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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Title | SiGMA

gazine

SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL/WINTER 2017

COVER STORY ALEXANDER STEVENDAHL, VIDEOSLOTS

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GAMING IN MALTA UPDATE 01


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Editorial | SiGMA

WELCOME TO THE iGAMING VILLAGE! AFTER THREE YEARS, WE FELT THE TIME WAS RIGHT TO SHIFT TO A BIGGER VENUE THAT MEETS THE NEEDS OF A GROWING SHOW. THIS YEAR SIGMA WILL BE SITUATED A STONE-THROW AWAY FROM THE OLD, CHARMING CITY OF MDINA. THE FOCUS BY DAY WILL BE AT THE MALTA FAIRS AND CONVENTION CENTRE (MFCC), THEN, ONCE THE SUN SETS DOWN, THE FOCUS WILL SHIFT BACK TO THE OFFICIAL HOTEL, CORINTHIA SAN GORG, AND THE SURROUNDING RESTAURANTS IN THE CITY THAT SELDOM SLEEPS, ST. JULIAN’S. This year there’s something new, quite literally, for everyone: IMGL and Gaming in Holland are officially endorsing this show for the very first time with two regulatory panel discussions; The GPI European Poker Conference shifted to Malta within SiGMA; Gaming Malta partnered with SiGMA to launch the very first European Fantasy Sports Summit; A new, dedicated conference on Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies; A new, dedicated conference on Live Gaming; A new top-tier SEO masterclass for the very advanced; KPMG strengthened their partnership with their e-Summits; New world-class investors have joined last year’s lot, including Mark Blandford, Simon Collins, Roger Walker, Julie Meyer and many more; The line-up of start-ups shot up from a humble eight last year to almost 100 this year; The number of delegates shot up from 3,800 to a staggering 7,000 delegates; The number of affiliates shot up from 1,200 to a staggering 2,600;

The foot print of our expo as well as the number of exhibitors tripled; World class brands are gracing our floor plan for the first time - Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes, PokerStars, Processing, Kindred, iGaming Platform, NetRefer, MyAffiliates, Twin, Casino Cruise, White Hat Gaming, Ikibu, Viarsys, Authentic Gaming, Blexr, Booming Games, Gambling Affiliation, Af2Af and many more first time exhibitors; The Malta Gaming Awards have been upgraded to recognise emerging trends in the industry; Our careers convention will welcome over 1,000 recruits, all hoping to land the career of a lifetime; We kept in close contact with all stakeholders throughout the year with a series of lavish dinners called iGatherings; We launched Affiliate Grand Slam; Tallinn in April, then Bucharest in September, flying a whopping 200 affiliates to each destination on an all-inclusive treat, saving no shillings along the way; Our publications grew bigger, slicker and reached more corners around the world; 1,000 top level delegates benefitted from our VIP Program. We hope you’ll enjoy the SiGMA show and, most of all, head back to your offices the following week with quality business leads. 03


Contents | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

CONTENTS

OFFICIAL PARTNERS

36 57 70

63 74 49

83 05


Contents | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

91 126

78 175 180 Welcome to the iGaming Village! 03 A Message from Hon.Silvio Schembri 11 Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Other Usage in the Gaming Industry 13 SiGMA Conferences 16 The Headlines 27 Excellence on All Fronts 36 HR 49 Malta’s Proposed Gaming Law Overhaul the Way Forward 53 The GPI European Poker Conference Comes to SiGMA 57 Facilitating Affiliate-Operator Relationships 61 The Outsource Master 63 Keys to a Successful Casino Migration 70 Bitcoin for Gaming 74 Experience, Strategy & Innovation at the Core 78 Virtual Reality: The Future of iGaming Entertainment is Here 83 Virtual is Real 87 The Audit, Advisory & Tax Specialists 91 Casino 3.0 - Enter the Blockchain 95 Relive the SiGMA Moments 98 Many Moving Parts 126 Larry Casino 131 Careers at the Heart 134 Connecting Casino with Players 141 A Melting Pot of Talent 142 All the Tools You Need 147 Filling Demand for PlayerOriented Casinos 149 Risk Based Approach? - Works For Me (WFM) 151 Your Secrets for Sale to You, or the Highest Bidder 153 The Protective Middle-Man 155 Silicon Valley 157 New AML Regulations - Are You Compliant? 159 Trust in Localisation 161 Corporate Responsibility at the Heart of Affiliation 166 Cryptocurrencies Must Place Regulation First to Succeed 169 The Sports Betting User Experience 171 Payment Processing Simplified 175 NetRefer: The Road to Success 180 “Life is a Journey, Not a Destination” 185 Quality is Remembered Long After the Conversation is Over 187 Never Refuse to Learn 190 A Flair for Individuality & Innovation 195 SEQR Mobile Payments: Payments and Affiliate Functionality in One Solution 199 Architectural Design Project: Behind the Curtains 201 Global Financial Clearinghouse 205 Family Business 206 Protect Yourself at All Times 209 Future of Virtual Sports 210 How Greyhound Racing Can Meet the Need for Short Form Betting Opportunities 213 Law & Tech 215 Health and Well-being at the Workplace: Measuring Efficacy of Employee Benefits 219 Who is Who 223

Editor: Eman Pulis Consulting Editor: Dennis Dyhr-Hansen & Alina Anisimova Sales: Jarek Górny & Sophie Crouzet 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 10,000 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.

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. 07


Junior Minister Message | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

A message from

Hon. Silvio Schembri PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES, DIGITAL ECONOMY AND INNOVATION

THE FINE LINES SEPARATING THE VARIOUS TECHNOLOGIES ARE BECOMING LESS VISIBLE. THE INTERACTION AND INTEGRATION BETWEEN THEM IS GETTING MORE EVIDENT. THE IGAMING SECTOR IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THIS TREND. IT IS CHARACTERISED BY CONSTANT DEVELOPMENT, BE IT GAMES OF SKILLS, FANTASY SPORTS, OR THE LATEST FORM OF ‘DISRUPTIVE’ TECHNOLOGY. Blockchain technology has the potential to alter business activities and be the driver of economic growth for the next two decades or more. In similar fashion to the rise of the internet, it has the potential to change the way we are doing things, how data is handled and transmitted across networks, and how we do business. According to the World Economic Forum, it is estimated that by 2025 at least 10 per cent of the world’s GDP will be conducted and managed through blockchain technologies. We aim to introduce blockchain technology to public administration in order to streamlined internal processes, reduced transaction costs, and have more trusted interactions and data exchanges. Some processes could also be automated via smart contracts. This will result in a better service for the citizens. As a Government, we intend to look beyond improvements in terms of service delivery. Our aim is to take advantage of this revolution. The development of a National Blockchain Policy document is crucial, laying down the blueprint to transform Malta into one of the leading jurisdictions in this area. Our plans include the setting up of a new Agency that “regulates this technology”. Malta is already in a privilege situation due to the strong presence of the igaming and financial services sectors. Both

stand to benefit substantially from blockchain technology. This disruptive technology will also impact our financial services sector. The rapid developments taking place in cryptocurrencies cannot be ignored. If they fulfil their promise, they could spearhead a process of decentralisation in the world of finance. We are looking at how to place ourselves in a way to tap this, especially in areas such as securities, and Initial Coin Offering (ICOs). This will offer new opportunities to the operators in the financial services and new challenges to the regulator. Thus, it is imperative for Malta’s regulatory body, in this case the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), to continue evolving. The MFSA will be strengthened to become more responsive to the needs of the operators and to put the right structures to have a regulatory framework that is more proactive to new technological innovations. The gaming sector will also see changes in its regulatory framework. The new legislation shall be wider and more coherent, will be underpinned by better monitoring of risk and shall have new reporting facilities adopted to cater for the improved risk management processes. The new legislation will also target the facilitation of innovation, which includes the use of crypto-currencies. This will provide the industry with fast and cost-effective alternatives to traditional payment mechanisms. In all the above, regulation is key. Blockchain as a technology in itself cannot be regulated. What we can do is to regulate the use and “behaviour”, guiding the channels through which it may be permitted to flow. A big challenge for us as policy-makers is to devise an Agency that strikes the right balance between regulating and being a catalyst for innovation. We are after having the best possible legislative framework for Malta to continue being a top player in iGaming and becoming a very attractive destination for blockchain companies to do new business.

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Title | SiGMA

BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY AND OTHER USAGE in the Gaming Industry BY JOSEPH CUSCHIERI

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SiGMA | Regulation

Blockchain is without any doubt one of the technologies most talked about in the world today. Anyone who has been actively following innovation in the financial technology space understands that the word “blockchain” is the latest buzzword of the day. The Maltese Government has recently announced a drive to promote innovation and to make Malta the blockchain capital of Europe. Being at the forefront of innovation in the gaming sector, but also enhancing Malta’s reputation and economic activity in other areas of the economy is crucial. Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ripple or Etherium, just to mention a few, make use of blockchain technology. Essentially, they are digital money in which computational algorithms rather than central banks or financial authorities, are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds. The authority’s approach to the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a form of payment using a controlled framework (as a test and learn environment) is a sensible step forward that balances risk with opportunity through a well thought out and coordinated initiative. Blockchain, however, is not just limited to cryptocurrencies in its adoption and usage. The technology provides an innovative model, which along with the world wide web, delivers an infrastructure for the recording and verification of data on a distributed platform. We are now seeing the latest wave of blockchain, generally referred to as blockchain 3.0, which embraces wider adoption in areas of government, healthcare, transportation and energy. The Malta Gaming Authority is in fact looking into other possible applications of blockchain technology to further enhance the regulatory landscape in Malta and truly make it 014

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

The authority’s approach to the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a form of payment using a controlled framework (as a test and learn environment) is a sensible step forward that balances risk with opportunity through a well thought out and coordinated initiative. future proof and innovative. One such area being considered is a Unified Self Exclusion platform residing on such technology. It is still early days in this ambit but work has already commenced in exploring this project. What is a blockchain? The blockchain, is essentially a software database which creates a revolutionary way of storing, retrieving, allocating and interacting with digital assets, such as cryptocurrencies or smart contracts, in a secure and transparent manner. The blockchain is a global online distributed database which anyone, from anywhere, with access to an internet connection can safely and transparently make use of. Unlike traditional databases which are generally owned by central figures such as banks or governments, a blockchain does not have one central figure owning and regulating it, and with an entire network looking after it using the distributed concept, cheating the system by faking documents, transactions or other information becomes extremely difficult if not near impossible.


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Regulation | SiGMA

The Malta Gaming Authority will be adopting a supervisory role in all aspects of the cryptocurrency introduction in the gaming industry. The Authority will soon be publishing a framework within which cryptocurrency payments shall be permissible in the online gaming industry. Blockchain stores information permanently across a network of computers. This not only decentralises the information but distributes it to all nodes (computers) on the network too Since blockchain applications may have millions of users it is almost impossible for one person to hack the system or take down the entire network. The many people who run such systems use their own computers to hold packages of records submitted by others. These records are known as blocks. Each block has a timestamp and a link to a previous block, forming a chronological chain of records. One can view the information stored in a blockchain, add records to it, but more importantly one cannot alter information that is already stored on the blockchain. This is achieved using the cryptography techniques mentioned earlier. Since their inception in 2009, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have gained in popularity and consumption. According to a study published by the University of Cambridge in 2017, the current number of unique active users of cryptocurrencies is estimated to be in the region of 2.9 to 5.8 million users with up to 11.5 million wallets currently estimated to be active. The Malta Gaming Authority has been closely following the rise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Conscious of the need to remain at the forefront of innovation and to keep up with new developments in technology and the industry, as well as being fully aware that the system at the back of such transactions provides the industry with fast and costeffective alternatives to traditional payment mechanisms, the Authority is committed to allow the use of cryptocurrencies by its licensees in the immediate future.

the risks associated to cryptocurrencies may be well mitigated. The Authority has embarked on a journey in identifying a potential way forward to develop the right balance of measures which will safeguard the gaming industry against such risks but without stifling innovation and suffocating the legitimate use of cryptocurrency. To this effect the Authority will be looking into adopting a sandboxed approach to the acceptance of cryptocurrency in the Gaming industry. The idea is that cryptocurrency as a form of payment would be introduced in a controlled framework and for a period of time, to test the proposed controls and legislation with a view to further refining the regulatory approach. This approach is ideal since it gives flexibility to be able to manage the various variable risks and allows for a track record of cryptocurrency usage in the industry to be built in a controlled manner. The Malta Gaming Authority will be adopting a supervisory role in all aspects of the cryptocurrency introduction in the gaming industry. The Authority will soon be publishing a framework within which cryptocurrency payments shall be permissible in the online gaming industry. The framework will include controlling parameters for operator restrictions, game restrictions, restrictions on Payment Service Providers, transaction limits and nature of transactions. The framework will also include monitoring, supervision and reporting requirements and a validity period for the authorisation granted.

Having said that, the Authority is mindful that there are also risks which have to be addressed in order to ensure that such developments do not prejudice the protection of players, the importance of the prevention of crime in line with the 4th Anti Money Laundering directive and the reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction. To this effect, the Malta Gaming Authority commissioned a study to assist in the development of an all-encompassing framework, to be inclusive of all necessary safeguards. While the risk discovery process highlighted challenges in the adoption of cryptocurrency it also served to confirm that through a robust framework, a contained approach and proper guidance, 015


SiGMA | Conference

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

THE EUROPEAN FANTASY SPORTS SUMMIT THURSDAY 23RD NOVEMBER VENUE: MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE, TA’ QALI CONFERENCE CHAIR:

Ivan Filletti

Head of Operations & Business Development, Gaming Malta

MAIN ROOM 8:00-9:00

Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:10

Introductory address by conference chair

9:10-9:15

Audio Visual presentation capturing the DFS sector

9:15-9:45

Daily Fantasy Sports - the Global ‘State of the Union’ Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer, DraftKings

9:45-10:15

The European DFS Sector - Playing to Win

10:15-10:30

The Global perspective and European Challenges Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer, DraftKings Valéry Bollier, CEO, Oulala

10:30-10:45

Networking Coffee Break

10:45-11:30

A World of Regulatory Challenges in collaboration with IMGL Michele Magro, Senior Legal Advisor, MGA Tal Itzak Ron, Chairman, Tal Ron, Drihem & Co. Simon Planzer, Partner, Planzer Law

11:30-11:40

How is DFS answering the social and skill needs of the younger generation Valéry Bollier, CEO, Oulala Games

11:40-12:20

DFS and the ‘Millenials’ challenge

12:20-12:40

The Football Club Experience and more

12:40-13:00

Delegates ‘Community Building’ Game

13:00-14:00

Networking lunch

14:00-14:30

An Academic Proof that Fantasy Sports is a Skill Game

14:30-15:10

Content Creation adding value to DFS and operators Hannes Andersson, CEO, Everysport Media Group

15:10-15:30

Networking Break

15:30-16:10

Wrap up and closing remarkse

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

Jeffrey Haas

Chief International Officer, DraftKings

Mark Davies

Global Head of Partnership, Swansea FC

Hannes Andersson

CEO, Everysport Media Group

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Conference | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

AFFILIATES & CMOS THURSDAY 23RD NOVEMBER VENUE: MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE, TA’ QALI CONFERENCE CHAIR:

MAIN ROOM 13:30‑14:10

14:10‑14:25

Burak from Casumo will delve into how they moved from tier 3 to tier 1 in less than 2 years.

Media Buying: claim back money spent on worthless clicks Adriaan Brits, Marketing Consultant, Adriaanbrits.com Boosting Player Acquisition - 4 Integrated Digital Strategies Martin Calvert, Marketing Director, Blueclaw

Lee-Ann Johnstone

Online Gaming has reached a point of tension. Whilst effective and energetic gaming companies are winning new customers with intelligent marketing, offers and an engaging brand, many others are struggling to grow.

Founder, Best Odds Marketing

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

How to scale PPC campaigns lightning fast Burak Hun, PPC Strategist, Casumo

14:25‑14:40

In this session, Martin will discuss how truly integrating your approach to technical SEO, content marketing + link-earning, customer experience and paid search can break through previous constraints on your growth. With clear examples, this session will provide important takeaway points for any affiliate or operator looking to boost their player acquisition strategy.

Conversion Optimisation for Affiliates - what works and what doesn’t? Dave Gowans, Managing Director, Browser to Buyer

Charles Gillespie CEO, Gambling.com Group

14:40‑15:10

15:45‑15:55

Eitan Gorodetsky SEO Manager, Catena Media

15:55‑16:25

16:25‑16:55

Does CRO really work for affiliate sites? Often you have no control over the offering, the registration funnel or the landing page. Isn’t CRO just about ecommerce sites and improving usability? Using examples from his experience optimising leading affiliate sites in the iGaming and web hosting industries and years of experience working with top casinos including Betsson and Sportingbet, Dave will show you what really works for affiliates, what you need to know about your visitors, what should you be testing and what you shouldn’t! Find out how you can get double digit increases in your conversion rate and how one affiliate made over $20k/week from CRO.

Hold on to your users to hold on to your rankings Manuel Martinez, SEO Manager, The Stars Group Why user engagement and visitor satisfaction is at the heart of brand SEO strategy for The Stars Group?

SEO Panel Rickard Vikström, Founder, Internet Vikings Fili Wiese, SEO Consultant, SearchBrothers Eugen Platon, SEO Manager, Guts.com Eitan Gorodetsky, SEO Manager, Catena Media (Moderator) Protect yourself at all times from malicious attacks Gary R. Beal, Managing Director, Vanguard Online Media Alex Sakota, Founder, High Creative, Growth Hacker Anton Cristina, CEO, CSL Richard Parris, Chairman & CEO, Intercede Julien Lehmann, Managing Director, LeaseWeb Valuable insights are provided to protect your website at all times from hackers and DDoS attacks. The panel is made up of security professionals as well as black hat SEO professionals who are expected to debate this pertinent topic in a heated discussion.

Manuel Martinez EO Manager, The Stars Group

Workshop: Advanced SEO - Black Hat vs. White Hat Gary R. Beal, Managing Director, Vanguard Online Media 16:55‑18:55

After the feedback received from a large portion of the Affiliate Grand Slam event audience, we’ve got Gary from The Vanguard Group back in full-form to deliver a specialized 2-hour Advanced SEO presentation. Here you’ll learn about BlackHat SEO like DDOS attacks, RAT and Malware strategies, and WhiteHat SEO like Using Subdomains to rank or to overcome a penalty and smart strategies like eliminating negative listings. You don’t need to be an SEO Expert to follow this one!

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SiGMA | Conference

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

REGULATORY (KPMG ESUMMIT) FRIDAY 24TH NOVEMBER VENUE: MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE, TA’ QALI CONFERENCE CHAIR:

Russell Mifsud Senior Manager, KPMG

MAIN ROOM 9:00‑9:30

Welcome Address and Opening Remarks Hon. Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for iGaming Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman, MGA Anton Cristina, CEO, CSL

9:30‑10:00

Regulatory Updates Warwick Bartlett, Owner, Global Betting & Gaming Consultants

The next big frontier: South America vs. Asia vs. Africa John Kamara, Director of Development, Global Gaming Africa Jesper Jensen, CEO, iGaming Asia 10:00‑10:45 Harmen Brenninkmeijer, Moderator In this discussion three experienced market veterans go head to head and make a case for each respective continent. If you’re looking at the next big frontier, make sure not to miss this eye-opener.

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

10:45‑11:00

Networking Coffee Break

11:00‑11:45

IMGL Masterclass Dr. Joerg Hofmann, Executive Committee, IMGL Stephen Ketteley, Partner, Wiggin LLP

11:45‑12:30

M&A Continued Consolidation

12:30‑13:15

Gaming in Holland Willem van Oort, Founder, Gaming in Holland

Breakout Sessions

Gaming in Czech Republic and Slovakia Robert Skalina, Senior Advisor, WH Partners

John Kamara

Director of Development, Global Gaming Africa

Dr. Joerg Hofmann

13:30‑15:15

Executive Committee, IMGL

SiGMA Startup Pitch THE INVESTORS: Morten Klein, Founder, Klein Group AS Julie Meyer, Founder and CEO, Ariadne Capital Carla Maree Vella, CEO, Optimizer Invest Mark Blandford, Partner, Burlywood Capital Simon Collins, Founder, Gaming Realms Ory Weihs, CEO, XLMedia Group Robin Reed, Founder, Gaming Innovation Group Rickard Vikström, Founder, PolarBear Group Roger Walker, Partner, Partis Solutions In a Dragon’s Den style, the top ten start-ups from a lineup of 40 start-up exhibiting at SiGMA as part of the SiGMA Start-Up Pitch, will make their pitch in a three-minute time frame. Ten Investors will assess, grill and invest. Who will be this year’s winner? Meet the most innovative minds in the industry. Attendance to the SiGMA Startup Pitch is free for all SiGMA delegates.

15:15‑15:30

Willem van Oort Founder, Gaming in Holland

018

Top ten checklist for disruptive startups Steve Donoughue, Gambling Industry Strategist and Communications Specialist Taking place right after the Startup Pitch, Steve Donoughue and 2 other professional advisers (to be confirmed) will walk startups through a list of pitfalls and opportunities to watch out for.


Conference | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

BLOCKCHAIN & DISRUPTIVE TECH FRIDAY 24TH NOVEMBER VENUE: MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE, TA’ QALI CONFERENCE CHAIR:

Eric Benz

MAIN ROOM 15:30-15:40

2018 - The year for Bitcoin Eric Benz, Managing Director, Cryptopay

15:40‑16:10

Risk Management for Bitcoin Gaming Operators Jon Matonis, Founding Director, The Bitcoin Foundation

16:10‑16:40

Bitcoin’s exponential future: Artificial Intelligence & explosion of knowledge Dr Craig Wright, Chief Scientist, nChain In this power keynote we will explore how Artificial Intelligence and the bitcoin network can power the explosion of knowledge worldwide.

Managing Director, Cryptopay

Regulating a decentralized currency: pitfalls to avoid, opportunities to embrace Dr Ian Gauci, Founder, Afilexion Alliance T. Jack Williams, President, Paymentcard Services, Inc. Carl Brincat, Senior Legal Advisor, MGA Jonathan Galea, Founder, BitMalta / Legal Team Member, NetEnt Marko Csokasi, Director, Ex-Operator, Crypto Advocate

FEATURED SPEAKERS:

16:40‑17:25

Dr Craig Wright Chief Scientist, nChain

17:25‑17:40

This presentation will focus on the benefits which blockchain technology can offer to the iGaming industry at large. Some of the most notable advantages include the implementation of 0% house edge while still retaining profitability, a solution to the long-standing problem of “provably fair” games, and transaction speed especially when withdrawing or depositing funds. Issues discussed include: • A brief breakdown of blockchain technology and its features • A study of the first decentralized gambling and betting platforms • The challenges faced with the advent of decentralized casinos • The way forward

The future of Blockchain for gaming Chris North, CEO & Founder, GamCrowd The Blockchain is an old [hi]story Steve Tendon, Managing Director, TameFlow Consulting Ltd

17:40‑17:55

Jon Matonis

Founding Director, The Bitcoin Foundation

17:55‑18:25

This talk draws some surprising parallels with the history of the past to understand and appreciate the powerful features of Blockchain Technologies. Medieval governance was an archetype model for understanding what the Blockchain is. The same principles that have sustained empires in the past could be the foundation of the economic superpowers of the future.

Understanding ICO (Initial Coin Offering) - You ask! We answer! Esteban van Goor, Indirect Tax Lawyer, Baker & McKenzie Leonard Bonello, Senior Associate, GANADO Advocates James Catania, CEO, Intelliblock Oskar Paolini, Head of Risk Management, Cubits Dr Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor, WH Partners (Moderator) In this animated discussion, four experts will provide a brief SWOT analysis of ICO vs IPO, then open the floor to questions.

Steve Tendon

Managing Director, TameFlow Consulting Ltd

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SiGMA | Floor Plan

FLOOR PLAN VENUE: MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE, TA’ QALI

020

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Floor Plan | SiGMA

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SiGMA | Floor Plan

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

EXHIBITORS’ LISTINGS S23 1-Stop Translations

B36 BMM Testlabs

S21 EntroPay

S127 1XBET

S81

S14

S37 4Stop

S101 Booming Games

B147 Every Matrix

B41 10Bet

B10

S186 Extreme Live Gaming

S178 af2af

B194 Branders

S24 Fairwinds

S151 Afilexion Alliance

B193 Brimondo

B192 Finnplay

S172 AliQuantum

S119 Cash Flows/Payr

S98 Forestals

B176 All-In Translations/ Matching Visions

B79 Cashmio

B121 Fortytwo

S193 Casino Calzone

B155 Funky Affiliates

S97 Casino Cruise

B126 Gamble Beast

B67

S74

B35 Alpha InfoLab B115 Altenar B199 ApcoPay B5 Aqubix S86 AR Management B15

Aspire Global

B142 Authentic Gaming B167 BDO B137 Beehive S189 Bet365 G181 BetConstruct B174 Betfinal S80 BetgamesTV B83 Betradar

022

Boom Games

Branded Malta

Casino Room

B99 Catena Media B88 Cellxpert S70 ComeOn B8

Conversion Bet

B193 CSL B39 DAB Electronica S185 DD Consultus B129 Delta Projects S90 DEX B156 Digital Element S157 DominusBet

EvenBet Gaming

Gambling Affiliation

B196 Gambling Compliance B60 GameArt B179 Ganapati PLC S159 GiG B19

GoWild Affiliates

S190 Golden Race S195 Greentube B66 GiG Affiliates S175b Has Traffic S171 HiPay S34 HooYu

S31 Betsson

B100 Easy Payment Getaway

S134 Betsys

B53 edict egaming

B161 iGaming Academy

B32 BGO

B128 eGaming Lab

S170 iGaming Cloud

S50 BigMat

S117 EGO

B136 iGaming Elite

B168 Bit8

S25 Em@ney

S46 iGaming Platform

B114 BitLoad4U/Mifinity

S160 emexGO

S110 i-GSN

B153 Blexr

B198 Enteractive

B59 IHRE Consultants

S85 iAffiliates


Floor Plan | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

B3 Ikibu

S51

B173 iMovo

S200 Microgaming

S52 Safenames

B132 Income88

S139 Mir Limited

S65 Scandibet

S57 Insignia

B27 Mr Green

B122 Scout Gaming Group

S73 Ipoint

S72 Mr.Messaging

S109 Seqr

B146 iSoftBet

S43 Multi Lotto

S95 SiGMA

S28 Jeton

S112 MyAffiliates

S166 Simplicity5

S87 Join Games

S141a NetEnt

S20 Siru Mobile

S108 Karamba

S135 Neto Partners

S106 SlotsMillion

S158 Kindred

B68 Netrefer

B1

B107 Kiron

S22 NMi

B191 SMS Warriors

B9 Klikk

S165 OFICI

B149 SOWFI

B48 KSI Malta

B12 OKRoute

S116 Sportingtech

S169 Kyte Consultants

S150 OptiBid

B89 Tal Ron Drihem & Co

S91

S92 Optimizer Invest

S58 Talking Ads

S75 Oulala

S13

S33 Ozan

M9 The European Summit

L&L Europe

S29 Ladbrokes/Coral/ Gala S64

Larry Casino

B111 LeaseWeb S56 LeoVegas S55 LeoVegas Careers B162 Lifland Gaming S144 Loki Casino B61 LottoRewards S44 Lotto Warehouse B195 Lucky Streak B78 LV BET/Statscore S177 Mansa Gaming B38 Media Hut S188 Medialive Casino B6 Melita S26 Meridianbet S182 MGA

Micro Focus

B120 Paysafe B4 Pentasia B42 PlayAmo S18 PokerStars S125 Portomaso Gaming B123 Powerpay21 S16

Pragmatic Play

S104 Processing.com S113 PTL B11

Quantox Technology

G105 Quasar B183 Quinel B148 R.Franco Digital B190 Reactivation Group B197 Richmoore & Anderson

B94 SafeCharge

Smart Technologies

The Ear Ltd

S84 TheLotter B54 Thunderkick S96 Tipico S133 True Flip B130 TrustPay B40 Tuning Fork S118 Twin B63 UJM S124 Vanguard Media B93 VSoftCo G17 Videoslots S184 W2 Global B138 Wazdan S45

White Hat Gaming

B82 WireCard 023


The Headlines | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

The HEADLINES the Mediterranean gaming hub of Malta for Israel. With so many Israeli affiliates and c-level executives commuting between Tel Aviv and Malta on a regular basis, the demand for direct routes was clear for all, and welcome news to the I-gaming sector.

APRIL 2017

Raketech acquired sports TV listing company and casino affiliate group RakeTech Group, one of Europe’s leading iGaming affiliates acquired assets in Agonas AB and Astro Media Group AB. The deal included the ownership of multiple leading Nordic sports TV websites, while the acquisition of Astro Media Group involved several hight quality and leading Swedish casino affiliate websites. These acquisitions together strengthened RekeTech’s market position and established the company as a provider of high-quality sports and casino content. “Our strategy is to diversify our business, and Agonas provides us with a new vehicle to create unique editorial content. Their experienced team will help develop RakeTech into an established provider of sports media content,” said Michael Holmberg, RakeTech Group CEO.

from Gibraltar to Malta. In the report, they highlighted the various risks that the European online gaming industry faced. Although they stated they were considering moving their headquarters and license away from the Rock, they will still retain some presence there. “Brexit could adversely affect economic or market conditions in the United Kingdom, Europe or globally and could contribute to instability in global financial markets, in particular until there is more certainty as to the form that Brexit will take and its effect on Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and the EU. Malta may be considered as an alternative ‘dot com’ licensing jurisdiction,” the report stated.

As stated by Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer Paul Sies, “We are thrilled that we can announce Tel Aviv as our new destination for this season. Now the market has matured enough that we can start offering this destination as a scheduled service.”

Gibraltar post-Brexit - no longer an online gambling heaven? The decision of the people of the UK to vote to leave the EU has created fears that Gibraltar will lose its status as something of an online gambling haven. Well-known operators such as Ladbrokes, BetVictor, the NYX Gaming Group and IGT all have their business headquarters on the peninsula.

The buy-out deals include an earnout agreement that contributed to long-term RakeTech Group objectives. A €70 million investment to drive acquisitions was secured earlier this year to support development across Europe and establish the company as a leading provider of high-quality sports media content.

888 considered relocating from Gibraltar to Malta post-Brexit

Tel Aviv to Malta - direct flight met increasing demand from gaming

In an annual report by one of the world’s most popular online gaming operators & platform providers, 888 Holdings PLC Company, it was stated that they were considering a possibility to move their headquarters

The end of April saw the national Maltese airline Air Malta launch its new schedule of direct flights from Malta to Tel Aviv. This connection operated three times a week over summer 2017, opening up

By leaving the EU, the territory may face several issues in regards to the way its internet-based wagering services will be allowed to operate. Gibraltar’s lax taxation rules makes it favourable as a licensing destination, but that will likely change once ties are cut with the EU. The territory awaits a final decision from the European Court of Justice regarding its request to be exempt from the tax.

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told journalists that a “household name” in the gaming sector was seeking to relocate to Malta.

MAY 2017

JUNE 2017

Management changed in LeoVegas - Johan Styren left his position after 5 years Johan Styren, head of LeoVegas Maltese subsidiary, LeoVegas Gaming Ltd., left his employment. Johan, who has been employed as CEO of LeoVegas Gaming since 2012 and was part of LeoVegas management team, remained as a Director of some of the Group subsidiaries during a transitional period, but gradually withdrawn from these assignments. “When I started at LeoVegas 2012 we had just launched and had no customers. Today we are market leaders!” commented Johan Styren. “Since then, we have managed to build the world’s best mobile casino, added sports games and live casino, listed on Nasdaq First North and made LeoVegas one of the best gaming companies in the world. After more than five fantastic years, I feel it’s time to move on to new challenges.”

Aspire Global Continued its Growth with 3 New Deals Following a successful Q1, Aspire Global announced several additional casino launches, cementing its position as the leading complete iGaming solution for operators and white labels. Aspire Global’s launched 3 new brands in May after signing new partnerships with Jaak Systems, Cashiopeia and Mursimo. All the companies are helmed by experienced names in the iGaming industry – all confirmed as partners of the Malta-based company. Jov Spiero, VP Sales at Aspire Global, said: “I’m very proud to open Q2 with the launch of 3 new casino partners on our platform. All departments of the company are working hard to provide our clients with the complete solution that meets their needs. We’ve invested heavily in our technology and our current activity represents exactly what we’ve been aiming to achieve.”

BREAKING: EveryMatrix signed large operator Tipico EveryMatrix was thrilled to sign Tipico for CasinoEngine Direct, the EveryMatrix casino solution, delivering the largest selection of games in the industry through a single integration. According to the agreement, EveryMatrix is delivering games via CasinoEngine for more than 20 casino providers considerably boosting Tipico’s website with more RNG games and premium live casino from Evolution and others. Ebbe Groes, EveryMatrix CEO, said, “We are proud to add a considerable casino portfolio into Tipico’s platform and we look forward to work with their highly professionally team. Jointly this will lead to one of the most competitive casino offerings in the region.” Founded in 2004, Tipico is an international provider of sports betting and first-class online casino entertainment based and licensed in Malta.

Sky Betting and Gaming applied for local licence Matching Visions & Friends Weekend struck again! The second Matching Visions & Friends Weekend took place in May, and this luxurious networking getaway was one of the most unique and quirky events on the iGaming calendar. A close knit group of some 50 delegates, including top operators and affiliates, hopped from one tiny island, Malta, to an even tinier one, Lampedusa. Delegates were boarding two privately chartered flights to take the short 30 minute flight across the Mediterranean to a destination famous for having one of the best beaches on the planet.

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Sky Betting and Gaming, one of the UK’s leading online bookmakers, has applied for a sports betting licence in Malta. Headquartered in Leeds and led by chief executive Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming was formed in 2001 and now has a team of 1,200 employees and is he biggest online player by customer numbers in the UK market. Sky Betting & Gaming operates five major online products – Bet, Vegas, Casino, Poker, and Bingo – as well as leading sports affiliate Oddschecker. Sky Betting and Gaming is valued at £800million. The Gaming Authority has received 59 applications from gaming companies in the first four months of the year and approved 36 of them.

Better Collective acquired leading German affiliate group SportFreunde Better Collective, the world’s leading provider of betting tips, bookmaker information and builder of iGaming communities, has acquired Austrian company Hebiva Beteiligungen GmbH, the owner of affiliate SportFreunde Informationsdienste GmbH (“SportFreunde”), for an undisclosed sum, significantly


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expanding its presence in German speaking markets. The move is a key step in Better Collective’s rapidly-advancing M&A strategy, as the Denmark-based company, which operates more than 1,000 products and websites, continues to make a major impact on the iGaming industry. Jesper Søgaard, Founder and CEO of Better Collective said, “We are moving full steam ahead with our M&A strategy, and we are proud to announce that SportFreunde is joining us. This step reinforces our position as a leading affiliate in the industry.”

casino affiliate newcasinos.com. The website has been growing rapidly, especially on the UK market, which gives Catena Media an opportunity to further strengthen its presence in regulated markets. Newcasinos.com has a strong position also in Sweden and Norway. Robert Andersson, CEO of Catena Media, commented: “Catena Media has been in the forefront of the consolidation in the affiliate market and wants to keep a leading role. With this acquisition we are acquiring another successful online casino affiliate to complement and strengthen our portfolio.”

one of the biggest affiliate networks in Scandinavia, Stk Marketing Ltd, for a total consideration of NOK 240 million (around EUR 26 million). GIG expects the acquired assets to generate above EUR 7 million in EBITDA during the first 12 months after completion of the transaction. “We have set an ambition for Innovation Labs to become the largest lead generation business in iGaming. In line with previous acquisitions and GIG´s vision, the Stk acquisition will enable Innovation Labs to refer more customers to our B2B partners and thus benefit all parties engaged in the expanding GIG iGaming eco-system,” said Robin Reed, CEO of GIG.

JULY 2017

Betsson Launched iGaming Academy Training to Over 1,500 Employees iGaming Academy has been selected by leading iGaming Operator Betsson Group to provide eLearning solutions and help retain PCI-DSS Compliance. In order to comply with PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), businesses are required to ensure staff understand the importance of company security and reduce the risk of cardholder data loss. When examining its own security requirements, Betsson Group looked to iGaming Academy to provide a robust and cost-effective training solution. iGaming Academy developed a bespoke e-Learning Information Security course for Betsson Group, specifically designed to meet its security and corporate requirements.

Catena Media acquired affiliate website newcasinos.com Fast-growing online performance marketing and lead generation company Catena Media has acquired

Five-Year Research and Development Project Solved SEO Search Engine Optimisation is no longer a mysterious dark art. After concluding a five-year research and development project, REACH.AI, Media Skunk Works has announced SEO is now officially dead!

Malta geared up for blockchain revolution The Maltese government revealed details of an ambitious plan to turn the island into one of the first countries in the world to embrace the blockchain technology.

“SEO is more like a competitive sport and it takes a special kind of person to compete at Olympic level. The project – funded by the sweat and tears of everyone involved, past and present – has been quite a roller coaster. Solving the problem was the easy part, the hardest part was building the technology to get the data,” said MSW founder and CEO, Paul Reilly.

Silvio Schembri, iGaming Digital Economy Junior Minister said that the plans are twofold. “We already have all the elements in place to embrace blockchain – a gaming sector and a robust gaming authority, a strong financial services sector, a reliable ICT infrastructure, an attractive taxation system, and a flexible and probusiness government.”

MSW’s REACH.AI project offers unique investment opportunities for those interested in SEO, digital marketing, data enrichment, and person-name disambiguation objectives.

As with iGaming, the aim will be for these companies to boost the Maltese economy through taxes, licence fees, and economic consumption of their Malta-based employees.

GIG announced its largest acquisition to date

Future of Gaming discussed at Follow The Entrepreneur in Malta

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GIG) has through its subsidiary Innovation Labs agreed to acquire all assets in

After 6 successful years of hosting the Follow the Entrepreneur Investor

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Summit in the UK, Ariadne Capital brought this year’s event to Malta. Leading investors and entrepreneurs from around the world gathered to inspire and provide a strong understanding of the trends and ideas that will transform next big investments. The first day of the summit took place on July 10 in Westin Dragonara Resort, St. Julian’s. The Future of the EU, The Mediterranean and Malta, The Future of Asset Management and Ecosystem Economics, The Future of Gaming – these are just some of the hot topics to mention from the busy agenda of this well-attended event. Second and last day of the Summit highlighted topics such as “The Future of The Internet of Things” and “Bitcoin Investing Primer”.

AUGUST 2017

and its experience in regulating gaming, both land based and remote, in order to come up with a system of regulation that is at the forefront of current thinking in this area.

Giant Amaya rebranded to The Stars Group Amaya, headquartered in Canada, with offices also in Malta, announced in July that it has completed its planned re-branding from Amaya to The Stars Group. In addition, its headquarters in Montreal will be relocated to Toronto. The company also revealed its updated corporate logo and launched a new site to mark this launch. This includes trading under a new acronym on the Global Select Market as TSG and under the Toronto Stock Exchange as TSGI starting this week. The Stars Group is the ultimate owner of industry leading gaming brands including PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetStars, Full Tilt, PokerStars Championship, PokerStars Festival and MEGASTACK. Collectively, these brands have more than 111 million registered customers, forming one of the largest online gaming businesses in the world.

The total sum of the scholarships accounts is EUR 300,000. The total volume of the investment agreement signed by AUM investors (Sadeen Group) and the Government amounts to EUR 120 million.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Latestcasinobonuses.com (LCB) reported on fake Yggdrasil and Pragmatic Play slots found at Hera Casino website.

