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gazine

SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING/SUMMER 2017

COVER STORY CARLA MAREE VELLA, OPTIMIZER INVEST

1,000 FREE FLIGHTS! FOR AFFILIATES, C LEVELS TO ATTEND SiGMA17

MALTA GAMING WEEK: 20-26 NOV SAVE THE DATE!

ARE YOU A START-UP? APPLY TODAY AND CLAIM €20,000 AT SiGMA17

GAMING IN MALTA UPDATE


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Editorial | SiGMA

Eman Pulis & Dennis Dyhr-Hansen

EDITORIAL FROM A SIMPLE BEDROOM PROJECT TO A BUZZING SHOW THAT HAS DOUBLED IN SIZE OVER THREE YEARS AND SHOWS NO SIGNS OF PLATEAU. THIS HAS BEEN OUR HUMBLING JOURNEY SO FAR; A ROLLER COASTER THAT HAS CONNECTED MANY ENTREPRENEURS AND GAINED A LOT OF RESPECT FROM THE ELITE OF IGAMING. 2017 IS THE VERY FIRST YEAR WHERE WE’RE EMBRACING THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF A GLOBAL SHOW, WITH THE GROWING INTEREST OF INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHTS FROM ALL CONTINENTS. Shortly after SiGMA16 we took heed of your feedback and will be introducing some interesting upgrades, including, but not limited to the following: 1. Conferences: The conferences worked marvels in 2016, with a number of partnerships and a new cabaret-style layout room, the hall was packed from 9am to 6pm. We plan on establishing more partnerships, and applying even stricter guidelines for the best speakers. We’re also changing the way content is presented by reducing the run-of-the-mill panel, at times mind-numbing discussions with more engaging content. We plan on establishing more partnerships, upping the quality of the discussions, and programming more engaging content across all aspects of the event. Harsh as it may sound; we’re even tempted to have the speakers rated live – power to the audience! 2. 1,000 Free Flights: Inspired by the movie 300, last year we gave 300 flights to affiliates. The initiative went down very well with affiliates and operators, so this year we’re stretching our budgets by inviting 500 NEW affiliates and also 500 top C level executives, mostly CTOs, CPOs, CEOs, and COOs – to keep the B2B side of the business equally busy with a fresh bloodline of potential customers. Exhibitors are encouraged to invite VIP guests and enjoy flights and a string of hospitality events on us. 3. SiGMA Start-up Pitch: Our launch of the SiGMA start-up pitch went really well, with some start-ups landing lucrative offers. We intend keeping our unique, swift format of a three minute presentation, followed by a seven minute grilling session with the investors. This year, however, we’ll invest heavily on this front by giving start-ups who qualify the possibility to, not only pitch, but also get exposure on our magazine, website, exhibit at the show at no cost. We will also offer office space at our new Gaming Hub, Msida Skatepark, Malta, for a full year to the top three start-ups who wish to use Malta as a base for business development or even relocation – the office space comes with full consultancy from a team of seasoned industry veterans. 4. Venue size: Arguably the toughest of decisions we had to endure to date – stay where we are but be unable to grow the show with new exhibitors or move elsewhere? Hardly anyone wanted to release their booking for 2017, which meant we literally couldn’t sell a single stand space to a new exhibitor.

Delegates want to meet existing but also new exhibitors. For us it was important to keep the show cosy and fun but at the same time enable it to grow, with new exhibitors. 2016 was already a bit of a squeeze in terms of crowd so we decided to go for a bigger venue with an exciting set up branded ‘iGaming Village’, with six themed bars, three themed restaurants and two themed lounges – all free of charge to all delegates. Why would you want to stay elsewhere, with the igaming village brimming with activity? 5. Recruitment: SiGMA opened its doors for recruitment too, paving the way for a careers convention the last four hours. Hundreds of qualified attendees roamed around with resumes in hand. We’re confident this feature will gain even more momentum moving forward, with more attendees and more sponsors/exhibitors expected to involve their HR department. 6. Vetting of Exhibitors: In an unprecedented move we’ve decided to team up with the most respected non English speakers might struggle out there to vet operators. Each operator that wants to buy stand space needs to be approved by at least two judges. We want affiliates to walk across the SiGMA floor plan knowing that all exhibiting operators are genuine, that the traffic sent to them will be handled well, that commissions are paid in full and in due time. We also want to offer a level playing field to operators – why should a lawabiding operator have to compete with a crook for traffic? 7. Strategic Partnerships: We’ve worked hand in hand with the Maltese government, the MGA, Gaming Malta as well as GamCrowd, KPMG eSummit, the BiG Foundation, the Malta Community Chest Fund and others, to create a unique networking environment where people enjoy discussing business and build long-term working relationships. The above upgrades are a reflection that we’re putting the delegate, be it an affiliate, operator, B2B, start-up, investor or other at the heart of every decision. We want to foster a long term networking environment, predominantly with a stronger show, but also throughout the year with even more networking events. We understand that people network better in a relaxed, fun environment; so we decided to make this our new slogan - simple, succinct and reflective of the true SiGMA spirit – “Enjoy Making Money”

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Contents | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

134

OFFICIAL PARTNERS

CONTENTS Developing landscape of gaming regulation

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SiGMA Start-up Pitch winner Tamir Berier 25 Paving the way for robust growth

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Long term plans for a solid affiliate team 33 Celebrity-centred affiliation

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Top of the food chain with UXD design 39 Hot legal challenges affecting the gaming Industry

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From provider to operator

55

The compliance process

25

61

The Betting Gods have spoken

69

Next generation payment platform: Hipay 73 Photo Gallery

79

Going viral from Finland & Malta: Daniel Eriksson

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124

Cover story: Optimizer Invest CEO, Carla Maree Vella

134

DFS: The social Revolution

139

New, Fun and Entertaining: Casino and Friends

141

Maintaining a winning streak: Christine Marrah

Maltese Talent Thriving in Gaming

141

Bitcoin and beyond

147

155

147 152 155

Beyond what you learn in SEO 101

159

Who’s who

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Editor: Eman Pulis Consulting Editor: Dennis Dyhr-Hansen Sales: Jarek GĂłrny, Sophie Crouzet, Anthony Medica, Adrian White & Rose Cutajar Design: Nicholas Cutajar facebook.com/nicodesignmalta Photography: Aleksey Leonov Hand delivered to various expos worldwide, executive lounges, Maltese embassies and government institutions. The magazine is also delivered by post to 5,000 leading gaming companies worldwide. For information regarding promotion and advertising kindly call (+356) 2131 4191 or email info@maltaigamingsummit.com maltaigamingsummit.com SiGMAgazine is published by Viking PC Health Ltd., Gaming Hub, Judge Paolo Debono Str., Msida Skate Park, Msida. MSD2032, Malta.

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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.

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Regulation | SiGMA

DEVELOPING LANDSCAPE OF GAMING REGULATION BY JOSEPH CUSCHIERI

FOLLOWING A BUSY FEW MONTHS, SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH THE MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY’S EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, JOSEPH CUSCHIERI, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE DEVELOPING LANDSCAPE OF GAMING REGULATION AND THE AUTHORITY’S POSITION.

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SiGMA | Regulation

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

From L to R: Anton Cristina, CEO, CSL, Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, MGA at SiGMA16.

At the end of February, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) hosted a conference entitled “The Developing Landscape of Gaming Regulation. What Next?” with an emphasis on the key drivers of the future of gambling. Could you share some outcomes of the conference with us? How does the regulatory body see the future of online gaming? Traditionally, not many regulators are usually present at these kind of events so, in this respect, the conference we organised was one of a kind in that the MGA welcomed no less than 24 fellow regulators which created the perfect opportunity for them to interact and exchange views with the several operators who also attended this event. Following a number of panels discussing regulatory issues, several workshops were held during the afternoon session dealing with various current topics affecting this constantlyevolving industry. The workshop format enabled inclusive and informal discussions among the various stakeholders which may now be taken to higher levels. A number of action points for the attention of regulators were identified. These discussions reflected the will of the various regulators to get a better understanding of the operations in the industry. While from a legal perspective, it is clear that almost all European regulators have adopted separated national regimes, it is also evident that an increasing number of them are interested in learning more about the industry and implementing controls that are practical and relevant to it. It seems like the MGA is looking into the possibility of regulating the use of cryptocurrencies in gaming. Recently, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat himself made bold remarks in favour of Europe leading the way in bitcoin: where are we? And is the MGA working closely with the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) on this front? The MGA is fully cognizant of the fact that the rise of cryptocurrencies is inevitable. Conscious of the need to remain at the forefront of innovation, the Authority has commissioned a study with the involvement of other local stakeholders, including the MFSA, to ensure that all the relevant factors are taken into consideration in devising the manner in which best to cater for the use of cryptocurrencies in gaming. Thus, so far the key risks presented thereby have been identified. The Authority is committed to permitting its licensees to introduce the use of cryptocurrencies in the immediate future once the above-mentioned study is concluded. The outcomes of this study are expected to assist the MGA in devising a commensurate framework which incorporates the necessary safeguards to ensure 010

“Fantasy Sports has been gathering significant interest over the past few years. However, it still remains to be seen whether the American phenomenon will be able to catch on in Europe.” that the introduction of cryptocurrencies in the local gaming ecosystem does not prejudice primary regulatory objectives, such as the protection of players, the prevention of crime, and the reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction. During the first semester of 2016, the gaming industry contributed 12% of the total economic value added generated in the Maltese economy with employment in the gaming industry rising by 31% year on year. Do you anticipate Fantasy Sports playing a significant role in sustaining this growth? Fantasy Sports has been gathering significant interest over the past few years. However, it still remains to be seen whether the American phenomenon will be able to catch on in Europe. Suffice it to say that our recent initiatives in this sector have generated numerous queries and substantial interest. The Skill Games Regulations came into force last January. Undoubtedly, this was a big step for the industry. What was the reason behind introducing this new set of Regulations? This new framework has given us the ability to apply the right controls on new, emergent games in accordance with the risks they pose to consumers. After research into these evolving products, the MGA found that while the proliferation of certain online skill games offered for money may require regulatory intervention, the risks being presented were different to those being presented, for example, by online casinos. Different products present different risks to consumers and the creation of a framework that is more specific to skill games will allow us to look at these emerging games with a different lens.


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Regulation | SiGMA

“We are always trying to make things easier for operators that must be compliant with an increasing range of different laws. The industry has evolved significantly over the last few years and this has shifted the focus on empowering consumers, putting them at the centre of all regulation and ensuring they have the right tools to manage their participation in an evolving sector.” How do you see the future of the Fantasy Sports niche in Malta and how do you think it will change in the light of the new Regulations? A set of criteria make Fantasy Sports a skill-based game, not a game of chance. Now that we have designed a framework, that includes specific technical requirements for Fantasy Sports operators, I believe that more operators will be looking at Malta as their jurisdiction of primary establishment in view of the legal certainty now in place and a robust, consumer-centric framework. This framework will consolidate and increase Malta’s profile as a highly reputable jurisdiction when it comes to the regulation of gaming, with the licence itself being the golden standard of quality. Some Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) are more skill-based than others because their modes of assessment is more complex. Are there a number of criteria that a DFS needs to fulfill in order to qualify as a skill-based game? First of all, the framework doesn’t only address Daily Fantasy Sports, but also addresses weekly or season-long fantasy games. The law itself lists the criteria against which the MGA needs to carry out an assessment. We look at the specifications of the game itself, how points are generated and assigned to players and any other game features. If we remain unconvinced that it is a skill-based game, we will ask the operator to present proof – the onus to prove that it is indeed a skill-based game rests with the operator. The MGA has amended the Remote Gaming Regulations to strengthen consumer protection and promote administrative simplification. What were the most important changes you implemented? What did they mean for operators and players? We are always trying to make things easier for operators who must be compliant with an increasing range of different laws. The industry has evolved significantly over the last few years and this has shifted the focus on empowering consumers, putting them at the centre of all regulation and ensuring they have the right tools to manage their participation in an evolving sector. The most recent changes to the law were instigated by these considerations and shall also serve as a basis for further change which is yet to come with the regulatory overhaul we are proposing to government this year. Having been in the regulation game for over ten years now, the MGA is cognizant of the shortcomings that must be addressed in order to keep Malta on the regulatory forefront, forever innovating and growing the sector while ensuring the pillars of gaming regulation are not jeopardised.

We know that the MGA continued working with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) on the implementation of the new 4th Anti Money Laundering Directive (AMLD), set to come into force this year. Could you shed some light on this cooperation and its results? We can report very positive progress with regard to cooperation with the FIAU in recent months. All operators in the gaming industry will become ‘obliged entities’ under the new 4th AMLD and we have been working hard, together with the FIAU, to implement the Directive and publish clear guidelines on how the various sectors of the industry ought to assume their new obligations. Following informal consultation with the industry and a risk assessment, the MGA is now discussing particular aspects of the proposed implementation with the FIAU. Once a draft document is agreed to between the two entities, the industry will be consulted once again. The MGA, supported by the FIAU, is committed to implementing the new directive in a way which safeguards the industry from money laundering and the funding of terrorism while ensuring that the controls imposed are commensurate with the exigencies of the industry. The Malta Gaming Authority participated in SiGMA16 and you took part in the Regulatory Conference. How did you find last year’s edition? I believe SiGMA16 was a great event! A number of high profile speakers and industry experts participated, and the topics tackled during the different discussion panels were very relevant and engaging. The presence of top industry stakeholders continued to increase in this last edition, leading to some excellent networking opportunities for those who attended. All this makes SiGMA a truly international gaming EXPO, placing Malta, once again, on the ‘Must Do’ list of the yearly gaming calendar events.

Edwina Licari, Chief officer, Legal, EU & Int Affairs, MGA, chairing a panel discussion about Brexit and its impact on gaming at SiGMA16.

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The Headlines | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

The HEADLINES OCTOBER 2016

Betsson opened second office in Malta for European expansion Sports betting operator Betsson AB opened a second office in Malta. The new office “Betsson E² Hub” is situated in the town of St Julian’s. It houses approximately 300 employees and acts as a support department for the operators’ growing European footprint. When confirming the opening of the office in Malta, Betsson management stated that the E² Hub would house a mix of different departments. The operator maintains its “centralised operations” within its “Experience Centre” which is situated in the town of Ta’ Xbiex, Malta. “Betsson Group is experiencing strong growth, and as a result, we are continually looking to bolster our talent pool, hiring the brightest talent from across Europe. This expansion means we have simply outgrown the Betsson Experience Centre, and as a result, will be expanding to a second building”, said Taina Makkonen, the Chief HR Officer at Betsson Group.

Unibet confirmed Launch of BetUp Instant by Commologic Unibet confirmed the launch of BetUP

Instant, with industry UX developers Commologic, being the first ever industry operator to integrate Commologic’s BetUP product. The product allows its players to participate in instant pool-betting games predicting events within live football matches. The BetUP Instant update provides Unibet with up to 30 additional betting opportunities for every football match. It acts as a micro-pool on the next BetUP question. This increases game turnover with a guaranteed and fixed profit margin for the operator. The new instant bets allowed BetUP to become an even more engaging game, giving players an enjoyable experience from kick-off to the final whistle. Players can now join a BetUP Instant game without a ticket, and can still enjoy the product if they are behind on the core BetUP game or if they missed the start.

NetEnt and Gauselmann signed contract for Italian retail market NetEnt and German gaming producer Gauselmann’s subsidiary Merkur Gaming Italia entered into a licencing agreement where NetEnt distributed gaming content to the Italian Comma 6a retail market. The Italian Comma 6a market is the single largest gaming market in Europe with over 350,000 regulated machines currently installed. Chief of European market operations and MD of NetEnt Malta Ltd Enrico Bradamante said: “I’m very excited about working together with Gauselmann. This partnership combines our vast online gaming experience and award-winning digital games with one of the world leaders in the land-based gaming machine industry.”

“I’m delighted to announce that NetEnt games content will soon be available in our games portfolio of Italian Comma 6a machines, and I’m confident that players will be amazed by the quality of these games. NetEnt is a valued partner and I’m thrilled that we are now able to offer their games to Italian consumers.”, added MD of Merkur Gaming Italia Roberto Migliozzi.

LeoVegas granted gaming licence in Denmark Mobile gaming operator LeoVegas was granted a gaming licence for Denmark and are now able to provide their products to Danish players making them the first mobile operator to have operations in the local market. The launch took place in the beginning of December 2016. The LeoVegas approach to their growth relies heavily on local, business-oriented teams. This entrance in Denmark was conducted with no major expansion of their current organisation. A local team was put together in Denmark of industry experts in digital marketing and the Danish gaming market who are responsible for the company’s operations there. Group CEO and LeoVegas co-founder Gustaf Hagman stated: “LeoVegas expansion continues, and it is gratifying to see how we grow in new markets. Our strategy to enter regulated markets or markets that are facing regulation seems like a winning concept”

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SiGMA | The Headlines

NOVEMBER 2016

DraftKings and FanDuel announced merger The two largest operators of Daily Fantasy Sport, DraftKings and FanDuel, agreed to a merger of their business operations.The merger is expected to be finalised in the second half of 2017 and if approved this deal would create a DFS giant that would control a whopping 80% of the US market. The two companies have been engaged in massive legal battles across the USA in a bid to see DFS legalised in certain states. This has led to both companies suffering cash-flow problems due to these legal fights, and they both expect to still face roadblocks along the way. Seeing that both companies are fighting the same legal battle in almost every US state, the savings they will experience in legal expenses along is a huge advocate in justifying the merger. CEO Jason Robbins says: “By combining and streamlining resources, FanDuel and DraftKings can work more efficiently and economically with state government officials to develop a standard regulatory framework for the industry.”

Mr Green granted approval for Nasdaq Stockolm listing Mr Green & Co AB was granted the right to a public offering on its stock exchange by the Listing Committee of the Nasdaq Stockholm. Mr Green governance declared while updating the market and company stakeholders, that the operator would target a 30 November float on the Nasdaq Stockholm, moving its prime listing from the Swedish Aktie Torget market. “Mr Green is well positioned to continue the implementation of the new business strategy in order to 016

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

achieve its targets to grow faster than the market with increased profitability and to become the leading player in sustainability and Green Gaming”, Mr Green CEO Per Norman declaired. While confirming its potential Nasdaq placement, Mr Green governance further stated that its IPO plans would help the operator to secure a bigger group of investors for its ongoing international growth strategy.

NetEnt and PaddyPower entered contract for UK retail market Slots creator NetEnt signed an agreement with PaddyPower to license their gaming content for use in UK land-based gaming machines. This deal also covered the former partnership existing with their online business as they aimed to increase the crossover between the two.

The SRIJ licence entitled PokerStars to offer tournament poker, Hold’em and Omaha cash games, as well as Blackjack and Roulette. The website will mark the first time for Portuguese players to be able to gamble legally on PokerStars since the company left the market in July 2015 following the country’s adoption of new gambling regulation.

DECEMBER 2016

Betconstruct secured Class 2 Romanian license BetConstruct secured a Class II gaming licence from the Romanian National Gambling Office. The company is now able to supply its platform to all online gaming operators within the Romanian regulated market.

Paddy Power had 339 LBOs totalling more than 1,300 gaming machines in the UK. According to the agreement, NetEnt is now distributed in Paddy Power’s land-based gaming machines in the UK. This made it the second retail agreement by NetEnt for the UK Licenced betting Office market.

“BetConstruct views Romania as a significant and forward-looking jurisdiction. With the ONJN license, we are bringing our powerful betting technology to local operators enabling them to stand-out in this important market”, BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian said.

Enrico Bradamante, Chief of European Market Operations and MD of NetEnt Malta Ltd, commented: “I am very pleased that we are extending our partnership with Paddy Power to include distribution to gaming machines in their betting shops. I am confident that their players will enjoy our thrilling, award-winning games.”

This licence added on to the company’s licences granted by Malta Gambling Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, as well as other jurisdictions, which allows BetConstruct to help its partners meet any necessary requirements for operating in different regions.

PokerStars first to be granted online poker license in Portugal PokerStars, subsidiary company of Amaya, was the first company to be granted a casino and poker licence to operate its website in the Portuguese market. The Serviços de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos national regulatory body confirmed that it awarded the online poker licence to REEL Europe Ltd – a division of Amaya – who will operate the PokerStars website, Pokerstars.pt.

Cherry became third largest Nordic Gaming company with the acquisition of remaining ComeOn shares Swedish gaming company Cherry AB opted to attain the remaining 51% of the shares in ComeOn Malta Ltd. As a result of this acquisition, Cherry aims to triple their revenue becoming the third largest Nordic-focused private sector gaming company. The company’s combined pro forma revenues for the third quarter of 2016 amount for SEK 475 million with an EBITDA of SEK 109 million. The Cherry Group expects that with


The Headlines | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

the acquisition of ComeOn, it will generate total revenues for the full year 2017 of between SEK 2 600 and SEK 2 700 million with an EBITDA of SEK 550 to SEK 600 million. Fredrik Burvall, President and CEO of Cherry stated: “We are very pleased to be able to now conclude the acquisition of ComeOn, which means that we can considerably strengthen our position in the market. Together we will create an entrepreneurialdriven gaming company where both Cherry and ComeOn have significantly stronger organic growth than the market, and the acquisition improves the Group’s results considerably.”

its portfolio, are now represented by the Kindred Group brand. The name chosen is based on an extensive analysis of the Group culture and identity – kindred – which refers to a relationship between people with similar values, beliefs, and attitudes. This conveys the unified nature of the company and its subsidiary brands.

feature content from over 15 leading gaming software providers. Casino will deliver the new platform via their popular Quickfire platform. It will feature games from providers such as Evolution Gaming, Novomatic, Scientific Gaming, Play’n GO, iSoftBet, Yggdrasil Gaming and more. The full commercial release is expected in Q2 2017.

Unibet Group Chairman of the Board of Directors, Anders Ström, said: “Changing our group name from Unibet Group to Kindred Group marks an historic step for our company, which was founded almost twenty years ago. We are now in a position to move Kindred Group into the future with enhanced clarity and flexibility, creating better conditions for future growth in a dynamic and changing

GoWild’s new iGaming platform will allow them to provide a unique combination of games and deliver promotions via a sophisticated CRM system, with personalised offers and content that allows players to enhance retention and customer loyalty. The platform will also feature a banking and cashier system providing different local payment options.

JANUARY 2017

MGA reports gaming industry employment up by 31% According to the interim performance report published by Malta Gaming Authority, employment in Maltase gaming industry increased by 31% in the first six months of 2016. The report reviews the gaming industry’s performance such as economic value added, the number of licensed operators and employment and tax revenue. It also went on to analyse developments in demand trends and supply capabilities of operators. According to the report, an estimated 6,150 people were employed in the gaming sector by June 2016 with the gaming industry directly contributing 12.0% of the total economic value of the Maltese economy with employment in the gaming industry rising by 31% year on year. The gaming sector is expected to continue to rise and a full report on the sector’s performance in 2016 is expected to be issued on the sector’s performance throughout the May 2017.

Unibet Group officially renamed Kindred Group Plc The name change of Unibet Group plc to Kindred Group plc was officially approved by shareholders at a General Meeting in Stockholm. All ten consumer-facing brands that it has in

business environment.”

Yggdrasil goes live in Italy later this year Yggdrasil Gaming started the process of certifying their games and platform in compliance with Italian technical requirements with 11 of their titles set to go live in Italy in Q2 of 2017. Operators will also be able to gain access to games and Yggdrasils collection of in-game promotional and social sharing tools. Italian operators have continued to be innovative on the mobile channel so they will also welcome Yggdrasil’s HTML5 iSENSE 2.0 platform that allows for smooth integrations and simultaneous releases on mobile and desktop. CEO at Yggdrasil Fredrik Elmqvist announced: “It is about time Yggdrasil ‘crossed the Rubicon’ as Italy is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing markets in gaming. We already had a number of tier-one operators on our books who were active in Italy, so it really was a no-brainer to enter ourselves.”

GoWild launches new igaming platform with 15 software suppliers Online gaming operator GoWild announced that they will be launching a new iGaming platform which will

Chief Executive Officer of GoWild Itai Zak commented on the announcement saying: “GoWild has enjoyed an exclusive relationship with software giant Microgaming over the past 10 years. This has been a fruitful time for us, with Microgaming powering and supporting our growth. As we move to our own platform, we look forward to continuing to work with Microgaming through its award-winning Quickfire platform, as well as other software providers, to deliver best-of-breed content and an exceptional user experience to our loyal players, while sharing mutual success with our partners.”

EveryMatrix enters Romanian market after securing gambling licence EveryMatrix secured two Class II Licences from the National Gambling Office in Romania. Class II allows EveryMatrix to provide their solutions, platform management and hosting facilities to operators within the regulated Romania market. Now, EveryMatrix is better able to assist clients and offer their wide range of award-winning sports and casino solutions in the Romanian market to interested online gambling operators. EveryMatrix CEO Ebbe Groes

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SiGMA | The Headlines

commented: “Our access to the Romanian market comes as a natural consequence of our long-time investment in this country. I am proud to say that Romania shelters our largest EveryMatrix office, with more than 50% of our employees working in the heart of Bucharest. EveryMatrix’s Sportsbook Solution has recently been awarded “The Best Sportsbook Content Provider” in the Romanian industry by the local Casino Life & Business Magazine at the beginning of December 2016 as a sign of recognition.

Daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings secures MGA gaming licence

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From 1st of April 2017 on the company have all the assets of the Swedish focused casino affiliate. The secured assets are expected to generate sales of around €300,000 within the first quarter of 2017 with a pre-tax profit margin of more than 75%. The terms of the acquisition see an upfront payment of €3,575,000 that will be paid as a cash consideration together with the transfer of the assets. Additionally, an earn out of maximum €5 million is in play which will be based on revenue performance for a period of two years. The sellers need to generate a revenue growth in excess of 130 percent within that period in order to achieve the full earnout amount.

DraftKings, one of the two biggest companies in daily fantasy sports, was granted a controlled skill games licence from the Malta Gaming Authority. This will allow them to operate in not only Malta but as well as expanding their reach to many other European Union states. Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer at DraftKings announced the company’s intentions to expand to Germany by the end of March seeing that the country is very involved with fantasy sports activities. ”We looked at what allowed us to become successful in the US, and one of the key factors was that we came into a marketplace where there was already a strong culture of fantasy sports”, Haas said. DraftKings allows its users to place bets on fantasy sports-related activities. The ability to win or lose money depends on the competence to predict professional sports results due to some knowledge of the game. This is why it is considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance. Following the introduction of specific regulations for skill games licences late last year from the MGA, DraftKings has become one of the first to secure licence.

FEBRUARY 2017

Catena Media acquired casino affiliate newcomer of the year Slotsia.com Fast growing online performance marketing and lead generation company Catena Media acquired Slotsia.com and its related assets. Slotsia.com offers engaging gaming industry news, casino guides and casino Top Charts.

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Mr Green purchases online gaming company Dansk Underholdning Mr Green purchased all of the shares of the Danish online gaming company Dansk Underholdning and plans to launch their online casino in Denmark this year. Dansk Underholdning, who holds a Danish casino gaming licence, has a very strong base in the Danish gaming market. The acquisition is conditional on the approval of the Danish Gambling Authority and consolidation is expected to take place in April 2017. Per Norman, CEO of Mr Green & Co. stated: “Since we are focusing on expanding to locally regulated markets, an acquisition in Denmark has been high on our list. Dansk Underholdning is a successful company that we warmly welcome into the Mr Green family”.

