helps offer unbeatable prices on select markets.

Asier Pereda Channels Manager

Matt Lovett Managing Director

WOW Trk is a global affiliate network with over 400 direct and exclusive offers for affiliates to promote. We have offers available in a wide range of verticals; freebies, competitions, deals, gambling, gaming, dating and much more. Get paid per lead, action or click. We also offer a range of free tools to boost affiliate commissions such as tools to automate certain aspects of your ad space, automatically optimising ad space to get the best EPC or Conversion Rate.

Tobias Carlsson Head of Operations

Wunderino was launched in the spring of 2016 by I-gaming veterans. Although the site is translated to the Nordic languages, the main target market is Germany. Wunderino will add revolutionary features in the near future so keep an eye on the new “mobile first” Casino.

Zendesk is a customer service platform. It’s designed for companies that want to create customer relationships that are more meaningful, personal, and productive. It starts by helping companies provide great support and then mature with selfservice and proactive engagement. The software is now built all over the world, by a growing group of talented, charming people.




Media Partners | SiGMA


MEDIA PARTNERS Ros Wade Managing Director

Asia Gaming Brief is an intelligence service providing up to date information for worldwide executives on the gaming market issues in Asia. Our services include a daily eBrief featuring the latest news and headlines across 22 jurisdictions in Asia, and weekly intelligence articles for AGB members that go in­-depth into specific markets or recent developments. Asia Gaming Briefings is our print magazine, published alongside the major global gaming shows, which provides essential jurisdiction updates as well as feature articles.

Rebecca Liggero Reporter

The well renowned is participating again in SiGMA this November. The leading iGaming online publication has been the global destination for online gambling news, lifestyle information, conferences, industry shakers and event coverage since its inception. is a non-profit website, aiming to be carbon neutral and encouraging other players in the online gaming industry to follow this philosophy. All profit generated goes to support initiatives of the Calvin Ayre Foundation.

Gary Trask Managing Editor

Casino City is the premier information source for gaming enthusiasts and professionals. Casino City directory features detailed profiles of more than 3,000 casinos, card rooms, horse tracks, dog tracks, casino cruises and cruise ships around the world as well as 2,000 online casinos, poker rooms, sportsbooks and bingo halls.

Jamie Kean Publishing Director

Originally launched in 2005 as a unique quarterly B2B publication covering the entire Gaming and iGaming sectors, CGi quickly established itself globally as one of the most respected and well-read publications in the industry. Supported by the industry’s leading associations, commissions, governments, authorities, providers and event organisers, CGi is relaunched in 2016 offering unique and innovative viewpoints, leadership insights, thought-provoking commentary and expertise from the Gaming and iGaming industry’s most well respected individuals and authorities.

Renata Vella Business Development

Content Factory integrates strategic planning, journalistic excellence, creative marketing and digital expertise. We work with our clients across many sectors, and we create and deliver content in multiple media channels, each relying on our core strengths and complementing one another in our various organisational and professional arenas.

Garvan Keating Director EMEA

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.


Media Partners | SiGMA


Stephanie Fiteni Online Marketing Consultant

At Defined Branding, we help our clients build strong, enduring brands that stand out and inspire loyalty. We believe in analytical research, strategy and creative digital solutions that engage the hearts and minds of your audience. We help our clients grow their businesses through sharp online strategies with a serious digital edge.

Deepak Malkani Commercial Director

Gambling Insider is the premier event-driven B2B publication for the entire gaming industry. Full of current, compelling editorial, GI offers essential information to senior management worldwide, acting as an additional tool to advance understanding of key strategic issues. Accessible to members via print, online, Apple AppStore, Google Play and Kindle Fire.

We are a team of creative thinking ghost-writers and bloggers, branding creatives, content marketing specialists, online strategists, web developers, 2D & 3D artists and videographers.

Rossi McKee Editor in Chief

e-GAME SPECTRUM is a magazine focused on the gaming and entertainment industry in the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. It covers various aspects of the gaming and entertainment business – from new trends and technologies in the industry to regulatory issues and new market developments.

Zoltan Tundik Founder

EEG is the hub of igaming in Eastern and Central Europe and offers quality B2B services for companies looking to expand to this region. Whether you are looking for affiliate programs or operators, licensing and legal updates, recruiting or printed magazine, you will find an A-Z service on their portal.

Melanie Dayasena-Lowe Managing Editor

eGaming Review (EGR) magazine is the world’s acknowledged leader in business-to-business information provision for the online gaming industry, featuring consistent exclusive news, interviews and comment from the most influential people in the sector. EGR is supported by a dedicated website,, which features up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news, people moves and opinion from across the iGaming industry.