Latestcasinobonuses.com inspected the source code of Dragon Kingdom from Pragmatic Play and they found out that the iframe source link displays a blank space, but hovering cursor over it shows the slot is hosted on the casino’s domain, which original games never are. This proved the game is pirated, but also indicates the site is aware of this fact and attempts to mask the source link to appear genuine.

10 Maltese scholarship awardees were granted a place at The American University of Malta for a four-year course. The 10 awardees had a chance to become Bachelor of Science in game development, accounting or business administration. The students also received a stipend from the Maltese government.

The official opening of the AUM campus was located in Cospicua and took place in September. More undergraduate courses are expected to be added at a later stage. The tuition fees at AUM are set at EUR 7,750 yearly for the academic year 2017/18.

LCB Spotted Fake Yggdrasil and Pragmatic Play Slots

“We came to know about the site through several forum topics, in which players related their, mostly negative, experiences about this operator. After investigating the platform, we can confirm your hunch – the slots do not function correctly because they are pirated versions of the original games,” LCB commented.

Scholarships in Game Development for Maltese students

Malta’s proposed gaming law overhaul: Key changes and challenges The consultation document published on 12 July 2017 (“Consultation Paper”) by the Malta Gaming Authority (“MGA”) together with a draft of the proposed new Gaming Act and several regulations to be made under it (“Draft Law”) is the first welcome and publicly visible step in the process of consolidation, rationalisation and future proofing of Malta’s gaming laws. A quick read through the Consultation Paper and the Draft Law makes it immediately apparent that this is no piece meal process: Malta is seeking to leverage the strengths of its existing regulations, its position as a leading regulator of remote gaming

Betsson CEO Ulrik Bengtsson left his position President and CEO of the largest gaming company in Malta, Ulrik Bengtsson, has left his position. The decision was made by the Board of Directors and Mr. Bengtsson who has

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chosen to step down immediately. “Ulrik Bengtsson has done a good job for Betsson during the five years he has been employed by the Group. He has clarified the strategy and implemented significant product launches. On behalf of the Board and myself, I would like to thank Ulrik for his efforts,” Mr Lindwall commented.

MGA Advanced Its Plans for a Cryptocurrency Legalisation at Online Casinos impressive 12 percent of the GDP, and is expected to continue growing. The flourishing industry attracts many foreign companies, especially between Malaga and Gibraltar, located in the South of Spain. However, this collaboration has been difficult as there have not been any direct flights between both industry locations in the past. People travelling between Malta and Malaga and/or Gibraltar face extensive travel hours, layovers at foreign airports and long journeys causing unnecessary losses for the companies. These flight connections were not considered optimal for successful collaboration.

Sky Betting & Gaming terminated Affiliate Hub programme Sky Betting & Gaming (SB&G) had shut down its affiliate marketing programme.

Air Malta responded to the high demand and will introduce their new route between Malaga and Malta by the beginning of summer 2018. Air Malta announced that they will be flying biweekly.

“As you will be aware, the regulatory landscape in which the industry operates is developing and maturing and operators are experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance. In order to continue to operate in a compliant manner, we feel that operating the Programme is no longer viable and that managing the output of affiliates presents a significant risk to our business from a regulatory perspective,” SB&G stated in its affiliate programme final note.

New Flight Connection Between Malaga and Malta operated by Air Malta The iGaming sector has a huge impact on business in Malta, at an 034

Rebel Penguin (RP) was able to generate more than 155,000 paying clients to sports betting customers in the Nordics & the UK, since its foundation in 2007. Therefore, the acquisition of RP is an important initiative by GIG as part of the company’s strategy to increase its sportsbetting capabilities before the World Cup in 2018. GIG CEO Robin Reed stated, «This milestone reinforces our position among the three main areas. Through this acquisition, we will reach millions of monthly ad placements throughout major distribution channels such as Facebook and Google.”

OCTOBER 2017

The online gambling group stopped its Affiliate Hub operations in September, ending all commission and player referral arrangements with its existing affiliate marketing partners. SB&G mentioned that it had decided to shut down its partner marketing programme because of ‘growing regulatory issues’. Besides, SB&G doesn’t see its affiliate programme as not applicable for its business operations.

For a total amount of €13 million the Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GIG), through its subsidiary GIG Media acquired Rebel Penguin, the technology driven Danish performance marketing company.

Gaming Innovation Group acquired Rebel Penguin For a total amount of €13 million the Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GIG), through its subsidiary GIG Media acquired Rebel Penguin, the technology driven Danish performance marketing company. Rebel Penguin (RP) was able to generate more than 155,000 paying clients to sports betting customers in the Nordics & the UK, since its foundation in 2007. Therefore, the acquisition of RP is an important initiative by GIG as part of the company’s strategy to increase its sportsbetting capabilities before the World Cup in 2018. GIG CEO Robin Reed stated, «This milestone reinforces our position among the three main areas. Through this acquisition, we will reach millions of monthly ad placements throughout major distribution channels such as Facebook and Google.”

Videoslots Announced Launch of New 3D Poker Product After Videoslots.com acquired technology assets from PKR estate earlier this year, the company planned to introduce a 3D poker product. The 3D poker product will be launched in the upcoming year. The basis of this agreement is the supply of Videoslots for clients of Android, iOS, Mac and PKR’s PC. First, Videoslot’s players have the ability to access the application in a downloadable version. Videoslots.com’s CEO, Alexander Stevendahl, stated: “The purchase of PKR’s unique 3D poker clients provides us with the platform to introduce a proven poker product to our customers. Videoslots has led the way in shaping the online casino sector in recent years and we will be looking to offer the same innovative experience with our poker product.”


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Sports Information Services To Relaunch Its TV Service SIS (Sports Information Services) announced a significant relaunch of its retail TV service to bookmakers. On 1st April 2018 the SIS service will be provided across two complementary channels to reflect the increased volume of content and the second channel will ensure that content is covered as thoroughly as possible with more build-up. Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS said, “After much anticipation, we are pleased to announce the relaunch of the SIS service, which have been a staple within British and Irish betting shops for over 30 years. We have worked to ensure that the SIS service schedules are optimised for customers’ needs, and will maximise value for bookmakers.”

Matching Visions Acquired Nordic-focused SEO Sites

investment management software solutions provider, Klaus Holse, to its board of directors. Responding to his appointment to the board Klaus Holse said, “Considering that the company has received multiple industry awards for their innovative digital products, they are certainly leading the pack within the iGaming industry.”

Matching Visions has further strengthened its position within the affiliate sector, with the acquisition of four well-established Nordic SEO sites – speltipset.com, spelpunkten.se and spelprinsen.se.

Jesper Søgaard, chief executive and founder of Better Collective, said, “We are truly excited to have Klaus join our board. Better Collective has always considered digital innovation as one of its core competences, and Klaus’ expertise will help us develop even further.”

After securing a 30% stake in Betting Gods earlier this year, the company has continued to expand into areas beyond their flagship iGaming network, including a rapidly growing portfolio of SEO sites. Matching Visions Head of SEO Leanne Kimmings commented: “We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting projects to get involved in and this is one we’re very excited about. I’m confident that we can take these sites to the next level and it’s a great addition to the ever-expanding Matching Visions family.”

Multibillion-pound Merger Between Ladbrokes Coral And GVC

Better Collective Attracted Former Microsoft President Klaus Holse The Danish company Better Collective announced the appointment of the former European president of Microsoft for Western Europe and current CEO of SimCorp, the

deals among the gaming industry. Especially since the merger would occur with the publishing of a regulatory review in the UK at the end of this month. It could inspire competitors to merge also in order to prevent the loss of market share. Kenny Alexander, GVC’s chief executive, said, “Strategically, the organic growth potential remains exciting and through further product development and increased marketing investment we are well placed to pursue these opportunities.”

As the Financial Times newspaper revealed, the two companies are closer towards signing a deal for a multibillion-pound merger than it was previously known and have already come to a conclusion in terms of how the new executive team and bored should look like. This move could lead to a new wave of further Merger and Acquisition 035


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Excellence on All Fronts FROM POKER PLAYER TO AFFILIATE TO CASINO OPERATOR, ALEXANDER STEVENDAHL EXCELLED AT EACH STAGE OF HIS GAMING CAREER. IN THIS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WE FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE MAN AND HIS TEAM BEHIND THE LARGEST ONLINE CASINO WORLDWIDE.

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“The fact that this industry is ever changing means that you never get bored, there is always something new happening and as the industry is in its infancy, the possibility of growth and innovation are infinite” Alison Brincat

Talking affiliates, success, and growth, we got to know CEO Alexander Stevendahl, and Head of Acquisition Ali Atam and Head of Affiliates Alison Brincat, to find out more. So, first things first, Alexander – how does it feel to be at the helm of one of the most exciting online casino brands around? Tell us how the story started? AS: It feels great, especially when you’ve worked so hard to build something that is truly unique and different from the roots up. When I finished school, I started to play poker for fun and then ended up earning quite a comfortable living from it, but after one bad month I decided to launch an affiliate site called Rakebacklovers in 2006. It was a great business and very profitable and I liked that it didn’t require the level of risk that you get with just playing poker. Then in 2011, with my partners Mattias Sesemann and Magnus Hultingö, we invested in Videoslots.com, took full ownership of the site in 2013 and shortly after that, I stepped into the role of CEO.

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What was your concept, your ethos and your core ideas when you set up Videoslots? How did you intend on positioning yourself to make yourself stand out against the competition? AS: At the time, we had closed the poker site and had decided to focus on just the casino instead. It was important for us to create a casino that was innovative and different to what you normally find, both when it comes to product, as well as in the way that we treat our players. We pride ourselves on both the range of games we offer, and the customer service that we provide to our clients – I believe that this alone sets us apart from lots of other providers. This was the beginning of a casino with a concept different to many others, as it was based on poker. One of the other differences you will find is the bonus system where all Videoslots promotions are based on poker promotions. This makes us automatically stand out in the iGaming crowd. You launched Videoslots in 2011, tell me about your growth and expansion since then? AS: The growth has been very impressive because when we launched in 2011, there were 5 employees, then by 2015 we launched Battle of Slots and the team grew to 35. Now we employ over 110 people in Malta alone and expansion both locally and internationally means we will be taking on more and more people over the coming months. It is an exciting time for us!


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“I also expect to see growth in social casino gamification where players can connect with each other and become a part of the community... I was born ready!� Ali Atam

Cover Story | SiGMA

Where is the company heading in the next 5 years? 10 years? AS: It will be some time yet before I have achieved what I want to with Videoslots, however, I have various other big projects in mind – as well as maintaining our position as the largest online casino in the industry and the creators of many leading and innovative features and concepts, I am looking to launch a new poker site that will hopefully measure the same levels of success that Videoslots has measured. Once again, I will be looking to create something other than the normal run of the mill concept as at Videoslots, we highly believe in doing things differently and standing out from the crowd. These are all dreams that will not happen overnight, they will take time and dedication before they can become a reality, but that is half of the fun. We are also in the process of applying for licenses in Romania, Denmark, Spain, Italy, and Portugal and the intention is to set up a local base in each one. We would be looking to recruit around 60 additional people to help us execute these plans and to support these ventures in each country. Why do you think Malta is such a hotbed for iGaming? Why do you like living and working here? AS: Well not only is the weather sunny and sizzling, but I met my partner Patrizia here and we have a beautiful daughter- going anywhere else is not an option for me! Alison Brincat (AB): Apart from the attractive taxation schemes for iGaming companies, Malta also offers a diversity of talents and creativity. It is such a multicultural country and it has become a perfect location for the iGaming industry. Due to its size, it is also great for networking and easily meeting others that are a part of the same industry- it is also the perfect place to entertain, with many different options available. Oh, and of course, the sun, sea, and a relaxed atmosphere is a big plus! Ali Atam (AA): Malta has developed a lot since I moved here in 2000. I find it a happy country that is also very safe when compared to other countries. It is easy to adapt to the lifestyle and to network, as people are generally very friendly. I like the fact that I can be home within 15-20 minutes after work and when it comes to business, I also like that my contacts and connections are just a few minutes away. In an industry that is so closely interlinked with digitalisation and technology, what do you think the next step will be? Where is the industry heading and are you ready for it? AA: I think the future looks bright for the iGaming sector. Responsible gaming is key and innovation will also play a big part. I expect to see virtual reality and an emphasis on skill based games coming into action. I also expect to see growth in social casino gamification where players can connect with each other and become a part of the community. Lastly, I think mobile slots and games will also continue to grow and of course, I was born ready! So, how are you different in terms of what you offer to your clients, but when it comes to affiliates, what sets you apart from the rest? AB: Firstly, we are very flexible when it comes to making deals. Upon signing up, we offer our affiliates the option to choose their preferred commission plan between three different models, in fact, Videoslots is striving to start offering one of the most transparent affiliate programmes in the industry.

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Tell us about the affiliate market at the moment- what is happening, what are the trends, and what are your predictions for the next 12 months? AB: At the moment, the affiliate market is in consolidation where we will see many bigger networks acquiring small to medium sized ones. I don’t see this slowing down and I also think that we will continue to see growth on social media channels such as Twitch and that it will continue to positively impact the affiliate business. I also think that mobile affiliate channels will continue to grow and that games will become more targeted towards mobile, both when it comes to visual and UX. I also imagine that augmented reality will make a big impact, maybe not next year, but in the future. And how are Videoslots strategizing to stay at the top of their game when it comes to affiliate marketing? AB: We are continuously working on developing our affiliate software to make it the best inhouse affiliate programme in the industry. We aim to provide all of the necessary tools and data to be able to analyse and optimise the traffic to its full potential. We believe that transparency is key and we promise to be open to our affiliates and to share as much information as possible. Videoslots will also be launching its new website design and this will certainly impact affiliate conversions positively. In such a competitive market, what do you think makes a great online casino? AA: Without a doubt, the quality of the product and gaming experience are the main factors. For me, a great online casino must have a large selection of games available for 040

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“Firstly, we are very flexible when it comes to making deals. Upon signing up, we offer our affiliates the option to choose their preferred commission plan between three different models, in fact, Videoslots is striving to start offering one of the most transparent affiliate programmes in the industry� their players, and it is also important that all games are running smoothly without any glitches. Another key point is fast payments to players because the faster the payment, the more they will trust and play at your casino. Of course, a great casino must also provide first class support both onsite, and on forums. So, what do you all enjoy most about your job, work and sector? AS: What I love the most is that I have managed to turn my passion into a successful business whilst evolving an innovative concept where players can play against each


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“Videoslots has become a big family with an open-door policy for both staff and players, and working in this way makes me look forward to every single working day with what has now become my second family” general. With a much bigger venue this year, I think it will be a fantastic opportunity to scout for talent as well! AB: I attended last year’s event as well as the one before and I find each SiGMA gets bigger and better than its predecessor as well as seeing that the crowd is on the rise that we’re committing to one of the largest stands. Thank you Alex, Ali and Alison for your time, and we look forward to seeing you at SiGMA 2017!

VIDEOSLOTS ACQUIRES PKR TECHNOLOGY; SOON TO LAUNCH 3D POKER! Leading online casino operator Videoslots.com, home to over 2300 slots and table games spanning from a range of around 70 providers is soon to launch a 3D poker product. Videoslots managed to seal a deal to buy the technology assets from the PKR estate, which went into administration earlier this year, a deal that will supply Videoslots with PKR’s PC, Mac, iOS, and Android clients, and will form the basis of its poker product to be launched next year. other whilst interacting at the same time. Working in such a lucrative sector with so much competition makes every day a challenge and keeps us on the ball when it comes to being creative. Videoslots has become a big family with an opendoor policy for both staff and players, and working in this way makes me look forward to every single working day with what has now become my second family. AB: The fact that this industry is ever changing means that you never get bored, there is always something new happening and as the industry is in its infancy, the possibility of growth and innovation are infinite. AA: I enjoy the fact that it is a super-fast-growing sector and there is something new and different all of the time. Do you play any of the casino games yourself, and if so, which are your favourites? AB: Gonzo’s Quest, Jack and the Beanstalk and Starburst tend to be my favourite and Mega Fortune Dreams is my preferred Jackpot Game. AA: Yes, I play casino games but mostly just for fun or to check them out when they are released. I usually like branded releases but I would say my favourite slots are Jack and the Beanstalk and Dead or Alive. So, have you started planning for SiGMA 2017? AA: Yes, we have already started booking meetings with new, existing, and potential partners and we hope to get lots of new affiliates on board, as well as networking in

Back in the days PKR’s 3D poker was unique to the poker industry. Players had the possibility to create personalised 3D avatars within the interface, and visualise the poker game in a realistic environment. Some players even went the extra mile to make their avatars look exactly like them, making it somewhat of a more personalized experience. Videoslots have been leading the way where it comes to innovation, so who knows what’s going to be next for PKR? For starters, Videoslots’ players will initially be able to access the product on a downloadable application for PC, with a mobile and web version to be developed soon after.

Alexander Stevendahl, CEO at Videoslots. com, said: “The purchase of PKR’s unique 3D poker clients provides us with the platform to introduce a proven poker product to our customers.” “Videoslots has led the way in shaping the online casino sector in recent years and we will be looking to offer the same innovative experience with our poker product.” This rebranded poker offering will add to Videoslots’ existing and market leading product offering, whilst complimenting its Battle of Slots product that allows players to compete and socialise with one another in a poker-style lobby as they go head-to-head for large guaranteed prize pools.

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SiGMA | Startup Pitch 2017

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Last year’s winner Tamir Berler, Founder, Commologic

STARTUP PITCH 2017 WHERE iGAMING STARTUPS AND INVESTORS MEET Following a very successful first run in 2016, the SiGMA Startup Pitch is coming back in 2017, bringing together a whopping sixty good startups and several investors under one roof. All 60 shortlisted startups will be awarded the following:

BOOTH

PR

A free 1m booth at SiGMA17, including cost of printing and furniture.

SiGMA PR – magazines, website, email newsletters, interviews.

PRESENTATION

OFFICE

Startup Pitch presentation for ten finalists – meet the investors on stage.

Free office space in Gaming Hub and Microsoft Innovation Centre, Malta, to use for meetings, relocation of offices.

NETWORKING Invitation to premium networking events during SiGMA.

CONSULTANCY Free consultancy and potential leads from leading industry veterans.

All 60 startups will get the free booth and consultancy package, but only ten of these sixty startups will make it to the final and have the opportunity to make the pitch. The action-packed, fast-paced pitch paves the way for a buzzing show, full of excitement. Each startup will have three minutes to present their project, then face a session of Q&A from the investors and the audience in a Dragon’s Den-like environment. Are you a startup? Seeking mentors and investors? Download the application today. Successful applications will be entitled to the following dynamite package. 044


Startup Pitch 2017 | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

MEET THE INVESTORS:

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

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

JULIE MEYER

SIMON COLLINS

Julie Marie Meyer is an American businesswoman, entrepreneur and author. She is the founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital, a venture capital firm. Julie is also a Managing Partner at the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs (ACE) Fund, Ariadne Ecosystem Economics™ Fund and the founder of EntrepreneurCountry. She was the co-founder of the networking club First Tuesday (1998-2000). In 2009, she appeared as a Dragon on the online version of BBC’s Dragons’ Den.

Simon Collins is the Founder of Gaming Realms – a novel new bingo based consumer proposition targeting smartphone and tablet devices. Simon is also the Founder of Cashcade Ltd an online bingo focused gaming business. Sold for £96 million in July 2009. In the year leading up to the acquisition, Cashcade generated net revenue of £44.9 million, nearly double the year before, and EBITDA of £12.2 million. Since the sale Bwin.Party have reported earnings in 2012 from bingo of Euro 18.8M and Revenue of Euro 64.3M. FoxyBingo is considered to be one of the best bingo assets in the UK.

ROBIN REED

ROGER WALKER

ORY WEIHS

Startup romantic, and entrepreneur at heart. Robin started with two empty hands in his early twenties. Founded Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) together with Frode Fagerli in 2008. These days, GIG is investing into startups and people within the iGaming industry. The mission is to create and obtain the most valuable knowledge in iGaming.

Roger is a Partner with Partis Solutions. He provides direct support to board execs and corporate development teams from some of the largest gaming industry operators and investors. Roger and his team have delivered practical advice throughout a wide range of gaming industry transactions, such as M&A and JV’s. Roger’s clients range from £multibillion, publicly-listed operators and B2B suppliers; investment banks; private equity / venture capital houses through to smaller privately-owned firms and early stage entrepreneurial startups. In addition to advising on a broad range of gaming industry transactions, Roger’s team are also retained by a number of clients to manage their international growth and expansion – including entry into new markets.

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

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SiGMA | Startup Pitch 2017

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

STARTUPS:

1SpinMillionaire redefines the lottery status quo. This game-changer combines innovative approach with customer rewards and engagement to disrupt the lottery sector.

Adwayplus specialises in increasing revenues for publishers by monetizing on adblocking. Their service is a content compensation platform that enables publishers to increase their advertising revenues.

BeatMe is a mobile eSport app that allows players to legally reward each other with money for their victory after a 1v1 or a multiplayer match on their console, phone or laptop., and also give them the possibility to win gifts from brands by being fairplay.

BOBMOB.GG is a service about eSports and gaming live-streams for streamers and fans alike. Viewers will have fun & gamified viewing experience, be rewarded for watching and take a much more active part in the streams they follow.

Introducing Bookee, a simple sports betting app for mobile or tablet. Bookee combines worldclass technology with beautiful design to offer a truly unique betting experience. Swipe through bets and place them with the flick of a finger. Discover bets carefully curated into categories by our team of in-house betting experts. Select your stake with Bookee’s unique stake slider built specifically for mobile.

BotGaming is a blockchain powered gambling platform for messenger bots. BotGaming has been built using open source PNRG to make interactions inside the game session transparent and verifiable. BotGaming uses blockchain protocol at the game’s session level.

BRAINER is a data driven coach that helps you reach your professional goals in a predictable time. Assess, update, train and authenticate your personality traits and your skills not to find a job, but to find a team that is a good fit for you. Receive daily recommendations and shape your career goal.

Casino Luks is an online casino for players hosting only top best casino online games from: slots, jackpots, video poker, table games etc.

Chalkline Sports works with gaming properties to use highly intelligent and personalized mobile content to bridge affiliate and loyalty programs, amortizing customer acquisition costs across an ever-increasing customer lifetime value.

Creating casino versions of popular smartphone games e.g. Angry Birds without changing the original game logic.

Through an effective combination of behavioural onsite messaging, personalised emails, well timed SMS & Whatsapp messages, we help with the most challenging customer communications.

Cryptopay is a bitcoin platform which allows users to buy, sell and store bitcoins, as well facilitating global money transfers without the use of a bank. Users can sign-up for a Cryptopay debit card, which provides an easy way to use Bitcoin for more transactions.

CW MARKETING is specialised in career management, communications consultancy and audiovisual content development. In a modern way the company manages the career of artists that are known, appreciated and respected in Brazil.

Dench eGaming Solutions is a B2B software provider with strict focus on the iGaming industry. We specialise in providing next generation turnkey gaming platform, white label services and most importantly deliver a real time marketing automation solution focusing on customer bonusing, rewards and engagement.

eLotek.pl is the largest lottery agent in Poland. It facilitates and ehances the game thanks to mobile apps, group games and standing orders.

FanLeague is a social betting app based on English football. You play by predicting at least one outcome for all 13 pre defined matches in a Game Week during the football season to compete for weekly and seasonal prize pots.

Fantas.ee is a mobile daily fantasy sports platform. Recently they finished the world’s first only mobile accelerator program, MOX in Taipei. Their first game FunCricket is available in selected markets.

Fenway Games are an innovative, award winning start up building innovative, in-play mobile games for Sports and eSports. With a highly experienced team and industry based backers, Fenway Games are keen to hear from B2B partners.

FLUX — unique global gaming platform unites all parts of gaming industry ecosystem where players, developers, traders, and gaming community can transform their time and needs in money using gaming token FLUX COIN.

Funtasy Team is a B2B skill games company specialized in making daily fantasy sports accessible to a wider audience. Our unique approach and high tech platform will help partners make the most out of the booming DFS market.

GamerPro is a chat-based gaming platform deeply rooted within the eSports market. All players dream to earn real money by playing video games. GamerPro make that dream come true.

Glück Games deliver high quality games and back-end products to the online Lottery-and-Casino-Market. The company is applying the highest quality design and engineering principles to deliver unparalleled games and backend products to the online Lottery-andCasino-Market.

InboundMuse is a digital marketing consultancy helping mature B2B companies get more customers online. They focus on improving B2B websites with the most powerful marketing & sales tools.

Infiltrend is an influencer-marketing platform that connects iGaming brands with influencers. Our technology provides them with the tools to run campaigns which our platform will in turn track whether shared across blogs or social media platforms.

Eye Motion is a B2B software provider for the iGaming industry, which creates HTML5, cross-platform, slot games with our custom Eye engine.

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Fresh8 is a technology company delivering software as a service solutions which deliver efficiency and increased profitability to the sports betting industry with their marketing automation technology.

Full Color Games Ltd, the licensor of Full Color® Games, is a developer, distributor licensor and games manufacturer of casual and casino gaming products for real and virtual money games.

Greenzorro was conceived with the idea that online gamblers can get much more value back for their spent. Greenzorro is an online gambling operator that invests all profits into investment funds that have the users as sole beneficiaries, effectively making all users co-owners of the company.

Imagina is a technology-first company whose mission is to enable the most individual gaming experiences on the market. By creating a gaming platform which hides complexity and regulation concerns beneath one clean solution, we give control of gaming content well and truly back to the operator.

imetrixBi is a solution for analysis and protection of online trademarks and Intellectual Property Rights. It provides companies intelligent data and tips to protect trademarks, customers, online reputation and revenues, by cybercriminal attacks.

Intelliblock is the premiere blockchain solutions provider for the European market. Situated in Malta, intelliblock makes full use of the state-of-theart infrastructure and the national willingness for blockchain adoption to present its portfolio of products.

INVICTUS is a virtual intelligence able to give sport betting advice to tipsters. The algorithm is based on the data coming from the Nextwin customer base and can manage multiple bets portfolio and maximize the performances of each single bettors.

Karmafy is a technology startup based in Malta for the past two years. Situated in Sliema, the company is a small team of very experienced video game developers bringing philanthropy and the world of mobile games together.

Luckbox is a next-gen igaming company in the cross-section between esports, digital currencies (crypto & game items) and gambling.

MatchPlus is a London-based technology company that is modernising event based lotteries in the UK. They leverage fan engagement to transform charitable fundraising in sports by offering a state of the art digital and retail lottery platform.


Startup Pitch 2017 | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Mowjow is an online social gaming company providing skill based social money game that lies at the crossroad of interactive/social gaming and mobile applications.

MuchBetter is an app based payment wallet which combines rock star technology, mobile first, dynamic customer authentication, real time KYC and rich in deposit options.

Newgen provides unique managed solutions for online payments, E-Commerce optimization and fraud prevention to merchants, financial institutions, and retailers. Our solutions boost sales, cut costs, increase conversion rates, mitigate fraud and open new markets for merchants & payment service providers. Explore how our solutions can help you to optimize your business.

Paymagnet is a revolutionary new system which allows merchants to accept card payments using just an NFC-enabled smartphone. Anything you can do on a POS system, you can now do on a smartphone.

Polar Bear Content offers content writing and translations in Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish. Polar Bear Content is specialised in the iGaming and news industries.

By providing the technical and operational environment as well as a fully compliant legal framework and by being at the heart of two of the fastest growing industries – eCommerce and eGambling – Puurl defines an untapped market segment: Licensed Entertainment Shopping.

PVP is the first Esports betting exchange, which over the past months has grown into a multi-faceted gaming platform. The website combines a betting exchange with a wide variety of matches and traditional casino style products like roulette and dice, as well as innovative stream betting interface, where bettors engage with influencers directly. With its abundance of deposit methods and in-game item shop, PVP has tools to engage and monetize every type of audience.

Reveelz is a game-changing technology that solves a major problem in mobile marketing by taking any unknown mobile user and accessing all the personal, financial and consumer data about them – without violating privacy.

Regily makes registrations easy. Their solution allows operators to grow faster by removing friction in the sign-up process. The solution is simple to integrate, globally localized and uses smart data.

Releazeit is a self-service sports data publishing platform which provides real-time sports data and visual content for you to use and publish in your preferred social media channels.

RocksPRO connects players to their favorite real world casinos through mobile and social play anytime, anywhere and on any device. Their social gaming solution is specifically designed to drive foot traffic into brickand-mortar casinos.

SEON’s goal is to create a safer environment for online businesses, throughout relying on the analysis of unevaluated data by using masses of fraud inspection methods. They have multiple clients in CNP business such as payment gateways, high risk online merchants.

Sezame offers companies and users a secure patented service to protect their (online) accounts through a patented multi-factor (biometric) authentication without using a password (login, smartphone and biometric sensor). The patent is moving the point where the biometric authentication is actually needed to a geographically different location.

SkillCorner is a startup coming from the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry incubator. They are developing artificial intelligence algorithms and apply them for professional team sports.

Snapscreen offers the future of betting with 1 second to live odds. Add Snapscreen to your apps or websites, take a snap and in a flash the Snapscreen magic recognizes the game and takes you to the latest odds. Snapscreen supports chatbots to make sure Millennials can be efficiently targeted and growth sustained in sports betting and affiliate.

Social Bets is a new platform, where users can bet on sports events with other players for a pool without limits. Unlike online bookmakers (simple & unfair), betting exchanges (fair & complicated) and Daily Fantasy Sports (social & not-betting), Social Bets is proper, easy to use and it’s real betting.

Sportgraphs combine the solutions offered by sports content providers widgets, with the flexibility of the infographic bank, using technical solutions.

Sporticos.com is a Polish startup, backed lately by a world class soccer player. It´s a platform that uses algorithms and visualization to show the most important facts and conclusions in a nice, graphical way.

SportsbookCloud is a massively scalable, high performance sports betting platform. The company uses the most sophisticated Database services on the market.

Stannp.com specialise in digital print and direct mail, offering great mailing deals on its web-to-print platform.

The Tagò is an absolutely new card game, which proposes competition between the players and not against the dealer, and includes a JACKPOT: it is a well-thought-out “skill game” that will cause strong emotions and allow you to apply your player skills.

teamstr is a mobile optimized daily fantasy sports platform. The vision of teamstr is to enable sports fans to experience their favorite sports in a new, social-competitive way.

THATSpace is a brand new directory of productive work spaces in Malta, including cafes and restaurants, which can be used for mobile working, business meetings, or any other type of productive activity.

The Badger is a wearable screen able to display images and social media platforms uploaded by users.

VEO Capital builds innovative Internet brands and transfers them to new, underserved or untapped markets. The aim is to scale them into market leading online businesses. VEO operates a network of online businesses and uses synergies to share best practices.

Virtus Sports offers a complete service to customers in virtual sport events and number games on online, in-venue, mobile, TV and terminals. We create all software, systems and artistic material constantly developing our solutions as the market evolves.

WantMyBet is a social network for sports betting that allows users to search and discover the latest bets from tipsters around the world. From armchair tipsters to professional gamblers, the site allows anyone to share their top tips with the WantMyBet community.

Our software allows brands anywhere in the world to easily create and share their own exciting quizzes, generate valuable leads and have fans raving about them, with potentially massive reach on social. All this from within the brand’s own website / app.

WISH ME LUCK, is an Online Raffle company. WISH ME LUCK was created with one and only mission, to give our clients their hope back.

yalla is a social sports betting app that allows you to bet with your friends for fun or real money. yalla connects friends and lets them make bets with each other.

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HR iGAMING ELITE WAS FOUNDED IN 2011 WITH THE AIM OF FILLING A GAP IN THE TALENT AND LABOUR MARKET AS AN INNOVATIVE, TRUSTED AND HIGH PERFORMING HUMAN RESOURCE CONSULTANCY WITHIN GAMING. PRESENTLY, THE COMPANY HAS 3 STRONG HEADHUNTING TEAMS CONSISTING OF MORE THAN 15 EXPERIENCED RECRUITERS. IGAMING ELITE HAS GONE FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH.

How has the recruitment market evolved in 6 years in the industry here in Malta? Businesses have certainly improved their retention rates. Individuals are moving around less and companies are implementing a lot of different initiatives to proactively make the experience of working for them better. Obviously, there is also a lot more demand for talent. As more businesses launch on the island and grow their brands, companies like ourselves continue to grow with them. Our commitment to quality has not changed over the years, we are just a lot busier and always on the hunt for new recruiters to join our teams.   How do you see this important sector moving forward?  The iGaming industry in Malta is continuing to build on its successful trajectory. New schemes are always being assessed and re-launched to sustain the industry’s rapid growth. The number of licenses are always increasing year on year and my concern isn’t the market going forward, my

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SiGMA | Interview

concern is making sure all of these businesses have the opportunity to recruit talent that will ultimately add value to their business. The ecosystem for businesses is always improving and I can only see Malta going from strength to strength. And that’s not even going into the obvious new markets that look like they are going to play a major role in the continued success of the Malta jurisdiction. Considering the strong demand for a talented workforce in Malta, how do you distinguish your services from other recruitment agencies? Are you focused on any specific niche market? C Level? IT and developers? Middle management? iGaming Elite, since its inception, has never been a standard “high street agency”. We are niche talent acquisition business that specializes in cultivating talent from Mid Management up to C level. Across all verticals within iGaming. We do have a team that services the demands of our clients below middle management, however that is not our core business.     What makes igaming unique is the fast growth, with companies recruiting dozens of new employees per month. How do you keep up with demand? That’s an interesting question and the simple answer is we have a portfolio of clients that we deal with on a day to day basis. We are not looking to do business with everybody, we carefully make the decision to enter an agreement with a business that we are confident we can add value and market their company to attract the right kind of talent for them. Dealing with everyone is not a sustainable model.   Our teams spend a good amount of hours every week hunting on an international level for suitable individuals that will be a good fit to our clients. We look for quality, consistency, cultural fit and skill/experience levels. Our network is the key to everything and what separates us as a business.    Clearly, there seems to be lack of supply, with some gaming companies relocating part of their business to East Europe. Is it that hard to persuade talent to relocate to Malta? How do salaries in Malta compare to the rest of Europe? How is Brexit affecting the recruitment industry (is it too early to tell)?  I wouldn’t say there is a huge problem with persuading people to move to Malta. I think there are other facets to consider when analysing why some companies choose to set up certain departments, in like you mention, eastern European jurisdictions. Malta salaries are competitive compared to other parts of Europe, we don’t want everyone here, we just want the game changers.   I believe the situation with Brexit will play out over the next year or so, it’s still a little too early to really tell what the ramifications will be and it is something we shall monitor going forward. But as it stands today, I don’t believe it’s had a huge impact on the recruitment industry.     Do you think the Education system in Malta is doing its fair share to equip graduates with the right skills to fill the many vacancies in igaming? A lot of private institutes are being set up – do you feel there needs to be more of a coordinated effort? The education system is a strange one. Because on one hand, in the technical and IT sector, there seems to be vast improvements in terms of the technologies being taught and therefore these graduates will find that the skills they obtained are fairly transferable and they will find opportunities on the Island. The same goes for creative, web design, Graphic design, illustrators Etc. Malta has always been able to produce 050

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

the good in this department. I also like the idea of the private Institutes and what they are looking to do with the education system. However, I believe some of these are still in their relative infancy and just don’t provide individuals with the kind of knowledge that will allow them to “walk” into a job. Communication between all parties is key if we are to educate the current crop of students, there needs to be cohesion and a system in place to give the next generation of iGaming Professionals the best possible start with as much knowledge as possible. At the moment, I think we fall a little short of this being a reality, however Rome wasn’t built in a day, so I am sure the people that are involved in these initiatives, are continuously looking to improve and take it forward. So the future is bright in that respect. A bit about yourself: You have spent the last 18 years working within recruitment. What is your story? And how did you end up in Malta and in Gaming? Academia was never something I was hugely interested in, whilst in my mid-teens living in Northern England. I was always interested in how businesses work, what makes them tick, how are they put together and ultimately how do they add value. I wanted to finish school as soon as possible and get out there in the world. So, at 16 years old, I began my life as a working and tax paying citizen. To begin with selling cars to corporate clients and then on to selling corporate finance agreements within the automotive industry. Dealing with people was always something I felt comfortable with, so it was a natural choice when I started work. (Some might say as a green 16 year old I talked a little too much).   Then at 19 I found my home. Recruitment. Working in various niche markets within corporate headhunting and interim management, both locally and internationally, recruitment has given me so many opportunities and since my first day starting in the industry, it became a passion and some might say, an obsession. Sat here now at 37, a couple of grey hairs starting to appear, when I look back never once have I had an ounce of regret plying my trade within recruitment and talent acquisition. Founder and CEO at iGaming Elite, Nicholls Moisa and Founder

Interview | SiGMA

and CEO of Yellow Brick Investments - assisting start-ups with services such as Structural analysis, launch capital and expertise, whilst also operating multiple online businesses, all seem to complement each other in more ways than one.   What’s brewing next? Any ventures you can share with us? Currently we are concentrating on the expansion of our current niche recruitment businesses within our Group. iGaming Elite and Nicholls Moisa, with potentially a 3rd Brand being launched in Q2 of 2018. iGaming Elite shall be expanding further and officially opening 2 new offices internationally in 2018. As for our other businesses, you shall have to wait and see.   What keeps you entertained in Malta? Tell us what you love and dislike most about being based here, outside the work hours. I enjoy the odd strip bar, downing 15 shots whilst chucking out shapes in Paceville. I’m joking of course... that was a while ago now. These days I’m a family man, I have a beautiful little daughter called Iris and as I am writing this, my son is due to be born in 3 days. So when I am not in the office 6-7 days a week, you will find me dancing to frozen or singing twinkle twinkle. The weather is amazing, walking along the sea front in the evening, it can be a fantastic place and culture to live and work amongst, although the weather is a little on the hot side in the summer and after nearly 8 years on this beautiful island, the heat still gets to me. But these are small details, I’m English, we always complain about the weather.   SiGMA: Last year we introduced a Careers Convention for the first time at SiGMA, given huge demand for talent. Do you think the show in Malta can provide a niche that is non-existent in other shows worldwide – careers?  Do you think people abroad are interested in seeking a new career in Malta?  We predominately headhunt. So our market is not people that are actively advertising themselves available and looking for new opportunities. We identify talent then go after them as it’s not something we really get involved in. Mt opinion is that they could be good and could provide a niche is executed correctly, however it may take a little time to gather traction. The entry level positions within the market will ultimately be the core areas of the demographic of people that would go to these conventions, so it can be beneficial for sure. But this is just my opinion of course.