Evoke Gaming chose SBtech as its fully managed sportsbook provider The Chameleon360 now provides Evoke Gaming with best-inclass analytics capabilities, offering unparalleled degrees of personalisation for bet encouragement, as well as configurable bonusing and sportsbook features, plus intelligent CRM, internal marketing and reporting capabilities. Evoke Gaming has announced that SBTech is to supply the Malta-based company with its industry-leading fully managed sportsbook and best-in-class Chameleon360 sports betting platform. The systems will be operated under SBTech’s recently awarded Class 4 Remote Gaming Licence, issued by the Malta Gaming Authority. Evoke’s fast-growing sports betting brand Redbet will now offer one of the world’s widest ranges of prematch events and markets, along with unrivalled in-play betting and live streaming, as well as innovative features such as flexible cash out and enhanced combo bets.

MARCH 2017

EveryMatrix completed strategic investment round and appointed new board members EveryMatrix completed a 4.3 €mil. private strategic investment round widening its shareholder base with Strawberry Capital, a large Norwegian fund owned by Petter Stordalen and select private individuals. Simultaneously, high caliber profiles have been added to the EveryMatrix board adding critical skills in preparation for the next expansion phase of the company. The new non-executive board members who all participated in the capital increase, are Anders Böös, former Chairman of IFS, Jan Gottlander, co-founder of Snow Software, and Norbert Teufelberger, co-founder and long term CEO of bwin, as Chairman of EveryMatrix.


The Headlines | SiGMA

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GIG signed largest affiliate acquisition in its history Malta-based Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) and its subsidiary Innovation Labs have acknowledged a deal to obtain the affiliate website Casinotopsonline.com for €11.5 million. This is GIG’s largest acquisition to date, and the agreement will include the website Casinotopsonline.com along with all related assets, which current yearly revenue run-rate is around €3 million with a EBIT margin over 90%. Their vision is to make the iGaming industry “an open and connected ecosystem for the benefit of all” and this acquisition is in keeping with that vision. It is expected that this purchase will increase annual referred firsttime depositors by approximately 25,000 and further enhance Innovation Labs’ position outside of Scandinavia and regulated markets like the UK.

Betsson celebrated its 1,000th employee in Malta Swedish online gaming company, Betsson, employed their 1,000th employee on 6th of March in Malta. On his visit to Betsson, Hon.Gaming Minister Manuel Mallia stated that this was a historic moment for the gaming company, and that the government was devoted to strengthening the gaming industry focusing on increasing the availability of human resources. Betsson has also been dedicated to their internship programmes. The launch of its third intensive 12-week internship student training programme, ’The Betsson Academy 2017’, sees them planning to fill 13 full-time paid positions in their new Malta headquarters. The programme will offer students insights on working within the global online gaming industry with the selected students working in and covering all components of operations.

MGA granted first ever B2B Skill Games Licence to Oulala Malta Gaming Authority granted their very first official controlled B2B skill games licence to Oulala Games Ltd. Oulala updated stakeholders announcing that they have reached their founder’s goal they set four years ago, of being ‘regulated separately from other iGaming activities’. Due to the lack of strategic regulation for fantasy sports, Oulala was unable to operate legally within the UK market and thus needed to acquire a remote gambling licence in order to operate there. The MGA has been the first in Europe to recognise the impact of Daily Fantasy Sports and a need for a special licence. The controlled skilled licence is valid for five years and can be used for either B2C and/or B2B purposes and subject to a number of requirements.

Casumo and SSE Arena Wembley signed partnership deal Malta-based online casino Casumo announced their three-year brand partnership deal with the SSE Arena Wembley in London. Launched back in 2012, the online based casino has been seeking to expand their brand profile in the UK gaming market and has acknowledged their agreement with venue operator AEG Global to become a key sponsor of the SSE Arena. Casumo will now have a presence at the famous London Entertainment venue that accommodates approximately 700,000 visitors yearly. The partnership will also include Casumo’s presence on the internal as well as the external screens. They plan to develop activations, engaging fans over the three year period at selected events as well as reaching venue fans through social media channels.

MCAST and iGaming Academy launched course for 1,000 ICT students iGaming’s leading training provider, the iGaming Academy has teamed up with the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) to launch the first iGaming focused course which will be available to over 1,000 ICT students at the College as of this month. As the first pilot iGaming course, this programme will ultimately raise awareness regarding the industry and career opportunities. Jaime Debono, Managing Director of the iGaming Academy said “The iGaming industry continuously requires highly skilled ICT professionals to join its workforce, by merging an industry recognised iGaming course with the MCAST Batchelor of Science courses related to ICT, students will now be given more opportunities to explore the iGaming industry as a possible career path”

Greentube announced new partnership with bet365 NOVOMATIC Group subsidiary Greentube entered into a new partnership deal with online gaming operator bet365. The gaming operator’s customers are now able to access and enjoy the vast selection of casino games provided by Greentube. Bet365 will be offering new titles from renowned NOVOMATIC blue chip slots like Lucky Lady’s Charm, Book of Ra, Sizzling Hot and many more popular casino games from Greentube’s third party providers and subsidiaries like Abzorba Games and BlueBat Games. Greentube Head of Marketing & Sales Gernot Baumgartner commented: “We are thrilled to announce another successful partnership and are proud to offer our well-known games selection to bet365 players.”

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SiGMA | The Headlines

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lucky UK player who after only three spins, walked away with a magnificent €2,700,000 jackpot. And the whopper of Casumo payouts to date goes to a Finnish player back in 2013 who won €3,330,000.

888 considers relocating from Gibraltar to Malta post-Brexit In an annual report by 888 Holdings PLC Company, it was stated that they were considering a possibility that post-Brexit, they may have to move their headquarters from Gibraltar to Malta. In the report, they highlighted the various risks that the European online gaming industry faced. One of them is currently the uncertainty of Brexit as most of their business is presently drawn from the UK. Although they stated they were considering moving their headquarters and license away from the Rock, they will still retain some presence there. The report says: “The proposed status of Gibraltar in relation to the United Kingdom as a result of ‘Brexit’ is at present unclear. If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstances, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited.”

RakeTech Group acquired Betxpert.com and Turtle Gaming RakeTech Group continued to demonstrate robust growth by acquiring leading Danish and Finnish affiliate platforms. The group acquired sports betting platform BetXpert.com and gambling affiliate company Turtle Gaming. Michael Holmberg, RakeTech Group CEO said: “The acquisitions of BetXpert and Turtle Gaming has advanced our position as a leading provider of gaming affiliate content in Europe. BetXpert is a well-known brand who are renowned for quality journalistic content and an objective view of the gambling industry. The Turtle Gaming acquisition provides us with multiple high-quality online gambling media websites, that will further enhance our position in Finland.”

VSoftCo and Infinity Gaming Solutions partnered up

Casumo celebrated their 4th multimillion winner Malta-based online casino Casumo celebrated their 4th multimillion winner. The lucky winner was a 28year old loyal Swedish Casumo player who was rewarded the Mega Fortune jackpot of €3,317,639.08 on a €2.50 spin. This is the fourth multimillion win which exceeds €2 million that Casumo has had the privilege of paying out and it is also the second largest payout by the online casino to date. Nine months ago, a Swedish player by the name of David won an extremely handsome jackpot of €2,971,469.79. A year ago, it was a

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impressive and we look forward to a long and successful partnership.”

Virtual sports betting products developer VSoftCo signed a multiyear deal to integrate their portfolio of virtual football content and casinobased table games onto Infinity Gaming Solutions. Along with all their virtual football products, the agreement also includes the first integration of VSoftCo’s VStriker which is a joint venture between VSoftCo and Striker comic strip which was first published in The Sun newspaper back in 1985. Chief Commercial Officer at VSoftCo, Simon Westbury spoke on the partnership saying: “This partnership is very exciting for VSoftCo as we continue to sell the VStriker Brand and expand our distribution of football based casino content. Infinity’s state of the art gaming platform is very

Aspire Global announced the migration of Casino Luck to its platform Aspire Global announced that CasinoLuck.com will be migrating to its iGaming platform in April 2017. Casino Luck will now be able to take advantage of Aspire Global’s complete solution, including a range of in-house services such as CRM and Customer Support. The transition will enable Casino Luck to upgrade its offering and shift its focus to growth. CEO of Aspire Global Tsachi Maimon said: “We are proud that yet another operator has recognized the efforts of our hard work and dedication to provide a complete high-performing solution. In migrating to Aspire Global, Casino Luck will benefit from the formula we’ve established for delivering smooth player transfer, in which we incorporate players’ historical data, segmentation and VIP processes, while maximizing retention. I’m looking forward to seeing Casino Luck grow with us, as we strengthen and deepen our relationship.”

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

The Online Gambling Quarterly | SiGMA

The ONLINE GAMBLING QUARTERLY THE ONLINE GAMBLING QUARTERLY MAGAZINE WAS LAUNCHED LAST YEAR APPLYING A UNIQUE APPROACH. THE MAGAZINE FOCUSES ON TRENDS, DATA ANALYSES, BENCHMARK FIGURES, ... THE CONTENT IS PRESENTED IN A “BUSINESS/ EXECUTIVE” STYLE, SUCH AS BULLET POINTS AND GRAPHICS. SIGMAGAZINE IS HAPPY TO PRESENT SOME EXTRACTS OF THE CURRENT ANALYSES MORE INFO VIA WWW.QUARTERLY.OG-Q.COM ONLINE GAMBLING INDUSTRY CLIMATE A key part of the quarterly analyses of the Online Gambling Quarterly (OGQ) is a survey of industry participants regarding the current and future business climate of the online gambling industry. The approach is similar to analyses of general industry/business climates, such as the Business Climate Indicator of the European Commission. The industry experts are asked to give their assessments of the current business situation and their expectations for the next 12 months. Current business climate – The minority (38%) of the surveyed experts and market insiders assess the current business climate of the online gambling industry as “satisfactory” or even “poor”. 62% of the experts consider the current climate as “good”. Future outlook – Regarding the future (in the next 12 months), 61% of the experts surveyed believe that the industry climate will be “good”, a decrease compared to the current “good”-share of 62%.

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SiGMA | The Online Gambling Quarterly

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• Best practice is found at Sky Bet where 80% comes via the mobile channels, followed by Ladbrokes 79%. Mobile casino revenues in % of total casino revenues The casino vertical increasingly plays a relevant role in the overall revenue growth of the mobile channel; therefore, the Online Gambling Quarterly also included mobile casino analyses: • On average the operators analysed make 49% of their total online casino revenue via the mobile channels. • On average the casino suppliers analysed make 36% of their casino revenue via the mobile channels. PRODUCT TRENDS The Online Gambling Quarterly also analysed the growth potential of some key online gaming/gambling products within the next 12 months: • Mobile betting and casino again lead the ranking with market participants convinced that it has a “large” growth potential within the next 12 months. • Live casino now on top – For the first time the OGQ also included live casino in the survey. For a long time live casinos have had only a niche role in the market, but in the recent year they have experienced a strong upward push and are now among the top 3 future growth products. • Relevant push for Bitcoin – Although Bitcoin is still perceived as having a rather small growth potential, the estimate of that potential has increased significantly compared to the survey of three months ago (+14%). This is most likely due to the current discussion in the gambling industry about blockchain as the technology behind Bitcoin. • Virtual reality gambling expected to have only small growth potential in the next 12 months – Although VR seemed to be everywhere at ICE, the industry insiders we surveyed do not believe that VR gambling will have significant growth potential within the next 12 months.

• OGQ also benchmarks the ranks pretty high and is increasingly becoming a real option for growth. MOBILE REVENUE IN % OF TOTAL REVENUE More and more operators report the mobile revenue in % of total revenue across all verticals: • On average the operators analysed make 60% of their total online revenue via the mobile channels. • On average the suppliers analysed make 42% of their total online revenue via the mobile channels. • Best practice is found at Sky Bet where 75% of the revenue comes from the mobile channels, followed by Kindred/Unibet with 71% (note that not all companies report their total mobile revenue). Mobile betting in % of total betting revenues Initially, the mobile figures that were reported focused on betting stakes or revenues because operators in the past focused primarily on launching mobile betting offers: • On average the operators analysed make 71% of their online betting stakes/revenues via the mobile channels.

Registration opens

1st May 2017 maltaigamingsummit.com/register

• Best practice is found at LeoVegas where 67% comes via the mobile channels, followed by William Hill. WHERE THE REVENUE GROWTH IS In the exhibit on the right the OGQ benchmarks the latest growth rates of quarterly revenue (total across all verticals). In most cases the figures used are net revenues (after bonuses, …); however, in a few cases net revenues were not reported, and therefore we took gross revenues (gross win/yield = stakes less prizes paid out) or turnover instead. This overview also includes several IT/ service providers to the online gambling industry (e.g., Playtech, Catena…) - although it is not a “likewith-like” comparison it can be used to show “where the growth is”: • Average growth – On average, revenues grew in Q4/2016 (compared to the previous year) by +39%. • Median growth – The median growth rate was +17%. • Top growth rate – Best practice growth was achieved by Cherry with +294%. The “growth winner” of recent quarters, NYX Gaming, is not included because the company did not report its figures for Q4 2016 by the time the current OGQ edition went to press.

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The Online Gambling Quarterly | SiGMA

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BEST PRACTICE REVENUE GROWTH For some operators with the largest increase of total revenue we want analyse the driving forces behind this development: • Cherry – In the fourth quarter, the revenue of Cherry increased by +294% to MSEK 440.8 (111.9). Organically, revenue grew by +51%. The key revenue driver was the fact that ComeOn (acquired in 2016) was consolidated starting in the fourth quarter and is included in the business figures for the first time. • Gaming Innovation Group (Guts. com, Superlenny.com, ...) also was on top in recent quarters and demonstrates continuous revenue expansion. According to the company, the growth was driven by various factors, incl. the acquisition of Betit Holdings (effective on 1 September 2016), adding three additional brands to the operations – SuperLenny. com, Thrills.com, and Kaboo.com - increasing the company’s B2C revenues in the fourth quarter. OPERATORS WITH THE WIDEST RANGE OF FOOTBALL BETTING OFFERS The Online Gambling Quarterly also benchmarks and ranks the overall number of bets/markets offered for the key football/ soccer leagues. The number of bets/markets alone surely cannot serve as indicator of a “good” and profitable offering – other factors, such as odds, ... play at least as important a role. Nevertheless, in a market where many experts see decreasing chances for differentiation,

the breadth of product range offered becomes important: • In the overall ranking Sportingbet leads because it offers the highest number of bets in many leagues analysed. • On average, operators offered 1,008 bets/markets for the Premier League; the maximum number of bets/markets offered was 1,719. • On average, operators offered 1,023 bets/markets for the Bundesliga; the maximum number of bets/markets offered was 1,973. • On average, operators offered 1,301 bets/markets for the Primera Liga/ Division; the maximum number of bets/markets offered was 2,301.

play betting analyses for many sports and (e.g., football/soccer, ice hockey, tennis, ...). Here some key results: • Bet365 leads the way for all sports – Bet365 leads the ranking for all live betting sports because it offers the greatest number of live/in-play events in all sports analysed. • Bwin leads the way when it comes to live football/soccer betting. • William Hill leads the ranking for tennis live/in-play betting. Find out more info about the Online Gambling Quarterly on www.online-gambling-quarterly.com

LIVE/IN-PLAY BETTING BENCHMARKING As live betting now accounts for most of the revenue and stakes for many betting operators, it is necessary to take a closer look at it. Other than in the analyses before, we have looked at the number of events (not the number of bets/ markets). The number of live events can change from one minute to the next (e.g., all football events on a matchday end more or less at the same time) and therefore varies strongly depending on date/ time of the analysis. Therefore, the OGQ has focused on analysing the rank of each operator relative to the best practice in this quarterly analyses - which is Bet365. Also The OGQ team broke down the live/in023


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Start Up | SiGMA

MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE WINNING PITCH TAMIR BERLER, FOUNDER, COMMOLOGIC, WINNER OF THE SiGMA START-UP PITCH 2016 BY JAREK GORNY

A pleasure to meet again after a thrilling win last November, Tamir. Start-ups are an important element for this industry. Yet, there are many different definitions of the term “start up”. What is your own definition? Is there anything special about igaming start ups in your opinion? For me, “start up” has a lot of meanings, but the first thing that comes to mind is courage – daring to leave your comfort-zone and do something new and different. It also means to think out of the box, be creative, innovate and try to disrupt the market. Start-up also means that you seek to join forces with the best and most ambitious talents out there, build a team and lead the way into an unknown path, with many ups and downs along the way. iGaming is an amazing market for start-ups because of the endless innovation, huge market size and many opportunities you can find in it. Having said that, there are also tough challenges for iGaming start-ups, such as fierce competition, heavy and expensive regulations and limited options in funds raising.

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“Winning the competition was obviously a nice cherry on top of the cake but I also must compliment the other start-ups that gave a real fight with excellent presentations, innovative ideas and enthusiastic teams. The competition was very tight and we were fortunate to end up first.”

You’re based in Tel Aviv – a place known for a buzzing start-up scene. We would love to know how it looks like from someone who built a successful start-up in that environment. What makes the city so special? Israel is sometimes called the “start-up nation” for good reasons and Tel Aviv in particular is considered one of the densest cities in the world in terms of start-ups. For us, as a new born start-up, it was a great place to bring us to speed quickly and with less pains. We could very easily tap into valuable knowledge, experience, connections and guidance to help us with whatever we needed, especially in the beginning. Another advantage is our ability to engage and recruit the best talents in technology, product innovation and graphic design. This is especially true for Tel Aviv, which is considered, and justifiably, one of the most important cities for gaming, with companies such as 888, Playtech, Playtika and many others based all around there. From your experience at SiGMA in Malta, do you see any synergies between Malta and Tel Aviv? What are the main similarities, the differences, opportunities? Malta is probably the biggest and most important iGaming hub in the EU while Tel Aviv is one of the most important centres for high-tech, innovation and entrepreneurship. Tel Aviv is also the incubator from which some of the biggest gaming giants were born. So it is no surprise that there are many crossovers both ways and SiGMA was a good opportunity to realise it. Just seeing so many familiar faces from Israel in last SiGMA conference and traveling on an airplane packed with iGaming veterans and top executives was a proof of the deep relations and synergies out there. Could you tell us more about your award-winning product BetUP? How did you come up with this idea and what was the development process like? BetUP is the world’s first live-betting cash tournaments network. The idea is that players from different countries, jurisdictions, and operators can join mass tournament games and compete against each other to see who is the best in live sports predictions to win big cash prizes. 026

This unique concept was inspired by existing gaming genres such as poker tournaments, progressive jackpots and the live betting fast markets. The idea was evolved by the team here at Commologic and we keep on innovating and developing more features, game formats and sports as we go. We work using a very lean, in-house built, development process that allows us to design-build-test-improve in relatively short cycles and react quickly to the market and to our customers’ requests. Part of our company culture and “DNA” is that we keep improving and optimising our processes by analysing past experiences and performance. We think creatively on how to improve while putting ego aside and empowering our team members to voice different and unconservative views. We also worked closely with some of the operators to run closed group trials of the product in order to check ourselves, learn from players’ feedback and fine-tune the game as we go. Probably the most important contribution was from working with Unibet (Kindred Group), our first partner, to provide us with great insights and real large-scale customer feedback. You launched BetUP with giants Unibet in April last year. It’s an exciting partnership! Could you share with us some details about this cooperation? Moving forward, what is your strategy for market penetration? Having Unibet as our first customer was a remarkable milestone for us and a real vote of confidence in what we do and in the BetUP concept. Since the beginning, they were very supportive and we really felt that people there are truly listening and constantly thinking on how to make this partnership a success. We found many similarities to us in the way they work and do things, which was quite a surprise considering the big difference in company size. People there work lean, are enthusiastic about what they do, take responsibility and really care about the business. The whole process of integrating and customising BetUP for Unibet was relatively fast and smooth.


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The BetUP game was integrated and launched into all Unibet’s core markets and is available via mobile, tablet and PC web channels as well as a standalone native app on the app store. Our strategy is to keep aggressively growing the BetUP network and to have more leading operators join in. Our second operator – The Football Pools (UK) is already live on the BetUP network and there is much more to come. The significance of having a second partner was not only in the contribution to the network liquidity but it also allowed us to prove that we are not a one-trick pony customised for a single brand but rather a true multi-operator B2B game network provider. Obviously, this type of pool-based games is heavily reliant on liquidity, so size does matter(!), and going forward our main focus will be in growing the network by contracting with more operators and offering unmatched prizes in terms of size and coverage. We also believe in innovation and in generating value for our partners. The fact that BetUP is such a unique and first-tomarket game concept helps a lot and provides a way for our customers to stand out of the crowd and reach new and casual audiences with a product perfectly geared just for that purpose. How did you find the SiGMA Start-Up Pitch? Was it your first time in Malta? Were you aware of its heavy presence of online gaming companies? It was the first time for us as a start-up company to participate in such competition. We were quite excited about the opportunity to pitch our vision and products to hundreds of industry representatives and to the panel of industry veterans and investors. As an ex Playtech executive, it wasn’t the first time I have visited Malta but it was great seeing many familiar faces, mingling and networking with old and new friends from other iGaming companies. I was aware of the significance and activity of iGaming in Malta but still was caught quite surprised by the heavy participation and variety and seniority of participants in the SiGMA conference this year!

Start Up | SiGMA

coming into iGaming with no prior knowledge and failing just because they came unprepared. Another bit of advice would be to challenge yourself and your ideas all the time, think how to improve, think what can go wrong, learn from previous successes and failures of others. The nice thing for an iGaming start-up is that there are so many ideas and trials going on all the time that you can learn from, so just make sure you don’t repeat the same mistake and try to follow success. Last, and probably the most important one, is to connect with other people in the industry, form relationships and friendships. When time comes, your most important asset in making your great innovative idea a success story, is your network of people that will help you make your dream come true! -

SiGMA START-UP TESTIMONIALS PHILIPPE CHAIX Betters’ Rift It was our first time in Malta and we were aware of its heavy presence of online gaming companies. However we did not realise it was that heavy before arriving in Malta. Moreover, we learned a lot about the online gaming industry, especially about the variety of products and game available to operators.

TAMIR BERLER Commologic SiGMA was a very interesting and fruitful for us also beyond the start-up competition. We managed to carry on some very interesting discussions, create super important business leads and more.

TONY PLASKOW Black Cow As an event SiGMA has clearly transformed itself into a mustattend, so the coverage from the Start-Up Pitch was always going to be valuable for us. Throughout the preparation phase communication was regular and detailed and the event itself was run very professionally in all areas. We received some incredibly positive exposure and feedback.

HELEN WALTON Gamevy As we’ve been signing a lot of Maltese customers, SiGMA felt like an ideal time to come out and meet with them in person. It was our first time in Malta so it was wonderful to realise how nearby everything was!

TYRON LLOYD BARON InboundMuse

Winning the competition was obviously a nice cherry on top of the cake, but I also must compliment the other start-ups that gave a real fight with excellent presentations, innovative ideas and enthusiastic teams. The competition was very tight and we were fortunate to end up first.

Coming from the marketing industry, but not specifically iGaming, we were definitely the wildcard, however presenting was very fun and a great opportunity for InboundMuse in general. The level of professionalism and caliber of the audience was definitely unique and much appreciated.

You actually landed a deal a t SiGMA – hard cash - tell us more about it, we are super excited! Which investor liked your idea the most? Of all seven investors who did you relate to the most and why? How will the investor that believed in your product be involved moving forward? SiGMA was very interesting and fruitful for us also beyond the start-up competition. We managed to carry on some very interesting discussions, create super important business leads and more. Unfortunately, I cannot yet share the details with you but promise to tell more later in the year.

SiGMA Start-Up Pitch was a great experience for us, because we’ve learned a lot from the feedback of the investors and it would be great to be part of this event also next year to show them how much we could do in a year.

We met some very serious and knowledgeable investors who we are still in talks with. There isn’t yet any hard cash deals but I can say things look very positive for the future.

MACIEJ WOZNIAK Sporticos

You now carry with you a baggage of experience. What would be your words of advice for young entrepreneurs trying to kick off a start up? First advice would be to really invest time and efforts in making homework, studying the market, vertical and subvertical you plan on going into and only then start planning it all. I so often see young and enthusiastic entrepreneurs

ALESSANDRO SALVATI Nextwin

CHARLES MONTMANEIX SkillCorner SiGMA Start- Up Pitch was a compelling event, with an impressive jury of investors. It was an amazing experience to be up on stage and we were really happy to find investors with very accurate questions on our key, yet still mostly unknown sector: eSports. Overall, it was a very interesting opportunity, one that we would be eager to repeat as many times as possible.

It was a great experiance and a chance to learn more about eGaming industry. I saw it was the most popular event of the day - it confirms people really are interested in innovation and it is a good time for startups like ours.

DANIEL GRUEDERICH SportsbookCloud Presenting SportsbookCloud in a room full of customers and investors, in the heart of Europe’s igaming industry was a positive challenge and even greater opportunity, with a solid outcome during and after the show.

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Regulations | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Paving the way for

ROBUST GROWTH

SiGMA MEETS THE HON. MANUEL MALLIA, MINISTER FOR COMPETITIVENESS AND DIGITAL, MARITIME AND SERVICES ECONOMY, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ROLE IGAMING PLAYS IN MALTESE ECONOMY AND HIS MINISTRY’S EFFORTS TO PUT MALTA AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE iGAMING INDUSTRY. The economic crisis hit all of Southern Europe hard with the exception of Malta. Now it is well behind us, the government’s vision for the coming years gives us reason to believe that this economy is nowhere near slowing down and we can safely say that the infrastructure is robust enough to maintain growth for many years to come. What are the origins of this boom brought about by the igaming sector? The gaming sector started to grow and diversify in 1998 with the concession of what was, at the time, the only casino in Malta. It opened up in a controlled manner with the privatisation of the National Lottery in 2004. Malta’s policy objectives are identical to those of other EU member states, who don’t really believe in prohibition. They believe instead in sound, logical, and effective regulation. A regulatory regime and its implimentation by an independent regulator are the drivers leading to regulatory reforms and the growth of new sectors of the gaming industry. A sound, logical, and effective regulation requires a strong regulator and regulatory framework. What is the way forward in this regard? For more than a decade, the MGA has been acquiring the necessary knowledge, expertise, and insight, which serve as the basis on which the government’s new regulatory framework is drafted. This recently drafted framework will be proposed shortly, seeking to embrace an increasingly innovative and diverse industry through regulatory reform. The government is looking to strengthen the resources and capabilities of the MGA through a very significant investment. There has been substantial investiment in the last three years. We’ve seen investments in IT systems, policy reviews, and in the sizing of the MGA. We are working for a strong, innovative regulation and independent, resourceful regulators to implement Malta’s gaming policy as well as the sustainability and growth of this industry – an industry whose base keeps at heart the consumers and the gaming provision itself. Can you tell us more about the MGA’s work in the context of a fastmoving industry where technological advancements are the order of the day? Online gaming today is characterised by many new developments, such as games of skill, fantasy sport, esport, and emerging “disruptive” technology. These are challenging times, and the Authority is positioning itself to harness this technological innovation for new technologies and differing regulatory approaches. The Regulator is dead-set on establishing a regulatory framework that is flexible enough to cater for this permeability of change whilst minimising risks all along.

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SiGMA | Regulations

What should we expect from the upcoming legislative framework and its importance? The upcoming legislative framework is critical in making Malta a centre of global relevant excellence. The foundations of Malta’s gaming regulatory policy shall remain the same – based on the primary objectives for the prevention of crime, ensuring the fairness of games, and the protection of consumers, minors, and vulnerable players without compromise or distinction. The new framework shall adopt ideas widely used in other sectors and policy areas with the aim of generally simplifying and reducing administrative burdens. We shall be creating a different legislative structure with the necessary mechanisms in place to ensure good governance and we shall also introduce different regulatory approaches across the board. It’s important to follow industry developments closely and encourage innovation. Catering for future games through technology neutral regulations is of primary importance here. All regulatory principles should aim for performance and outcomes instead of opting for prescriptive approaches. You will be proposing a new “Gaming Act.” What are its main objectives? The Gaming Act seeks to consolidate all gaming related legislation under one governing primary legislation. Through consultations, the MGA has allowed all stakeholders to voice their opinions, suggestions, and feedback, and the increasing convergence between land based and online gaming has also been taken into account.

