__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

gazine

SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING/SUMMER 2018

COVER STORY YOAV DOTAN

ALPHA BOOT CAMP INTRODUCING SUPPLIERS WITH LATAM OPERATORS

MALTA GAMING WEEK: SAVE THE DATE! 25-30 NOVEMBER 2018

ARE YOU A START-UP? APPLY TODAY AND CLAIM €20,000 AT SiGMA18

THE WORLD’S iGAMING VILLAGE


Editorial |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Katy

Ivan

Contributing Editor

Editor

IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK. ANY TIME AWAY FROM IGAMING IS BOUND TO LEAVE YOU FEELING LEFT BEHIND. THE PACE OF THIS INDUSTRY IS SOMETHING ELSE. BLINK-AND-YOU’LL-MISSIT MIGHT SOUND LIKE AN EXAGGERATION, BUT IT’S NOT FAR FROM THE TRUTH. SOME OF THE RAG-TAG OPERATIONS I USED TO WRITE FOR ARE NOW HUGE OPERATIONS WITH THE SWAGGER TO MATCH. IF YOU WANT TO READ ABOUT THE EVOLUTION OF IGAMING FROM A FAR MORE SOPHISTICATED SOURCE THAN YOURS TRULY, I SUGGEST YOU GIVE OUR COVER STORY A GANDER... ...Yoav Dotan has been around the block a few times, and has insight that is supported by decades of experience. The meteoric rise of the iGaming scene in Malta has been widely recognised, and a disproportionately large segment of the industry calls this fair island home. Having joined SiGMA this year, I’m proud to say that I work for an organisation that isn’t content with riding a pre-existing wave. We’re looking to make some waves of our own. The good kind of waves. The kind that lift all boats. Because if I’ve learned nothing else from iGaming, it’s that the industry is not necessarily a zero-sum game – its overall health is in the interest of all its stakeholders. Yes, SiGMA has launched (and continues to launch) a bunch of cool events that burnish its reputation as a premier purveyor of prestigious events – I’m not going to get into any detail here, we’ve dedicated a couple of pages to catching you up with all things SiGMA, and they’re worth a peek too. The point of this magazine is to shed light on some of the most exciting changeagents in the iGaming industry today. It may surprise you to learn that iGaming is not done innovating. Au contraire, some of the sharpest minds in iGaming lore are coming to the fore right now. There’s no shortage of talent represented in these pages, and we hope you enjoy reading about it as much as we did assembling it.

At this point, it’s time to engage in some long overdue thank-you-kindly. I’ll start with our fearless leader, Eman Pulis. He doesn’t like hogging the attention, but there’s no denying he’s one of the hardest-working humans in the business and shows no sign of slowing down. There’s a good chance he’ll order the removal of all references to him in my editorial, such is his commitment to keeping a modest profile. So if you can read this paragraph, it means he’s chosen to be magnanimous. I owe him thanks for making my SiGMagazine debut a little less traumatic. I owe the same to Sophie Crouzet. She was also invaluable in making this edition a little bit less of a baptism of fire – and let’s face it… everything sounds better in a French accent. Aleksey Leonov’s photography dominates most of our pages, and the magazine is better for it. I could say the same for the design talents of Nicholas Cutajar, our lead designer for the mag. Last but not least, the freshest addition to our content team: Katy Micallef. Her writing features prominently in the mag. She’s pretty great, although she does have an unhealthy fascination with semicolons. Enjoy the issue!

03


Contents |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

CONTENTS

OFFICIAL PARTNERS

20 14 31

17 36 29

41 05


Contents |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

136 117 52 131 63 Editorial 03 SiGMA Updates 10 New horizons for gaming 14 Meet the Cryptofriends 17 Staying power 20 Blockchain Island 27 A driving culture 29 Establishing a difference 31 Coming through 36 The making of a better ICO 41 The days of the Swedish Gambling Monopoly are numbered 45 Fair Play 47 Trust, Value & Partnerships 52 Breaking fresh ground 58 Startup Pitch 61 Hustle and Flow 63 Maximising Value 66

Photo Gallery 70 G2E Asia 2018 107 Vox Pop 110 Simplicity and Agility 114 Wild about gaming 117 Busy times at Ganapati! 121 Making our own luck... 123 Changing the game 125 Vision and talent 129 Driving progress 131 Heading East 136 Leveraging our industry network to address the HR shortfall 140 Building solid partnerships 147 Finding your niche and making it your own 151 Who’s Who 153

Editor: Ivan Borg Contributing Editor: Katy Micallef Sales: Sophie Crouzet & Laima Bobrika 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 and related companies worldwide. For information regarding promotion and advertising kindly call (+356) 7777 3093 or email sophie@sigma.com.mt www.sigma.com.mt 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


| SiGMA Updates

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

UPDATES

In line with SiGMA’s expansion we have introduced two additional pillars to support our growing operations. The first is a beefed up News section. We’ve added more talent to our media team and recruited skilled journalists who can shed light on what’s currently going on, and make sure our media efforts are truly on point.

“We understand that sourcing the right talent can make or break a company, and we’re stepping up to play our part in addressing this crucial need.” 010

The next pillar is SiGMA Careers. We understand that sourcing the right talent can make or break a company, and we’re stepping up to play our part in addressing this crucial need. Our goal is to make sure the spotlight shines firmly on Malta, and by extension, the gaming companies that are connected to Malta. Whether they are still exploring a fledgling interest in relocating, or their roots to the island run deeper - we are excited to offer companies an unparalleled opportunity to delve into the potential our ample pool of resources has to offer. Companies across the board are falling over themselves in a bid to source new recruits – our human resources cannot currently satiate their hunger for talent. We aim to address the deficit in labour across the iGaming industry with an even bigger SiGMA Careers Convention. We are also engaged in talks with the government to fasttrack the visa application process. Our goal is to support the government’s current initiatives – with our Careers platform intended as a catalyst for change in this regard. We hope to readdress the balance, by leveraging our vast network to persuade affiliates, developers and highly qualified C-level executives to view Malta as an island rich enough in the necessary resources to be able to meet their demand.


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

SiGMA Updates |

SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 2014 SiGMA HAS TRULY COME A LONG WAY. WE STARTED HUMBLY, WITH A NATIONAL SHOW THAT RAPIDLY BECAME THE GO-TO iGAMING SUMMIT ON THE ISLAND. THE SHOW HAS GROWN IMMENSELY, TO THE POINT WHERE IT’S TRULY ESTABLISHED AS A GLOBAL EVENT. THIS YEAR, WE CAN CONFIDENTLY POSITION OURSELVES AS A BRAND THAT TRULY REPRESENTS IGAMING IN MALTA, BUT ALSO AS AN ACTIVE STAKEHOLDER IN THE LARGER GAMING SCENE.

“Indeed, we need to kick on and keep on improving it to justify the increased level of attention and attendance we’re getting.” As far as our flagship event goes, our mission this year is to make SiGMA a world-class show. We aim to lure delegates not only from Europe, but from right across the globe. This means we cannot allow the quality that has marked every edition of the event so far to drop off. Indeed, we need to kick on and keep on improving it to justify the increased level of attention and attendance we’re getting. In light of this, we’ll be flying the SiGMA flag overseas, as we embark on a global road show of iGatherings, dinners and conferences. Through Asia, Stockholm, Tel Aviv and Latin America, this year is jampacked with SiGMA events. There is more to SiGMA than our expo in November.

Based on recent feedback and given the voracious demand shown over past years, we are excited to be increasing the number of SiGMA conferences from four to six, which will span across three days instead of two. We’re very proud of the level of the conferences we’ve had so far, and we’re aware that there’s a real hunger for the best speakers. By adding two more conferences and spreading them out more, we hope to give more people access to some of the best minds in the business. The gaming industry has been among the most vociferous when it came to placing blockchain technology at the forefront, so it was only natural that we include it in our flagship show. SiGMA will always retain its blockchain conference, but the magnitude of the subject demands a dedicated show. We’re launching the Malta Blockchain Summit this year, and we’re confident it will be yet another feather in our cap. The iGaming industry doesn’t sleep… nor do we.

We’ll be tapping into the potential of the South American continent as we set up camp in Buenos Aires for our Alpha Boot Camp. The cosmopolitan city will play host to some of the best in their field, as European suppliers unite with LatAm operators from all over South America. Also attracting attention is an exciting Affiliate Grand Slam based just outside Macau, in Hong Kong, one of Asia’s biggest gaming regions. The event aims to offer affiliates the chance to forge new connections alongside standout networking opportunities in the industry. 011


| MGA Updates

New horizons

FOR GAMING

SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH JOE CUSCHIERI, OUTGOING EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF THE MGA. HERE ARE HIS FINAL INSIGHTS ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SECTOR, AND FUTURE-PROOFING THE INDUSTRY.

014

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

MGA Updates |

DLT

The initiative announced by the Maltese Government to promote innovation and position Malta as the blockchain capital of Europe has undoubtedly generated a lot of excitement and interest from across the globe. Furthermore, the consultation document regarding the regulatory framework for DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology) published by the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial services, Digital economy and Innovation, Silvio Schembri, has received widespread acknowledgement as a step in the right direction in positioning Malta as a centre of excellence.

Upon taking office four years ago, it was clear to me that in light of the highly dynamic global regulatory landscape, technological advancement and consumer protection standards, the MGA had to realign its vision and approach to gaming regulation. We therefore focused on a new strategic direction to reposition Malta as a centre of excellence in gaming regulation and as a global place of establishment. This repositioning reflects what Malta stands for as a gaming jurisdiction and strengthens our resolve to be a thought leader and role model.

The Malta Gaming Authority is actively pursuing Distributed Ledger Technology as an enabler of improvement in efficiency where the interaction between the regulator and the industry becomes more technology-driven and interactive. The MGA views this type of technology as an opportunity for improving its regulatory performance and a first mover in Regulatory Technology (RegTech) adoption. In fact, the MGA has recently published a consultation document which sets out the framework for the adoption of virtual currencies and DLT in the gaming industry within a sandbox (test and learn) environment. Our strategic approach to be at the forefront of remote gaming regulation while embracing innovation, is balanced with the recognition that a prudent approach in this area is the sensible way forward. This is what we are trying to achieve with the publication of this consultation document.

This Bill contains proposals which aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future -proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection. It is our belief that this act will strengthen the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve its regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on obligations pertaining to the fight against money laundering and funding of terrorism. It also empowers the MGA to be more agile in its decisionmaking, decreasing unnecessary regulatory burdens whilst strengthening supervision and focusing the regulator’s efforts on the areas which present a higher risk profile. The bill also focuses on consumer protection standards and responsible gaming measures.

We do not see technological innovation as a threat. On the contrary, we see such innovation as an enabler for change and efficacy in regulatory systems. In fact, Malta will be one of the first countries to start regulating the use and application of cryptocurrencies and DLT in the gaming industry. Our sandbox approach is intended to help us test such technological innovations in live environments, in order to learn and adjust accordingly. This would also help the MGA mitigate and address any risks related to such innovations – hence protecting consumers and avoiding any potential money laundering risks.

The MGA will continue to strengthen its commitment to implement better regulation. The Authority is working on putting risk assessment at the core of our functions as a regulator. We have also developed robust, extensive processes for effective outreach, consultation and for engagement with businesses and other local and foreign regulators. We remain committed to developing a logical and clear intelligence-based view of the most important regulatory risks to the sector in order to focus more on outcomes rather than outdated prescriptive approaches.

GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force in the coming weeks. This legislation, intended to protect and empower all European citizens’ data privacy and tackle the way in which data privacy is approached, is expected to have a significant effect on the procedures adopted by gaming operators. The MGA recognises the challenge being faced by operators, and to this end has been actively working with Malta’s Information and Data Protection Commissioner to provide the industry with clear and practical guidelines on the application of the rights and obligations under the GDPR to the provision of gaming services. In this respect, the MGA shall soon be publishing guidelines for the gaming industry and will also be announcing how the Authority will be applying the new GDPR rules internally.

New Gaming Bill

The culmination of the Malta Gaming Authority’s activities over the last three years was reached in mid-March this year, when the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial services, Digital economy and Innovation, Hon. Silvio Schembri presented Parliament with the new Gaming Act. The new Act aims to create a cutting edge regulatory environment for the Gaming Industry in Malta with special focus on consumer protection and simplification.

The legal overhaul was not the only change related to legislation this year. The transposition of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into Maltese law led to the setting up of a new Anti-Money Laundering Supervisory Unit within the Authority’s operational and regulatory structures. This unit has been conducting AML/CFT supervisory assessments through on-site and off-site inspections, to ensure that the operators are conducting proper checks on their players in line with the new obligations which came into force. The Authority is now focusing on issuing the implementing procedures which were prepared following a public consultation process. It is also adopting a risk based approach towards Anti-Money Laundering supervision to focus the resources where they are needed the most. Crucial to the effectiveness of the Supervisory Unit set up within the structures of the Authority is the collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) which is ultimately the authoritative body that has the power to escalate such cases. I am confident that the gaming industry has a bright future ahead. This, however, depends on our ability to innovate and remain focused on regulatory developments while maintaining a close view on any potential risks to our jurisdiction, so that Malta retains its reputation as a global centre of excellence.

015


Blockchain |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Meet the

CryptoFriends SiGMA RECENTLY PARTNERED UP WITH CRYPTOFRIENDS FOR THE UPCOMING MALTA BLOCKCHAIN SUMMIT. THIS IS A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FUN-LOVING TEAM TAKING THE CRYPTO COMMUNITY BY STORM. CryptoFriends is a group of professionals with an exclusive network of smart connections throughout the crypto community. The collective organises high end blockchain-themed events whilst bringing together leading industry experts, thought leaders, blockchain professionals, start-ups and enthusiasts. The group is known for bringing an element of innovation to the events they organise, and have championed an alternative approach that fits right into the pioneering spirit of the industry they cover. “How is one ‘supposed’ to do business?” asks Daria Arefieva, CryptoFriends’ co-founder. “The 21st century is the time where we do away with formal barriers and for people to leave stereotypes behind. This is the time of unbridled creativity and new forms of doing business, where we shatter the archaic boundaries and assumptions which were artificially imposed previously”. Daria believes that the current wave of optimism that dominates the crypto sphere should not be allowed to go to waste, but should be utilised. “There is already so much energy and excitement in blockchain right now, it’s simply a matter of harnessing that and bringing it to life through unique events,” she explains. “At CryptoFriends we are all about the crypto community. There are a lot of great blockchain events and conferences out there, but we found that they tend to use the same traditional format. We recognise that there is more than one way to do business. By giving people unforgettable experiences in intimate locations, that mix top quality content with a fun, party atmosphere, we create the perfect setting for them to build smart, meaningful connections”.

The inaugural edition of the Malta Blockchain Summit promises to be a seminal event on the Blockchain and DLT calendar, and it has just received a boost with a newly-minted partnership with Crypto Friends, who are known for bringing their signature style to the events they work with. Daria Arefieva says “We are extremely delighted to partner with the Malta Blockchain Summit. Thanks to its progressive and positive attitude towards blockchain technology and sensible industry regulation, Malta is fast becoming one of the leading nations for blockchain in Europe, if not the world. This summit is an exciting opportunity for anyone operating in the space to come and see how this beautiful island is embracing our industry, seek out new business opportunities and grow their network. CryptoFriends is all about building smart connections in the crypto space and we are looking forward to bringing our passion, expertise and unique twist on blockchain events to Malta.” In addition to supporting the Malta Blockchain Summit in November, and as part of its commitment to promoting all things blockchain in Malta, the CryptoFriends collective is planning a series of monthly, unique and intimate blockchain parties and meetups, to take place on the Mediterranean island throughout the year. Crypto Friends have an established track record with Hackathons and ICO pitches, and their association with the Malta Blockchain Summit all but ensures that those two events will be carried off with aplomb. The Malta Blockchain Summit will feature a Hackathon that will see 60 developers battle it out during the event. It will also bring together companies from around the globe for an equally competitive ICO pitch, with some of the most sophisticated panellists in the business officiating proceedings. The CryptoFriends partnership means both these initiatives will be imbued with the freshness that has been their calling card.

017


| Title

020

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


STAYING POWER

YOAV DOTAN IS A 20-YEAR VETERAN IN THE ONLINE GAMING INDUSTRY. WE SAT DOWN WITH YOAV TO GET HIS TAKE ON THE INDUSTRY, INFORMED BY HIS EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE WITHIN IT. 021


| Cover Story

“Back in the day, it was much more difficult to think long-term and have a proper strategy.”

022

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Cover Story |

How has the industry changed and evolved in those 20 years? I would divide the industry timeline into four periods, which I believe are the most significant. The industry took its first steps between 1995 and 2002. It was a very grey environment. Most operations were based in the Caribbean, with a combination of pure online companies like Microgaming and 888, and US-bound sportsbook operations which were previously pure call centers. Between 2002 and 2006, companies started moving to Europe – to places like Gibraltar, Cyprus and the Isle of Man – and really started to grow significantly. Many of them managed to go public just before the US law banning online gaming was passed. Party Gaming went public for 8.5 billion, and there were a few others with over a billion in valuation when floated. For instance, Playtech was valued at $20 million in 2003, and went public for $1 billion in 2006. The ‘regulated period’ starts in 2006. For about a four year span, until around 2010, the large companies tried to reroute after the collapse of the US market. We also saw regulation emerging in the EU. From 2010 onwards, we witnessed the ‘Scandinavian revolution’, as it were. Most, if not all of the most successful new operations and game providers during this period were established by Scandinavians. More about that later... What was different back in the day? It was actually a bit similar to how Malta evolved to be – it started as fun start-ups turning into more corporate and serious businesses. The main difference is that now everything is regulated. You can go public, get finance, and create an asset while planning for the long run. Back in the day, it was much more difficult to think long-term and have a proper strategy. It was not growth-focused as it is today but profit-focused, as no regulations were in place. Despite a smaller market size, companies were extremely profitable. Marketing channels surprisingly did not change dramatically, but today some are dictated by regulation. Can you share a few anecdotes from the past for our young audience? I’m not sure I should share everything, but some of the highlights would be bringing Aerosmith over for a full concert for a company event. Another highlight would be the purchase of some strange stuff on Ebay for PR - like a grilled cheese sandwich that bore the image of the Virgin Mary for $28,000, and Wiliam Shatner’s kidney stone for $25,000. Sending a number of our VIP players to exotic destinations on private jets, which was a probably a nice perk for them, was also pretty rewarding. 023


| Cover Story

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

“Malta is the perfect place for our industry and I believe it will remain so...”