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Legal | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Malta’s proposed gaming law overhaul – the way forward WORDS by James Scicluna

THE CONSULTATION PERIOD WHICH COMMENCED ON 12 JULY 2017 WITH THE PUBLICATION BY THE MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY (“MGA”) OF A DRAFT PROPOSED NEW GAMING ACT AND SEVERAL REGULATIONS TO BE MADE UNDER IT (“DRAFT LAW”) CAME TO AN END ON 4 SEPTEMBER 2017. AT THE TIME OF WRITING THE MGA HAD ALREADY STARTED SCRUTINIZING ALL THE FEEDBACK AND COMMENTS IT RECEIVED DURING THE CONSULTATION PERIOD. WE UNDERSTAND FROM A NUMBER OF PERSONS WHICH SUBMITTED RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION THAT AS EARLY AS THE SECOND WEEK OF SEPTEMBER THE MGA HAD ALREADY BEEN IN TOUCH WITH THEM INDIVIDUALLY IN ORDER TO DISCUSS ASPECTS OF THEIR FEEDBACK, SEEK FURTHER INFORMATION ON POINTS RAISED AND CLARIFY OTHERS. 053


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The MGA hopes that this “overhaul” will further enshrine the MGA’s position as a leading regulator of the sector and Malta as the standard bearer when it comes to regulating the gaming industry, both gambling and skill games. The consultation document together with the Draft Law was the first welcome and publicly visible step in the process of consolidation, rationalization and future proofing of Malta’s gaming laws. The Draft Law is no piece meal process: Malta is seeking to leverage the strengths of its existing regulations, its position as a leading regulator of remote gaming and its experience in regulating gaming, both land-based and remote, in order to come up with a system of regulation that is at the forefront of current thinking in this area. The MGA hopes that this “overhaul” will further enshrine the MGA’s position as a leading regulator of the sector and Malta as the standard bearer when it comes to regulating the gaming industry, both gambling and skill games. The proposed changes which we think will principally have an impact on remote gaming operators and their key suppliers are the following: 1. the introduction of regulatory objectives and principles in the law which serve as important guidance to the regulator and operator alike, both in the interpretation of the law and in its application; 2. the shift from multiple licence types to a simplified system with two types of licences: business-to-business (“B2B”) and/or business-to-consumer (“B2C”) licences, both for remote and land-based businesses; 3. licences issued by the MGA would no longer be for a 5-year period, but would be extended to 10 years; 4. the introduction of a “limited duration” licence, which is intended to be activated for brief periods of time, up to four times a year – ideal for use in a disaster recovery scenario; 5. the introduction of a new taxation model; 6. the removal of gaming tax on B2B licences, whether remote or landbased; 054


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7. a moratorium on licence fees for start-ups; 8. the widening of the MGA’s powers of compliance and enforcement; 9. the removal of the requirement for a Key Official to be a director, and the introduction of a list of key person approvals; 10. the segregation of player funds and the power to impose a gaming reserve; 11. the introduction of new reporting procedures with respect to suspicious transactions in line with developments of antimoney laundering laws; and 12. the introduction of a clear administrative review procedure, which is a key tool granted to applicants for licences and licensees alike in order to challenge any decision of the MGA which they deem to be wrong or unfair. The Draft Law also: • addresses increased technology convergence between online and land-based gaming, removing several distinctions currently made between these sectors; • seeks to remove duplication of controls; • promotes technological, channel and game neutrality; and • requires a risk-based approach from the MGA when applying licensing and monitoring processes. Next steps: It is now up to the MGA to analyse and take on board the feedback received including amending the Draft Law, where desirable, making suggested improvements to government. Following this we expect that the Draft Law would be passed on for translations and scrutinized by the Justice Unit Vetting Section as well as sent to Cabinet for endorsement. Following June’s election, the gaming portfolio was kept by the Prime Minister and is dealt with on a day-to-day basis by a junior minister (known as a “Parliamentary Secretary” in Malta), Silvio Schembri. It is normally the minister charged with the portfolio who presents to Cabinet so we would expect any significant changes at this stage to be presented to Cabinet by the Prime Minister himself. It may be that, in the spirit of consensus that has prevailed between political parties in Malta when it comes to the gaming industry, the government will deem it fit to give the opposition a heads-up

Legal | SiGMA

should any significant changes be made to the Draft Law at this stage, prior to a Bill being tabled in parliament. Finally, it will be Parliament which will have the last say on the Act. Malta has a unicameral system. In other words parliament has only one chamber – the House of Representatives. We expect and indeed hope for a healthy debate at parliamentary committee stage and that on this occasion Maltese parliamentarians will once again show that they are able to agree on the best way forward for the gaming industry in Malta based on informed discussion, and analysis. Whilst we think that the Draft Law should find broad support amongst industry and law makers, there should be no doubt that its success will ultimately rest in great part on the manner in which new processes, directives and guidelines are implemented by the MGA. The pressure is definitely on for the MGA!

We expect and indeed hope for a healthy debate at parliamentary committee stage and that on this occasion Maltese parliamentarians will once again show that they are able to agree on the best way forward for the gaming industry in Malta based on informed discussion, and analysis.

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Conference | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

The GPI European Poker Conference Comes to SiGMA

THE 2ND ANNUAL GPI EUROPEAN POKER CONFERENCE IS COMING TO SIGMA 2017 THIS NOVEMBER 23RD AT THE MALTA FAIRS & CONVENTIONS CENTRE. GPI’S EUROPEAN POKER CONFERENCE IS THE YEAR’S DEFINING OPPORTUNITY FOR THE EUROPEAN POKER COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER FOR COLLABORATIVE BRAINSTORMING. OPERATORS, MEDIA, ORGANISERS AND PLAYERS ARE ALL WELCOME TO JOIN IN ON AND LEARN FROM DISCUSSIONS ON CURRENT PLAYER, OPERATOR ECOSYSTEM TRENDS, AS WELL AS THE FUTURE OUTLOOK OF THE INDUSTRY AND MORE HELD BETWEEN EXPERTS VIA MODERATED PANELS. The GPI European Poker Conference is excited to build on its offerings via partnership with SiGMA, Malta’s seminal gaming convention held in one of Europe’s gaming and poker business hubs. We are also excited to welcome Poker Industry PRO as a cosponsor of this year’s conference. As the leading provider of data, news and analysis on the online poker industry, the knowledge and expertise of the PRO staff will set the tone for what is sure to be one of the most informative discussions on the key topics facing the online poker industry. As SiGMA Managing Director Eman Pulis notes, “For [SiGMA] this is a partnership made in heaven – thanks to GPI’s authority and leadership, SiGMA can truly claim to be a 360° showcase for igaming. We look forward to welcoming poker executives and stakeholders to network and do business together and with the rest of the igaming community.” The GPI European Poker Conference comes to the SiGMA 2017 Conference in Malta on Nov 23​rd GPI Chief Alex Dreyfus offers equal optimism for this partnership; explaining that, “...the GPI European Poker Conference needed

a stronger platform to connect the live and online poker industry. SiGMA attracted almost 4,000 visitors last year and expects that number to grow to over 7,000 in 2017. Working with them will allow us to have a much broader reach and develop initiatives aimed at growing the game of poker, by connecting more and more the industry stakeholders.” The 2017 GPI European Poker Conference will be highlighted by several panels each centered around a different contingent of industry experts, with discussion focused on a diverse array topics currently most relevant to the poker ecosystem. The goals are clear – opening conversation on what different pockets of the European poker world is doing right and wrong, synthesizing a clear outlook on the future of the game throughout the region, and finding solutions to work together to push towards evolution and growth. Operators, sponsors, casino executives, tournament directors, players and media will all be heard from. This is a great opportunity for European poker industry members to come together, network, meet and set up future business. 057


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

Facilitating AffiliateOperator Relationships GAMBLING AFFILIATION IS AN INDEPENDENT PLATFORM WITH A TEAM OF EXPERTS RANGING FROM AFFILIATE MANAGERS TO WEB DEVELOPERS AND ADMINISTRATORS. THEY WILL BE PRESENT AT SIGMA STAND S74 AND CAN BE CONTACTED ON contact@gambling-affiliation.com. Antoine Szczot, the CEO of the company, graduated from an engineering school in France in 2003. He has been running Gaming Affiliation since its inception – and shared a few words with us regarding this ambitious project.

The company often reach out to affiliates from outside the gaming vertical. “Our affiliates come from all verticals. The key for an affiliate is to be creative and find out the way to convert his audience to any type of merchant,” Antoine says.

The gambling industry has changed considerably in the past 10 years. According to Antoine, these changes were most evident in the areas of regulation, professionalisation, and technology.

On the topic of regulation, Antoine explains that in general, it is positive thing that helps the industry. “We are putting most of our efforts to develop geos which are regulated,” he says. “When it comes to the affiliates, a code of conduct would be better than an inappropriate licensing system.”

“Regulation is by far the main change,” he says. “Each time a country regulators online gaming, it shakes the entire landscape of the industry. “People are more trained, more educated and things are becoming more transparent,” he adds. “When we started, most of the operators didn’t have a proper affiliate program – this has drastically changed over the years.” Gambling Affiliation was set up due to a lack of affiliate platforms dedicated to iGaming. In fact, according to Antoine, there weren’t any at all. The company was set up in France in 2005, and in 2007 it moved to Malta. The main geos in which the company operates are France, UK, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain and Portugal. “We are also looking at new markets such as LATAM, Greece and Russia,” Antoine says. Currently, the team is working on bringing more services to their affiliates and advertisers. “We aim to show iGaming brands the best way forward,” Antoine explains. “We have developed a number of tools such as an odds comparator, a bonus comparator and a geo-targeted multi-banners widget.”

Consolidation in the industry doesn’t seem to worry him, either. “It creates a lot of competition,” he says, “and shows that our industry is flourishing.” But what is it that distinguishes Gambling Affiliation from the other affiliate network companies out there? Antoine explains to us that their service is unique, and entirely custom-made. “Each affiliate has working with us have a dedicated account manager which is providing them with the best deals to match their audience advising them constantly,” he says. Affiliates also benefit from additional tools that aren’t available anywhere else. The future seems even more interesting for Gambling Affiliation. “The next milestone for us would be to provide more services to our affiliates. We will release some of them by the end of the year,” Antoine says. “We are also heavily promoting our brand new software solution which allows operators to use our platform as their affiliate software.” Finally, Antoine remarks about looking forward to SiGMA 2017. “This conference is really picking up and the number of attendees are exploding,” he says. 061


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The Outsource Master MEET OLIVER LA ROSA, AT THE HELM OF RICHMOORE & ANDERSON LTD.

Interview | SiGMA

You offer a lot of different solutions, from IT outsourcing, 24/7 monitoring, cybersecurity, Cloud infrastructure management and automation, call centre services, technical consulting as well as software development – your service portfolio is very broad today. Did you always offer these services combined? Or did you branch out from one pillar onto others? Take us a bit through the company’s expansion and whether any of these services form the core of the business today. How easy is it to specialise in all these services? How do you manage this complex task? We started to service clients in Germany with IT outsourcing and consulting first. Then we took over IT support for IKANO bank in 2012, starting in Germany and extended to support the banking group in 7 European countries becoming the biggest IT provider servicing the group. We were expanding our services as per clients’ requests. The core business today is IT support and technical call center services which we provide 24h a day, 365 days a year. We address and meet clients’ needs, hiring the right specialists to provide the services demanded. For example, the newest development in infrastructure is moving everything on the cloud. Following this trend, we offer our clients consultation and assistance with the move from traditional infrastructure to cloud services. Also, companies today face a lot of challenges deriving from cyber threats, we took on these challenges and now provide a team which constantly monitors network traffic to identify unusual behavior or attacks and informs the business right away and follows up with counter-measures. Additionally, we offer software doing automatic penetration testing, which can be run on a scheduled basis and creates reports in business language showing the discovered vulnerabilities. This software in combination with training, consultation and our new Live Cyber Security Monitoring Team helps our clients become better protected against threats. You also have your offices in the US, the UK, Germany (we know you started your career there), Italy, Bulgaria, India and China, but your headquarters are in Malta. Why did you choose Malta as your company base? What are the main advantages and hiccups of being Maltabased? My brother and I started with the Maltese and German branches in 2012. We then expanded to Hong Kong, Bulgaria, India and the UK. The US company was founded by another partner earlier. Malta with English as an official language, nice climate, and a good taxation regime for foreign companies, was a clear choice and with assistance from the technical university MCAST, we found the proper workforce for our business. Many foreign companies have obviously discovered the same, so lately it has become a challenge to find suitable employees due to increasing competition among employers. Housing is another challenge. The rent has gone up by 50-60% in the last three years, searching for an affordable accommodation has become tougher. Apart from that, Malta still remains an attractive location in Europe. 063


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Onto KYC. As mentioned before, you’re involved in other sectors that require a lot of due diligence and KYC – including banking. Are we right in arguing that you’re bringing to gaming KYC a skill set that has developed in the demanding banking system? The experience gained from working with banks allows us to serve companies from any sector which need the same level of secure client identification. Originally we developed raIDENT, an online identity verification system, for a German bank. But we soon realized that companies in the gaming sector would also benefit a lot from identifying clients based on video and facial recognition instead of the usual passport copies. Based on your experience in this sector (KYC), where do you think such KYC in gaming trends will lead us in the foreseeable future? Stricter KYC rules are expected and already discussed. It will become more and more important to know who your clients are. How proactive is the firm in embracing emerging technologies such as blockchain ledger, IoT and other disruptive technologies? The Government of Malta is currently drafting a new policy that is set to put Malta at the forefront of Blockchain regulation. Will this impact your operations at all? We are always looking into new technologies and blockchain, in particular, is very interesting for identity verification. Once done, the verification could be used to identify yourself to any other party connected to the blockchain rather than going through the identification process from scratch each time you initiate a new relationship with, for example, a company providing financial services. We are currently looking into evolving our products to blockchain where beneficial. There will also be additional services to raIDENT targeted at replacing traditional notary services once the legislations in Europe allow it. You have a face-recognition feature that greatly prevents fraud and AML – tell us more how this works and what makes your product stand out. raIDENT provides the most secure user identity verification service by using face2face video calls. The clients can complete the process with a desktop or mobile app and a valid ID document, which takes less than 2 minutes per verification. They are afterwards matched against a PEP, terrorist and criminal databases using our advanced facial recognition technology. The product can be deployed in different ways to match the security needs of our clients. www.raident.eu You’re involved in many different projects at the same time. Could you tell us what’s in store for the firm for the future? Any future ambitions/projects you can share with our gaming readers? We have just expanded our Maltese office by moving to

Interview | SiGMA

a newer, larger building and also expanded our Bulgarian office. We are setting up a specialized cyber security center where we will be able to monitor clients network traffic and react quickly based on the findings. Also, our own 3D dice game engine is now done and the first game, “Phone Dice” (based on Street Craps) created with it has been recently launched. Others will follow soon. www.phonedice.com Moreover, we have Dr Room, a live Doctor consultation App which has huge potential to disrupt the current way we communicate with doctors: • Cutting the queues when possible • Services available 24hrs every day • Getting advice from the comfort of your home and online prescriptions being sent directly to the pharmacy of your choice. www.drroom.eu Corporate Social Responsibility – we noticed also you’re doing some work in Japan. Tell us more about this. Was Japan a random choice? Is there more that meets the eye? What connects your firm to this beautiful Asian state? I am personally a big fan of Japan’s culture, food and Saké. We have a travel agency targeted at the Japanese, Korean and Chinese Markets offering inbound travel to Malta but also the rest of Europe. Last year, we attended the Tokyo’s travel and gaming exhibitions. We are a sponsor of the Malta-Japan Association (MJA) as well, we work together to create events promoting Japanese culture in Malta. We held a Japanese cultural evening with artists performing and tunacutting show. Another event was an evening dedicated to Saké, showing a movie about the history and production of the Japanese rice wine. (The Birth of Saké) Students from Japan and South Korea are doing internships in our companies, and they love the experience. Tell us more about you and your private life; how do you manage to balance work and life demands? You travel a lot; is this a lifestyle you heart? Do you find Malta a suitable base that is easily connected to mainland Europe? Traveling a lot is a challenge for my family of course. I try to take them with me as often as I can, combining work and travel so we spend evenings and weekends together as we would at home. Plus, we can stay some days extra to even out longer working periods. Anything else you would like to add? Engage in IT support and customer service, we make sure that you can concentrate on your core business and get fully customizable support solutions from us. We understand how important your products and your release dates are and that all components need to function perfectly.

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

AML for Operators

THE 4TH AML DIRECTIVE FROM AN OPERATOR’S POINT OF VIEW

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SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

AS A GAMING OPERATOR YOU MAY FEEL YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF WHAT YOU DEEM TO BE RESPONSIBILITY ‘DUMPING’. WHY IS THE EU IMPOSING ALL THESE NEW ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING AND COMBATTING THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM (AML/CFT) OBLIGATIONS ON THE GAMING INDUSTRY THROUGH THE INTRODUCTION OF THE 4TH DIRECTIVE? At first glance it seems like it is literally a matter of ‘dumping’ its onerous tasks on the Operator? How can operators ever be held responsible for Sherlock’s job? Valid question. Operators are not investigators. They are not meant to be. They are in the gaming business to make money, clean money from legitimate sources. Not to work as investigative agents. Is the regulator aware of the hundreds of thousands if not millions of funds already invested by the Operator just to build the platform on which its customers on-board? And the moneys spent to fund all the IT techs building the virtual dynamics? Do they consider the costs of setting up the business, of maintaining the license and compensating affiliates? Are the authorities really aware of what it takes to get just one single player to subscribe and log into one’s website for a second time? Is it worth all that the money, if following all that effort, the Operator is obliged to welcome a customer exceeding €2,000 in stakes, with an investigative ‘Risk-Based’ approach? Even at the risk of scaring off the new customer to third-party greener pastures, where potentially they don’t ask any uncomfortable questions. Just for a moment and just to make a point, let us compare gaming to another legitimate business, such as catering. Forget the disproportionate incomparable risk of Money Laundering presented by each industry. Let us ignore that for a while and let us imagine that we were a restaurant owner who has bought a new eatery in the city. We refurbish it from scratch and we are eagerly waiting for the first call of business. A new patron knocks on the restaurant door enquiring on the menu and as any good restaurant owner

would do, we haste to the door to greet the enquiring customer. With a beaming smile we welcome him in and hand the new customer a KYC form. The patron returns a confused look. Politely we proceed to inform him that unfortunately, due to the European Union, we can’t serve him dinner tonight, before he fills out all the forms we just gave him and show him to the bar, where we leave some pens handy for KYC purposes. Hesitantly, and anticipating a negative reaction, we go on to explain that he also needs to provide us with a certified true copy of his ID card and Utility Bill before he gets to eat the main course. Not to mention, that we shall be monitoring his orders, and will enquire on his Source of Funds if he orders French truffles and Osetra caviar off the menu! The example is obviously an overstretched assessment of the AML/CFT realities present within the gaming industry. From an AML/CFT risk perspective the comparison made above is odious, to say the least. However, it serves the purpose of highlighting the intense uneasiness sometimes experienced by even the most serious and responsible Operators in the industry. Despite their best of intentions, good-meaning Operators complaint that the 4th Directive has taken their responsibilities one step too far. They feel inadequately positioned to carry out such tasks, especially when confronting their current and constant customer base. Labelling the 4th Directive and its primary objective as a mere exercise in responsibility ‘dumping’ is, however, an unjust assessment, to say the least. Some of the frustrations that accompany its implementation might be indeed justified, as explained above. However, the implementation of strict rules on transaction monitoring and suspicious-activityreporting is the basis of a strong and protected market. Tolerating anything less than full co-operation from the Operators in the fight against crime, would not only give the wrong message to new applicants looking to invest in a reputable jurisdiction; but would eventually lead to a longterm deterioration of standards and good ethic across the market and operators. Without both standards and good ethics, society would truly be dumping, not only its AML responsibilities, or its consequences, but let’s dare say the Gaming market altogether; or at least a reliable one that produces long-term fruit. The 4th Directive, therefore, is not about responsibility ‘dumping’ but rather responsibility ‘sharing’. In this light, the Operators who are willing to benefit from the spoils of a strong, healthy and open gaming market understand the benefits of ‘sharing’ some responsibilities with the regulator in order to retain the market’s reputation and good-standing. Rather than seeing the 4th Directive implementation as a matter of hard luck, these serious Operators are ushering the new procedures as benchmarks, which ensure higher reputational standards, raising the no-tolerance bar and consolidating their serious channels of business. These new procedures serve to strengthen a strong base of honest customers who are after a professional gaming industry. An industry that is serious enough to get rid of the bad apple. Once we’ve come to terms with the spirit behind this new Regulation, all Operators still need to establish whether, within their current setup, this sprit shall be haunting them throughout the next couple of months and years of implementation. Do they need to reshuffle their entire compliance department? Do they need to engage superexpensive 4th AML experts? Should they re-program their

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Interview | SiGMA

entire IT platform to carry out automated risk screening? In a nutshell – Do they need to run their business at a loss for most of next year or more? The short answer to that question is ‘no’. Unfortunately, a detailed explanation of that outright ‘no’ would definitely take much more than just two pages on this publication to explain. So, restricted by reality (and for sanity’s sake) this article shall limit itself to three imperative actions that must be taken immediately to ensure that Operators get geared up for a thorough implementation of the 4th AML Directive. MAKE SURE YOUR MLRO (NOMINATED OFFICER) IS NOT JUST A FIGUREHEAD With the constant introduction of new regulations across jurisdictions, together with the evolving nature of AML/CFT legislation, relying on someone for AML compliance simply because the person is someone to be trusted, or is a longterm business relationship (or key official), is not enough. Especially when one considers the subjective interpretation of risks and mitigating measures as contemplated within the 4th Directiv. The implications of these new laws make it clear that all MLRO/Nominated Officers engaged by the Operator should be a person of extensive knowledge in the field of AML/CFT. The person nominated for the task must benefit form a minimum amount of experience within the field, especially on risk-based decision-making and adequate record keeping. Most importantly, the role of MLRO is to be respected for the responsibilities it carries. Furthermore, whoever occupies such role, is reasonable to expect advanced training and expert support, at least in the first months of implementation. DISCARD ANY CURRENT AML TICK-BOX PROCEDURES The ‘Risk-Based Approach’ is in the house. Whilst to date the AML/CFT scenario was essentially based on a tick-box exercise, whereby the essential task of all Compliance personnel was getting all customer declarations and documentation collected, things have now changed completely. All compliance officers are required to direct their efforts towards a reasoned and examined determination of actions required to mitigate potential risks within a particular transaction. There is no box to tick here. All actions must be based on an ad-hoc analysis of the customer’s profile and behaviours, the determination of risk and the taking of unpremeditated measures to mitigate such risks. The Compliance Department can’t be ignored and left to its own resources to carry out its ‘paper work’. It’s not about papers as much as it is about creating a Client-Relationship dynamic, absent to date, whereby customers are assessed both in terms of their communication with the Operator and in terms of their profile and any deviating patterns in their behaviour. A serious risk-based approach requires the full commitment and support of senior management, and the active co-operation of all employees. STOP TREATING YOUR MLRO AS A PARTY-POOPER The reality faced by most Nominated Officers, when compared to the expected scenario they are presented with during training sessions, is starkly disappointing, and that’s being polite. The Operator, particularly its senior management, must make all efforts to show that it is serious in its fight against financial crime. The Nominated Officer must feel assured that the Operator, on behalf of whom he or she is carrying extensive responsibilities, is intolerant to any attempt of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. This is not only about the MLRO’s reputation or the potential gravity of the transaction; but it is also about the Operator’s legal status and reputation within the industry. The nominated officer was engaged and appointed to carry out onerous duties at law. It is a fact that such an officer is remunerated for his or her responsibilities. However, it is

also true that these obligations carry a particular burden on the said officer, including the risk of imprisonment, if not carried out with the diligence and care required at law. Thus, the nominated officer must tangibly feel that he or she has the liberty to apply their judgement, based on all skills and knowledge they have acquired in the course of his or her training. Senior Management must be foursquare behind their nominated officer on all required or introduced procedures. That is, if the Operator is serious about its employees (from top to bottom) co-operating fully with all nominated officials in eliminating financial crime within their business channels. Since the assigned word count has been exceeded threefold we should probably leave a detailed analysis on Source of Wealth and Funds assessments for the next publication.

Dr. Kevin Plumpton graduated as Bachelor of Psychology and Management from the University of Malta in 2005 following which he resumed his studies and graduated as Bachelor of Laws and three years later as Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2011 and 2014 respectively. Kevin’s areas of expertise is the implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations and the Countering of Funding of Terrorism, more specifically assisting clients in adhering to their AML/ CFT regulatory obligations in accordance with all relative legislation and ensuring compliance with all Implementing Procedures and guidelines issued by Regulatory Authorities. He is one of the two co-founders of Diligex Limited, a highly specialised firm focusing exclusively on providing AML compliance and due-diligence services. Within the company Kevin is responsible for the Legal issues arising from time to time within the field of AML and compliance, whilst supervising the overall business development of the company and providing assistance and support to local and international clients seeking to ensure ongoing compliance with their regulatory obligations. 069


SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Keys to a Successful Casino Migration GALIT SHANI-MICHEL, VP PRODUCT AND TECHNOLOGY AT ASPIRE GLOBAL, HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MIGRATION OF 6 CASINO BRANDS IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS. WE MET GALIT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW TREND FOR CASINO OPERATORS TO UPGRADE THEIR SOLUTIONS TO COMPLETE SERVICE PACKAGES, AND EXACTLY HOW THE PROCESS WORKS. Tell us about your previous roles and the responsibilities of your current position. I entered the industry back in 2006 as Fraud Department Manager at Playtech. It was an amazing introduction to iGaming, based on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua. I then moved to payment processing company SafeCharge as Head of Risk, before joining Aspire Global in 2009 as Payments Director. I later became VP Payments and Compliance, assuming responsibility for the Payout and Risk Department and regulatory compliance.

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for our roadmap, ensuring that our partners and players enjoy the best possible experience. Planning and executing projects are also at the core of achieving successful migrations. R&D develops our product and conducts QA to ensure the optimal functioning of our systems. In a migration process in Gaming, the client migrates his data from platform X to our platform. R&D are involved when migrating the new data, transferring it to our DB, updating it accordingly, and performing QA.

This prepared me for my current role by giving me a deep understanding of players’ expectations and regulators’ demands.

The Payments Department processes both business and player transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals. Payment methods are continually optimized to ensure successful deposits and minimize fraud. For a migration project this is crucial, as players always look for their preferred banking methods.

The Product and Technology Division at Aspire Global comprises four main departments. Product is responsible

Finally, our Regulation Department ensures that our product and entire business are fully compliant with the legal


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Interview | SiGMA

requirements of all our markets. When migrating a website, it’s crucial to work closely with the relevant regulatory bodies, following all guidelines to the letter to mitigate risk. How do you feel your previous experience has prepared you to supervise migration projects? Coming from the operational side, my knowledge of player behavior helps me understand what they are looking for. The goal is maintaining activity levels after migration and this means collaborating with all departments, guiding them through the whole process under the leadership of the Product and Project teams. Until the beginning of this year, Aspire Global specialised in launching new brands rather than migrating existing sites. What made you focus on migration? Is this a totally new direction for the company? We’re continually opening new brands, offering our ‘one-stop shop’ service to new operators and white labels - our migration activities complement this core business. Many established casinos lack certain services and must outsource them to several different companies. Our complete solution enables them to maintain their current position, player base and income streams by upgrading the operational side, without starting everything from scratch. In a nutshell, this allows them to focus on what they do best acquisition - while we handle everything else. Some of our partners are even choosing to open a new brand prior to migrating one or more existing sites. Six migrations in six months have given us the experience and expertise to grow this area of the business rapidly. Why do you think migration is becoming more popular? How has the iGaming market changed? It used to be much easier to operate a profitable online casino. The industry was new, with fewer operators and numerous available markets. It was also possible to work under one global license, but today an operator must hold various local licenses, a challenge in terms of cost and knowledge. Taxation has also impacted revenues, forcing operators to adjust business models with significant resource implications. IT sounds so simple. Is there anything holding operators back from migrating their brands? Operators are naturally protective of their brands - they’ve worked hard to make them successful and want to keep it that way. They might worry about technical problems that could prevent users from logging in and playing, leading to churn or reduced activity. It’s natural to be cautious about change. You’re making a big decision that affects not only you, but the business you care about, and there’s no way to be sure of success until you do it. Then, of course, you look back and don’t understand why you were so scared in the first place!

How do you work with a client to address any fears concerning migration? We work closely with each partner from day one, discussing their challenges and expectations, while customizing our solution to address them. We explain what we do, how we do it, and why we are a good fit. Our operators are our partners - our goal is to reach our targets together through strong day-to-day relationships. We believe in transparency, so each partner has full confidence in the process, and we’re acutely sensitive to any concerns. Detailed simulations outline internal scenarios and solutions for every potential problem. Our player migration plan, worked out with the operator, covers everything from the pre-migration notification cycle through to launch and beyond. Together we determine the KPIs that demonstrate success and ensure that each one is fulfilled. How do you measure the success of a migration? On the players’ side, it’s about improved all-round experience – heatmaps demonstrate how an upgraded site enables simpler journeys, and players are often happy to feedback on the fresh look and feel new games, availability of support, offers and bonuses, ease of access and navigability, and simplicity of defining limits and preferences. For operators, immediate success is measured by maintaining pre-migration activity levels, establishing a solid basis for improving overall performance. What’s next for Aspire Global? Having established ourselves as migration experts, we’re planning increased activity in this area, and we’re very excited about the numerous new brands planning to join us. We’re currently creating our 2018 roadmap, focusing on a wider offering of games plus additional payment methods and new features. We’ll also soon be adding sports betting, allowing our operators to provide an even richer iGaming offering.

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Bitcoin for Bitcoin’s decentralised ledger nature helps avoid disputes in terms of incorrect payment processing, as all bitcoin transactions are recorded on the blockchain and can be verified by all. This information symmetry brings a fairness to the system, and is open for all parties to monitor the transaction. 074


Currency | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Gaming By Max Krupyshev, Cubits COO

BITCOIN USE IN GAMING HAS BECOME A VERY VALUABLE PROPOSITION, FOR PLAYERS AND OPERATORS ALIKE. BUT WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PAYMENT INNOVATION THAT MAKES IT SO ATTRACTIVE TO THE INDUSTRY AND HOW ARE CUBITS HELPING WITH THIS? Bitcoin use in the gaming industry is growing very rapidly indeed. Bitcoin players have increased manifold and monthto-month customer numbers triple on average. These growth trends were predictable because of the many benefits the cryptocurrency could yield to online gaming operators. Despite the future of bitcoin in a mainstream context is very much uncertain, bitcoin would find a permanent home in the online gaming arena. And so it has turned to be. Cheap, secure and near instant transactions, as well as having no chargeback option – has made bitcoin the perfect payment method. Gamers themselves have been loving the introduction of bitcoin to the industry. Bitcoin is known for its volatility, sometimes moving in price by hundreds of Euros per day, and customers are attracted to their ability to win big even before playing a game. Its other benefits to gamers include speed, ease of use and its ability to cross borders seamlessly. For operators, bitcoin provides specific advantages over fiat currency. First of all, it requires less stress on their behalf to enter new markets. The fiat payment system is very fragmented globally – payment methods vary greatly across regional and country divides. The universal and decentralised nature of bitcoin allows operators to only offer a single bitcoin processing system, which functions in the same way for all customers anywhere in the world. Low transaction fees allow operators to potentially pass savings on to customers and to offer bonuses and higher payouts due to the absence of large fees and other fiat payment related costs.

Bitcoin transactions are also much faster than a bank transfer. For a gamer making a wire transfer, a 3-5 day wait is more than enough time to lose interest in gaming. But if funds were to be credited to a customer’s account in a near-instant fashion, players are more likely to play. And this speed has the advantage for gamers receiving their payouts quickly too. Bitcoin’s decentralised ledger nature also helps to avoid disputes in terms of incorrect payment processing, as all bitcoin transactions are recorded on the blockchain and can be checked by anyone. This information symmetry brings a fairness to the system, and is open for all parties to monitor the transaction. An operator’s biggest anxiety when it comes to processing bitcoin payments is the often unpredictable price volatility. Fortunately, new services have emerged that shield them from such volatility, processing the bitcoin for a fiat amount fixed immediately at the time of the operator receiving payment. The most popular service offered by Cubits is called “Bitcoin as a payment method”. It is used by hundreds of brands already. A simple Merchant API provides a painless and flexible solution for all mass payment needs, making what used to be a very arduous task, quick and easy. And as affiliates also rapidly adopt bitcoin as a method to collect their monthly rewards, there is a great fervour for bitcoin processing partners all across the industry. As currency becomes more digital, customers’ wants become more aligned to faster payment methods. Bitcoin provides the advantage that they seek, allowing them to get more for their money. Hence, as Max has observed, “It is not a question of if online gaming operators are to integrate bitcoin payments, but a question of when.” 075


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EXPERIENCE, STRATEGY

&at the INNOVATION Core

WITH OVER SEVEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN THE ONLINE CASINO BUSINESS, ALAN BRINCAT OF QUASAR LIMITED FILLS US IN ON HOW THE INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED SINCE HE FIRST STARTED, ON THE TIMELINE OF SUCCESS OF QUASAR LIMITED, AND WHAT OTHER PROSPECTS ARE IN SIGHT FOR THIS GROWING COMPANY. Alan Brincat is currently the Operations Director at Quasar Limited, where he contributes to the development of the business and products for QuasarGaming.com & OVOCasino. com. His work is mainly focused on a strategic and innovation level, while also ensuring that both online casinos operate seamlessly. With over seven years in this field, Alan has garnered considerable experience in online casinos, poker, and sportsbook betting, with a specialisation of the German market and other regulated territories such as Italy, France, and the UK. “I was immediately drawn towards the novelty and appeal of the iGaming industry when it started to gain traction in Malta. I pursued studies in Management and Tourism, so my entry into this industry was not very relevant to my educational background. In fact, when I started working in the field back in 2010, the local skill pool was not fully developed as it is today.” But as with most industries, the climb to the top was not an easy one for Alan. “I had to start working my way up from the very bottom, but I was very fortunate to be surrounded by individuals that believed in my potential and wanted to invest in my growth. During my time working in iGaming, I have managed to work on most key aspects that make an online gaming operation successful, and I have to say that I enjoyed every challenge and never settled for ‘good enough’.” The iGaming industry in Malta has come a long way since opening its doors a few years ago. And for Alan, who has seen it grow and change since landing his first job in it, can attest to this as well. “Technology keeps on advancing at an exponential rate, and as our lives become even more digitalised, the market for online gambling continues to grow year on year. In fact, over the years I have seen an increase in competition that is being fuelled by the increasing demand and acceptance of the product. The reality is that we operate in a fast-changing landscape, particularly in terms of innovation, technology and regulation, which guarantees an interesting challenge for anyone that is interested in joining.” 079


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“Quasar Limited operates two leading online casino brands, QuasarGaming.com and OvoCasino.com. The company has grown from a relatively small and unknown start-up with very humble kitchen table beginnings, to one of the fastest growing on the market”

For many individuals, it seems as though working for an iGaming company is a dream job, but getting on the first rung of the employment ladder may not be as straightforward as it seems. Alan has had his fair share of ups and downs when it came to entering this industry. “Yes, it can be tough to break into certain roles with no industry experience, but this was always the case for any industry. I still remember back when iGaming was in its infancy, and the first recruitment consultant I turned to for a job said that I had no hope of making it into the industry. Perseverance is important, so my main advice is not to give up and to go for a role that you enjoy.” Quasar Limited is a gaming company based in Malta that aims at providing its clients a unique and outstanding experience. Offering a wide range of top quality games by cutting edge developers Novomatic, NetEnt, and EGT, players at Quasar are guaranteed a top notch playing environment. This company operates a number of leading online casino brands, as well as a professional affiliate platform, excellent affiliate management, as well as a large selection of marketing tools, and much more. “Quasar Limited operates two leading online casino brands, QuasarGaming.com and OvoCasino.com. The company has grown from a relatively small and unknown start-up with very humble kitchen table beginnings, to one of the fastest growing on the market. I can attribute most of this success to the bold strategy taken by the founders to tap into the demand for popular land based games online, as well as the

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vision and early commitment towards the implementation of SEO.” It is without a doubt that Quasar Limited has had a great journey from where it began to where it finds itself now. When asked about some of the most remarkable moments in the company’s history, Alan mentioned the fact that in 2014 the company was trusted to operate with premium Novomatic content in Germany, which to date remains one of its main USPs. And when it comes to achievements, Quasar Limited is definitely on the right track. “It is safe to say that the daily figures that we see today are even more than what used to take us a month to achieve when I joined Quasar Limited 3 years ago!” There is something uniquely Maltese about Quasar Limited, from its founders to the great team of locals that have built some of the brands within Quasar. The loyalty and dedication expressed by the team at Quasar is impressive. “The key success factor behind any company is without a doubt its people. We would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for the outstanding delivery of the team that bring the company’s vision to life. We operate with a very passionate team, where people are given the individualistic treatment that they deserve. This keeps operational overheads low, but also ensures that everyone is involved in the conversation and heard.” When asked about the office culture at Quasar, Alan indicated that the company goes out of its way to organise


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regular company events throughout the year where everyone can unwind and build stronger relationships outside of the office environment. “We invest a lot in celebrating outstanding work together, as we believe that this keeps the team united and motivated. Over the last few years, we have taken the whole team to places such as Austria, Sicily, and Barcelona, and organised events such as track days and skiing trips. Quasar boasts a very low staff turnover levels, so much so that most of the employees that started with us still work here to this very day.”

Interview | SiGMA

According to Alan, SiGMA 2017 has a lot of things in common with the company that he works for, especially in terms of their potential and growth. “I am confident that this year will be yet another record breaking one for both. We look forward to exhibiting for the first time at the show, and invite anyone who is interested in learning more about affiliate or career opportunities to drop by our stand and speak to us directly.”

Looking towards the future is a natural step for any successful company, and Alan was very clear about where Quasar was heading and which new technologies where on the company’s radar at the moment.

An interesting fact about Alan Brincat is that there is more than meets the eye than just the Operations Director of a successful iGaming company. He went from tending the bar at Ryan’s Pub to winning a prestigious poker tournament, catapulting his name in the poker scene to working in the industry. However, Alan feels that all the steps he took in the past have led him to where he is now.

“We are currently working on developing a Big Data platform that is leveraging the cloud to feed self-service BI tools, and become a completely data-driven business. This will enable our data analysts and our business in general to receive insights in real-time so that we can take more informed decisions. Given that data gives us a complete view of our customer preferences, this will allow us to introduce personalisation to our products and improve our customer journey when using our products. Going forward, we would also like to capitalise on machine learning to take our personalisation to the next level.”

“Interestingly enough, I feel that working behind a bar during my student days at university played a huge part in where I am today. I played some of my first hands of poker with friends that I made there, and eventually went on to winning a six-figure amount in the Battle of Malta. After graduating from my studies and spending some months pondering on my next steps, it was my employer who persuaded me to start looking for a full-time job. As luck would have it, I met an old school friend at Ryan’s who told me all about Betclic Everest Group, where I landed my first position.”

Another key brand by Quasar Limited is OVO Casino, which was conceived with the idea to target the affluent market. In fact, the company tried to recreate that luxury feeling that one would expect in a real-life casino to complement the strong, traditionally land based game offerings.

And with the University days behind him, Alan has now settled down and started his own family. In fact, this is quite a common occurrence for gaming folks that come to Malta for an extended period of time, where they end up settling in, getting married, or having kids. What seemed to be an industry that never sleeps is also maturing in Malta. Alan thinks that the current infrastructure in Malta is good enough to cater for the overall demands of C level executives that want to relocate to Malta.

“We engaged a local design company to render the actual casino in 3D and built the product around it. As such, you can expect a chic, slick, and 1960s themed swinging casino with a strong emphasis on delivering a superior experience to high rollers. An engaging product and consistent service quality are imperative in an industry where competitors are just one click away.” And yet, the iGaming industry is a very competitive one, and shrinking profit margins through regulation and taxation continue to be persistent issues in companies. Alan is aware of these challenges, but he believes that when it comes to the end-user, Quasar is doing it right. “We believe that effective retention marketing is a crucial aspect in extending customer lifetime value. In order to achieve this, we spend a considerable amount of time designing and running innovative and engaging casino promotions. One of our most successful campaigns was The Big Race, during which we gave away VIP tickets to some of the most highly sought-after sport events, such as the Champions League Final, Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco, and two buy ins to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.”