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The Act is expected to have a wider scope to extend the remit of the Malta Gaming Authority’s supervision and regulatory powers. A simplified licensing system should also eliminate the game-centric licensing system which is presently into force. The Act is guided by a set of principles and policy objectives and will provide the Ministry and the Authority with the necessary powers to regulate and govern all forms of gaming activities according to the risk presented. What is Malta’s strategy with regards to the iGaming sector? We want to ensure that all players will have the adequate environment to play responsibly while operators can maximise compliance in addition to their successful operations. There will be more focus on the Business to Business models so as to widen the customer base internationally and we will create incentives with the aim of fostering international bilateral relations with other jurisdictions. We believe this strategy will augment such platforms, allowing them to flourish and increase Malta’s gaming ecosystem footprint. Last August a legal notice was issued regarding the exemption of Malta-based fantasy sports games operators from the obligation to obtain a remote gaming license to operate. How will this benefit the operators? After a period of consultation, the exemption of fantasy sports came in December 2015, and the MGA published a Position Paper on Digital Games of Skill with Prize. Now, a simple notification to the MGA is all that’s required for these operators to provide their services. The Authority had said that in view of the element of skill and knowledge which determines the outcome of fantasy sports, such an activity should also be differentiated from games of chance in terms of licensing and regulation. However, these games still warrant regulatory intervention to address the level of risk the consumer faces.


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Initially, this licensing framework under the proposed Skill Games Regulations will focus on fantasy sports. In terms of the full scope of the regulation, however, all games of skill with prize offered by means of distance communication are covered. Only those deemed to require increased supervision would be subject to a licensing requirement. The Authority plans to assess if other game types would deserve the same supervision, but this also depends on a variety of risks. The Maltese Government is committed to introducing legislation and regulating certain skill games which could possibly present increased risks to the consumer. These proposed Skill Games Regulations have been notified to the European Commission so that this Legal Notice could come into force. What will be the role of the newly set up Gaming Malta? The Malta Gaming Authority is now establishing itself as the jurisdiction of choice, focusing on regulatory issues while Gaming Malta will focus on promotional issues. The Government has re-strategised its efforts in order to enhance Malta in the ancillary sector servicing the gaming industry while remaining relevant as a jurisdiction of choice for operators. Malta, within this context, is a jurisdiction of Primary Establishment. How is Malta adapting to change within the igaming industry and what’s the MGA’s role in this process? Malta is quickly becoming a European hub for multijurisdictional online platforms, who today may also host other EEA operators aside of Maltese licensees. In the upcoming gaming legislative project, the Authority will be focusing on several things. For starters, they will be trying to devise innovative policies. Another goal is to reduce administrative burdens while avoiding duplication of requirements - one of the costly burdens overloading operators in Europe. The Authority aims to create market barriers as a result, as the objectives of every host country remain the same.

Regulations | SiGMA

Malta needs to remain relevant in a sector that is very important for its GDP. How is that relevance maintained? In order to remain relevant one has to rethink its modus operandi and reinvent itself continuously and we hope that through this legislative overhaul we shall streamline, consolidate and future-proof our gaming legislative regimes under one uniform framework. Through reorganizing new functions we aim to create an evidence-based regulatory system and we are striving to align with other Member States while future proofing conventional standards. What steps have been taken to foster further innovation among the Malta Gaming Ecosystem? The Malta Gaming Ecosystem is made of market leading operators as well as specialists who have all heavily invested in their gaming knowledge and operational capacity base. A new gaming tax structure was devised in order to allow innovation in this field to take its course. This structure remains sensitive to lowering costs for establishment in order to attract competencies and a varied skilled workforce. How do you feel about taking on so many challenges, considering your portfolio is responsible for around 25% of the national GDP? Is your ample legal experience an asset in the management of this dynamic and innovative sector? I am confident that my background will help me in the formation of adequate regulatory policies that reach a balanced approach for the Government, the operators and the citizens, all of whom are important stakeholders within this sector. I hope to soon see some form of harmonisation from the international challenges facing us in this sector. As long as this sector embraces a standard set of rules and objectives in a consistent manner and in full respect of the EU Treaty, it will continue to protect its consumers. Malta’s belief in sound regulatory policy and legislation continues to promote the country to the forefront of gaming regulation.

“Malta is quickly becoming a European hub for multijurisdictional online platforms, who today may also host other EEA operators aside of Maltese licensees. In the upcoming gaming legislative project, the Authority will be focusing on several things.”

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

LONG-TERM PLANS

FOR A SOLID AFFILIATE TEAM LIKE ANY SHREWD BUSINESSMAN, STAFFAN BERGH OF REVSHARE GROUP IS COY ABOUT THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO HIS SUCCESS, THOUGH HE DOES REVEAL SOME KEY IDEAS TO EMAN PULIS FOLLOWING HIS PARTICIPATION AT THE SiGMA GAMING SUMMIT Understanding what makes players tick is the top priority for Staffan Bergh, a veteran of the online gaming industry who has, over the past few years, focused on affiliate marketing and SEO, with a particular interest in casino and finance. As director of Revshare Group, he can boast of prestigious sites like Casinoservice.org and Netticasino24 as falling under his remit, and in his own words, “We are one of the fastest growing affiliates in Norway and Finland, both in casino and finance.” Though on the face of it, Staffan’s concerns -- and that of his company -- are all about making sure the numbers stack up in a way that aligns to a favourable outcome for him and the companies he’s helping flourish, the human element of the process hasn’t escaped him either -- and this is in fact what seems to make the job worthwhile for Staffan in the long run. “Working in areas that lead to a better understanding of player behaviour, and what makes an online business successful, has been a fantastic journey,” Staffan confides, adding that retention and acquisition strategies are key for success in any given operation seeking for the right formula, “and I believe I’m coming closer and closer to the core”. Like any businessman worth his salt, he is coy about delving into too much detail about the secret ingredients that make his operations click along at such a healthy clip -- “a magician would never reveal his tricks, right?” -- but he does state that affiliate marketing is “very much about sourcing new players and sales to the operators”. “By building long-term business relationships with our partners and keep focusing on our already successful SEO strategy, we can grow further and increase our revenues even more.” In fact, ‘long-term’ seems to be a key watchword for Staffan, and he once again upends his coyness about giving too much away, by proffering some advice to those keen to follow in his footsteps: “Have patience and build your business long-term”.

He elaborates on this by drawing on his own business story. “Our ambition has always been to increase our traffic through our sites and build long-term relationships with our partners. It is easy to start looking at new sources of revenue but then you lose focus, which I have seen numerous times in this industry,” Staffan says, vowing that, “we will continue to expand our affiliate business”. His team consists of a total of eight people, with just two based in Malta at present - a number that he hopes will expand to at least seven at some point in 2017; which would make the team 15-strong in total. Being Scandinavian, and recognising the inherent value of the Scandinavian market for the igaming industry, Staffan is confident in navigating that business landscape, claiming to know it “by heart”, while also acknowledging that “Scandinavia has a large player value, especially in Finland and Norway.” In terms of recent acquisitions, as far as “finance or pay day loans” are concerned, Revshare have made strides in Norway to strengthen themselves as “one of the top affiliates”. “For casino, we build our sites from scratch, as we believe strongly in our SEO strategy. At the moment we have over 40 casino sites and we are planning to build many more during 2017,” Staffan says. However, he adds an important caveat, which once again emphasises his key priorities of long-term growth as bolstered by having a strong team on your side. “Acquisitions may be interesting in the longer run, but in short term our strategy is to grow organically, and the best way to do so is by acquiring talent and growing our team.” And those of you interested in meeting Staffan face-to-face will have a chance to do so in April, as he reveals that he’ll be taking part in the Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn. “My colleague David and I are looking forward to meeting both existing and new partners at the event!”

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Affiliates | SiGMA

CELEBRITY-CENTRED AFFILIATION SiGMA MET WITH AFFILIATE VADIM FEDOTOV, FOUNDER OF CELEBRITYAFFILAITES, WHO PLANS ON MONETIZING C-LEVEL CELEBRITY TRAFFIC WITH HIS NEW AFFILIATE PLATFORM. It’s a pleasure catching up with you, Vadim. Can you tell us a bit more about this idea and how do you plan on taking off? What started off as a knack for hanging out with famous people, grew into what is today known as Celebrity Affiliates. It’s quite simple really. Many celebs, Instagram sensations, influencers have loads of people following their every move but they fail to convert them into paying customers. Sure, a lot of them receive gifts and trips but, from now on but we’re giving them an opportunity to cash in on that traffic in a more accountable way. We already have about eleven celebs in our portfolio, along with one of the biggest adult agencies. Is the focus is on C level celebrities? How hard it is to manage celebrities as affiliates?  Do you believe there is a market out there for online gaming to embrace more traffic coming from celebrities? Precisely, it would be a bit difficult to get the likes of A-list Justin Bieber on board, who gets paid $10 million to put on a pair of socks. However, the less popular celebrities are still quite valuable and have dedicated local, rather than global fan bases. With the right approach, working with celebrities is quite easy! There are healthy egos and managers do occasionally come in between, but at the end of the day we have a very transparent structure, which allows them full access to see their traffic and earnings. At the same time it demands very minimal input, which allows them to go on about their everyday life uninterrupted. Gaming wise, not only does our business model supply players from new segments. It also gives us back the control to prolong the player value. Typical affiliation depends on the operator to increase the average player’s life. With Celebrity Affiliates we do that ourselves by making sure that each fan base stays incentivized by the gaming brands to continue playing.

Tell us a bit on your first sign ups and how is traffic generated? Is it mostly social content? Instagram, for instance, does not allow tracking links. We use a variety of channels. I must say that our initial player value has exceeded our expectations, which has proven that the model works as intended! We found legally sound solutions to several hurdles imposed by different social media platforms. Those are, of course, part of our secret sauce! Is Malta the right base for this? How has the journey so far been and what is the feedback from the gaming industry? The base in Malta makes it easier on the operational aspect of things, where I can reach out to any operator in minutes. But we also have offices in London and Tallinn, so between these three locations we have a smooth operation. Feedback from the igaming industry has so far been a delightful surprise. The idea has been praised at some of the highest levels of gaming, and most are open to this source of traffic. Tell us a bit more about you - from being a poker player to your passion for Gumball and fast cars. I started in 2008 with Pokerlistings.com, a job that taught me a lot about SEO. Before that, while studying in New York, I played poker for a living. That was easy! So getting an opportunity to sit on the other side of the business in Europe was a challenge I couldn’t just refuse. After working for a couple of operators, and a stint with my own casino brand a few years back, I decided to go back to affiliation. Gumball 3000, with its luxury cars and unique vibe among celebrities, played a big part of what makes Celebrity Affiliates today. I have never missed a rally since 2013, be it as a spectator or on the wheel. Watch out for Celebrity Affiliates Team 27 at this year’s Gumball! Many people out there follow celebrities who are vocal with their luxurious lifestyle. Recognizing that such following has value. With the right platform and good quality traffic, the sky is the limit for this venture. 037


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

UXD Design | SiGMA

TOP OF FOOD CHAIN WITH UXD DESIGN BY JOHN WRIGHT

IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET TO THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN IN iGAMING WITHOUT A GOOD DESIGN, LET ALONE A CUSTOM DESIGNED WEBSITE? THE ANSWER IS PROBABLY NOT. YES IT IS POSSIBLE TO LAUNCH A SITE ON A COOKIE CUTTER TEMPLATE BUT YOU’LL BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND OLD SITES THAT ARE KILLING IT WHETHER THEY ARE OPERATORS OR AFFILIATES. IF WE LOOK AT THE TOP AFFILIATES AND TOP OPERATORS AND CHECK THEIR ARCHIVE.ORG HISTORY, WE’LL SEE A CONTINUED EVOLUTION OF THEIR WEBSITES FROM WHERE THEY STARTED AND WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.

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UXD Design | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

In this article, as much as it would be easy and fun to highlight all the poorly designed websites out there with dated logos, thoughtless layouts and uninspiring Calls-ToAction (CTA), instead we’ll focus on what the good sites do and highlight many mistakes made by many others. Not everyone in the business has a good sense for design and many site owners are not aware of what a good design can do for their bottom line. In this article we’ll cover the following topics • Logos • UX Design • Common design mistakes made by operators • Common design mistakes made by affiliates • Design Resources

1. LOGOS - YOUR LOGO IS SO UGLY! Now that I’ve insulted your logo and hurt your feelings, let’s talk logos! Logos are probably more important for operators to get right than affiliates. Logos are a component of your branding but they are not meant to be the full extent of it. For operators, your logo is the symbol you want players to see continuously and therefore it must be done in a positive light. As a site that is supposed to earn the trust amongst players, it needs to relay a message of safety, security and fairness along with being a place of entertainment. For affiliates, they have more freedom as they can portray the more human element whether it be personal branding or to not hide the fact that the website is run out of a basement by someone who’s passionate about casinos, betting or anything with gambling. So what makes a good logo? • Limited colour palette • Vector based • Doesn’t command too much attention • Readable fonts There are no doubt exceptions to the rules when it comes to logos but we tend to see more of the best logos following these guidelines. Limited Colour Palette When choosing a colour palette, you should always stick to between one and three colours as a rule as any more than that can make your logo seem busy. It helps to have a designer that has a good understanding of colour theory and knows how to choose the right colour palette.

Vector Based If you had your logo made in Photoshop and paid €5 for it at Fiverr then you really should start over and remake your logo. Doesn’t Command Too Much Attention Some website owners think their logo is too important and it has to have more details which imply quality. They want to make their logo bigger and want it showing in multiple instances on their website. If a logo is commanding too much attention then it’s probably at the expense of your CTA. Readable Fonts Wacky fonts can be cool but you want your font easily readable so they don’t have to focus on the logo to read it. A font that is too detailed can ruin it for you and command too much attention to itself. Also be sure not to have too many different fonts on the website as this can be confusing for visitors, as well as looking untidy.

2. UX DESIGN UX Design means User Experience design and is also referred to as UI Design for User Interface. There is a big difference between hiring a website designer and hiring a UX designer. Just searching on UpWork for designers we have found • 291,000+ Website Designers • 31,000+ UX Design Looking deeper into these numbers, about ⅓ of the ‘website design’ group on upwork charged €10/hr or less while 4.4% charged over €60/hr. From the UX Design people, 18% charged €10/hr or less while 8.6% charged over €60/hr. The point I”m making here isn’t just that UX designers cost more but it’s a specialised skill that complements the design work they do. The top gaming companies didn’t get to the top by hiring basic website designers - if UX and UI are not a significant part of an applicant’s CV they’re not going to get the job. Just having a look at Casumo Careers and we see 2 positions for “Designer with a Crush for UI & UX”. A good UX designer will probably tell you more of what you need to do in your design where a website designer will simply do what you tell them to do.

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UXD Design | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

3. COMMON DESIGN MISTAKES MADE BY OPERATORS

4. COMMON DESIGN MISTAKES MADE BY AFFILIATES

Let us break down these mistakes operators make: • Low quality and cheap logos • Website templates and stock layouts • Too many CTAs competing for attention • No CTAs for the user

Affiliates have a completely different set of design challenges than operators. Affiliates have to organise many categories and brands together and also throw in organising data and finding the right set of CTAs for each page type. Some affiliate sites run into similar issues as operators with regards to having too many CTAs or not having enough or at least one of them.

Low Quality and Cheap Logos You can say many white label operators don’t have the best logos but every once in awhile you run into a brand that has deep pockets, they’ll spend a ton of money on advertising and you see they are trying to push a brand that has a terrible logo. A poor logo and a poor website with a large marketing budget is simply money wasted. Website template and stock layouts Maybe it’s good to start somewhere but it helps to have a unique design to separate your brand from the rest. Players see enough of these similar brand layouts which means your site is probably ‘just another casino’.

We will only mention one: AskGamblers is truly the leader in design in igaming. Despite many people copying their sites and claiming their site was just a cookie cutter design, not many people know the number of hours, days and months that went into their first major redesign in 2014. OUR FAVOURITE AFFILIATE DESIGN:

Too Many CTAs Competing For Attention Some operators have similar signup buttons located on 2 or 3 different parts of a website. In addition to that, they’ll have flashy graphics that also call for your attention for a specific promotion, followed by another that competes for attention and you end up with users that either have too many decisions to make or not a clear sense of what to do next. No CTAs for the User I’d take too many CTAs over no CTAs any day but seriously there are enough sportsbooks and casinos that have weak and nearly invisible Calls to Action and it makes you wonder how they stay in business and how they expect users to find some obscure “register” text. OUR FAVOURITE OPERATOR DESIGN:

5. DESIGN RESOURCES Sketch Sketch is a design tool and unfortunately it’s for Mac/Apple computers only but it’s becoming the #1 website design tool for designers. Designers are able to work faster in Sketch than in Photoshop and it has personally cut down the design time for myself. If you are looking for a designer, you can filter out a lot of people by asking if they design in Sketch or Photoshop. Many UX designers are using Sketch. UpWork Possibly the biggest marketplace to hire freelancers. You’ll have no problem finding UX designers. You can filter out a lot of people by searching or requesting UX as a skill and also for Sketch. Dribbble Dribbble.com is a website where designers can share and showcase their portfolios. It’s a great way to find logo and UX designers. Casumo is now becoming the online casino clone of choice, that is other casinos are launching looking eerily similar to Casumo and some are simply copying as much of the design and layout as they can because they know Casumo is very successful.

adventures.io If you need a custom designed website, we can help and also offer partnerships. adventures.io will be launching many shiny new websites this year. LeoLogos If you need a custom designed logo, and a smart logo, I recommend LeoLogos.com. They create 3 separate logo designs for you and you can select 1 in which you can develop further to finalise your logo. Please stop ordering €5 logos on Fiverr and get a real logo, talk to Leo.

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SiGMA | AGS

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

The demand for more intimate events in untapped cities was loud and clear so this year, besides the SiGMA show, we’re packing up and heading to charming Tallinn, in Estonia, for two nights of quality entertainment and networking restricted to 200 quality affiliates and five operators – all inclusive! Five operators will be able to host this Grand Slam together with five other sponsors that are not operators. The idea is for operators to be swimming in a sea of affiliates, not affiliate managers! We chose operators who have something innovative to offer, who are launching a new product with an edge, who affiliates would be interested to meet.

AGS | SiGMA

WHY AGS? WHY TALLINN? COSTS: Why go on a budget in an expensive city when we can splurge in Tallinn? We’re picking the best hotel, the best restaurants and entertainment money can buy. TRAVEL TIME: Our focus will be predominantly on affiliates from Nordic countries. A one hour flight is less likely to disrupt work commitments than a twelve hour connected flight! The venue is six minutes away from the small airport. Easy. DISCOVERY: The city is buzzing with tech start-ups and provides an ideal e-infrastructure for nearby Nordics, with short commutes and cheaper wages. ENTERTAINMENT: We’re gunning on all fronts to guarantee the right conference-unwind balance and have no doubt that our Tallinn agenda will leave affiliates craving for more! CONFERENCE: We are carefully carving out a number of topics that will interest each and every affiliate in the room. No boring sales pitches, no self-inflating ego trips – just quality content. Are you an affiliate? Register today, mingle with fellow affiliates and great brands, and find out if you qualify for this unique treat. ‘Enjoy making money’ with our very first run of Affiliate Grand Slam!

www.affiliategrandslam.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

Always the bridesmaid? It’s time lottery wore the big dress, says Bit8 CEO Angelo Dalli. OF ALL THE BETTING AND GAMING VERTICALS, LOTTERY IS SURELY THE MOST NEGLECTED. ITS ONLINE ITERATION IN PARTICULAR IS A SHRINKING VIOLET IN COMPARISON TO THE MORE GLAMOROUS SPORTSBOOK AND CASINO. IT IS NO WONDER, THAT IT IS FAILING TO ENGAGE WITH MILLENNIALS AND MISSING OUT ON INTERACTION WITH PLAYERS USED TO SPIN AND WIN GAMBLING. But I have a feeling this is all about to change and lottery will become a major online player worldwide, as its operators become truly multi-channel businesses. That’s because lottery offers huge untapped potential, from fostering loyalty to cross-selling players via engaging new consumers and boosting revenue streams. But to do this, it needs to alter the perception that it is still an offline experience.

Mobile will be key to engaging these younger players, who are far more comfortable playing games via their smartphones and tablets than entering retail outlets. At the moment, they don’t have access to a lottery product that has been designed with mobile in mind from the outset, and this is where Lotto Hero will fill the gap. The next 12 months will be a real game-changer for lottery as the industry evolves and I’m confident it will finally emerge to have its big day.

Bit8’s new Lotto Hero product has been designed to change that. It does this by giving players the chance to win a guaranteed €1 million an hour, every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its design is similar to fast-paced casino games, using bold colours to draw in players. It’s fresh, intuitive, and very engaging as well as being fully optimised for mobile and tablet devices. Lotto Hero is a completely new iGaming concept, and provides operators with portfolio differentiation in a fiercelycompetitive market. It is risk free, as we cover any pay-outs, and we’re able to arrange licensing for our partners. We’re also offering an attractive commission structure and returns that are much higher than slots. We genuinely believe lottery will become a significant online gaming vertical in its own right this year, particularly if it can familiarise the next generation of players with the concept. In doing so it can also act as a gateway to the casino, sports, poker, bingo and live dealer games most operators now include in their content portfolios.

SiGMA’s Eman Pulis and Lotto Hero’s Angelo Dalli signing agreement for SIGMA 2017

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Start-Ups | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

The investors that mentored all start-ups during the SiGMA Start-Up Pitch 2016

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR

iGAMING START-UPS by EMAN PULIS

AS A START-UP ROMANTIC MYSELF, I VALUE THE ENERGY, THE PASSION AND THE THIRST FOR SUCCESS THAT FEW, YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS OUT THERE POSSESS. I BELIEVE THAT MALTA SETS THE IDEAL ECOSYSTEM FOR SUCH START-UPS TO FLOURISH AND, WITH THIS IN MIND, SIGMA IS TEAMING UP WITH A NUMBER OF STAKEHOLDERS AND WILL BE TOURING THE WORLD, IN SEARCH FOR BRIGHT IDEAS RELATED TO IGAMING, FIN-TECH, PAYMENTS AND AFFILIATION. We’re bringing to Maltese shores fifty bright sparks to battle it out in a friendly competitive environment, where cooperation will ultimately prevail over cut-throat competition, where investors will mentor and support start-ups. In more detail, we’re giving €20,000 worth to each of the top fifty start-ups that will apply for this year’s SiGMA Start-Up Pitch: OFFICE SPACE: Gaming Hub, situated on Msida Skatepark, will provide all fifty start-ups free office space to facilitate plans for relocation to Malta or to simply work from Malta any time throughout 2018. The office comes equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, in the heart of the igaming industry: St. Julian’s, Sliema, Ta’ Xbiex & Msida. CONSULTANCY: we’re bringing together the wealthiest, most experienced investors at SiGMA to mentor these start-ups. These include Marc Blandfod (Burlywood Capital), Carla Maree Vella (Optimizer Invest), Morten Klein (Cherry, ComeOn, Yggdrasil), Ory Weihs (XLMedia), David Sargeant (iGaming Ideas), Roger Walker (Partis Solutions) and others. Investors will have the opportunity to invest in any start-up seeking seed money.

FREE BOOTH AND VIP TICKETS: we’re giving a free booth at SiGMA to all fifty start-ups. In addition, we’re also inviting start-ups to several networking events, dinners, and VIP treats throughout SiGMA17. FREE PUBLICITY: all start-ups will be promoted online and offline, predominantly within the gaming community worldwide. Ultimately, I wish that gaming start-ups realize the true potential that comes with basing their business in Malta: as a start-up you want to be in the eye of the storm, where a lot of magic happens, where you’re surrounded with like-minded people in a business yet friendly environment. Are you a start-up? Download an application and save the dates: the SiGMA Start-Up Pitch is taking place on the 24th November. www.maltaigamingsummit.com

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SiGMA | Legal

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

HOT LEGAL CHALLENGES AFFECTING THE ONLINE GAMING INDUSTRY IN 2017 BY TAL ITZHAK RON AND STEPHANIE ATTIAS, TAL RON, DRIHEM & CO., LAW FIRM

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Legal | SiGMA

As quoted by Benjamin Cardozo: “Law never is, but is always about to be”. Gaming operators need to be aware that every “grey area” will eventually require regulation, and this also affects the type of games they provide. If Social Gaming was once completely unregulated, this is only the case today for “skill based games” and we are now seeing the appearance of regulatory requirements in any area where real money is involved. Each nuance needs to be analysed extremely carefully in order to remain compliant. The iGaming industry is a fast-moving arena with no territorial borders. The rise of online gaming has globalised the gaming industry and created ongoing regulatory and legal challenges, as well as new products and new jurisdictions which have complicated the jurisdiction question. Indeed, thanks to the Internet and the globalization of gaming, four players residing in different countries are able to play together with no restriction on their physical location. However, as attractive as this may be for gaming ventures and to widen potential markets, this globalization may also become a regulatory nightmare.

The main problem today, is that even when gaming ventures are fully compliant with industry standards and have successfully obtained all of the required regulations to operate their businesses, gaming and gambling still appear to be “restricted industries” for most banks, along with other industries such as adult entertainment, firearm or ammunition sales or manufacturing. This means that even though one is compliant as a gaming operator, most banks may consider its activity as restricted and it will be in breach of their policies, therefore unable to do business with such banks. This is a true challenge which needs to be addressed.

If we take the example of four players residing in Singapore, Estonia, Los Angeles, and Sydney, using a gaming server based in Costa Rica, which jurisdiction has control over whom? Which party involved could face a legal problem? And which regulation would be the most adequate?

For all of these reasons, gaming ventures need to make sure their marketing strategies also comply with regulatory requirements. Everything needs to be analyzed carefully on a daily basis in order to make sure they are targeting the correct clients with regards to their regulatory regime, by selecting the appropriate language used in their marketing, as well as restricting certain IP addresses thus preventing access to players residing in countries which are not approved by the gaming venture’s current regulatory regime.

Some countries allow their citizens to “bet out” of their country of residence. However, Asia and Europe are facing higher regulatory requirements than ever and the current trend is moving towards global regulation where each nation is imposing its specific requirements. Today, operators need to target their players according to the regulation they have obtained in order to remain compliant. This increases customer protection; however it is also a growing financial burden for gaming operators which are faced with higher costs, stricter due diligence requirements, and ongoing changes in their business structure in order to stay compliant and relevant. All in all, the goal is to adapt regulation so it becomes cost-effective for businesses, and protects customers at the same time.

Today, more than ever, it is a fact that gaming ventures need ongoing legal advice from gaming law experts, as they might not be immune from regulatory compliance in the long run. The higher the profitability and growth of their business, the higher their profile will become, and the more likely they will be subject to regulatory scrutiny.

As quoted by Benjamin Cardozo: “Law never is, but is always about to be”. Gaming operators need to be aware that every “grey area” will eventually require regulation, and this also affects the type of games they provide. If Social Gaming was once completely unregulated, this is only the case today for “skill based games” and we are now seeing the appearance of regulatory requirements in any area where real money is involved. Each nuance needs to be analyzed extremely carefully in order to remain compliant. Indeed, today’s gaming world is starting to face the same challenges as the banking industry. New rules have been made to make it easier to trace the transfer of funds and these rules have an ongoing impact on gaming operators. In the beginning of March 2017, New Zealand has introduced new anti-money laundering legislation, which has now been extended to cover sports and race betting, accountants and real estate agents. Nowadays, gaming companies around the world are required to comply with stricter Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”) compliance standards, which require the implementation of more detailed “Know Your Client” (“KYC”) rules. This also joins in on regulatory requirements as companies need to make sure they cater only to players from countries which are approved by their regulatory regime. Regulation is becoming an absolute must, and in order to stay compliant, gaming suppliers are starting to act as the gaming regulators’ extended arm in order to avoid their potential liability for offenses committed by the gaming operators.