You mentioned the last 8 years as the period of Scandinavian revolution, and Malta’s emergence. Can you go into more detail? It is quite simple – I believe Scandinavians transformed our industry for the good because of their DNA as people. They are fair people. The whole manner of treatment of customer has changed, for the benefit of customers, and they pushed the whole industry in their direction. I will give you a very simple example. The oldschool companies made an effort to retain as much revenue in house as possible, which meant what we call ‘hold’ was about 65%. On every 100 Euros deposited, only 35 Euros where withdrawn. The Scandinavians, because of their withdrawal policy and offering higher payout games, lowered this number to about 35% without hurting player lifetime value. Guts started a few years ago with a 4-hour withdrawal policy and Ninja promises only 15 minutes today. This is very good to players and the industry. The other thing is the community shaping up in Malta – everyone lives, works and goes out in the same few towns, so there are many opportunities created by networking. Relationships between competitors are excellent and so are the relationships between the smallest affiliate to the CEO on a personal level. There is a lot of trust and respect and I admire that. Malta is the perfect place for our industry and I believe it will remain so, despite being too small for some people. Do you think of Malta as the hub for gaming? Malta is the undisputed destination for iGaming and a committed prime jurisdiction for the industry. All new successful operators and marketing companies, as well as most suppliers such as game vendors and payment solutions are based in Malta. Malta is a gateway for growth and further expansion in the digital economy. Malta has the ability to meet market demands and its structure is built around this industry. There is a commitment to the higher standard in service industry and the capability of infrastructure and talent. It ensures the highest regulatory standards to make the industry safe for consumers and meeting industry demands and emerging trends within the market. Today, Malta is one of of the best technology and innovation hubs in the world and one of the fastest-growing economies globally, despite its size and lack of natural resources. You can see even more companies from other hubs, like 888 024

and bet365 from Gibraltar, are opening offices in Malta. The only issues for Malta are a lack of proper office buildings, the rise of living costs, especially rent, and a difficulty in finding employees, especially developers. I would suggest promoting computer programming education. The Maltese are great employees in general, on any level, so I am confident they will do well in tech positions. What do you think the future of the industry will look like? It’s difficult to say. Last year’s biggest buzz was VR and nothing eventually happened. This year the biggest buzz was eSports, and it will also probably not happen. Other things the industry talk about are big data, gamification, crypto, messenger gaming, social features, skill games and others. I believe the most disruptive innovation that the industry’s future lies on is development of a truly flexible tech platform, capable of evolving at the same pace as emerging technology does, which no other company has managed to create – meaning to be able to plug in any new innovation quickly and seamlessly. There is also an interesting ‘development’ which I saw with the new pay-and-play concept. It’s not only the ease of use, but it also limits the operators, because of a lack of information on the player with bonuses and promotions, which many players seem to like. No bonuses and promotions, as a concept, together with lots of talk about internet privacy, can limit the benefit of big data purposes, as they are today – mainly for retention or real time retention or ‘gamification’. Certain current and future regulations will limit the operators as well, when it comes to bonuses and promotions. I do believe gamification and other front-end and product innovation will be introduced. More companies will go public, more innovations will evolve, more M&As will go through, more governments will establish regulations. I expect the industry will continue to grow at around 10% for the next few years.

“More companies will go public, more innovations will evolve, more M&As will go through, more governments will establish regulations.”


Cover Story |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

“I believe companies should not only promote strong Corporate Social Responsibility, but a more advanced approach of Total Societal Impact”

You are known to be an animal-rights and environmental advocate and activist.Can you tell us how you connect your values with our industry? First of all, it’s about awareness. I am connected via social media to hundreds of industry colleagues, and although some of my posts can be quite graphic, I believe they are supportive of the general direction our society should go. Businesswise, I believe companies should not only promote strong Corporate Social Responsibility, but a more advanced approach of Total Societal Impact, or

TSI. In short, this goes beyond your own corporation’s responsibility, but tries to solve some of the world’s problems through your business. It is difficult for pure online companies to do that, but not impossible. One direction I can imagine off the top of my head is creating games that promote good values. Many people in Malta share my values and it gives me hope for the future. I was even thinking of suggesting it as a topic for the next SiGMA conference. TSI in gaming: it’s good for us and the industry.

025


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Blockchain Summit |

WE’RE SEEING IMMENSE PROGRESS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN AND DLT FRONT ON THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT, AND IT IS STARTED TO ATTRACT FIRMS TO THE ISLAND. THERE IS A REAL HUNGER FOR AN EVENT TO BRING THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER IN MALTA.

The Malta Blockchain Summit 2018, the first edition of our latest event, is on the books for 1-2 November. Blockchain represents one of the most promising disruptive technologies we’ve seen coming down the pipeline in a long time, and Malta is positioning itself to be a primary player in this potential tech revolution. The public sector is doing its bit, but private enterprise will necessarily play a crucial role, whether it springs from local investment or is attracted from overseas. This is where we come in. We hope the Malta Blockchain Summit will help give Malta an added appeal, and give our budding Blockchain tech community roots, a centre of gravity. The Maltese Government is being very proactive in making Malta the ideal place for Blockchain tech to find a home, and eventually flourish. Our goal is to be equally proactive in supporting this emerging branch of the tech industry. The necessary legislative process isn’t over, but we’re not waiting around idly. There’s a lot of organisation and investment that goes into creating an expo that can match our ambition, and that means we had to take the leap and get started. Malta is on track to be a pioneer in regulating DLT and Blockchain tech. We created this show to complement what the government is doing. The industry needs a platform, and we intend to shine a light on its current state, as well as its immense potential. If even half of its potential applications come good, we’ll be looking at a quantum leap in its value. Blockchain has widespread potential applications, including

in Finance, Healthcare, Energy and Entertainment. These four sectors, which stand to experience a great deal of disruption as Blockchain technology hits its stride, have also been chosen to anchor the four conferences we have going on with the expo. The show will follow the basic formula that has proven so successful for SiGMA, in essence. As ever, we give our attendees ample opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. We’re trying to replicate the success of SiGMA’s Pitch with a similar concept for ICOs. That should be worth the price of admission on its own. The dynamics of the industry are changing and we’re starting to see the potential of larger enterprises jumping into the ICO fray. The emerging Maltese legal framework to cover DLT and Blockchain should create an ecology that leads to growth in the sector. We’ve pulled this off successfully, as a jurisdiction, for iGaming. There’s no reason why Malta can’t also be a natural destination for Blockchain-centric businesses. For our part, we’re investing very heavily in this show. We’re attending all the conferences, and we’re going after the very best speakers out there, the best ICOs. We’re not reacting to local developments as they happen, we’re pre-empting them. The fact that Malta is embracing Blockchain as a jurisdiction, and committing so much attention to it, justifies the risk involved. We’re sparing no expense and really jumping in with both feet. Hopefully, we’ll be able to extend our purple patch and help Malta’s Blockchain family find its centre.

027


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

HR |

A DRIVING CULTURE Employer Branding Thomas Mahoney Specialist & Consultant

EMPLOYER BRANDING IS A PROVEN AND GROWING CONCEPT THAT I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING AND REFINING SINCE 2010. FOR THOSE NEW TO THE SUBJECT, THE CONCEPT IS BEST DEFINED AS A MARKETING COMPONENT WHICH ULTIMATELY BECOMES A DRIVING FORCE WITHIN A HUMAN RESOURCES STRUCTURED FRAMEWORK. The three primary objectives are: to create the necessary framework and components that allow an organisation to showcase and portray a true picture of its internal office work-life alongside its brand core values, to increase employee attraction & retention, and to increase internal and external brand loyalty. Doing this correctly ensures the creation of a scalable, company-wide, adaptable framework - which may prove to be incredibly profitable for an organisation. The consequences of not doing this properly will likely prove to be very damaging. Selling false promises sets a negative reputation which works its way from the inside out, scaring its current workforce and possible prospective talent. This is many a time self-repeating, because organisations try to plough through such projects without engaging professional and experienced assistance. Within the industry, competition between talent is skyhigh, making this concept the next big thing for growing professional organisations. Talent focus, culture engineering and career management have now become a growing presence in shows and conferences such as SiGMA. Looking back, the first time I decided to exhibit an employer brand in the industry at an iGaming show was anything but easy - as very few believed in and supported ‘my little project’. However, the one true supporter throughout has been SiGMA, the rest is history. SiGMA now dedicates a big chunk of its show to careers, talent and employer branding.

After all these years of trying to sell the benefits of such a concept, it seems that it now feels like the most natural thing for brands to exhibit their employer brand together with the product brand/s - as opposed to pushing either brand in isolation. However, exhibiting is one thing, effectively combining and making the two brands work concurrently is a completely different story. The majority has not yet understood why creating more of these employer brands as an isolated project will never work in the long run. Doing so is just like trying to fix one room in a dilapidated mansion. All the backing components must be set up and working effectively in order for the employer branding arm to add value to the organisation, rather than hindering the organisation’s reputation and perception. Through the concept’s organic growth, employer branding has become accepted as an integral and natural part of a professional organisation. Not only has employer branding become accepted, but since I started working on this concept, has converted itself into official roles within both the HR and marketing departments. Be wise, invest in your employees - a company is only as good as the people who work for it. The big question now is: where does employer-branding go next?

029


B2B |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Establishing

difference PGSOFT CEO KEN ZHANG IS DETERMINED TO SEE HIS COMPANY SET ITSELF APART FROM THE PACK. SiGMA WAS ABLE TO CATCH UP WITH HIM TO GET ACQUAINTED WITH PGSOFT AND ITS AMBITIOUS GOALS.

031


| B2B

PGSoft seeks to differentiate itself from the pack... “Difference makes the difference”... how do you go about achieving this? First and foremost, we want our team to be outstanding. Our team members include senior film and television producers from the States, mathematical elites from Oxford University and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, as well as an elite team of Internet products specialists from both Europe and Asia. It is a good mix of different cultures, with an eagerness for excellence, and a daring to be bold. We allow and encourage our employees to be bold and innovative, to always seek change, and to make a difference. We sincerely hope that our team will not only concentrate on work, but also be passionate about life. By doing this, it allows our employees to add the freshest elements in their lives to our creations.

We allow and encourage our employees to be bold and innovative, to always seek change, and to make a difference. 032

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Secondly, we want to change gamers’ perception of slot games. Before our entry to the market, the vast majority of slot games in the market were displayed in landscape orientation and users were still stuck in an era where games were designed for PCs. By observing and analysing the industry, we decided to ditch the old landscape display mode and adopt the current portrait orientation mode. The advantages of doing so is that the new display mode would be compatible with most of the devices on the market, and at the same time, bring a better gaming experience without the need to change the usage habits of most of the players. Furthermore, we want slot game players to feel amazed after trying out PGSoft’s games when discovering our exquisite UI design, and a vivid plot and melodious in-game music. “Difference makes the difference” is a belief that is also our company’s vision. The entire idea runs through all our work. We hope that with our insistence and efforts, we can achieve this goal soon and persist on. How important is innovation in your sector within the iGaming industry? Innovation is essential in every industry. With no innovation comes no progress, and the same can be said for iGaming. However, innovation can be divided into micro-innovation and disruptive innovation. For example, back in the day,


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

B2B |

No matter how difficult it may be, we are not only focused on making technological breakthrough, but also on overall innovation. Which markets are you looking to make headway in right now? Our main marketing strategy had always been to understand and to realise the needs of our clients, to ensure that we develop games that are being looked forward to, that are interesting and entertaining. If we limit ourselves by sticking with inherent market trends, our games will become dull and uninteresting, thus losing their attractiveness and meaning – and eventually only becoming a profit-making tool, which is fundamentally the problem of serious homogenization of the market. We have developed games of a variety of different styles for players in different regions around the world. We are not in a hurry to make a breakthrough in any particular market, as our goal is to make the players around the world enjoy PGSoft’s games. A lot of the market is shifting towards mobile. What is PGSOFT doing to stay ahead of this? We’re staying focused! We don’t pay too much attention to the trends of our competitors, as we had done ample research and analysis to understand them before we started our business. We hope to remain focused and stick to doing what PGSoft wants to do. The core of the operating system from PG, or Pocket Game, is made ready for the mobile internet. Therefore, we are like lightweight titanium built on an electric sports car that is so effortless. All we have to do is hold its steering wheel, step on the accelerator and speed forward. Which is the biggest source of tech disruption you’re anticipating at the moment? We have encountered many bottlenecks in our constant pursuit of innovation. Simply put, there is a great price to pay for innovation. To be technologically innovative, we often face compatibility issues, where many devices may not be able to run our software. To have a more innovative gameplay, we would face issues with getting our games validated by governing bodies, resulting in slower game production. To have a better game experience might break our customer’s long-term habits, bringing initial discomfort, while taking time to prove ourselves. To be more innovatively creative, we might face ridicule from competitors, or even plagiarism, and might bring cause PGSoft to run into some trouble. Motorola made the first ever private handheld mobile phone, opening up an era of mobile communications to the world. Nokia’s emergence allowed most of the world’s population to enjoy mobile communication services. Micro-innovation is when the industry went from Motorola’s first private handheld mobile phone to the popularity of mobile phones made possible by Nokia. Ever since Apple switched to a multi-touch screen mobile phone, humans have slowly entered the era of mobile entertainment and mobile office. We hope to change the iGaming industry through continuous micro-innovations, but we also look forward to one day provide disruptive innovation to shade down this industry and provide the best quality of products and services for everyone. While innovation is important, we do know that without any challengers there will be no innovations! As a new challenger to the industry, we shall drive innovation into the entire industry. Maybe a few years from now you may not remember how many innovators there were, but you will certainly remember that it was the challenge of PGSoft that led to the start of innovation in this industry.

No matter how difficult it may be, we are not only focused on making technological breakthrough, but on overall innovation. For all future games that PGSoft develops, we would adhere to our concept of “Difference makes the Difference”, and that is the best synonym for innovation! Which regulatory developments are likely to change the landscape of the industry going forward? We hope that, in future, PGSoft would be able to uphold and lift the standards of the slots games industry, improving the threshold of the entire industry. To achieve that breakthrough, it is undoubtedly through the development of the best and most suitable game engine. We hoped that the game engine that we developed would lift the entire slots industry to a higher level of standards. And by doing so, allowing the traditional slots game to keep up with the times of regulatory developments in the internet age. What is your goal for PGSoft in the longer term? Since its inception, PGSoft had established that our long-term development strategy would be based on originality and a focus on the research and development of premium games. The company shall continue to adhere to a focus on technological innovation, as well as being committed to creating a diversified and innovative mobile internet entertainment solution. This is to ensure that we continue providing slots players around the world with exquisite visual presentation and engaging gameplay when using our premium entertainment product and services. 033


| Interview

Coming Through KATY STAFFORD HAS PROVEN HERSELF ON THE AFFILIATE MANAGEMENT SCENE, AND IS NOW INVOLVED IN ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING PROJECTS OUT THERE. SHE TAKES US BEHIND THE SCENES AT COMEON CONNECT.

036

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview |

When it was announced in late 2016 that Cherry AB would exercise its option to acquire the remaining shares in ComeOn Malta, one of the most significant deals was well and truly cemented. Integration work had already started during the summer, and the signs had been good. The deal was expected to result in an increased competitive advantage, with a large number of successful brands already in tow. However that was far from a foregone conclusion, there was a lot of work that had yet to be done to make the acquisition a successful one. The sneaky secret behind a lot of mergers and acquisitions, in iGaming and in wider industry, is that they don’t always work out as expected. The value of expected synergies and economies of scale is often overestimated, and the teething issues that accompany the necessary integration frequently overlooked. This let-down hasn’t come about in the case of ComeOn Connect, and Katy Stafford actually plays down the amount of teething friction that accompanied the deal. Cherry Affiliates and Earn Affiliates had been drawing rave reviews for a while, even before their union was consummated – so the underlying quality was not a great concern, and their joining forces proved to be a reasonably straightforward process. “It’s actually been quite smooth,” claims Katy. “We didn’t come across any major issues that we couldn’t resolve relatively easily”. She explains that her experience with both teams helped her manage the transition more smoothly. “It really helps that I straddled both sides of the relationship prior to the deal,” Katy says. “The familiarity certainly helped make it a more effortless process than it might have been otherwise”. The level of preparation and diligence in the way the business is conducted is also impressive, and goes a long way in explaining the relative smoothness of proceedings in ComeOn Connect. Although the full merge and migration of reporting systems is delayed, the two original teams are now working as one unit, with a new website www.comeonconnect.com showcasing their portfolio of brands. There isn’t the sense that the organisation is built on shortcuts, and that involves a rational and fair approach to doing business – one that will lead to continued and sustainable success. “We know that we have to make sure we’ve got an excellent ROI on our deals,” Katy explains. “We want to have fulfilling partnerships going forward”. I manage to steer conversation towards regulatory developments, which have obviously been of great concern of late, particularly in the UK. Anyone with UK-facing affiliation in their stable has been looking at the regulatory picture in the UK with some measure of apprehension. However, Katy does not necessarily think of regulation in negative terms, and lays out the reasons for her optimism. “We’ve had very good talks with our UK-facing affiliates,” she tells me. “For the most part they’ve been incredibly compliant, they want to work with us, and we want to work with them going forward to ensure that everything needed from the UKGC is actually done from our end.” At the same time Katy believes that the ultimate result will be positive. “I think it’s actually quite good that the UKGC are doing this right now, because this type of compliance and these types of rules in place for operators working with affiliates, will spread to all the regulated markets sooner rather than later,” she says. “So it’s a good indication for us and gives us a head start, in a way. The idea is we know it’s going to happen, so we need to make sure we’re compliant right now.” Katy points out that this is her opinion, but it’s certainly a very educated opinion on the matter. It also reflects the generally proactive mindset within the larger organisation, which is definitely future-focused in thought, but also in preparation. There is a sense that nothing happens by accident, and no shortcuts are taken at the expense of long-term progress. Even in regulatory and compliance matters, ComeOn Connect is very well positioned as a result of foresight and advance preparation. This promises to help the newlyintegrated brand to keep up its lofty standards going forward, and offer great value to its partners and players alike. 037


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview |

THE MAKING OF

a better ICO BETTERBETTING IS LOOKING TO PROVIDE PUNTERS WITH ACCESS TO A LARGER POOL OF LIQUIDITY THROUGH BETR, AND HAVE ALSO PROVIDED THE BLUEPRINT FOR A SUCCESSFUL ICO. SIGMA GOT HOLD OF ADRIAAN BRINK FOR INSIGHT INTO A BRAVE NEW WORLD.

041


| Interview

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

“If regulation is too overblown and too onerous it will kill the innovation”

A lot of people talk about launching a successful ICO: Adriaan Brink actually did it. His company’s BETR token holds immense promise for iGaming, and underpinned an ICO that can be described as an unqualified success. As Adriaan shares some of the lessons that may be gleaned from his own experience launching an ICO, it bears reiterating that the whole undertaking is still being carried out in a true pioneering exercise. According to Adriaan Brink, bridging the trust gap doesn’t register as particularly important in a regulated market. In the UK it largely addresses a problem that doesn’t exist. Adriaan Brink believes there’s no pressing need to use cryptocurrencies like Ethereum for gaming transactions in the UK, from a trust perspective. Their market is currently very well supplied with efficient payment mechanisms. In other regions where the market is lacking, the adoption of new payment mechanisms will occur more quickly. With that being said the BETR currency launched by BetterBetting is not purely a payment 042

mechanism - it also incorporates a firm betting logic. In that respect it also addresses a potential need in the regulated market as well. The currency incorporates the escrow process for the bet from both parties. When you place a bet using the BETR currency, the funds from the bettor as well as the risk from the layer of the bet are escrowed. That risk and stake are held on the blockchain until such a time as the result is known. At that point, they’re settled and paid to the winner. What that means is that in a peer-to-peer bet, you can rest assured that you’re going to get paid by the other party. Looking down the road, perhaps in a year’s time, we might see the emergence of little widgets for Twitter or WhatsApp. Bar an initial once-off registration, users will be able to see an odd, click it and place their bet – without going anywhere near a sportsbook. The client-based authentication process for Ethereum or any of these cryptocurrencies is actually quite strong .There’s no requirement for additional authentication beyond that. Essentially, this means you can


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview |

These are liquidity pools that professional bettors take advantage of all the time, something the average guy on the street doesn’t normally get a look in on. Accessibility to these other bookmakers offers a much bigger liquidity pool to the average punter. Their substantial exposure in Asia means they are perfectly positioned to provide a sizeable liquidity pool to bettors. Navigating blockchain technology means steering yourself through unchartered territory. The lack of clarity with regulation is an ongoing theme for many companies trying to comprehend a half written rulebook. Malta is trying to be one of the first jurisdictions to create a clear set of rules for blockchain based companies to operate in. How attractive is Malta to an ICO if this law eventually passes?