“The quality of life in Malta is second to none, and the country also boasts several reputable international schools. Over the years, we have evolved into a knowledge hub for affiliates, providers, and operators alike. Malta also offers attractive corporate and personal tax incentives for C level executives wishing to relocate. The local regulator has a deep commercial understanding and is a responsive leader in the governance of the latest developments including e-Sports and Blockchain.” Lastly, Alan thinks that it is all up to the individual to achieve that perfect balance in life, with the help of a great employer of course. “Having my own child has made me realise the importance of achieving an ideal work life balance, and that it can ultimately make employees happier and more productive. This is also something that Quasar takes firmly into consideration for employees that have families.”

“We believe that effective retention marketing is a crucial aspect in extending customer lifetime value” 081


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Virtual Reality:

Will It Ever Take Off? JOIN GAMES IS LEADING THE WAY TO PLACE PLAYERS “INSIDE THE GAME” WORDS by Martin McDonald Chief Exploration Officer, Parallel66 CCO, Join Games Malta

We have spent the last couple of years teaching industry leaders and decision makers about what is coming with VR iGaming. With a handful of notable exceptions it has been challenging for us to square the circle of how the iGaming industry revenues are built entirely upon the virtual houses of gambling, and yet real risk-taking in terms of generating, adopting and activating genuinely groundbreaking iGame product developments is the exception and not the rule. As a one time irreverent startup, Steve Jobs’ Apple smashed the “stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap” computing business model with the invention of the Mac, and then his team went on to change the communicating habits of the world with the astonishing iPhone. Becoming the founders of the smartphone

generation took a mindset of relentless focus on creating the very best customer experiences. Jobs demonstrated that doing those things right demands heavy financial investment and a ruthless commitment to Be Different for sound economic and business survival reasons. Join Games exists around people who are passionate about authentic iGaming innovation driven by amazing customer experiences. Doing innovation right means going against the grain of accepted industry ‘wisdom’ in order to successfully deliver world first products that Players love to play. In 2017, the Company’s world first iGame delivery in Mobile Virtual Reality will open the portals to a new commercial universe of opportunities within entirely new virtual Gaming worlds.

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Join Games exists around people who are passionate about authentic iGaming innovation driven by amazing customer experiences. Doing innovation right means going against the grain of accepted industry ‘wisdom’ in order to successfully deliver world first products that Players love to play. Creating world first genres and products is one thing, getting them to market is quite another, because the majority of the industry is still in the stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap mindset. It’s a place yet to mature into a proper respect for the Player demonstrated by delivering a better value exchange for those Players. The same applies towards suppliers by understanding the need for a fair return for higher value product offerings. Which is a shame, because when the breakthrough in understanding does come, the value of the industry will increase exponentially as its revenues rise off the back of better games and experiences. To date new game genres coming from the studios of Join Games are Cinematic Casino Slots (green room and location based filming of real actors and building games around them) and Interactive Casino Slots (they are like computer games where the player controls the character in the bonus rounds). The investments required to make games such as “Legends of Emerald” and “Zombie Escape” are more than double the cost of making the more usual slots games. Imagine then the size of the investment required to invent and deliver a world first iGame on agnostic Mobile Virtual Reality. That first Mobile VR game experience, Kleopatra VR, has stunned and amazed more than 1,700 industry professionals and Players who have travelled “Inside the Game” since it was first revealed at ICE 2017. What exactly have our colleagues experienced and why are avantgarde Operators already committed to being part of the launch of VR iGaming? Let’s take a deeper dive into the game. When you are immersed in VR for the first time, especially a jaw droppingly beautiful high fidelity virtual reality game experience like Kleopatra VR, it sets off all sorts of human emotions.

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The key emotion is the fear caused by a massive step outside of your comfort zone. It’s a bit like the first time you do anything with an adrenalin blast to it, except with VR you don’t need to physically jump out of the plane or snowboard off a cliff-edge into the ravine to feel the same rush. Within that uncertainty lies the primal paradox of VR and the whole of this amazing new technology. On the one hand, you can sense the arrival of the biggest of opportunities to advance the iGaming industry and yet on the other you are not quite sure how to engage with it. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. Because if VR didn’t make you feel that way then it wouldn’t be presenting the massive stepchange moment for iGaming that it is. Actually, the rush you’re feeling when you come back to reality out of a brilliant Virtual Reality experience is screaming at your subconscious mind. You like it, but what is it telling you? And then the enormity of scalable potential of the thing hits you: “VR is not a game changer. It is a new game entirely.” Like other industries faced with competitive step-change ideas and technology, the iGaming industry is full of opportunity for advancement, but mostly those opportunities are presented from startups outside of the core industry players. Leaders in other industry sectors such as automotive and food have embraced this early stage culture. They have developed strategic plans and invested meaningful money to bring to the table the ideas and innovations they cannot bring from within for myriad good reasons. They are not dabbling because they understand these maverick sources of incredible ideas made real are the future of big business. They also are honest enough to recognise that whilst economies of scale are great for bigger business growth, they are pretty rubbish for fostering internal cultures of fearless questioning, creativity and rampant commercialism. In many ways, the Gaming industry is a victim of its own financial success and it is understandable for it to be held back by a combination of complacency, mistrust, protectionism and a fundamental belief that the juggernaut brands will always be in control of the betting food chain. You can see it manifested clearly in other areas where the industry hamstrings itself, like the failure to agree common protocols for integration between suppliers and Operators, or the giving of industry innovation awards for re-skins of old ideas instead of seeking out genuinely new products designed to serve the customer better. What this environment actually does deliver though, is a wonderful playground for new entrants like Join Games to do advanced product development based upon an entirely new set of metrics. Such fun loving

“VR is not a game changer. It is a new game entirely” tyrants irreverently ignore the status quo and laugh up at the supertanker skippers looking down enviously on the kids whizzing about in their speedboats! This culture starts with the customer and finishes with the customer. They are passionate people who challenge themselves to create a better exchange of value by providing top class entertainment in return for a fair investment by the Players. The timing of the arrival of useable mobile VR aligns it perfectly as the catalyst platform for unleashing the potential of a new era in human communications. Everyone has a smartphone and when coupled with a 15 Euro high quality headset and beautiful games the Player can travel anywhere we want to take her. There are zero barriers to entry. Investors around the world are backing virtual currency creation and its use to create and empower win wins across the emergence of unprecedented transactional journeys built upon multiple verticals of Blockchain technology. In my view, VR has an even bigger role for the iGaming industry. As a catalyst for change in how things get done. We are refining and will be delivering in 2017 a modernist approach to standardisation for the benefit of all of Virtual Reality UI, user intuitive engagement, immersive experiences and yes, even the simplification of industry plug and play integration protocols across the board. When you decide to Be Different you are bound to raise eyebrows, but that’s okay. For those in the industry who already get VR and have joined us to invest in the journey towards better Play, the rewards are going to be astonishing. Together we are already changing the face of the industry and we will deliver commercial returns built upon a better value exchange for our Players in VR iGaming, whatever universe they are playing in. 085


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Interview | SiGMA

Virtualis real VIRTUAL SPORT, ESPORTS, FANTASY SPORTS HAVE ESTABLISHED THEMSELVES QUITE ACTIVELY IN GAMING A FEW YEARS AGO. IN THIS INTERVIEW, SIGMA’S OWN SOPHIE CROUZET ASKS CO-CEO STEVEN SPARTINOS FOR HIS INSIGHTS ON SUCH EMERGING TRENDS AND HOW KIRON INTERACTIVE IS EMBRACING THIS MOVEMENT. Pleasure to sit with Steven Spartinos, Co-founder and CEO of Kiron Interactive, and discuss virtual sports. Can you confirm and elaborate that virtual sport is evolving and becoming a much bigger piece of the Operator’s portfolio. What is contributing to this increased market share? Yes, this is correct for a number of reasons. The high frequency nature of virtual sports events means that operators have access to a steady stream of betting content on a 24/7 basis. Time-sensitive players can also enjoy a bet whenever they have a spare few minutes in their busy day, and no longer need to wait until a live scheduled game begins. Due to their high frequency and RNG derived results, the products also appeal to a wider gaming audience thereby allowing operators to attract new players to their sports betting venues or websites. Further, the consistent and attractive margins delivered by virtual sports make them a valuable component to any operator’s product mix. Virtual Sports were initially used to fill the dead time between racing and other live events, but many betting shops decided to cast them aside. That’s how the Virtual Sports mania started. But why, in your opinion, Virtual Sports has become a unique feature in itself? Virtual offerings may have started life as filler content for high street bookmakers more than a decade ago, but they

have quickly become an integral part of an operator’s portfolio. Unfairly dubbed ‘cartoon racing’ when first introduced, players quickly adopted them on the back of the similar betting experience they offered to real racing. Over the years, the improvement in graphics and engaging audio have allowed virtual sports to rival the latest games console offerings and in so doing grow their appeal with the millennial generation. Time has become a big factor in our daily lives and with this in mind, players no longer have the time to wait around watching live sports matches. Virtual sports matches scheduled every couple of minutes offer an attractive alternative. Not only do they offer similar betting markets, but the shorter duration events immerse players into the action with exciting and enticing rapid play. Why are players happier to play on Virtual sport and not real sport? Are we dealing with a totally different player demographic? Is this the beginning of a new area where virtual sport will dominate over all other betting styles? I wouldn’t say that virtual sports will dominate over real sports or other betting styles. Rather they are a complimentary product to real sports betting, and are likely to continue to be played in parallel for the foreseeable future. A younger generation of players accustomed to computer-based gaming are, however, more inclined to bet on new generation products such as virtual sports and e-sports, thereby growing the popularity of these products

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“I wouldn’t say that virtual sports will dominate over real sports or other betting styles. Rather they are a complimentary product to real sports betting, and are likely to continue to be played in parallel for the foreseeable future” with operators. The mobile betting boom is also largely attributable to a young tech-savvy market, and virtual sports fit perfectly with this demographic. Younger players seek instant gratification and high frequency games that are available at the click of a button suit this time-sensitive world we live in. When it comes to Virtual Sports, a big debate rages on which features make VS better than others. Some brands focus on graphics. Others focus on retention thanks to a strong meta-game and player experience (realistic odds, large wage of different sport event etc.). What’s your opinion on that? Growing up with the latest gaming consoles, mobile phones and tablets means the latest generation of players demand high quality graphics and immersive game play. Regardless, even though these players hold a lot more trust in computer-based gaming than those before them, they still need to be catered for with a high level of care to ensure player retention. It is very important that virtual offerings are believable, realistic and as enticing as possible. Only then can they be treated as a true substitute for live action. A variety of betting options, considering local preferences, as well as attractive odds are also necessary ingredients for a successful offering. What’s the technology behind your Virtual Sports product? What are you using to make your games as good as real? Basically, what makes Kiron Interactive stand out from the clutter? Kiron uses state of the art technology to offer the widest range of virtual sports titles on the market. With 17 titles that include a variety of racing, racquet and team based sports, Kiron has the largest and most varied virtual sports portfolio on the market, and we can tailor any of our offerings to suit the local markets and operators we are supplying. We place a great deal of emphasis on realism and capturing the essence and excitement of each real sport we simulate, albeit in a condensed format. This includes a combination of high end graphics, game play variants and realistic human audio commentary. By always ensuring we do our research, we can offer the best product on the market while also ensuring operators are left with a profitable and reliable offering. Our flexible and configurable solutions, including a number of playout options, ensure we can offer a tailored package for operators across industry verticals. Besides your Virtual Sports Products, you also offer a Remote Gamer Server which provides a fully hosted and managed turnkey virtual sports betting solution: BetMan Online. Can you tell us a bit more about it? Why is it a good investment for Operators? Our proprietary Betman Online RGS provides a market leading omnichannel fixed odds betting platform dedicated to virtuals, allowing players to bet at high frequency on our large portfolio of virtual sports on both desktop and mobile devices. Our RGS seamlessly integrates with an operator’s player wallet system, offering a large range of standard and unique betting markets, to sit alongside Kiron’s extensive virtuals catalogue. We offer a fully managed and hosted solution which requires minimum investment on the part of the operator. Together with an extensive back office, operators have all the tools required to fine tune the games to their preferences and operating requirements as well as analyse performance in infinite detail through the large number of statistics and reports that are available. This platform allows player to bet on both desktop and mobile device. Would you say that the dazzling penetration pace of mobile and its impact on the customer journey has changed the way of building and thinking the Virtual Sports? The rapid play nature of virtual sports lends itself perfectly to mobile delivery. With events beginning and ending every minute and with the proliferation of mobile bandwidth allowing for high quality videos to be 088

streamed across all devices, virtual sports suit the modern-day player. We need to continue to stay ahead of mobile trends and technologies ensuring that we deliver a mobile product of the highest quality for users, including a high load-bearing and responsive betting interface. You have a pretty impressive portfolio in the industry offering a large variety of virtual sports product and games such as football, archery, horse/dog races, table tennis etc. You even introduced the aptly-themed winter sports to the virtual gaming world a few months ago. In terms of Buzzwords and trends, what is in your opinion the most popular Virtual Sports product? On a global scale, football continues to be a king. The sport has billions of fans worldwide, and virtual football offers those with time constraints in their life to enjoy the buzz of the game without needing to take two hours out of their busy schedule. In partnership with VSoftCo we continue to offer the industry’s only real time football game, rather than pre-recorded highlights, ensuring that players are engrossed in the action as they would be with a live football match, creating a much more real to life football experience. Racing continues to be a massive product in the virtuals world and continues to perform incredibly well in most markets irrespective of whether they have an established real racing industry or not. However, it’s important to tailor your content to fit the market, as football is not considered as a main sport in places such as Scandinavia. Our winter-themed sports are a great example of how a one size fits all mentality will see you left behind.


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Interview | SiGMA

“We are always looking to form relationships with other likeminded people in the industry and SiGMA offers us the chance to do exactly this. Malta is a hub for online gaming and most significant online operators are present at this fast emerging show”

Kiron Interactive was also the first to introduce virtual sports in Malta with its leading retail sports betting operator, IZIBET. How do you approach the Maltese market? What does this introduction mean for your expansion strategy? Kiron is always looking to push into new markets with principal local operators. The strategy used to introduce our products into the Maltese market is a similar one that we have used successfully in other new markets we have entered. The perfect opportunity presented itself to work alongside IZIBET, which shares our own beliefs when it comes to virtual sports. The deal was enabled via BGT terminals which were already well distributed across the IZIBET shops. As always, we tailored our package to perfectly suit both the market and IZIBET to ensure we maximize penetration and profitability. The products we have launched in the market have already proved popular with local players and the tools used to promote them, have worked well in terms of notification and education.

This year will be the first time that you participate at SiGMA17 as an exhibitor. Why SiGMA? And what are you anticipating at the show? We are always looking to form relationships with other likeminded people in the industry and SiGMA offers us the chance to do exactly this. Malta is a hub for online gaming and most significant online operators are present at this fast emerging show. We had a great experience when visiting last year and are sure our diverse product offering available on our BetMan Online RGS will prove popular with online operators visiting this year’s edition of the show.

Steven Spartinos is cofounder and co-CEO of virtual games provider Kiron Interactive. Established in 2001, the specialist supplier now services web, mobile, and land-based sportsbook and casino operators on five continents. Prior to joining the betting and gaming industry, Steven worked in banking and finance. 089


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The Audit, Advisory Tax Specialists

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BEING TECH SAVVY IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THE iGAMING INDUSTRY, BUT IT IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR COMPANY IS LEGALLY COMPLIANT WITH TAX LAWS. WE RECENTLY SAT DOWN WITH DENNIS GAUCI, PARTNER AT KSI MALTA, TO GET AN INSIGHT INTO HOW HIS FIRM OPERATES, ITS CONNECTION TO THE INDUSTRY, AND HIS EXPECTATIONS FOR SIGMA 2017. 091


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KSi Malta has established itself as one of Malta’s leading audit, tax, and advisory firms, boasting a wide range of services and a portfolio of both local and international clients. KSi Malta advocates for a participatory relationship between all of its team members and clients, so as to involve all relevant parties in all the processes that directly contribute to a client’s business objectives. The company is also a member of a number of recognisable international networks. These include Morison KSi, a global association of leading professional service firms, and IAG International, a non-profit worldwide network of accountants and lawyers. Dennis Gauci joined KSi Malta in February 2008, and was appointed as a partner in 2010 where he manages all information and communication technology related matters. Having graduated in Information Technology from the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Dennis has also received certifications from renowned companies such as Microsoft, CISCO, and Linux. Like many successful firms, KSi Malta can trace its origins to humble beginnings in the early 80’s, when founder Mr Joseph Gauci obtained his warrant as a CPA (Certified Public to become one of the first warranted auditors in Malta. Mr Gauci then quickly and successfully managed to become a Director at Deloitte (UK), and subsequently a Partner at Grant Thornton (Malta). He was also appointed to various roles by several local companies including Enemata and Malta Drydocks, and also as a consultant to government departments and ministries. Later on in his career, Mr Gauci set up KSi Malta, which is a member firm of Morison KSi, a global association with members present in 80 countries that generate a turnover in excess of $1 Billion. Mr Gauci wanted to foster the notion of

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family values within the firm, by placing this at the forefront of the code of conduct. According to Dennis, KSi Malta continues to have the same approach to its clients now as it did when it was founded. “We treat clients as members of our extended family, and our directors are available to them on a 24/7 basis. KSi Malta has been a successful firm as it listens attentively to the needs of its clients, advising and tailoring our work to suit their requirements wherever possible. This has given KSi Malta a very competitive edge over its contenders, allowing us to build long-lasting relationships with every client that we make.” With over 30 years of experience, the firm has been developing its services in a sustainable manner, and in response to market opportunities which other major competitors were not fulfilling. In fact, Dennis indicated that this growth “has resulted in outgrowing our premises capacity twice due to the firm’s growth in its client portfolio. In fact, we are currently in the process of refurbishing new premises to include state-of-the-art facilities for both staff and clients alike. It is likely that this will coincide with the second generation of this family run firm, that includes myself and my brother Bernard Gauci, both current partners at KSi Malta”. Regarding his work at KSi, Dennis joined the firm in 2008, and has since changed roles to now become the main person that is in charge of various sections within the firm that include iGaming. This constituted the firm’s ongoing relations with the iGaming industry, which they had already been servicing in 2008 through the provision of various local services including auditing of financial statements and tax planning, and by providing assistance to foreign multinationals that wanted relocate to Malta. “It came naturally that the firm’s services evolved to offer a one stop shop solution to gaming companies, and I


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Interview | SiGMA

“The iGaming industry has changed significantly in the past decade, and Dennis has also noticed this shift ever since he started working at KSi Malta. In fact, accounting for the fact that this industry now constitutes around 10% of Malta’s overall GDP, Dennis feels that it is a clear sign that the MGA is constantly adapting to changes and consulting with all stakeholders to keep Malta at the forefront of this sector” happened to gain more interest in the subject itself. In fact, we now offer legal, licensing, payroll, secretarial, company formation, Tax, Auditing, VAT, assistance with Banks, PSP’s, Data Centre’s, and hardware procurement amongst many other services.” “Presently, my job mainly consists of assisting clients in getting licenses to operate from Malta and other jurisdictions. I act as a point of reference for our clients in relation to other services they might require, and I also lead a team of 4 people within the Compliance and Risk section.” Over the years, KSi Malta has acquired considerable expertise in Financial Crime, Anti Money Laundering, and Banking Relations which are indeed the greatest challenges this industry is facing and for which the company is constantly updating itself in order to be able to service its clients in the best possible way. The iGaming industry has changed significantly in the past decade, and Dennis has also noticed this shift ever since he started working at KSi Malta. In fact, accounting for the fact that this industry now constitutes around 10% of Malta’s overall GDP, Dennis feels that it is a clear sign that the MGA is constantly adapting to changes and consulting with all stakeholders to keep Malta at the forefront of this sector. In terms of challenges, according to Dennis the greatest ones his clients face include VAT Laws, 4th AML Directive, and Cryptocurrencies, as well as the competition Malta is facing from new emerging jurisdictions. However, this is also a positive for KSi Malta, as “clients are using our expertise and international network to assess target markets, profitability, and growth.” “Advice that we always give to new clients is to have a solid business plan with sustainable growth. We also suggest to them to invest heavily in human resources, especially within research and development departments. This would allow them to have that competitive edge in their products, improve their services, come up with effective marketing, and last but not least improve customer retention.”

When it comes to looking ahead, KSi Malta is also considering a proactive approach towards Blockchain and Cryptos, especially one the new government policy is launched. “KSi Malta firmly believes that a proactive approach is necessary to ensure success in any field, and this is even more important when new instruments such as Blockchain and Cryptos are involved. Our firm’s involvement in the gaming industry is obviously piqued by the upcoming legislative changes to handle the introduction of cryptocurrencies such as ‘bitcoin’.” Furthermore, Dennis argues that KSi Malta also has an added interest since it operates in the field of financial services, so they also give their input to local institutions from a professional point of view. All the company’s personnel regularly attend conferences related to this subject to help them keep abreast with changing procedures and to be prepared once the policy is legalised. “We truly believe that if Malta manages to legalise such services and find the right balance between gaming and financial services, it will retain its position as the number one gaming jurisdiction in Europe whilst retaining its position as one of Europe’s best financial centres.” Dennis and his team at KSi Malta are very enthusiastic about attending SiGMA 2017 as this will be their first time participating. “We already attend most events organised by your team, and as a result we are constantly building our database with contacts of affiliates, sponsors, exhibitors and members of this wonderful and large family.” Make sure to visit KSi Malta at booth B48, and for further information please visit www.ksimalta.com or www.morisonksi.com.

But while KSi Malta is already an established firm, they still operate in a very competitive sector. Asked about his company’s specialisation, Dennis advocated for KSi Malta’s focus on services that include Forensic Accounting, Accounting, Auditing, Compliance, Payroll, VAT and Tax, including cross-border implications. “We also take complete of personnel’s on-boarding process to Malta. Therefore, we can assist clients on contract drafting, work permits, residence application, Tax registration, and so on. Assisting clients in relation to such obligations enables them to shift their focus on expanding their operations and improving the quality of their product. This has proven to be successful with our current client portfolio, and in fact KSi Malta is investing heavily in personnel training and in business intelligence software to be able to meet current and future demand.” 093


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Blockchain | SiGMA

Casino 3.0 – enter the blockchain WORDS by Jonathan Galea, a blockchain and cryptocurrencies lawyer President of Bitmalta / Legal Counsel at NetEnt / Managing Partner at Intelliblock / Blockchain Consultant at Chimaera

It has not been that long ago, comparatively speaking, that online casinos made their debut and took the remote gambling world by storm. Although land-based casinos are still king in terms of market share, it is safe to say that online casinos are quickly chomping their way up the rankings as technology is leading to an increasingly immersive experience with benefits that cannot be mimicked by gameplay in brick-and-mortar casinos. However, the next big thing is in the offing: decentralised casinos hosted on a blockchain. For brevity’s sake, I won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of the workings of a blockchain; it is enough to describe it as a distributed ledger hosted on a peer-to-peer network, which is updated in real-time by a group of members on the network known as miners. These miners confirm the transactions taking place in chunks known as blocks, with each block of transactions being linked to the previous block, forming a chain of blocks. Chain of blocks, blockchain, voilà. So how does blockchain technology lend itself to the gaming industry? Simple: it allows for truly provably fair gaming with each transaction being capable of public audit. One of the ways this is achieved is through the use of smart contracts, ergo pieces of code which are deployed onto a blockchain. Smart contracts can be used for anything and everything, including transaction executions, storage of funds, and so on. A smart contract can be used for player transactions as demonstrated in the following example in order to generate as truly a random number as possible without the use of quantum computing. Operator A would submit a random number, technically known as a seed, into the smart contract, followed by Player B who submits another seed. The smart contract ‘mixes’ the two random numbers through a complex computing process

known as hashing. The outcome is as random as can be, making this far fairer than any centrally-generated numbers which need to be audited by testing and certification labs. Since the transaction can be made publicly available without divulging the amounts and the parties involved, any interested party can check the workings of that particular transaction on the public ledger on which the smart contract has been released. Other benefits of blockchain technology are just as important; since the blockchain is essentially a distributed ledger hosted by a network of nodes, this can lead to the elimination of hosting costs as the casino is hosted by the said network. The operating nodes can either be the operators or even the players themselves, unless the casino is hosted onto a public blockchain such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, in which case the blockchain’s nodes will also serve as the casino’s nodes. This also leads to a potentially higher level of security as the single point of access is eliminated, making external attacks much harder to execute against a distributed network. Smart contracts can also potentially eliminate the need for operators to hold the players’ funds themselves. These funds can be stored into smart contracts and accessed by the player at the time of the transaction. Speaking of funds, blockchains normally operate with native currencies known as cryptocurrencies. One of the benefits of cryptocurrencies is that transactions are non-reversible, hence bringing about the potential demise of chargebacks, which has long been a contentious issue for operators. Even if blockchain technology has been around for almost a decade, we have just started scratching the surface of what this technology can truly do for us. Decentralised casinos have already started emerging and are leading the charge into the new era of remote gaming. Obstacles will be encountered, failures will be met, and scepticism will be abound, but one thing is for sure: the gaming industry will be one of those most heavily impacted by the blockchain revolution.

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

I N G P A R T S RAISED TO QUESTION ALL CONVENTIONAL “WISDOM”, ROBIN REED OF GAMING INNOVATION GROUP FILLS SiGMA MAGAZINE IN ON HIS INSPIRING START-UP STORY, AND HOW THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR BUILT WHAT IS NOW A SMALL EMPIRE FROM SCRATCH, FUELED BY A FAMILY HISTORY THAT WAS ‘FINANCIALLY POOR BUT RICH IN VALUES AND CULTURE’.

“They say innovation happens at the intersections. Reed’s family may have been financially poor, but he says they were “rich in terms of values and culture”. To this day, Reed believes that his personal journey from Kristiansand to the large business community he belongs to nowadays is the enabler of the things he does today”

Reed grew up in Kristiansand, Norway. His family had modest means and lived in a small flat until his mother saved enough to buy a house. The Reed family is politically active on the left wing of Norwegian politics meaning that Robin and his siblings were always taught to challenge the ordinary over numerous debates around the dinner table. His upbringing involved a lot of sports and as a competitive fellow, he used to spend many evenings playing ranking ladder-based multiplayer games online. “When online poker came to Norway, I went all in. That’s how I got into iGaming. Today, I’m a 36-year-old entrepreneur and father. I’m one of two founders of GiG which we started back in 2012, and I’m one of five co-owners of the Norwegian football club IK Start.” They say innovation happens at the intersections. Reed’s family may have been financially poor, but he says they were “rich in terms of values and culture”. To this day, Reed believes that his personal journey from Kristiansand to the large business community he belongs to nowadays is the enabler of the things he does today. The GiG journey started with a poker forum and social network called

Donkr, launched at the back of the Facebook boom when Reed and his cofounders figured poker players would not want to discuss their game in their Facebook feeds. When they started this network, they were players themselves and had to learn both business acumen and tech, from scratch. “We orientated ourselves via the Silicon Valley blogs and started going to iGaming conferences to find advertisers. In the Valley, you ask “why” you are doing something before you think about the revenues. Moderating a rapidlygrowing community ourselves, we realised what a large gap there was between the players’ perception of the industry and how the industry wanted to portray itself.” Seeking to put an end to this, it was decided to launch Gaming Innovation Group in 2012 in order to work towards a shared vision to make iGaming an open and connected eco-system for the benefit of all. “We wanted to change the industry by creating an ecosystem in which the rules could be different,” continues Reed. “Our first milestone was the launch of white-label Guts. com in 2013. We wanted to control the front-end and customer service 0127


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to improve the user experience. Guts grew quickly and pretty soon we had to obtain our own licenses. We wrote our own platform from the first line of code, and then sold the platform in order to enable a sharing economy. By integrating suppliers and operators, we could avoid them having to do duplicate work, freeing up resources to improve the UX for all stakeholders.” So that was Step 1. In 2015, iGamingCloud was launched, and in the same year, GiG went public on the main stock exchange in Norway in order to gain access to the capital markets. “We also wanted to turn GiG into a liquid instrument,” says Reed. “Allowing investors and entrepreneurs to enter and exit at their own discretion, as opposed to many organisations which are designed to exit from inception.” From there GiG proceeded to create a publishing business and built one of the largest affiliate networks in the industry. “Today, we are the largest affiliate in the Nordics in terms of Google traffic and we are channeling and increasing the amount of traffic to the operators and suppliers within our ecosystem. The company employs more than 500 people. Fueled by our vision to open up iGaming we are aiming no lower than at becoming the most influential company in the industry.” It’s a unique business model with many moving parts, Reed admits, however, it’s all working in harmony. A key part of the machine, and also a key investor, Optimizer Invest have been a factor in iGaming Cloud and GiG’s growth for some time. They helped fuel growth by investing in iGamingCloud pre-launch, and later converted their shares to the holding company following our acquisition of an operator they had founded called Betit Group. “I see the team at Optimizer Invest as more than investors; they are friends who are helping us to drive the business forward,” says Reed. “Being entrepreneurs at heart, they provide key knowledge and a can-do attitude.

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They share the same aspiration to make a meaningful impact at a large scale as we do at GiG and are brainstorming and working across most aspects of the business, both day and night.” Growth, many argue, is everything. GiG may grow to reach some 600 employees within the next six months. Reed says that they managed to grow the company from 100 to 500 people in less than three years as there was a lot of readily available talent, which allowed the group to achieve this. “Malta has a fantastic and thriving scene of iGaming ambassadors and they are really motivated and adventurous. However, we are hitting peak numbers of people in iGaming every month, with an increasing amount of people needing housing and schooling.” “It is becoming increasingly challenging to attract the best talent,” says Reed. “Employees have been increasingly voicing their concerns about the pressure on the infrastructure. Rental prices are soaring in central areas and it is tough to get your children into the international schools. This is the time to invest at a grand scale into infrastructure, to distribute the wealth among everyone and develop Malta even further, for the decades and generations to come. We would like to help with being part of the solution.” And part of the solution is certainly to invest, which GiG has done,

increasingly, and now, with an impending move to arguably the sexiest offices in Malta – in St Julian’s - the commitment is bigger than ever. Reasoning that in the gaming and tech scene you are measured on your future innovations and not your past achievements, and that GiG wants to give their people an environment where they can be the most creative and playful version of themselves, Reed and the group have embarked on a huge, and hugely expensive, monumental shift in office life. “We are serving food sourced from local farmers and butchers, especially prepared by our in-house chef and his team – free, every day. We screen events of interest in our staff canteen; in our auditorium our people can practice presentation skills and attend each other’s seminars. In our fitness area you can join classes and do your work out. We have a fully-fledged coffee bar with a professional barista – after all, many superb ideas were conceived over a cup of coffee. We have slides installed as an alternative to stairs or elevators. When you see your manager leaving the building using a slide, you know this is a place where you can safely dare to be yourself.” The idea is that this office has a low threshold to reach an employee’s comfort zone and where information flows freely, allowing people and company to scale and progress. “We are designing our offices as


Interview | SiGMA

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“Speaking more generally, we are working to boost the tech startup scene. ‘GIG Growth’ is an accelerator program where we invest in early stage businesses. Rather than simply invest financially, we can align products and startups with our eco-system and we can share our wealth of tech know-how” a lifestyle community, where we are offering a number of optional activities for our team,” continues Reed. “This approach is not only for our Malta office; we want all of our offices to have an edge in order to attract and retain awesome people.” GIG is also taking a more active role with government institutions, especially at the start-up front; largely as part of their CSR program. The will to contribute to the community GiG forms part of, and also to be part of designing the solutions they request has driven the company to push a range of initiatives they believe will improve the local scene, starting with their local neighborhood. For example, they’re working with the local authorities to improve the direct area around their offices – by improving lighting and paving the pathways. We are also proud and excited to become the main sponsor of the Malta Marathon in 2019. “Speaking more generally, we are working to boost the tech startup scene. ‘GIG Growth’ is an accelerator program where we invest in early stage businesses. Rather than simply invest financially, we can align products and startups with our ecosystem and we can share our wealth of tech know-how.” And that’s not all, as in the pipeline, GiG are working on a knowledgesharing program of educational events and get-togethers for programmers and techies around the island. This will be a non-profit

which seeks to inspire, promote and celebrate entrepreneurism for a better and even more progressive Malta. By collaborating with the many great existing organizations and individuals around the isle, GiG believe they can ultimately make Malta an even more successful iGaming hub. We are also proud to support the non-profit organisation Girls in Tech Gibraltar with common focus on the importance of gender equality and diversity in the workplace and to raise the profile of successful women in tech, and provide a platform to support young female professionals. In terms of the end-user, what is it that distinguishes the GiG brand from the competitors out there, we ask. “We do not see our teams as operators; we see them as creative studios designing an improved UI and UX for iGaming,” answers Reed. “Our gaming brands are an experience and not a web portal. We use immersive storytelling, community features, meta-games, personalisation and gamification mechanics to create a better user experience.” Change is, of course, the only constant. Reed remembers that the gaming industry was opportunistic and very unpolished when he first set foot in it. “Most companies weren’t very developed, which created a very fragmented and entrepreneurial business environment. There were great opportunities for the fast-movers as there was little competition.”

betting. Hence, we are working on a product called bettingcloud which will allow sportsbook operators to design their front-end for all of our APIs, and we are designing our own odds from the ground up.” Based on quantitative data models and real-time feeds, bettingcloud will launch over the course of the next few months and will allow GiG to produce a more accurate probability, at a much lower cost. “Our most ambitious start-up to date is called Highroller.com. It’s an online casino launching midNovember. It’s all about taking the fun and gamification features of existing casino products to a new level in order to create an improved appeal for the industry to a new demographic in social channels. With Rizk.com we created the fastest growing operator in 2016. With Highroller.com, we believe we can do the same in 2017.” All these products, alongside our entire portfolio, affiliate programs, and career opportunities will be on show at this year’s SiGMA. “It’s amazing to see how SiGMA has grown so rapidly to become so important for the industry. We are very appreciative and are looking forward to support the event and its organisers for the years to come.” “Lastly,” says Reed, “All over the world there are people sitting at home with iGaming ideas....If you are onto something, we would like yo hear from you.” That’s your cue; you know what to do.

These days, there is a huge range of established companies operating on strong platforms, with a sustainable edge in their cultures, and they are in a position to consolidate. “It is becoming very hard to compete with them at a large scale. That said, there has never been a better time for start-ups,” he continues. “The differentiation is the quality and targeting of your business. The infrastructure and technology is so powerful these days and the industry has grown much larger, so as such, you can quickly tap into the ecosystem and reach scale, with something disruptive and differentiated.” What’s next for Gaming Innovation Group – your expectations for SiGMA 2017 and beyond? You’re one of the few powerhouses in Malta that can tap into all four facets at SiGMA: attracting affiliates, operators, start-up pitches, and a careers convention. “We want to bring something new and innovative to the world of sports 0129


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HERE WE ARE AT NAKED ISLAND WITH LARRY LAFFER, THE FLIRTATIOUS MAIN CHARACTER OF THE LEISURE SUIT LARRY GAMES FROM THE LATE 80’S AND 90’S. HE IS BACK, SEXIER THAN EVER AND READY TO SHARE WITH US ALL THE SECRETS OF HIS NEW EXCITING PROJECT: LARRYCASINO. It’s 1 PM and Larry opens the door wrapped in a bathrobe, holding a Giant Erection cocktail, his favorite one. Truman Cappotti: Hi Larry. It’s an honor to meet you. You were my childhood idol and here you are again. Larry Laffer: We should never grow up, right? TC: Yes, you are right. So, tell me, how is this new adventure called LarryCasino? LL: It’s amazing. This is a casino of the new era, full of surprises. You won’t believe what is inside until you see it for yourself. Many players from all over the world are congratulating me everyday for that. TC: Wow, I see life is treating you well but how did everything change? As far as I remember you were a loser and now you have a casino? LL: One day I met Flabio Bribitori, the famous billionaire. I became his lucky charm one night playing craps and he paid me back sponsoring me. That night I also met David Plumi and Enric Monton, the founders of LarryCasino. We connected immediately and we decided to start this beautiful project together. They are the minds behind LarryCasino, nothing of this would be possible without them. You never know when your life is going to change, but usually it’s easier if you are drinking a Giant Erection around a craps table.

LL: I am the essence of LarryCasino and this is much more than a casino. This is a graphic adventure full of exciting features and gamification. Leisure Suit Larry is all about legacy and this is exactly what the players are going to find here. They will play and unlock treasure chests, find weird objects, collect coins that they can redeem in my shop and discover the spiciest characters ever. We all live on Naked Island, a hidden place in the Caribbean Sea where nothing is what it seems to be. In life everything has a purpose, and the players have to help me get mine. TC: What purpose is it? LL: Definitely I want Kym! The stunning Casino Manager. I’m full in love with her and I have only one way to get a date. Here’s where the players must help me. While they are playing they will find hidden objects, which will help me to reach the final level and finally get the bunga bunga date with her. TC: So, when could we see you in Europe? LL: I will be in Malta in November, I have to meet Roque, my lovely affiliate manager and together we will attend SiGMA and have a big party. TC: I love parties, do I need a formal invitation? LL: Everyone is invited to join us, just pop up at our SiGMA stand and we will take care of the rest, love is in the air!