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

FROM PROVIDER TO OPERATOR FROM CEO OF AN ESTABLISHED B2B PLATFORM TO CEO OF A MID-SIZED B2C OPERATION, SiGMA MET WITH ITAI ZAK TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIS AMBITIONS WITH GO WILD GAMING.

You made a big shift in your sterling career recently – switching from CEO of the world-renowned platform provider SBTech to GoWild Gaming, a relatively small but fast-developing operator. Was it the start-up romantic in you that contributed to the final decision? It must have nevertheless been a tough decision! Tell us more about the different company ethos, what you found easiest and hardest to get accustomed to – was it company red tape? Office locations? What were your motivations and biggest challenges connected with it? I had an incredibly amazing five and a half years as the CEO of SBTech, both personally and professionally. It was a phenomenal experience to help shape the company as it expanded and matured, establishing itself as the leading gaming and betting provider for regulated markets. This included a tenfold increase in staff in just five short years, as we forayed into multiple new markets throughout the world. I feel fortunate for having been given the opportunity to lead such a great company. However, after such a long period I felt that the right thing for me was to make a change, and the right thing for SBTech was to continue its growth trajectory with fresh leadership. Leaving the company that I loved and nurtured for all those years was definitely a very hard decision, and it took a very special company to convince me to take the step. I wanted a new challenge and when I was approached with the opportunity to lead GoWild, I knew immediately it was the perfect fit.

GoWild is not actually a start-up, but more of a fast developing mid-size operator; and one of the more respected veteran casino brands, operating for well over a decade now. A Maltese company with highly talented and professional teams that are passionate about what they do, and totally onboard for helping to move the company forward. At the moment we’re in the middle of a number of interesting and ambitious projects that aim to take the company to the next level. First and foremost, we’re putting our primary focus on migrating the business from our current exclusive supplier, Microgaming, onto our own, proprietary gaming platform by the end of Q2 2017. In addition to offering our loyal players the best-of-breed content from more than 20 leading gaming providers, for an unparalleled personalized gaming experience, this unique platform will give us better control over all aspects of the business, from end-to-end – which is good for us, good for our players, and good for our affiliates alike. We have also been recently granted our UK license and we will soon be launching our products on the UK market. Both of these projects offer plenty of challenges, and amongst the other initiatives in the works, are a big part of what motivated me to come onboard.

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

From the left: Marian Melinte, Affiliate Account Manager, Itai Zak, CEO, and Roger Katz, Head of Affiliates

With such rich experience in igaming, you have a 360° perspective of the industry. What, in your opinion, are the critical factors for a successful platform provider-operator relationship? I truly believe that in order to be successful, each side in the platform provider-operator relationship needs to focus on what it does best. Meaning, platform providers should constantly focus on the needs of the operators, developing the platform further, understanding their operators’ needs, and providing them with the best technical solution. Operators, for their part, need to focus on the marketing, on driving traffic, and on providing the best possible userexperience and value for money to players. At the end of the day, we’re all in this business together, so we need each other to succeed. This requires a lot of team work; platform providers and operators must constantly communicate with each other, engage, and share ideas and experiences. That being said, it’s important to remember that the operators are essentially the customer, and have a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges. To this end it’s usually best when the platform providers listen to their operators, understand their business needs and requirements, and provide them with the best tools to compete in this very competitive market. Let’s focus on your newest project - GoWild Gaming. We’re sure you have some ambitious plans for the future. Could you shed some light on the more pertinent ones? Like I said above, first and foremost on the horizon, there’s the transition to our revolutionary new gaming platform, 056

which will give players access to the best games and content from more than 20 of the top software providers. In addition, the platform has a sophisticated CRM system which will enable us to personalis e promotions and content in an unprecedented manner to boost retention and customer loyalty. This project is already well underway and expected to be completed by Q2 this year. We have also finalised our UK license, and like the new platform, plan to launch in the UK by Q2 2017. To further expand, we’re now looking at other regulated markets, where we hope to be by the end of the year. We’re also looking to add more product verticals to our offering, mainly sports betting, for a more complete gaming experience. So, in a nutshell, within this year, GoWild will change from offering content from a single provider – Microgaming – into a major player, with the best-of-breed content from all the leading providers, and various gaming products beyond casino, across multiple markets, for a complete gaming experience. In January 2017 GoWild Gaming announced that it will start using its own independent casino platform. Why did you choose to develop your own solution, rather than rely on an outsourced product? When is the right time for a white label to go solo? Our decision to move to our own casino platform was based on two things. It started with the desire to provide our


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

“I truly believe that in order to be successful, each side in the platform provider-operator relationship needs to focus on what it does best. Meaning, platform providers should constantly focus on the needs of the operators, developing the platform further, understanding their operators’ needs, and providing them with the best technical solution. Operators, for their part, need to focus on the marketing, on driving traffic, and on providing the best possible userexperience and value for money to players.” players with the best gaming experience possible, which went hand-in-hand with our desire to further build our business. After more than 10 years of operating exclusively on the Microgaming platform – 10 very successful years I might add – we wanted to be in full control of our business, which we can only do through our own platform. The core of our business, after all, has a lot to do with our ability to manage our players and their user-experience; being able to segment them properly, provide them with personalised offers, and give them the best overall gaming experience. All of this we can do most effectively by integrating different third-party software (each with its own added value) into our own platform, and then controlling the overall experience from there. You have two brands in your portfolio – GoWild Casino and Wild Jackpots. What is the difference between them in terms of the marketing strategy? Which markets do they target and are you planning to expand on any new markets in the nearest future? GoWild and Wild Jackpots more or less target the same markets – the Nordic markets, as well as the UK market, as soon as we receive our licensing there. However, they are different in terms of the offering we give our players. By having two similar brands, we’re able to launch various innovative promotions and basically A/B test which our players prefer. As for expansion, we’re constantly looking at various markets to identify where we can best offer added value and productive collaborations with local partners. As such, it’s quite certain that we’ll be operating in more regulated markets by the end of the year. With so many affiliate programs, it is a big challenge to gain the affiliates’ trust and loyalty. We know you have an outstanding team behind you because we dealt with them in person! How do you keep your affiliates engaged with your brands? What makes your program worth staying with? The GoWild affiliates are our esteemed partners. That’s the difference here. We treat them like members of the team, and recognise that the brand would not succeed without the partnership of our affiliates. As such, we are always listening to them and supporting them, bringing them the

types of offers and features that convert and engage players. We are sure that timely payments and constant communication are the keys to a successful casino-affiliate relationship. You are now based in Bucharest, Romania. How do you find the new environment? Bucharest is a very beautiful city. Making the move was certainly a bit of a change, but I have to say, I love it here. The winter cold took some getting used to, but the warmth of the people more than makes up for it. If you haven’t visited, I highly recommend! What do you see for the future of the gaming industry in terms of emerging trends, such as VR, increased regulated markets, financial technology and cryptos…. Which of all these developments hits your radar most prominently? The gaming industry is constantly evolving. That’s part of what makes it so appealing. Regulation will continue to have a big impact as more and more countries in Europe and South America move towards regulating online gaming. With more regulation comes more costs on the operators, so we will see the trend of M&A continuing as well, as companies try to find synergies in order to save costs. We will also see more land-based operations moving into the online realm, with the aim of creating more revenue streams. When it comes to technologies, everyone says that VR is one the next big things. However, it is yet to be proven, so I’m less certain there. With operators sitting on a huge amount of data regarding their players’ behaviors and patterns, the bigger shift will be towards a more personalised offering. Operators and providers will invest more and more in building powerful CRM capabilities and having the right analytics, in order to offer each individual customer a tailor-made fit. Anything you would like to add, Itai? These are very exciting times for us at GoWild Gaming as we embark on unprecedented growth and development. We have numerous projects on the horizon, and I personally look forward to the challenges and successes that lie ahead.

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Regulations | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

COUNTRY BY COUNTRY REPORTING: WHY SHOULD A GAMING GROUP CARE? BY RUSSELL MIFSUD, KADAMBARI CHARI AND JUANITA BROCKDORFF Is your gaming group ready to take on CbC Reporting? Country by Country reporting was introduced to Malta by L.N 400 of 2016. It amended the Cooperation with Other Jurisdictions on Tax Matters Regulations S.L 123.127 (“The Regulations”). It is a recent tax compliance obligation that requires multinational enterprises to annually file a comprehensive group tax report in every jurisdiction where they have a tax residence. The report is designed to show global tax information of the multinational group and of its constituent member entities. For every member entity of the group that is tax resident in a jurisdiction that has implemented the Country-by-Country tax reporting standard, a general obligation is imposed to provide a report not only of its local activities but also to provide a complete tax-picture of the group, showing the relevant tax information of every other entity within the multinational group. This creates significant tax obligations at group and entity level. A multilateral Convention setting out the framework for automatic exchange of information and documents has been entered into with a total of 108 countries being signatories. Within this framework, as at 1st March 2017, 57 countries have signed a multilateral agreement to exchange the CbC report within the “Country-byCountry” tax reporting standard in their respective jurisdictions. Apart from the multiple reporting obligation that this creates, the potential to trigger tax investigations across multiple jurisdictions is a concern well deserving of timely attention. Who is affected by this legislation? The Regulations apply to groups with a consolidated group revenue of €750,000,000 and above (or the equivalent in local currency). A multinational group with a consolidated group revenue below the €750,000,000 threshold is considered an “Excluded MNE”. Given the nature of activities and revenue, gaming entities are likely to meet the criteria triggering the CbC reporting obligations.

What entity within the group files the report? The primary duty to file the report rests on the Ultimate Parent Entity of the group, following which Constituent entities are to file similar reports in the respective jurisdictions where they are tax-resident. In special circumstances specified in the Regulations, a Surrogate Parent Entity may be appointed to file the report on behalf of the group. A comprehensive appraisal of the group’s activities would be required to determine what member-entity is in the best position to file the report on behalf of the group. In certain circumstances, special rules apply for member entities that are tax-resident within the EU. When should this report be filed? The Regulations took effect from January 2016, making the first country-by-country report due as from January 2017. Therefore, every multinational group that meets the €750,000,000 threshold and having a Malta tax resident member bears a responsibility to file the report as from January 2017. What are the penalties for non-Compliance? Failure to comply with the Regulations attracts statutory penalties ranging from €200 to €50,000, depending on the nature and gravity of the default. How can we help? KPMG Malta is here to help. We are among the leading service providers across the financial and non- financial industry arenas. Our team contains an experienced, multidisciplinary group of tax and advisory professionals that have worked on a range of global and national reporting projects for some of the world’s largest organizations. Our network of professionals can help you meet your reporting obligations with limited disruption to your business. We recognize that you face a number of regulatory requirements, especially considering the nature of your business. Our approach to CbC is consistent with our delivery of other regulatory consulting services, enabling you to achieve compliance synergies.

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Start-Ups | SiGMA

Left to right: Dr. Simon Planzer & Dr. Steve Donoughue at SiGMA15

THE COMPLIANCE PROCESS™ START-UPS IN THE ONLINE GAMBLING INDUSTRY, LIKE IN ANY INDUSTRY DO EVERYTHING BY THE SEAT OF THEIR PANTS. STRATEGY AND PLANNING ARE NOT WHAT THEY ARE RENOWNED FOR. HARD WORK, ENTHUSIASM, CREATIVITY AND A BURNING DESIRE TO SUCCEED IS WHAT THEY ARE RIGHTLY FAMOUS FOR, JUST DON’T EXPECT THIS TO BE DONE IN A METHODICAL MANNER. NO GREAT ARTISTS EVER PAINTED BY NUMBERS. words by Steve Donoughue Unfortunately, our darling regulators have not designed a regulatory regime to fully accommodate less than a handful of people, trying to build, promote and fund their business idea often from rented desks and often after doing their real job that pays to keep the lights on. The compliance requirements of every gambling regulator do appear to have been written for the likes of well-established gambling business with the funds to employ a whole phalanx of expert compliance staff to ensure that everything is above-board, t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Part of the issue is that regulatory compliance is not exciting, costs money and can even be perceived as irrelevant, as if you have only two customers, why are you spending so much resources on what to do on the slim chance they may be a problem gambler or a money launderer. I have a client who sells raffle tickets for £1, bans anyone spending more than £80, yet we have to do a policy and procedures for what to do in the freakish event someone wants to buy over £1,734 of them. So understandably for many start-ups, once the licensing process is completed, compliance sometimes takes a back seat as all efforts are put into growing the business. I have seen a few clients who thought that just having the telephone number of a gambling lawyer should be enough if something hits the fan. Unfortunately, this is never going to work out as hopefully while you have two customers one week, you may have two thousand the next (if you’re very good!). German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke stated that “No battle plan survives contact with the enemy”. The same is true with online gambling customers. Very rapidly you will have one who is trouble and you will

need to have your compliance procedures in place or you will have the regulator down on you like a ton of bricks. Your dreams of dominating the online gambling world can easily come crushing down just because you didn’t have the right procedures in place. So how do we solve the problem of start-ups with limited resources getting compliance right? My answer is to have compliance wired in to the very core of the business from the start. To do this, I use what I have imaginatively called The Compliance Process™. It’s a business process model that is still currently under development but showing amazing results so far. It’s based on system which identifies what triggers compliance events and then dictates what needs to be done when those events are triggered. Think a computer programme that gives and takes the relevant information from the right people at the right time and gets them to do the right thing. It’s almost like an automated compliance director yet with his/her job being done by everyone in the company. The main advantage of The Compliance Process™ is that everyone in the company gets to understand what needs to be done, why and when and the outputs are exactly what the regulator wants. The most useful output though is arguably the peace of mind it can give all the licence holders and the regulators. With The Compliance Process™ in place there is more time for being a start-up, you know: foosball, beard competitions and thinking everything is awesome. Steve Donoughue has been a management consultant specialising in the business strategy and politics of the gambling industry for the last twenty two years. www.gamblingconsultant.co.uk 061


SiGMA | Title

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

25 Affiliates; Police Escort to a secret location; fabulous food, drinks and candy in a tree. It was a Slam and it was Grand: It was Casumo’s Annual Grand Slam!

The day kicked off with breakfast at the Hilton’s sun-drenched Quarter Deck and Christian’s presentation reflecting on the previous year. The numbers were good, and so was the coffee. We then hippety-hopped onto antique buses and got escorted by the Maltese police to our location for the day: A villa, with spectacular views, located in the North of the island. The sky was blue, the chocolate fountain flowed and the magician tricked us all. Those in need of speed, could play with remote controlled race cars; and those in need of a break, enjoyed a professional massage. In the background merely the sound of laughter, popping balloons and the dj’s funky beats. After our day in the sun, we had dinner with the fishes. Well, amongst them, in Malta’s National Aquarium. The bites and drinks were delish, but most impressive was the underwater violinist, who played some aquatic tunes from a fish tank. It was Casumo at its best and we’re looking forward to the next Grand Slam. May it be even Grander!

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Event | SiGMA

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

OMNI-CHANNEL SOLUTION: ticking all the boxes

SiGMA MET WITH EGAMINGLAB’S ANJA WUNDERLICH AND STEIN RAMSLI TO FIND OUT HOW THE COMPANY IS MEETING THE INCREASED DEMAND FROM AFFILIATES AND ASPIRING OPERATORS FOR A WHITE LABEL SOLUTION. Tell us a bit about how the product evolved, and what makes it unique. Omni channel is one of today’s buzz phrases in the iGaming industry. eGamingLab launched its Infinity Platform, what you would consider to be a next generation, high quality, B2B, omni-channel solution for the iGaming Industry. eGamingLab can provide a one-stop solution for operators from start to finish, included, but not limited to, back-office, affiliate system, API, CRM & CMS, and Game Engine. With this full management system, the Infinity Platform allows the operators to focus their attention on marketing, customer acquisition and retention. There are a lot of providers out there and finding the right partner seems to be a minefield. Many are using older and less advanced technologies, which are slow and less customisable. The risk of getting stuck, or losing investments made in a technology not built for today’s market, has never been bigger. The focus seems also to be on casino only deliverables, instead of a multi-tenant solution. Furthermore, it appears to be a common practice by platform providers to operate own brands which then compete with their signed operators. How could you trust someone that on the one hand is delivering you your solutions and on the other hand is also chasing players and affiliates at the same 065


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time, just like you? Hence, we saw a gap in the market place and started to develop a complete, cost effective and highly customisable solution of which we are sure to be successful with together with our clients. Whether our clients are looking for a full turnkey solution, white label solution or bespoke development - eGamingLab is the one to evaluate. Our uniqueness is a combination of leadingedge technology along with our flexibility to create tailor made omni-channel solutions. For example, we don’t simply re-skin one client’s site to another. Making tailor made solutions, which are customised to the specific clients’ needs and wishes, is our Mission statement. They can create their own front-end design or we can do it based on their briefing and we can develop any modules or features they want to really make them stand out. What were the factors driving your desire to create an all-in-one solution? What is the main driving factor behind this kind of next generation iGaming platform? The Infinity platform does what it says on the tin, with endless possibilities to expand and to have all your information in one single place. The convenience of one single agreement for platform, games, licensing and support, both B2B and B2C, enables our clients to launch a complete solution faster and therefore ROI can be expected at an earlier stage, as opposed to having to deal with multiple parties themselves. Another important factor is the increase of regulation of markets. Regulated markets require certifications of the platform and/ or that certain solutions and features are in place. The Infinity platform is built keeping this in mind. It is important to adjust quickly to be able to cater for those who operate in multiple markets, regulated or not. Created in 2016, what were the main challenges and opportunities you had to face from a company set up, brand awareness, and other point of views? Yes, eGamingLab is just over one year old, although several of us have extensive years of experience within the iGaming industry. Getting the best talents to develop any company is the biggest challenge. Culture, competence and crazy creativity are what we are building our company on, which we believe is the formula our clients will benefit from the most. Going forward we will be working with multiple channels for marketing, so we will be more visible as we grow. The clients who have signed with us were generally not satisfied with their previous solutions due to lack of customisation, limited functionality, multivendor contracts and poor service. This is where we believe we can make a difference with our eGamingLab Infinity platform and offered services and why we continue to build for a bright future. A current trend we are seeing at eGamingLab is the increase in local regulatory requirements in certain markets

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and some of the larger operators pulling out of them due to poorer ROI. This gives some of the smaller more local operators the opportunity to fill the void but they have to deliver a top-end solution their customers have been used to. They know their home market well and can take advantage of being or creating a strong local brand. We are not looking for quantity, to bring in as many partners as possible, on the contrary, we prefer to be a bit selective as we always aim for the highest quality in both our solutions and services. Your HQ is in Malta but your technology hub in Sweden. Malta is the cradle of the iGaming, so why did you choose Sweden for the technology? Yes, Malta is indeed the cradle of the iGaming, however a lot of the iGaming companies in Malta are of Swedish origin and so are we. Technical solutions are being developed globally nowadays with the help of modern collaborating technologies. The most important thing is to find the right talents to develop the most unique solutions to cover the market’s demand. It is not important whether they are in Sweden, China, UK or Malta. Knowhow beats location by far. The cultural aspect is important to us since our customers are located globally and so should we be. With that said, Sweden has always been synonymous with successful iGaming operations over the years and has come very far in terms of Internet, technology and broadband. It is just over all a great base for our IT office. EGamingLab holds two Malta licenses and a Curacao license. With so many white label solutions out there, why should they choose eGamingLab? The licenses are needed to offer a true one-stop-shop to clients, where our white label solution with the most advanced gaming platform is the center of their decision. Malta licenses are among the most respected licenses and therefore many of our partners in the EU want their white label solution to be regulated there. Are affiliates finding it increasingly easy to shift from being an affiliate to becoming a white label operator? There seems to be fewer barriers to entry, with lower set up fees. Is this the case? Technology evolves and more providers are available on the market. More complete solutions, including licensing and other services, make it easier for affiliates to become white label operators, without the need of having to build large organisations. The costs of said solutions are determined by many factors, but by evaluating the options, one can get a good picture of presented opportunities and

limitations compared to costs. eGamingLab intentions are to build customized solutions, where the client’s desire of ROI is in focus, where long term mutual benefits are valued and nurtured. What should affiliates be aware of when considering this move and what’s the best advice you can give an affiliate? Most affiliates know the business very well and work hard towards their target. When moving to a white label solution, they should stay focused on their competences they gained as an affiliate. Talk to several providers and compare to see what is the best solution for their needs. Don’t stare blindly at numbers only but look at the total package of the partnership. Ask questions like: Is this a partner and solution you can trust and grow with? Does this partner really care about your requests and ideas or do they just push you into a template? We have advised several affiliates and startups to not start their own brand simply because they need a different budget, a larger player data base or simply a better business plan before it makes sense. We believe it is important to be the consultant that would recommend others if we are not the perfect fit and we would not take on a client if this goes against our belief of common success. iGaming can be very lucrative; the industry is full of potential but it is also highly competitive and you need to really stand out in order to be successful.

“Yes, Malta is indeed the cradle of the iGaming, however a lot of the iGaming companies in Malta are of Swedish origin and so are we. Technical solutions are being developed globally nowadays with the help of modern collaborating technologies. The most important thing is to find the right talents to develop the most unique solutions to cover the market’s demand. ”

A bit about your participation at SiGMA. You have exhibited at a couple of shows, including Malta’s SiGMA last year. How important are these shows to showcase your product? We hope you enjoyed participating at SiGMA, of course! Showcasing our products and solutions at exhibitions is an important part of our marketing strategy, hence we will be increasing our participations in 2017. Looking back at SiGMA 2016 our experience was overall very positive. Our brand recognition had grown, our number of visitors was good and the general feedback from potential clients was very positive to our products and services. We already signed up for a larger and more central stand for SiGMA 2017. We are looking forward to showcase some exciting things we have in the pipeline for our current and future clients. Anything we missed? Anything you wish to add? eGamingLab knows iGaming and we have serious intentions to make a difference in this industry. We are financially strong with long term commitments. If you have intentions to expand or develop further, you should get in touch to see how we can do this together.

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Title | SiGMA

the betting gods have spoken WHEN THE GODS SPEAK, THE PUNTERS LISTEN. SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH BETTINGGODS FOUNDER DARREN MOORE TO FIND OUT HOW HE CONNECTS PROFESSIONAL TIPSTERS WITH THOUSANDS OF PUNTERS. 069


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Tell us a bit about yourself, Darren. From a police officer to a savvy entrepreneur who’s loving every bit of the journey. How did it all begin? How did you get into betting advice? Betting was something done as a hobby on the weekends, some of the guys on my shift would have sweepstakes during our breaks. Little did they know I’d started researching the races the night before and over time became pretty good at picking out the winners and cleaning up on the sweepstakes! From there I spent spare time betting for an extra income (yes that really is possible with the right attitude and strategy) and before I knew it I was making a very respectable income as a professional gambler. Gambling became my new career choice, focusing on US Horse Racing in the evening meaning time with the family during the day and a few hours work on an evening. Fast forward a year or two and I became good friends with a guy who pretty much did the same as me but on the football. We began sharing tips with each other, and then had the idea to setup a small site offering our tips for a fee. Eventually we parted ways and I began work on a site with another business partner which lasted for two years but we both had very different view on business operation. I began working on the launch/development of Betting Gods in November 2013, and officially launched BettingGods.com in March 2014. Which was the most challenging part of the business so far? IT? recruitment? Setting up? Marketing and affiliation? How has relocating to Malta benefited you? One of the most challenging parts of building and growing Betting Gods has definitely been marketing the brand and getting potential customers to trust the brand. The sports betting / tipster industry is saturated with scams and conartists, many of whom are ultimately on the side of the bookie and not really cared about whether the customer succeeds or not. Sadly with a major lack of regulation for providing sports betting advice, anyone can throw up a website, claim they’re making €2,000 profit a month from betting on football and then charge €50 for their magical system (if the MGA or UK Gambling Commission are reading this, it’s time for action!) We have invested a significant of time and effort in proving we are completely honest and open. It’s why we encourage every and any review site to test our tipsters. It’s why we ask customers to

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share their thoughts on forums and blogs. It’s why we spend a lot of time ensuring our results are as up-to-date as possible, and push ourself forward for as much publicity as possible; we do not shy away from press - we have nothing to hide, and we want to educate people that betting doesn’t have to be a mug’s game! Moving to Malta has been great for personal and professional reasons; I fell in love with the Maltese Islands on a personal level three years ago when visiting purely for a holiday. 4 trips later over the space of 8 months and I began to develop an awareness of the significant igaming presence here. I spent 3 months living in Malta during the summer of 2015 before heading back to the UK to develop and strengthen the business ahead of what I had anticipated would be a move to Malta late 2017 or early 2018 but much to my surprise Brexit happened and this rocketed our business by what is now just over 20% growth and accelerated our expansion plans, meaning we could commence operations from Malta as early as December 2016. So thanks to Malta’s beautiful climate and fantastic economy, I can work on my business with the sun shining down on me, plus I get to enjoy my passion for the sea and boating, plus my passion for flying (not many people know this but I’m a qualified pilot, and to escape the working life I tend to be buzzing around at around 2000ft enjoying the view from the sky) Tell us a bit how the business works - What are Tipsters? How do you select your Tipsters? How long have your Tipsters been around? Have you ever had to fire any under performing Tipster? Generally speaking, a tipster can be looked on as an advisor. Much the way an investment advisor may recommended you buy shares in (for example) Catena Media or Paddy Power Betfair, our tipsters essentially do the same but advise you on investing your betting bank, with the goal of making a decent return over the weeks and months that follow. Having passed our internal 16 week verification process prior to ‘going live’ tipsters will typically focus on a particular sport and provide betting


Interview | SiGMA

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“...I had anticipated would be a move to Malta late 2017 or early 2018 but much to my surprise Brexit happened and this rocketed our business by what is now just over 20% growth and accelerated our expansion plans...” races and matches using form data and past statistics. We also have other tipsters who base their work on trends, or some operating on good old-fashioned industry know-how and experience. What factor is most important in becoming a professional tipster? What would be your best ‘do’s and don’ts” advice to rookie bettors? Focus, discipline and determination. If you want to become professional tipster, there is no point dancing between horse racing, football and snooker betting. Become a master of one sport and perfect that sport. Don’t chase loses. This isn’t just applicable to tipsters but any one who places a bet. Set out a strategy and stick to it. It’s tempting to increase stakes or the number of bets you place to cancel out a long losing run but don’t! If you have faith in your selection process then things will turn around without the need for quick wins. This is also why it’s important to have a suitable betting bank in place.

tips for that sport. Most tipsters will backup their advice with analysis of and reasoning for their selections. Betting Gods only provides the best of the best so as painful as it is to part company with team members, we have finished a few tipsters during the three years of operation whose standards have slipped. It may also be worth pointing out that for every 10 tipsters who apply to be a part of the Betting Gods team, only around 5-10% will be considered of a sufficient, professional standard to join our team and operate under the Betting Gods brand. What is the method Tipsters use to find valuable bets? Are you guys watching and analysing the matches or do you base on statistics and data? Is it pure gut feeling? Or is data crunching an integral part? These is no one answer to this question. We have tipsters who spend hours and hours analysing

Tell us a bit about the demographics of your subscribers - which markets are strongest and which markets are you targeting next moving forward? Is everyone betting on football? What other sport features proudly among your subscribers? The main focus on Betting Gods tends to be football and horse racing. However, we have customers and tipsters who bet on US sports, golf, speedway racing, greyhound racing, tennis and cricket. Currently 69% of our customers are from the UK, 16% are from the EU, 3% are US based, 2% are from Australia and the remaining 10% are from the rest of the world. We’d love to expand more into the US although appreciate that they do have strict laws on gambling - who knows maybe the industry will come up trumps under a new president!. We also want to grow further in Europe which is why Betting Gods is now available in eight languages, and has made a significant and conscious effort to promote the brand across central and eastern Europe; if you haven’t seen (or heard) any of our adverts around the Maltese islands I’m sure you soon will, especially if you listen to XFM or fly Air Malta!