“What directly impacts the model is whether the ICO addresses the business need or not.” It is a bit of a double edged sword. Part of the reason why the ICO space has been so successful is that there hasn’t been any regulation. For Adriaan, it is inevitable that regulation will eventually appear in this space. ‘’I’m in two minds about it,’’ he says. ‘’Regulation is a good thing, it gives a level of security to smaller investors who aren’t able to carry out due diligence, who don’t understand the space sufficiently. On the other hand, if the regulation is too overblown and too onerous it will kill the innovation’’. The right balance is hard to find. Gibraltar is also putting together similar legislation. The main concern is that it will chase away people who are not prepared to go through the over-regulated environments, pushing them to migrate to jurisdictions that are less strongly regulated. It’s early days yet. No doubt the markets will eventually settle, much like the public markets have.

decentralise your process without eschewing security and regulatory considerations. Despite fears that operators can’t be trusted, and gripes about the odds being unfair, people do generally place their trust in sportsbooks. The truth of the matter is that sportsbooks survive by being trusted by their customers. The trust gap doesn’t loom that large in a regulated market, although when it comes to the amount of bets you are able to place it does raise some cause for concern. According to Adriaan, regulated markets, particularly those in the UK, tend to be restrictive in that domain – which means that liquidity is not available to bettors. What BetterBetting are planning to provide is a global liquidity pool. Whereas a bookmaker may choose to place only a certain amount on a bet, there will very likely be a bookmaker in Asia or elsewhere that will accept a much higher bet.

The uncertainty in the market means questions are being raised about where the next big thing in blockchain might be coming from. For Adriaan it’s the business need being addressed, rather than the relative sharpness of the tech, which mostly determines the success or failure of a particular application of said technology. ‘’With truly decentralised applications such as ours you have to assess the business model – the most pertinent question is whether there is an underlying business need, either a new one or existing one that address a problem which can genuinely add to the feature set.’’ The crux of the matter is whether the business actually adds something of value and of genuine use that would survive beyond the ICO stage. Existing blockchains will likely become more efficient, although none are quite ready for release yet. It is likely that by the end of the year new blockchain innovation will be released into the market. ‘’There’s a lot of innovation going on in this space. None of the innovation directly impacts whether the ICO business model is going to work or not. What directly impacts the model is whether the ICO addresses the business need or not.’’

043


Regulation |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

The days of

Swedish Gambling Monopoly

are numbered INTERVIEW WITH CAMILLA ROSENBERG, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE SWEDISH GAMBLING AUTHORITY ON THE UPCOMING SWEDISH GAMBLING REGULATION EXPECTED TO BE ADOPTED BY THE SWEDISH PARLIAMENT IN MAY THIS YEAR. Could you briefly describe how the Swedish regulatory package, which is about to be adopted, is designed? It is difficult for me to comment on that question as we are currently working with a moving target. It depends, first of all, on what the law will actually state once it is passed through all instances. Currently, the regulation is on notification in Brussels. Secondly, the law as such is being worked out within the Government. The timeframe once we have the regulation in front of us is short. This is quite unusual compared to our normal circumstances. Authorities usually have substantial time to prepare rules and instructions based on the regulation once it is issued. For instance, time is allocated to organising hearings with the industry, with a number of months to make preparations. In this case we needed to engage the challenge in parallels. We will, therefore, need to reconsult the industry once the regulation is out, in order to be able to design proper instructions according to our proposals. In this sense, we are operating on an unconventional basis at the moment. We are very grateful in this situation that the industry is responsive and submit their opinions on short notice. In light of this, can the industry expect to be able to start applying for licences in July in accordance with the plan? This is the proposal. As of early April it has now been delayed one month and it is now expected that licence applications will start on the 1st of August. But we cannot be one hundred percent certain at this point. The proposition is just about to be published. Then, it is up to the Swedish Parliament to decide on its adoption. This decision has to come in May in order for the plan to remain intact. We are operating on this proposed timeframe.

In drafting the regulatory package, what other jurisdictions have been consulted for inspiration? It is not the Swedish Gambling Authority as such, who have drafted the regulation. In Sweden this is always assigned to an independent investigator. In this case it was assigned to the former GeneralDirector of the Swedish Gambling Authority, HåkanHallstedt. The Authority’s duty is only to enforce the regulation once it is adopted by Parliament and written into law. In principle, the investigator could have been someone outside of the Authority. Abroad it is common that the Authority itself is responsible for drafting regulations – we have a different procedure in Sweden. The directives given to the investigator in this case mainly revolved around consumer protection, security, and a number of other parameters. If operators choose to ignore the new regulation, what kind of enforcement does the Swedish Gambling Authority have at its disposal? One thing that has been brought up throughout the drafting process is that pop-up warning messages will appear for Swedes who are gambling on sites of unlicensed operators. As such, the user will be able to make an informed decision on the risks involved in accessing websites of operators who are not licensed in Sweden. Additionally, if a user gambles on a site which is not licensed in Sweden, they will also be liable to pay tax on any gains, which is not the case on licensed sites. The idea is to create incentive for users to choose licensed operators. The Tax Authority has stated that it will be possible for them to make this assessment and take action. During the consultation, what part of the regulation drew most disappointment from iGaming operators? These are opinions that have been submitted to the Government and not the Authority. However, in general there was discussion about the tax rate of 18 percent. There was also some complaints regarding the initial proposal to license B2B platform providers. This proposal was eventually discarded. There has also been some opinions raised on the fact that some gambling activities, such as lotteries, will still remain within the monopoly. Many were probably hoping for open competition in all spheres of gambling. Finally, it has also been announced that Malta will be taken off the Swedish tax whitelist and that companies will be assessed on a case-by-case basis whether they have substance in Malta or not. Is it just a coincidence that this is announced in parallel with the gambling regulation? It is a very interesting question. Specifically, I have not heard anything indicating that there is a connection. This question has to be directed to the Minister of Finance, Magdalena Andersson. The reason why this has surfaced at this moment is probably connected with the media coverage of the Paradise Papers. One thing I can say is that nobody has consulted the Authority for coordination with regard to this question. Therefore, it is unlikely an intentional coincidence. Is there anything you would like to announce to iGaming operators ahead of the launch of applications in July? I want to emphasise that the timeframe is short. We will do what we can to have everything in place. Naturally due to the circumstances, not everything will be perfect. We have not received any budgetary reinforcements to deal with the licence applications procedures and will do our best to manage the situation. Thus, it is important that operators are applying in time, submit proper applications and remain patient despite the short timeframe.

045


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Blockchain | SiGMA

FAIR PLAY by Jez San, CEO, FunFair Technologies

FULLY TRANSPARENT BETTING CONTRACTS HAVE LONG BEEN A POINT OF CONTENTION IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY, IN TERMS OF CREATING AN ALLIANCE BETWEEN PLAYER AND CASINO. FUNFAIR TECHNOLOGIES IS CONFIDENT THEIR INNOVATIVE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY WILL USHER IN A NEW ERA OF ESTABLISHED TRUST AND OPENNESS IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY, ELIMINATING THE NEED FOR TROUBLESOME GOBETWEENS.

047


SiGMA | Blockchain

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

FUNFAIR TECHNOLOGIES IS AN ETHEREUM-BASED, DECENTRALISED CASINO TECHNOLOGY THAT COMBINES THE OPENNESS OF THE INTERNET WITH THE SECURITY ENDEMIC TO BLOCKCHAIN. THEIR NEWLY BUILT STATE CHANNEL TECHNOLOGY – CALLED FATE CHANNELS, IS REVOLUTIONISING THE WAY THE INDUSTRY WORKS, BY ALLOWING FOR GAMES TO WORK IN A WAY THAT IS FUN, FAST, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, FAIR. AS IS EVIDENT FROM A POLL CONDUCTED BY THE UK GAMBLING COMMISSION – A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE (33%) OF PLAYERS ACTUALLY TRUST THAT CASINOS AND THE GAMES THEY PLAY ARE FAIR. EVEN IF GAMES ARE ACTUALLY FAIR, PLAYERS DON’T ALWAYS THINK THEY ARE. THIS NEGATIVE PERCEPTION OF UNSCRUPULOUS GAMING IS SOMETHING FUNFAIR SEEKS TO TACKLE BY PROVIDING MAXIMUM TRANSPARENCY. What blockchain brings to the table is technology that has far-reaching potential to change the way gaming operates, making games that are not just fair, but demonstrably transparent. Put simply, trust is no longer built on the flimsy foundations of good faith, but on evidence-based proof. Both player and casino can see, in real-time, the roll of the dice and the random generator, which is seeded by both the player and the operator – something no existing online casino can currently do. Taking this technology a step further, the innovation of smart contracts has enabled casino games to be built on the blockchain too, so that their execution is provably and visibly fair. Ethereum is, by far, the leading blockchain and the only one that supports the current technology. Using Ethereum, we are one of the first applications of smart contracts to utilise such a highly-used product.

048

However, running games directly on the blockchain throws a spoke in an otherwise well-oiled wheel, resulting in a pace too sluggish to be enjoyable. A core benefit to our Fate Channel technology is that more or less anything you can do in the smart contracts - can be done off chain. The solution, therefore is simple: the entire game can be run this way in real-time, appeasing players looking for fast, smooth entertainment. Because fairness is more than just what is in the smart contract, we have a white-listing system where game developers create games and submit them to us to be examined for fairness – fairness is not only the code, but how they appear visually - how they depict the game. Eventually, this will be deferred to an official white listing authority.

Trust is no longer a two way street between casino and player, but a guaranteed assurance.


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

JUDGE AND JURY

Previously, casinos used incumbent technology, with games running on private servers. What they did was not discernible to the public and in many cases not visible to the auditors in real time. By embracing blockchain technology, there is no need to have remote gaming servers, which means casinos are able to operate with lower costs making their business much more profitable. Our adherence to a Commit Reveal Scheme means the games themselves are in pre-published smart contracts, which can be audited and reviewed by experts. Pre-publishing the smart contracts on chain is more transparent and significantly less costly when it comes to disputes. Both players and regulators have access to a fully transparent game - eliminating any doubt that the games could be unfair. The robust nature of our technology is such that it can both detect and resolve disputes. Questionable activity can be eliminated, using the blockchain as a neutral judge and jury. If either side flags suspicious activity, the blockchain is able to come back with a final decision, punishing the cheater in a way that damages their reputation and that is financially disincentivising.

Blockchain | SiGMA

In addition to this, Fate Channels also compute and settle payments in real time, separating out payments to game developers for their revenue share as well as to the casino operator and affiliates responsible for player traffic in the state channel, ensuring all participants in the ecosystem benefit from fair and immediate pay. This system of transparency also means that players can do away with depositing their money into the casino’s custody and awkward requests for withdrawal or refunds can be avoided. Players are able to play the games directly from their own wallets, retaining control over their money at all time. Trust is no longer a two way street between casino and player, but a guaranteed assurance. Fate channels have established a system that provides the best of both worlds, using the blockchain for what it’s good at: fairness and transparency. By applying our technology we’re able to run at full speed and still tie into the blockchain, making our name ring true: fun and fair. It’s clear, then, if we want to pursue a more ethical and transparent future for the gaming industry, this technology is where the future lies.

What blockchain brings to the table is technology that has far-reaching potential to change the way gaming operates, making games that are not just fair, but demonstrably transparent.

049


| Affiliation

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Trust, Value

&

Partnerships WITH OVER A DECADE AND A HALF OF EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY AS AN AUTHORITY ON HIGHEND LEAD GENERATION, HIGHLIGHT MEDIA HAS ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS AN ORGANISATION BUILT ON TRUST AND LASTING RELATIONSHIPS. ERIK GJERDE SAT DOWN WITH SiGMA TO DISCUSS WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR THE COMPANY.

052


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Affiliation |

“It was the temperate Mediterranean climate that lured us to the Maltese islands eight years ago, providing us with the perfect place to set up our headquarters. We liked the stability it provided as a location; you have all the operators on your doorstep and there’s an easy and clear legal framework.” Our strong and established network is what sets us apart from our competitors. With over 120 money-making digital brands, attracting predominantly conversion-focused traffic, we consider ourselves to be the number one provider of high quality iGaming leads. Operating across multiple segments in 30 different countries has enabled us to send millions of highly targeted visitors to our customers’ websites every year.

We are currently investing heavily in Asia and looking to acquire more companies there, as well as in North and South America. This will present us with entirely new challenges. The quantity of players these markets offer makes it a completely different ball-game when compared with European markets. Of course, everyone wants the high value players - so what do you do when you have a thousand times more players, but they are much less valuable to operators?

Our 15 years in the industry makes us one of the most experienced affiliate companies out there. We’ve been through everything - from the hallelujah days, to the more negative ones such as when taxation of gaming was introduced, and Black Friday in the US.

Achieving success in a new market involves understanding the unique nuanced qualities of its culture. This understanding then leads to trust.

It was the temperate Mediterranean climate that lured us to the Maltese islands eight years ago, providing us with the perfect place to set up our headquarters. We liked the stability it provided as a location – you have all the operators on your doorstep and there’s an easy and clear legal framework.

We are in the affiliate industry. If people don’t trust us, it’s extremely difficult to excel. As a global player within the affiliate industry we focus our energies on several markets, which is why it’s vital that we understand the unique qualities of every culture. This is why we work locally, hiring people with the necessary resources and skills to help us navigate these cultural differences.

We count ourselves lucky with our staff as well. The staff turnover rate is extremely low; we have dedicated people who have been with us for over 10 years. People enjoy working with a company they can trust and we find that people in Malta are competent, happy, and easy to work with. Today we consider Highlight Media to be a pure affiliation company in more or less all segments. We concern ourselves not only with casino, but the full spectrum of the industry, including bingo, sports and finance. Having taken the bold step of transitioning from private company to publicly listed company, we have adhered to every new twist and turn when it comes to rules and licence requirements. When markets change, we are quick to adapt to them. The fact that we are still here, still expanding, shows that we must have done something right along the way. Our focus going forward will primarily be on iGaming: with traditional casino and sports products at the helm. We have also invested heavily into esports. As a result, we have created one of the leading esports betting sites online today. Alongside these established sites, we will be launching our new sportsbetting product very soon. As well as providing us with a great deal of valuable data, this will enable us to try and change how sportsbetting is consumed in our target markets.

Highlight Media has built partnerships with numerous industry leading operators over many years. The benefit of this cannot be overstated. When promoting offers and campaigns, the decade and a half of trust we have built has enabled us to work hand in hand with them. Highlight is all about building stable relationships over many years. We are not out there to make as much money as possible, before moving on to the next operator. Instead, we aim to be a trusted partner that gives the highest value possible. We can expect to see a big change in the SEO affiliation landscape over the coming 6 – 18 months, mainly in northern Europe and Scandinavia. Our longevity in the industry means we have many years of data behind us, so while some will be taken by surprise, we find ourselves more familiar with these trends. We were one of the first SU1 conversion companies out there and our sites have been in the top rankings for 15 years. It will be a big change, but people need to stop relying on just one strategy in SEO; diversification will be extremely important going forward. Working with younger generations will bring social media into the spotlight, which is why one of our most interesting projects concerns Artificial Intelligence and chat. We’ll be looking at how people use it, how they search for things, and

053


| Affiliation

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

“Working with younger generations will bring social media into the spotlight, which is why one of our most interesting projects concerns Artificial Intelligence and chat. We’ll be looking at how people use it, how they search for things, and how they share and interact with their friends through that information.” how they share and interact with their friends through that information. With social media, you need to engage and target your audience in a specified way. If AI fails to understand the exact needs of the user, whatever system you’re using will be useless to you in the future. It’s all about creating a more personalised, localised and targeted user experience, and building a website that actually gives something back to the visitors. It’s crucial that your site responds accurately to what the user was querying. People no longer search for the information; you have to come to them with it. What’s crucial is not how many times you post on social media, but making sure you target the information to the right person, in the right way. Transactional search as compared to informational search is something we’ve been talking about at Highlight for quite a while. The more people integrate things like smart search speakers into the private spheres of their lives, the more personalised the approach we take needs to be.

054


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Google introduced Mobile First Indexing this year – which means they will create and rank their search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users. A preference for smartphones over desktop computers is projected to carry on rising. It’s a change in how people actually search for their information. It’s also essential to look at your market – in Malta for example, you don’t have unlimited bandwidth connections on your phone, something you have in other markets. On the other hand, traffic from Africa reveals players primarily use their phones to bet from, rather than desktops. The new Indexing system has been a big change for us. Looking at the visitors we receive and comparing this with data from other markets that have also gone through this, we can see that we have gained positions within the search engine results. For us it has been a positive introduction; adapting to new technology is something we have always done well. Search engines are good at answering the question of whether a particular website fulfilled the user intent - and they will only get better going forward. Websites that successfully fulfill user intent are the ones that tend to succeed in ranking highly. We were one of the first companies that worked with GEO targeting and legal jurisdiction targeting. We know this technology well, having built it 7 or 8 years ago, and in that time we’ve seen a complete change in how people actually use and view their information. We are ready for what the future brings, whatever changes may come. We have recently signed more contracts, and we’re planning to stay for many more years. Malta has been good to Highlight, and for that we thank everyone involved in its success.

Affiliation |

“Search engines are good at answering the question of whether a particular website fulfilled the user intent - and they will only get better going forward. Websites that successfully fulfill user intent are the ones that tend to succeed in ranking highly. We were one of the first companies that worked with GEO targeting and legal jurisdiction targeting. We know this technology well, having built it 7 or 8 years ago, and in that time we’ve seen a complete change in how people actually use and view their information.”

055


| B2B

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

breaking fresh “Put simply, a solid free spins mode is no longer enough when it comes to keeping players coming back on a long-term basis. Varied, expertly modelled, and well executed bonus modes are increasingly crucial.” Words by Arcangelo Lonoce, Habanero’s Head of Business Development – Europe

Western Europe has long been home to many of the most significant jurisdictions in iGaming. With new online brands being launched across the continent on an almost daily basis, and many regions introducing increasingly practical and robust regulatory regimes, the continent’s strength in this area is showing no signs of diminishing. A trend of growth in desktop coverage extended to mobile in the mid-2000s, and the towering demand for online casino content across both channels is clear. That demand has presented its own set of challenges to operators – that is to say, a substantial and insatiable demand for fresh content. Many casinos now offer their players hundreds of games, some even stretching their slot offerings into the thousands in an attempt to meet that demand. As a greater number of countries introduce their own workable frameworks under which to regulate iGaming, this demand for fresh slots and new gaming ideas will continue to expand. It is clear, then, that the video slot market is not one predisposed towards standing still. With this in mind, the arrival in Europe of a new breed of slots suppliers, ones with innovative ideas, could not be timelier – especially when it comes to driving player engagement.

INNOVATING THE FUNDAMENTALS In terms of the experience sought by slots players, while they may prefer certain themes or styles, the fundamentals of the reels broadly remain the same. It is those developers that innovate around this tried and trusted framework, bringing a unique spin to a universallyenjoyed formula, that will help satisfy the ever-building hunger online casino players are demonstrating for original experiences. Put simply, a solid free spins mode is no longer enough when it comes to keeping players coming back on a long-term basis. Varied, expertly modelled, and well executed bonus modes are increasingly crucial.

058


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

B2B |

ground By way of example, at Habanero we spiced up the reels of one of our most recent releases, 5 Mariachis, with a traditional party piñata, which drops random amounts of cash across the reels for players who hit three senorita symbols in a single spin. This is not a feature that revolutionises the core gameplay, but it adds an extra layer of fun for those who want that something extra from their video slots. Such players are growing in number as iGaming continues to expand in Europe, and it is great that an increasing number of innovative suppliers are stepping up to meet the challenges that this expanding play base is presenting them with. While healthy and positive business relationships with our customers are important, let it be very clear when we develop entertaining content, we give perhaps even more consideration to our customer’s customer – the player. A high level of graphical fidelity plays a big part, alongside interesting maths models. For a market of seasoned slots players such as those in Western Europe, it is important that every aspect of a game’s presentation, from overall theme down to each individual spin and animation, are true to the overall gameplay experience that you want your players to have.