TC: Bribitori himself? Interesting, but tell me more about LarryCasino. 0131


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Title | SiGMA

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“Tipico is a brand which has become synonymous with growth, innovation, passion and enthusiasm, four components which I believe are key to our success across the German market. What started out as a small betting shop in Karlsruhe has today spread its roots to 9 locations and 1100+ betting shops. That is priceless” Your brand brings many qualities to mind amongst which growth and certainly a market leader in innovation. How do you capitalise on that to consolidate your position in the market? Tipico is a brand which has become synonymous with growth, innovation, passion and enthusiasm, four components which I believe are key to our success across the German market. What started out as a small betting shop in Karlsruhe has today spread its roots to 9 locations and 1100+ betting shops. That is priceless. The local scene is very competitive, how do you maintain your competitive edge over here? Naturally, our position in Malta is a very favourable one and has fast become one of the top picks for employment among gaming companies on the island. With a stream of budding and talented companies, staying ahead of the game is a 0136

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constant exercise in development both, at a company level but also at individual level in our system. We nurture that cycle to yield the best each person has to offer. You’re located in one of the best places on the island and you seem to be running out of space here as well. What would you attribute to your growth over here? Being a market leader is about attracting the most talented professionals out there who choose to be part of our workforce, culture and environment. Over 235 people from 30 nations have taken that step in Malta alone. The entire Tipico Group and associated franchise network spread over Germany, Malta, Austria, Croatia and Gibraltar, and employs over 6000 people. That’s some talent to manage. Such a large community comes with its own challenges and opportunities. It has always pushed us to think outside the comfort zone of our existing structures. Consequently, restructuring our teams and the modus operandi became a major focus to sustain efficiency and keep people happy. That must be one of our best qualities. Managing the challenges and opportunities of the length and breadth of Tipico must have brought some changes in how you do business. Can you tell us more of this? Naturally, we had to find middle ground in our competing priorities and have since merged complimentary teams to form a true synergy hub where creativity and technology could flourish. ProTech was once such an initiative. A creative, openminded and passionate team, creating and maintaining pioneering systems for various platforms. Can you tell us what the opportunities were and how you developed them in working practices? We understood that having the creative and the tech work aside one another breeds synergy that is reflected in product development, knowledge sharing and better user experience for our customers. This made it engaging and above all


Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

“As an international company, we pride ourselves in offering employees the possibility to travel and oversee operations in various parts of the world for a week. The Employee Xchange Program has garnered a fantastic reputation with 29 ambassadors already completing the experience”

When everyone is hungry for talent, how do you manage demand and supply, what is your message to our audience out there? Simple, offering world class opportunities in an international envirnoment, and with a planned career programme for your development. As a leading company in the German market, we always have a seat for you if you wish to be part of our service team so give it a shot. For the tech and creative ones out there, our opportunities are endless. If you wish to grow and do more of what you love, Tipico is eager to have a chat with you. To help you out, we have put together our own best practices guidelines to get you going in the right direction. You could be heading to a new exciting experience shortly! Check out our new Tipico Careers website: www.tipico-careers.com

fun for our teams, resulting in a better product. Ultimately, everything we do inhouse has to benefit our users in providing the safest and most enjoyable entertainment product. We are aware recruitment and human resource plays a significant role in your operations. Given the dimensions of your group, can you provide insight into what it takes to keep the recruitment and human resource arms properly functioning? Sure, I mentioned the Tipico system earlier, that’s because everything is interlinked. As processes became streamlined and our customer base skyrocketed, the need to develop and maintain our systems propelled further investment in our human resources both in Malta and overseas. In Malta alone, we recently recruited administrative staff, system analysts & data analysts to provide the necessary insight while growing complimentary programmes to nurture the ystem. How do these programmes give your employees and Tipico a competitive edge? Let me guide you through. The Tipico Internship program provides prospective talent the opportunity to get on the job experience in over 12 departments from acquisition to tech, compliance to legal. In conjunction with the Graduate Development Programme, we oversee that journey to ensure continuity in development of skills accrued during academic formation. Our employees are our best spotters for talent and with an encouraging referral bonus of €1500, we ensure the pipeline is populated with prospective talent year-round. Where do these programmes take place and how do they tie in to your global strategy? As an international company, we pride ourselves in offering employees the possibility to travel and oversee operations in various parts of the world for a week. The Employee Xchange Program has garnered a fantastic reputation with 29 ambassadors already completing the experience.

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Affiliate | SiGMA

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Connecting Casino Sites with Players WE CAUGHT UP WITH LEE J GWILLIAM, BLEXR’S COMMERCIAL MANAGER, AT OUR FIRST AFFILIATE GRAND SLAM IN TALLINN, ESTONIA, THEN AGAIN IN BUCHAREST. HE SPOKE TO US ABOUT THE INS-AND-OUTS OF THE DYNAMIC PERFORMANCE MARKETING COMPANY SPECIALISING IN THE CASINO BUSINESS AND BASED IN SLIEMA, MALTA. Having set up shop in 2015, ‘freshness’ is an evident quality that’s remained part of the Blexr package, the performance marketing company represented by Commercial Manager Lee J Gwilliam and currently based in one of Europe’s most vibrant gaming hubs of Sliema, Malta. In fact, minutes into our chat, Lee is quick to describe this venture as “young, vibrant company”, run by a team of “performance marketing heroes”.

partners in 46 different markets.” In fact, in 2016 alone, Blexr helped over 21 million users to “make the right decision on their Casino entertainment”.

Neither does he waste much time waxing lyrical on the company’s location, found “in the hub of the seaside town, Sliema” – a tourist haven with no shortage of shops, malls, stylish cafés and restaurants that certainly keep Blexr’s crew – affectionately dubbed ‘Blexrians’ by Lee – fed and otherwise occupied during their off hours.

Partly because of this – to say nothing, once again, of the company’s prime and trendy location – Blexr has managed to attract a dynamic team of creative young go-getters. “Creativity is key, as well as a willingness to work hard to achieve goals,” Lee says, adding that the company offers good benefits and is structured to allow everybody to express him or herself freely.

“Yes, we’re certainly spoilt for choice on where to go and what to eat during our lunch break,” he adds, with no shortage of the enthusiasm that clearly animates the Blexr spirit. In Lee’s own words, “We own and develop over 200 different properties in iGaming and Forex, and work with 800

“The Blexr engine runs on equal amounts of respect, commitment and fun. This combustible mix fuels incredibly talented achievers who rub shoulders every day, pushing each other to reach professional and personal peaks that are the envy of the industry”

Given their “millions of clicks from people all over the world visiting our web properties on a monthly basis”. Lee is confident enough to assert that, “Our way, the Blexr way, works.”

“The Blexr engine runs on equal amounts of respect, commitment and fun. This combustible mix fuels incredibly talented achievers who rub shoulders every day, pushing each other to reach professional and personal peaks that are the envy of the industry,” Lee says. He adds that what really helps gel the company together are the monthly team building events. “The paint-balling event held in spring was an unqualified success and everybody is looking forward to the summer boat party,” Lee says. Blexr is a growing company, which translates into opportunities for their people to grow too. “In fact, we are growing so rapidly that our current headquarters are no longer big enough to contain us,” Lee says. “As a result, in the coming months we will be knocking down walls to create a larger, cooler, more equipped base than the present premises.” So, anybody signing up to become a Blexrian can expect to go places if they set their mind to it. Whatever the future holds for our team of Blexrians, we sure know it will be exciting!

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A Melting Pot of Talent WITH OVER FIFTY NATIONALITIES REPRESENTED WITHIN THEIR OFFICES, KINDRED HAS CEMENTED ITSELF AS ONE OF THE MOST REPUTABLE FIRMS IN GAMING TODAY.

Kindred has over 1,400 dedicated employees working across products including sports betting, casino, poker, games and bingo. So, we thought we’d interview some of those employees to find out what it’s like to work for a company that operates in 20 different languages. It was no surprise that a company with such an international reach as Kindred, pulls in staff from across the globe. We spoke to: Jonathan Elfving (Finnish) - Head of Acquisition Integration, Mette Lorenzen (Danish) - Head of Customer Care, Mickael Marceau (French) - Head of Payments Solutions, Denise Cutajar (Maltese) - HR Business Partner, and Kati Leppänen (Finnish) Talent Acquisition Partner. First up was Kati Leppänen, who filled us in on the background of Kindred, and how they foster an environment that allows their staff to excel. Can you tell us about the background of Kindred Group? KL: Originally called Unibet, the company was founded by Anders Ström in 1997 in the UK. The Group has been listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm since 2004. In 2016, Unibet became Kindred and shifted to a truly multi-brand strategy, the same year the Group reached 1 million active customers. 0142


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Interview | SiGMA

and Sweden back in 1999 and later wrote my master’s thesis comparing sports betting and stock trading as forms of investments. After graduating university, I joined Unibet in 2007 and never looked back. Mette Lorenzen (ML): When I got my first job within the gambling industry, I knew very little about it, but once I was in, I was very attracted to the dynamic work environment and many growth opportunities available within the industry. I liked the fact that the industry is constantly evolving. Denise Cutajar (DC): I had been working for a recruitment agency specialising in finding talent for the gambling industry prior to joining Kindred, so I had a front row view of the many different gambling companies on the island. The environment and vibe I saw in these companies was something I really liked and craved to be a part of.

As Talent Acquisition Partner, what do you think is the secret to finding and retaining skilled, happy staff? KL: Kindred has a strategic commitment to offering our people the best employee experience. We are a multi location and multi-brand company, so are able to guarantee a wealth of opportunities within the company. Our organisation structure makes it easy for employees to have an impact and advance their professional growth.

“There is a really friendly atmosphere and lots of fantastic, professional people. Personally, I also value that Kindred is considered one of the most trusted operators in the industry and a frontrunner when it comes to taking social responsibility around gambling”

Within recruitment, we aim to find those people who not only have the relevant skills, but fit our values and have a desire to grow personally and professionally. We also offer a ton of benefits to our employees and believe in a healthy work-life balance. At Kindred you become a shareholder when you join the company, so you’re truly invested in the success of the organisation. We also offer relocation assistance, private medical insurance, a well-being allowance, paid community service leave, free eye-test and yoga. What does the future hold for Kindred? What are your expectations for SiGMA 2018 and beyond? KL: We’re working hard to deliver on our aim of becoming the number one gambling operator across all markets. We’re moving offices in London and Malta over the next few months - our head office in Malta will be moving to a new state-of-the art office in The Point. We also recently relocated our Gibraltar office to the World Trade Centre. We’re also working to further integrate 32Red, who we recently acquired, and we have some very interesting product developments on the way. For Sigma we’re hoping to meet some great people, learn from others and have a great time. Following our interview with Kati, we posed a number of questions to the group. What attracted you to a career in the iGaming industry? Jonathan Elfving (JE): My interest in gambling goes back a long way; in my teens I decided that this was the industry I wanted to work in. I think it is fantastic to be able to work in an area that is also a personal interest of mine. I started out as a croupier on the cruising ships between Finland 0143


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KL: My background is in hospitality and tourism, and I have lived in various different countries since 2001. Whilst living in Costa Rica I became familiar with the industry and people working within it. When I relocated to Malta in 2010, gambling was my number one choice for work. How has working at Kindred Group impacted your career development? Mickael Marceau (MM): My induction training was a good first step in developing my knowledge of the industry. I was then offered specific training to help me succeed in my role. My latest course was a leadership program spread over 9 months. This was the best course I have ever taken. The combination of practice and theory, combined with teamwork exercise, allowed me to improve my skills and become a better leader. JE: Working at Kindred has allowed me the opportunity to operate within multiple interesting roles in various locations. I started in Malta, then spent a few years in London and now I’m working from Stockholm. Having initially started as a customer support agent, I am currently responsible for heading up the department responsible for integrating acquired companies. So it has been a great journey at Kindred.

“Due to the vast amount of gambling companies based here, Malta is obviously a very competitive environment, but I think Kindred is a great place to work. There is a really friendly atmosphere and lots of fantastic, professional people”

ML: Kindred Group has supported my career development in many ways, but most noticeably by placing trust in me and providing high quality training programs that have helped me to flourish. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work within different roles and areas of the business, and also in different offices and countries. Throughout this time my managers have always placed trust in me, and allowed the flexibility for me to be creative and try out new things. I have grown as a person and expanded my skillset and experience. DC: Kindred group have been excellent in supporting me through my career. I joined Unibet back in 2013 as a recruiter, at the time this was a relatively new position within the company and I was entrusted to mould this role into whatever I deemed best for the benefit of the business. So, I was given ample space to be creative. The company spotted my potential, and after 3 years I was offered my current role as HR Business Partner. The company continues to support me in terms of learning and development, and I remain overwhelmed by the amount of care and attention I am given when needed. What sets Kindred Group apart from other gaming companies in Malta? JE: Due to the vast amount of gambling companies based here, Malta is obviously a very competitive environment, but I think Kindred is a great place to work. There is a really friendly atmosphere and lots of fantastic, professional people. Personally, I also value that Kindred is considered one of the most trusted operators in the industry and a frontrunner when it comes to taking social responsibility around gambling. ML: At Kindred we live by our values and care about our people - meaning both our employees and our customers. We like to take the lead and are not scared of taking risks when it comes to areas we believe in, for example, our clear focus on being the most trusted operator in the industry. MM: I would say the people and their commitment! ‘Individuals United’ is one of our 5 values, and we feel anything can be achieved when we work together. I would also add the strong top management leadership and group strategy. We are strengthened as a group because we know where we are heading, and our values and focus areas are extremely well defined. We have the capabilities to achieve our aims, and the investment the group is making toward employee’s wellbeing and development sets us apart from other companies. DC: Being part of the HR team, I can safely say that what sets Kindred apart from other gambling companies is its strategic commitment to offering our people the best employee experience. We consistently gather feedback from our employees, and together with our employee engagement groups and managers, work hard to ensure this feedback is prioritised and implemented. We consider ourselves to be a top employer on the island.

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Interview | SiGMA

“Be yourself, curious, open minded and work hard. Be passionate about what you are doing and ready to challenge or think outside of the box. With a positive attitude and the right mindset, the opportunities are almost unlimited within Kindred, so you’ll find a long and rewarding career”

KL: I hear lot of candidates say that they apply to work with us because it feels safe and they have heard that we offer good career development opportunities. Our organisation’s goals are communicated clearly to our staff and become a part of each employee’s’ individual goals. Our employees feel that they are contributing to the group’s success, and so feel that they are “going somewhere”. When your role has a clear purpose with achievable but challenging targets, you are productive. When you receive regular feedback and direction from your manager, you stay committed, and when your work-life balance is right, with enough flexibility, you contribute to a great team atmosphere and stay happy. People build lifelong friendships here. What is a highlight from your time at Kindred? JE: It has been a really fun decade at Kindred for me, with lots of great memories and laughs over the years. Particular highlights are the company kickoffs and conferences over the years. For the latest one back in April, we had more than 1000 employees gathered in Rome, having an absolute blast together as one big family. ML: When I played my first live ladies event at Unibet Open Live poker tour in Troia and won! I was working at the event as Account Manager for the Danish poker players at that time, and they talked me into playing a ladies side event. There were only 6 players, so it’s not really an impressive achievement, but the fact that around 20 of our poker customers and players gathered around the table, and were cheering loudly, made this a fun and unforgettable experience. MM: Rome in 2017 is definitely one of them. Amazing location, superb organisation. An event that gathered more

than 1000 employees - it was amazing! This is Kindred! The past few years have been highlights of my career as a whole. The way things are shaping up for the future is great. And the trust the company is giving to employees in removing barriers and bureaucracy, is helping us to perform better. DC: There are many highlights I can think of. But the main one has to be when in April of this year the whole company travelled to Rome for 3 days, to celebrate our successes as a group, and also to introduce and become ‘Kindred’ together. This was a once in a lifetime experience and it takes a special company to organise such a huge event for its employees. Also during our time in Rome, I was voted the ‘Friendliest Person at Kindred’ which was a real honour considering I work among such unique and talented individuals. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to join Kindred today, what would it be? JE: Be yourself - this is a very relaxed and welcoming company. We have over 50 nationalities and lots of different types of people, so respect one another and work well together. ML: Be yourself, curious, open minded and work hard. Be passionate about what you are doing and ready to challenge or think outside of the box. With a positive attitude and the right mindset, the opportunities are almost unlimited within Kindred, so you’ll find a long and rewarding career. DC: Get ready and hold on tight! Working at Kindred is amazing and enjoyable, but it is also very fast moving. If you embrace change, then the ride is an unforgettable one. It’s all about one’s attitude and treating every experience as an opportunity to learn. 0145


Software | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

All the tools you need THE EAR LTD WAS ESTABLISHED OVER 15 YEARS AGO AS A HUMBLE GAMING OPERATOR AND HAS SINCE EVOLVED TO BECOME A COVETED IGAMING SOFTWARE PROVIDER FOR VARIOUS OTHER OPERATORS IN THE INDUSTRY. The company has many years of experience in risk management, odds compiling and customer care form the core foundations of the The Ear Ltd sports betting application, which has been designed for both Land – based and Online markets. The Ear Ltd also offers a comprehensive gaming platform, licensed in a number of jurisdictions worldwide and adapted for major third-party games and products. The platform’s strong points are intuitive user and game bonus management functionality, comprehensive reporting, integration of many and several payment methods as well as support for many different languages suiting the needs for your market approach. The Ear Ltd offers a number of operator solutions with customised configura-tions that enable it to satisfy the requirements of customers from different backgrounds and markets. The Ear Ltd. is a software provider of gaming products licensed to operate under the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and Curaçao Authority. SOLUTIONS SPORT Betting The Ear Ltd Sports Betting application includes: • Management of sports, leagues and events • Odds trading module with derived and automated odds • Hundreds of pre-set bet types for countless sports • Ability to create customised bet types • Integration with Betradar for automatic event creation and importation of results • The Ear Ltd Risk management module • Livescore information • Betting bonuses for end users • Customised betting portal graphics • Customised settings for maximum wins, etc. Live Betting Our Live Betting module stands out from other similar products for many reasons, in particular the way it is presented to our end users.

The Ear Ltd Live Betting module features events from all the major sports and was designed to provide an easy way of combining live events on a single betting slip. The platform includes the following features: • User management • Performance reports • The Ear Ltd Sports Betting module • The Ear Ltd Live Betting module • Casino software integrations, including Netent, Play&Go • Payment methods and gateways such as Paysafe, Skrill and Paypal • Retail Solutions • Mobile Betting CASINO The Ear Ltd offers a wide range of casino games and products coming from all major providers across the market. The games can easily be integrated into any existing platform. Back office The back office application is a centralised control panel for our entire range of products, allowing you as the operator to manage a day-to-day business practice and devise long term strategies. Our extensive background with gaming operators has helped us create a complete package of features and functionalities de-signed to meet all the specifications that are required to build and maintain this sort of business. Sports Betting management Live Betting management Management of integrated games and products Bonus management* Customer care* User management* Advanced reporting* SERVICES • Risk management and odds • Fully-managed or hosted solutions • Back office management • Integration Product

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Casinos | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Filling demand for player-oriented casinos ONLY A DECADE AGO YOU COULD CHECK OUT A FRESH ONLINE CASINO RATING AND RECOGNISE ALL THE NAMES ON THE LIST. IT TOOK TIME FOR A CASINO TO ESTABLISH ITSELF. FAST FORWARD TO PRESENT TIME - NEW CASINOS SPRING UP OVERNIGHT, EACH A SELFPROCLAIMED INDUSTRY CHAMPION. ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT? And even if we focus exclusively on the more-or-less famous white label casinos with a few years out there, the choice does not get much easier. They will all have the industry’s standard features and services: crisp design, support service available 24/7, most popular payment methods, a decent choice of slots and classic casino games…. It’s not easy to stand out. When I only began my gambling career, years ago, I would always get upset with all the things that were wrong in the online casinos I’d frequent. I’d often think: “Sure, you guys run a business, but would it kill you to meet your players in the middle from time to time?” Back then I already had a lot of interesting ideas on improving the situation, thinking from a player’s perspective.

The competitive marketplace of online gambling will swallow you and spit you up unless you keep your finger on the pulse, prepared to grow and change. In that respect our players can count on us staying one step ahead of everyone else, always. I’ll make you a bet: from this point onward, with the choice of gaming platforms and turn-key package-deal solutions, most casinos may look and feel the same. Eventually, it will all come down to the casinos knowing exactly what their players truly desire - and acting on it. And I, for one, see that as a very exciting future. Kate and Nick from Playamo

An opportunity presented itself only a few years ago: a close friend of mine, with whom I shared a passion for gambling, won a small fortune playing slots online. It was meant to be. We partnered up and founded PlayAmo - a casino where the player is the sun and everything else revolves around. The best way to relate to a player is to be one, so our personal experience plus my hands-on approach as a CEO make us quite unique. It’s always a challenge balancing the business needs against our players’ expectations, but overcoming these challenges is a thrill comparable to a big win at a casino. The idea was to create a sense of belonging and safety everyone wants to be a part of something exciting, see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel rather than just press buttons, every day just like the previous one. Take our VIP bonus structure: with a system of bonus statuses to reach and a Ferrari 488 GTB waiting at the top, every player can set and achieve goals depending on their ambition and gambling prowess. 0149


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Consulting | SiGMA

Risk Based Approach? – Works For Me (WFM) WORDS by Alan Alden

EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, SEEMS TO BE TALKING ABOUT RISK – HIGH RISK THIS AND HIGH RISK THAT, TOO MUCH OF A RISK OR RISK APPETITE…. BUT HOW MUCH OF THE RISKS WE TALK ABOUT ARE REAL AND HOW MUCH OF IT IS JUST PERCEIVED RISK? We say things based on our perceptions, even stock markets’ indexes are affected by perceptions. The perceptions we have are generally created from lobbying and media reports which sometimes may be inaccurate and over dramatized. Facts and figures, once analysed can often provide a totally different picture. Lobbyists and the media know however that people often believe what they hear without questioning. - Say it enough times and people will believe it! We must question the perception of many that the online gaming industry is a high-risk industry for ML/FT and ask on what basis have they arrived at such a conclusion. We must ask what scientific evidence has been collated to prove that this perceived risk is in fact a real risk? – to be or not to be… It probably originated from the aggressive lobbying carried out at EU level by parties whose only interest was to stop the proliferation of online gaming as it was a perceived threat to their land based businesses. - The mud stuck. The 4th AMLD has included gaming operators as obliged entities as Authorities believe that they pose a real risk. This was expected and welcomed by many so that finally perceptions may be quashed. The Directive follows FATF guidance on taking a Risk Based approach. The issue now is whether the results of the risk assessments will be accepted by the relevant Authorities? And most importantly will other assessors and obliged entities (e.g. PSPs, banks) who have gaming companies as customers review their risk assessment of remote gaming now that they too are obliged entities. What my experience has taught me and other veterans of the industry, is that there are good guys and bad guys everywhere, but in general the gaming industry has self-regulated in a professional and serious manner. The fraud controls implemented are more advanced than in any other online industry and this has led to minimal fraud losses by operators who invested in modern technological measures. Ongoing monitoring of customers and profiling them is going to be a new challenge, but already there is AI software available for the industry

that can do amazing things in real time and assist operators in reducing risks and achieving compliance without too much pain or increase in staff. In conclusion, to me the problem is that the industry is not understood, not communicated with and not analysed in a serious and objective manner by unbiased assessors. All we want is that the industry is treated fairly and as a normal business with its own particular risks. To be totally honest, the industry is to blame as it never stood together and formed a strong lobby group like the Lotteries Association. If we want to quash perceptions we need to do a lot of lobbying at the right levels to counter the negative lobbying that has been taking place. Then someone will ask for scientific data and the truth will come out, and we are not afraid of the truth.

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Security | SiGMA

Your​ ​Secrets​ ​for​ ​Sale​ ​to​ ​You,​ ​ or​ ​the​ ​Highest​ ​Bidder WORDS by Gary Beal

the​ ​“goodies”,​ ​free credits,​ ​but​ ​to​ ​receive​ ​them​ ​they​ EMAIL… Your​ ​S​like​ecrets​ ​for​ ​Sale​ ​to​​ ​You,​ ​or​ ​the​ ​Highest​ ​Bidder must​ ​select​ ​any​ ​number​ ​of​ ​additional​ ​free​ ​offers.​ ​These​ ​ You​ ​are​ ​probably​ ​like​ ​90%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​us​ ​and​ ​you​ ​do​ ​not​ ​ This​ ​is​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​“spoofing”.​ ​Users​ ​are​ ​prompted​ ​to​ ​pick​ ​

BUT​ ​I​ ​USE​ ​ENCRYPTION​ ​PROGRAMS​ ​FOR​ ​SMS​ ​AND​ ​

A Hacker a page legit are​ but it’s not. They are collecting data,​ that resold.​ ​Leads,​ ​or​creates ​the​ ​aforementioned ​can​ ​be​ ​slooks old​ ​ ​likely​ ​using​ ​out-of-the-box​ ​32​ ​or​ ​6 4-bit​ ​encryption​ your ​built​ ​ can be​ ​insurance,​ ​finance​ ​or​ ​personal​ ​data​ ​that​ ​is​ ​then​ ​

use​ ​any​ ​email​ ​encryption.​ ​Even Hillary​ ​didn’t.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​do,​ ​you​ ​

on​ ​a​ ​“per-lead”​ ​basis,​ ​a​ ​“per-sale”​ ​basis,​ ​or​ ​sold​ ​over​ ​and​ ​

into- your​ ​operating​ ​system,​ ​when​ ​you​ ​should​ ​be​ ​using​ ​256-

information​ o​ ​s​Dell​ o​ ​t​In​he​ idder,​ ​obit​ r​ ​w orse,​ ​t​To​hat​​h​bold​ ou​ ​hostage. over​ ​again​ ​on the​ ​D​teep​ ark​ ​W​teb.​ ​the​ ​h ​wighest​ orst​ ​cases,​ ​b ​the​ ​ ​encryption.​ eing​ ​s​y aid,​ ​even 256-bit​ ​encryption​ ​isn’t​ ​ end-user​ ​is​ ​contacted​ ​and​ ​personal​ ​information that​ ​may​ ​be​ ​ embarrassing​ ​or​ ​may​ ​cause​ ​career-ending​ ​repercussions​ ​or​ ​ sensitive​ ​details​ ​are held​ ​for​ ​ransom.

secure​ ​enough​ ​for​ ​the​ ​US​ ​government​ ​to​ ​rely​ ​on​ ​it.​[2] In​ ​terms​ ​of​ ​SMS​ ​or​ ​Text​ ​Messaging,​ ​you​ ​aren’t​ ​safe​ ​either.​ ​A​ ​ simple​ ​spoofed​ ​request​ ​from​ ​a professional​ ​Social​ ​Engineer​ This​ ​is​ ​referred​ ​to​ ​as​ ​“spoofing”.​ ​Users​ ​are​[3]​​p​​crompted​ ​to​ ​p​reveal​ ick​ ​t​lhe​ ​like​ ​free ​ ould​ ​potentially​ ogin​​“​cgoodies”,​ redentials​ ​and​ ​therefore​ Just​ ​opening​ ​a​ ​link​ ​that​ ​says​ ​“Your​ ​Receipt​ ​of​ ​Purchase”​ ​or​ ​ all​ ​of your​ ​messages​ ​on​ ​almost​ ​any​ ​SMS​ ​service,​ ​even​ ​when​ ​ credits,​ ​but​​laden​ ​to​ ​receive​ hey​ ​mxact​ ust​​situation.​ ​select​​ ​any​ ​nthey​ umber​ ​o​cf​ an’t.​ ​additional​ ​free​ ​offers.​ ​ICQ?​ ​These​ other​ ​curiosity​ ​topic can​ ​t​phem​ ut​ ​you​ ​t​in​ ​this​ ​e ​say​ ​you​ ​​[4]​ ​​SnapChat?WhatsApp?​ ​-​ ​All​ ​ ​can On​ ​t​ihe​ ​landing​ ​page​​finance​ ​that​ ​looks​​o​100%​ ​legit,​ ​navigation be​ nsurance,​ r​ ​personal​ ​data​ buttons​ ​that​ ​is​​ ​then​apparently​ ​resold.​​“hackable.”​ ​Leads,​ [5] ​or​ ​the​ ​aforementioned lead​ ​to​ ​downloads​ ​of​ ​malware​ ​and​ ​potentially​ ​RAT​ ​(Remote​ ​ which​ Administration​ ​Hackers​ ​an​ ​o​b pen​ ​door.​​a​ ​ ​“per-sale”​ SO​ ​Y​bOU​ ​WERE​ OR​ ​A ​FIX​ ​O ​A​ ​W​aAY​ ​TO​ ​ ​on ​can​ ​b​Te​ools), ​sold​ ​on​ ​g​aive​ ​ ​“per-lead”​ asis,​ asis,​ ​or​​H​sOPING​ old​ ​o​Fver​ ​a​ nd​ ​oR​ver​ gain​ data,​ They​ ​are​ ​essentially​ ​you​ ​sitting​ ​at​ ​your​ ​computer​ ​with 100%​ ​ PREVENT​ ​THIS​ ​THREAT? the​ ​Deep​ ​Dark​ ​W eb.​ ​In​​like​ ​the​​the​​w​worst​ ​cases,​ ​the​ ​is​​disappoint​ ​contacted​ ​and​​is​​p​nersonal​ control.​ ​Peer-To-Peer​ ​networks​ ell-known​ ​“Pirate​ ​ ​end-user​ Sorry​ ​to​ ​but​ ​there​ o​ ​answer​ ​to​​information ​this​ ​question.​ ​ Bay”​ ​are​ ​filled​ ​with malicious​ ​code​ ​attached​ ​to​ ​movies,​ ​ There​ ​are​ ​currently Supercomputers​ ​and​ ​systems​ ​capable​ ​of​ ​ that​ ​may​ ​embarrassing​ ​or​ ​may​ ​cause​ ​career-ending​ ​sensitive​ ​details​ ​are​ software,​ ​and​​b​oe​ther​ ​downloadable​ ​files. Quantum​​r​Eepercussions​ ngineering​ ​that​ ​can​​o​cr​rack​ ​the​ ​256-bit encryption.​ There​ ​are​ ​still​ ​“noobies”​ ​falling​ ​for​ ​spoof​ ​emails,​ ​and​ ​Social​ ​ ​for​ ​ransom. held​ For​ ​every​ ​security​ ​company​ ​or​ ​virus​ ​software​ ​available​ ​there​ ​ Media​ ​is​ ​bigger​ ​than ever.​ ​Every​ ​new​ ​update​ ​carries​ ​a​ ​ are​ ​100’s​ ​of​ ​“Script Kiddies”​[1]​ ​​and​ ​many​ ​Hacker​ ​groups​ ​ possible​ ​threat. that​ ​started​ ​hacking​ ​for​ ​fun.​ ​Soon​ ​they​ ​realized​ ​that​ ​with anonymous​ ​software​ ​like​ ​Tor​ ​a ​and​ ​the​ ​t​phat​ ayment​ ​options​ ​that​ ​ ​Receipt​ The​ ​has​ ​already​ ​past​ ​paranoia​ ​and​ ​ ​topic Just​ ​opening​ ​ ​link​ ​says​ ​“Your​ ​of​​problem​ ​Purchase”​ ​or​ ​o​ventured​ ther​ ​curiosity​ ​laden​ Cryptocurrency​ ​offers,​ ​they​ ​were essentially​ ​sitting​ ​on​ ​a​ ​ mutated​ ​into​ ​reality​ ​when​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to worry​ ​if​ ​Big​ ​Brother​ ​is​ ​ can​ ​put​ ​you​ ​in​ ​this​ ​exact​ ​situation.​ ​On​ ​the​ ​landing​watching​ ​page​ ​t​yhat​ ​looks​​y​1 00%​ ​legit,​ goldmine. ou​ ​through​ our​ ​webcam,​ ​TV​ ​n ​or​avigation ​Smart​ ​Phone.

buttons​ o​ ​w​didely​ ownloads​ ​online​ f​ ​malware​ ​and​ ​potentially​ AT​​time​ ​(Remote​ ​Tools), ​flip​ ​ Lists​ ​of​ ​raw​​lead​ ​data​ ​a​tre​ ​available​ ​o ​through​ ​the​ ​ So​ ​the​​R ​next​ ​you​ ​want​ ​t​A o​ dministration​ ​have​ ​a​ ​private​ ​conversation,​ ou​ Facebook​ Dark​ M ​ arkets.​ Y ​ c ​ an​ b ​ uy h ​ acking​ s ​ oftware​ ​ the​ s ​ witch​ o ​ n​ t ​ he​ b ​ reaker​ b ​ ox, remove​ t ​ he​ b ​ attery​ rom​ ​your​ ​ which​ ​give​ ​Hackers​ ​an​ ​open​ ​door.​ ​They​ ​are​ ​essentially​ ​you​ ​sitting​ ​at​ ​your​ ​computer​ ​w​fith or​ ​customer​ ​data​ ​dumps​ ​from​ ​an​ ​employee​ ​that​ ​is​ ​found​ ​ smart​ ​phone,​ ​and​ ​unplug​ ​all​ ​your​ ​land​ ​lines,​ ​otherwise​ ​you through a​​control.​ ​LinkedIn​ ​s​P earch.​ ​A​ ​$10,000​ ​bounty​ ​to​ ​a​ ​$20​​like​ ​ might​ ​have​ ​a​“n​Pirate​ ​audience. 100%​ eer-To-Peer​ ​networks​ ​the​ ​well-known​ ​Bay”​ ​are​ ​filled​ ​with per​ ​hour programmer​ ​is​ ​a​ ​nice​ ​payday.​ ​Even​ ​though​ ​most​ ​ accounts are​ ​p ​are​ ​60​ ​b​tillion​ mages​ ​on​​s​Foftware,​ acebook​ ​and​ ​other​ ​downloadable​ ​files. malicious​ ​cublic,​ ode​ ​there​ ​attached​ o​ ​m​iovies,​ ALTERNATIVE​ ​IDEAS [1]​,​ ​many unpublished,​ ​and​ ​these​ ​assuredly​ ​contain​ ​a​ ​few embarrassing​ ​ones.​ ​We​ ​all​ ​have​ ​that​ ​“One”​ ​unfortunate moment​ ​privately​ ​posted,​ ​but​ ​easily​ ​obtained​ ​through​ ​ For​ very​ ecurity​ ​company​ spoofing,​ ​W iFi​ ​p​e orts​ ​or​ ​o​s ther​ ​malicious software. ​or​ ​virus​

Are​ ​Hacker’s​ ​Really​ ​Hurting​ ​or​ ​Helping? Ashley​ ​Madison​ ​-​ ​Up​ ​50%​ ​Since​ ​Hacker​ ​Attack​ ​2​ ​ Years​ ​Ago ​software​ ​available​ ​there​ ​are​ ​100’s​ ​of​ ​“Script • Covering​ ​hackers​ ​“ransom”​ ​tactics,​ ​Hacks​ ​for​ ​ [1]​ ​ Kiddies”​ and​ ​many​ ​H[1]https://code.facebook.com/ acker​ ​groups​ ​that​ ​started​ ​hacking​ ​for​ ​fun.​ ​S​hoon​ hey​ ​realized​ ​with [1a]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Script_kiddie bragging​ ​rights​ ​and​ ow​ ​to​​t​p revent them​ ​from​​that​ ​ posts/685565858139515/needle-in-a-haystack-efficient-storage-of-billions-of-photos/ happening.​ ​Security​ ​companies,​ ​Antivirus​ ​software,​ ​ [2]​ ​http://aesencryption.net/ [3]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_ anonymous​ ​software​ ​like​ ​Tor​ ​and​ ​the​ ​payment​ ​options​ ​Cryptocurrency​ ​offers,​ ​they​ ​were Server​​that​ ​Protection,​ ​etc. (security) [4]https://www.google.com.mt/search?q=hacking+snapchat&rlz=1C5CHFA_ enMT757MT758&oq=hacking+snapchat&aqs=chrome..69i57.6 essentially​ ​sitting​ ​on​ ​a​ ​goldmine.

624j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 [5]​https://hackforums.net/forumdisplay.php?fid=46

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Consulting | SiGMA

THE PROTECTIVE MIDDLE-MAN IN THIS BRIEF EXPLANATION, CLAIRE WELLARD FROM IHRE CONSULTING EXPLAINS THE BENEFIT FOR AFFILIATES TO WORK WITH AN AFFILIATE NETWORK, AS OPPOSED TO WORKING DIRECTLY WITH MULTIPLE OPERATORS.

ONE POINT OF CONTACT We know how frustrating it is when you have the same conversation with so many different people at one organisation and come no closer to an outcome. A benefit of using an Affiliate Network is that you have one point of contact for everything you could possibly need and they will be able to resolve any queries for you without you being passed from pillar to post.

OVERVIEW OF THE MARKET Networks will often have a very broad overview of the market. Working with multiple operators it will enable Networks to see who perform and converts best in which market and for which types of operators. They will also know those who don’t provide the best Account Management or those who have problems with reputations. Having this knowledge and experience makes a vital difference to not only the deal amount but the brand quality and the amount of commission made by the affiliates.

OPERATORS – NETWORKS CAN PENETRATE NEW MARKETS FASTER For operators who are looking for the benefits of working with affiliate networks, networks will have access to an existing portfolio in the market you are looking to penetrate. This can speed up the process of looking for affiliates and traffic within that territory than your own team starting from scratch.  Networks can come in to run alongside your current team and help enhance the work they are already doing. There are, of course, a lot of networks out there besides Ihre Consulting. Do your homework, ask around and remember, it’s your traffic, your deals and your earnings. Do what you feel is best for you and your business.

MORE TIME ON SEO THAN DEAL NEGOTIATION Affiliates in all markets benefit highly from working with an affiliate network, as it means they can spend less time speaking to operators to try and negotiate a good deal and more time working on their sites, developing their SEO and building traffic. We know how busy affiliates are, and to be able to remove part of their workload helps them to spread their time evenly over other important tasks with peace of mind that they have us looking after the affiliate deal side of the business.

BENEFIT TO OPERATORS? BROAD RANGE OF AFFILIATES IN ALL MARKETS Everyone knows that affiliates are loyal to the brands and Affiliate Managers who take the best care of their needs and go above and beyond to help them. As a network, the team behind them will be a very strong Affiliate Management department, with trusted reputations and already comes with a huge portfolio of contacts. Working with affiliate networks will give you access to many years of experience and built relationships covering many markets.

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

SiGMA INTERVIEWS SIMON AZZOPARDI, PRESIDENT AND ONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF SILICON VALLETTA, WHO EXPLAINS WHY MALTA IS THE SILICON VALLEY OF THE MEDITERRANEAN.

Interview | SiGMA

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Simon Azzopardi, how do you perceive the What’s driving startup growth in Malta? startup ecosystem reality in Malta? Malta has built a decent tech community through the gaming When you think of startups, you immediately industry, and furthermore, understand and operate in a highly think of Silicon Valley, London and Berlin. We competitive market. Entrepreneurs are emerging from the think of fast growth companies with silly valuations industry to set up their own startups, whether in gaming or that change the world. Even Maltese people don’t not, and we are seeing investors look at Malta closely due consider Malta as a startup hub. However, Malta does to the quality opportunities increasingly being based here. have a role in the startup world, and we have proven it.   Another driver of the startup ecosystem’s importance is Before tech startups were even a thing, Malta was already the basic need to diversify our reliance on one sector a powerhouse for global companies. To name a few; GLI, and leverage Malta’s existing top rated talent and with its unicorn valuation, EC School, a global English laguage skill sets based here from across the globe. institution, as well as TOLY, which is globally renowned for   cosmetics. All three had humble startup beginnings in Malta. The startup ecosystem today is very much alive   with some awesome companies with bold Why did you decide to launch Silicon Valletta? missions. From Oulala that are owning the The tech startup community believed in Malta being known for its fantasy football space, to Sherpa that are achievements, as well as the opportunity should Malta accelerate its reinventing insurance. We have seen ability to be even more attractive. Therefore, a group of entrepreneurs startups raise millions of Euros and got together to develop Silicon Valletta to do exactly that, promote Malta advisory boards back local teams to as a startup jurisdiction and act as a reference point for government to solve global problems. The startup foster greater opportunities to attract talent, entrepreneurs and investors. scene is most certainly a reality, and we believe that we are just at the Silicon Valletta has been featured in some of the top global media outlets, beginning. including Forbes and Huffington Post, and helps organise Malta largest tech event Zest with the support of the MCA, attracting investors and startups to the island. Silicon Valletta have recently opened up membership and have gathered quite a bit of interest from like-minded people, all wishing to support and rally behind Malta’s potential.  

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Business Update | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

NEW AML REGULATIONS – ARE YOU COMPLIANT?

WORDS BY Warren Russell, W2 Global Data

The cost of non-compliance will have an impact on the bottom line as new regulation affects more businesses and authorities are determined to enforce them with large fines for non-compliance. The reputational impact of non-compliance is just not going to be acceptable to any business. The most important new regulation affecting the gaming industry is the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. We all have been talking about it for the last couple of years, helping companies to set up a process to implement the changes and ensure compliance. The deadline for this to happen was the 26th of June this year so it is now law. From my perspective, there are two key elements to highlight about the new AML directive. It includes, for the first time, online gambling activities within its remit, having previously included only land-based casinos. And there is a requirement for on-going batch checking, not just at the customer onboarding stage. The Directive has implications for many industries but, for Gaming operators, applying regulatory change should be much easier and particularly the on-line operators where they are not burdened to the same extent by legacy systems.