Ollie Wood Global Sales Director

GamblingCompliance is the leading provider of independent business intelligence to the global gambling industry. We help industry professionals, advisors and investors reduce their regulatory risk exposure by specializing in legal, regulatory, political and market information; eLearning; and bespoke research; to understand what regulatory change today means for business opportunities tomorrow. Find out more at

Chris North CEO & Founder

GamCrowd is a crowdfunding and sourcing platform focused on the gambling industry. GamCrowd will provide a platform for industry professionals and investors of all types who will provide support for the establishment of new businesses in the gambling sector through equity crowdfunding and with general support through crowdsourcing.

Kio Dawson Chief Analyst

Gaming Intelligence is dedicated exclusively to serving the business intelligence needs of the global interactive gaming industry. Providing timely coverage and analysis of all the developments impacting industry stakeholders, and its sister publication GIQ Magazine are an invaluable daily tool amongst key decision makers within gaming operators, national regulators, the legal and financial communities and the wider media.


Media Partners | SiGMA


Michael Corfman Director

With nearly 15,000 registered members, the Gambling Portal Webmasters Association is the only professional organization of its kind. We are committed to supporting the success of our members, and all of our programs are designed based on this objective. Membership in the organization is free and is made possible by the support of our sponsor affiliate programs.

Ed Grundy Sales Manager

iGB Affiliate is the biggest provider of information, insight and analysis for the iGaming affiliate market. The affiliate facing brand of iGaming Business, iGB Affiliate specialises in providing high-quality information to everyone working within the online gambling affiliate industry, whether through our events, publications or online content.

Keith Furlong CEO

The Interactive Gaming Council (IGC) is a non-profit trade association that serves as a collective voice for the interactive gaming industry. The IGC champions initiatives that address the multi-various challenges and opportunities facing the Internet gambling industry, in order to ensure an environment of fair and responsible gambling.

Natalie Lees Marketing Manager

Published bi-monthly, iNTERGAMINGi is read by thousands of online gaming executives around the globe. Each issue is full of industry news, analytical features, interviews with industry leaders and trade show reviews. It regularly includes regulatory updates and jurisdictional supplements. Each issue contains sections dedicated to the sports betting, casino gaming and affiliate sectors.

Michael Caselli Director

Lyceum Media is a niche PR firm specializing in providing public relations and special events services to the igaming industry – online casino and poker operators and software developers. The company was founded reactively to exploit the experience and abilities of its founders and to consolidate their considerable experience in journalism, casino marketing and PR into one entity.

Saviour Balzan Founder & Co Owner

MaltaToday is an independent, English-language Maltese newspaper, published on Sunday and Wednesday. It was launched in 1999 and soon became the leading no holds barred issue-oriented publication. The digital version of MaltaToday is a 24/7 online newspaper renowned for its investigative and analytical journalism together with commentary, culture, sports and business.

James Cassar Managing Partner

MYeventplanner is part of Event Planner Co Ltd. Specialising in corporate and social events of any size, the team has a number of high-profile events under its belt. These include events with international celebrities as well as large scale and innovative events. Events organised regularly by our team include B2Bs, B2Cs, product launches, gala nights, staff events, incentives, conferences and training seminars in Malta.

Cristina Doganini Director is a digital daily newspaper dedicated to the Italian gambling industry. All the elements of the industry are inside: Newslot, Vlt, casinos, poker, betting, bingo, lotteries, on- or off-line with editorial content, articles and interviews. In you can find information about companies, international and national events.


SiGMA | Media Partners

Ruby Grima Film Maker & Music Producer

Pure Media Malta is an ever growing company which specialises in producing various forms of visual film media from trailers, event features, TV Adverts, corporate films, documentaries, music videos & more, all with a creative touch & attention to the little things that are often overlooked.

Andrew McCarron Managing Director

Sports Betting Community (SBC) is dedicated to raising the profile and coverage of gambling operators, software suppliers and industry start-ups in the complex and saturated online gaming market. It does this via its news website, its industry events such as Betting on Football Conference, Betting on Football Awards, Betting on Sport & London Baby, and is consultancy arm SBCmedia.



Isabel Tapp Founder & CEO

Tappintomalta is a specialist PR & communications company offering tailor-made media relations solutions to corporates seeking to raise their brand awareness in Malta. Full Public Relations services including content writing and distribution to print, online, blogger and influencer networks as well as corporate and media events.

SiGMAgazine Issue 5