RAPIDITY AND REGULATION What holds this together is a commitment to true speed to market. This must also happen consistently – a provider’s reputation for swift delivery will suffer if a wave of new releases is followed by a fallow period. For both your players and operating partners, dependability in three factors – timing, quality, and speed of delivery – are of paramount importance, and it is those able to capitalise on an exciting

portfolio of games with real speed to market that will find success. Fast and tight development pipelines enable a supplier to build the foundations of a positive, long-lasting relationship with its operating partners. Doing so in continual, productive dialogue with our operating partners is one of our core priorities at Habanero. It is fair to say that regulatory standards in Western Europe are among the highest in the world. However, at Habanero, high standards have always been something we’ve been keen to have in place anyway. While there may be greater competition from established brands, we are very confident that side by side our content will perform equally well. It will take some time for us to establish ourselves and become better-known among operators, and we must be patient and realistic. But players are always looking for more and more high-quality games that raise the accepted industry standard, and we think the trick is to have games that are proven to last the course, rather than ones that boom when they are released but fizzle out soon after. Habanero is one of a new breed of young developers capable of shaking up Western Europe’s iGaming sector in 2018. We recently went live in Italy with SKS365, have agreed a partnership with Eurobet, and are also talking to a number of other high-profile operators in that market. As a result, we will continue to capitalise on our thriving portfolio of acclaimed video slots, with a string of impressive operator and supplier integrations that we have in the pipeline.

059


Startups |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

PITCH WHERE iGAMING STARTUPS AND INVESTORS MEET Hot on the heels of previous year’s success, the SiGMA Pitch is back for 2018. Investors with years of experience under their belt will unite with 100 startups for a unique experience of mentorship and gaming innovation. All shortlisted startups will be awarded the following:

BOOTH

PRESENTATION

A free 1m booth at SiGMA 2018, including cost of printing and furniture.

Startup Pitch presentation for 10 finalists – meet the investors on stage.

OFFICE

PR

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

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

NETWORKING

Free consultancy and potential leads from leading industry veterans.

Invitation to premium networking events during SiGMA.

CONSULTANCY

Although all start-ups will get the free booth and consultancy package, only ten lucky finalists will reach the final where they will get the opportunity to present their pitch. Each startup will be allowed 3 minutes to make a riveting pitch before facing an interactive Q&A from the investors and audience. Are you a startup? Seeking investors and mentors? Grab this golden opportunity and download the application today. 061


| Startups

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

MEET THE 2017 FINALISTS W IN N ER

PVP.ME 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.

“...for us it was a very helpful experience – we got to know our product even better despite working with it every day.”

“I would say we learned a lot from our experience... I thought it was an excellent chance to use the event to hear what potential investors were thinking of our product.”

AFFCHAIN Affchain is the world’s first p2p affiliate marketplace where businesses and affiliates meet directly. Their relations are secured by smart contracts with the issue of trust notwithstanding.

MIR LIMITED MIR provides top-notch software product development alongside operational support services for leading financial technology clients. The company also offers clients software, services and processes through its peerless operational support services.

BOTGAMING 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.

SNAPSCREEN 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 affiliates.

ESPORTS.COM Esports.com aims to become the biggest content community platform worldwide and lift eSports coverage to the next level, on par with sports tv coverage. The site will offer coaching services from pro players, charity tournaments with celebrities, world class stats – and a crypto-based virtual currency ERT (eSports Reward Tokens) that can be used for all kinds of transactions on the site. FANLEAGUE 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. KARMA HOLDINGS LIMITED 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.

062

“We are making progress every day on our platform (product) and our client side is increasing as well. So hopefully our company will turn into a milliondollar business within a few years.”

SPORTSINNOVATION A/S Sportsinnovation is the first plug and play widget platform that makes it possible for the users of the system to find vizualizations that are automatically live updated. The system can autopost to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Twitter etc. TRIGGY AB Triggy is an innovative sports betting product that offers a new and fun betting experience where real-time data, statistics and player strategies meet. Through Triggy players schedule “if ” bets based on events before or during the game. Players choose what they want to bet on and when, then Triggy will take care of the rest as a personalised betting butler. With Triggy players a chance to focus on their betting, by staying ahead of the game!


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

B2C |

HUSTLE & FLOW 063


B2C |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

A VETERAN iGAMING CAMPAIGNER WITH OVER TEN YEARS IN THE FIELD OF AFFILIATE MARKETING, HE’S NOW RUNNING HIS OWN SHOP AS THE CEO OF BETZEST, HAVING DECIDED TO TAKE THE PLUNGE ON HIS OWN START-UP. Anyone who’s ever met Marius Filip, however briefly, probably knows him as a whirling dervish of positivity. He has a force of personality that is something to behold, but it would be wrong to underestimate his other attributes. He’s also known for his incredible work ethic, as well as for his uncanny instincts – both of which are valuable assets in an industry that is marked by its extreme competitiveness. He’s gradually worked his way up the food chain, and eventually led the charge on several brands and affiliate programs. Betzest is a new sportsbook and casino brand, and Marius is evidently determined to make his latest undertaking another success. He’s also recently re-launched FootballBetExpert.com, and is gearing it up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. I’d like to get a sense of your life before iGaming... what were you doing before you first joined the industry? What led you to your first iGaming job, and what challenges did you have to go through? Before I joined the iGaming industry I was a professional football player and competed in both the Romanian and Maltese Premier Football Leagues. I later started my career in iGaming as an International Affiliate Manager with one of the largest gaming affiliate networks. I was able to make a vast number of contacts and build strong relationships with affiliates and major iGaming operators alike. One of my biggest challenges was always managing time. Growing Betzest in a focused way, while bringing added value, will be my biggest challenge throughout 2018. I want to grow and develop strongly and steadily. This means a lot of experimentation. Remaining competitive while expanding globally will be the key to success. Furthermore, Betzest as a whole needs to continue to innovate. We can never stand still and be happy where we are. You excelled as an affiliate manager in various companies. Today you’re perceived by many as a go-getter, a hustler... someone with a lot of energy who won’t take no for an answer. Is attitude important for an affiliate manager? What advice would you give to any affiliate manager who wants to build a network of hundreds of affiliates like you did? Yes, I can certainly say that contacts and relationships are always going to be the biggest assets for an affiliate manager. Connections and solid partnerships make a big difference in the gaming industry, it’s important to develop your network and know the right people.

If you want my advice, you should be prepared to work hard. If you want to make it, dedication, ambition and motivation is what you’ll need. Stay hungry and focused on your targets, take very good care of the affiliates by helping them and always go the extra mile. Respect affiliates and view them as partners. Listen to what they have to say, build long term relationships, keep your promises and deliver on time. Educate yourself and always stay up to date. Read everything you can find about the business, go to events like SiGMA and Affiliate Grand Slam and talk to affiliates and other affiliate managers, analyse all competitors and absorb as much knowledge as possible. You took a bold step, going from working for a pay cheque as an affiliate manager to sailing your own boat as the founder of your own sportsbook/casino brand Betzest. How different is the mindset? Do you require different skills set to run an entire sportsbook/casino as opposed to running the affiliate department only? Yes, there is a big difference, but my dream always was to build and pitch my own online gaming company. Running your own operations is certainly a daring decision. It means you are ready to throw yourself into it completely. The secret to success here is industry experience, passion, ambition to succeed – and most importantly dedication. Furthermore, you need to be agile and easily adaptable in any situation. Last but not least, as a CEO of a gaming company the responsibilities are higher. To succeed you need to be inspired to hire the right people, who will always stay true to your core strengths and principles. At Beztest we work hard to promote a culture of creativity, where good ideas and a techno-entrepreneurial attitude are encouraged and rewarded. We stay on top of our game by working hard and never giving up.

We work hard to promote a culture of creativity, where good ideas and a techno-entrepreneurial attitude are encouraged and rewarded. 065


| Company feature

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Maximising Value MIKAEL HANSSON MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF, AND ENTERACTIVE, BY LEADING IT TO THE TOP OF ITS CLASS, FILLING A NICHE WITHIN IGAMING THAT PROMISES IMMENSE GROWTH AS THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO CONSOLIDATE, AND STARTS LOOKING BEYOND AFFILIATION LEAD GENERATION MODELS. Enteractive, as a company, is all about client retention and reactivation – and while holding on to your existing customers might not be as outwardly sexy as attracting new ones, Mikael Hansson is all about finding value where it’s being overlooked, and tapping into it to great effect. Enteractive’s reactivation solution helps iGaming operators activate and re-activate churned or otherwise non-active players, converting up to one third to deposit and become active again. Indeed, our conversation starts with an unexpected detour into popular culture, as we both have a massive man-crush on Michael Lewis’ oeuvre in general, and Moneyball in particular. Mostly known for its film adaptation, the book explores how a cash-strapped baseball team finds value in unexpected places. I’d normally leave this part of the conversation out of my copy, but it turns out that Mikael shares this fascination with extracting value out of untapped or underappreciated sources. In so doing, he just might have placed his company on the cusp of an incredible opportunity. As it stands, Enteractive is a leading exponent of its field, although Mikael is first to admit that the tipping point hasn’t been reached yet. “This is not a subindustry,” he explains. “It’s still limited and small, however in five years it will be a different story, within iGaming and other industries.” With iGaming culture as bent on innovation as it’s ever been, Enteractive’s bet on eventually tapping into underused potential looks like a smart one. “In the beginnings of an industry, it’s a bit of a Klondike mentality,” Hansson tells me. “But eventually you can’t afford not to take care of your customers. It’s just impossible”. The 066

gaming industry tends to seek any competitive edge, putting Enteractive in an enviable position. The firm’s approach also reintroduces an element of human interaction into the industry. Automation has allowed iGaming to thrive, but Enteractive allows for hedging on that front, as they reach out to players in a targeted, cost-effective fashion. Simply put, bits are now plentiful, and human interaction has become a potential point of differentiation. It may not be a recipe for short-term success, but Hansson is very comfortable with that because he’s looking farther. “That’s our business plan... long term, long term, long term,” he explains. “The more I push for quick, easy money, the less value I can create. We have never thought short term. I’d rather have a customer that I can look in the eye and know we’ve created value”. That means he’s resisted calls to pivot into affiliation, choosing to double down on Enteractive’s core mission. “The moment I say yes to taking new players, I will shift my focus and give up on being the best in what we’re doing,” Hansson tells me. “We’re not going to give up on being the best at this. That’s why our reactivation service is so clearly focused on getting inactive players active”. And it’s been working – what started out as a hunch has pretty much been confirmed. “It’s really surprising to me how loyal the customers can get after qualitative and personal interaction,” Hansson says. “Every single month, when we look at how the oldest databases are performing and see how much loyalty there is there, I’m still surprised. Over time, there is some churn of course. But it’s so low!”


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Company feature |

Hansson references all the bonuses and promotions geared towards attracting new players, when the same attention is not given to loyal ones. He asks how many incentives offered, internally and externally to many customers are actually kept, on top of any new business that is attracted – as KPIs are often geared towards new business. Hansson doesn’t dismiss the value of new business, but he does question the imbalance he sees – “Why would you treat new customers better than your loyal ones?” The simplicity of reaching out belies the craft that goes into actually doing it, but Enteractive ultimately complements the presentation to their clients’ customers. “Retention and personalisation is finally landing. People don’t want to miss out on what’s going on,” Hansson claims. “If we get a client, we’re not going to be experts in their company from day one. We have to really learn the brand. We can only call when we understand what’s special about the brand. You need knowledge to engage, as well as feeling.” Enteractive seems fully geared for an increasingly consolidated landscape, with retention only growing in importance. “I feel like this market is going to grow. We have a long term horizon and we believe in what we’re doing,” Mikael tells me. “The ups are easy to handle, but we can also handle the downs”. As their approach continues to go into the mainstream, expect Enteractive to capitalise on the expertise they’ve gained in selling tangibles with intangibles.

“You need knowledge to engage, as well as feeling.”

067


THE

S

070


iGMA MOMENTS

071


| Gallery

Charity Dinner

072

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 22ND 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

073


| Gallery

Awards

074

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 22ND 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

075


| Gallery

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Networking Poker Tourney

076


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Hosted by:

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 22ND 2017 CORINTHIA SAN GORG, ST. JULIAN’S

077


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Expo

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

079


| Gallery

Expo

080

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

081


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Expo

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

083


| Gallery

Expo

084

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

085


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Conferences

Gallery |

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

087


SiGMA | Gallery

Conferences

088

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery | SiGMA

NOVEMBER 23RD & 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

089


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

SiGMA Pitch

Gallery | SiGMA

NOVEMBER 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

091


SiGMA | Gallery

SiGMA Pitch

092

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery | SiGMA

NOVEMBER 24TH 2017 MFCC, TA QALI

093


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Closing Night

Gallery | SiGMA

NOVEMBER 24TH 2017 THE HILTON, ST. JULIAN’S

095


SiGMA | Gallery

Closing Night

096

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Gallery | SiGMA

NOVEMBER 24TH 2017 THE HILTON, ST. JULIAN’S

097


SiGMA | Gallery


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

iGathering 18

Gallery | SiGMA

FEBRUARY 21ST 2018 CASINO MALTESE, VALLETTA

099


SiGMA | Gallery

iGathering 18

0100

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Hosted by:

Gallery | SiGMA

FEBRUARY 21ST 2018 CASINO MALTESE, VALLETTA

0101


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

iGathering 19

Gallery | SiGMA

APRIL 17TH 2018 SCANDIC HASSELBACKEN, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

0103


SiGMA | Gallery

iGathering 19

0104

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Hosted by:

Gallery | SiGMA

APRIL 17TH 2018 SCANDIC HASSELBACKEN, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

0105


Expo |

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

G2E Asia 2018

Set to Mark its Largest Edition to Date MACAU - GLOBAL GAMING EXPO (G2E) ASIA, THE REGION’S ONE-STOP DESTINATION FOR FORWARDTHINKING GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT DECISION MAKERS AND SUPPLIERS, HELD A PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY AT THE RITZ-CARLTON, MACAU. THE 12TH EDITION OF G2E ASIA IS SCHEDULED TO RETURN TO THE VENETIAN MACAO FROM 15TH TO 17TH MAY 2018. G2E Asia is presented by the American Gaming Association (AGA) and organised by Reed Exhibitions. Its 2017 edition boasted record-breaking attendance numbers and visitor satisfaction levels - spanning a massive 28,000 sqm show floor, which welcomed nearly 13,000 visitors from 84 countries and regions. It also hosted over 580 pre-arranged business matchings and generated on-site business volume totalling $21.95 million.

technology. This exciting addition is slated to serve as a hub for Asia’s gaming technology community: Integrated Resort Technology & Business Solutions, a display of the field’s newest IR products, technologies and services that drive revenue and value from non-gaming sources. It will also serve Parts and Components Pavilion, Asia’s first and only trade platform dedicated to the exhibit of parts and components of the electronic gaming machine manufacturing industry.

G2E Asia 2018 will be hosting its largest presence ever. The expo has experienced a staggering 30% growth from 2017 and already boasts 95% of reserved show space. The Asian gaming industry’s must-attend event will span 37,000 sqm of exhibition space, host more than 220 exhibitors and anticipates around 15,000 local and international trade visitors over its three event days.

G2E Asia 2018 will be co-located with Asia Lottery Expo and Forum, a multi-faceted event that delivers an unprecedented business, learning and networking platform exclusively designed for lottery professionals.

G2E Asia 2018 will feature an exclusive focus on key industry segments across its interactive show floor, namely: Digital Content & Technology, a combined exhibitor showcase of digital game development and technology providers, together with a full-day forum dedicated exclusively to digital content

G2E Asia 2018 Conference Program, led by a lineup of highlevel industry leaders and influencers, will present updates on regional developments and practical, cost-effective insights relevant to the challenges facing Asian operators today. Each of the three days will feature themes covering the futures of gaming, integrated resorts and digital content & technology. G2E Asia Privileges Program will return stronger than ever and welcome over 1,800 senior executives, many of whom

0107


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Expo |

have significant purchasing needs. This highly recognised and customised service provides key buyers and seniorlevel decision makers from the gaming and entertainment industry with exclusive privileges and amenities to maximise their event experience – it additionally facilitates high-end commercial opportunities on-site.

Tech Talk Forum will feature top industry expert “talks” on exciting innovations and product launches in the field.

G2E Asia delivers an unmatched variety of value-added networking opportunities found nowhere else in Asia. Its onsite activities target different segments, levels, and interests, while providing participants an optimal atmosphere to make new connections, conduct business and learn the latest and upcoming global industry trends.

New Games Experience Tour, a new G2E Asia highlight, is designed to provide attendees with an interactive on-site experience. Electronic gaming machine manufacturers will assign specific time slots for selected, pre-registered visitors to tour and try out new games.

Presidents’ Reception, an exclusive, invitation-only cocktail event, targets the industry’s most prominent participants. It will offer senior executive networking opportunities and brand exposure at the highest level. The 2018 G2E Asia Awards will take place on 15th May. The awards have been launched to recognise excellence and innovation, while celebrating the success and outstanding contributions of not only the gaming but also the non-gaming aspects of the entertainment industry in Asia. The awards evening additionally provides an unrivaled networking opportunity. More details on the criteria and nomination on the 12 award categories will be released in March.

New Product Hot Hits, the G2E Asia Mobile App, will once again present a real-time ranking of the most popular exhibitor products and services right on the show floor.

Segmented Industry Networking Events is a series of small interactive activities that targets different job functions. Table Games Networking Cocktail, Slots Networking Cocktail, Digital Content & Technology Networking Cocktail, Lottery Networking Cocktail and the new Gaming Investment Networking Cocktail will be on offer each afternoon at G2E Asia Bar throughout the three-day show period. These offerings are designed to sustain the industry relevancy and interests of the respective segments’ professionals. Gaming Investment Networking, or “Gin” Cocktail, is this year’s newest segmented industry offering. It will provide a tailored networking platform for companies to present exciting new projects to investors.

Gaming Regulators Networking Luncheon will provide regulators the opportunity to exchange views, share updates, and explore cooperation prospects that facilitate the future development of Asia’s rapidly growing and changing gaming industry. 0109


SiGMA | Women in Gaming

VOX POP Women in Gaming

IVONNE MONTEALEGRE Founder & Event Director at The Malta Poker Festival

1.

I do agree that the ratio of female to male positions in iGaming is skewed. A lot has to do with the global challenges that we women have been facing. This is an industry of such dynamic change, always at the forefront of technology and always avant-garde. As a woman I’ve faced quite a few challenges throughout the 20 years of my career. For example, operators and other clients find it hard to conceive of a woman being in charge and taking strategic decisions; they always assume that the woman must be reporting to someone superior to her. They find it hard to believe that a woman in iGaming can be found in a significant leadership position - so I believe that is the biggest challenge I’ve personally faced. As a woman you have to have extra resilience – it’s such a tough industry and obviously there is big pay checks involved, so the competition is ruthless. For women its extra difficult I would say, so you have to develop extra resilience to stand up for yourself on your own merits.

2.

I like inclusion, but I think that people should be allowed to choose whether they want to work this job or not; no one is forcing them to do this. I did feel sorry for them once - when I went to an ICE event and the girls were naked, wearing only body paint - I felt bad for them because I thought they might be feeling cold. Personally, I have earned money as a hostess at a younger age. That opportunity would have been closed to me otherwise, it even helped me pay for my higher education. Creating inclusion by excluding is denying women the opportunity to have these kinds of jobs.