The complexity is that the new regulations are interpreted differently by many of the same type of organisations and there is no hard and fast rule on how frequently the ongoing checking should be carried out. The technology exists to support to automate the process but many companies are still using manual process to fulfil this requirement. Online gaming companies understand they need to ensure they are compliant and need to look to electronic real-time checking as well as back-up document verification, AML and PEP & Sanction screening. In a changing world of regulation, a one-stop shop to enable companies to have access to a myriad of data, all from one API integration, giving access globally, is becoming the essential not the nice to have. Financial services have tried to navigate through a sea of regulation for many years, some still playing catch-up game with new technology.  Gambling operators now find themselves in the same boat, needing to find reliable, low cost, innovative ways of complying. Stay tuned with regulatory updates. Connect with us on social media or visit w2globaldata.com

1 STOP TRANSLATIONS The increased connectivity that the internet provides has fuelled a huge boom in mobile gaming so it is essential for businesses in the iGaming sector to deliver accurate content to clients as quickly as possible, content that is consistent across the international marketplace Making sure the exact meaning of the content is delivered across languages and that localisation of content is optimised is a huge challenge, especially where the use of terminology is highly specific. There may be one word in a given language that requires a sentence or two to get across the same meaning (i.e. German to English), or even correctly gendering nouns in Latin based languages. One wrong translation could mean your customers going over to another iGaming provider or online casino. The faster these sorts of challenges are met and overcome, the better your company will understand the motivations and desires of the customers, allowing you to provide the best possible service catered to their specific needs

When the target market is a mixed audience with differing levels of understanding and experience of iGaming based on social, economic or geographical differences, it is essential to find local suppliers well versed and thoroughly experienced within the specific iGaming field, especially in rapidly expanding markets with noted demographic variation such as the Asian market. The specific needs of customers in different countries will always vary, even varying regionally within one country. By making sure to provide the highest accuracy and level of translation possible you are not only enabling your company to continually improve and make your service more user friendly, but also maximising the possibility of increasing your company’s market share. 1 Stop Translations works to ensure that your message is precisely localized with the quickest turnaround time possible, no matter the market, platform or language.

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Business Update | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

TRUST IN LOCALISATION

It’s fair to say that in the igaming industry there is plenty of choice for players to ponder when it comes to which online casino to play at. With new brands being launched all the time, each looking for that niche or unique twist to make them stand out from the crowd, players really do have a plethora of options. When choosing from the vast selection of casino brands to play at, players take into consideration many factors. Whether this be the best welcome package, detailed VIP programme, look and feel of a site or game selection. Each player has their own criteria. One factor that ranks highly on this list is trust. Players have to feel comfortable at a casino prior to depositing their funds and trust they can conduct their gameplay in a controlled environment, and above all else, ensure they will be paid their winnings in a timely manner.

and local licensing. Something we aspire to offer for each brand. Trust can also come from casino brands being clear in what they offer and how players will be rewarded. This is where two of our more niche brands at L&L Europe fit into the market, with No Bonus Casino and Free Spins Casino. Both are clear in what they offer, cashback on all loses or free spins with each deposit. Nothing more, nothing less!

Now what makes someone trust an online business, or any business for that matter? Familiarity would be high up on that list. People trust what they know. That is why at L&L Europe we launched a group of geotargeted casinos, designed around those particular countries themes and trademarks. For example, All British for the UK market, Adler Casino for the German and Karl Casino for Sweden. The trust factor doesn’t only come from the name and appropriate graphics used on site, but also comes having native speaking support 0161


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Malta Gaming Awards | SiGMA

The second edition of the Malta Gaming Awards is taking place the evening before SiGMA17 kicks off, on Wednesday, November 22nd. Three features make these awards unique: Nominees must have a strong connection with Malta; All proceeds from this event will go to charity; Awards will be held during Malta Gaming Week. The event will be held under the auspices of Her Excellency, the President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who is also chairing the Malta Community Chest Fund. The second edition will feature a new set of awards, from six last year to twelve this year, with some awards reflecting the trend in which the industry is fast heading into. These include: Fastest Growing White Label of the Year Innovator of the Year Investor of the Year Games Vendor of the Year Legal Firm of the Year Casino of the Year Lotto Product of the Year Careers program of the Year Affiliate of the Year Corporate Responsibility of the Year Sports Book Operator of the Year ICO of the Year Richard Hogg founder of the BiG Foundation shared his excitement:

“BiG is proud to host, together with SiGMA, these awards. Having the awards at our BiG Dinner adds a little extra to an already packed evening� On behalf of SiGMA, we would like to congratulate all of the nominees who were selected by the organizing committee, the judging panel and the industry. The awards are audited by a reputable audit firm. Full details on www.gamingawards.com.mt 0163


SiGMA | Title

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Corporate Responsibility AT THE HEART OF AFFILIATION

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CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY, ALSO KNOWN AS RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS, IS A FORM OF SELF-REGULATION INTEGRATED INTO SUNT SPEL’S AFFILIATE BUSINESS MODEL. CSR POLICY FUNCTIONS AS A SELF-REGULATORY MECHANISM WHEREBY A BUSINESS MONITORS AND ENSURES ITS ACTIVE COMPLIANCE WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE LAW, ETHICAL STANDARDS AND NATIONAL OR INTERNATIONAL NORMS. Sunt Spel, which roughly translates to Healthy Gaming, was launched in the beginning of this year, and has quickly become a well-established name in the Scandinavian casino world as the casino portal that advocates fair and responsible gaming. Behind the website is a group of iGaming entrepreneurs with a combined experience in both affiliate marketing as well operators. “The idea behind the project was to create an affiliate site that added value to the iGaming world, and that breaks away from the old way of doing things in the affiliate business”, says Bergdahl. He went on to elaborate that the key to making the concept work has been to find a balance between traditional affiliate marketing and the responsible gaming philosophy. The website does promote offers, bonuses and reviews of online casinos, just like most affiliate sites. The main difference is that, should a problem player use the site, help is just a click away. Much of the website is dedicated to information on gambling problems. There is a helpful self-test of your gambling habits, along with guides on self-help and useful links to help organisations easily accessible from all parts of the website. Talking more on the responsible side of things, Bergdahl adds: “Responsible gaming does not only concern the players, but the operator side as well. We make sure not to recommend any casinos that don’t have a clear responsible gaming policy, with systems in place that lets a player put limitations on his or her account and close the account permanently.”

For a fairly new affiliate website in Sweden, Sunt Spel has come a long way. Looking at the future, it’s clear that Suntspel.se has no intention of slowing down. Bergdahl tells us about the Responsible Operator initiative, a certificate awarded by suntspel.se to operators that keep a high standard of ethics and security. “In a market that is highly profit driven, with thousands of casinos competing for customers, there are bound to be operators that bend the rules in order to increase profit. We believe that this gives the industry a bad reputation, and it’s the reason why many people are suspicious of it – and this is something we want to change.” In order to get the Sunt Spel responsible gaming certificate, operators will have to go through a close manual review to ensure that they meet a set of predefined requirements. “Once a certificate is awarded, communication channels will be open with both casino representatives and players, so that if player submits complaints regarding a certified casino, we can immediately investigate and review whether the certificate should be withdrawn.” The certification initiative is set to be launched within the coming months, and Bergdahl is optimistic about the future: “This is a natural step for us to take, that we hope will help us closer to our goal of building trust with our users in the long term.”

CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AT THE MALTA GAMING AWARDS Sunt Spel ’s Kristofer Bergdahl is on the nomination board at this year’s Malta Gaming Awards. The site is also sponsoring for the Corporate Responsibility Award – one of twelve accolades given out during this big charity dinner. We met up with Bergdahl to discuss the importance of the award, and to learn more about suntspel.se, and what sets the site apart from their competition. Speaking of the importance of the award, Bergdahl explains that gambling addiction

is becoming a problem in our society. Recent surveys published by the Public Health Agency in Sweden show that the amount of people with severe gambling problems has risen by almost 30% in the last 8 years, with similar numbers being seen in other European countries. “Corporate responsibility in iGaming is more important than ever in 2017. I’m happy to be on the nomination board for this particular award as a representative of suntspel.se, as responsible gaming is one of the cornerstones of our business”.

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Currency | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Cryptocurrencies must place regulation first to succeed WORDS by John Caldwell, Director of Advocacy, The Double C Foundation

A greater number of eyes have been settling on the issue of payments in the gambling world in recent times. Cryptocurrency, although still broadly in its infancy, is starting to get more attention as a true alternative to fiat currencies. However, a lack of knowledge regarding how crypto can help operators and customers persists, as does the idea that crypto is still at something of a “wild west” stage in its development. That is where CasinoCoin comes in. As part of the new team that has taken over and relaunched the coin we have placed a great deal of emphasis on ensuring that regulation is at the heart of our approach. The new team consists of a good balance of crypto people, gambling industry people, and fintech/compliance people, and I think that balance will be essential for the end product

to be what it needs to be. We know that this will not be a quick process. We specifically chose not to do an ICO, opting instead to take over a disused coin with a strong brand and familiarity in the crypto world. We’re in it for the long term and have tried to think this through in a number of ways. We also recently established a foundation with offices in the Isle of Man (and soon to be offices in Malta), with the aim of promoting the best use practices of CasinoCoin and cryptocurrency in general. CasinoCoin can help operators and suppliers in regulated markets which lack the technical knowledge to establish a crypto solution as a core part of their offering, and it is important that we underline how the coin can fit seamlessly within their regulated gaming offers. Additionally, we announced a number of appointments to the Foundation’s advisory board at the beginning of October, including Gamesys CEO Lee Fenton, Kindred Group CPO Britt Boeskov and OPL Gaming Group CEO Sam Hobcraft. Industry people are increasingly seeing and supporting the technology’s potential. It is important that this potential is realised in the right way, through working in close collaboration with igaming companies and regulators from day one in order to properly optimise the technology for both operators and customers. 0169


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Title | SiGMA

The Sports Betting User Experience BACK IN THE LATE 1990S, THE FIRST ONLINE SPORTS BETTING FIRMS STARTED TO APPEAR ON THE SCENE. AT FIRST, THEIR PAGES’ LOOK AND FEEL WAS LIMITED TO LISTING MATCHES FROM TOP FOOTBALL LEAGUES ALONGSIDE A PROMO CODE, WITH BETTING ON MATCH WINNER AS THE ONLY AVAILABLE MARKET. LIVE BETTING WASN’T CONSIDERED AT THE TIME, AND WAGERS WERE ACCEPTED ONLY UNTIL KICK OFF. 0171


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

in desktop terms and insist on creating a classic PC version with three columns before considering the needs of mobile users, treating their mobile customers as an afterthought, even if they are clearly in the majority. Fortunately, many providers have adopted the ‘mobile first’ mentality and realise their success depends primarily on the quality of the mobile experience. There is now a trend to prioritise the mobile version of a web page, while the classic three-column page design is taking a back seat, even if some firms are still afraid to make the leap and leave the large screen behind entirely. At Altenar, we have come to embrace the industry trends and are investing in the UX aspects of our product, where a ‘mobile first’ attitude is no longer good enough – we now take a ‘mobile only’ approach. In our projects, we start from the smallest four inch screen and expand our design to larger formats step by step, ensuring that navigation remains logical and simple in every version. For this reason, we have decided to distinguish the new mobile version of our site from the classic desktop version and evolve that interface as the future of our sportsbook front-end across all devices.

At the dawn of a new century, the companies gained pure online customers and enough experience to understand what a sports betting online page should look like. At approximately this time, the industry accepted two groundbreaking ideas that ended up having a huge impact on user experience. We will refer to the first one as ‘the British approach’ to pay respect to its origins – it was basically a way to direct the user through the betting procedure in a well-managed journey. This approach offered tremendous benefits to advanced users who knew exactly what they were looking for. However, it wasn’t well suited for users who primarily wanted to check the odds on numerous matches at once before placing a multiple bet on a slip. This is where the second improvement came in – reorganising the screen to fit the main menu on the left, betting slip on the right, and the list of possible bets in the middle of the screen. We will refer to this alignment as ‘the European approach’, since it was pioneered and championed mainly by Europe-based providers (especially those located in Northern Europe). Thereafter, sports betting sites assumed a mostly standardised format that is still recognisable today, with three frames dominating the layout. While some revolutionary innovations, such as live betting, were devised in this period, the basic layout remained more or less unchallenged. The main area of progress was intense proliferation of content – new markets were added, the number of matches skyrocketed, while useful widgets were added to sites, including statistics, live scores, pre-populated bet offers and score centres that emulate game action. Some providers went as far as to include a video streaming service to allow customers to watch the selected game live. Mobile technologies provided an opportunity to take online gaming to another level, opening a new chapter of industry history that is still underway. Mobile devices quickly overtook desktop computers as the primary means of accessing online gaming content, a process that is not unique to the sports betting industry. In fact, it would be difficult to find any strictly PC-based online industry in this day and age. Despite this fact, a number of sports betting providers continue to think

Even land-based betting shops will soon be forced to adapt to the ‘mobile only’ reality. Customers might still visit the shops, but they will use their smartphones to complete their slips before validating them over the counter and paying for them. We firmly believe in the genuine entertainment goal behind gaming, as opposed to feeding one’s addiction, so in our opinion, the only reason a player would visit a betting shop is to socialise with other sports fans over a cup of coffee, as otherwise they can do all of their betting online and on their mobile. With this in mind, we can’t envision large traditional terminal shops surviving for much longer, as they don’t fit this vision of the world, where all sports betting goes through mobile devices and waiting in a queue is no longer acceptable. As live betting has become more and more prominent, to the point of outperforming pre-match, the presentation of content has also had to adapt, with live and pre-match betting options being complementary to one another, as opposed to being treated as separate products. This has eliminated the awkward situations that once plagued punters, who would browse the English Premier League matches on a Saturday afternoon only to find out that the games were about to begin and the bookmaker couldn’t take any pre-match bets. They would then have to navigate all the way to another ‘in-running’ section, even if the game kicked off seconds ago. With our premium and extensive live sports content, the merging of pre-match and live betting is a must for Altenar and for this reason, we have already implemented this approach in our mobile solution, with the unified concept also coming soon to desktop. Current trends suggest an even greater focus on all aspects of player experience. In general, behaviour analysis and automated personalisation are the ongoing areas of focus for improvements in the industry, where content adaptation and anticipation of player needs is key. This is where Altenar is focusing its current research and development efforts. We are improving our product by tracking the user journey, analysing the choices customers make and measuring how satisfied they are. We are working towards a position where we will be able to prevent players from developing a gambling addiction and measure the level of entertainment whilst rewarding it automatically.   As soon as we complement this vision with automatic classification of players into risk categories, and combine it with Altenar’s existing comprehensive bonus tool, free-text search and geo-IP driven content configuration, we will achieve a significantly improved player experience whilst delivering increased profitability for our customers, which is our number one product goal. 0173


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Interview | SiGMA

Payment Processing Simplified PROCESSING.COM OFFERS ITS CLIENTS GLOBAL PAYMENT SOLUTIONS ACROSS A MULTITUDE OF INDUSTRIES, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY, WE SPOKE TO MATT HARROD, EUROPEAN VICE PRESIDENT.

Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background and how you got into the industry? I’ve been operating within payments for nearly 15 years, and during that time I’ve worked in a variety of roles from marketing to platform management. I’ve worked within various organisations including banks, processors and payment service providers in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and mainland Europe. Throughout my career I’ve worked with teams supporting iGaming, an area that is a core focus for processing.com. So when I met with James Bergman (Global CRO of Processing.com) we had a great exchange of ideas, which really sparked my enthusiasm to come into the business. The match of my experience within the European market, with the experience of processing.com in iGaming, forex and binary, was clearly a partnership that would really work. 0175


SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

“I joined the industry in the days preceding PCI DSS, 3DSecure and even igaming. Back then the iPhone didn’t even exist, let alone any form of mobile payments, all of which make me sounds older than I am!”

How has the payments industry changed since you entered it? I joined the industry in the days preceding PCI DSS, 3DSecure and even igaming. Back then the iPhone didn’t even exist, let alone any form of mobile payments, all of which make me sound older than I am! The world has changed massively during my time in the industry, and so to has the industry itself. It’s a major reason why I like the industry so much. It’s always changing and evolving, who knows where we’ll be in 10 years time, we can’t even envisage how different it will be then. The biggest change during my time in the industry is the product development approach. In the early days it was the banks and card schemes that thought up ideas and implemented them, all of which resulted in some challenging times for merchants. Nowadays it’s the opposite. You have tech companies and phone manufacturers developing payment methods that piggy back on traditional card rails, or bank transfer systems. This means you have more userfriendly and consumer-driven development. So, if we want to be developing the next generation of payments I think we all need to be brainstorming with our kids! 0176

Can you tell us a little about the journey of Processing.com? From where it started to where it is now? When our founders established the business it was with a view to building a complete acquiring solution. Firstly, they architected the technology and built the platform, then they established many acquiring partnerships to connect that platform to. Next they established a network of Agents and Partners who connected to us, as a conduit to our acquiring banks. They saw value in the proprietary methodologies that we have in house when it comes to Risk and Fraud monitoring, as well as ways to optimise approvals and maximise traffic. Today, we have a balanced portfolio covering many industries with a depth and breadth of experience around the provision of convergent acquiring to our clients.


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Is it accurate to say that you have a unique trickle-down payment-acceptance system, making it very likely for payments by almost any player to be accepted? Our whole business is built on improving conversion. This is not an exact science, but we’re aided by our technical capabilities and the extensive experience of our support and operational teams, gained over many years not just in our company but in previous roles. We also liaise with customers and provide information to help optimise transaction routing and give the best chance of authorisation. We continuously update this information and share this knowledge with our customers. It’s an ever-evolving landscape, and we spend a lot of our time and effort ensuring we understand it, so our customers can benefit. We believe this approach makes Processing.com unique. Which new technologies are on your company’s radar right now? And what’s your focus for the future? Our main strategic focus is to build upon our experience and success around increasing conversion. Additionally, with the expansion of our European team, we are working on developing our product portfolio, both directly and through the use of partners, to enhance the existing products that we’re able to offer to our customers and also provide greater choice. This could involve utilising new payment methods or supplying new SDKs for mobile platforms. It’s all on the list. Utilising the Fintech approach of either “develop or integrate with industry leaders” is core for payments providers in terms of deployment of products.

Interview | SiGMA

support the local scene. The monthly networking dinners are a real help when it comes to meeting with partners to both develop new business and hear about some of the changes and challenges in the business. I’m a big fan of Eman’s approach to building a community. It’s a concept other event organisers always talk about but never execute. Eman Pulis has managed to get the formula just right and I use the Sigma approach as the standard when talking to other event organisers in Europe.

“Crypto payments are very much on the development roadmap. We are looking at expanding into supporting companies in accepting Visa and Mastercard to buy cryptocurrency”

Is Processing.com looking into incorporating blockchain and crypto payments in its system? Crypto payments are very much on the development roadmap. We are looking at expanding into supporting companies in accepting Visa and Mastercard to buy cryptocurrency. But in terms of offering them as an alternative, we are currently focusing on the traditional card payment methods which still equate to over 80% of payments accepted by European merchants. Whilst the primary focus of processing.com remains doing what we are good at - and that is increasing conversion on card payments - we will, however, work with our partners to support crypto payments and can always point our customers in the right direction. In terms of the end-user, what distinguishes your brand from the competitors out there? This depends on how you refer to end user. From the perspective of our merchants who use our platform, the ability to switch acquirers and improve conversion is what I think distinguishes us. From the perspective of the consumer, being able to make a payment and have it accepted provides them with a better user experience.

“When our founders established the business it was with a view to building a complete acquiring solution. Firstly, they architected the technology and built the platform, then they established many acquiring partnerships to connect that platform to” What’s next for Processing.com – your expectations for SiGMA 2017 and beyond? How do you find these monthly networking dinners that we throw out? We are spending an ever-increasing amount of time in Malta and building a team here, so we are looking to continue to

Tell us a bit about your life outside payments. Although I live in London, I tend to find myself abroad more often than not, either with work or just enjoying weekend breaks away. Prior to living the rock and roll lifestyle that is life within payments, I was a DJ and also used to be a session bass player. Music is very important to me and I still play, but most just for fun these days. As this is free advertising, I’m available for weddings, birthdays and Bar Mitzvahs! Is there anything we missed or something you wish to add? I could talk all day but I don’t want to take up all your space! We are a very approachable bunch at processing.com so please come and have a chat with us at the event in November. If you want to get in touch beforehand drop us a line on eu@processing.com.

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NetRefer: The Road to Success SiGMAGAZINE SPEAKS TO RAPHAEL ARNOLD, FOUNDER AND GROUP CEO AT NETREFER WITH 19 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE IN THE ONLINE GAMING INDUSTRY. HE STARTED OUT AS A MARKETING CONSULTANT BEFORE BECOMING A GAMING MANAGER, AND SUBSEQUENTLY FOUNDING HIS OWN BUSINESS.

NetRefer was originally built in 2001 – but Raphael explains that with this first rendition, he was unable to achieve the goals he set for himself. The issues were further enforced by bad timing – so once online gaming began to rise in Europe, it became feasible to place NetRefer on the table again. “This time, the focus was on sportsbooks rather than purely casinos, as it provided more longevity,” he explains. “The decision was to redevelop NetRefer for this new market – and Malta was the perfect place to do this.” Since then, the brand has had many achievements along the way. Their first client, Interwetten, went live in 2006 – and has been a shining example of a success story. But their success did not come without challenges. “The hardest challenge was growing the business with very little personal funds,” Raphael explains. “But we worked hard, delivered great value and were extremely passionate about our product.”

“We managed to build a business with no loans, no overdrafts or outside investment,” he adds. Winning the inaugural EGR “Affiliate Software of the Year” was another major milestone for the NetRefer team – which has been recognised through numerous awards both in online gaming and otherwise over the past few years. To this end, Raphael explains, “The biggest achievement is the NetRefer family that we have built along the way. Our core team is still part of the business, and they have been the pillars that enabled the success by mentoring many of the employees that started with little or no knowledge of our industry.” The company has recently launched five distinct products – an entire new product suite which aims to deliver enhanced client acquisition, conversion, and retention. “Our first product launch was Performance Marketing Intelligence (PMI) – a self-service intelligence tool that enables users to make faster, better informed decisions based on a 360-degree view of their data,” Arnold explains. “We also launched our Loyalty and Gamification platform, currently in BETA, which gives users the power to globally manage and measure all manner of incentives, as well as loyalty and gamification initiatives. By using gamification, client brand loyalty and retention is improved and also lifetime value is increased,” he adds. NetRefer also created a B2B solution so that providers who use their white label solution can compare and contrast the performance of their white labels from one single interface. This means that the white labels benefit from the complete NetRefer platform and B2B providers will benefit from centralized and streamlined control. “Next, we began working on the NetRefer Academy – whose target market is operators, affiliates and marketer. This online academy delivers performance marketing education via an interactive e-learning platform,” Raphael says. NetRefer also partnered with Optinize in order to offer their clients a seamlessly integrated campaign management tool via their platform. “Our clients can track, monitor and adjust affiliate and client journeys by running fully fledged integrated email and SMS campaigns, Besides launching new products, we continued to optimize our product, focusing on enhancements of our already robust solution.” 0181


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“The hardest challenge was growing the business with very little personal funds... But we worked hard, delivered great value and were extremely passionate about our product” After all, NetRefer is a company which thrives on innovation and technology. “We try to keep up to date with the latest trends in the industry. A new buzzword is blockchain – and how this can be integrated within iGaming. “Another aspect of technology we are focusing on is artificial intelligence and machine learning for high performance event processing technologies, using real-time reward calculation for high volumes of data – pushing business intelligence to the next level.” Data warehousing in the cloud seems to be the new way forward. “We always seek to enhance our already robust and feature-rich software to our clients with the best technologies out there – prioritising customer success and satisfaction,” he adds. NetRefer has a Customer satisfaction index of over 85%, constantly winning awards for its Customer Service. “This is thanks to customers such as William Hill, Unibet, Interwetten, PaddyPower Betfair and many more,” Raphael tells us. “The comparative advantage over others in the industry stems from multiple areas. In view of the Data Protection law, working with NetRefer gives the client peace of mind since all our Data is stored in Europe.” With a steadily growing track record, NetRefer has proven how important it is today for iGaming companies, large or small, to have a complete Partner Program solution which delivers immediate results. NetRefer provides insightful management dashboards and reporting that displays detailed and overall performance of the affiliate program. Additionally, NetRefer has developed a series of analytics-based capabilities to deliver industry-leading intelligence and insight to the retailer.

The vision of Raphael Arnold is clear for all to see – having recently been recognised by the industry for his “Outstanding Contribution to the Industry”. But what’s in sight for the future of NetRefer? “Our goal is quite simple: we want to deliver customer lifecycle solutions that cover engagement, conversion and retention. Customers want to be with brands that do more than just offer the same service or products. In the short term, we will continue to deliver on our Affiliate Marketing Platform and our Performance Marketing Intelligence tools.

In the past two years, NetRefer invested heavily in human capital. The purpose of this was to focus on innovation and to become pro-active in the market. With this investment, new departments were born including the Governance, Risk and Compliance Department and also the R&D Department. “This investment resulted in the launch of five new products and services. We adopt to what fits through keeping an open mind when considering innovation, design thinking and co-creation with our clients,” Raphael says. “By means of our new products, we have the ability to generate new business through alternative tracks which are not part of our current sales offering. These will be done by exploring multiple verticals and keeping NetRefer’s mind open for partnerships with other companies that would strengthen our position within the market.” 0182

“In the medium-term, we will continue to use machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to help us improve our products and services. In the long-term, we will aim to revolutionise the industry by providing better ways to engage with customers and deliver tangible benefits towards great customer experiences.” We were also thrilled to see that NetRefer is reaching out to all its contacts and setting up a conference on disruptive tech. “The goal of the summit is to accelerate the innovation movement in Malta and globally, by gathering all stakeholders and sharing real-world experiences, ideas, trends, processes and best practices,” he says. “This conference was born out of the NetRefer team’s eagerness to learn and share innovation best practices,


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and to be creative in finding new ways of expressing this passion.” While cities like Tel Aviv, London, Berlin, and Silicon Valley are leading the race for the best innovation ecosystem, Malta’s recent past is a good indication that the seeds of a good start-up ecosystem have been sown. It is now up to the stakeholders to help it come into fruition. The success that came from this sector in recent years can only be sustained if Malta adopts a more innovative culture at all levels, according to Arnold. From a recruitment point of view – finding the right talent is always an issue. “As we continue to increase our dependence on technology, numerous roles are impacted in a way or another by IT. Currently, such a perspective presents its fair share of challenges in finding the right talent due to an ever-growing and dynamic sector. Even though I believe that there is the potential, the demand is much higher than the supply resulting in a shortage of skills and knowledge – which in turn affects talent acquisition negatively,” Raphael says. “Over the past decade, IT companies have brought great value to Malta. To sustain this investment in the future, a robust framework needs to be put in place to assess future skills requirements.”

“We aim to invest in the Maltese people. NetRefer’s workforce split is 70% Maltese versus 30% international. NetRefer consolidates and stabilises itself as a premium employer, one of the organisation’s top values is investing in people’s training with the “NetRefer Academy” – employee investment is key” can learn, grow and share their ideas. This will in turn empower them towards contributing to the success of the business as well as towards the accomplishments of their professional career. “We aim to invest in the Maltese people. NetRefer’s workforce split is 70% Maltese versus 30% international. NetRefer consolidates and stabilises itself as a premium employer, one of the organisation’s top values is investing in people’s training with the “NetRefer Academy” – employee investment is key.” The iGaming industry has changed since the time Raphael began to dabble into it. “Just as Las Vegas became more corporate and less Wild West – so has online gaming,” he says.

“From an employer perspective, the first crucial obligation in winning this technology talent war is to develop, train, empower and retain the team we have. However, this is not enough to cater for further investment, job creation and growth. The country should look into opportunities for collaborations with such industries to facilitate skills transfer where directly needed,” he adds.

“Technological advancement is changing the way companies operate,” he continues. “Thankfully, the industry has become more customer-focused, but the use of machine learning an AIdriven chatbots puts us at risk of losing the human element. There is a need to balance out technology with the fact that many customers are not interested in having every action curated.”

NetRefer aim to create a secure working environment where people

For anyone looking to involve themselves in the industry, Raphael has

some solid advice. “Seek a niche within online gaming and use innovation to drive new methods of engagement and retention,” he says. “The focus should be on driving longterm loyalty at more stable levels of consumption, giving customers value and making sure that they have control over their experience and level of engagement,” he adds. Candidates looking to get into online gaming should understand that this is the base e-commerce model and that any position in the industry will give you a wealth of knowledge and understanding. “As long as you apply yourself and appreciate the context of the work at hand to the big picture, the valuable skills gained in gaming can easily be translated back into e-commerce.”

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“LIFE IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION”

R. W. Emerson

IKIBU HAS MADE THIS MOTTO THEIR OWN. WHEN YOU BECOME AN INHABITANT OF THE ISLAND, AN IKKI, EVERY STEP YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE MAKES UP YOUR VERY OWN JOURNEY. GENUINE GAMIFICATION SYSTEM

DESIGN

Every Journey is unique and each player customizes it as they prefer, according to their likes and needs. It is a selfreward strategy, where the Ikkis always win. They just need to level up in their Journey.

The branding is more than just a logo. It embodies everything you want to be known for. “Nowadays, it’s all about the details. A good design means that every detail is well thought out. It’s what makes us different from the rest,” says Rafael Rios, CEO of Ikibu. “It took us weeks to design the first Ikki and, since then, they have been in constant evolution”.

Ikkis travel through the island visiting the tribes and collecting as many seeds as they can. Throughout their Journey, Ikkis take part in many adventures. They’ll challenge themselves in different games to gather seeds that allow them to advance through the island. The seeds will keep them on track. By using them as a trade currency in the Ikibu Shop they can keep playing their favourite games. The final goal of every Journey is to conquer Mount Kruu Gah, ‘The Devourer of the Stars’, but every Ikki has to make their own way to get there. The explorers love being the first ones to discover new villages and all the secrets that await.

In Ikibu, everything, from the Ikkis, to the leaves of the palm trees, is carefully studied, planned and created by the entire team. “We care about our design as much as we care about our players. Both make Ikibu grow,” concludes Rios. Ikibu is not just a casino. Players don’t just come by and play for a while. Ikibu is the casino for players who want to come and stay, who want to become part of the island, to discover it, to enjoy it. Ikibu is for those who want to embark in the Ultimate Casino Journey.

The wanderers make little stops to enjoy the scenery and take in what every new village has to offer. Whatever path you choose to discover Ikibu, the Journey never ends.

GAME PROVIDERS The 16 game providers, including top-class NetEnt, Yggdrasil, Play N Go, Microgaming and many others, make sure that Ikkis can only but enjoy their Journey. Supported by IGC, Ikibu is making its way through the Nordics, UK and Germany, countries where their role model casino is enjoying a great success.

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Interview | SiGMA

Quality is remembered long after the conversation is over GOOD CUSTOMER SUPPORT AND HIGHEST LEVEL OF SERVICE — THESE ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS OF SUPPCLUPP. WE TALKED TO YLONA SCHROEVERS, THE HEAD OF VIP, OUTBOUND AND SUPPORT, TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY. “Quality is remembered long after the conversation is over” is the first thing you see when you open your site. How do you guarantee quality on such service as outsourced customer care? What do you think are the most crucial elements for a successful customer support outsourcing? Offering outstanding Customer care is anchored in the DNA of SuppClupp and reinforced continuously by our organizational goals, culture and policies. By far the most crucial element is hiring motivated employees with a natural talent for customer focus. We know that besides SuppClupp you’re also involved in other projects. Could you tell us a bit about your portfolio? My main current focus is setting up new VIP an Outbound teams under the SuppClupp flag. Going into my projects outside SuppClupp I should first mention our sister company Branders, which takes care of the Marketing and Affiliate Management of our clients’ brands. As both companies value personal growth, there are plenty of opportunities to be involved in projects that exceed company boundaries and job descriptions. Among other projects, a recent project I am involved in together with the Brander Product Team is the development of a player FAQ tool for our clients’ websites. Back to SuppClupp! Where do you see CS heading in the next five years? Some companies try to automate it as much as possible, using even sophisticated AI techniques.

How will SuppClupp face the future? Are you embracing machine learning yet or more of a case of wait and see? Although I recognize the importance of technological innovation, I also believe that good Customer Service has one everlasting element: understanding the needs of your clients by interaction. This requires human interaction and I cannot imagine totally relying on Artificial Intelligence for this. Yet again the world is changing rapidly: in 50 years from now SuppClupp might be a bunch of robots! You mentioned that you’re growing rapidly, how do you cope with recruitment? What are some of the most urgent demands and, in general, do you think this is a big issue for all gaming companies? Is Malta doing enough to fuel this demand for good quality talent? Recruitment in iGaming is a war for talent and on top of my agenda. The most urgent demand at the moment is definitely German Support agents. In order to attract employees, we offer an informal and friendly work environment and, as one of the few companies on the island, the option to work from home and abroad part of the time. Overall the working and living climate in Malta is very good. Personally, I would like to see more cooperation with universities both locally and internationally to enthuse young potentials about iGaming and Malta. English and Swedish – do you see any emerging markets being requested by the increasing number of operators based in Malta? It should be noted that we offer Finnish and German Support as well! However,] on industry level this is not breaking new ground. I can imagine at some point in the future one of our clients wishes to target a country outside Western or Northern Europe when the time is right.

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NEVER REFUSE

TO LEARN WE CATCH UP WITH THE HIGH-FLYING AND DYNAMIC CEO OF BETCONSTRUCT, VAHE BALOULIAN, WHO DIPS INTO HIS IMPRESSIVE CATALOGUE OF EXPERIENCE IN THE IGAMING FIELD TO SPEAK ABOUT WHAT BETCONSTRUCT BRINGS TO THIS (EXPANDING) TABLE.

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BetConstruct has been a frequent recipient of gaming awards since 2015, but the company traces its origins further back, amid a fascinating intersection of circumstances, which in Vahe’s own words “forced [it] into existence” as an attempt to empower small betting operations and that has since become one of the key players in this ever-evolving industry. In fact, Vahe Baloulian’s own journey into igaming started in 1997, when he founded an online retail company in California that quickly became well-known for its incredible customer service and retention. This rapid success prompted a friend in Israel to ask his help running the customer support department of an online casino, an operation then known as Casino-on-Net (now 888). That – in a nutshell – is how some 18 years ago Vahe found himself working in igaming in Antigua, back when the industry was still its infancy and there were no experts to learn from, just trial and error. Many things that we now take for granted were created and implemented at around that time by very creative and enthusiastic people, both players and colleagues, from all walks of life and corners of the world, with many of whom Vahe had the opportunity to work closely. He believes that witnessing these memorable moments in the industry’s history first-hand has helped him acquire the knowledge and experience he need to succeed. But if every industry is made of people, and people inevitably grow and change, then so do the industries they create. According to Vahe, the remote gaming industry has changed in

“I would encourage those who are trying to break in today to go ahead and keep in mind that the biggest mistake is going in with a lack of knowledge and refusal to learn. What you don’t know cannot benefit you. Don’t mislead yourself and don’t be afraid to be different; to be out of step with your time” 0191


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many ways, the most important development being that it has matured and become less enthusiastic than before. As companies went public, many replaced the drive for innovation and passion for the games and for those who play them with carefully calibrated steps focused on keeping the markets happy. “I would encourage those who are trying to break in today to go ahead and keep in mind that the biggest mistake is going in with a lack of knowledge and refusal to learn. What you don’t know cannot benefit you. Don’t mislead yourself and don’t be afraid to be different; to be out of step with your time,” says Vahe. How has BetConstruct itself changed and adapted to the times? To best understand its present situation, one must look back at its unusual origin story. “BetConstruct was kind of forced into existence about 6 years ago by large technology suppliers refusing to provide tools to small betting operations. When a chain of betting shops in Armenia, owned by entrepreneurial brothers Vahe and Vigen Badalyan, was denied online gaming technology by large suppliers, the owners decided to develop their own. Since then BetConstruct became a major player in the industry.”

Vahe is justly proud of the achievements the company has garnered over a relatively short period of time. Just this year they’ve been shortlisted in the Digital Industry Supplier of the Year category by the Global Gaming Awards, with the Nomination Panel praising the company thusly: “This major industry-leading supplier offers the newest cuttingedge solutions for businesses at any stage in their development, breaking down the barriers to industry entry and profitable expansion. BetConstruct aims to create a diversified gaming market where it offers its partners unfettered opportunity to succeed. By empowering operators’ growth and containing costs, it is an industry maverick in a league of its own.” Vahe thinks he couldn’t have put it better himself. “I think they nailed it. I can only add that we have succeeded by not losing sight of our priorities and values. We believe BetConstruct’s attitude is unique. In this era of unending consolidation, we remain committed to supporting a diversified gaming market. “We don’t want a marketplace dominated by a few oversized operators. We want all operators to have equal access to the tools and the support they need to achieve the growth and success they desire. We offer the most advanced products on the market without overpricing them beyond the reach of the new entrants.” BetConstruct’s inspiring ethos is rooted into a deeply-held belief in the power of the human touch, in reaching out to the potential operators in person.

“We believe BetConstruct’s attitude is unique. In this era of unending consolidation, we remain committed to supporting a diversified gaming market” 0192


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“BetConstruct is one of the most servicedriven of organizations. We treat all potential and current partners with the same attentiveness and respect, regardless of their size, standing in the industry or market reach” They strive to make it as simple as possible for them to start and give them the freedom to succeed. Practical manifestations of the company’s approach can be observed in the various workshops they organise across the world, as well as in the Spring BME (Business Management Environment), a comprehensive set of products, services, tools and technologies that combine to provide a complete management infrastructure. The Spring BME dashboard allows operators to enable betting and gaming products with a single click as well as order marketing, legal, accounting, risk management and bookmaking services. As far as new technologies are involved, Vahe explains that the company is planning to invest even more in VR, AR and MR products, and continue bolstering its own capabilities in these fields. Big data, machine learning and artificial neural networks also figure very prominently in internal discussions. Pressed to elaborate a bit more, Vahe reveals that work is currently underway on a new project which could potentially “shift the level of interaction between the players and operators and our understanding of the player’s emotional and physical condition in real time to a completely new level”. However, it’s too early to speak about it in greater detail.

“Everything provides an opportunity to learn. This is the most important part of our operation – it is a learning process. We had to build everything from scratch so we had to learn from day one. We don’t mind being taught – it is an ever-evolving industry,” he concludes.

“BetConstruct is one of the most service-driven of organizations. We treat all potential and current partners with the same attentiveness and respect, regardless of their size, standing in the industry or market reach. Every partner – regardless of their tier – is of value to us. They may not be the biggest revenue generators but that does not mean we should not work with them and deny them a chance to succeed on their own terms. Management and shareholders alike take this issue very seriously.” Finally, then, what are BetConstruct’s expectations for SiGMA 2017 and beyond? “The unique thing about SiGMA is that it is held in the centre of European igaming,” says Vahe. “Gaming events are great opportunities to meet those who make our success possible and vice versa, those who inspire and get inspired by us, and those who drive us to do better by competing with us every day.”

So, in the CEO’s own words, what distinguishes BetConstruct from its competitors in the market?

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A FLAIR FOR

Individuality & Innovation ONLINE GAMING COMPANIES ARE TEN A PENNY IN MALTA, BUT ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR IS MANSA GAMING, A COMPANY WITH A PARTICULAR FLAIR FOR INDIVIDUALITY AND INNOVATION WHICH PROMISES TO MAKE WAVES IN THE ONLINE GAMING SCENE.