Looking at other demographics, 89% of our customers are male and aged anywhere from 25 to over 65. You are also looking for affiliates, but you are not an operator - could this be a new angle for affiliates? How has the relationship worked so far? What are typical affiliates deals? CPA? Rev share? Hybrid? Is it tough to compete with sports books that offer generous CPA or rev share deals? We’re not an operator in the typical sense of bookie, bingo, casino, etc. but Betting Gods is something completely different and unique for affiliates who may traditionally promote to sports betting audiences, and are longing for something different that is backed by genuine, caring support that really cares about your success. We currently offer the option of CPL where affiliates earn a flat fee of £1.50 for every free lead that signs up for the Betting Gods newsletter. We have two landing pages, one for horse racing and one for football with both converting just below the 50% mark. We then offer the option of Rev Share where affiliates earn 50% of every and any sale they send to Betting Gods. Affiliates are paid 50% of every subscription payment the customer pays for life. Fantasy Sport is on the increase in Europe: we keep saying that 2017 is the year for Fantasy Sport. Do you see an opportunity for Betting Gods in new sectors such as fantasy sport and esport? I think providing tips or predictions for esports would be interesting and I’m sure is something we’ll explore at some point in the future but I must confess that my knowledge of this area is what I’d call ’novice’. I’ll be making a conscious effort to follow esport developments throughout the coming months, but in the meantime I cam confirm that Betting Gods is dipping our toe in the water with some sponsorship around the esport conference in Poland on 23rd March.

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Interview | SiGMA

NEXT GENERATION PAYMENT PLATFORM

SiGMA MET WITH THE THREE MUSKETEERS BEHIND HIPAY iGAMING TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THEIR WELL ESTABLISHED PAYMENT SOLUTION AND THEIR PLANS TO EXPAND INTO iGAMING. 073


SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

IVO AMARAL RENAUD BAUDRY

Business Development manager HiPay iGaming

Marketing & Product Manager HiPay iGaming 1. Always a pleasure meeting you, gentlemen. Can you tell us a bit about HiPay and its history? We’ve heard great feedback about what you do since last November. HiPay is a company that has always been involved in online content monetisation. The HiPay story started in 2001 with HiPay Mobile (previously called Allopass), a leading micro-payment brand in Europe offering alternative solutions to card payments. To respond to our clients’ requirements and to step into a fast-evolving online world, we launched HiPay Wallet in 2009, an e-wallet payment solution offering international and local payment card processing with a single integration. In 2014 we launched HiPay Enterprise, an advanced payment platform that offers e-merchants, marketplaces and iGaming industry players global payment methods, end-to-end customizable fraud protection, industry-leading data and analytics, seamless omnichannel support and automated financial reconciliation. Today, we’re a global payment provider processing more than €2bn annually across 150 countries and 220 payment types. By harnessing data analytics we help deliver valuable customer insights that enable our clients’ businesses to succeed. 2. HiPay today offers over 220 payments methods covering 150 currencies across multiple channels: online, mobile and in-store with one integration. What makes HiPay different in such a competitive market? What distinguishes your offering from the many competitors out there? For us, our customers getting paid is just the beginning. We are focused on delivering insights from payments that our customers can act on to deliver real business success. HiPay’s portfolio is rich and varied, from fashion to gaming, with more than 2,500 active accounts. 074

LAURENT REYSBOSCH SVP HiPay iGaming

Casinos and Betting operators invest a lot in marketing, advertising, and affiliate campaigns to maximise the number of deposits on their platforms. They also are looking to optimise the withdraw process to create the best player experience. Business Intelligence tools and dedicated teams are in place to analyse and act upon data insights. But what really happens during the payment process flow is another question. HiPay does more than just payment processing. We offer over 100 interactive dashboards and reports to get a full 360-degree view of player behavior by combining data from the payments page to the authorisation request and beyond. Payment data is part of our DNA. We make all of the important payment information available to our customers to enrich their CRMs and to optimise their conversion rates country by country. Clients can make in-depth performance analyses, optimise their marketing operations and get realtime fraud monitoring with our integrated platform. Our single integration solution meets the needs of all areas related to omnichannel payments: fraud prevention, mobile technology, data & analytics and financial reconciliation. Delivering insights is also about relationships. We want to understand our customer’s businesses so we can better leverage the power of data to help them get closer to their customers and maximise their revenue. 3. You mentioned that HiPay is a next generation payment platform, using new technologies based on machine learning. How would a gaming operator benefit from these advances? With the availability of Big Data technologies, exploiting payment data to roll out cross-channel strategies that generate additional revenues has become much easier. The challenge for operators is to look beyond seeing


Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

payments as just a simple transaction but more as a driver for conversion in their businesses.

Paul Lits, Business Development Director iGaming

Using all available payment transaction information allows an e-merchant to intelligently fight fraudsters while providing the best user experience to optimise conversion rates. Until recently, e-sellers had to manually analyse their data before taking a risk decision. Now, thanks to Big Data and Machine Learning technologies, the use of payment data allows merchants to be more proactive by integrating all the key payment data from their businesses. Self-optimising machine learning models based on historical payment data are used to decide whether a transaction has an acceptable risk or is fraudulent – reducing manual processing and limiting chargebacks. 4. What makes FinTech so extraordinary is its constant change and the quick pace at which technology is changing the way transactions are made. Do you see FinTech as an opportunity to cooperate more with the banking system? Or is there competition with them? How does this landscape impact HiPay in igaming? As a FinTech, our relationship with banks is more about a win-win partnership and collaboration. We benefit from the banking industry’s online development and integrate them into our own eco-system with additional in-house technology and features. We work closely with banks, share ideas and they benefit from FinTech’s fast development, reactivity, and creativity. With a single integration platform, we can quickly implement existing payment methods or an operator’s existing transaction flow into our platform to offer the most popular international payment solutions. The idea is not to change everything in the existing industry payment architecture but to improve and add advanced payment analysis on the existing operator infrastructures.

5. How do you partner with your iGaming customers? Talk us through a typical day. A personal approach is one of our top priorities. That’s why our team is made up of iGaming specialists working closely together with our customers. We are sort of analytics addicts so we start the day checking our customers’ business indicators in detail, analysing what worked and what didn’t, checking conversion rates and fraud indicators. Working with iGaming businesses makes a payment provider’s day more exciting. With a fast changing industry, we need to keep up-to-date with changing market trends, operators’ promotional campaigns and press releases, country regulations, major sports events, etc. This helps us to know more about iGaming business expectations, develop custom-made tools, and as markets evolve, make sure our product roadmap follows market trends. But the day never ends for us as we all relax with a beer playing on operators’ websites until late. Some of us prefer casino games, others are sport betting addicts.

“Why SiGMA? Simply because of the Maltese islands and its people! Malta is the #1 place for gaming with over 300 companies and more than 9,000 people working in the industry. Things move quickly in Malta. SiGMA is a great opportunity to meet them all within a few days in a relaxed but professional atmosphere.” 075


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Technology | SiGMA

BULGARIA – TECHNOLOGY HUB OF THE BALKANS BY ANGEL IRIBOZOV, CHAIRMAN, BTAMOGI Technologies have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. They are introduced in every aspect of our being and define our lifestyle and social interaction and innovations in technology are the major driving force in all sectors of the economy. The gaming industry does not fall behind. New guidelines in the sector bound by the Internet and social networks are introduced without excluding the popular virtual and augmented realities. The gaming industry and regulators strive to find the most suitable system solutions for future development that should be adapted to the new realities. It is a well-known fact that powerful online platforms and system conceptual solutions offer unlimited possibilities for the gaming industry. As far as the Balkans are concerned, especially in Greece, Romania and Macedonia the market segmentation, supervision and technical requirements for gaming equipment and systems continue to evolve. Bulgaria has been repeatedly indicated as an example of the most developed jurisdiction in the field of gambling. The gaming industry plays an important role and contributes significantly to the economy of the country. The online segment in Bulgaria continues to grow and develop and by the end of September 2016 there are 11 licensed organisers with 24 licenses for online gaming. In Bulgaria the greater share falls to local operators providing both casino games and sports betting. In the sector of sports betting, except for the Bulgarian Sports Totalizator presented by its website toto.bg, Eurobet (eurobet.bg) and Eurofootball (eurofootball.bg), successful positions are holding licensed brands popular in Europe and worldwide such as Betfair (betfair.com), PokerStars (pokerstars.bg), BET365 (bet365. com) and the recently licensed brand bwin of the company GVC Holdings (bwin.com). A relatively new trend is the entry of companies-organisers of lottery games online. Flooding the market and shaping the online sector with an abundance of innovative interactive gaming products, including the approved gaming content and platform vendors like Playtech, Microgaming, NYX, NetEnt, AMATIC Industries GmbH, Casino Technology and Euro Games Technology provide such rich, quality and flexible product. This then allows the operators to undertake steps towards business diversification, investment in the scope of products and services which are dedicated to the customers preferences. Technology made possible the conversion between the games in the classic casino and the mobile and online games by using platforms that communicate with each other. Shortening the distance and overcoming differences is already a fact thanks to the latest developments. Alike Romania, Bulgarian market is one of the most rapidly developing in Eastern Europe in term of adoption of newest trends, innovative approaches and technological solutions due to the presence of strong, local manufacturers specialised in gaming and possessing a great bank of know-how and creativity delivered in their large portfolios. The benchmark settled by the native industry leaders ranks Bulgaria in the top rating of European markets with significant investments in purchase and installation of high-end gaming equipment and premium product series. A pioneer in that field is one of the Bulgarian companies, namely Casino Technology, which has already successfully implemented several similar projects in different parts of

the world. Games of the Bulgarian manufacturers Casino Technology and Euro Games Technology enjoy popularity and success through various online platforms. According to statistics, over 80% of the production of Bulgarian manufacturers in the industry are meant for export. This sets the requirement for implementation of the highest certification and regulatory frameworks. Among the other important suppliers are the names of JPL, MAGIC COIN, PROXIMA-3, Casino Games and Innovations (CGI), DECART and Redful Engineering. According to Forbes, Sofia is ranked among the top ten cities around the world to launch your start-up, not only due in part to its low income tax rates- yet another sign of the positive trends of developing technologies. The capital of Bulgaria is where the first in the region technological and scientific park (Sofia Tech Park) was established. Why Bulgaria is the technology hub of the Balkans? Bulgaria has strong traditions and skilled workforce in the ICT sector and has already become a hub for high value added and R&D IT services. According to Cisco: “Bulgaria holds 3rd place in Europe and 10th positions worldwide regarding the absolute number of certified IT professionals based there. The country has been known as the Silicon Valley of Eastern Europe because it offers a good mix of high skills, fairly low labor costs and good production quality”. “If you want first-class mathematicians, try looking in Bulgaria.” stated William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Harvard College. Companies from the industry do contract programming for some of the biggest brands in the world of gaming software and services, including Spintech, MANSION Group, SB Tech, bwin.party, Bit8, Cayetano Gaming, Dopamine, DENCH EGAMING SOLUTIONS, Bede Gaming, Anakatech, TRADOLOGIC, Paysafe, eMerchatPay, ADCash and etc. Moreover, in the recent years Bulgaria has become the preferred destination for the outsourcing platforms, especially in the field of help and call centers. Bulgaria ranks first in Europe and the 13th in the world among the top 50 best destinations for outsourcing. As every evolving market needs a focal point to meet, exchange knowledge and promote its product, Bulgaria has its annual events - the Balkan Entertainment & Gaming Expo and the Eastern European Gaming Summit, which this year will mark their 10th anniversary. The events gather more than 5000 people from the industry annually, thus creating a healthy atmosphere for promoting recent gaming advancements, establishing partnerships and sharing experience. This year the events are expected to prepare even richer agenda with innovation and start-up corners, online and affiliate zones and multiple new format networking events. The local production and development in Bulgaria thrives. In recent years, highly skilled professionals, who work in the field of technology, have turned the country into a place where international companies of the gaming industry have established their offices for development and maintenance. The modern legal regulation in the industry as well as favorable economic and business environment made Bulgaria a preferred place for investors and entrepreneurs in the sector. 077


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E E V V I I L L E E RR

6 1 a S S T m T N g N i E S ME e h tthe

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BiG SPORTS DINNER: NOVEMBER 16TH 2016 INTERCONTINENTAL BALL ROOM, ST. JULIAN’S

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Malta Gaming Awards

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MALTA GAMING AWARDS: NOVEMBER 16TH 2016 INTERCONTINENTAL BALL ROOM, ST. JULIAN’S

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Networking Poker Tourney

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NOVEMBER 16TH 2016 INTERCONTINENTAL 7TH FLOOR CARISSA, ST. JULIAN’S

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Expo

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NOVEMBER 17TH & 18TH 2016 INTERCONTINENTAL, BAY ARENA, ST. JULIAN’S

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Conferences

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Conferences

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Start-Up Pitch

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iGathering 4

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NOVEMBER 18TH 2016 SCIACCA GRILL, ST. JULIAN’S

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NOVEMBER 18TH 2016 ISCIACCA GRILL, ST. JULIAN’S

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Networking Drinks

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NOVEMBER 17TH & 18TH 2016 TAPAZ LOUNGE, ST. JULIAN’S

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Networking Drinks

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NOVEMBER 17TH & 18TH 2016 TAPAZ LOUNGE, ST. JULIAN’S

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Closing Night

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NOVEMBER 18TH 2016 WESTIN PAVILLION, ST. JULIAN’S

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iGathering 5

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FEBRUARY 22ND 2017 LA DOLCE VITA, SPINOLA BAY

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FEBRUARY 22ND 2017 LA DOLCE VITA, SPINOLA BAY

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Infographics | SiGMA

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WHY SIGMA17 ? WHY MALTA? DELEGATES FROM

FOUR TIMES THE EXHIBITORS AND SPONSORS

200

in 2017

from

55 in 2014

6,000 TRIPLE THE ATTENDEES

in 2016

from

1,804 in 2014

DELEGATE TYPE

38% 32%

OPERATOR

AFFLILATE

4%

23% SOLUTION PROVIDER

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FOUR TIMES AS MANY CONFERENCES SiGMA14:

Regulatory // Affiliates SiGMA16:

MEDIA

3% REGULATOR

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 reservations@maltaigamingsummit.com 0123


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GOING VIRAL FROM FINLAND & MALTA SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH MALTA-BASED DANIEL ERIKSSON TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIRM’S B2B AND B2C APPROACH TO BUSINESS. White label, platform, online casino – we don’t know where to start! With your three products you cover a major part of the industry. Could you explain what each product is doing and what was the business path you went through forming them? Finnplay was founded in 2008 by Martin Prantner, with the ambition to become a reliable, agile and trustworthy gaming platform targeting licensed customers in smaller regulated markets in Europe. Finnplay got customers in Belgium as one of our first customers. As business went along, there were coming in leads of customers who did not have their own gaming license, this then naturally grew into us acquiring a license of our own. Curacao became our first choice and with that Viral was born. We got the Curacao license in 2013. Since then we applied and received the UKGC pool betting license in 2015. Same time as I came on board, I started working on our own B2C brand LuckyCasino.com a fun and character based casino story running entirely on our platform. This also became our base applying with the MGA and we received the MGA license 2016. You mentioned that you’re planning to operate Viral and Finnplay under one brand. Could you shed some light on the reason behind this decision? What will be your business development strategy after this move? To better streamline our business, and provide what is most natural for our customers. We felt it important that we only market one brand, but then rather focus on products instead of running too many labels which maybe only confuses our customers. Finnplay will moving forward provide platforms and white label offerings under the strong management of our recent hire VP of White Label Unit Carl-Anthony Degiorgio together with Finnplay’s CCO Erkki Nikunen. The corporate structure will not change due to this operational change. You launched LuckyCasino in 2016 – how will you raise this new baby? We bet you have some ambitious plans for this year! Oh wow yes, I’m happy with the above mentioned changes, as I have been operating the entire business up until now, and really not been able to focus fully on getting Lucky Casino to where I want it to be. I will not try to re-invent the wheel, I believe existing wheels get the job done, and I will improve the our methods and enable those in a way that is appealing for the player and create stickiness. There are some exciting new games coming up Q3/Q4 with LuckyCasino. We are also looking for investors in the newly started company holding the LuckyCasino label rights.

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You started off with Curacao license and then obtained the UK and Maltese licenses. Could you tell us more about the process? Some of our readers are planning to apply for these licenses - would you have any tips for them? I think your readers do not have time to hear the entire story about how to get going with a license application. But there are a few things, that I believe allowed us to get the first license in 6 weeks. 1. Hire a UK based consultant with a proven track record. This will help you communicate with UKGC and make sure that your responses and documentation are in line with what is expected from the UKGC to allow you to operate in the market. 2. Get organised, make sure you have people enough to write the documentation and deliver the technical features needed to answer to all the requirements in the future operation. 3. Constant follow ups, create google docs with missing tasks, use dropbox to share documents between yourselves and communicate with your consultant in the UK everything you are thinking about before, you ever respond to the UK. When you apply for the license there should be silence for 3-4 weeks. Then you will get a few follow up questions or clarifications needed to proceed. How you answer to these will allow you to get the license in 1 week. We got 2 follow-up rounds and thus got the license in 6 weeks. We know that you consider applying for the recently introduced Maltese fantasy sports license. How would you describe its potential in the light of the markets you’re present on? I think this is an untapped market in so many ways, as it connects to a much broader range of people interested in fantasy sports. Also a big difference is that it is not considered as gambling by the MGA which could potentially unlock a much larger base of players, as it will not be coded as a gambling transactions by the payment service providers.


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

Your team is based in Malta and Finland. Why Malta, why Finland? What are the advantages of being split in these two locations? Are there any challenges you have to overcome? Martin, who started Finnplay, is based in Finland and has his family there. It was only natural for him to start his company there to build his dream. In reality, Viral was started before I started working with the company, but there was nothing operational in Malta at the time, and now we are employing 6 people, and will probably be 10 in Malta before the end of the year. So when Martin and I started speaking, we decided to do LuckyCasino and have me manage the White label part in the beginning, which I have been doing until now. I think one advantage is giving staff the opportunity to travel or even relocate between different locations. I feel that Finland provides more structure and a more normal way of life, whereas Malta could be fun for a while to visit and work, and then return to Finland. Finnplay also has developers full time in Eastern Europe and Asia so there are definitely some time zone and cultural differences. I do believe we have learned to overcome them. Yangtze Meng, one of our lead developers, has even relocated to Finland since he started working for us with his entire family from China to Helsinki.

“I think this is an untapped market in so many ways, as it connects to a much broader range of people interested in fantasy sports. Also a big difference is that it is not considered as gambling by the MGA which could potentially unlock a much larger base of players, as it will not be coded as a gambling transactions by the payment service providers.”

We would love to know more about the man behind all the business! You’re now involved in many different sides of the industry. What was your way to reach this point? I’ve been a self-employed entrepreneur for quite some time, I believe since 2003. With this industry I started as an affiliate for an American poker software company in 2006, and have stayed In gambling ever since. My way to reach where I am now is the constant interest of learning something new, and the total diversity in doing a little bit of everything in a growing start-up helps keep you constantly on edge. I do however believe much more in working smart, rather than working hard. Being inexperienced and just working hard and many hours might not take you as far as if you get help and work with others who are very experienced and might have done mistakes you would do if you were taking the decisions all by yourself. I think this is where our team can constantly excel also with a wide range both in age and qualifications within our group of companies. I often think of Bill Gates quote; “Difficult tasks I appoint to lazy people.” Because I know they will find an easy way to do it. Thinking outside of the box gets you far but experience and dedication gets you even further. With such a busy career, stress is an unavoidable part of the process- how do you combat it? Does the Maltese environment help with that or is it easier to handle in colder Scandinavia? I have very little to complain about Malta if anything. Malta has a little of everything and the summer weekends at Baia beach club is a good source of energy. Winter times in Malta I get to run along the promenades with my son and our kickbikes speeding like two lunatics, good fun. I go to Hilton gym 5-6 days of the week and that keeps me healthy, I have not been sick for the last 2 years. Quite incredible as I do have a few travel days per year. Night time I do enjoy a cigar whenever I have the time to spare. Whatever Sweden has to offer I try to enjoy one month of summer, and 1 week or 2 over Christmas / new years eve, the time in-between I think is quite difficult in Sweden actually.” 0125


Interior Design | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

GQ WORKS: SUSTAINED IMPACT AT THE CORE SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH MAIK METZ, DIRECTOR AND FOUNDING PARTNER OF GQ WORKS, AN EXPERIENCED COMPANY IN INTERIOR DESIGN, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, BUILDING SERVICES, FINANCIAL CONTROL AND 24/7 MAINTENANCE SERVICES, FOCUSED ON OFFICES FOR THE GAMING INDUSTRY. Can you tell us what GQ Works is about? Innovation. I believe that this allows us to welcome opportunities and transform ideas to achieve sustainable results. Our team has thirty years of practical experience with numerous clients around the globe, and this has compelled us to adopt advanced standard-based techniques, while adhering to established timeframes and budgets. During the design process, our team of architects and project managers give great attention to the quality of physiological elements such as acoustics, lighting and the thermal atmosphere, providing an office that is visually beautiful as well as pleasant to work in. I believe that our experience contributes to significant cost savings, while ensuring that the end product is environmentally friendly and energy saving. This results in a cost-effective solution that ensures savings in both initial capital and operational running costs. Can you elaborate on your experience in projects related to the gaming industry? The team at GQ Works has been entrusted with several projects in the gaming industry, including broadcasting studios and offices for

companies such as Bet365, Netent, and Yggdrasil amongst others. I emphasise on the importance of providing an individual approach to every client, promoting an office environment based on an optimal user experience and a workplace that focuses on collaboration. This customised approach contributes to a feeling of the office not just being a workspace, but a second home since such a large part of one’s life is spent at work. Another priority is to ensure that all forms of construction leave as little impact on the environment as possible. Rather than taking away, I believe in a contribution towards a better environment. What is one of your most memorable projects? Our team designed and managed the Quantum House commercial building, located on the Ta’ Xbiex seafront, as a turnkey project. This state-of-the-art building consists of six storeys housing offices for gaming-related companies. It has been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe prize based on its’ energy efficiency and sustainable qualities. The goal of this project was, in fact, to provide sustainable and ecologically friendly offices, substantially reducing costs and the utilisation of fossil fuels while providing a maximum level of comfort at the workplace. The building makes use of an efficient air-conditioning and ventilation system which provides an advanced indoor environment quality that positively affects employees’ well-being and productivity. Another feature of the building is the provision of thermal and sound insulation through the use of innovative materials which were purposely sourced from abroad for this project. Quantum House also boasts a customised water reservoir and recycling system, reducing the amount of fresh water consumed. What makes your company unique? I would say that something that we do differently is the way that we approach a project, treating it holistically in considering various interrelated factors and the surrounding context to achieve the optimal solution. I am a firm believer that thinking ahead and developing diverse solutions for different projects is essential. Planning in advance is economical as, even if the initial spend is greater than anticipated, using better quality materials and systems saves costs in the long run. 0127


ISSUE 5 FALL / WINTER 2016

Interview | SiGMA

NO WAGERING. NO BULLSH*T: THE NEW CASINO

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SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

“First and foremost PlayOJO was made for the player. There are no catches, no hidden t&c, no prenups, no backhanded bonuses, no shifty small print, just real money and real play.” “No wagering. No bullsh*t.” – Not your typical welcome message on a casino page. Could you explain the idea behind this straightforward motto? First and foremost PlayOJO was made for the player. There are no catches, no hidden T’s & C’s, no prenups, no backhanded bonuses, no shifty small print, just real money and real play. We always say if it’s not fun and playful, it’s not OJO. Our whole philosophy is not only about being trustworthy, transparent and fair, but is also about rewarding players on the basis that their money is really their money. This means generous returns for players and no casino wagering requirements on anything. Ever. It’s about putting players back in the driving seat and that affords them a more playful experience. They feel reassured, because what you see is what you get. What’s troubling with the existing bonus model offered by vast majority of the online casinos? How did you find out that players are looking for something different? Is it pure gut feeling? Statistically significant data collection? Or a mix of both? We feel the old way of running casinos online doesn’t appeal the way it used to and it’s alienating more and more people. It’s too negative. The current bonus model has attracted bad press has been criticised by regulators like the UK Gambling Commission because it doesn’t give players a fair crack of the whip. It doesn’t have to be like that. Our system, OJOplus pays players money back on every bet, win or lose. And when we say money, we mean money, paid immediately, directly into their accounts, with no restrictions. This is not such a ground-breaking idea. When you go to a land-based casino, you don’t have any “wagering requirements” or “play-throughs” -- you go to the cage, cash in your chips and collect your money. It’s not revolutionary. We knew, instinctively, that players wanted -- deserved -something different and that change was definitely needed. Our market research confirmed our suspicions! We found

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that over 84% of casino players preferred a casino that paid money back on every bet over traditional sign up bonuses. Anyone coming to your website can see that it doesn’t look like most online casinos. You even introduce your team to the players, while most of the operators choose to stay anonymous. What are you planning to achieve by standing out of the well-established formula? Simply to demonstrate that PlayOJO is a inclusive, transparent and fair. There’s no need for us to hide our faces. Since we’re trustworthy and accountable, why would that ever be an issue? We also wanted to get rid of those stale online casino site clichés: the sexist imagery, the neon signs flashing on dark backgrounds. We want to emphasise that this is something different. It’s fresh, modern and playful, brave, fun, witty and, we hope, reassuringly open. You’re planning to conduct an extensive marketing campaign for OJO. Could you tell us more about it? What channels will you be using and which markets will you focus on? We recently launched a TV campaign which we’re superexcited about. It first aired on Friday 24th March on Channel 4, Sky and digital channels and stars Geoff Bell (Green Street Hooligans; The Business; Kingsman: The Secret Service) as a rogue PlayOJO employee who represents the “old” way of running an online casino. He ultimately resigns in disgust at PlayOJO’s policy of giving its players money back on every bet, which leads us into the tagline: “Not bad for an online casino.” There is a 30-second and 40-second version of the TV ad, with 10 second versions airing in May. We worked very closely with a top London based advertising agency, 101 and was shot by award-winning director Chris Woods. We’ve already received incredible feedback from both players and affiliates. So much so, that we had always planned to do a TV campaign, however due to the huge response since the casino launched, we moved the TV campaign forward.


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

In terms of markets we will be primarily focused on the UK and Nordics to begin with, although we are licensed in the UK, Denmark and Malta. You put the players in a special place in your business model, but what about the affiliates? Is there anything new they could be excited about? Is your affiliate program part of the new model you propose? Yes, it is - and by that we mean the openness and transparency and sense of fun that are at the core of philosophy cross over into our affiliate business. We offer excellent affiliate manager support, plus the opportunity to meet your account manager face-to-face to discuss your marketing promotions at affiliate trade shows, for example. We’ll also be running fun networking events throughout the year, boat parties and invitations to fun cities, and so on. Crucially, PlayOJO is a highly marketable exciting new brand that offers great deals for players. There’s no negative carry-over or bundling with our other brands, at all, and we’ll make the affiliate’s job even easier with localised marketing campaigns, and all the marketing tools - banners, acquisition mailers, trackers - for campaigns in all languages. But more than anything else, with the size and scale of the TV campaign plus all the offline activity planned, we will be driving demand to the affiliates who just have to give PlayOJO the right exposure on their websites to to take advantage of it!

realised very early on that what they wanted was something very different to what was on offer, and so the challenge came from creating that from scratch. It was very technically and creatively challenging, although it was definitely worth it! Many players are bonus hunters, with multiple accounts on different casinos. Do you think it is even possible to break this trend? You’re right. Some players are always looking for bonuses and there are lots of casinos that will cater for them. But what we found through talking to players is that, more often than not, they had been burned by the terms and conditions of big bonuses with ridiculous play-through rates and they were looking for a fairer reward system. OJOplus is an industry exclusive because it gives players money back win or lose and they can withdraw the money straight into their accounts and withdraw it immediately. Bonus hunters exist precisely because of the current bonus model that pervades the industry, and because it’s the only way they feel they can get a fair deal. Like we say, it’s time to break the mould.