3.

I’ve certainly seen fantastic female colleagues of mine leave their careers because they become mothers - so this is a big problem. In a place like Malta, the availability of nurseries or caretakers for very young children below school age can be limited. I think when the child is extremely young it is very challenging in this country to find the kind of services and facilities that a new mother needs. So many people in the industry have relocated to Malta, so they don’t have family here to help them with childcare. I’ve seen many very valuable female assets who have left their careers thinking they can retain them. However, for women it’s much more punishing because you cannot afford to take two years off in the iGaming industry – you will become obsolete in such an ever-changing and dynamic atmosphere. I believe that for young mothers’ it’s an extra challenge: how to combine traditional roles with such a fast-evolving environment. It’s a very tough paradox where women end up punished, because it’s not expected that the man will leave his job. Society in Malta right now is not conducive to working mothers. We might think these challenges don’t exist, but just look around your workspace. 0110

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

1. Gaming is still thought by many to be a male dominated industry and is commonly thought to be underrepresented (particularly in more senior roles). As a senior female in the industry, can you expand on your particular route into gaming and any difficulties you may have had which you, rightly or wrongly, associate with being female. 2. Sarah Harrison of the Great Britain Gambling Commission recently made headlines when she commented on the presence of promotional girls at a recent gaming expo in London. Harrison criticised  the gambling industry’s approach to the show and to female representation, stating that a stroll around the exhibition floor revealed “men representing their companies wearing expensive tailored suits whilst their female colleagues were expected to wear nothing more than swimsuit”. What are your reactions?  3. Do you believe  that there is anything that the gaming industry can do better to ensure greater female representation within the workforce and how do you think a greater female representation would impact the industry in the future?


Women in Gaming | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

ABBY RACHEL COSGRAVE

VP Legal Betsson AB (Sweden) and General Counsel Betsson Operational Group (Malta)

1.

I joined Betsson as Legal Counsel in Malta in 2014. I completed University in 2006 as a mature student. I funded my legal studies with the monies saved from my earlier modelling career. I found the igaming industry to be progressive and a place where stereotypes didn’t hold. It is permissible to break the mould in this industry and I find the mix of cultures and backgrounds to be inspiring. Betsson itself has a wonderful mix of nationalities and genders at all levels. When I joined the senior Operational Management team in Malta in late 2016, I joined another 3 females out of a management team of 9. Those are pretty good statistics. Do I sometimes feel I have to work harder to prove myself as a female? Yes, undoubtedly. I am a new mother and definitely feel pressure, not from my employer but from society in general, to prove that I can still deliver. Perhaps most of that pressure comes from myself - but I don’t consider it to be a bad thing. It pushes me to work harder and to deliver more. I have had issues with the odd person who thinks that my modelling background has some bearing on my suitability to do my current role. I find that a ridiculous concept. I do wonder whether I would have the same issue in that regard if I was male. Judgement of females seems to be more commonplace in society generally - that is certainly not exclusive to the igaming industry.

3.

Awareness, awareness, awareness. Your potential workforce needs to be aware of the roles available within iGaming. My team at Betsson is pretty much 50 / 50 male / female, however, that is quite common in legal and compliance and usually because the job adverts focus on legal experience first. I believe if we as an industry focus on raising awareness of the opportunities within our companies to a female audience and enabling potential employees to match their experience to the igaming industry, we would see an increase in female applications and an increase in females taking on roles previously considered to be “masculine” in nature. We are all aware that the customer base of the iGaming product has a large male majority. Bringing more females into game creation roles, marketing roles and other similar roles could lead to a deviation in the product or at least the marketing language around it. Which means the industry could, in the future, gain a greater share of the increasing disposable income of the female consumer.

2.

This is obviously an interesting one for me given my personal background. Whilst I do believe you have to tread carefully to remain on the right side of tasteful, I fail to see the harm in using promotional staff (male or female) at events. Here I feel Ms Harrison fails to understand the different roles of those company representatives and what they are being employed to do by the company at the event. I certainly would not wear a swimsuit at any such event in my current role when representing my company. However, there is a purpose to having people who are employed specifically to do this. Personally, I don’t always support other women’s choices, but I defend their right to make those choices for themselves. I also support a business’ right to promote itself (within the realm of the law, of course) as it sees fit. Without having undertaken similar promotional roles myself in the past, I would not be where I am today, so I think it is pretty amazing that this job option remains available to women. I don’t believe that anything anyone freely chooses to do should be seen as degrading.

0111


SiGMA | Women in Gaming

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

KAROLINA PELC Casino Director at LeoVegas

1.

I think that our industry presents fantastic opportunities for women, but might not always give that impression to an outsider - which is a barrier to attracting more talent. I started in land-based casinos in Eastern Europe. I definitely experienced an old-fashioned, sexist approach during my time as a dealer – I was required to wear heavy make-up, paint my nails red and wear my skirt short. Even after my entry into online gaming, I accepted that the job comes with having to adapt to a very male-oriented environment and a certain amount of sexism. However, as I progressed within my career and as the industry itself matured, I was exposed to different attitudes and a visible change. I’ve always been given fair opportunity and recognition and never been offered salaries below the industry standard, at least not that I know of. I’m a strong character though, I know what I’m after and how to ask for it - but I fear that women who aren’t that confident might end up suffering a gender pay gap - it’s a big issue that the industry needs to address.

2.

I think it’s a subject that sparks a lot of controversy. I have no issue with using promotional girls. I think it’s everyone’s right to choose what kind of job they want to do. If there are girls who want to make their livelihood working as hostesses, they have every right to do it and we shouldn’t deny them the opportunity, or look down on that

0112

choice. Furthermore, I don’t think choosing attractive women to showcase your product is a crime, but putting them in bondage underwear and having them dance on a pole in the middle of the day to promote a slot game - that’s taking it too far. They should be a bit more professional, there’s no need for really revealing outfits. Let’s focus instead on showcasing what our industry does really well: product and innovation.

3.

When I decided I was ready to start a family, I was slightly concerned it might stop me from progressing within my career. I think many women might be scared of changing jobs or taking on a more senior role while planning to get pregnant, or if they already have young children, as they fear the increased responsibility may impact their time with family. There is a concern that the need for business travel will take away from their personal life and the time they want to dedicate to their family. I actually got promoted when I was already on maternity leave, so I’m lucky that my employer is inclusive and actively champions diversity. I would prefer though if this wasn’t a matter of luck, and flexibility from the side of my employer. I think this should be more of a right. I think another issue is the lack of mentorship - where women already successfully holding senior roles could guide their less experienced peers, not only to succeed but to do it while maintaining the right work-life balance.


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Women in Gaming | SiGMA

LINE YOUNG PETERI Affiliate and Marketing Manager at Twin

1.

The problem with the gaming industry is it’s a fairly new industry. Before I came to gaming, my background was in I.T and we had exactly the same issues in the beginning. I think one of the problems is when the industry is new, women tend to be more intimidated by it. So it’s not necessarily because the industry don’t want women. For the same reason, we see very few early adapters who are women – I’m exactly the opposite: if someone tells me I can’t do this because it’s a male-dominated industry, then I definitely want to do it. As soon as someone says you can’t do this because of your gender, because you’re a mum, because you’re old, because you’re Asian, because your English sucks - I think, I’m going to do this. When I realised 10 years ago that I wanted to work in gaming, I started playing poker, which not many women were doing at the time. I won a big tournament in Denmark and I had just sold a software company, and I thought about what to do next. I have actually just re-entered the industry 5 weeks ago because I spent the last few weeks undergoing cancer surgery. I’m a mom, I’m a cancer patient and I had grown older – there were all these obstacles. When I really want something, I persistently go after it until I get it.

2.

To be honest I find it a bit cliché. Literally the day before that press release came out, we had already decided that the women weren’t going to wear crop tops or heavy makeup. So we got them these really beautiful jumpsuits with draped sleeves. I wanted them to look and feel like themselves. When people came to our stand, they felt more comfortable in approaching our girls as they looked like a colleague or a friend. I’m not against it, but I do find it sad, that some companies still feel they need to do it. If your product isn’t good enough – make the product better.

3.

I do think all companies have a responsibility when it comes to hiring. I don’t think you should hire people based on quotas, but based on their qualifications. I think companies have to be a little more approachable, it’s important that we show that we are flexible. When I got this position I was very clear that I am not going to sacrifice time with my children, which is why I don’t mind working late in the evening or going in early. Companies need to be more visual about this – to show that being a mum is not a weakness. I think we all have our advantages and disadvantages, but instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we have to be better at communicating that this is OK. Women, mothers, we can be a lot of things.

0113


SIMPLICITY

& AGILITY GERMANO ARNÃ’ IS THE FOUNDER OF EM@NEY PLC, AND HAS BEEN ITS CEO FOR 6 YEARS. WE VISITED HIS OFFICE TO FIND OUT HOW PAYMENT CAN BE MADE WITH AGILITY AND SIMPLICITY, BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF SECURITY.

0114


Banking institutions have been around for years, and have established systems of security and accountability that have stood the test of time – but their evolution has not led to a great measure of agility on a technical level. This is especially true in the field of payments, where banks are still relatively conservative in how they go about their business. “We’re much more than a bank,” says Germano Arnò, current CEO of Em@ney. “At the same time, Em@ney goes beyond normal payment services”. The company cannot assume risk by issuing loans, and cannot pay interest on savings accounts – two services that we associate with the traditional banks of old. However, Germano explains how Em@ney more than makes up for this by virtue of the exceptional agility and simplicity of its services. These are achieved in such a way as to ease the payment process for all the involved stakeholders. By making it easier for the end customer to pay for a service, as well as safe, Em@ney’s systems are a catalyst for commerce. Germano explains how Em@ney managed to retain and optimise the security elements that we’ve come to expect from our banks’ payment services, all while keeping a constant focus on quality and agility of experience. “The vast amount of industry experience that is housed within the company translates into a very fluent end-customer experience,” Germano explains. “This means we’re able to fit into the larger operations of our partners with incredible ease”.

“The vast amount of industry experience that is housed within the company translates into a very fluent end-customer experience” The increased flexibility and simplicity have not come with a compromised level of security. Indeed, if anything, the level of security on offer has been enhanced. Germano tells me that Em@ney does not allow for anonymous accounts. There is a great deal of care and attention given to the verification process, to ensure that all users of the services are known for who they legitimately are. The result is a payment environment where customers feel that is not only convenient, but also safe, to proceed with a transaction. Similarly, service providers can also rest assured that when a payment comes through they can safely assume there will be no charge-backs. This makes for an ideal level of trust for commerce to occur speedily and frequently. Em@ney works extensively in gaming, so both ingredients are understandably very desirable. The company has managed to achieve this through the efforts of its exceptional in-house technical expertise. “We’re very strong with technology because we produce everything on-site,” Germano explains. “We have achieved a speed of execution that means we’re always one step ahead”. “When you factor in the exceptionally low cost attached to our services, we have good reason to be excited about what 2018 will bring,” Germano tells me. “We are able to offer our services at a lower cost and a higher level of safety and accountability. We will continue to provide our partners and their customers in turn with the sort of flexibility and peace of mind we would expect for ourselves”. 0115


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

Wild

about gaming

FOLLOWING ITS WELL-RECEIVED LAUNCH IN THE UK AND AMBITIOUS MOVE TOWARDS ITS OWN GAMING PLATFORM GOWILD HERO, GOWILD GAMING HAS SEEN EXPONENTIAL GROWTH OVER THE LAST YEAR. WE SAT DOWN WITH THE COMPANY’S CEO, ITAI ZAK, TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW THIS ONGOING SUCCESS IS BEING ACHIEVED. 0117


SiGMA | Interview

The UK has a reputation as being one of the most demanding regulators in the world - tell us about your recent expansion into the UK market. The UK market has its own unique challenges. Beyond tight legislation, this is a very mature, crowded space. So when GoWild went live in the UK in November 2017 (after receiving our remote Gambling Operating License from the UK Gambling Commission), there was already tonnes of competition – and everyone competing had a fairly similar product.

So, for example, we’ve made it very easy for players to control their gaming, their betting, and the time spent on-site. We’ve also been inspired to take additional measures, developing a unique system which identifies potential gambling problems. We don’t wait for someone to mention that they have a problem, rather the system automatically detects any changes in player behaviour. This, alongside very experienced staff, means we are able to pinpoint potential risk, and immediately contact the player to verify that everything is ok.

Because of this, we needed to differentiate ourselves. We chose two main ways. Firstly, the product; we introduced a much better user experience. The second thing is that we embraced responsible gaming.

Bottom-line, the increase in market regulation is only going to continue, so the only way to succeed is to accept this and go with it.

On the user-experience end, the main standout is of course our proprietary GoWild HERO platform powered by more than 30 best-of-breed content providers and featuring over 4,000 games! This gives players unprecedented variety. Additionally, the platform empowers exceptional customisation in terms of promotions, so players get an unsurpassed personalised experience. This is backed by our incomparable customer support, which means 24/7near-instant availability to players with dedicated teams for general, finance, tech, and VIP support always oncall. Our players also love that we also offer unbelievably quick withdrawals, issuing winnings within three to six hours of being verified. As for responsible gaming, the UK is a very strict market in terms of regulation and player protection. It is obviously a challenge. But seeing as it’s not going to change any time soon, we’re not only accepting it, we are actually welcoming it.

We completed a very complicated migration, expanded our geographical reach, launched in the UK, built an entire new management team within the company, and added great people here. 0118

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

And it’s certainly worked for us. Our growth in the UK over the last three months is tremendous; it’s way above our expectations – and a very exciting time for GoWild. Are you looking to expand into other regulated markets as well, such as Asia or the US? Is there a lucrative opportunity to flourish there? We are looking at various countries in Europe for expansion. Sweden is going to be regulated very soon. We haven’t made up our minds yet, but it’s a serious consideration. We’re also contemplating a few countries outside of Europe that might include Latin America, which is starting to get more and more regulated. So, expanding into other regulated markets is definitely part of our strategy. If we expand into at least one other regulated market by the end of this year, we’ll consider that a success. Do you plan on adding more product verticals, such as sportsbetting or DFS? Yes. We are investing a lot in our products and are absolutely going to add more verticals, as well as improve the current ones. In fact, just two weeks ago we launched a new product within casino called GoVegas. This is a very unique approach that gives players more personalisation and restyles their gameplay. We’re also in the process of redesigning our system for what’s called a Wild Jackpot. I can’t give away too much yet, but it will be very slick, with a completely new user-interface to cater more towards the Nordic players as well as casual players.


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

Sportsbetting, of course, is also in the pipeline, and definitely something that will happen this year.

GoWild is now much more independent, and can really decide on its own strategy and product.

How can companies attract more Millennials – do you think Generation Z is less engaged with the gaming industry? I think, overall, the original way of doing marketing has changed completely. This is necessary today, especially when the entire industry is shifting more towards mobile. Nowadays, it’s likely 60-70% of your market comes from mobile. So it’s not only a generational thing, it’s a platform thing. And mobile needs to be a strong focus.

At the show, we also increased our exposure in the industry, and solidified our desire to be more transparent, to communicate more of what we are doing and where we are heading. This includes our desire to establish new partnerships. As a result, we’re now getting a lot of feedback from a lot of different companies that offer different types of potential partnerships, which are always interesting to explore.

Expectations have also changed across the board, where we’re seeing a strong move towards personalisation. In gaming, as an online business, we can successfully meet market demands for personalisation with data-based tailoring, to give each player exactly what they want. This, of course, extends into individual tailor-made promotions and offers, as well as actual game-play, making preferred game types very accessible and available to that particular player. Basically, companies today are paying huge amounts of money when it comes to acquisition costs. So the only way to succeed is retention. And the only way to retain them is to give each and every player exactly what they are looking for. There is no one size fits all formula.

It is really encouraging to see all the appreciation we are getting in return for all the efforts we made in the last year. 2017 was an amazing transformational period for GoWild. We completed a very complicated migration, expanded our geographical reach, launched in the UK, built an entire new management team within the company, and added great people here. Overall, we’re positioned in a very good place to continue growth and the development of our winning strategy through 2018, and beyond.

To this end, GoWild has developed a very sophisticated CRM system that can target and automatically create, on the fly, tailor-made offerings for individual players in a very microsegmented way. This enables us to super-personalise content, successfully boosting customer loyalty and engagement. Other than that, when it comes to user-experience in a highspeed digital world, it is absolutely essential to make sure each player has the ultimate experience: very fast, very smooth, very slick. This means keeping the user-interface upto-date, and always staying on-top of technology trends. You moved away from supplier Microgaming towards your own proprietary GoWild HERO gaming platform, have you encountered any challenges? Moving to our own casino platform, GoWild HERO, was a huge step for us. The project began at the beginning of 2017, and within six months we succeeded in completing the migration. After 10 successful years of operating exclusively on the Microgaming platform we can say that for the first time in the history of the company we are in full control of our business system, and in full control of our products. This is a major accomplishment. It’s something companies are often afraid to try. We realized that if we want to succeed, we need to own the technology and to own the platform. And while there were challenges along the way, thanks to a lot of careful planning and excellent implementation, migration went very well. Since then we have had the fortitude to expand into other markets where previously we’d been less active, including the Nordic markets and Germany. And the results have been amazing. You experienced exponential growth in 2017. Part of that growth included the many new partnerships you signed this year at the London Affiliate Conference. What’s the secret to your success? The London Affiliate Conference was a very successful event for us. We were amazed and thrilled by the appreciation our partners and affiliates showed. Equally exciting, we signed numerous new deals mainly in the UK, but also in the Nordic markets. A lot of this good fortune has to do with the company maturing. Following the move to our own platform, 0119


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

BUSY TIMES

AT GANAPATI!

Words by Robert Dowling

Ninjas fighting to avenge their past, geisha’s descending upon London, and global music superstars getting behind them - there’s a whole lot going on at Ganapati! Ganapati is an international company comprising of game studios, media platforms and production companies, that was established in December 2013 by experienced entrepreneurs in Japan. Now, with offices in London, Tokyo, Malta, Los Angeles, Estonia and Romania,  they  are at the forefront of the iGaming industry – and with bases in so many parts of the world. The company’s core focus and  goal is to utilize  the expertise of its global network across several different mediums -  from entertainment and film to music and animation, combined with Japanese design, gripping storytelling and cutting edge technology to supply the iGaming market with compelling, immersive content. Using this global network, Ganapati Games are in a prime position to be specialists when it comes to iGaming – combining traditional European iGaming with an authentic Japanese flavour to leave you with an experience you certainly won’t be forgetting in a hurry! Ganapati’s games have recently gone live, and the reaction has been immense - it’s not hard to see why, considering the variety of games on offer. She Ninja Suzu is a fast moving, action-packed slot  game that follows the heroine - the titular Suzu - as she battles her mortal enemies to the death to avenge her tragic past. Suzu and her enemies make up the reel symbols within the game, with spins not only rewarding the player, but also building up the “Anger Gauge” which results in a frenzy of special games offering even better prizes. She Ninja Suzu offers a compelling narrative and outstanding graphics - so much so, that footage of the game features in the remix video for Latin music superstar Enrique Iglesias’s immensely popular song: El Bano. The singer, who boasts tracks such as “Hero” and “Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)” among his extensive repertoire of hits, is a global phenomenon,  and can be seen alongside game play  and

0121


SiGMA | Interview

footage from She Ninja Suzu in the video for El Bano, which also features  Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer Bad Bunny and Dominican singer  Natti Natasha. In their game Pikotaro’s Pineapple Pen, Ganapati have recruited the services of the one and only Pikataro - who came to global attention  in 2016  with his wacky PPAP (Pen Pineapple Apple Pen) song. The song not only became a Japanese number one hit but also the shortest single to have ever charted in the US Billboard rankings and a global phenomenon that has garnered over 174 Million views on YouTube and only continues to grow! The immensely popular character and song translate perfectly to the game, with all of the recognisable fun and randomness - it’s not just any slot game, especially with Pikotaro involved!  Based on the highly-popular CrypTract game, CrypBattle is set on the continent of Centrea, where the Empire of Gilsania holds incredible power. Terrifying monsters are threatening the lives of the once peaceful kingdom, and it is up to the player to negate their onslaught. To do this, they must take control of the warriors of different regions and tackle them head on in an effort to restore peace.