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regulations kicking in and more recognition of the industry, there is a lot to keep up with and a lot of room for product improvement.”

Mansa Gaming’s CEO, Guillaume, says he jumped straight into the online gaming industry after graduating from business school. He had already set up two other successful companies before founding Mansa Gaming. Guillaume describes himself as “truly passionate about this industry and its underlying problematics” “When Mansa Gaming offered its platform to its first client in December 2015 it quickly proved to be reliable and it scaled well. After the company achieved profitability in 2016, we could finally work on our original dream: leveraging our platform to launch our online casino with a MGA license – PlayRicky.com!” What is PlayRicky.com all about? PlayRicky.com’s primary mission is to give its players a tailored gaming experience, the brothers say. “No two players are the same, be it in background or expectations. It’s clear that the high volatility slots aficionados are certainly not looking for the same thing that the blackjack enthusiasts!” quips Cyril. Founded in 2015 by brothers Guillaume and Cyril Garin, Mansa Gaming is already reaching dizzy heights,  less than two years since its inception. This incredible – and still ongoing – growth rate is in no small part down to the Garin brothers’ combined online casino and engineering experience, as well as their specialised knowledge in online products, affiliate marketing and white label casino operations.   How did you get involved in online gaming? Mansa Gaming’s CEO, Guillaume, says he jumped straight into the online gaming industry after graduating from business school. He had already set up two other successful companies before founding Mansa Gaming. Guillaume describes himself as “truly passionate about this industry and its underlying problematics”.   Cyril is Mansa Gaming’s CTO. Something of a business prodigy, Cyril set up his first company aged just 18. “Before setting up Mansa, I honed and grew my existing skill set, working with a highly successful Silicon Valley ad tech company,” he says. Pooling their individual expertise, the brothers say they built the gaming platform with the singular aim of creating an unmatched, player-oriented online casino experience. SiGMAgazine caught up with the brothers over a coffee at their HQ in the bustling seaside town of Sliema in Malta. What inspired you to set up Mansa Gaming? “Despite spending a lot of money playing online casino games, up till a few years ago, players could only hope for a pretty basic experience,” Guillaume says. “Today, with new 0196

“We don’t subscribe to the view that variety alone keeps players interested. Technology and innovative game features are being developed and released by game providers all the time, but what is the use of this if players don’t really understand them?” he asks. PlayRicky.com was created to act as a portal for information about innovative features, on both games and websites, the brothers say. “This, in turn, allows us to obtain accurate data and feedback from players about their gaming experience,” explains Guillaume. “It is only when players are able to express their opinion about a game feature or website functionality do you get ‘true’ feedback, and this is what we will gain through PlayRicky.com. If we have 200,000 players


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on board, we would look to create 200,000 different types of casino lobbies rather than the static lobbies used by most online casinos.” The site isn’t live just yet, but its founders aim to have it up and running by November, when they will be promoting it heavily to the 3000 delegates expected to attend the 2017 SiGMA Conference. The brothers have eschewed a grand unveiling, opting instead for a phased launch, in order to be able to add and test features after the website is already live. “We plan to soft launch PlayRicky.com in time for the SiGMA Affiliate Conference, starting with a strong focus on the German speaking and Finnish markets, but later focusing our attention on Scandinavia.”

“Opening an office in Malta has allowed us to be at the heart of the iGaming industry and to benefit from the island’s many advantages such as political stability, and of course, the weather and therefore the lifestyle...” What is it like to work with Mansa Gaming? According to Mansa Gaming’s website, the company is currently carrying out a recruitment drive to add to its current staff complement of 20 employees. There is no mistaking Cyril’s pride in the capabilities of his current team and is optimistic about moving forward as a team: “Here at Mansa Gaming, we are passionate about what we do, how we do it and who we do it with and this shows in how we have recruited a team of amazing people who all share our values and vision.” Two years is a long time in the gaming sector, Cyril observes, a fact which makes him all the prouder of those who have stuck with the company from the start. “At present there are just over 20 talented people working with the company. We couldn’t have grown to the size we are today without the energy, drive, passion and teamwork shown by our employees, some of whom have been with us since the very beginning.” It was precisely this growth that led the company to set up shop in what they call the “hot spot, gaming hub that is Malta”. Mansa has only recently moved into a spacious 650 sqm office in trendy Sliema and Guillaume says the premises was specifically chosen with further growth in mind. “We want to move into the future with continuous success and attract even more inspirational iGaming business people,” he says. They seem to be making progress in this aspect, having successfully recruited gaming industry veteran Melanie Hainzer, winner of ‘Innovator of the Year’ and ‘Affiliate Manager of the Year’ at the ‘Women in Gaming’ awards, as Head of Marketing. Tucker Joseph, a Senior Software engineer at Mansa Gaming is another remarkable hire. Guillaume is very happy indeed at Tucker’s decision to join the company. “He saw something so special in Mansa

Gaming he decided to travel over 6000 miles to be part of the team, relocating all the way from San Francisco to be with the company in Malta! We can’t name them all, but we are very proud of the team that we have at Mansa Gaming!” What’s next for Mansa Gaming? “Opening an office in Malta has allowed us to be at the heart of the iGaming industry and to benefit from the island’s many advantages such as political stability, and of course, the weather and therefore the lifestyle,” beams Cyril. “In the coming months, we will also be opening an office in another EU country in order to continue attracting talent and making sure that we fulfil the company’s vision.” As our meeting drew to a close, Guillaume repeated his message to those who might find the company’s vision and its offerings intriguing, emphasising that physical distance would not be allowed to stand in the way of Mansa Gaming’s progress. “If you feel you would like a new challenge in your career, whilst at the same time sharing our vision for the gaming future and are passionate in all that you do, please contact us – no matter where in the world you may be right now!”

“If you feel you would like a new challenge in your career, whilst at the same time sharing our vision for the gaming future and are passionate in all that you do, please contact us – no matter where in the world you may be right now!” 0197


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SEQR Mobile Payments:

Payments and Affiliate Functionality in one solution SEQR MOBILE PAYMENT SOLUTION (PRONOUNCED ‘SE-CURE’) IS GAINING MARKET SHARE WITHIN IGAMING, ENABLING BOTH OPERATORS AND PLATFORMS TO USE ITS SERVICES. THE SEQR MOBILE PAYMENT SOLUTION OFFERS BOTH TOP UP AND WITHDRAWAL, AS WELL AS CUSTOMER ACQUISITION THROUGH AFFILIATE FUNCTIONALITY. THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IS VERY SIMPLE: ACCEPT AN OFFER BY CLICKING IT AND ENTER THE SEQR PIN CODE. SiGMA sat down with Peter Boström, Director Global Sales & Markets at SEQR, to find out more about Seqr’s plans: How come Seqr solutions are growing in the iGaming industry? The mobile channel is increasingly important for the iGaming industry, and so is an attractive customer experience. “With the growing number of services available through the mobile channel in general, where customers today expect easy and quick services, there is a need also for the iGaming industry to adapt and be innovative. The combined Seqr offer of easy, cost effective payments and simple real time payouts in combination with strong customer acquisition functionality offering attractive customer incentives, Seqr is a very attractive proposition to the actors within the iGaming industry,” says Peter. The fact that Seqr’s core business is physical retail, already being in the market for more than 5 years and an accepted payment method in more than 30 million physical outlets worldwide, seems to be attractive to the iGaming industry. We already have an existing user base that can be targeted with joint marketing campaigns together with the iGaming operators. What is the added value to operators and white label platforms in plugging Seqr? The added value is quite straightforward; cheaper transactions as we are not using the traditional payment

card infrastructure, easy customer acquisition and easy and effective transactions to and from the gaming account. It is a one-stop-shop for both effective payments as well as effective customer acquisition. How would the customer acquisition work? With Seqr you can turn any type of printed media into a customer acquisition and sales channel. Place an ad with a Seqr QR code in, for instance, an iGaming website, advertisment or on social media. A user can then become a customer of gaming operator just by scanning the QR code and entering their PIN. All the necessary user information is already in the Seqr app and the initial deposit is transferred during the same process. Gaming operators can convert marketing and advertising efforts into a direct sales channel just by using Seqr. We work closely together with our partners to create joint campaigns and marketing efforts. How is Seqr planning to grow its business within iGaming? At this stage we have established cooperation with a number of strategic operators and platforms, where iGaming Cloud and BetConstruct are the latest additions and more soon to follow. We have the capability of gathering iGaming offers inside the Seqr app with attractive and innovative incentives offered to the users, making Seqr a preferred iGaming solution for the customers.

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Architectural Design Project:

Behind the Curtains

ANGIE THE ARCHITECT Highlights the Main Stages of Her Work

Photo by Sarah Aquilina

WITH MALTA BEING THE GAMING HUB THAT IT IS, SEVERAL OF ANGIE’S PROJECTS REVOLVE AROUND DESIGNING EFFICIENT WORKSPACES IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY. TAKING THE WORK AND THE COMPANY INTO CONSIDERATION, EACH PROJECT ADOPTS A LIFE OF ITS OWN. KEEPING THE CLIENT’S NEEDS PREDOMINANT, ANGIE EXPLAINS THAT THERE ARE FOUR MAIN PHASES THAT SHE GOES THROUGH WHEN DESIGNING A PROJECT IN AN EXISTING BUILDING, INCLUDING AN OFFICE IN THE iGAMING INDUSTRY.

PHASE 1: SURVEYING THE PROPERTY AND DETERMINING A TIME FRAME What is the first step when you are assigned to architectural design project? One of the most important steps in my process when designing a project is to understand the current space. I like to visit the actual space and see what it lacks, what will work, if there’s room for natural lighting, etc. These will help me determine the building’s potential for the new project. All this and a basic brief from the client will guide me into determining an important aspect in the design process: the time frame. Through personal experience, clients are often unaware of the amount of work that is involved in their project. That is why I always try and suggest starting to engage the architect earlier on in the project. When would you say is the appropriate time to involve an architect in the project? I would say prior, or at the same time, that the company is looking for new office space, even if nothing has been finalised yet. For most companies, I would suggest contacting the architect, one to one and a half years, before the move needs to take place. This will also depend on how big the project is. For example, a small project of about 100-250sqm will require a minimum of around six months, from the design stage to the final execution stage, while a project of about 1,000sqm will require a minimum of twelve months for the execution to be handled professionally and state-of-the-art standard.

“I like to visit the actual space and see what it lacks, what will work, if there’s room for natural lighting... These will help me determine the building’s potential for the new project” 0201


SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

“What makes every project different is because every strategy is customised around the company’s ethics, mode of work and their possible plans of growing in the future” Sketch by Angie Sciberras

Photos by Studio Konnect

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, how will hiring an architect earlier on in the project benefit clients and companies? Hiring an architect before the move begins will also help my clients financially since, with my expertise, I can guide them through expenses and cost estimates and any hidden costs that crop up at the end of the project. Through my background as an architect, I can also make sure that the chosen property follows the Planning Authority’s policies and regulations and that fire safety and security measures are in place.

What are these common traits? For instance, even if you simply spend the traditional forty hours a week at the office, you are still devoting a big part of your life behind your desk at your workplace. Spatial planning is a determining factor to the person’s wellbeing. Social interaction is also key to a happy workplace so I take that into consideration when developing a design. If there is an overall common element in work environments, I would say it is the growing emphasis on employees. I like to design healthy places in which employees will feel at ease and happy to be in their environment.

PHASE 2: DESIGN AND SPATIAL PLANNING

In your experience, do companies tend to hold on to the traditional-looking office or are they becoming more experimental? It highly depends on the type of company and their ethics. For instance, one of the projects that I am working on is designed to be a 6-star rated office and it is set over 1,600sqm of office space. Not only are we pushing the boundaries of the traditional-looking office but we are also ensuring that we keep the office’s high-standard, both in its design and in its services. We have managed to create a collaborative, informal and relaxed office space that is anything but traditional. Furthermore, we developed concepts of dark spaces vs. light spaces, open spaces vs. small spaces and quiet spaces vs. active spaces, all

Do you consider every project different? As soon as I’m involved in a project, I like to start off this second phase by conducting research. I consider meeting up with employees and management an important step, as well as visiting the current office so that I can put together a thorough brief of how the project will evolve. What makes every project different is that every strategy is customised around the company’s ethics, mode of work and their possible plans of growing in the future. No company is the same which means that no project will be the same. However, throughout the years I have picked up a few common traits that can be used throughout various projects. 0202


Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

of which assist with how much the staff work effectively and collaboratively. I think that having this flow and division is crucial to a happy workplace as it gives the staff easy access to an assortment of spaces for the varying demands of their work. I wholeheartedly believe that a building can inspire a flexible and productive environment. Do you see any current trends in the architectural industry at the moment? Thankfully, the trend for indooroutdoor offices is becoming extremely popular and the impact of plants on our wellbeing is being acknowledged. iGaming companies prefer to take a natureinspired approach instead of spending long hours in stuffy offices. As this concept has been close to heart since my University days, I always like to say that green is the new black. You’ve talked us through the initial stages of a design project. How do you transform the project from paper and bring it to life? Bringing the concept to life is the fun part! It requires a lot of artistic work that make ideas and inspirations come together through sketches, 2D plans, 3D models, renders etc.

PHASE 4: PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND EXECUTION Finally, how is the project executed? As the Project Architect and Project Manager, I assist with managing daily affairs of the project and supervise all the contractors, manufactures and suppliers involved. I also meet the clients and guide them towards the setting of their deadlines. I am also responsible for preparing and producing the construction and detail documents while also being the middle-person between the client, the consultants and the contractors. All this is important so that the correct design details will be executed on site. I also aid with ensuring that the quotes received for the project are factual and priced fairly and I keep track of the financial budgets. How do you feel seeing a project come together after you worked so hard on it? It’s a satisfying feeling to see your work being executed and happening in real life. Above that, three of the companies offices I have designed so far have won their first award after their respective projects were finalised. That is one achievement that I am incredibly proud of. It’s also fulfilling when I get new jobs through referrals and through people visiting the offices that I have designed and liking what they see. I also breathe a sigh of relief when I see that everything has worked out the way that it was supposed to. Seeing my clients happy with my work is above and beyond rewarding.

PHASE 3: DESIGN DETAILING AND CUSTOMISATION So what happens once the design is finalised? Before the final stage of execution, it is important to look at the design detailing and the customisation of the project. For example, I’ve recently been working on an office for an iGaming company that is spread on two floors of 250sqm each. The company wanted to tie in their updated brand into the architectural design concept. We integrated branding and architecture by translating a bold and confident design for their office space that fits in with their cool brand. For this to happen, it needed a lot of time for customisation and detail design such as lighting, wood work, colour schemes, furniture choices etc. All these details, be them small or large, ensure that while the spatial planning of the office reflects their professional work ethic, the style and branding reflects their character; current, bold and confident.

“It’s a satisfying feeling to see your work being executed and happening in real life. Above that, three of the companies offices I have designed so far have won their first award after their respective projects were finalised. That is one achievement that I am incredibly proud of”

Angie Sciberras started her business in February 2015 as a freelance architect. With a passion for nature and design, Angie graduated from the University of Malta in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Civil Engineering. While also collaborating with other professionals from across all necessary fields, Angie works on various freelance projects ranging from residential to commercial businesses. 0203


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Currency | SiGMA

Global Financial Clearinghouse HOW WE TRANSACT BANKING AND PAYMENTS IN TEN YEARS WILL LOOK NOTHING LIKE IT DOES TODAY, AND CRYPTO CURRENCIES WILL BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THAT CHANGE. IT WILL BE TRULY TRANSFORMATIONAL. As the payment landscape changes, the global gaming industry must be aware of the payment disruptors that will change the way gaming houses, and players process financial transactions. Today, bitcoin is really a digital representation of financial value, not much different than a SWIFT funds transfer. The movement of value via a digital representation offers numerous advantages to the individual or T. Jack Williams, B4U company operating in a crypto currency environment. Speed, security, low cost and global acceptance are but some of the reasons for the growing acceptance of the crypto currencies used for business. The continued acceptance and global emergence of crypto currencies will bring together gaming stakeholders who want to take advantage of this safe, secure, and fast payment platform. Bitcoin is a global crypto currency that will make a profound change in how we transact business, and Malta will soon be at the front of this currency mainstream globalization.

mobile bitcoin wallet will give you global access to your funds using your bitcoin wallet as the funding source. Yet, to be fully functional, an individual must be able to use their bitcoin mobile wallet at as part of a face-to-face transaction at any merchant location. This is a couple of years away, and there are a few major players working to implement a bitcoin solution for use on existing merchant terminals. The process will be driven by the consumer adaption of the mobile bitcoin wallet and the ease of obtaining crypto currencies into that wallet. One day in the not too distant future, employers will offer a bitcoin option for payroll disbursements as an alternative to network branded payroll cards.

The growth of bitcoin as a mainstream monetary instrument is directly linked to the utility and convenience of using a bitcoin (or others) by the end user. There is a movement to provide an array of financial options to consumers ranging from liquidation of a bitcoin and deposit to most International Bank Accounts, or loading value to any credit card with MasterCard, Visa or China UnionPay. Loading value to a prepaid debit card and other uses has only just begun. Soon the ability to withdraw funds from any ATM by using your

Malta is taking the lead in both blockchain and crypto currency adaption and utilization. This far reaching thinking will present businesses and consumers with the opportunity to take advantage of all that crypto currencies have to offer today and in the future. One day soon, sitting in Valletta, a consumer will pay for a coffee with their crypto currency mobile wallet, and remember fondly how the vision and leadership of Malta have transformed the payments landscape.

There are financial institutions that are hesitant to accept deposits using crypto currencies. These reservations are the result of high profile criminals using a bitcoin for ransom or the sale of drugs. The advantages of using a crypto currency far outweigh the criminal use. In fact, criminals today prefer cash or prepaid cards to bitcoin for their money laundering activities.

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SiGMA | Interview

FAMILY BUSINESS

WITH BOTH SiGMA AND BETFINAL SHARING SAME OFFICES AT MSIDA SKATE PARK’S GAMING HUB, IT WAS RELATIVELY EASY TO CATCH UP WITH THIS FORMIDABLE TEAM, WHOSE STRONG PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS ARE VITAL TO THE SUCCESS OF THEIR SPORTSBOOK AND CASINO.

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ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017


ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your brand Betfinal. How did you get into iGaming industry – could you share your story with us? I come from an e-commerce background, previously building platform solutions in Sweden and London. In 2009 I found the timing right to make the leap into the iGaming industry. As a tech-driven person myself, adapting to iGaming was an easy adjustment and after 5 years as a business developer it was time to embark on my own journey and Betfinal online was created. To create a new brand was a tough challenge and it was a rocky start to say the least. With a small team, we learned in many aspects the hard way and the countless hours of work the company needed in order to grow. We decided early on that we wanted to focus on sports as our main product, and that was a brilliant move we can confidently say now looking at our results. I’d have to say that being a big sports fan myself has definitely added to the mix and we follow all the events that are to fully emerge ourselves in the world of sports. I’m a firm believer that the best products in any industry comes from passionate professionals that see the shortcomings of the product and market, and acts accordingly. That’s why I’m proud to say we push ourselves to the limit at Betfinal to make sure our products are of the highest quality and that the user experience feels genuine and exciting. If you met your younger self just when you founded Betfinal – what piece of advice would share? Could you tell us about the learning curve effect you experienced? How important is it to save on the little costs, for instance, bank charges, conversion to other currencies etc. Well, this is a fun one. You don’t really comprehend the full power of a bad deal until you are wondering where the money is. Luckily, we noticed our poor deals and extra charges at an early stage before we had too much of activity. My first advice would be to analyse BI data and affiliates frequently and trust your instincts. It’s very addictive to follow results when you grow, so my second advice would be to stay focused on point as that can be hard sometimes. We started our online business early in 2015 and it took about 1 year to get ready for soft launch and an extra 6 months to launch fully. That time during our soft launch was probably the most critical time, to basically run the operation and make sure it can be profitable and scalable. We are aware that you’re set to grow from four to over twelve employees within the company in the next few months - how do you find recruiting good quality talent in Malta? What are you in most dire need of? To continue our growth, we have of course some open positions in areas where we want to improve. Right now, we are looking to grow our support team and also the urgent need to get more developers onboard is present. Until now we have been headhunting everyone, focusing on what we wanted to achieve and who we could do that with. Being based in Malta for many years that made it a lot easier, as the island is swamped with talent. When recruiting for a small team it’s just as important to take into the account the social fit of the potential employee as the skill set. In the end we are all trying to achieve the same goal together and in order to be on the same page you have to make sure to project those ambitions in a clear and concise manner. So far, we have been very successful with our recruiting process and I’m relieved to say we haven’t had any problems with it.

Interview | SiGMA

We’re witnessing strong consolidation trends among affiliates nowadays. Is this something that affects your business? Have you experienced any changes in your relationship with affiliates since when you started as an operator? Indeed, our strongest market is Scandinavia, and you see that the Scandinavian affiliate websites are being sold all the time and changing owners to bigger affiliate networks. It’s really an open market and we definitely feel that the Scandinavian affiliates are more demanding than other affiliates. However, we have tried to turn the fact that the industry is extremely competitive to our advantage with a focus on marketing spending. Because of the competitive business there are a lot of affiliates that try their luck with insane deals that you didn’t see 5-10 years ago, and that gives us the opportunity to land a good deal with the right partners. Being a smaller company, we are able to establish a unique dialogue with our affiliates with a focus on optimizing deals and strategies. You’ve recently moved to a new office at Msida Skatepark – Gaming Hub. We know that before you had an office at your house. What was the reason behind changing the environment? It’s an extra cost after all and some people actually like the idea of working from home. Our team is quite spread out in Europe, but we saw that it would make most sense to keep our headquarters in Malta and grow from here. So, in 2015, we started out with only three in Malta, and we started working from our house. Once we launched and had all the pieces in place in order to grow the business we were happy to move into the Gaming HUB early this year. I can see how some might think working from home can be a dream, but for us it was not ideal and we could not wait to get into the office atmosphere again. In order to scale your business we needed the office space, and also the social part of sharing the space with other companies made it even more attractive for our small team. Mr and Mrs Ling – being a married couple working in the same industry is a quite common thing, but running a betting website and working back to back doesn’t happen so often. We’re curious how it works for you, not going too private, of course! So far, so good! We have both put our souls into our work and even though we do not always agree, we can always agree on what’s best for the company. Furthermore, it’s not only the two of us, but we also hired our best friend. Being the three of us we already feel like a family and that has only made our chemistry better and stronger. The missus and I are, of course, aware of the risks in doing all of this together, but as we have progressed, the rewards along the way have felt twice as big for that same reason. It’s truly something special to share your passion and line of work with your partner, we play on each other’s strengths and make up for each other’s weaknesses. What will be the next step for Betfinal? How do you see the future of online betting in one year and in 5 years from now? We are focusing a lot on our brand and guidelines to make sure the brand can reach up to its full potential. Being a team of sports and casino enthusiasts, we take great pleasure in constantly developing our products and trying to be ahead of the more and more competitive market. That requires full dedication and long hours, but we got this far and at this point, we are only looking to the future. 0207


Protection | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES BRAND PROTECTION, DOMAIN MANAGEMENT AND ONLINE TRADEMARK ENFORCEMENT FOR COMPANIES ACROSS THE GLOBE IS A PARAMOUNT FEATURE IN TODAY’S INCREASINGLY CONNECTED WORLD. IN THIS SHORT FEATURE, GAVIN MILLS FROM SAFENAMES DISCUSSES SUCH ISSUES AND THEIR RELATION TO THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY. Domain names are one of the essential means of establishing a company’s brand identity on the internet. Choosing its name will impact the website’s success, included through search engine optimisation and social media marketing. Does the choice of a good brand name increase your visibility on Google? In other words - does Google value the importance of keyword matching in the domain name? The presence of the keyword phrase in the domain used to be a ranking factor itself - is it still the case with last year’s Google updates? A keyword matching domain name is absolutely still important in terms of search engine ranking. I believe the Google updates you refer to were put in place to stop sites ranking highly simply because of the exact match term within the domain. Now Google are looking more than ever at the content within the site, rather than prioritising the exact match. A great domain with really poor site content will be penalized heavily by Google, this was not so much the case previously. What would be your advice for those starting up their own online gambling businesses for having a relevant domain name? For an affiliate the key is acquiring some great exact match domains (in addition to great content), however, these are becoming harder to obtain and more expensive to purchase. The addition of new TLDs over recent years has allowed more room for those looking to enter the market and whilst they are not as attractive for the search engines right now, I really believe they are going to take off over the next few years. For an operator I guess the challenge is very different, as for them it is about marketing and building a brand. One piece of advice I would give to operators is to protect the name at an early stage rather than waiting until the brand is well known and becomes a target for infringement activity. It will be much more cost effective than taking legal action in the future.

What are the main steps for companies to register their domain name? For a generic TLD such as .com, the process is very simple and the registration can be completed within seconds. However, this can get much more complex when you are trying to register domains in various country coded extensions, which have different rule sets and restrictions placed on the registrant. We’ve built a highly successful business around making this process as easy as possible for our clients and through use of our local presence services allowing them to gain access to markets which would otherwise be impossible. The protection of domain names, online brand identity has been in the spotlight of many litigations in recent years, with cases of cybersquatting, domain name warehousing and the concurrency increase. How does it work in practice and how can Safenames help online gaming companies to assure their brand protection? What are the legal tools that operators can use to protect their online identity? One of the main things we do is ensure our clients have a defensive domain registration strategy in place. Many brand owners do not spend the money on protecting their brand in the early days, and end up paying for it later on. This being said, Safenames are able to help retrieve domain names which have been cyber squatted or warehoused. We have in house legal teams which utilise our specialist tools and processes to find infringements, prioritize the worst offenders and take legal actions to either shut sites down or retrieve the domain name(s). In regard to brand protection, what is the most common form of legal action used within online gaming? This would be the use of UDRP (Uniform Domain DisputeResolution Policy). When our legal team utilize the UDRP we put our case forward to an experienced panel. The panel has the ability to analyse our case and make a decision as to whether our client has the legal right to the domain name(s) or whether it should remain with the current holder. If the decision is made in our favour, the panel will send a request to the registrar and they are legally bound to transfer the domain to our client’s possession. Whenever our client is in a favorable legal position we will advise to take this route.

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SiGMA | Title

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

FUTURE OF

Virtual Sports VIRTUAL SPORTS ARE A HUGE PART OF THE FUTURE OF THE SPORTS-BETTING INDUSTRY. THIS IS DESPITE IT BEING A SATURATED MARKET. VIRTUAL SPORTS GROWTH CONTINUES, AT DIFFERENT RATES, ALL AROUND THE WORLD.

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Virtual Sports | SiGMA

Martin Wachter, CEO, Golden Race

We made a decision more than 10 years ago to do things differently. The market is full of companies whose main goal is purely visual. Admittedly, the products are truly beautiful, but more important, and what Golden Race focuses on, is the complete experience for players, and the most flexible and cost-effective solutions for operators.

For instance, the Nigerian market is growing. Meanwhile, Latin American and Asian punters are warming to virtual sports, although in Latin America that has taken more time than anticipated, and many companies have fallen short in that market. While the European market has felt some slow down, markets such as Nigeria, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia are huge, and Golden Race is already operating and seeing great success in all of them. How can growth continue? How can we ensure the future? Instead of going for a pretty picture, our focus on the perfect betting experience – because that is what players want. The options and features which real sports gamblers love are, for example, multi-event betting across different sports, combination bets, bonuses, and connected jackpot prizes. From a management perspective, virtual sports are unbeatable. Complete control of odds and limits, jackpots, scheduling of games, backed by certified RNG and licenced by various regulatory bodies for total security and peace of mind.

Having the best-looking product means nothing if it takes a huge amount of time and work to make even the smallest changes, as is the case with any pre-rendered 3D game. At the end of the day, players prefer to go home with a real gaming experience far more than something which just looks nice. A lot of effort goes into the creation of realistic odds models based on statistics to create realistic odds from in-house professional bookmakers. They are regularly updated and individual odds for each and every individual game, and also for each and every different virtual league competition are created. Using real sports commentators for ingame voiceovers, and collaborating with real cameramen, rounds out an authentic experience. That is the future of virtual sports, and indeed a key to the company’s on-going growing successes – delivering a true sports betting experience which players recognise as the same as the real thing, and one which operators can manage, tweak, and fine tune to their specific business needs. While we will never lose enjoyment from real sports, and players will always enjoy betting on them, the future of virtual sports remains bright for any company that delivers the same betting experience in a lightweight and flexible way.

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Title | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

How greyhound racing can meet the need for short form betting opportunities PAUL WITTEN, PRODUCT DIRECTOR AT SIS, BELIEVES THE SPORTS’ SHORT-FORM CONTENT IS THE PERFECT FIT FOR BETTORS LOOKING FOR QUICK AND EASY BETTING OPPORTUNITIES. Consumer habits are changing at a faster rate than ever before with the proliferation of technological advancements in all areas of our lives. Consumers now demand and expect immediacy and simplicity with everything they do whether it is banking, grocery shopping or in their leisure time. Betting is no different, and bettors today are looking for frequent and relatively easy betting opportunities. SHORT-FORM BETTING FOR SHORTER ATTENTION SPANS The most obvious example of quick-fire sports betting is the wide range of in-play markets, which now outstrip ante-post wagering on big televised events such as football. Like football, greyhound racing has been entertaining sports bettors both on course and in-shop for generations, particularly in its heartlands like the UK, Ireland, and Australia. Unlike a football match where there may be a relatively small number of betting spikes, greyhound races last around 30 seconds and occur every 8 to 10 minutes throughout the day, representing a significant opportunity for frequent and quick betting, which should resonate with today’s customers wherever they are in the world. Results are also always known within a short, defined period of time, so there is never a need to wait on the outcome for example, of the bet placed in the first minute of a game in the 90th minute. On greyhound races the customer gets the satisfaction and thrill of an outcome quickly, and that means the whole engagement is positive. ENGAGING THE MASSES A great opportunity exists for operators and greyhound racing to also engage new audiences as it has all of the raw

ingredients to appeal to them. The younger demographic may not have grown up with the live greyhound stadium experience or have seen greyhounds in betting shops, and may even be in a country with no cultural references to this type of racing. Yet if operators and suppliers tackle this educational issue, I’m convinced that the sport and its short form betting opportunities will fit very well with the younger bettor. Greyhound races are quick and simple to understand, there are always the same number of runners, the race distances and conditions are relatively constant and therefore reading form is that much more straightforward which is why offering more of this type of short form content can lead to more people engaging with the sport. IMPROVING STICKINESS Content has been, and always will be king in the betting and gaming industry. Retail and online bookmakers are always looking for events which can not only fill schedules, but keep people within their retail outlets or actively engaged online. Short form betting can provide an effective solution to this challenge, particularly with greyhound racing, as the short duration of the races means that much more can be shown across the day. At SIS, we’re focused on maximising value for bookmakers by creating these events for greyhound and horse racing. Through the SIS Greyhound Service, races are shown every 8-10 minutes, which in turn increases dwell time on websites and inside betting shops.

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Interview | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Law & Tech

SiGMA SAT DOWN WITH TWO LOCAL, iGAMING INDUSTRY HEAVYWEIGHTS TO TALK TECHNOLOGY, INDUSTRY PROGRESSION, AND THE BIRTH OF AFILEXION ALLIANCE. REUBEN PORTANIER AND DR IAN GAUCI ARE FOUNDERS OF AN ADVISORY, LEGAL AND CORPORATE SERVICES ADVISORY WITH A FOCUS ON TECHNOLOGY, AND THE IGAMING SECTOR. “Over the years the online gaming sector has evolved and transformed. It is fast-paced and and extremely competitive. My advice is to get prepared, have a plan, and follow your dream.” These are the wise words of advice from Reuben Portanier, one founder of iGaming advisory firm, Afilexion Alliance. Portanier served as the CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority for almost five years before making the switch from regulator to advisor, and setting up Avviza Advisory in 2014 which focussed on assisting Tier 1, mid-tier, and start up iGaming companies in finding their feet. It was through his work with Avviza that he crossed professional paths with Dr Ian Gauci. A technology lawyer and a partner at GTG Advocates, Dr Gauci got involved in the gaming industry back in 2007. Coming from a strong technological, legal, and regulatory background, the synchronicity between the work that Reuben, and Ian were working on was soon noticed. “Our journey together kicked off when Avviza and GTG Advocates happened to be service the same clients on related matters. With every interaction, we had on a common client, we realised that our approach was similar and that the cross fertilisation of our experience worked very well for our clients.” Then, over time and through the acknowledgement that a tighter collaboration would enable them to provide a complete 360-degree service to clientssomething that few other firms were able to doAfilexion Alliance was born as a partnership between Avviza Advisory and GTG Advocates. Through this partnership, and meeting of minds, Afilexion are able to offer one of the most comprehensive advisory and support services portfolio for regulators, gaming

operators, platform providers, affiliates, and other iGaming service providers. With its two founders coming from such prestigious backgrounds, there is no doubt that the knowledge and expertise that Afilexion Alliance provide is second to none. But what about the future? In such a fastpaced industry- where do Ian and Reuben see the sector heading? Reuben jumps straight in with “blockchain is the future. We have geared up for it and so will the industry”. Ian, who was recently appointed by Government as the Legal Expert on the National Blockchain Taskforce, adds, “I am one of the founding members of Blockchain Malta and I invest a substantial part of my life on technology related issues, including Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies. I believe that both Blockchain and cryptocurrencies will be the main lynchpin of the digital economy and that Malta should be an international hub for it.” As for the future of Afilexion Alliance, the rest of 2017, and of course this year’s SiGMA event, Dr Gauci speaks with a great deal of enthusiasm, “We are really looking forward to SiGMA as we believe it will be one of the largest and most diverse networking events in 2017. We have some very interesting developments in our advisory around areas such as fintech, and we are also looking forward to meeting with operators and affiliates to discuss ways of working together.” Reuben adds, “We want to congratulate the SiGMA team for what they have achieved in these last years, Ian and myself are looking forward to participating in November’s panels and fair.” 0215


Health | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Health and Well-being at the Workplace: Measuring Efficacy of Employee Benefits HELPING EMPLOYEES MAKE BETTER, HEALTHIER OPTIONS IN THEIR LIVES CAN HAVE HUGE RETURNS IN TERMS OF PRODUCTIVITY AT WORK. THE IMPLEMENTATION AND GROWTH OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAMS AMONG GAMING COMPANIES HAS BECOME A VERY HOT TOPIC IN TERMS OF HEALTH INVESTMENT RETURNS. THE CRUCIAL QUESTION WITH REGARDS THIS MATTER IS NOT FIGURING OUT WHAT TO IMPLEMENT BUT HOW TO MEASURE WHAT HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED. Many company benefits, for instance, free gym classes as well as healthy food and juices, are given freely to employees without measuring their effects on them. In other words, there is no a way to analyse the real effect of such company employee benefits.

WORDS BY Stefania Comegna CEO Boody ltd Dietician BSc (Hons) International Public Health Nutritionist, Msc

In order to ensure an effective design and implementation of health and wellness programs, it is important to establish a practical measuring system that can accurately track their performance and evaluate the results.

Our recent study “BIA test: a SMART system for an health company” conducted within a gaming company shows how the BIA test (Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis) can be a SMART system (Sspecific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,

Ttrackable) that analyses the health status of employees. The BIA test is a simple and non-invasive method that tracks the body composition and nutritional status of each company member in terms of total body water, body fat percentage and energy expenditure. The results of the study show how male game presenter are more likely to be dehydrated and undernourished compared to their female colleagues and managers of both genders. On the other hand, female game presenter working on night shifts are more likely to be overweight not only in comparison to their male colleagues but also to their female colleagues working in morning shifts. However, it has been found that all already implemented company benefits do not have a significant positive effect on the health status that ultimately leads to an increase in productivity. Gaming companies have to carefully analyse the employee health status in order to personalise their benefits and have a significant return on their investment. A user friendly BIA system, which is easy to implement in all branches of a company, is herein being developed by Boody ltd, with the scope of measuring biometric values more accurately, providing the utmost physical potential to the human resources of a company. 0219


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

WHO’S WHO IN THE MALTA GAMING INDUSTRY 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

Yotam Peretz Head of Affiliates

Established in 2003, 10Bet is renowned as leading international online bookmaker, fully licensed in the UK and Malta. 10Bet’s offering includes over 20,000 live sports events per month, 2,000+ proprietary bet markets and a huge selection of premium casino games from the finest iGaming providers. www.10bet.com

Sergey Karshkov Business Director

1xBet is a betting company with 8 years offline and online experience. We offer high odds, videostreaming, in-house affiliate platform, 100 payment methods, wide range of bonuses, live casino, branded slot games, user friendly interface, multi-language platform and 24/7 CS service. 1xBet works in Europe, CIS, Asia and Africa. www.1xbet.com

Andy Jones CEO

A turnkey and bespoke Gaming system, AliQuantum Gaming’s mobile, kiosk and web gaming platform provides integrations of award-winning content providers, as well as a fully-featured eSports tournament system for both local and remote play. From start to finish, our experienced staff provide support and guidance with every step of the way. For a Good Deal in iGaming and eSports, turn to AliQuantum Gaming! www.aliquantum-gaming.com

Alex Tomic Co-Founder

ALEA Group’s mission is to provide the most innovative gaming playground, redesigning the way people experience online casino. Founded in 2012, ALEA is now a multi-award winning B2C egaming operator and B2B provider, with its own casino, SlotsMillion, affiliate platform, ALEA Affiliates, and game aggregator, ALEA Play. The company has three offices in Barcelona and Malta, including one dedicated specifically to VR. www.alea.com

Roy Pedersen CEO/Chief Editor

All-in Translations is the number 1 choice language service provider across the gaming industry, working with many of the biggest operators, game developers, platform providers and affiliates. All of their services are available in 70+ languages. Voted Best Service Provider of the Year 2017 at CEEGC Budapest in September. www.allintranslations.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Dinos Stranomitis Director

Altenar is a provider of sportsbook services to licensed gaming operators. Ranging from ‘software-only’ product offers to the provision of a fully-managed sports betting platform stack, Altenar offers proven stability coupled with a flexible and personalised service. Our software is developed and operated in-house, whilst being powered by premium quality data feeds. www.altenar.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

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

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Kristoff Zammit Ciantar Managing Director

Aqubix is a specialist IT consultancy and solution provider who offer a flexible approach with years of experience in business analysis and technical architecture. Aqubix have developed and taken a number of innovative products to market. One of their flagship products, KYC Portal, is the industry’s most advanced CDD and AML data collection and collation platform that centralises and simplifies the customer due diligence process. 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

Jonas Delin CEO

Authentic Gaming is a supplier of premium Live Casino Systems. Our live tables are broadcasted from the floors of luxurious Resort & Casinos around the world. Delivered to players on mobiles, tablets and desktops in stunning wideangle HD video. Player driven functionality and responsive UI’s are added to create exceptional live table experiences. www.authenticgaming.com

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 163 countries. www.bdo.com.mt


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Adi Dagan CEO

Beehive is a data-driven marketing platform, enabling its clients to personalise the promotion messages they send to their customers, across any channel. It drives customers to increased brand engagement and maximises the value of each one. Beehive was founded at 2011 by a team of iGaming experts with a passion for building innovative products that answer the daily, critical and real-world problems our users meet. www.beehivebi.com

Mindaugas Stanelis CEO

BetGames.TV is a developer and distributor of interactive (LIVE) and innovative gaming products for gambling business. Our games could create multi-table effect with a possibility to try different games - that allows players to be engaged. We combine traditional (fixed odds) betting with popular lotteries and table games. www.betgames.tv

Michael März Managing Director Betting

bet365 is the world’s largest online gambling company. The group employs over 3,000 people and has over 22 million customers worldwide. bet365 secured top spot for the seventh year running in the eGaming Review’s Annual Power 50 for 2016 and won Best Live Betting Product Award at the SBC Awards 2016, as well as Bookmaker of the Year for the third consecutive year. At the iGaming Business Affiliate Awards 2017, bet365 retained the Best Sports Betting Affiliate Programme award for a fourth year running. www.bet365.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

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

Jesper Svensson Acting CEO

As one of the world’s largest listed gaming companies, Betsson Group operates some 20 brands including Betsafe, Betsson, NordicBet and CasinoEuro offering Sportsbook, Casino and other games. Betsson Group holds gaming licences in 11 jurisdictions and employs more than 2,000 people from 48 nationalities. Betsson AB wholly owns the Group and is a publicly listed company on the Nasdaq Stockholm Large Cap. www.betssongroup.com

Joakim Ling CEO

Final Enterprises are proud creators of Betfinal.com, a brand dedicated to providing world class entertainment in the gaming industry. Betfinal.com features a comprehensive Sportsbook and an appealing Casino, where players can choose between the biggest sporting events and a wide variety of products from both established and new game developers. www.betfinal.com

Largest supplier of sports betting software in Central and Eastern Europe. BetSys provides a comprehensive solution for Online, Retail, and Mobile sports betting. Consisting of a package of front end and backend applications which collaborate together and bring a proven method best practices to make management of your sports book easy and efficient. The BetSys platform is scalable, allowing maximum flexibility to adapt to market standards. BetSys: Your full spectrum of betting. www.betsys.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Karolina Filip Senior Affiliate Manager

Gaming as it should be. Fair play casinos. bgo.com & powerspins.com. BGO Entertainment is a leading online gaming company, established in 2012 to focus on the casino player who loves all things mobile.