You plan to “shake up the industry”. Do you think other brands will follow the way paved by your idea for an online casino? Yes, we believe PlayOJO is a disruptive concept and disruption changes industries. The current model of online casinos has been around since the very beginning of online gambling and it’s now ripe for change. People want something different and it’s time to give them something different. We are a challenger brand. We believe PlayOJO is a milestone for the industry and expect many to follow our lead. Creating a new brand is always full of challenges. What was the biggest one you experienced working on Play OJO? PlayOJO is a brand that’s all about the player and we spent a long time listening to players about what they wanted. We 0131


SiGMA | Cover Story

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

‘If you don’t try, you don’t know’

FOLLOWING HER PARTICIPATION AT SIGMA 2017, THE STRIKINGLY YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR CARLA MAREE VELLA SPEAKS TO EMAN PULIS ABOUT HER ROLE AS THE CEO OF OPTIMIZER INVEST AND HER JOURNEY THUS FAR.

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Cover Story | SiGMA

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SiGMA | Cover Story

The early bird catches the worm, they say, and that tired old adage may just have found its validation in Carla Maree Vella, the 33-year-old CEO of Optimizer Invest, a leading investment company on the igaming scene. Though she only joined the four-year-old firm last year, this is far from being Carla’s first rodeo, and she generously expanded on her impressive CV as we caught up with her as we caught up with her in the run up to Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn. To wit, Carla started her first business at the even more tender age of 26 - motivated by a can-do ethos that runs through the family - before becoming Head of Marketing Operations, and then Managing Director, at betsson.com and eventually joining Optimizer Invest in March of 2016. As is expected, however, a learning curve period had to be surpassed first… “My igaming story started in 2009. I joined a start-up in the iGaming space that failed, following that I ventured out on my own and in 2010 I started working on a poker affiliate site with my business partner -- we ran that for a few years while I ran my own consultancy company and four other affiliate sites. In 2013 I joined Betsson and in 2016 I joined Optimizer Invest.” For Carla, the option to get into igaming was something of a no-brainer, since she claims -- reasonably enough, given the Maltese business and economic scenario and its enduring success story with igaming -- that the field is more or less impossible to avoid for someone working in the digital industries in Malta. As luck would have it, however, Carla also revels in the rudiments of the industry in and of themselves, claiming that once she got into it, she “enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t imagine not being a part of it in some shape or form”. Throwing herself into the fray so early on in her career also had its perks - if you could describe hard-earned professional wisdom as a perk, that is - and Carla clearly has no regrets for plunging head-first into it at such a young age. “Working for myself gave me a lot of operational knowhow and working in larger organisations has helped me understand the corporate landscape and really understand the leadership. I think my journey up until now has equipped me with experiences and people skills that can really help start-ups evolve.” 0136

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“Working for myself gave me a lot of operational know-how and working in larger organisations has helped me understand the corporate landscape and really understand the leadership.”

Thankfully, Carla has never allowed her young age -- or any stigma attached to it -- to cramp her style as she forged on ahead to establish the dynamic career she has her age. Because at certain key points, she was made aware that yes, the stigma of “too young” is too real; even if she actually feels a step or two behind other international entrepreneurs working today (talk about that inner critic!). “I’ve been called too young to be a super affiliate and too young to run a brand,” she says, quickly adding that “thankfully, at Optimizer I was not too young to be a CEO.” In fact, she claims that the best teams she’s worked for were very evenly balanced out in terms of age, gender and nationality -- the latter of which is also in evidence at Optimizer, with its top brass being a Maltese-Scandinavian mix. “I believe that the mix adds value to the way we do business and how we understand the multicultural mix of entrepreneurs who we work with and the new ones who approach us,” she says, describing the Optimizer board room as “one of the most exciting places, because it is the epicenter of great discussions, debates, great minds


Cover Story | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

challenging each other and most importantly where some of the strategic decisions are made that ultimately shapes Optimizer’s success”. This authentic approach, which seems to value diversity of opinion while maintaining a clear focus on targets and the big picture, appears to permeate the Optimizer philosophy, as becomes clear when Carla gives her firm but fair assessment of the kind of companies Optimizer tends to shy away from. “We will never invest in a company in which we see bad management, when we invest equally in the team as we do the product.” And rather than lending an ear to any company that comes to them with a vague and half-formed ‘idea’, Carla says that Optimizer “look for companies who are beyond their proof of concept stage, have customers and are showing signs of monetization”. Her advice for start-up companies is no less sharp, and Carla is ready to dish out some tough love based on pitfalls she’s seen other companies fall into all too often.

TIMELINE: DATE COMPANY Q2 2012 Optimizer was founded Q4 2012 Catena Media Q2 2013 Fast Promotions Q2 2013 BetIt (incubated at Optimizer) Q4 2013 Crownstudent.se Q4 2013 Okobay Q2 2014 Readly Q4 2014 Consector Q4 2014 Reve Q4 2014 Sequra Q4 2014 Easy Payment Gateway Q4 2014 Frontmen.se Q2 2014 ZooZoo / Animail.se Q2 2015 Tinitell Q2 2015 iGaming Cloud Q2 2015 New Incubated Company (incubated at Optimizer) Q1 2016 Catena Media IPO Q3 2016 Casino Heroes Q3 2016 Betit / GIG merger Q3 2016 Opening of new office in Malta Q4 2016 Pensionera.se Q1 2017 Investoo.com Q1 2017 Frontmen.se (exited)

FACT SHEET: Founded in

Team:

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Catena share price*:

* at time of printing

Exit:

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Listed companies:

GiG share price*:

“The most annoying are pitch decks that don’t explain what the product is within the first two slides. Following that it is companies who are not trying to solve problems, companies who have no monetisation model and companies that think that social media is free and a sufficient stand-alone marketing strategy. Also, I think it is quite important to also know a little about the VC you are pitching to, so that you know who you are talking to and why that VC is a good match.” But what is Optimizer’s philosophy once a company has actually made the cut and brought into the fold? Unsurprisingly, Carla places great importance on the ‘exit’ when talking about Optimizer’s business approach. “Optimizer Invest is private money, so we are technically accountable for our own funds. We answer to ourselves, which in some way is even more demanding than protecting a group of investors. Our exit strategy is pretty simple: When we invest, we invest in companies whose product is desirable, shows potential to grow within multiple markets and has the team with the spirit to take it all the way. We also make sure we are part of that journey by jumping in and getting our hands dirty with the team. Within every portfolio company someone from the Optimizer Invest team holds an active position and is communicating with that team on a weekly, if not daily, basis.” When it comes to the industry as a whole, Carla believes that Financial Technology is one of the most promising new industries for dynamic companies like Optimizer Invest to sink their teeth into, and she puts it strongly enough: “The financial sector is just waiting to be disrupted.” “Over the past three years we have seen more and more movement in this space. Financial institutions have been holding off from full digital adoption out of fear of loss of security, but this is no longer the case. The age of empowerment into the hands of the customer is truly here and the financial sector is having to adapt as well. The time when consumers feared to check their bank account online or pay with a credit card on an ecommerce site are topics of the past. Nowadays we do everything online from ordering a pair of shoes, ordering a cab, accommodation in London and buying our food. So much transactional information is already online and start ups and large corporations are seeing the opportunity here. I’m very excited to talk to companies who have grand plans of enabling anything in this space.”

Portfolio Valuation:

2012 12 €1.2M 3 €150M+ EUROPE 1 1 2 24 COMPANIES 105.5 SEK 4.62 NOK Regions:

“We will never invest in a company in which we see bad management, when we invest equally in the team as we do the product.”

Portfolio:

It’s clear that Carla is a sharp player in the field, with a clear vision of the terrain and her ears perpetually to the ground to spot new trends and opportunities. But an insight into her family history -- remember how we said they motivated her to get going in the first place? -- may just hold the key to what lies behind her drive to succeed. “My grandmother in Gozo would weave the most beautiful wool rugs and sell them to a Maltese merchant from Birkirkara. I certainly have my family to thank for the development of my mindset also, as they have never held me back from exploring a business idea. In my father’s words; ‘if you don’t try, you don’t know’…” 0137


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Social | SiGMA

DFS:

THE SOCIAL REVOLUTION BY VALERY BOLLIER, OULALA

THE iGAMING INDUSTRY IS NOW APPROACHING A CRITICAL STAGE NOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF ITS CUSTOMERS WERE RAISED PLAYING VIDEO GAMES: ANYONE BORN AFTER 1970 MOST LIKELY GREW UP PLAYING ON AN ATARI OR A PLAYSTATION. THIS SIMPLE DEMOGRAPHIC FACT SHOULD IN ITSELF HAVE LED TO A PRODUCT REVOLUTION IN THE IGAMING SECTOR WHICH, SURPRISINGLY, HAS NOT HAPPENED YET. Over the past 20 years, the video game industry has constantly been pushing boundaries in terms of quality and customer experience, while teaching us many lessons in the process. The most significant one is that customers now expect to play against each other. iGaming operators, particularly sports betting and casino sites, are finding it difficult to embrace this “social” revolution. When one has been betting against their own customers for years, a rather twisted relationship tends to develop. Therefore, when the “social” revolution kicked in over the past few years, the iGaming sector quietly ignored it, much too afraid of the infinite consequences that this might have on its very optimised but short term business model. “Why change a winning formula?” most operators seem to think.

Therefore, it would make sense for the iGaming industry to focus on transforming itself into an extension of the video game industry by offering the same type of games while monetizing them. The video game industry targets children and the young adults market. The iGaming sector could then position itself to follow and target all adults. Considering how, for example, GTA V reached €1 billion in sales in only three days, this positioning could prove itself to be very profitable. Daily Fantasy Sport (DFS) is a game changer for the iGaming industry. For the first time, operators have the opportunity to offer a game that is structurally social. Indeed, people are playing DFS to prove their sports knowledge and that skill is taking over mere chance or luck.

Truth be told, this new “social” business model would not offer the same kind of short term returns. However, the profitability will be much higher in the long term due to the obvious economic value of a loyal customer. Despite these striking benefits, there is still the fear of actually embracing this change from iGaming operators.

Several companies such as Oulala have positioned themselves as DFS B2B providers so that iGaming operators interested in offering a DFS product to their customers would not have to invest a large amount of capital. They also have ready-made access to the latest technological innovations in our sector and they can benefit from the customer mutualisation of the providers’ network.

The core of this change lies on one simple fact: it is far more stimulating and enjoyable for one to win their friends’ money than that of the house or of a stranger. Beating your friends is exhilarating but taking their money at the same time is far more so.

iGaming operators should embrace this revolution since the majority of their customers are now expecting to play real social games. As history has shown us, those who understand this Darwinist evolution in the early stages will most probably be the future winners of our sector. 0139


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

NEW, FUN AND

ENTERTAINING!

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SiGMA | Interview

Founded in late 2016 CasinoAndFriends was made in the belief that the world of online casinos should be a place for fun and entertainment! To contribute to this vision CasinoAndFriends launched in october 2016 as a response to more traditional casinos. “We thought that the fun and entertainment part had been missing from the Casinos for a while and if we don’t dare to change that – then who will?” says Peter Hellqvist, Co-founder and Affiliate Relationship Manager at CasinoAndFriends. Visiting CasinoAndFriends you will quickly meet up with a number of different characters, all of whom contribute to a new kind of Casino experience. They are both a dysfunctional family and a group of friends hanging out at the Casino. The characters each have a dual function: while they are all brand ambassadors for CasinoAndFriends, they also communicate with each other, just like real friends do. Naturally they also speak directly to the players. In communicating with new and potential players, they represent a broadening of marketing-methods within the affiliate world. Throughout the players membership at the site the friends keep communicating in different ways to different target groups in newsletters, campaigns and SMS-conversations. All this contributes to a longer and more developed form of CRM with the players, not to mention that it makes the whole playing experience more fun and entertaining for all the users at the site.

THE CHARACTERS ARE THE CORE

The current set of characters consists of five charming guys: Don Casoni, Mr. Jack Pots, Harald Halfway, Freddy Fortune and Gordon Golddigger. So why create a whole family instead of just a single character?

“We have deliberately created a number of characters and given them different personalities because we want to reach out to as much of the intended target group as possible.” Peter Hellqvist explains and he continues: “As different people we also respond to different types of communication and identify ourselves with different characters and their way of acting and behaving reflect the general social behavior that all us have going on between us on a daily basis: the dynamics of our relationships, our good and bad sides, our needs and worries and so on”. 0142

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THE IDEA BEHIND THE CHARACTERS

Three important and fundamental factors have been used in building up the characters: Behavior: According to the DISC model, a scientifically proven behavior model, all human beings share common, psychological behavior patterns that affect our way of communicating and interacting with other people. The characters reflect the different personalities found in the model.

“Basing the characters on such a common, psychological theory, our target audience will not just be able to relate to the different characters themselves, but also to recognise other people in their lives within the other characters” Extreme and Interesting: To make the characters interesting and easier to remember, and also from a business perspective getting the players eager to know what the friends will say or do next and share their activity in social media, they have been made extreme and stand out in different ways. As Peter Hellqvist puts it;

“To stand out from the crowd you need to be a little crazy, People remember crazy.” CasinoAndFriends recommend all partners to emphasize the aspects of the characters that stand out, as a tool to help them reach through to the users and be heard in an otherwise crowded casino market. Recognition: It should be possible to draw parallels to real people, famous people, movie characters and other references that already have a number of built-in attributes to elaborate on. An example is the shark, Don Casoni who is easily recognized as the “Godfather”. By making this reference the audience will already have some idea of how Don Casoni behaves and what he thinks about certain issues.


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“Anyone being able to recognize a couple of Jack Nicholson’s movie characters in Mr. Jack Pots, are also 100% correct” says Peter Hellqvist with a smile.

SOCIAL AND PROVOCATIVE

Daring to stand out from the crowd – which is necessary if the goal is to continue to be fun and entertaining – requires a certain amount of social engagement. If this is combined with the courage to be a little provocative in the communication with the players, a very potent mixture is created. “Various social media platforms enable us to be provocative in our communication, at the same time as we use our characters to reach out to people - So this is what we are – Fun, Entertaining, Social and Provocative!” Peter Hellqvist finishes.

Interview | SiGMA

“Various social media platforms enable us to be provocative in our communication, at the same time as we use our characters to reach out to people - So this is what we are – Fun, Entertaining, Social and Provocative!”

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C-Level Executives | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

THE WORLD GAMING EXECUTIVE SUMMIT RETURNS TO BEAUTIFUL BARCELONA FOR ITS 11TH BIRTHDAY OVERLOOKING THE SPARKLING WATERS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, THE NETWORKING BREAKS AT THE WORLD GAMING EXECUTIVE SUMMIT ARE SIMPLY UNCOMPARABLE, AND THE MAGNIFICENCE DOESN’T STOP THERE. ALONGISDE THE HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE TAKING PLACE ON 4-6 JULY, WGES OFFERS DELEGATES THE CHANCE TO PARTAKE IN SOME OF THE BEST PARTIES OF THE YEAR. THINK BEACH DRINKS RECEPTIONS, NIGHTCLUBS, GALA DINNERS, YACHT TRIPS AND SO MUCH MORE. Over 300 executives from leading land-based and online gaming operators, casinos, lotteries and solution providers will descend on the stunning W Hotel, Barcelona this July for an informative and highly enjoyable few days. The seniority, reputation and the global reach of the event make it the most exclusive and influential gathering for the gaming industry and all those affiliated to it. Building on its longstanding reputation, the 11th annual event will bring together over 80 expert speakers to debate and discuss the industry’s biggest issues, providing new ideas for online and offline gaming innovation. The conference agenda has been shaped by an outstanding advisory board featuring individuals such as Eric Olders of JVH Gaming & Entertainment Group, Magnus von Zitzewitz of Lotto24 and Kresimir Spajic of Hard Rock International. The conference will begin as always with the Regulation Day on Tuesday 4th July where many topics will be covered including harmonisation, new products, Brexit, data protection, CSR and anti-money laundering. Keeping things in the spirit of WGES, Regulation Day will end with happy hour roundtable discussions,

getting everyone in the mood for the drinks reception down on the golden sands of Barcelona beach. Shortly afterwards, the infamous invitation-only yacht party will set sail, providing breath-taking views of the Barcelona shoreline. The main conference will take place on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th, when the agenda will welcome a whole host of top industry names including Mr Green, Interwetten, Mybet, Century Casinos, Bet365, Eurobet Italia, Lotto NZ, William Hill, Caesars Entertainment and many more. At the end of day one, delegates will be welcomed to a casino themed drinks reception, followed by a delicious Gala BBQ Dinner overlooking the Spanish sunset. It doesn’t end there though, as attendees will then be whisked up to the 26th floor Eclipse nightclub for a fantastic after party that will last long into the early hours. High-level content coupled with sensational networking opportunities means that there is never a dull moment at the World Gaming Executive Summit. You’d be crazy to miss it. To find out more visit terrapinn.com/wges2017

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Title | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Maintaining a winning streak STARTING UP ANY COMPANY AS A SINGLE MUM OF FOUR IS NO SMALL FEAT; STARTING UP STREAK GAMING – WHICH HAS SINCE BECOME SYNONYMOUS IN THE IGAMING WORLD FOR ITS ADMIRABLE WHITE HAT MARKETING STREAK THAT ALWAYS KEEPS PLAYER-PROTECTION CLOSE TO ITS HEART – IS A MEANER FEAT STILL. BUT ITS PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER CHRISTINE MARRAH HAS LIVED TO TELL THE TALE, AND FLOURISH ALL THE WHILE. SHE CAUGHT UP WITH EMAN PULIS AFTER HER PARTICIPATION AT THIS YEAR’S SiGMA CONFERENCE

Assuring me that her four children are a driving force, not a hindrance, Christine Marrah – Founder and President of Streak Gaming – cut a sensitive and impressive figure as she talked about both the personal and professional realities that are currently shaping the iGaming industry, and how it’s those entities that ride roughshod over the trust of player and partners that will suffer the brunt of a bad reputation, in the end. Marrah may be perfectly positioned to speak about the vulnerability of certain players within the iGaming sector – that refers to both actual players and those working within the industry – having pretty much stumbled into the industry more or less by accident. Over a decade ago, actually, and as the result of a little episode that also secured her a long-term business partner in the process…. “Way back in 2003, the industry was so new and I think there where only a few bingo and even less casino spots. My friend and I played many times at Interbingo until one day I just became bored. At this time, I had no web experience, so I started researching to find free bingo chips to play on.” This search led Marrah to the “very old” Ezboard forums, and online rabbit hole that she describes as “a land in itself, back in the day”. “The forums were a way to communicate with each other through forum chats (also bingo chat RMS). Eventually, I found myself once again bored to the point I started thinking to myself, ‘These ladies could be actually earning money for their family, and someone needs to organise something to make these forums more gambler safe, more of a business’.”

Coupled with this realisation was the possibility that such a move would help Marrah gain some influence within the gaming community, and she “wanted to make sure these players are being looked after”. It was also around this time – and on the forums themselves – that she met her future business partner Carolyn. “She was working as a moderator/partner at one of the biggest and most popular forums back then. We ended up striking up a nice friendship which eventually turned into a business partnership.” In 2004, the duo set up their own forum, dubbed ‘The Winning Streak’ before being changed into Streak Gaming, as the company itself is known now. Marrah describes the roles as being ‘split equally’, while noting that the duo perform markedly different tasks within the company. However, it was a common concern about player security and fairness within the field of iGaming that got the two talking about joining forces to set up their new venture, in the first place. “Since unregulated gambling back in those days was pretty much the Wild West, Carolyn and I realised that it’s high time players had an advocate for them when it comes to payments on wins and so in. So, we became the watchdog and fought for fair play and pay.” It was then a pro-active approach towards business relationships and a willingness to adapt to an everchanging market that sealed the deal on the company’s longevity.

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SiGMA | Interview

business relationships – this allowed me to establish a healthy trust with operators. As a matter of fact, some of our direct competitors became, and still are, some of our best friends!” Marrah chalks this striking fact down to being yet another example of how the industry requires an ever-modern approach, and that “old school” models of what business relationships should look like just won’t cut it anymore. “Fact is, we have the iGaming industry maturing with many large affiliate networks performing buy outs of the smaller affiliates. Streak Gaming is determined to survive the current shakeout. Attracting new players is another thing – we had many slot tournaments and prizes given on out on the forum.” While Marrah confesses that the Wire Act post-2006 had its impact, and that they’ve “had to adapt and find a way to survive the shake-up.” Once again, a survival instinct – coupled with an added maternal drive – kicked into gear to provide some much-needed motivation. “Many of our competitors were folding shop. But at this point we were both single mothers and we needed this income. We decided to take Streak Gaming global and fight hard to stay alive in this ever-changing industry. We taught ourselves to GEO target, hire in translators and such.” Getting to the nitty gritty, Marrah informs us that Streak Gaming currently have 22 sites under their umbrella, with imminent plans to “downgrade a bit, while also updating the major sites” in the coming year. “Pre-Panda updates via Google, we found having our own network of sites on different IPs was much better to link to and from. We know we are white hat and we can always trust our own network. We have never paid for a link, we only rarely trade links with close friends. We anchor text within our own network of sites as well as using anchor text for SEO.” As another sign of how Streak Gaming are making an effort to keep up with the times, Marrah reveals that social media is becoming more and more of a focus for the company’s SEO plan. “We will still keep up with the old school SEO, of course, but I really think getting your brand out on Social Media is the new future of SEO.” She adds that in a way, it is precisely this kind of effort put into staying ahead of the curve that has helped them remain afloat and thriving in a volatile commercial atmosphere. “We are American – we love a good challenge!” One of the main priorities for Streak Gaming is to ensure that not all of its eggs are in one basket, so as to maximise the potential for survival. Or as Marrah puts it, to avoid “getting caught with our pants down”.

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a thing or two to say about what the gaming terrain is set to look like from here on in. Revealing that “online casinos are still our most successful vertical today,” she adds that mobile brands and live casinos have also been recent additions. Sports Gaming remains a bit of a touch-and-go (or rather, wait-and-see) area for Streak Gaming, as both regulation and audience appeal leaves its impact there. “However, we do plan on revisiting marketing eSports around the third quarter of 2017,” Marrah says, adding that poker, on the other hand, “seems to be at a standstill at the moment”. “I personally think it was oversaturated a few years back… maybe if there are new platforms to emerge, players will once again feel confident to play online.” But she speculates that institutional problems also played a part in the decline of online poker. “I think the shakeup of the big three has players shy to play online – many lost a lot of money during that time. Some are still waiting to be paid and – if we’re being honest – may never be paid.” For reasons such as these, Marrah admits that keeping up with regulations “has become a full time job in itself”, while adding that the “live casino craze” may just become top priority for Streak Gaming in the near future. Another interesting factor that will drive the future of Streak Gaming – if not gaming worldwide – is the national dynamics that come into play when considering the way different countries and regions approach the world of iGaming. Being from the US, Marrah has both the necessary insight and choice words to dissect and reveal the kind of realities that the American industry has been facing. “The big difference between the US market and others is that players just jump in and play, heedless of the rules and regulations. It was partly for this reason that prior to 2006, the scene was very much a Wild West kind of thing: plenty of casinos targeting US players, not all of them trustworthy!” Now that regulation has entered the mix, Marrah claims that players are having a hard time with depositing, with the end result being that the US market is “pretty much choked off”. “There are very few states where players are able to play online. Progress is happening, but it’s very slow. Then in the EU there is also regulation happening across that market and keeping up with regulation is a task all in itself.”

“When the Panda and Penguin rolled out, we found several of our competitors knocked out of our way. Why? Because they focused on one vertical of iGaming and they put all their money on one horse so to speak,” Marrah adds, throwing yet another animal metaphor into the mix.

Marrah confesses that she finds players in the Nordic, Eastern Europe and the UK to be “very intelligent” when compared to their American counterparts. “They read terms and conditions and are far more responsible gamers, in my opinion. I respect that many players will set a limit of what they can deposit a month and be done after they reached their own self-imposed limit, and I also appreciate that many gamblers are allowed to self-exclude themselves from the casinos.”

“Seriously, though, I would suggest anyone in this industry to take the time to research and jump in the newer – and notably, less saturated – markets. Stay ahead of the rest.” To this end, Marrah is proud of the global focus she insists on with Streak Gaming… with the exception of Asia. “We have not dared enter that market – it is way too dark for our taste.” And speaking of over-saturated markets, Marrah has

However, from an industry perspective Marrah has sensed a bit of a “crunch” in the Nordic market, with many affiliates rushing in to compete against each other. “Since Streak Gaming operates on an exclusively white hat policy across the board, this sometimes makes retaining competitiveness a bit of a challenge, as not everyone uses white hat marketing.” Payment issues are another hurdle in these same


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

markets, as a lot of players were left unable to make deposits after Neteller and Skrill pulled out of over 100 countries. However, it is Germany that’s proving to be the toughest nut to crack, since it’s very difficult for operators to obtain a license for legal operation in the country, though bafflingly enough, players cannot be prosecuted for playing online (“It’s all very grey, to be honest”). And since Australia has become completely out of the question for Streak Gaming, Marrah says their efforts will be focused on South America and Canada during 2017. Turning the geographical lens on Malta in general and SiGMA conference in particular, Marrah has nothing but words of praise for the conference and the island itself, and even confesses to seeing herself spending at least a few months in Malta each year. “After visiting Malta I can actually understand why it is known to be iGaming central. I am in love with the country! There is no doubt in my mind Malta can be a place for affiliate marketers to live and work remote. I am planning to attend SiGMA17 and I am highly recommending to all my friends to do the same. We can go sightseeing, and visit Gozo!” However, the aftermath of the conference also flagged certain key issues for the iGaming industry. Marrah is very glad to hear that, for instance, SiGMA17 will be vetting operators – arguably a first in iGaming history – to root out any shady players from infiltrating into the scene – a move that Streak Gaming, along with entities like Affiliate Guard Dog – have been campaigning for for quite some time. “The reality is that conferences are costly, and so they need sponsorship. I understand there are certain levels of sponsorship and you can really only have so many levels – i.e., Gold, Silver and Bronze – and this cannot be cheap, so you won’t find all that many companies who can afford this kind of sponsorship. “Unfortunately, in our business many of those who can afford are not good trustworthy companies, they have made millions of dollars off the back of affiliates. For years, some of us bigger affiliates have been advocating for vetting of the main conference sponsors, but as we all know: money talks and bullshit walks.”

Marrah is very glad to hear that, for instance, SiGMA17 will be vetting operators – arguably a first in iGaming history – to root out any shady players from infiltrating into the scene – a move that Streak Gaming, along with entities like Affiliate Guard Dog – have been campaigning for for quite some time.

To this end, Marrah firmly believes that SiGMA is well-positioned to team up with bodies like Affiliate Guard Dog and other influential advocates in the business to create an environment that is actually completely affiliate friendly. “If this were to happen, you will see attendance shoot through the roof! The thing is, I would rather see 5 or 6 levels of sponsorship by smaller trusting affiliate programs. I seriously know of several affiliates who refuse to attend conferences due to the sponsors, some will not eat sponsored paid lunches. Some will not take the free drinks, and in this industry, we know it takes a lot for an affiliate to turn a free drink down. I hate to see anyone hurt or taken advantage of, this happens a lot when affiliate programs operate with black hat marketing or predatory terms. Affiliates lose hard earned money and that is not fair.”