0122

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

The 5 x 3 slots game (with 20 win lines) offers several special features that set it apart from other slot games - such as the ability to select the volatility of your favourite characters, allowing them to do battle for great prizes when 3 bonus symbols are triggered. In Crypcrusade, you are up against the banished son of the  emperor Izanagia, who lauds over the Land of All Skies.  Bringing wrath in revenge for his exile through the use of a raging fire beast, you play as Izangia’s 3 daughters and a cast of fierce warriors to defend the kingdom and keep the peace. It’s a fiercely intense 5 x 3 Slots game that offers terrific prizes and exciting game-play. The company spread some of the international culture that drives it in February at a recent Gaming Expo in London, when five Geisha and one Oiran - Japanese courtesans trained impeccably in the art of entertainment helped represent Ganapati, giving visitors to their stand the unique opportunity to interact with a cultural phenomenon. With so much going on at Ganapati,  it’s really exciting times at the company - and no doubt there’s plenty more to come, just around the corner!


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

Making our own luck... Words by Raphael Kalogeropoulos, CEO at Wish Me Luck

WISH ME LUCK IS A WHITE LABEL COMPANY WITH AN ETHOS OF FAIR-MINDEDNESS AND TRANSPARENCY AT ITS CORE. THEIR APPROACH HAS MADE THEM ATTRACTIVE TO OPERATORS, OFFERING THEM SIGNIFICANT SAVINGS TO THEIR MARKETING BUDGET. CEO, RAPHAEL KALOGEROPOULOS EXPLAINS HOW THIS FORMS A KEY PART OF THEIR STRATEGY TO SELL DIRECTLY TO OPERATORS AS OPPOSED TO JUST THEIR CUSTOMER BASE.

The idea behind Wish Me Luck is a simple one. Apart from offering an engaging game that can make profit and generate winners, Wish Me Luck gives casino game operators a unique and powerful means of implementing valuable gaming and marketing tools through raffles, dramatically reducing their marketing budget and offering the most relevant solutions for their particular target audiences. Bringing a client to a raffle compared to bringing them directly from a sports book or a casino game can cost up to 70% less offering them considerable savings to their budget. Providing this as an add-on to our existing platform forms a key part of our transition strategy - selling to operators directly, rather than just to the customer base.

“We pride ourselves on the concepts of fairness and transparency to the player being core values of our business. This is why we make sure that only a limited amount of tickets is issued based on the value of the prize item, never generating more than the existing number.”

For many countries that don’t have raffles as a gambling product, accessing it online offers an easy way for them to participate. Players have expressed a desire to know who the winner is and because the prizes generated by raffles aren’t in the millions, winners generally feel more comfortable in revealing themselves to the public.

based on the number of tickets they may have purchased, and, once all the tickets have been sold, a winner is selected by a random generator ensuring full transparency provided to the player.

Prizes can range from gadgets to trips abroad - it’s a unique raffle for its price. For many of the players who bet on sports and casino games, winning something such as a trip to New York is an incredible dream that they may never otherwise realise. They aren’t earning high salaries, so shelling out a small amount on a raffle ticket for the possibility of winning a high value prize feels more than worth the gamble.

This adherence to fairness is something which is attractive to operators too, allowing them to ditch old fashioned, unregulated methods of picking winners, in favour of an automated, more professional approach. Our software ensures that essential security measures are followed and ensures ease of facilitation, safeguarding valuable company time and resources.

We pride ourselves on the concepts of fairness and transparency to the player being core values of our business. This is why we make sure that only a limited amount of tickets is issued based on the value of the prize item, never generating more than the existing number. Another standout quality resulting from our ethical commitment is that players are shown the exact percentage of their chances of winning

As a white label company that has built a trusted name for itself, we hope to champion the cause of any operator who works with us. We hope that our reputation for value and transparency will enable us to continue sharing our marketing knowledge and engage with other like-minded companies for some time to come. Wish us luck!

0123


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

CHANGING THE GAME UNDER THE STEWARDSHIP OF KASPER KAU, WHO HAS BEEN SPIGO’S CEO FOR OVER TWELVE YEARS, THE GAMES DEVELOPER HAS ACQUIRED A STERLING REPUTATION IN A VERY CROWDED MARKET, AND CONTINUES TO SEE SUSTAINED SUCCESS. WHAT IS THE DEVELOPER’S ‘SECRET SAUCE’?

0125


SiGMA | Interview

Spigo is known for developing custom-built games, specifically tailored for the casino environment. The online casino environment is exceptionally competitive, but Spigo aims to offer the operators it collaborates with innovative casual games that will allow them to stay a step ahead. Spigo presents players with some very novel games that they otherwise might not expect to find, as well as tapping into the ever-evolving and increasingly-growing casual games market. Spigo’s games are built on HTML5 and work on all devices – be they smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. They utilise jackpots, which are both locally and globally progressive, as well as compatible with local and global player networks - and free spins, free games, bonus systems and bonus games are all supported. Staying ahead of the competition isn’t easy in such a dense market. Spigo’s solution is to offer variety, both internally and externally. The Spigo catalogue covers a range of options from single-player, multiplayer, card-based, dice-based, classic, modern. The goal is to have the right games to suit every taste and disposition. Undoubtedly, operators cannot ignore the lucrative profits of innovative casual gaming. For instance, last year alone,

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

the amount of money made from Candy Crush games was astounding. Ultimately, this is only made possible when games are designed creatively, and crafted to secure maximum engagement. Most online casinos use the same slot games, offering little diversity for the player. Spigo bases itself on the understanding that the strength of a casino operator is often determined by the strength of its content. Spigo allows its collaborating operators to order a customised slot machine to enhance a casino’s performance, by creating bespoke slot products especially tailored to fit its brand identity. This allows the end-user, the player, to enjoy a game that reflects the brand’s image. In turn, this builds and strengthens loyalty to the brand in question and pays off enormously in the long run. The goal is re-playability and staying power: Spigo games are very practical, in that they can be replayed and easily accessed. The player can understand each game fairly quickly, without providing too much direct help. The games themselves are designed for maximum engagement, and attract the player to the game over and over again.

“Staying ahead of the competition isn’t easy in such a dense market. Spigo’s solution is to offer variety, both internally and externally.”

0126


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

“Once a game is released, partners are consulted to provide feedback for improvements or adjustments – a crucial step that is often underrated.” There is a lot of work and preparation that goes into making a hit Spigo title. At its inception stage, the game designer draws up a plan of the game and hands it over to the graphic designer, who then provides feedback on the graphical component of the game. Later, the game is implemented and tried by testers who also provide their own feedback, along with the other game developers during the implementation process. For each new version put to testing along with eventual partners, most testing is strategized and applied. Once a game is released, partners are consulted to provide feedback for improvements or adjustments – a crucial step that is often underrated. Because the games themselves are play-tested thoroughly, and the Spigo development consistently finds ways to make the gameplay more stimulating, a lot of risk is taken out of the development equation. To ensure full accessibility, the games are tested by testers who have no prior information about the game. If they figure it out quickly, this indicates a successfully executed game. On the off chance that a game might be slightly too complex, subtle clues are incorporated into the title to ensure user-friendliness.

The variety of the Spigo portfolio has been a very definite strength. Games like Yatzy have proven perennially popular, and are complemented with more innovative titles like Yukon21, which is essentially a more original, single-player take on BlackJack, and Diamond – a Candy Crush-style game. The appeal of Spigo’s games lies not only in the immediate fun, because they also offer great incentives to the player. These increase the player’s chances of winning the jackpot in most of the games, or provide free spins in the slot titles. Spigo also has a very strong culture on compliance. After a game has been created, it goes through a rigorous certification process and all future changes are documented through system changes, which are certified each quarter. It’s also good to note that the entire system is recertified annually. By continuously creating innovative games and veering off the current hermetic iGaming environment, Spigo keeps things diverse, which is why with each passing year, the company continues to flourish. The company has witnessed a year-on-year growth in its games with its partners, which subsequently translates to more connected world leads, more opportunities, and enables Spigo’s partner operators to break new ground.

0127


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

Vision and and Vision talent talent ANYONE WORKING IN iGAMING IN MALTA WHO HASN’T BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS KNOWS ABOUT MANSA GAMING. WHAT THEY DO ON THE OTHER HAND, IS A SLIGHTLY HARDER QUESTION TO ANSWER. The antithesis of a ‘noisy neighbour’, Mansa is very much a quiet presence among their considerably more boisterous peers. Despite this ‘softly softly’ approach, their mystique seems to be building at an apparently unwavering rate, especially in the tech sphere. There’s no better time to snatch a few moments with their Head of HR Malki Tiwana, and find out what all the hype is about. You have been in iGaming a while now, what was it that attracted you to Mansa? What attracted me to Mansa were the company’s genes – its unique DNA if you will. I saw an opportunity to collectively create a workspace and culture built in the image of two like-minded founders, as though uprooted from their previous home in Silicon Valley then set up right here in beautiful Malta. What is it about the culture that gives Mansa a competitive edge, and lures talent to the company? It runs deeper than beanbags, iMacs and ping pong. Cyril and Guillaume’s collective vision and flexible mind-set creates an environment that holds employee growth at it’s very heart. An openness to always experiment and have fun along the way. All these comparisons to San Fran… Given the onus on technology, recruitment must be a tough prospect. Has it been problematic finding the right talent or is Malta in fact overrun with Elon Musk types? It is common knowledge that exceptional talent is in high demand, so competition on the island is pretty fierce. Add to that this ‘brain drain’ issue – skilled people leaving to find opportunities abroad – and yes, it can be a bit tricky. Is there a solution to this HR issue, or is it an intractable problem? At Mansa we listen to our employees and rather than losing them, we ask ourselves ‘What can we do to retain this person? Could this person benefit from working remotely? Should we look at opening an office in another part of the world?’ Building trust makes people want to continue working here. Thus, not losing talent and at the same time attracting more skilled people.

0129


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

Driving Progress SiGMA CAUGHT UP WITH DAVID MANN, THE DEBONAIR AND DYNAMIC SALESMANAGER AT WAZDAN, TO FIND OUT EXACTLY WHAT IT IS THAT MAKES THE DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY COMPANY TICK. WE DISCOVERED THAT RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ARE AT THE CORE OF THIS FAST-GROWING INDUSTRY SPECIALIST.

0131


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

“As more countries bring in regulations, operators and suppliers will have to adapt.”

What are the big market forces in iGaming at the moment? Regulated markets are always a hot topic and it will continue to be at the forefront of gaming news for the next year, especially with Sweden. As more countries bring in regulations, operators and suppliers will have to adapt. In some cases, we will see new markets open up and new opportunities created. iGaming is a very dynamic market and there is never a dull moment, but adapting to change is something the industry handles very well. What’s happening in the slots market and what do you predict for the next 18 months? And beyond? Gradually, the big players in the market are seeing their share decline and the smaller providers are at the door. There is a lot of competition – some people say it’s a saturated market – but as the industry grows there will be more demand for variation in products. Innovation is a massive selling point for suppliers like Wazdan and we will see some fantastic concepts coming out over the next few years from all of the providers. I predict over the next 18 months some really great things from other game providers – the best coming from Wazdan! What’s shaping the industry? Mobile is fast becoming the dominant force in the industry. As better technology becomes available, players are able to have a spin on the move, commuting, at home, anywhere. You can see this reflected in the quality of mobile content – from both providers and operators – to help provide a complete package that will work as well on a mobile as on a desktop. We have anticipated this and created some exceptional unique features that strengthen our mobile product.

What new innovative features have you released in order to stay ahead of the game in the constantly-evolving slots industry? It’s very competitive being a game provider right now, with a lot of superb competition. For us, our innovations complement our games, to create superior products that give players more control. Our Custom Volatility feature allows players to alter the volatility of the game with a simple tap of a button. We have also anticipated the surge in mobile play with our Energy Saving mode, which lowers the strain on the battery during play to extend playing time by up to 40%. Along with this, our Double Screen mode recreates a land-based feel in portrait mode to maximise the game presentation and display the pay-table. We also include a unique Gamble feature in our games to add this into the mix. How important do you think the social element is when creating new slots products? I think trying to make slots into a social experience is something best left on the operator side. Many players will be quite happy to play slots solo and keep it as a personal pastime, but it is always nice to read stories about players landing huge wins. We want everyone to be enjoying our games and sharing joy is one of the best things in life. What’s the concept, ethos and driving idea behind Wazdan? What’s your positioning and key differentiators? We see ourselves as a premium games provider, driven by a passion for games to produce high quality content that players will recognise as a Wazdan product. We put massive efforts into creating our games, with everything made in-house to ensure a truly authentic product. Our unique features help us stand out from the pack to provide a complete gaming experience. 0133


SiGMA | Interview

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Who are Wazdan? We are industry veterans brought together by our passion for games to produce market-leading games for the gaming industry. I like to think of us as a start-up with a head start as we build upon our vast experience in the land-based sector to take on the online sector. Among my colleagues in our Malta office we have combined knowledge of the operator side, affiliation, service providers and games suppliers, equipping us with an understanding of all aspects of the industry.

In an industry that’s so focused on digital and tech, can you look around the corner and tell us what you see? Where is the igaming industry heading and is Wazdan ready for it? It’s hard to pinpoint what the major changes on the horizon will be with regard to tech - VR is an obvious answer but I’m not so sold on it taking off for online casino quite yet, at least with regards to slots. Providers will focus more on functionality and features as mobile technology progresses to make full use of the enhanced power.

What’s the expansion plan at Wazdan? Where will Wazdan be in 3 to 5 years? We recently moved to our new offices in Birkirkara, Malta, where we have plenty of room for expansion – we even have some live roles at the moment as we aim to attract some of the top talent who want to be on board for our journey to the top. Within 3 years we anticipate being the premium games provider outside of the traditional “big names”, taking a significant market share as our partner list grows. We’re in discussions with many of the top operators, aggregators and platform providers in the gaming industry and we know that as our content becomes more widespread we will be seen as essential to any online casino.

In such a competitive environment, what makes a great slots game? There really is no magic formula. Some games take operators by surprise at how successful they can be – at the end of the day, the players decide why a game is successful. The best-performing games now across the industry bear little relation to each other but are consistently at the top of casino games lists. Different countries have different tastes, meaning operators working in multiple markets will tailor their games lists and promotions to reflect typical player attitudes.

Why do you think Malta is such a hotbed for the iGaming industry? Looking at it from an employee perspective, people from across Europe get to live on a beautiful island with a fantastic climate in the Mediterranean Sea. The job market in gaming is strong, it’s very easy to move here from EU countries and having English as an official language is very underrated, especially when it comes to bureaucracy. From a business perspective, aside from the obvious tax benefits, we have some of the largest companies in the industry based within a short distance from one another, allowing regular meetings, contact, events and stronger partnerships. Personal connections can flourish with close proximity, and with so many industry-specific events it is not unusual to be mixing with people across the spectrum from casino, sportsbook, affiliation, operations and more.

Which casino games do you play? What are your favourites? I’ve always been a fan of blackjack when I’m in the casino, but for slots I’m a sucker for games rich with exciting bonus features. Some of our releases coming out this year drew plaudits at ICE and in some of our product meetings with partners. So, expect some big things, not only focused on bonus features but on a range of products to suit every player preference. What do you love most about the industry? iGaming seems to move very fast. New operators spring up from nowhere and take everyone by surprise. New features are released that become industry standards; new games come out that dominate the games lists across the board and become vital for every operator. It’s great to be working in a fast-paced environment where you really have to keep up to remain focused and see the influences driving change in the industry. The dynamism is exhilarating.

“Mobile is fast becoming the dominant force in the industry.”

0134


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

What is this Wazdan ‘Volatility Level’ that we keep hearing about? This is probably our coolest and most famous unique feature, and at ICE we had a large showcase on it, displayed by varying strengths of Wazdan beer. Basically, we’re letting players change the volatility in-game, going from low, medium and high volatility levels to suit their preferences, playing styles or strategies. Crucially, the game RTP stays the same. It’s the math behind the game that is altered. We’re very proud of this innovative feature and it is implemented in all of our latest games.

“At the end of the day, the players decide why a game is successful”

Have you started planning for SiGMA 2018? Yes, preparations have begun for not only SiGMA 2018 but many other exhibitions. We plan to really make an impact this year and following fantastic feedback about our exhibition stall at ICE we think we’re on the right track with how best to present ourselves. It looks like a bit of a world tour for Wazdan this year – across Europe, Asia, and beyond!

0135


SiGMA | Interview

HEE AA DSI NTG

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

New Horizons in Asia

OFF THE BACK OF THE POPULARITY OF ITS LAUNCH IN GERMANY TWO YEARS AGO, WUNDERINO EXPANDED ITS SERVICES AND WENT LIVE IN JAPAN LATE LAST YEAR. HEAD OF MARKETING, ERIK HELLQVIST DISCUSSES THE BUDDING POTENTIAL OF THE ASIAN MARKET AND HOW THEY INTEND TO POSITION THEMSELVES AS ONE OF THE LEADING BRANDS IN JAPAN. This year we celebrate two years as a brand. If I were to break down the key factors to our success, it would be that we have a really great team within all departments: from the two main founders to everyone else concerned. We had a very successful launch in Germany, which has been our key focus for the first couple of years. I also credit hard work and a little bit of luck because timing is really important. No matter what industry you’re in, you have to have timing on your side. We’ve been pretty lucky in that sense. We went live in Japan late last year, so this year we intend to focus a lot more of our energies on this market. In fact, I recently moved to Manila to be able to devote more of my focus towards this area. There are two main obstacles that I foresee will require tackling: firstly the product needs to cater specifically for the Japanese market and secondly we need to devise a marketing challenge. The situation differs vastly from that in Europe; Japanese people are very different from Europeans in all aspects. This really reflects on the product as well, so it’s essential we pay attention and not underestimate the situation.

“What will work in Europe won’t necessarily work by default in Japan. You have to adjust to really cater for the Japanese market. The product side is one thing; you really have to have the game providers and the methods to cater for Japan. Customer support is also totally different in Japan than in it is in Europe.” 0136

What will work in Europe won’t necessarily work by default in Japan. You have to adjust to really cater for the Japanese market. The product side is one thing; you really have to have the game providers and the methods to cater for Japan. Customer support is also totally different in Japan than in it is in Europe. Japan is a great market, but the fact is, Japan is very traditionally conservative. There has also been the recent debate on the anti gambling addiction bill to contend with. Due to tradition, it’s a challenge to find good marketing channels. Right now the debate in Japan is focused on the land-based market rather than online markets – particularly with the Olympics just round the corner. Japan today is very affiliate orientated, if you want to do online gaming it’s very dependent on affiliates because of the difficulty in doing other medias. Naturally, we will focus on other affiliates - we have a good, strong base today and we’re beginning to explore other opportunities. We don’t know what they are yet but at the end of the day that’s why we’re here to find out. Asia is a huge market: there is definitely a thriving market here. People do gamble in Asia - and obviously with mobile penetration it makes it much easier to access while helping things to grow, just like in any other part of the world. We can also expect to see Bitcoin solutions and payment methods coming into play as a trend this year, particularly in Japan. A lot of European operators are looking into Asian markets, certain countries are definitely growing: Thailand in particular is on everyone’s lips right now. I’m also sitting on a panel at the iGaming Asia Congress in March; the topic is about affiliates and the role they play for operators. It’s what made me say yes to the invitation to participate. It’s a topic that people talk about all the time, whether it’s an Operator Company like us, or just in general with affiliates. It’s always a hot topic that has a myriad of views and one I always like to talk about - especially as I have been working with affiliates for many years.