Lee Gwilliam Commercial Manager

Blexr Ltd is a digital marketing company and super affiliate which relocated to the gaming capital of Malta in 2015. The business has a strong history with a global presence across multiple verticals. The company focus biases more towards internal innovation than acquisition and has experienced exponential growth in recent years. www.blexr.com

Marzia Turrini SVP Southern Europe & South America

BMM is the longest established and most experienced private independent gaming certification lab in the word, providing professional technical and regulatory compliance services to the gaming industry since 1981. BMM’s world headquarters are in Las Vegas . BMM employs some 300 people in 13 global locations. www.bmm.com

We offer a huge variety of games including slots, table games, live casino, and have a unique bonus proposition to give players the fairest experience. www.bgo.com

T. Jack Williams President

B4U Global Clearinghouse enables the gaming industry to offer virtual currency pay-in and payout solutions. Our solution supports bank transfers and payments to MasterCard , Visa and prepaid cards. Our secure platform can be integrated seamlessly making B4U the perfect partner. www.bitload4u.com

Clayton J Zammit Co-founder & CEO

We are a digital assets agency that can bolster your creative production levels. We are a team of UX experts, web geeks, and mobile apps development nerds who believe in flexibility and creativity – with years of experience working for affiliates, platform providers, online casinos and game suppliers. Given the different needs and contexts, we offer a number of engagement models ranging from End-to-End Project Based to Time & Material arrangements. www.betcr8.com

Claudio Stagno Head of Sales

Booming-Games is a provider of high-end next level gaming for the online slots market. Developed with the modern requirements and gaming habits of today’s players in mind, they host an eclectic portfolio of titles available on both desktop and mobile devices. They continue to pioneer new and engaging slots, that have gone on to garner considerable acclaim. https://demo.eu.booming-games.com/#/

Viacheslav Viedienieiev CEO

BOSS Gaming Studio is a software company developing innovative maintenance systems for both online and landbased gambling projects. BGS is also engaged in designing fascinating games and applications for betting industry. The company was founded in 2015 and rapidly expands providing quality and diverse software and services for the iGaming sphere. www.bosscasino.eu

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Håkan Frostne CEO

Brimondo is a proactive partner within strategic trademark and domain name services helping you to maximize and protect your brand value. We set out to define a new holistic way of working within the field of trademark and domain names, with your business goals and results in focus. www.brimondo.com

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

Caerwyn Prothero Payments Innovation Director

CashFlows are payment experts in the online gambling sector. CashFlows enables operators to maximise payment success through its range of acquiring and prepaid issuing solutions, all delivered under its principle memberships of Visa and Mastercard. www.cashflows.com

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Alexander Mattsson Affiliate Manager

With a can-do attitude, and a casino in a constant state of advancement in an ever changing industry, we are bold enough to claim the title of ”the worlds happiest casino”. We truly believe that a casino is only as good as the players, thus we want to give the best user experience possible. A smooth site, with all your need one click away, and most importantly, the friendliest customer support you can find. www.cashmio.com

Anthon Jahreskog Affiliate Manager and Co-founder

Casino Calzone is a new arrival on the online casino scene; started at the very end of 2016 with a unique pizza-theme, superior user experience and Holy Calzone! - an innovative loyalty programme appealing to players across the value spectrum. Casino Calzone is targeting mainly the Scandinavian and UK markets. www.casinocalzone.com

Tomas Eliasson Business Development 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. Celebrating 15 years online this year. www.casinoroom.com

Robert Andersson CEO

Catena Media is an extraordinary company with extraordinary people and together we will continue this exciting journey towards transforming igaming through the power of choice. www.catenamedia.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Itamar Ronen VP Sales and Business Development

Cellxpert provides the leading, state-of-the-art 360° affiliate software that’s tailored for Gaming and Gambling 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

Dan Morrison CEO

Our proprietary behavioural technology inspires non-engaged traffic to convert. By tailoring smart customer journeys, we engage with each visitor differently. We learn, segment & engage with these passive visitors using highly relevant personalised content across a host of communication channels. Our figures prove we are vital in an operator’s modern-day acquisition strategy. www.conversionbet.com

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

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

Daniel Bergstrand Business Developer

iGaming Audience Platform by Delta Projects is a full-stack advertising platform (DMP, DSP, Adserver) that is built to boost the effect in your online activities. By leveraging website, CRM and third-party data we let you create detailed audience segments for increased targeting and effect. Leveraging the iGaming Audience Platform help you acquire new customers and grow revenues. www.deltaprojects.com

Stefano Picone CEO

DominusBet is an young and fast-growing casino powered by over 1000 videoslots, live casino and virtual games. Get your 100% Welcome bonus, earn up to 1000 free spins, enjoy weekly cashbacks and much more. Discover our Affiliates Commission Plan up to 50% on revenue share and Exclusive VIP Affiliates program with fantastic monthly rewards. www.dominusbet.com

Jose Manuel Peral COO

Easy Payment Gateway is the next generation in payment gateways. Our unique technology gives the opportunity to any payment manager maintain an configure the payments strategy of the company without the need of any technical team. We have over 220 payment solutions that cover all territories, and 5 KYC & AML suppliers to help prevent fraud before happening. Easy Payment Gateway returns the control to the operator, and provides all the flexibility that any international company needs. www.easypaymentsgateway.com

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

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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: Game Solution and Turnkey Solution. www.edict.de

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

Germano Arnò Founder & CEO

Em@ney is a provider of financial services and innovative banking solutions. Fully licensed by MFSA to operate in all SEPA Countries, we offer platforms, also in white-label, that guarantee safe transactions, AML and anti-terrorism compliant, thanks to the use of proprietary screening tools that prevent anonymous and unlawful users. www.emoney.com.mt

Chris Smart VP Gaming and FX Markets

eMerchantPay is a leading online, mobile and POS payment service provider. We help e-commerce businesses of all sizes and sectors accept payments via multiple customer touch points. Designed to increase conversions, our offering includes robust payment processing technology, coupled with popular alternative payment methods and a range of acquiring services. eMerchantPay Limited is registered as an authorised Electronic Money Institution (EMI) and has the FCA’s permission to issue electronic money (e-money) and provide payment services under registration number 900778. www.emerchantpay.com

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

Mikael Hansson CEO & Co- Founder

Enteractive is a leading provider of player retention solutions for the iGaming industry. Co-founded in 2008 by CEO Mikael Hansson, the company’s Player Reactivation Services help operators return churned players back to action. Enteractive received its Responsible Gaming accreditation from the Global Gaming Guidance Group and is committed to supporting and augmenting the responsible gaming policies of its operator clients. www.enteractive.se

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Mark Anthony Spiteri General Manager

Entropay provides instant access to virtual cards for borderless, private, secure online payments. Deposit and play, or cash out in a flash, with our trusted gambling partner sites. www.entropay.com

John Farrugia Randon Manager

The Forestals Group has been established for over 70 years and is renowned for its high-end brands such as HP, Sony, Aruba, Promethean, Miele and Smeg amongst others. The Forestals First Class team specialises in offering a one stop shop for office fit-outs coupled with cutting edge technology, project management and a value-added priority service. www.forestalsgroup.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

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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​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

Ingo Ernst CEO

4Stop provides global KYC, compliance and anti-fraud solutions. Through one API, access 400+ KYC data sources to obtain compliance, coupled with 4S proprietary anti-fraud technology, real-time intelligent monitoring, and data science. Future-proof your risk management processes to combat fraud and stay compliant, regardless of the evolution of our digital eco-system. www.4stop.com

Antoine Szczot CEO

Gambling Affiliation is the leading independent affiliate network specialized in sportsbook, poker, casino and horse racing online campaigns. Working with the leading brands from the gaming industry Gambling Affiliation recruits thousands of deposit players on a monthly basis thanks to our affiliate network of more than 35,000 affiliates. www.gambling-affiliation.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Ollie Wood Global Sales Director

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

Maja Lozej CEO

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

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

Taku Sawada CEO

Ganapati 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

Ariel Reem CEO

Established in 2014, Genesis Global Limited is a rapidly growing iGaming company with three highly successful online casinos that are licensed with both the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gaming Commission; At Genesis Global we do this using REAL time segmented data that is tailored to SUIT, a full focus on advanced mobile technology including innovative functionalities and features to create and maintain our high conversion levels. This provides an enhanced and relevant gaming experience that our customers deserve! www.affiliatecruise.com

Colin Anderson Head Of Group Acquisition

Funky Affiliates powered by GENII software, launched in November 2016 and has fast become one of the most recognised affiliate programs on the internet. Funky Affiliates offers two brands “Jumba Bet” and “Jackpot Wheel” to promote, is one of the fastest paying programs and offers highly competitive commission! Join today! www.funkyaffiliates.com

Robin Reed Group CEO

There’s nothing quite like GiG. 500 geeks making insanely great products designed to power and grow iGaming operators and suppliers. We’re one of the largest employers in Malta and one of the fastest-growing public companies in iGaming. For technology, traffic, affiliation, odds and more, there’s only one partner to talk to. www.gig.com

Bruno Berlafa Head of Affiliates

Start earning with GIG Affiliates, now with seven global brands powered by iGamingCloud.com. You’ll have access to high converting casino, sportsbook and poker brands that are trusted and well established: Guts.com, Rizk.com, Betspin.com, Thrills.com, SuperLenny.com Kaboo.com and Highroller.com. Join www.gigaffiliates.com today!

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Roger Katz Head of Affiliates

The GoWild Affiliates program encompasses three top gaming brands 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 the ability to deliver over 1500 games from 15+ top providers, 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

Gernot Baumgartner Head of Marketing & Sales

Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions, the global interactive unit of NOVOMATIC, is a leading developer and supplier of iGaming solutions. Greentube is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NOVOMATIC Group. Greentube’s industry leading Omni-channel technology allows the convergence of online, mobile and land-based games. The well-diversified product portfolio includes Classic Slots, Table Games, Live Dealer Gaming, AWP Reloaded Slots, Server Based Gaming, Social Casino Gaming, Bingo and more. www.greentube.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

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 Pope Head of Marketing and Sales

HooYu is a global identity confirmation service that verifies your customer’s identity by using a digital footprint analysis, ID verification, facial biometrics, and database checks. Our aim is to help players securely identify themselves without any complex procedures or lag-time. www.hooyu.com

Carlo Arioli EMEA Marketing Manager

Vertica is an advanced analytics SQL big-data database with unprecedented speed at Exabyte scale, based on a columnar, Massive Parallel Processing, distributed architecture deployable on standard hardware or in cloud. It has builtin machine learning, SQL-on-Hadoop, Kafka and Spark integration and is used by Gaming & Online Advertisers worldwide. www.vertica.com

Roi Rintzler Head of Affiliate and SEM

iAffiliates, an exclusive casino affiliate program, is the innovative partner brand of The Mansion Group. Our top converting brands include some of the biggest names in the online casino industry: Casino.com, MansionCasino.com, SlotsHeaven.com. The iAffiliates team is led by executives with extensive experience in managing and optimizing affiliate campaigns. What defines us? On time payments, Tailor-made affiliate deals, Optimized marketing tools, and Powerful software. www.iaffiliates.com

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Matthew Castillo COO

ICE Malta is the island’s leading ICT academy, delivering worldwide recognised study programmes by educational partners Adobe, Autodesk, Cisco, Microsoft, LPI & The Digital Marketing Institute. Individuals and corporate teams studying at ICE Malta enjoy an ISO 9001:2015 world-class study experience. www.icemalta.com

Jaime Debono Director

Celebrating 10,000+ learners now trained online.iGaming Academy provides compliance and skills training courses to the iGaming industry. Available via eLearning, face to face or within clients’ own bespoke learning management system (LMS), our courses are trusted by leading online gambling and casino businesses and professionals worldwide. www.igacademy.com

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 Founder & CEO

iGaming Elite was founded in 2011 with the aim of filling a gap in the talent acquisition market as an innovative, trusted and high performing human resource consultancy within gaming. Presently, we have 3 strong headhunting teams consisting of more than 15 experienced recruiters. iGaming Elite has gone from strength to strength due to the high demand in the industry for quality. www.igamingelite.com

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Giovanni Paticchio CEO

iGamingPlatform offers the technology you need to build and deploy the most engaging gaming experience. Customizable, flexible products deliver fast results with the power to simplify your work flow leading to increased efficiency and profit. Why walk when you can run? Choose the LIMITLESS FLOW. www.igamingplatform.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

Claire Wellard COO

Ihre Consulting are your go-to Affiliate Network. Covering all territories for your casino, sports, poker, bingo & lottery traffic, we have deals ranging from rev share, CPA, hybrid to CPL’s & placement fees. Keep control of your accounts when you work with us for free. www.ihreconsulting.com

Julian Kunimine Head Affiliate Manager

Ikibu has moved the gamification system a step forward. One year after our launch, the Journey not only keeps attracting players but makes them stay, explore and discover the multiple features the island has to offer. Seeds, our unique reward system, our fast-paced Races and more than 1,000 games provided by 20 vendors are making Ikibu one of the greatest new casinos in the industry. One of those you don’t want to miss! www.ikibu.com


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Pierre Mallia Managing Director

iMovo specialises in Customer Experience Management (CEM), Business Intelligence (BI) & Big Data Analytics. By integrating some of the most innovative technology solutions in the market with an advisory approach, iMovo enables organisations to build long-term value relationships with their customers. www.imovo.com.mt

John Patrick Penntoft CEO

Income88.com offers European affiliates access to the best Asian facing brands in a trusted and secure way. Our brands target Thailand, Vietnam, China and Japan with competitive commission plans up to 50% rev share. If you have Asian traffic, talk to us! www.income88.com

Antonio Cesari CEO

1Stop Translations is a Multi-Language Vendor, specialists in translation and localization in 100+ languages. Since 2005 it has been providing multilingual solutions through a network of professional translators, editors, graphic designers, copywriters and webmasters, under the supervision of in house reviewers, project managers and IT staff. Clients range from multinational companies and public entities to small businesses and private organizations that require professional linguistic assistance to be competitive in their specific market sectors. www.1stoptranslations.com

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

Lincoln Grima Business Development Executive

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

Alisher Abdulkadyrov Company Director

Jeton is a new digital payment and transaction provider operating in 75 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Far East, and South America, covering 41 currencies. Jeton offers all major global and local payment methods including instant, wire bank transfers to suit any market’s needs with state-of-the-art security. www.jeton.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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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Jean Schaak Director

Keepmeposted has established itself as Malta’s leading vacancy website in supporting the island’s employment market. We provide the vital link between businesses that are looking to recruit and people who are looking for jobs. Our website delivers a simplified and cost-effective way to source candidates. www.keepmeposted.com.mt

Henrik Tjanström CEO

Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) is one of the largest online gambling companies in the world with more than 16.9 million customers. Kindred Group is committed to offering our customers the best deal and user experience possible, while ensuring a safe and fair gambling environment. Kindred Group has close to 1400 employees, 350 of these located in Malta. In Malta, we offer career opportunities within Customer Service, Player Safety, Accounting, Tech, Online Marketing, Creative Design and much more. www.kindredgroup.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

Don Bush VP Marketing

Kount is a leading innovator of solutions for fraud and risk management. Our “decision engine” platform is ideal for managing fraud in online/telephone channels that process payments and onboard new customers. Kount is committed to offering an end-to-end, single-source solution focused on speed, simplicity and ease of use… with a no-compromise approach to providing real-time accuracy in results. www.kount.com

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

Dennis Mark Gauci Partner

KSi Malta is one of Malta’s leading audit, tax and advisory firms providing a wide range of services to both local and international clients. These include: legal, licensing, payroll, secretarial, company formation, Tax, Auditing, VAT, assistance with Banks, PSP’s, Data Centre’s and hardware procurement, key officials amongst many other services. www.ksimalta.com

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

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SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Massimo Matteazzi Head of Affiliates

L&L Europe is an innovative online casino platform specialising in the creation of localised and niche casinos. Established 5 years ago with an ethos focused on delivering a product that puts user experience first, multiple localised deposit methods, fast verification and withdrawal process, with quality games and expert customer support. www.landleurope.eu

Neil Zeff Head of Affiliation

With more than 230 years of combined heritage, the Ladbrokes Coral Group encompasses the nation’s top converting gambling brands: Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala. We offer our partners the best rates across the brands, the most competitive offers for sporting events and dedicated support from professional Account Managers. www.ladbrokescoral.com

David Plumi CEO

Larry Casino delivers a fully-gamified experience, in which the player must help Larry to find all of the missing objects in order to move through the levels. The game’s developers have created a world packed full of interesting characters, levels, hidden objects, surprise boxes, Larry’s exclusive roulette wheels, and much more. www.larrycasino.com

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

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Gustaf Hagman Group CEO & Co-founder

Winner of Digital Acquisition Program of the Year – Global Gaming Awards 2017 LeoVegas, is always at the forefront of the gaming industry with their mobile first approach. With consistent innovation, now offering the Worlds’ Largest Roulette selection, the fastest sportsbook product and the widest selection of slots (over 1,000 on desktop, mobile and tablet), LeoVegas truly is, The King of Mobile gaming! Join LeoVegas’ award-winning Affiliate Program: www.leovegasaffiliates.com

Raman Shylovich Head of Operation

Loki casino is a young and rapidly developing classy casino, which provides players with a transparent, honest and highquality gaming service. Loki brand is inspired by excellent customer care service and individual approach. For affiliates we offer trustworthy partnership, decent commission rates and multifarious promotional offers. www.lokicasino.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


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Kamila Kroll Head of Operations

LV BET is an innovative, multilingual and rapidly expanding Maltese-based casino and sportsbook, offering over 500 slot, poker and table games, including live dealer tables and virtual sports. Already prominent in Germany, Poland (with 57 landbased betting shops) and central Europe, LV BET has recently successfully launched in the UK. www.lvbet.com

Anders Hedberg Co-Owner & CMO

ScandiBet™ is a new Nordic casino and sportsbook. Behind this brand is a group of iGaming professionals who all have a shared passion for Casino, Sports and Vikings. ScandiBet offers top notch game-play on casino and sports with games from leading game-providers such as Netent, MicroGaming, QuickSpin, Yggdrasil and SBTech. www.scandibet.com

Melanie Veronika Heinzer Head of Marketing

Mansa Gaming is building a state of the art gaming platform Magam, leveraging years of experience in both the Tech and Gaming Industry. Mansa Gaming is launching its first MGA Brand in November 2017 #playricky www.mansagaming.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. 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

Martina Cachia Senior Affiliate Manager

Matching Visions is one of the leading and fastest growing affiliate networks in the industry. We pride ourselves in offering our affiliates a large variety of high-value CPA, REV and Hybrid deals with all the major operators. The best part is that our affiliates have access to all deals and campaign materials whilst only having 1 login and 1 consolidated payment at the end of the month. The Matching Visions team is constantly working to keep the product new and exciting, adding affiliate races and competitions to ensure that our Affiliates are getting a unique experience. 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

Angelo De Gobbi COO

Since 2005 Medialivecasino is a software provider specialising in live casino games with real dealers. We develop customised products to integrate our games in your platform, create installations in real casinos or studios and publish your complete gaming site online. We are the only one to offer Virtual Reality live games: you can now play live roulette, using virtual reality goggles, and experience a 360° gaming world. Medialive has acquired the licences and certificates necessary to operate in the principal European regulated markets. www.medialivecasino.com

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

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Elmars Kuningass Head of Affiliate

Lifland Gaming Group currently run daily promotions across multiple products in multiple markets. Our wide range of sports, extensive range of slots, casinos and live table games allows us to consistently promote sporting events and new casino releases in exciting and original ways. Let us convert your traffic into profit! www.liflandgaming.com

Christopher Boyd Head of Web & Digital Marketing

Mr Messaging is your source of intelligence and guidance for today’s fast paced SMS industry. We pride ourselves on our unparalleled industry insight, our multitude of strong global relationships and our exceptional customer support. Get in touch today to discuss your SMS requirements. www.mrmessaging.net

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

Roger Raatgever CEO

Home to the world’s largest progressive jackpot network, Microgaming is the leading supplier of casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook, live dealer and back-office software, providing 600+ gaming brands worldwide with access to 850+ casino games and a branded portfolio that includes Playboy, Terminator 2™, Jurassic Park™, Jurassic World™ and Game of Thrones™. www.microgaming.co.uk

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

Multilotto are one of the world’s biggest online lottery betting companies, offering their players the chance to win the world’s biggest jackpots, including America’s Powerball and Mega Millions. Multilotto also offer an exciting casino featuring games from the world’s leading suppliers. www.themultigroup.com

Clemence Dujardin General Manager

MyAffiliates provides a cutting edge affiliate management platform. MyAffiliates platform gives operators the confidence that their affiliate program is going to meet the growing demands of the industry. With powerful reporting modules, real-time click tracking and detailed statistics available, affiliates love to work with programs powered by MyAffiliates. www.myaffiliates.com

Srdjan Kapor Affiliate and Marketing Manager

BitStarz was the first casino in the world offering wagering in both BTC and major currencies. Affiliates get up to 40% rev-share paid in EUR and Bitcoins. Players get 20 spins on sign-up, a 5 BTC/€500 + 180 free spins package and cashouts processed in 10 minutes. Join the revolution! www.bitstarz.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Assaf Rosenblum Affiliate Team Leader

Netopartners is the leading affiliate program for online scratch card and slots games. As a Netopartners Affiliate you’ll benefit from: • High CPL, CPA & Revenue share payouts. • Top converting marketing tools. • Fast payment an one-on-one support.

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

Justin Pace Sales & Marketing Manager

Ofici is an established company simplifying office supplies, targeted for offices and businesses of all sizes. Products range from office stationery to break/staff room products. Having the right balance of product portfolio at the right prices, the company holds appropriate stock levels thus guaranteeing time-efficiency and value for money in client procurement. www.ofici.com.mt

Join us today! www.netopartners.com

Raphael Arnold Founder & Group CEO

Founded in 2005, NetRefer is a leading provider of performance marketing software. NetRefer steadily grew year on year and established itself as a market leader in its field. It became widely recognised as the provider of the most complete and trusted affiliate marketing software in industries such as iGaming, Forex, Finance and Option Trading verticals. www.netrefer.com

netshop The online solution provider

George Sarris CTO

Since 2004, NetShop ISP has been a privately owned and operated company specialising in DataCenter Hosting services. Being active in the iGaming industry for the past 7 years, NetShop ISP is, today, among the top choices for hosting by leading Platform Suppliers, Software Developers and iGaming Startups. www.netshop-isp.com.cy

Kurt Bonello CEO

Okroute is a telecom company that specialises in new user acquisition and user retention via our own in-house automated marketing solution, with ready made API’s this can be integrated with your back office or accessible via our online portal.Whether its lead generation , tool optimization or business to business leads, our software consists of all the tools in one centralised automated platform. www.okroute.com

Stefan Morrow CTO/Co-Founder

Simplicity5 is a customer support system tailor made for IGaming. We are Maltese IT company with German and Swedish management. Our main purpose is to serve the gaming industry with high end technology that we integrate with your back office. Benefits: • Easy to use, intuitive, innovative • Seamless integration and unified user interface • Adaptable to your workflow Book your 2 hour free workshop to discover our one, holistic, fully integrated customer support system. www.simplicity5.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Anthony Hennessy Managing Consultant

Inspiring careers in the digital and gaming sector. Established 2001, Pentasia has placed 4,000+ candidates from across the skill-spectrum in many of the world’s leading digital, iGaming, eCommerce and tech companies. We provide the expert advice and industry connections candidates they need to explore, discover and secure work in digital. www.pentasia.com/malta

Oliver Brough Managing Director and Business Development Director

Gain control, confidence and flexibility in your business with advanced payments services from Pay360. Built using the latest technology and thinking, Pay360 provides businesses of all sizes and across all markets with secure and highly adaptable payments services. Get the simplicity and control you need. Pay360 works with all customer payment channels, aligns with your existing systems and scales to grow as your business does. www.pay360.com

Angel Gechev Head of Sales

Ozan is more than just a digital wallet. It’s the newest, easiest way for your customers to shop and spend online, send money to friends and family, and convert currency. For merchants, Ozan offers a configurable client-side integration, customisable fraud tools, and the ability to accept payments, pay out, reconcile, and settle within one account. www.ozan.com

Mark Watts Head of Gambling

paysafecard, part of Paysafe Group plc, is one of the global market leaders in prepaid payment solutions. It enables anyone to pay online, as simple and safe as with cash. paysafecard is the perfect online payment solution for customers who value their data security, wish to limit their spending or simply don’t have a bank account or credit card. paysafecard is available in 45 countries at more than 600,000 points of sale and can be used at thousands of online shops. www.paysafecard.com

Ebba Arnred Chief Marketing Officer

Play’n GO is an award-winning game producer and leading online and land-based casino platform supplier. For casino operators who are looking to increase turnover and loyalty, Play’n GO delivers original, fun and truly omni-channel experiences. Our products are based on unique inspirations, creativity and are backed by a solid platform. 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

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Anthony Farrugia Director of Operations

Experience Live Casino Gaming like never before with the number one premier resort destination in Malta. When you play online with Portomaso Gaming, you’ll feel like you’re on the casino floor! With a never-ending expanding choice of all time table games, you’ll be experiencing the suspense and intensity of competition from all over the world. What are you waiting for? Unite with us and let us drive your business to the next level. www.portomasogaming.com

Ayelet Knoechelmann Consultant

Powerpay21 is a Global FinTech Network that provides products and solutions for merchants. We have gained worldwide payments expertise that delivers results for our merchants. Those results range from delivering omni-channel payment solutions to controlling risk and fraud to delivering higher conversion ratios. Powerpay21 is committed to outstanding service, out-of-the box solutions and long-lasting relationships. www.powerpay21.com

Yossi Barzely Head of Business Development

Pragmatic Play is one of the fastest growing providers of slots games in the online gaming industry. It has proven expertise in creating mobile and desktop content that engages modern players. Its expanding portfolio features more than 80 proven HTML5 titles, which support 23 languages and all major currencies, and are built on unique in-house designs. www.pragmaticplay.com

Matthew Harrod Vice President

Processing.com is the premier provider of value added processing services, reporting and technology in payments. We provide a convergent acquiring solution to the e-gaming sector that offers multiple acquiring though one relationship; streamlining operational efficiencies, while improving player conversion. This unique focus and expertise drives profitable growth and reduces risk for our customers. www.processing.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

Vuk Popovic CEO

Quantox is an outsourcing firm of Web and mobile development.The professionals at Quantox are a dedicated team of developers, designers, programmers, and mobile app developers with more than a decade of experience producing high volume websites for important brands at a fraction of the price other firms would charge for similar services. www.quantox.com

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

Amit Har-Mor Business Development

Quinel is an ISO 17020/25 independent Test House and Inspection Body and PCI-DSS Qualified Security Assessor, 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

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Nicolás Campano Sales Manager

Umberto Corridori VP Sales Europe

R. Franco Digital offers Global Gaming Solutions with his solid Background in Partnerships and his Products driven by Innovation like IRIS Open Omnichannel Platform, IRIS Customer Success Services, RF On Mix Terminal and R. Franco Games. We support our customers in all operational areas, delivering the best turn key solutions. www.rfranco.com

SafeCharge is the payment service partner for the world’s most demanding businesses. SafeCharge provides global omnichannel payments services from card acquiring and issuance to payment processing and checkout, underpinned by risk management solutions. With offices worldwide, SafeCharge operates across a range of vertical markets. www.safecharge.com

Sebastian Delsinger Founder

Gavin Mills Global Sales Director

Reactivation Group is your partner to maximize the potential of your customer database. Through our reactivation and sign up calls we bring life to your dormant database and convert your non-depositing sign ups to NDC:s, enabling iGaming operators to reach conversion rates they didn’t think were possible. www.reactivationgroup.com

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

Alexander Artemov CEO

RevenueLab is a gambling affiliate network, established in 2009. Currently, it’s integrated with more than 300 casino brands which cover most markets. Its advanced and powerful software integrates all affiliate’s stats and finances in a single dashboard, which makes it easy to analyze performance and make the right business decisions. www.af2af.com

Tom Light VP of Business Development

SBTech is an industry-leading software provider of sports betting and iGaming software and services for online betting operators. The company employs more than 900 staff internationally serving top-tier operators in 18 regulated markets. Its complete offering includes an award-winning sportsbook, in-play betting software, casino and live casino products and the Chameleon360 player management platform. www.sbtech.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

Bjørn Furnes Fjellby Chief Operations Officer

Scout Gaming Group delivers Premium Fantasy Solutions and applications for the IGaming & Betting-industry. Scout Gaming Group provides the complete value chain; from developing products, design and implementation for any kind of Fantasy sport solution, as well as delivering live stat feeds. This makes us the lead Fantasy provider in Europe today, and the leading Fantasy Network. www.scoutgg.com Corporate colors (CMYK & PANTONE color spaces for print): PANTONE: 294 C

PANTONE 1: 7467 C

CMYK: 100, 90, 30, 19

CMYK: 67, 7, 31, 0

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 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 Co-founder

At Siru Mobile we help gaming operators and software providers in gaming industry to reach a higher number of consumers by providing a mobile payment using carrier billing, a payment method which really solves the payment experience challenge. 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. This makes us a perfect mobile payment partner in a gaming world. 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

Ylona Schroevers Head of VIP, Outbound and Support

SuppClupp specializes in providing high quality services in Customer Support, Outbound and VIP Management to multiple casino brands, such as 21 Casino and Casilando. SuppClupp operates in close cooperation with sister company Branders, which takes excellent care of Marketing and Affiliate Management. Contact us to talk about partnerships or career opportunities. www.suppclupp.com

Ruben Caruana Business Development Manager

STL provides consistent, professional Services, Cloud Services, Managed Services & Malta’s top player for Leasing and Renting IT Equipment. STL provides Business Analytics and Data Integration Services, through its own innovative Wisdom Business Analytics Platform.The Wisdom BA Solution plugs in Forcive, which is a Big Data Analysis platform, which can process, analyze and provides real time decisions by processing millions of records per hour. www.stl.com.mt

Graziella Mercieca Director of Sales

SMSwarriors offers a quick, easy to use & smart cloud-based SMS marketing solution and API for brands & business owners, interested in accelerating their revenue through the most effective marketing channel, SMSmarketing. Our goal was not just to create a platform but to create value for our clients through a dynamite platform. We take a personalized approach to each and every client. This is why our clients love our brand! www.smswarriors.com

Tiago Almeida CEO

Established in 2017, Sportingtech is a gaming platform provider, with partners in 6 different gaming jurisdictions. With solutions specially developed for the regulated markets, the company developed high-end software that enables online and retail gaming operators to empower their operation. www.sportingtech.com

Tomasz Myalski CEO / Founder

STATSCORE is a leading provider of high quality sports data. We capture and distribute sports data in various forms for bookmakers, clubs, federations and websites around the world. Our specialities: Raw statistic and live data Unique in-play visualisations Livescores & extended stats Live & prematch hints and much more. www.statscore.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Jan Lunde CEO / Commercial Director

Best known for the blockbusters Esqueleto Explosivo, Fruit Warp and Flame Busters Thunderkick offers a dual HTML5 games portfolio of 21 slot games currently live on most regulated markets and leading casino operators in the world. Founded in 2012 Thunderkick today have offices in Malta and Sweden. www.thunderkick.com

Kevin Norville Director of Human Resources

Established in 2004, Tipico is the leading sports betting company in the German market. Headquartered at the Portomaso Business Tower in Saint Julians, Malta, Tipico offers a wide range of pre-live and live sports betting products delivered through cutting-edge mobile and online channels as well as through a top-class portfolio of approximately 1000 retail outlets predominantly in Germany. Tipico also offers a wide range of online Casino and table games. Visit our careers page on: www.tipico-careers.com

Angelo Caliandro CEO

The company has many years of experience in risk management, odds compiling and customer care form the core foundations of the The Ear Ltd sports betting application, which has been designed for both Land – based and Online markets regulated by licenses in a number of jurisdictions worldwide. www.theearplatform.com

Jason Prasad Head of Affiliates

Stars Affiliate Club, formerly known as PokerStars Partners, is the affiliate program that supports the Stars Group brands, including the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars. The Stars Group is now also offering 2 new verticals, Betstars which currently hosts 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. Stars Affiliate Club is managed by a group of seasoned affiliate professionals who bring value and growth to any type of affiliate. www.starsaffiliateclub.com COMING SOON

Founded in 2009, TrustPay belongs to the first financial institution within the region to provide secure e-commerce payments across EEA area. In TrustPay we understand the complexity of eCommerce sphere. Our principal membership with VISA Europe, MasterCard and UnionPay enables us to provide our clients switch outstanding crossborder B2B services. www.trustpay.eu

Karl Grech Business Development

Tuning Fork Ltd. specialise in Information Security and Data Protection. These are implemented by focussing on four distinct areas: • Professional Competence of Human Resources; • Best-in-Class Business Management, Systems & Operational Techniques; • Conformity to Regulations, Legislation, Industry Norms, Statutory Requirements & Standards; • Corporate Governance and Risk. www.tfork.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

Keith Bezzina Sales & Commercial Manager

Twin.com is an exciting new casino brand, the hottest new casino of this year. Focusing on customer experience and innovation via a stunning website packed with functionality and features and is already widely acclaimed. Twin aims to continually evolve to meet very high expectations providing a secure and trustworthy environment. www.twin.com

Claudia Spurio Purchasing Director

Uniforms by John Marks is a specialist designer and manufacturer of bespoke and stock supported uniforms for the gaming industry. John Marks has a detailed understand of the working practises of the sector, especially live gaming, including real world and virtual. John Marks consistently offers a high level of service, creativity, and know-how at very competitive prices. www.uniformsbyjohnmarks.com

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

Dex Workspaces is a specialised outlet of the Vivendo Group focused on offering furniture solutions for any office environment, including operational and executive workstations, as well as raised flooring, acoustic systems and partitions. We aspire for all organisations to improve the work life of their employees through the physical setting. www.vivendo.com.mt

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

Warren Russell Founder & CEO

W2 provide a wide range of web-based, online screening tools and services to help organisations make quick, informed decisions about the people and organisations they are interacting with. The solutions and associated services that W2 provide enable organisations to achieve regulatory compliance by conducting Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Fraud prevention due diligence. W2 have partnered with some of the world’s largest data providers to ensure that you get simple, real-time access to reliable, up to date information. www.w2globaldata.com

David Mann Sales & Business Development Manager

Wazdan, the innovative b2b casino games company you see today, was proudly built on honesty and solid values, starting its journey with a few individuals brought together by passion and games. With over 100 HTML5 casino games and 12 new inhouse titles yearly, Wazdan offers great games and intelligent innovations. www.wazdan.com

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Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

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

Max Wright Founder

White Hat Gaming is a leading platform and casino provider, offering a full suite of services needed for any Remote Casino Operator. We build your vision! www.whitehatgaming.com

Martin Osterloh VP Sales Digital Entertainment

Wirecard is a global technology group that supports companies in accepting electronic payments from all sales channels. As a leading independent supplier, the Wirecard Group offers outsourcing and white label solutions for electronic payments. A global platform bundles international payment acceptances and methods with supplementary fraud prevention solutions. With regard to issuing own payment instruments in the form of cards or mobile payment solutions, the Wirecard Group provides companies with an end-to-end infrastructure, including the requisite licences for card and account products. www.wirecard.com

John Neves Southern Sales Director

John is an Enterprise Account Executive for Zendesk (London based) and Territory Manager for Malta, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Educated to MBA level with a First Class Degree in International Hotel Management, he also has and several years’ experience in a the customer service industry. Prior to Zendesk, John worked internationally in Qatar, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal. www.zendesk.com

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Media Partners | SiGMA

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

MEDIA PARTNERS Ros Wade Co-Managing Director

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

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

Bill Beatty Editor-in-Chief

CalvinAyre.com is the Internet’s number one gambling news site created by industry pioneer and the founder of the Bodog Brand, Calvin Ayre. It offers breaking news, a complete gambling industry directory, gambling conference and event highlights, as well as expert opinions discussing hot topics in the global gambling industry. CalvinAyre.com is where professionals working in the gambling industry around the world can be updated 24/7 on the latest news…gambling news with an edge. 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

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

Deepak Malkani Commercial Director

Gambling Insider is the market leading event-driven B2B publication for the gaming industry. Packed full of current and compelling editorial, Gambling Insider offers essential information to senior e-gaming management around the world, acting as an additional tool to advance understanding of key strategic issues. www.gamblinginsider.com

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SiGMA | Media Partners

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

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

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

ISSUE 7 FALL / WINTER 2017

www.sbc.global

Dennis Algreen Head of Marketing

SBC Global (Sports Betting Community) works with industry leaders to develop the sports betting industry. SBC Global offers a number of different services and solutions to the sports, betting and gaming industries, including news coverage, knowledge creation, conferences and exhibitions, seminars and industry awards. www.sbc.global

Michel Rizzo Managing Director

Allied Newspapers Limited is Malta’s largest media organisation. With over 80 years of heritage, our mission was, is, and will continue to be the dissemination of credible content that enriches people’s lives by informing, educating and entertaining them. We do this through Malta’s undisputed leading platforms: the Times of Malta, The Sunday Times of Malta and www.timesofmalta.com

Andreas Bischoff CEO

The European Summit brings together professionals from the online entertainment industry, e-commerce, financials, gaming, gambling, dating, forex, binary options, health, nutraceuticals and many others for an intensive 3-day networking event. www.theeuropeansummit.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

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The Marketing, Communications & Alumni Office within the University of Malta is responsible for the institution’s branding efforts and collaborates with staff, students and alumni in activities designed to support the goals and objectives of individual entities and the overall University. www.um.edu.mt


SiGMAgazine Issue 7  

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

SiGMAgazine Issue 7  

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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