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SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

MALTESE TALENT

THRIVING IN GAMING SiGMA MET WITH ROB DOWLING, WHO CROSSED OVER FROM ENTERTAINMENT, WORKING NIGHT SHIFTS AS A DJ AND CLUB MANAGER, TO GAMING, HEADING THE EVERYMATRIX SALES OFFICES IN MALTA.

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Born and raised in Malta – you’re one of several locals who managed to enter the eye of the igaming storm. Tell us a bit about your experience in iGaming – was it purely coincidental or did you actually plan to exit the entertainment industry for the remote gaming one? No it was not really coincidental, I had been looking at the industry from the outside since 2008, I believed that this was going to be the next industry to boom after the hospitality industry however back then if you were not a coder or spoke Swedish the industry was nearly impossible to enter. My approach was pretty straight forward as I needed to learn as much as I can about an industry that was very secretive about their ways. Apart from sitting and listening to all that was said by industry Legends that attended 22, I also opened IGamingForums which was an information forum for the industry, this was very insightful as it gave heaps of information I could use. Another project I had done was together with Raphael Arnold we started the IGaming Executive Socials which attacked C-level people to 22. This of course was probably one of the best things I had done as suddenly I also had several contacts within the industry. Obviously once you have great contacts you can open some doors for some products that wish to present to top level brands. So I started attending most conferences as a sales consultant for several products, under the umbrella of a company I created, be it payments, slots, or anything related to iGaming I had a contact in a vendor that could help out. After a few years doing this I must have impressed EveryMatrix Sales Director Nick Hill, I was asked join Everymatrix and develop their presence and sales on the island. This is something I enjoy doing very much and feel that this position has developed my sales and networking skills even further. We know you very well in the entertainment industry – from DJing in most local establishments to managing BoogieBar, then Club TwentyTwo. Looking at the industry from that lens, how do you think locals see it? Ahh this is a question that can get me in trouble with so many friends, but I feel that this has become a little stagnant, I have not seen much innovation in events and clubs / lounges all tend to do the same. I might see it as a mistake as maybe I’m getting older, but the same format is spread all over the place. I would like to see a more varied form of entertainment, that not only caters for late night clubbers but something that can entertain the younger teens while they become of age. I feel that the two extremes of the market are not really catered for. As in the below 18 y/o and also the above 40 y/o. You have tons of experience in entertainment. How important it is to be a socialite in this industry? Our industry is filled with Networking events and this is always a great place to manage to get hold of that CEO or Affiliate that over emails or skype is very reluctant to discuss anything. The possibility to engage new people is endless, but you have to be a little bit of a socialite, comfortable at being around groups and also managing to lead an open conversation about anything that came to mind.

Interview | SiGMA

of course it’s useless knowing everyone and then no knowing what you are talking about, which brings me to a rule I try an impose on myself, albeit as hard as it might be, no shop talk after the 3rd whiskey. And of course one must try a follw what happening in the industry, and this from as many aspects as possible, be it technological, to legal and also the best gossip on who has bought who. How important is it for Malta to offer ancillary services that match the needs? Can we rely on good weather alone? Well, I think we are past the Sunny Malta marketing campaign of the 80s, this does not work for tourism any more, we have to offer a whole package that entices tourists to come here, so with that philosophy, why should this work to bring companies to Malta. We need to concentrate on offering the full package. Without going into depths of this question as it would probably take the whole magazine to answer I only point out that we still need better banking, financial services, leisure activities that are varied and interesting, and schools that cater for international audiences. We are getting there slowly but there is room to improve for sure. With the regulatory framework changing around Europe, Malta needs to become more aggressive on services towards the gaming industry, I feel that there is a window of opportunity for us as we have become one of the prominent gaming and financial hubs with many skilled people that can service an ever-growing industry and also many similar industries that rely of IT / Financial services. Our biggest strength at the moment is our experience in these industries and the everlasting Maltese credo that we can always make something work. Have you always worked in sales within igaming? What are your plans moving forward? So far I’ve always worked in sales and to be honest not only in gaming, I believe that as a manger of any entity you are always selling the product you represent. I enjoy understanding the sales process and what it takes to deliver a product to the client. So far I have not really made any plans on how I would like to move forward, but I do know that in time I will want to find more challenges that will inspire me further, but for the moment I am captivated but what I am doing and every day I learn more and more as this industry always has a knack of throwing a curve ball when you least expect it. Do you see yourself relocating outside Malta? What do you find so unique about being based here? I have never turned down the Idea of relocating to another country, however it will have to be one hell of a great place as Malta has a lot to offer in my opinion. The uniqueness of Malta is not found in just the way we do business. I love to tell many people that come to me with complaints about Malta that they most probably love and hate the exact same things about our little rock. But the one unique thing that keeps me here is the Life style. Many people smile at each other, and most seem or actually are happy. I travel a lot due to my job and I find that in most countries you don’t see people walking the street with bounce in their step. They just walk to work and back home, the old work, eat, sleep, repeat. Which this cannot be said about Malta, maybe it’s the sun, the sea or just the vibe of the island that keep people this way.

So yes the old saying that it’s not what you know but who you know is very much part of this industry, but 0153


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Bitcoin | SiGMA

BITCOIN & BEYOND

IT’S BEEN QUITE THE JOURNEY AND I’M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT BITCOIN! WE HAVE EXPERIENCED MANY GREAT TECHNOLOGICAL BREAKTHROUGHS THESE LAST FEW CENTURIES BUT NONE MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN BITCOIN. IF THIS IS THE BEGINNING WHAT IS BEYOND?

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SiGMA | Bitcoin

I never paid attention to money growing up; not even as a student when I had none as I knew I had a safety net. Its the simple things we take for granted in life and money is the perfect example. Upon leaving college I knew I wanted to work around technology and quickly found a home in the payments industry. What fascinated me most was how painful the process was when it came to moving money. The entire payment stack was broken and it was clear this couldn’t go on forever. One of the most interesting things I’ve learned these past few years is not only around how money works but what money actually means. When I started working in payments you didn’t have wallets or digital currency; When the internet was in its infancy no one had any idea what to do with it. There was no manual or interface; it was guts and has taken us over 50 years for it to reach today’s level of maturity.

“The early days of payments were exciting times. The services were so bad that you could build anything and make money” Money was never designed with the ‘digital’ age in mind and as a result had to depend on technology to ‘fit in’. PayPal was that missing link but many didn’t see the immediate advantages. Digital money was in its infancy and user adoption was slow. For all of its inefficiencies and cost, PayPal would quickly become an instant game changing means to transact online for people and businesses globally. Paypal’s growth can be credited to one industry alone; Gaming. PayPal gave players and users an easy way to get money into the game whilst also giving operators and merchants a more effective way to make payouts. It might sound simple enough but the costs

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

and friction involved in the deposit and withdraw process was and still to this day is the main driving force around financial innovation. PayPal simplified the process and as a result online industries would flourish. IGaming alone pushed the boundaries of technology and can directly be credited for helping pave the way for what we now know as mobile money. Along with the digitisation of money also came new regulation specifically designed to stifle its growth. Not only did this not stifle innovation it pushed people to further explore technology and think ‘outside the box’. Money hasn’t changed much these past few centuries. Sure, we’re better connected but cash is still the beating heart of the global economy. Could this change? With one financial collapse after another our confidence in government-backed money is falling. How do we provide digital solutions in areas of the world without even the basic services? We’ve come a long way in making the world a more ‘connected’ community but still struggle reaching most of today’s cash centric communities. Changing a person’s behaviour is very hard when it comes to money. Cash is King! As the saying goes…or is it? Confidence and trust in finance is at an all time low and we are curious why people in the emerging markets are sceptical. Who is meant to be trusted? From an early age I remember being taught what do with money. My grandfather told me that all my cash should go in the bank. I’ll never forget this conversation because that was the first time he told me what a bank was and I must have only 6 years old at the time. “A bank is the biggest building on the block with the white pillars and the marble floor” In today’s world this is of course less the case. Banks of today don’t need retail locations or ATM networks; a digital wallet and a smart phone and there’s your bank. Are these new challenger banks truly redefining the way we interact with money? The problem still lies in the rails the fact that these challenger banks still use these legacy rails means its still lipstick on a pig. The rails must be rebuilt from the ground up and the need for better, faster, and more efficient solutions are required immediately.

“Bitcoin is here to provide trust in financial services” When bitcoin found me I’ll never forget the day! I was involved with a cash remittance company at the time and the request came in to connect a bitcoin merchant to our MoneyGram network. The year was 2012 and bitcoin was in its infancy at 4 dollars and could be purchased all across America with a money order. As the price continued to rise I immediately began to take notice. Bitcoin operates very similar to cash and this is why many people are beginning to see the advantages but also disadvantages depending which side of the coin you fall on. Cash centric communities worldwide now have a way to digitize their cash whilst maintaining full ownership of their money and not controlled by any central bank or financial institution. Bitcoin provides the ability to make instant payments without the need of a third party to process, clear, or settle the transaction. Similar to e-money; bitcoin would quickly gain traction with online gaming operators and players as it provided the ability for payments to be made from anywhere in the world without the need for third party intervention. Bitcoin was the first time players actually had a functional single unit of account, which acted very much like a casino chip but in a digital landscape. The gaming industries quickly took notice to bitcoin and as a result now see it being used across many other industries.

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Bitcoin | SiGMA

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Like most still to date, I also used to be a sceptic. I understood the technology but couldn’t picture it being an efficient means to store value. Over the past 8 years though bitcoin has shown this not to be the case at all. Fortunately for me I saw the writing on the wall early and realised its true potential late 2012. For me the great opportunity now is developing solutions for customers to be able to interact with bitcoin without having to deal with all the complexities. As with any early technology, it starts in a nascent state and over time it matures take in point the Internet. The Internet was never built to transfer data and messaging. It was never thought of as being a way to transfer value so many of the features required were not built from the ground up. Bitcoin has changed the game when it comes to how we define money and more importantly how we use it.

2017 I officially joined Cryptopay as the new Managing Director and really get behind the company I saw as having a big future. Our product is by far the easiest and most compliant way to store, purchase and use bitcoin both for the consumer as well as any merchant. We have some exciting products launching this year along with announcing some further strategic partnerships.

“Bitcoin must be used!”

At the forefront of mobile and alternative payments, Eric engages with merchants and payment service providers around the world. His expertise is vast in the European and emerging markets and has worked in many different places immersing himself with localised payment solutions for the under banked consumers who live in low card penetration demographics.

I realised early on that bitcoin needed a bridge into the legacy financial infrastructure and both on-boarding and off-boarding points would be key to its increased adoption and growth. Providing products and services, which fit into the consumer mind-set is key with any new technology but even more with bitcoin. I’ve been involved thus far with a few different companies in bitcoin both in an investment and advisory capacity but none that I’m more excited about as I am with Cryptopay. Cryptopay is one of the UK and EU’s longest running bitcoin exchanges, wallet providers, merchant processors and bitcoin debit card providers. I met the founders, Dmitry and George, back in 2013 and it was clear from that moment, these guys knew exactly how to build a business let alone the rails in and out of bitcoin. After a few years I have witnessed the business grow and the product gain significant traction and I’m very exited for what’s in store As of January

A BIT ABOUT THE BENZ Deeply involved in the payments technology sector for the last decade, Eric Benz leads Pay-Tech solutions for some of today’s most exciting companies and is focused on providing innovative financial services to partners in mature and emerging markets.

Shaping the future of money is the main driving force for Eric. Recently, Eric has been providing innovative fintech services utilising rapidly emerging bitcoin and blockchain technologies. The identity of payments is rapidly evolving from legacy financial services to new dynamic cutting-edge blockchain based applications. Prior to being Managing Director for Cryptopay, Eric served as a Founding Director for the UKDCA (UK Digital Currency Association) and has advised many fintech related businesses.

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Optimisation | SiGMA

AUDITING THE GOOGLE ADWORDS BUDGET BLACKHOLE:

BEYOND WHAT YOU LEARN IN SEO101 Words by ADRIAAN BRITS

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SiGMA | Optimisation

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

GOOGLE IS IN THE BUSINESS OF SELLING CLICKS YET THE BULK OF CMO’S SEEM TO THINK THAT THE MOST RELIABLE SOURCE OF INFORMATION FOR CONVERSION OPTIMIZATION COMES FROM HIRING STAFF WHO ARE “GOOGLE ADWORDS CERTIFIED”. WHY DO I FEEL I’M MISSING SOMETHING? IF I MAY EXPLAIN THROUGH A PARABOLE: IMAGINE YOU VISIT A LOCAL GYM WHERE A FELLOW MEMBER WANTS TO SELL YOU STEROIDS. THEY ASSURE YOU THAT IT IS SAFE TO USE AND THERE WILL BE NO ADVERSE IMPACT ON YOUR HEALTH. A REASONABLE GUESS IS THAT GIVEN THEIR POTENTIAL BIAS FOR SELLING THE PRODUCT, YOU’D OBTAIN AN INFORMED OPINION FROM A QUALIFIED AND NEUTRAL THIRD PARTY, PERHAPS FROM YOUR LOCAL DOCTOR. The standard educational message from Bing and Google is that we can rest assured, they are covering our backs as advertisers by taking click quality seriously. Your message to them should be: “What a great start, rest assured we’ll do everything we can to help you in this worthy cause.” If a company who spends $4M per annum is due to receive a 25% refund from Google, that exceeds the entire annual salary of a small marketing team. This may sound exceptional if you narrowly define your playbook by what you learn from a standard Google Adwords Certification course. Yet, this is something that many companies qualify for, particularly those who buy mobile traffic or traffic from a display network as will be illustrated below. This journey you can start by simply measuring the right metrics, not by

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paying a fortune for fancy attribution software. The first time I discovered the issue was with an account for which the landing page had three traffic sources, being organic, display network and paid search. It became clear that for the same landing page, the display network produced an excessive bounce rate: higher than 90%, whereas search traffic (both organic and paid), produced a bounce rate below 50%. At first instance, I contacted Google, notifying them that some traffic was invalid and that a refund was due. This request got dismissed through a rather templated letter, essentially advising us to fix the “user experience” on the site. This prompted my second response and much laughter, since this time, I contrasted the abovementioned metrics, proving to Google that it was not a UX issue, but rather one of “traffic quality”. Beyond that I had some discussions at an EU level, reaching out


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Optimisation | SiGMA

Both Bing and Google claims to be doing a lot to ensure better quality traffic which we as an industry should be celebrating. However until such time it becomes clear that they are highly successful in their efforts to reduce accidental clicks, it remains a crucial CMO/CFO function. Are you getting a fair deal with your media buying? to regulators as well as the card provider through which we pay Google. This enabled me to explain to Google the potential consequences if this reasonable request was to be dismissed again. The end result was that Google decided to refund a very significant portion of the advertising budget. This is something I am now helping many businesses with in different parts of the world. To illustrate just one of the many origins of accidental clicks with an example, I’d like to propose that you conduct a live experiment: Take your mobile phone and laptop computer out simultaneously. Choose an article from an online newspaper – the most reliable source you can think of. Open the article in both your mobile phone and laptop browsers. Imagine you’re in a rush and browse both articles up and down as if you were speed reading. Chances are, if you do this with a few articles on your mobile, you will inevitably click on an ad by mistake: this is known as an “accidental click”. Given the way we browse on laptops, using a mouse instead of a finger on a screen, the chances of an accidental click are much higher on a mobile device. If you do further investigation into this phenomenon, it will reveal ads placed below the header of an article, halfway into the article and even as part of the footer within the website template: you will find many examples. The fact is, it is happening on a global scale and the problem is estimated to cost the advertising industry billions. We are in an era of digital marketing: Just like a cost controller would audit actual

consumption of physical items within the business, so do we audit our media buying: not only the backlinks bought from SEO contractors but also the clicks acquired through “pay per click”. Both Bing and Google claims to be doing a lot to ensure better quality traffic which we as an industry should be celebrating. However until such time it becomes clear that they are highly successful in their efforts to reduce accidental clicks, it remains a crucial CMO/CFO function. Are you getting a fair deal with your media buying? Adriaan Brits is a digital marketing consultant across multiple sectors including iGaming. He is also an author for Linkedin Learning, where he produces course materials on the use of Google Adwords and Bing Ads, which is used by marketing agencies worldwide.

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Legal | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

N O I T N E V E R R E P T T E B IS E R U C N A TH

WITH ALL THE ONGOING DEVELOPMENTS IN THE iGAMING SECTOR ACROSS EU MEMBER STATES, AFFILIATES AND OPERATORS ALIKE ARE FACED WITH THE EVER-INCREASING STRUGGLE TO COMPLY WITH VARIOUS REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED IN DIFFERENT JURISDICTIONS; BUT WHILST OPERATORS ARE TYPICALLY BACKED BY LEGAL TEAMS AND AFFILIATED LAW FIRMS, THIS IS RARELY TRUE FOR THE AFFILIATES. Words by CHRISTOPHER DALLI & KRISTINA MULLIGAN, Gonzi and Associates

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commissions. Firstly, operators will often rely only on cookies containing an affiliate ID to track referrals, which in isolation, are not the most reliable source in calculating long-term referrals as they may be blocked or overwritten. Affiliates should therefore take it upon themselves to take a close look at how referrals are tracked, and suggest measures such as database matching, whereby the operator would be able to match the affiliate’s ID with the customer’s record for months and years to come (and should routinely do so). Moreover, lifetime commissions may sometimes be qualified by stating that such payouts will continue to apply only insofar as the affiliate generates a number of new referrals each month. This is important to be aware of since while delivering leads below the threshold will usually mean that fees may be carried over to the next month or until such threshold is reached in aggregate, there can be instances where not reaching the threshold will lead to the suspension of the affiliate account.

Gaming operators everywhere cannot function without affiiates, never mind look to grow and attract new audiences from various jurisdictions. Despite this and even though affiliates today are playing a bigger role in increasing an operator’s profitability by bringing the operator high-value players, they should remain wary of the terms being offered by some operators as well as the current regulatory climate. It therefore goes without saying that a healthy relationship between the operator and the affiliate is crucial for the success of both parties, but with that being said, the success of this relationship is often met with many hurdles. To this day, commercial terms in affiliate contracts are quite flexible, with no set rules governing whether affiliates should be paid on a fixed-fee basis, per acquisition, revenue share or by implementing a hybrid approach. This, albeit being great for business may place affiliates at contractual risk. This article will look to highlight certain clauses and issues that in lieu of legal teams, affiliates should be on the lookout for when contracting with gaming operators.

WHEN AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I GET PAID? (Determination of Compensation, Commission Structure and Volume Caps) When it comes to reviewing the commercials within agreements, these three factors are often not given much importance at the time of registration, but are factors which bear substantial weight on the affiliate and on the terms agreed upon. Before entering into any form of agreement, affiliates must determine what the compensation is being paid for; operators may distinguish between paying an affiliate per click, per registration or on the basis of share revenue. This is essential for the affiliate as it is crucial to direct the marketing with the objective of achieving those metrics, and can drastically change the expectation of commission payable. Many operators offer ‘lifetime commissions’, whereby commissions are paid to the affiliate not just for the first referral, but for every subsequent customer payment to the operator. While these are being phased out, when offered, affiliates must be aware of the obstacles of such lifetime

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Conversely, operators may set volume caps for each affiliate, putting forward a maximum number of referrals or leads that that company may receive from an affiliate within a specific period or for the lifetime of the relationship. It is the affiliate’s duty to ensure that where a cap exists, this is acknowledged so that the flow of customers into that business is managed accordingly, so as to avoid sending clients to that website free of charge or to inadvertently end up causing the termination of the affiliate account. Affiliates must note that a number of operators are advertising affiliate programs without negative carry-over, whereby a negative result would be taken into account for the calculation of the next payout to the affiliate. It is the opinion of this author that affiliates should be wary of programs which do not account for negative carry-over (particularly when offering revenue share percentages in the region of 40-50%) as this would surely not be a sustainable business model and will inevitably lead to the revision of the terms and conditions of the affiliate program.

ARE AFFILIATE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET IN STONE? To account for situations such as the above and due to a dynamic market, operators are advised to include a clause allowing them to not only change their terms and conditions unilaterally, without the prior consent or notification of the

Gaming operators everywhere cannot function without affiliates never mind look to grow and attract new audiences from various jurisdictions. Despite this and even though affiliates today are playing a bigger role in increasing an operator’s profitability by bringing the operator high-value players, they should remain wary of the terms being offered by some operators as well as the current regulatory climate.


Legal | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

affiliate, but also give such changes retroactive effect. If for instance the terms and conditions in existence upon my entering of the agreement provided for the grant of lifetime commissions, this could not only be changed at any given point, but such commissions could be removed retroactively. Amendments may also include retroactive commission structures, minimum referral thresholds or volume caps which did not exist at the time of entry into the affiliate program. Although ideally, affiliates ensure that operators are not given the authority to implement retroactive terms, in a situation where it may be too late to renegotiate, it is operative that the affiliate keeps records of the terms and conditions that were in place when the agreement was entered into and preferably at various sporadic points of the relationship between the parties. This will prove invaluable if an affiliate is faced with having to prove that he is owed funds when an operator refuses to make payment.

BE AWARE ABOUT AFFILIATE OBLIGATIONS Most affiliates I have spoken to have always maintained one thing, they don’t know contracts - they know google. Nevertheless, it is imperative that affiliates are aware of the obligations they are agreeing to upon signing up to the terms and conditions. Affiliates will more than likely be obliged to ensure that they do not use an operator IP without the operator’s consent, that they do not attempt to ruin the reputation of an operator (review your copywriters) as well as the payment requirements which have been mentioned above. Furthermore, agreements may also include a clause stipulating that the operator’s reporting information will prevail where there is a discrepancy between the information provided by the affiliate and that provided by the operator. These terms and conditions won’t be highlighted by the operator when signing up to an affiliate program (and amazingly the link on the registration form can even lead to a 404 error in some cases) and therefore it is up to you as the affiliate to responsibly review the terms you’re agreeing to. Should you be in the position to negotiate your own agreements with operators, it is important to make it crystal clear whether commission will be dependent on the introduction of new depositing customers or whether the payment will be due for a marketing campaign, even if no referrals are actually introduced.

that Member States may transpose freely into their law. This will remain the case until 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force and crystallise a single pan-European patchwork of privacy rules harmonising segmented laws of Member States, and including within its scope all companies offering services within the EU, whether such companies are established in the EU or otherwise. Since the GDPR is a regulation, rather than a directive, it will become immediately enforceable as law and have binding force in all Member States on May 25 of 2018. Effectively, this means that data will start being audited against new standards, and where it does not meet the standards set up by the GDPR, such information will need to be requested anew along with the explicit request for consumer consent. As was the case with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), the GDPR will rely heavily on the complaints of consumers to target more serious cases. Apart from stricter regulations surrounding the consent, use and storage of personal data, the GDPR will also impose higher penalties for businesses that do not follow the rules laid down, where non-compliance can lead to fines of up to twenty million Euro, or four per cent of a brand’s total annual turnover from, whichever is the higher of the two.

FINAL REMARKS With the advent of the affiliate as a global operation, introduction of further regulation and with the development of the e-commerce markets, it is our firm belief that it would be sensible for affiliates to seek advice before beginning to operate in any jurisdiction to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Such advice will also allow affiliates to have their house in order before guidelines and regulations come into force, whether local or regional, and to be informed as to the terms and conditions which will inevitably affect their operation. In light of this, we welcome any questions you may have if anything remains unclear and hope to address them at the upcoming Affiliate Grand Slam in April.

A NOTE ABOUT DATA PROTECTION In 2016, affiliate marketing came under rigorous scrutiny by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) where in November, the ICO wrote to more than 400 businesses asking them to disclose details on how personal data is sourced and used. The sudden interest was the result of the realisation that situations exist where neither operators nor affiliates are taking responsibility for compliance with data protection rules. In the UK, affiliates and marketers may only send texts and e-mails to individuals if such individual has given his or her prior consent. Moreover, messages must clearly state who the marketer is, stipulate that something is being sold, and indicate the conditions of such sale. Communication must also give the receiver the option of opting out from further communication. At present, failure to comply with such rules could lead to fines amounting up to five hundred thousand British pounds imposed by the ICO. It is important to note that currently, local regulations differ significantly in different jurisdictions within the EU, since the current EU E-Privacy Directive simply provides overall goals 0165


SiGMA | Virtual Market

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Competing in an increasingly saturated

VIRTUAL MARKET PLACE Words by Simon Westbury, Chief Commercial Officer, VSoftCo

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Virtual Market | SiGMA

VIRTUAL SPORTS HAS COME A LONG WAY FROM THE EARLIER DAYS OF VIRTUAL DOGS AND HORSES FILLING THE GAPS IN THE RETAIL SCHEDULE, IT’S NOW BECOME A MAIN STREAM ENTERTAINMENT VERTICAL ACROSS ALL CHANNELS AND WITH THIS WE HAVE SEEN NEW SPORTS AVAILABLE WHICH HAS MEANT IN THE LAST 2 YEARS’ MANY COMPANIES ENTERING AND SATURATING THE MARKET. This Saturation of products has been met with mixed success by players and operators but one of the key factors for any virtual games success is the maths of virtual sports, which is an easy proposition for a sports bookmaker to understand. Virtual Sports are proven to add between 15% and 20% to your revenue at an ideal margin of 18%, which is different from selling casino games, where it is never truly clear what value a new slot game would add, the argument for virtuals is clear and concise. Although the virtual sport betting industry was born in the UK, it has quickly expanded globally, with the legalisation of virtuals in Italy proving a massive growth opportunity. With these clear benefits to the operator the last 10 years has seen a growth in virtual suppliers entering the space to gain a slice of this ever-increasing market. As a first adopter of virtuals, the question for VSoftCo has been how do you define yourself in an increasingly competitive market place? The core to the strategy of VSoftCo, can be defined in three simple concepts, celebrating our differences by thinking outside the box and expanding beyond virtuals.

CELEBRATING OUR DIFFERENCES: The core principle to the VSoftCo strategy has been to celebrate our differences from our competitors. Although other suppliers try to make claims about their technology we are the only supplies who provides a real time virtual game. This means every game is a unique instance and not built from a library of pre-rendered clips. We expanded this concept through working with players of Sheffield United Football Club to accentuate and embrace our differences. Consequently, VSoftCo is the only provider in which the virtual game is 100% motion captured using professional footballers, so the players movements truly replicate the action that occurs in a real football match. The increased library of motion capture sequences means that each match has over 2.5 million different outcomes and allows us to incorporate changes to real football such as the new kick off sequence easily and seamlessly into the game. The real time technology allows for unique bet markets such as first goal scorer, which accounts for 30% of bets and is the most popular bet type on the market, closely followed by 1x2. VSoftCo also used our real time rendered technology to be the first certified supplier of virtual league football in Italy. Although other operators had embraced the black market, VSoftCo stayed true to our principal of only working in regulated markets. The real time rendered technology allowed us to quickly adapt our single game to fulfil the key requirement of ensuring every betable event was visually displayed.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX: In addition to unique technology that clearly defines VSoftCo as different, it is clearly not enough. So in mid-2016 it was decided to adopt a strategy to work with known brands, to create a branded experience of players. From experience we have all seen the success of branded slot content so it was a simple decision for VSoftCo to enter into an agreement with Striker, to create the first branded virtual football game. The benefit of this brand, is the passion that has come from Striker to create not just a virtual football game but a virtual

football league. It would have been easy to simply just take the characters and put them in the game. However, as always at VSoftCo we go the extra mile, the events of the Warbury Warrior’s matches in our virtual league will influence the outcome of the comic story line, which is shown in The Sun and on the Striker YouTube channel. Looking past a virtual football league the team are currently working on a Fantasy sport version of VStriker, which will allow a new vertical for followers of Striker and fantasy sports betting to follow. The concept of fantasy betting on a virtual following league is exciting for both VSoftCo and operators.