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

“Japan today is very affiliate orientated; if you want to do online gaming it’s very dependent on affiliates because of the difficulty in doing other medias.” In light of our concentrated focus on the Asian Market, the upcoming Affiliate Grand Slam in Hong Kong is of particular importance to us. I think it is vital to be present there and to show people we are here. It offers a great opportunity for us to tap into the region and network; you never know who you’re going to meet or run into and what that might lead to. My experience from being in the industry for more than ten years has taught me that networking is definitely important if you want to discover new trends and people that might lead to new business. I’m looking forward to the future, there are lots of exciting projects yet to be revealed – so keep an eye on us because Wunderino definitely has a lot in the offing for this year. As a brand and as a company we want to be modern, whether that is through a product or in our marketing efforts. We have to know what is out there, whether it is a technology gaming provider or new emerging markets. Whatever it might be, it’s definitely interesting to be here, making the most of the opportunity to learn more about the unique nature of the Asian market.

0137


SiGMA | SiGMA Careers

SiGMA CAREERS:

Leveraging our Industry Network to Address the HR Shortfall SiGMA STARTED AS THE GO-TO IGAMING SUMMIT OF THE YEAR, MODELLED ON THE SUCCESSFUL CONCEPT OF PROVIDING A PLATFORM FOR THE GAMING COMMUNITY TO NETWORK WITH TALENTED INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ON AN EVER-EXPANDING EXPO FLOOR TOPPED WITH HIGH-QUALITY CONFERENCES. Words by Oliver de Bono, COO at SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Over time, we have expanded our operations into two additional pillars. The second pillar of SiGMA is our news section. Today, we are managing a site which provides the industry with all the breaking news topics within iGaming – managed by a skilled and hands-on content team. The third and concluding pillar is SiGMA Careers, where we seek to provide even more value to our exhibitors. The initial idea of SiGMA Careers is to address the shortfall of manpower across the iGaming industry, and support operators to alleviate the issue by leveraging our vast network. We will be gathering a substantial sum of iGaming talent in our network, and create additional services to allow our clients to reach these individuals. This will be organized through a new database which operators can utilize. With 13,000 people attending this year alone, if we can get just two or three thousand to sign up and network, this will provide our clients with an iGaming careers platform of grand proportions. Apart from the platform, SiGMA Careers will also address the shortfall with a conference this year, the SiGMA Careers Convention. This will feature an open talk in the form of a panel discussion, mixed with a day of open-networking similar to last year. This year we anticipate a far greater number of participants. SiGMA Careers Convention will feature three central topics addressing the HR challenge. The first one being the importance of training in attaining the key skills needed within the industry. The second topic is on the recruitment tools, processes, and branding of the employer in order to entice key talents. The third topic is retention – how can the Maltese iGaming scene retain its best people? There a number of factors which influence a company’s ability to retain its best talent. One of the main factors that negatively impact retention is the cost of living. This puts pressure on companies, as they need to increase salaries to keep their people. This, in turn, further increases the cost of living. There are a number of other issues to be considered, and eventually addressed, if we are to maintain a healthy HR ecosystem in an iGaming environment that aims to continue punching above its weight. Thus, SiGMA Careers is not only a tool. It is an important mission to be addressed. What is the future of HR in Malta? Resolving the shortfall problem in Malta is not just about having more people coming here. We also need to understand why there is a shortfall, and why people are leaving. SiGMA Careers in this sense is a two-sided effort, as we address the situation with a tool on the one hand, and address the underlying question through dialogue on the other. From an HR perspective we need to understand how to tackle the issue of retention, and all the issues that influence our ability to attract and keep the very best personnel – even as these factors continue to evolve. Anything short of that would limit the potential of an industry that is made or broken by the strength of its human capital.

0140


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

SiGMA Careers | SiGMA

0141


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

SiGMA Careers | SiGMA

0143


SiGMA Careers | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

CAREERS IS LOOKING FOR

IS LOOKING FOR

ACCOUNT MANAGER

VIP KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER The ideal candidate will be responsible for the full customer lifecycle after registration, which includes conversion, retention, reactivation and VIP Management including increasing customer lifetime value and activity. As the Key Account Manager, you will be managing an assigned account portfolio of high value customers with the aim to increase the customer lifetime value while decreasing qualitative churn. Interested candidates can send an email to hrmalta@sks365.com

Open and maintain customer accounts by recording account information; greet customers warmly and ascertain the problem; resolve product service problems by clarifying the customer’s complaint; commu- nicate clearly with network providers; expedite correction or adjustment; follow up to ensure resolution; deal with inquiries in a professional, timely manner and to the satisfaction of the customer (mostly via Skype); build sustainable relationships based on trust with customers as well as network providers through open and interactive communication; recommend potential products or services to management by collecting customer information and analysing customer needs. Send us an email at careers@smswarriors.com

IS LOOKING FOR

SPORTS AFFILIATE MANAGER When you work for a company with Star in its title, you can be sure that talent is in abundance. We want to add further talent with a new Sports Affiliate Manager who will be responsible for managing affiliate accounts for our sports betting arm. Working across different gambling licences and testing various campaigns and player acquisition strategies, we’re a global affiliate team, often getting together at trade shows around the world - we work hard as a team but we play even harder. We value everyone’s input so please come to the table packed full of ideas! Send us your CV today! jamiew@starsgroup.com

IS LOOKING FOR

IS LOOKING FOR

RISK MANAGEMENT SPECIALIST You will oversee the shop investigations and help to detect and prevent risk by analysing the suspicious activity in shops and also supervise AML monitoring, prevention and reporting activities. You will provide monthly and quarterly reports regarding suspicious betting activity in shops and enable shop and franchise partner risk matrix. Furthermore, you will assist external financial and legal auditors and be a proactive problem solver. More information and to apply please visit www.tipico-careers.com

IS LOOKING FOR

SOFTWARE DEVELOPER IN TEST

VIP TEAM MANAGER

You will collaborate with our multicultural teams to build great products and fea- tures and conception.

You will oversee, plan and delivery the VIP strategy, with full responsibility for the entire VIP budget and come up with new programs and automations to drive market KPIs, and monitor KPIs to enable us to react fast on latest market and sports trends including latest sports results.

You’ll work on design and implementation of modern future solutions based on React and SpringBoot technologies. You will participate in design and code reviews, and also identify and communicate best practices in programming and finally build efficient and reusable systems and abstractions. Interested? Apply here: www.tipico-careers.com.

Moreover, you’ll monitor and maximise customer lifetime value strategies ensuring maximum profitability of the VIP segment while ensuring the best possible VIP service by agreeing on SLAs with other departments and streamline workflows, website content and processes to improve user experience. Do you like what you see? Apply on www.tipico-careers.com.

IS LOOKING FOR

GAMING CRM MANAGER – GERMAN SPEAKING You’l implement customer lifecycle funnels for Tipico Casino, build campaigns and user journeys using Exact Target, promotion planning and execution, including pre/post-analysis, oversee campaign designs and write marketing copy, configure promotions in the various Casino supplier back office and engage internal analysts in generating actionable insights using market and customer data. Interested in Online Casino? Apply on Apply on www.tipico-careers.com.

0145


D I L O S G N I D L I BU S P I H S R E N PART

HEADQUARTERED IN MALTA AND SERVING A GLOBAL CLIENT BASE, iGAMING ELITE ARE A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE GAMING RECRUITMENT CONSULTANCY. SINCE WE LAST SPOKE WITH THEM, IGE HAVE SEEN EXPONENTIAL GROWTH. SIGMA SAT DOWN WITH FOUNDER AND CEO DEAN NICHOLLS TO CATCH UP ON ALL THE LATEST NEWS.

0147


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

“Many of our current client base have offices and studios already based in Scandinavia, so having consultants on the ground providing a localized service, just builds and increases the quality we can offer to them. ” So how has everything been at iGaming Elite since our last chat? Since we last spoke, iGaming Elite has gone through another period of growth. Due to the nature of our business, we are always looking to add talent to our workforce here at IGE. We now have 12 consultants in the Malta office with a great mix of experience and language skills. This continued expansion has allowed us to take on a few more key clients which will complement our existing portfolio very well, ultimately ensuring we are giving our candidates the best options available. In other news, my family and I have now moved to Sweden. After 8 years on this beautiful island, it was time to make a change. So with the impending opening of our Stockholm office, I will run the operations and the Nordic business from there. Fola Onibuje, after joining the company and making a very positive impact, has been promoted to Recruitment Director. He is now responsible for running the Recruitment Team in Malta and ultimately is now the go to person for the Mediterranean when it comes to iGaming Elite. Being already established in Malta, you have recently launched another office in Stockholm? This is a decision that made a lot of sense to us. Many of our current client base have offices and studios already based in Scandinavia, so having consultants on the ground providing a localized service, just builds and increases the quality we can offer to them. Stockholm will be our base, however we shall be servicing clients throughout the whole of the Nordics. We feel we are the best when it comes to servicing the B2B side of the iGaming space. These “Suppliers” will be a large

Interview | SiGMA

core of our business in the Nordics, so it therefore makes geographical and economic sense to us. The fact that in January 2019 the landscape within the industry could change again with the impending License situation in Sweden means we will be nicely positioned with our network of offices. iGaming Elite are based at the World Trade Centre in Stockholm and we shall be keeping everyone updated in terms of the latest news, roles and ongoing growth of our clients. What’s the plan for 2018? Towards the end of 2017 we were very pleased to launch our brand new website www.igamingelite.com, the rebrand falls more in line with what we are as a business and differentiates us from our competitors. I have always felt that you should always model yourself on your clients and remain relatable in B2B business. That is why we have gone for a bright and vibrant almost “Gaming-like” brand. The new website also has a lot of added features for both candidates and clients - with it we launched the new ios and android jobs app. So everyone can keep up to date with roles and news in real time.   We have also sponsored the usual suspects in Malta, the EBM party scene as we do every year, with some exciting events pencilled in for 2018. We are of course involved with SiGMA again and were really pleased to be one of your main sponsors at your recent Stockholm iGathering, as well as being the main sponsor for the iGaming Forum in Sweden. We believe that building these long term partnerships will help us all in establishing networks, solid marketing knowledge and understanding throughout the whole of Europe. Watch this space - we might just be launching one more office in 2018...

“I have always felt that you should always model yourself on your clients and remain relatable in B2B business.” 0149


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Interview | SiGMA

FINDING YOUR NICHE AND MAKING IT YOUR OWN CASINOVAL IS A YOUNG START-UP CASINO WHICH DARES TO BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT. ALONGSIDE A COLOURFUL RANGE OF GAMES, IT AIMS TO CREATE A SOLID AND TRUSTWORTHY GUIDE TO SWEDEN’S CASINOS. ANDERS BERGMAN, BROTHER TO INDUSTRY FIXTURE ERIK BERGMAN, SHEDS A LITTLE LIGHT ON WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS AND THE CHALLENGES THEY’VE NAVIGATED SO FAR. What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a start-up? The biggest challenge with a start-up is that we have limited resources. Some companies in this business make a tremendous amount of money - I need to compete with that, which means I need to do things a lot differently. Putting in good hours and finding your own little niche in the market is key. Our company employees are currently spread over 7 countries, so it’s been a challenge to coordinate working remotely. Skype is a great tool - it would not be possible without it. What’s trending for the Swedish market in 2018? What we can see in the Swedish markets is that up-andcoming casinos are offering free spins that don’t have any pre-pay requirements. There are casinos that offer you the opportunity to play without a real account and I find that to be an interesting trend. Making it as easy as possible for customers to play and get their money out is a way of giving freedom to the customer - something most casinos are trying to take away. I don’t think it’s the most profitable step for casinos, but for the customers who I actually represent, it’s a good trend. I find eSports to be a fascinating market. It’s not big enough for us yet, but it will definitely grow in the future. People want to bet on what they’re interested in. The younger generation are definitely more into eSports – even if it’s not a big concept right now, it will be in the future.

Has your older brother (Erik Bergman), today a renowned brand in the industry, been influential? Yes, he’s been my role model. Perhaps it has previously been the other way round, but I have looked at what he has done and tried to copy as much as possible. He’s been a good inspiration, he was also the one who recommended the industry to me. What advantages does the mobile casino platform offer? I believe mobile casinos are essential in today’s society. If we take the Swedish market – the penetration of mobile casino is up 60%. It is however, still much lower than in markets that aren’t so developed - where people’s first computer is their cell phone. It’s essential for any successful casino today to have a good mobile casino. I would say about 50% of our mobile base is represented through mobile gaming. Are you exploring any markets outside Europe? Asia and South America seem to be brewing in activity yet their affiliate business is still miles away from European methods. We are looking into opportunities outside Europe - the US is opening up and we also have an interest in English speaking countries like Canada, South Africa and Australia. Despite Australia’s restriction on gambling, it is still a market that interests us. We haven’t looked into South America as much, as the language barrier is a little trickier for us to navigate especially as a small company.

Working in the Swedish market, knowing that it’s a highly competitive market is also fun – you know that if you’re good in that market you’ll have a good chance to take on other markets later. It’s a great market to learn on as well. 0151


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

WHO’S WHO IN THE MALTA GAMING INDUSTRY Evgenij Kiriushin Head of Business Development

1XBET is an international developer and provider of online and land-based gaming solutions with development sales and service centers. Largest number of markets in prematch and live. Casino, slots, live casino from main providers and in-house solutions. Unique products: 1xPromo, 1xGames, 1xZone etc. In-house agent systems and affiliate program. More than 250 payments solutions from over the world. Customer support on 30 languages 24/7. www.1xbet.com

Domenico Mazzola Commercial Director

Altenar is a provider of sportsbook software and 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

Ian Pellicano Director

The Payments Solution for iGaming APCOPAY is a reliable payment platform that facilitates a complete blend of credit card processing and over 200 alternative payment solutions. Fully responsive, PCI Level 1 certified and 100% owned, APCOPAY platforms comes with advanced fraud protection and the flexibility to innovate fast or provide clients with any customised solution. www.apcopay.eu

Tsachi Maimon CEO

Aspire Global, the complete iGaming solution, has been offering an “all in one” platform for operators and white labels since 2005. Our robust platform features slot games, casino table games, live casino and sports-betting, and is certified under 6 jurisdictions. As a true complete solution for casino operators, our business model is just as simple and straightforward. We will fully manage your online casino, including all the operational requirements, so that you can focus solely on what you do best – marketing your brand. We invite you to join the top level brands currently enjoying day to day success with us. www.aspireglobal.com

Jonas Delin CEO

Authentic Gaming is the largest supplier in the world of live tables that are broadcasted from the floors of luxurious resorts and casinos. Authentic Gaming’s portfolio includes LIVE Roulette streaming from the USA, Italy or Denmark, as well as a number of Auto Roulette Games. They’re exclusively devoted to delivering the widest range of LIVE Roulette tables with the most engaging and exciting user experience across all devices. www.authenticgaming.com

Mark Pace Sales Executive

Avis Rent-a-Car and Lease is the largest national fleet administrator in Malta and Gozo. Services include vehicle operational leases for company and personal requirements, short-term car rental and Avis quality used car sales with HPfinance available. As independent fleet operators, we source any vehicle make/model to suit you. We try harder! www.avis.com.mt

0153


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Mark Attard Chief Executive Officer

Annamaria Anastasi Marketing Director

For the past 40 years, BDO Malta has acted as auditors, tax advisers and consultants for numerous Maltese and international companies, including online gaming companies, both privately held and publicly listed. We also have extensive knowledge in managing the remote gaming licence application process on behalf of our clients and accordingly assist with all of the information and documentation required by the Malta Gaming Authority. BDO Malta is looking forward to assisting clients in blockchain, virtual currencies and DLT related areas. www.bdo.com.mt

Betsoft Gaming develops innovative casino games for desktop and mobile. Its portfolio of more than 190 RNG titles reaches players through partnerships with many of the iGaming industry’s leading operators. Betsoft is headquartered and licensed to operate in Malta, and holds an additional license in Curacao. In addition, Betsoft is fully authorized to distribute content in multiple regulated markets, including Italy and Denmark. www.betsoft.com

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

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

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

Aiste Garneviciene Chief Operating Officer

BetGames.TV is a developer and distributor of interactive (LIVE) and innovative gaming products for gambling business (B2B). The service combines traditional (fixed odds) betting with popular lotteries and table games. We provide solutions for land based betting shops and online (desktop, mobile). www.betgames.tv

Srdjan Kapor Marketing and Affiliate Manager

In 2014 a group of casino players banded together to create a casino that they could call home. That casino became BitStarz – the now award-winning cryptocurrency Casino. Supporting BTC, LTC, ETH, BCH, and DOGE, along with most major international currencies. BitStarz has built a reputation as an industry leader. www.bitstarz.com

Frederik Niehusen CEO

We deliver high-end, next level gaming to the slots market. Offering an established portfolio that encompasses uniquely themed games, innovative features and volatilities to satisfy every spectrum of the player market. We utilise the knowledge of seasoned experts, who apply their years of expertise in the industry to craft games to the highest of standards, harnessing proven formulas for success, combined with the latest developments in the gaming industry. www.booming-games.com

0155


SiGMA | Who’s Who

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Catalina Lukianenko Head of Business Development

Boss Gaming Studio is an innovative iGaming developer, providing various igaming products: online casino platform, affiliate platform, turnkey online casino, marketing consulting and support. We cover a whole range of services starting from the concept of development up to promotion of the completed project. We know how to make a first-class iGaming project that will really work. www.bossgs.com

Ewa Johnson Affiliate Manager

BreakoutAffiliates is proud to represent UKGC-licensed BreakoutCasino.com, along with BreakoutPoker. com, BreakoutLottos.com, our sports & casino site at BreakoutGaming.com, and our PC game store at BreakoutGameStore.com. With a professional team at your service, we offer top compensation with NO minimum delivery or earnings thresholds ever! www.breakoutgaming.com

Håkan Frostne CEO

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

Dmitry Arabuli Head of Affiliates

With over 20 years’ experience, Buffalo Partners represents a collection of the world’s largest online casinos and sportsbooks. A true pioneer of the industry, we launched our first online casino Gaming Club in 1994.The latest brand in our stable is Spin Palace Sports – an exciting new sportsbook with a shared wallet. www.buffalopartners.com

0156

Ugne M. Buraciene Head of Partnerships and Account Management

CardPay is a Financial Institution, licensed by the Central Bank of Cyprus – Principal Member of Visa, MasterCard, JCB and UnionPay International, providing a wide range of services including: issuing and acquiring, payment processing, corporate payment account opening, alternative payment methods combined with a fast set up for any type of business operating globally and locally. www.cardpay.com

Henrik Persson Ekdahl CEO

Catena Media is one of the world’s most successful online lead generation companies. A dominant force in the iGaming industry and other verticals, they’re growing exponentially through organic growth and strategic acquisitions. The company’s diverse, 290-strong workforce is positioned across 7 locations worldwide. Catena Media is publicly listed on Nasdaq Mid Cap. www.catenamedia.com

Itamar Ronen Chief Revenue Officer

Cellxpert, the leading affiliate tracking software, puts you in full control of your affiliate program. Run all marketing channels and reach meaningful insights based on your performance, results and ROI. One practical solution to increase your revenue: From tracking and campaign performance management to ad serving and regulation tools. www.cellxpert.com

Peter Williams Chief Commercial Officer

For over 20 years Continent 8 has been focused on the delivery of market-defining internet technologies, products and services. With coverage in over 30 global locations, we provide businesses with secure facilities, networks and managed infrastructure to support critical online operations throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. www.continent8.com


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Tom Bloor Account Manager

Founded in 2013, Cryptopay has made bitcoin accessible to consumers and merchants for years. Our gateway lets merchants accept bitcoin & other cryptocurrencies and receive settlement in traditional fiat currencies. Our API is clean and easy to manage; our fees… well, compare our 1% processing fee to your current solution! www.cryptopay.me

Anton Cristina CEO

CSL Data Centre Services is offering Private Cloud, Shared Cloud and Colocation Services to 100+ clients in the Gaming Industry and Financial Services Industry. For further information visit our website 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

Who’s Who | SiGMA

Andy Ashley International Marketing Director

Digital Element is the global leader and industry pioneer of IP geolocation technology. Our IP Intelligence solution is deployed by the world’s largest iGaming companies. IP intelligence is an effective solution for ensuring jurisdictional compliance, localising content and preventing online fraud, in a simple cost effective and privacy sensitive manner. www.digitalelement.com

Jose Manuel Peral COO

Easy Payment Gateway provides all the tools you need to manage your transactions online. Patented routing, easy API, over 220 Alternative Payment Methods, 35 Acquirers. Plug into our Gateway and start increasing your deposits, reducing fraud and costs. You have the control! www.easypaymentsgateway.com

Paul Marcantonio Head of UK & Western Europe

Payment solutions. Individually tailored. ECOMMPAY is an international payment service provider and direct bankcard acquirer, engineering bespoke payment solutions for clients worldwide. Our payment gateway facilitates an omnichannel payment process, combining acquiring, alternative payment methods, payout capabilities, and technological innovation within a single, seamless integration. www.ecommpay.com

Max Hamberg Commerical Director

Jonathan Amrani Director of Operations

iGaming Audience Platform – a product by Delta Projects. Delta Projects develop smart campaign management solutions for efficient online advertising so that you can improve your KPIs. We were founded 2002 in Stockholm and has always been in the forefront of the Adtech landscape. Among our customers you will find several of the largest Nordic companies. www.deltaprojects.com

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

0157


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

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. You can download linked Fun Games to embed on your website and take unlimited Campaign Trackers directly from your account! www.egamingonline.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

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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

Mark Anthony Spiteri COO

Speed pays. Use Entropay to turn lost players into loyal players with instant, global deposits and cash outs. No credit check or bank account is required. No other payment method is faster. With top up fees from 1%, co-branded options, and no need for custom integrations your brand can achieve global scale—now. Plus, send money transfers 2440x faster and use Entropay cards to shop anywhere Visa is accepted online. www.entropay.com

Dmitry Starostenkov CEO

EvenBet Gaming is an innovative online gaming supplier breathing new life into the daily fantasy sports and poker verticals, with a world-class casino games offering. The company has more than 15 years of software development experience and delivers high-class turnkey gaming solutions to its customers since 2006. See more at 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

0159


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Aleksandar Saric Senior partner and CEO

EXEFEED is a company specialized in odds calculation and creating applications for sports betting. ExeFeed delivers: LIVE BETTING-advanced sports betting software for real-time import of live sports data PRE-MATCH BETTING-universal built to bet on various sports on any market GOAL RACE-a brand new game which provides you with special betting for live football events. www.exefeed.com

Adrian Sciberras Founder and CEO

Fairwinds Management Limited is a company formation and administration specialist offering an extensive range of corporate, legal and accounting services. We handle company incorporations, open bank accounts, submit VAT and tax applications and other administration tasks related to new set ups. We also provide iGaming & Betting License Registrations. www.fairwindsmanagement.net

John Farrugia Randon Head of Business Development

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 www.forestalsfirstclass.com

Adrian Gatt Business Development Manager

With solutions that focus on reliability and seamless integration, Fortytwo partners with brands and enterprises to provide quality mobile messaging solutions. 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

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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

Andrea Sipone CEO

Gamshy, Italian start-up providing online casino games and betting services, made its first appearance at ICE and ENADA. At SiGMA, the software house will present two new videoslots to offer a portfolio of nine games: eight video-slots with exciting contents and an alternative poker on which you can bet on the poker session. www.gamshy.com

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.ganapati.com

Ronna Shilon CEO

A brand-new web and mobile gaming platform that brings the Wow factor back to the industry. Featuring a strong design identity and a fresh approach, Gate777’s first-class air-casino concept is a world on its own: 800+ game destinations, frequent upgrades, luxury treatments, friendly casino crew, backed by experienced gaming executives. www.gate777.com

0161


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Ariel Reem CEO

Genesis Group was established back in 2014 and has been rapidly growing since day one, now with five highly successful casinos, each licensed by both the Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission. Being one of the best performing mobile casinos in the market, having robust proprietary technology allows us to use real time segmented data that is tailored to suit. This creates an enhanced and relevant gaming experience that our customers deserve. At Genesis Global we do it again, but always better! www.genesis.com.mt

Robin Reed Group CEO

There’s nothing quite like GiG: over 700 geeks making insanely great tech products through the entire value chain in the iGaming industry. It is our vision to ‘open up iGaming and make it fair and fun for all’. Through our eco-system of products and services, we are connecting operators, suppliers and users, to create the best iGaming experiences in the world. www.gig.com

Roger Katz Head of Affiliates

In the span of a decade, GOWILD Gaming established itself as a top name in the online entertainment industry. With its flagship casino brand now also available in the UK and two other distinct casinos operating in global markets, the potential for growth is endless. The Affiliate Program offers a state-ofthe-art platform and custom commission plans so you can optimise your campaigns and promote GOWILD’s brands – your way. www.gowildaffiliates.com

Arcangelo Lonoce Head of Business Development - Europe

Habanero creates quality slot and table games for the gaming industry. Suitable for operators and aggregators, our multi language, multi currency HTML5 games are a perfect fit for any target market. Our focus is clear and we keep things simple. We are able to work quicker, respond faster and make decisions instantly. We provide pure gaming entertainment through our games. www.habanerosystems.com

Erik Gjerde CEO

Highlight Media helps people making the right decisions online, by operating and developing user-friendly comparison websites, primarily within iGaming. Highlight Media owns and operates more than 130 brands in 30 markets. www.highlight.com

Laurent Reysbosch SVP, iGaming

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

HooYu is a new approach to identity verification, using a unique blend of identity technologies. The first identity scoring platform that combines database checks, geolocation, ID document validation and facial biometrics. Our sister company, Andromeda, is a powerful data visualisation platform for investigating high value source of funds, problem gamblers, fraudulent chargebacks and collusion in peer-to-peer games. www.hooyu.com

Jaime Debono Director

With 15,000+ learners online, 1,500+ classroom attendees and 40+ corporate clients, iGaming Academy is the industry’s foremost provide of compliance and skills based training. Available in eLearning or face-to-face format and delivered via our state of the art, full customisable learning management system, our course portfolio is trusted by online gambling, land-based casino and betting shop businesses worldwide. www.igacademy.com

0163


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Mario Fiorini Director

iGamingAdvisors is a turnkey solution for acquisition of a Gaming License, company formation and more. Our advisors will assist you throughout the whole process, irrespective if you are relocating from a different jurisdiction or a startup. iGamingAdvisors offer key functions roles, TAX, setting up of ICOs, White paper review and more. www.igamingadvisors.com

Dean Nicholls Founder & CEO

iGaming Elite are Europe’s Premier recruitment and headhunting specialists within the innovative iGaming Market. With offices in Malta and Stockholm, our aim is to provide business partners with the highest levels of service at all times. A transparent and proactive approach to the recruitment process is combined with our in depth sector knowledge and extensive candidate networks, which result in an excellent service offering. www.igamingelite.com

Roderick Briffa Business Development Executive

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

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. iMovo is the local premier solution provider for Qlik, Salesforce, Zendesk, Tableau and Talend. www.imovo.com.mt

Antoine Vella Managing Director

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

Michael Probert Business Development Director

iSoftBet is a leading online and mobile casino software provider offering a remarkable collection of slot games that includes stunning proprietary titles, branded content from some of the world’s famous TV and films studios and excellent table games. iSoftBet also allows operators to benefit from more than 1500 titles sourced from over 35 game providers, in one swift integration with its Game Aggregation Platform (GAP). www.isoftbet.com

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

Arnaud Serour Managing Director

Karamba is a leading online gaming brand built on the foundations of fun, laughter, and doing things differently. Our affiliate program is one of the largest and most innovative in the gaming industry, and we are fully committed to bringing players to the best, fairest, and most exciting online gaming experience. With an impressive portfolio of more than 500 games including slots, scratch cards, casino table games and live casino, as well as sports-betting, Karamba is a leading online gaming site with a name for knowing how to throw a party! Join our unique affiliate program: www.karambapartners.com

0165


SiGMA | Who’s Who

Henrik Tjanström CEO

Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) is one of the largest online gambling companies in the world with more than 21 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

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

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Petra Blixt Head of Customer Acquisition

LeoVegas, awarded: IGB best Casino Affiliate Program for 2018 & GGA Award for Best Digital Acquisition Program for 2017 LeoVegas is the innovation leader in gaming entertainment. LeoVegas Sport is the most intuitive, engaging and fastest way to bet on Sports. LeoVegas’ multi award winning casino currently offers the world’s strongest suite of casino games with 1400+ games on desktop, mobile and tablet. This in combination with top-notch live casino entertainment in HD quality 24/7. Join LeoVegas’ award winning affiliate program: www.leovegasaffiliates.com

Robert Menezes Affiliate Manager

LottaRewards is the preferred Lottery Affiliate Program, established in 1998 we are the Pioneers in the Lottery vertical with over 20yrs of Experience. Our Brands PlayHugeLottos.com and Lotto247.com offer the most popular lotteries, Keno, Scratch Cards and Instant win games available. Advanced reporting and marketing material in 13 different languages. www.lottarewards.com

Massimo Matteazzi Head of Affiliates

L&L Europe Ltd are a casino group with a difference who are aiming to put the FUN back into gaming. With their flagship and innovative new brand funcaisno.com this could not be more evident. The fun began back in 2012 when L&L identified a need in the market for localised brands and launched the likes of allbritishcasino.com, adlercasino.com & many others. www.landleurope.eu

Greg Behr Business Development Manager

Leaseweb empowers companies to reach a greater world through its comprehensive range of hybrid cloud hosting solutions. With over 20 years of experience, a reliable global network, and 18 data centers strategically located around the world, Leaseweb connects customers to solutions that fit both their unique infrastructure needs and business goals. www.leaseweb.com

0166

Melanie Hainzer Head of Marketing

Mansa Gaming are riding our own technological wave into today’s iGaming sector. A state of the art platform, bolstered by the latest technologies, sets us apart from the rest. Casino is our passion and player innovation is at the heart of all we do. Our brands clearly reflect this. www.mansagaming.com

Andreas Lilja Operations 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


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Malcolm Briffa Director of Business Services

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

Joseph Cuschieri Executive Chairman

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

Paul Kavanagh CEO

MiFinity, a global payments provider, was set up over 15 years ago with the aim of offering a range of cost effective and efficient end-to-end payment solutions. MiFinity are a fully regulated company with the sole objective to be the market leader in the online payments space. We partner with specific providers that support us on this growth journey. www.mifinity.com

Jens Bader Co-Founder

MuchBetter is the new payments app for iGaming. MuchBetter allows customers to transfer and receive funds in real-time, combining state-of-the-art mobile technology twinned with a ground breaking commercial model. MuchBetter is the equilibrium between security and customer experience and allows gaming operators to generate a significant commercial upside. www.muchbetter.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

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

Anschana Caravaca Regional Gaming Strategy Director

Optimise your gaming business with Pay360 payments, fraud, risk and analytics tools. Pay360 offers a suite of integrated modules for gaming operators accessed via a single API, including payments, fraud and risk management, player authentication, automated rules configuration and strategy development. With these tools operators can increase their conversion rate across all channels, as well as identify problem gamblers and bonus abuse in an easy and effective way. www.pay360.com/gaming

Massimo Esposito CEO

As a result of a deep knowledge about the iGaming industry, we proudly offer the most comprehensive, innovative and reliable solutions, helping your Gaming business succeed. Our commitment is focused on the development of products and services that offer endless opportunities for profit. www.pegmagroup.com

0167


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

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

Ivan Farrugia Managing Director

Playson is a state of spirit, a vision and an attitude. We inject our games with boldness, excitement, fun and thrill because we understand players crave ultimate experiences that mix the anticipation of the win with the joy of the ride. Our collection features 40+ Omni-Channel HTML5 titles, catering for the regulated European markets including the UK, Italy and Spain. www.playson.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

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

Who’s Who | SiGMA

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

Challenging conventions with convergent acquiring, is a new approach used by Processing.com to manage multiple banking relationships via a single payment solution. Gaming operators can optimise conversion and increase player retention through smart boutique merchant services; removing complexity, reducing risk and the dependency on a single acquirer which helps operators to improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase revenues. www.processing.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, Gamomat 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

Umberto Corridori VP Sales Europe

SafeCharge is a payments technology company providing an open payment solution that covers the entire value chain from gateway through to acquiring and risk management. SafeCharge enables businesses to accept more than 150 payment methods worldwide. www.safecharge.com

0169


SiGMA | Who’s Who

Rahim Haji Senior Strategy Consultant

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

Andrew Cochrane COO

SBTech is an industry-leading software provider of sports betting and iGaming software and services for betting operators. The company employs more than 1000 staff internationally serving top-tier operators in 18 regulated markets. Its offering include industry-leading online sportsbook, cutting-edge in-play betting platform, premium casino and live casino products, responsive design and fully equipped iGaming platform. www.sbtech.com

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Graziella Mercieca Director of Sales

SMSwarriors® is a global mobile technology solutions provider, specialising in international mobile messaging solutions and services through its web-based platform & API. Our personalised approach and dynamite SMS messaging platform improves the speed and reliability of company-customer interactions and boosts sales conversions. SMSwarriors was built by affiliates, for affiliates and is quickly becoming the no.1 Affiliate SMS platform globally. With a global reach of 200 countries and 800+ operators, SMSwarriors simplifies your money making journey. www.smswarriors.com

Elvis Džombić Head of Business Development

Sportingtech is a gaming platform provider with unrivaled back office for successful online operation. Established in 2017 by betting industry veterans and experts, it focuses on regulated markets. Sportingtech’s Pulse Platform will make a huge difference for betting operators. www.sportingtech.com

Jan Lunde Commercial Director

SIS is a trusted supplier to the global betting industry, delivering high quality live betting content to online and retail betting operators worldwide. Its horse racing and greyhound racing content provides ‘short form’ betting events to bookmakers, and offers an end-to-end betting solution which includes data, live pictures, prices and derivatives, proven to drive revenues and profits. www.sis.tv

Jerry Land VP B2B Solutions

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 25 successful Online casinos come and find out how their ‘Winning Formula’ whitelabel software solution can work for you! www.skillonnet.com

0170

Best known for the blockbusters Esqueleto Explosivo, Pink Elephants and Fruit Warp Thunderkick offers a dual HTML5 games portfolio of 24 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


Who’s Who | SiGMA

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Marcin Jablonski Chief Brand Officer

Twin.com is the hottest new online casino focusing on customer experience and innovation via a stunning website packed with functionality and features. It is already widely acclaimed, like its award winning Twin Affiliates program which took home the Best Newcomer Affiliate program 2017. www.twin.com

Mario Ovcharov CEO

UltraPlay is a modern technological company, founded in 2010, with the core ambition to offer an innovative approach to the online gaming industry by providing advanced betting solutions, focused on sports and eSports betting, live betting, white label, online casino and blockchain technology. Assembled by a team of iGaming professionals with vast experience in betting product development, operations, eSports and marketing, UltraPlay is a trusted partner for delivering superior sports software and odds products to its customers. www.ultraplay.co

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

Chris Gauci CEO

Vivendo Group is the parent company of 6 divisions offering a wide range of furnishing solutions with a fully integrated service. Through our retail outlets we cater for the end consumer with home furniture. Our B2B division serves businesses operating in the commercial, hospitality and fitness industry. 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

David Mann Sales & Business Development Manager

Wazdan are a Malta-based casino games provider with a portfolio of almost 100 HTML5 games that covers slots, table games, video poker and bingo. Licensed in the UK, Malta and Curacao, Wazdan products reflect our passion for games that are packed with unique and innovative features. www.wazdan.com

Hampus Lindberg Commercial Director

Wiraya is a Managed Mobile Customer Activation Software that dramatically improves customer experience KPIs and conversions. It uses data-driven insights and AI to generate the optimum blend of voice, text and mobile messaging. Leading iGaming brands use Wiraya to inspire action from their new registered customers or to win customers back. www.wiraya.com

Sam Kyller Head of Acquisition

Wunderino was launched in the spring of 2016 by I-gaming veterans with the aim to offer more than just the “regular” casino experience by focusing on innovative user experience and entertaining gamification elements in addition to a large selection of games. Wunderino is operated by Rhinoceros Operations Limited, Holding both a Maltese and SchleswigHolstein license. www.rhinocerosltd.com

0171


ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

Media Partners | SiGMA

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

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 CEO

CountryProfiler (CP) is an international media company that specialises in the publication of country reports and investment guides on the world’s most innovative and high-growth markets for trade, foreign investment and international financial services. CountryProfiler’s publications provide blue-chip companies, their executive management and professional advisors with global business intelligence and market insight they require when managing cross-border operations, investing or doing business with new markets. 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

Josephine Lee COO

G2E Asia is renowned as a key gaming and entertainment business hub across the continent. It is the must attend marketplace for the Asian gaming-entertainment industry, offering a one-stop platform to the industry professionals to network, forge fresh connections, source new products and solutions, and gain a deeper insight into the latest global industry trends. Held in Macau - the heart of Asian gamingentertainment, G2E Asia is the ideal hub where professionals network and conduct business. www.g2easia.com

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

0173


SiGMA | Media Partners

Michael Corfman Director

With more than 25,000 members, the GPWA is the premier association of online gambling affiliates. It provides the leading networking venue for affiliates and affiliate programs, reports the latest industry news, and works to help ethical affiliates and affiliate programs succeed. The GPWA’s international membership represents tens of thousands of portals and millions of monthly visitors. 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

Karina Kusova Marketing Manager

Over 100 sessions across 9 streams, the World Gaming Executive Summit is the industry’s most comprehensive event covering everything you need to know to remain ahead of your competitors. This year focusses on customer experience and loyalty, new customers, blockchain, AI and new technologies, esports, sportsbetting, integrated resorts and more. www.terrapinn.com

Ulli Schmitt Owner

ISA-GUIDE is the most popular German online-platform on gaming and is well-known among the industry. With more than 9 million clicks and over 4.000 daily visitors the website is the top name for the hottest news and information on international gaming. www.isa-guide.com

0174

ISSUE 8 SPRING / SUMMER 2018

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

Eugenia Crivellini Sales Manager

SoloAzar is a digital newspaper specialized in the gaming industry. For 14 years, more than 12,000 subscribers receive the newsletter in its Latin American and International versions, with the main news of the sector and coverage of the most important events. In addition, SoloAzar has a presence in social networks. www.soloazar.com

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


Profile for SiGMA Group

SiGMAgazine issue 8  

SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote gaming industry, specifically in Malta. View...

SiGMAgazine issue 8  

SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote gaming industry, specifically in Malta. View...

Advertisement