EXPANDING BEYOND VIRTUALS: It has become clear over the last two years, as we have developed into the home of virtual football that this concept could be expanded into casino gaming. A plan has been put together to develop bespoke casino football content so that gaming operators know we are truly the Omni channel kings for football content in the gaming space. The first foray of VSoftCo into this market has been warmly received. Spot the Ball, takes virtual football into the casino market. It combines pre-rendered virtual football clips with the well-known concept of Spot the Ball and roulette. Bringing a whole new fun dimension to all the time classic game of roulette. Associating roulette, virtual football and Spot the Ball has bought a fast paced, fun and exciting game to the player. With gaming operators competing to be the first to take this fun and exciting concept into both the online and retail space. Plans are afoot to quickly add to this first game, with branded slots for Striker being developed and another fun roulette game called Boot For Loot being developed. All of the above combined with VSoftCo’s flexible remote game server, means that for the first time, virtual football content and casino content can be delivered in an Omnichannel environment to operators through one simple integration. The journey over the last ten years has been fun as VSoftCo has developed to compete in a expanding market place. However, it is clear by working with existing partners, the path to expansion through celebrating our difference, thinking outside the box and expanding into new gaming virtuals, VSoftCo is an exciting proposition for a gaming operator whichever global market they operate in. 0167


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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 operated 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. www.21casino.com

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 are 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. www.888.com

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. www.aidcompliance.com

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! www.aliquantum-gaming.com

Roy Pedersen CEO/Chief Editor

All In Translations are 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. www.allintranslations.com

Ajay Goyal Managing Director

Alpha InfoLab is an India based IT company covering all aspects of digital marketing such as Bulk email servers & services, affiliate marketing, digital advertising, coupons websites, ecommerce, software development etc. Alpha Infolab has won the trust of many clients due to its better understanding of technology and affiliate market. www.alphainfolab.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.altenar.com

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. www.amsterdamscasino.com

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. www.angiethearchitect.com

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. www.annacasino.com

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Ian Pellicano Managing Director

Apco Systems provides a scalable and integrated global payments solution that supports multi-currency options and numerous alternative payment preferences. One single integration point combines our robust platform, bundled valueadded services and centrally managed support to ensure flexibility and a faster time to market. www.apcopay.eu

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. www.aqubix.com

Tsachi Maimon CEO

Aspire Global, the complete iGaming solution for operators and white labels, established in 2005, offers a total “all-inone” solution for the online gaming industry. We invite you to benefit from over 10 years of outstanding activity and experience and join the dozens of top performing brands in the industry that enjoy day to day success. As a true complete solution for Casino Operators, our business model is just as simple and straight forward. We will manage all the operational requirements so that you can focus solely on its marketing. www.aspireglobal.com

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. www.atlas.com.mt


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.azure.com.mt

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. www.bdo.com.mt

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. www.betbanter.com

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. www.betconstruct.com

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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! www.bethardgroupaffiliates.com

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. www.betradar.com

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. www.betsson.com

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 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. www.affiliatelounge.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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! www.bettingconnections.com

Darren Moore Director

Betting Gods is a rapidly expanding sports betting content and tipster platform, connecting novice punters with professional bettors, enabling people to make a profit from betting whether that be football, horse racing, golf, or one of the many other sports covered. Custom banners, landing pages, content and full marketing support are available upon request for affiliates, and with an attractive 50% rev share deal or a CPL converting at 45% talk to us today and make 2017 an epic year for your affiliate earnings. www.bettinggods.com

Fiona Hickey Director

Bettingjobs.com 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. www.bettingjobs.com

Karolina Filip Senior Affiliate Manager

Well known UK Online Casino bgo.com are rapidly expanding their operation into international markets, with a keen focus on Canada, Germany and Scandinavia. The team behind bgo are also very excited about the launch of their new UKfocused casino brand – Powerspins.com. All affiliates are now encouraged to promote both brands. www.bgo.com

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. www.thebigfoundation.org.uk

Angelo Dalli CEO

Bit8 is a gaming platform company that offers an innovative intelligent gaming backend and game content catering for the 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. www.bit8.com

Daan Mulder Creative Director

Branders is encompassing 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. Specialised in iGaming and service providers. www.branders.rocks

Alessandro Fried Chairman

Multinational BtoBet is a pioneer in new technologies for the betting industry. Its iGaming omnichannel platform and Sportsbook software can meet both, players’ and operators’ expectations. BtoBet’s platform is unique, customizable, advanced, secure, reliable, flexible and delivers unprecedented capabilities to drive Sportsbook and iGaming business. Its omnichannel, multicurrency and multi-jurisdiction solution, is suitable for any regulated market. It also provides a deep cross channel-data analysis and automatic actions according to the player’s behavior, preferences and channel in use. www.btobet.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Louise North Business Development Manager

Callcredit Information Group are experts 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. www.callcreditmarketing.com

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. www.casinoheroes.com

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. www.casinomalta.com.mt

Kristian Svensson General Manager

CasinoRoom.com is run by Ellmount Gaming and licensed by the 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. www.casinoroom.com

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Meny Monka Director of Marketing & BizDev

Casinocruise.com 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 Spinit.com – their high-end in-house advanced mobile casino. www.casinocruise.com / www.spinit.com

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. www.casinotv.com

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. www.castilleresources.com

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. www.casumo.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Tord Topsholm Managing Director

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. www.catella.com

Robert Andersson CEO

Catena Media is an extraordinary company with extraordinary people and together we will continue this exciting journey towards becoming the world’s number one provider of highvalue iGaming leads. www.catenamedia.com

Itamar Ronen VP Sales and Business Development

Cellxpert provides the leading, state-of-the-art 360° affiliate software that’s tailored for financial services. From Ad-serving and tracking to management of your performance systems and compliance with regulatory requirements. Cellxpert provides advanced features that allow brands to manage their affiliates efficiently, and to minimize the risk when doing so. Cellxpert collects, and indicates all the all the data required for in-depth analysis, in order to allow brands to optimize their ROI. www.cellxpert.com

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. www.centrecom.eu

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. www.cherryaffiliates.com

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. www.clickbakers.com

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. www.codeta.com

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. www.condor-affiliates.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.globalgaming.com

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. www.credorax.com

Eric Benz Managing Director

Cryptopay is a London-based bitcoin platform which allows users to buy, sell and store bitcoins, as well facilitating global money transfers without the use of a bank. Cryptopay accepts UK local bank transfers (BACS and faster payments) and SEPA bank transfers for fiat currency deposits, and users can choose to store their funds as either Euro, Pound Sterling or Bitcoin. Additionally, users can now sign-up for a Cryptopay debit card, which provides the easiest way to use Bitcoin. www.cryptopay.me

Anton Cristina Executive Director

CSL is today providing Smart Cloud Services to 50+ gaming customers through its shared Cloud Platform Project Laya, which is MGA approved and is providing speed and flexibility to its customers through the provisioning of Virtual instances, CDN and DDOS protection for http and https attacks as well as Volumetric attacks with the value add of a team of 32 highly skilled engineers that manage and support the customer’s infrastructure and DB’s. www.csl.com.mt

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Denitza Dimitrova Senior Consultant

DD Consultus is based in Malta and it specialises in the online gaming industry, online payment processing and the related services thereto. DD 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. DD 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. www.ddconsultus.com

Keith Bezzina Sales & Commercial Manager

Dex Workspaces offers a complete solution for offices, by handling the supply, delivery and installation of furniture – including workstations, raised flooring, acoustic systems, lighting, and partitions. As part of the Vivendo Group, Dex shares a common aspiration to create a B2B community where all local organisations can improve the work life of their employees. www.dex.com.mt

Jonathan Amrani Director of Operations

ecoPayz is a global payment solutions provider offering instant, secure and convenient payment services to customers and businesses worldwide. The ecoPayz Merchant Account gives retailers and merchants the ability to instantly receive and send funds, whilst employers using the ecoPayz Business Account have access to a low-cost and simple means of paying individuals and staff worldwide. www.ecopayz.com

Dominic-Daniel Liénard CEO

edict egaming GmbH develops cutting edge casino software for the gaming industry. As a subsidiary of Merkur Interactive, edict is part of the Gauselmann Group and distributor of the Merkur slots. edict provides established online operators as well as industry newcomers with two remarkable gaming products: edict Game Solution and Turnkey Solution. www.edict.de

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.eftglobal.com

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. www.egaminglab.com

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. With NO negative carry over and NO bundling - 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. www.egamingonline.com

Todor Zahariev Managing Director

EGT Interactive crafts advanced online gaming software and solutions which power some of the world’s top casino operators. We have brought the long-standing expertise from the EGT land-based casino games into the world of iGaming. The complete functionality and original look of major acknowledged casino games are integrated into an innovative cross-platform solution in order to deliver the ultimate player experience on the go. The company portfolio features a wide range of Video Slots, Video Pokers, Roulettes and Keno. www.egt-interactive.com

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Kristina Nevuche Accounts

EmexGO are a licensed e-money institution based in the UK, Malta and Mauritius. 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. www.emexgo.com

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. www.energycasinopartners.com

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. www.epfantasy.com

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. www.easypaymentgateway.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.equinoxadvisory.com/equinox-academy/

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.” www.euroslots.com

Dmitry Starostenkov CEO

EvenBet Gaming is a developer and a supplier of the online gaming solutions since 2004. Whatever you need, a small private casino club, a large real money poker network, or a land-based sports betting start-up, we are ready to deliver. We offer online POKER and online CASINO turnkey packages and SPORTS BETTING solutions. www.evenbetgaming.com

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 25,000 live events monthly; GamMatrix, a complete gaming and payment processing platform; CasinoEngine, the largest aggregator on the market with more than 4,000 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. www.everymatrix.com

Giacomo Bettoni Head of Affiliate Management

Evoke Gaming offers a wide range of regulated Casino, Sportsbook and Bingo Brands to millions of users in Europe. Evoke was built with the obsession to create a greater gaming experience for our customers and this passion has allowed us to carefully select our products based on customer actual preferences; this means that we offer only the most pertinent and interesting products to the right users producing a high conversion and value for the brands that our Partners are proud to promote. www.evokegaming.com

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. www.exante.eu

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. www.extramile-services.com

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. www.fairwindsmanagement.net

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.fibonacci-marketing.com

Antoine Bartolo CEO

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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. www.franksalt.com.mt

Mikael Gummerus CEO

Forbesfone is a global mobile operator and a partner of Forbes LLC. We provide a global connection to travellers, a service we offer in an entirely customisable white-labelled product, with full and private access to the Forbesfone mobile and backend technology. Our aim is to help you build your own global private network at simple and low prices and which your customers will enjoy, without compromising on quality. www.forbesfone.com

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. www.frosmo.com

John Farrugia Randon Manager

Ollie Wood Global Sales Director

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

​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. www.fortytwo.com

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. www.gamblingcompliance.com

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. www.gameart.net

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.gamingmalta.org

Mitsuya Fujimoto CEO

Ganapati Malta is a supplier of high-quality online games. Established by experienced entrepreneurs in 2016, their mission is to design content that blends the best Japanese game logic and design with a unique entertainment element that will engage customers like never before. www.ganapatimalta.com

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. www.geekygambler.com

James Illingworth Director of Client Services

Gaming Laboratories International (GLIÂŽ) 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. www.gaminglabs.com

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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. www.globalbet.com

Roger Katz Head of Affiliates

The GoWild Affiliates program encompasses three top gaming brands - GoWildCasino.com, AstralBet.com and WildJackpots. com and offers a state of the art platform that is rapidly expanding to bring new conversion opportunities to our partners and a thrilling experience to players. With premium software providers including Microgaming, Net Entertainment and Evolution Gaming, prompt payments and generous commission structures, we have the experience and the knowhow to give our affiliates all the support and guidance they need to skyrocket their earnings. www.gowildaffiliates.com

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. www.goldenrace.com

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. www.gonzi.com.mt


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Maik Metz Director

GQ Works is an experienced company in interior design, project management, building services, financial control and 24/7 maintenance services, focused on offices for the gaming industry. The company’s attitude towards projects is centred on forward planning and creating sustainable customised designs. www.gqworks.com

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. www.greentube.com

Robin Reed Managing Director

Hailed as one of the most successful online casino launches in history, Guts.com 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. www.guts.com

Yancy Naughton CEO

HasTraffic.com 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. www.hastraffic.com

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! www.herogaming.com

Laurent Reysbosch Senior Vice President

We’re a global provider offering 150 countries and 220 payment types. By Harnessing data analytics we help deliver valuable customer insights that enable our clients businesses to succeed. For us, our customers getting paid is just the beginning. We are focused on delivering insights from payments that our customers can act on to deliver real business success, whether it be from the industry or igaming companies. www.hipay.com

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. www.gamerweb.com

Nick Farrugia Senior Affiliate Manager

HonestPartners is the dynamic affiliate program for InstaCasino & ChanceHill. Now with more products to offer, HonestPartners is establishing itself as a leader in the Market, targeting markets in Scandinavia, UK, Germany and Canada. This is a premium platform with great CRM strategies for all brands under one roof to secure high conversion rates and loyal players. www.honestpartners.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.icentre.com.mt

Lincoln Grima Business Development Executive

ICT Solutions is a leading ICT services company in Malta. One area ICT specializes in, is helping clients transform their business by automating processes. Using low code tools from industry leaders K2, the team at ICT will in a very short timeframe, build workflows to automate processes which usually span across teams and vertical legacy software systems, resulting in a higher level of efficiency and accuracy. www.ictsolutions.com.mt

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. www.igame.com

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. www.igacademy.com

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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. www.iGamingCloud.com

Dean Nicholls CEO

iGaming Elite are Malta’s leading boutique iGaming Head hunters. Headquartered in Malta, iGaming Elite is strategically located in the centre of one of the world’s most important iGaming communities and our reach extends to meet the needs of a global client base. www.igamingelite.com

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. www.i-gsn.com

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. www.ikibu.com

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SiGMA | Title

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.imovo.com.mt

Antoine Vella Managing Director

Ipoint International Ltd. is a professional branding agency based in Malta. We supply services of graphic design, web design & development, flash game conversion, 3D and multimedia. We find creative solutions that move concepts into the future for our clients. Ipoint creates concepts that impress & transmit the right message that lasts long. www.ipoint.com.mt

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. www.isoftbet.com

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. www.joingames.net

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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. www.karambapartners.com

Steven Spartinos Co-CEO

Kiron Interactive delivers profitable virtual sport and number games solutions to sports betting, casino and lottery businesses. Our market leading games offer striking HD graphics and attractive bet markets that engage players. We can integrate into your existing sports betting system or offer our turnkey BetMan bet management platform. www.kironinteractive.com

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. www.konnekt.com

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. www.kount.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Russell Mifsud Senior Manager

KPMG in Malta is a leading provider of audit, tax and advisory services. We seek to inspire confidence and empower change. 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. www.kpmg.com.mt

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. www.kyteconsultants.com

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. www.leadtraining.com.mt

Greg Behr Business Development Manager

LeaseWeb is a leading Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider serving 17,500 customers ranging from SMBs to enterprises. Our portfolio includes dedicated servers, public cloud, private cloud, colocation, CDN, and cybersecurity services, all supported by exceptional customer service. For more information, visit www.leaseweb.com or follow @LeaseWeb. www.leaseweb.com

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: www.leovegasaffiliates.com

Anna Soldatova Business Development Executive

Lotto Hero is a mobile-friendly lottery game offering the chance to win €1 million an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Designed for millennials, it will help operators grow their revenues by 10% and significantly boost the acquisition, retention, and conversion of the next generation of online players. www.lottohero.com

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. www.luckystreaklive.com

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. www.maltco.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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 Footy.dk. www.panbet.com

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.

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Malcolm Briffa Director of Business Services

Built to Tier III specifications, Melita Data Centre is Malta’s only purpose-built facility covering a fully-fenced footprint of 10,000m2. The facility has been designed with superior redundancy features on connectivity, power and cooling. Hosting options range from shared racks, private cabinets up to dedicated private suites along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions. Clients may also take advantage of its nationwide fibre network for dedicated fibre connectivity, point to point circuits as well as international circuits. www.melitadatacentre.com

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. www.mga.org.mt

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. www.marsbet.com

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. www.matchingvisions.com

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. www.mediahut.co.uk

Rob Shaner CEO

The Mint Global platform is a new breed of digital marketing company. Our unique mix of performance based offers, strong CPC traffic, and our international reach, gives Mint a distinct advantage in the marketplace. First class service and a wealth of experience sets us apart from the competition. www.mintglobalmarketing.com

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” www.moneypluscard.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Tobias Regnestam Head Of Affiliates

Mr Green is know as The Gentleman of Online Gaming. If you are looking for entertainment Mr Greens Mansion is where you will find your favourite casino slots, live casino games or bet on your favourite team and sport. Mr Green is one of the most frequently awarded operators in the industry named IGA Operator of the Year three consecutive years 2013, 2014, 2015, Mobile Operator of the Year 2016 and Online Gaming Operator of the Year 2017. And of course EGR Affiliate program of the Year 2016. www.mraffiliate.com

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. www.netent.com

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. www.nexuslink.com

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. www.nickes.com

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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. www.nmi-gaming.com

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. www.olybet.com www.olympic-casino.com

Carla Maree Vella CEO

Optimizer Invest is a venture capital company, based in Malta, with a strong success and an extensive background in igaming, fintech and digital lead generation. Optimizer seeks to find new start-ups where they can contribute with funds as well as with expertise by appointing specialised team members who’ actively work together with the entrepreneurs to leverage their businesses. www.optimizerinvest.com

Valéry Bollier CEO

OulalaGames launched in August 2013 the most innovative Daily Fantasy football game, called Oulala (www.oulala.com). 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). www.oulala.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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! www.paysafecard.com/business

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. www.pentasia.com/malta

Stefan Consiglio Manager

Pierre Faure Real Estate was established in 2003. Its founder and Managing Director, Pierre Faure, has been in the business since 1980. We take pride in offering professional yet personal real estate services in Malta –Specialising in Sales as well as Letting of up-market Residential, Commercial and Office space and investment opportunities. We are also the mother company of Malta Property Auctioneers. Our team has been selected for their experience and expertise. A team that strive to make the experience of choosing your next home, office or investment - a good one! www.pierrefaure.com

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 InterCasino.com, jackpotjoy.se 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. www.plainpartners.com

Ohad Narkis CEO

Say Hello to OJO. A new fairer online casino with NO wagering and NO BS. Get money back on every bet, win or lose and ALL rewards paid in cash! The cash is yours whenever you want it - play it, withdraw it or just watch the numbers rack up in your account. Over 500 games for you to play today. The best games from the biggest providers, handpicked by OJO. Not bad for an online casino. www.playojo.com

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. www.playngo.com

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. www.pokerstarspartners.com

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. www.pragmaticplay.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.primepartners.com

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. www.prospectacy.com

Peter Bugeja General Manager

PTL’s mission is simple - empowering businesses to enable them to reach their full potential. As a leading system integrator, PTL delivers a broad range of global solutions across the IT spectrum. It is the partner of choice for numerous organisations and has a proven track record of successful deployments across myriad industries. www.ptl.com.mt

Alan Brincat Operations Director

Quasar Limited operates a number of leading online casino brands including Quasar Gaming and OVO Casino. The company is made up of a team of dedicated and professional online gaming experts, who are continuously striving to offer an outstanding experience to all players. Quasar Limited not only offers the highest quality gaming content to the likes of NetEnt and Novomatic, but backs up the offer with excellent customer support, fast pay-outs, localised payment methods and a first class affiliate programme. www.quasargaming.com

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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. www.caspo.one

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. www.quinel.com.mt

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. www.rgf.org.mt

Staffan Bergh Director

Revshare Group Ltd is a Online Marketing Company based in Malta. Revshare Group focus mainly on SEO. Our main focus is Gaming and Finance. Our main markets are in Scandinavia. Our goal is generate leads to our partners through our high quality traffic sources and build long term business relationships. www.revshare-group.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.rgoal.org

Rita Axisa Executive Director

Helps you navigate through the intricacies of your corporate structure and transfer money to wherever you need to make it available; streamlines your way of interacting with affiliates; helps you to interact with other third parties, whose services are essential to your day-to-day running of your operation; is all along a fast, simple and secure way to transfer your money. RJ Rapid is a Payment Institution licenced by the Malta Financial Services Authority, to offer money remittance services. www.cybergamingconsultants.com

Oliver La Rosa CEO

Richmoore and Anderson is an international group of companies with headquarters situated in Malta. Our diverse services cover online security, IT software support and development, business consultation as well as travel solutions. The group has grown steadily, enlarging its clientele in all business sectors by offering a comprehensive and quality support. www.atpc.eu

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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. www.sbtech.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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). www.seqr.com

Ilkka Seppänen Head of Customer Operation

Since 2011, Siru Mobile has been revolutionizing how merchants and customers interact with each other in the payment collection arena. Our portfolio of Mobile Payment solutions leverage the power of cellular technology to enable businesses to reach out and market to previously untapped demographics. By implementing an operator-based billing, we allow customers to pay for products & services via a mobile phone or any other device with a SIM-card — no credit card or bank accounts are required. The user is being identified using the phone number and for this reason there is no need for registration.www.sirumobile.com

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! www.skillonnet.com

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

SMSwarriors offers a web-based marketing automation and messaging software for marketers and business owners, fullservice white-labeled reseller program, and developer API. We’re committed to helping businesses grow and connect with their customers. We believe that in order for communication to be effective, it needs to be reliable. That’s what SMSwarriors is all about. The team consists of passionate, hardworking, and dynamic individuals who take on challenges and turn them into victorious results. www.smswarriors.com

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. www.spigo.com

Dr. Andreas Blaue Head of Legal & Director of 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 sport1.de/sport1 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. www.sport1media.de

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. www.suppclupp.com

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

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Mark Debono Director

Systemato is a boutique digital agency of internet marketing professionals and copywriters. We’re lucky enough to write content for Betting Expert, Betsson, Highlight Media, Frontloop, Pragmatic Play, and more. Founded and run by Mark Debono, an online advertising guy and copywriter, our goal is to ensure you get your players to click, sign up, and deposit, using powerful copywriting techniques and our years of experience. www.systemato.com

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. www.tain.com

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. www.rd-law.co.il

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

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Soner Gurelli COO

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, Fortuna Dusseldorf and SK Sturm Graz, 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. www.tipbet.com

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 Malta.Tipico-careers.com displays the benefits Tipico has to offer, the company’s history and success story, its offices and a spotlight video about Malta. www.tipico-careers.com

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. www.tomhorn.eu

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. www.transcripta.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.trustly.com

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. www.txodds.com

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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. www.vanguardonlinemedia.com

Ulle Skottling COO

Ulle Skottling is an islander from Gotland. He moved to the Maltese islands after living in Stockholm for 8 years, bringing with him extensive experience within the industry and has been leading the Videoslots Family since 2016. Skottling’s visions for the growing casino is leading the company’s operational control as well as ensuring effective administrative procedures and people systems are in place. He is reputable for exceeding the company’s targets, goals and objectives that’s aligned with the company’s strategic plan. www.videoslots.com


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.viks.com

Gijs Liekens Sales Manager

VIP Response is an International Affiliate Network specialis ed in Mobile User Acquisition, Mobile Subscriptions, Affiliate Marketing, List Management and Lead Generation. With offices in the Netherlands, Spain, Canada and Malaysia, we cover all time zones of our partners worldwide. www.vipresponse.nl/en

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. www.viral-interactive.com

Simon Westbury Chief Commercial Officer

VSoftCo Ltd is a specialist software development company in the global virtual sports market. VSoftCo, develops the only real time rendered football solution on the market, meaning customer excitement and unique betting markets for operators. VSoftCo currently has distribution partnerships covering the UK, Eastern and Western Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America. www.vsoftco.com

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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. www.mt.business.westernunion.com

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. www.whpartners.eu

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. www.wiggin.co.uk

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. www.wikibetting.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

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. www.wirecapital.com

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. www.wunderino.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.xlmedia.com

Asier Pereda Channels Manager

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. www.zendesk.com


ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

Media Partners | SiGMA

MEDIA PARTNERS Ros Wade Co-Managing Director

Rebecca Liggero Reporter

The ASEAN Gaming Summit draws together the region’s leading operators, regulators and suppliers, who are successfully developing the next generation of gaming offerings, both terrestrial and online. From new-style integrated resorts, addressing the premium mass market, to sports betting innovations and online gaming, this event is for anyone with an interest in this dynamic region. www.aseangaming.com

The well renowned CalvinAyre.com are 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.

Ros Wade Co-Managing Director

Renata Vella Business Development

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. www.agbrief.com

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. www.contentfactory.com.mt

Milena Tsankarska Marketing & Sales Manager

BEGE Expo is the leading gaming and entertainment exhibition in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The event is business oriented and provides opportunities for commercial contacts and presentations of products for the leisure, gaming and entertainment industry as well as technology products for optimizing operational, management and control processes. BEGE welcomes manufacturers, vendors, operators and representatives from the gaming and entertainment industries. Join us for BEGE’s 10th anniversary: 22-23 November 2017, IEC, Sofia. www.balkangamingexpo.com

CalvinAyre.com 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. www.calvinayre.com

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. www.countryprofiler.com

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ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.eegaming.org

Hristiana Petkova Conference Coordinator

Eastern European Gaming Summit (EEGS) is the most prestigious forum in Eastern Europe that gathers representatives of international organizations from the gaming industry, as well as regulators, operators, manufacturers, gaming attorneys, professionals and all interested in keeping pace with the changing gaming standards and marketing perspectives in Eastern Europe and the region. Join us for EEGS’s 10th anniversary: 21-22 November 2017, IEC, Sofia. www.eegamingsummit.com

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, EGRMagazine.com, which features up-to-the-minute coverage of breaking news, people moves and opinion from across the iGaming industry. www.egrmagazine.com

Fernando Saffores Founder & Director

Focus Gaming News is the newest daily digital newspaper dedicated to the international gaming executives. This communication tool brings daily all main up-to-date news from the gaming and iGaming businesses through its newsletter, received by more than 15.000 subscribers worldwide. Latest news, regulations, new products, interviews, Affiliate Programs, DFS news, stock markets, videos and much more find their place at Focus Gaming News. www.focusgn.com

Media Partners | SiGMA

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. www.gamblinginsider.com

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. www.gamcrowd.com

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, GamingIntelligence.com 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. www.gamingintelligence.com

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. www.gpwa.org

0205


SiGMA | Media Partners

Jodie Thind Director

iGamingCalendar.com is the first fully comprehensive Worldwide Calendar Directory listing of Trade Shows, Conferences, Seminars and Social events in the iGaming and Terrestrial Gambling industry. The website and app allow users to view ALL events by date, or by sub-categories including Affiliate, iGaming, Landbased, Lottery, Social Media, Mobile, Networking, Awards, Tribal and Sportsbetting events. A free iGamingCalendar.com App is available for iPhone and Android users. www.igamingcalendar.com

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. www.iGamingBusiness.com

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. www.intergameonline.com

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. www.lyceummedia.com

0206

ISSUE 6 SPRING / SUMMER 2017

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. www.myeventplanner.com.mt

Cristina Doganini Director

PressGiochi.it 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 PressGiochi.it you can find information about companies, international and national events. www.pressgiochi.it

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 and more, all with a creative touch & attention to the little things that are often overlooked. www.puremedimalta.com

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 www.sbcnews.co.uk, its industry events such as Betting on Football Conference, Betting on Football Awards, Betting on Sport & London Baby, and it has a, consultancy arm, SBCmedia. www.sbcnews.co.uk


Profile for SiGMA Group

SiGMAgazine Issue 6  

Besides the annual igaming expo in November, SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote...

SiGMAgazine Issue 6  

Besides the annual igaming expo in November, SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote...

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