gazine ISSUE 9
A GLASS HALF FULL Charles Gross & Alexandre Tomic p. 56
A Man with a Plan
Artist vs Artificial
WORLDâ€™S iGAMING VILLAGE
EDITORIAL It’s been a big year for SiGMA. A concerted effort has been made to take our efforts to a global stage, and we’ve made our presence felt on multiple continents throughout 2018. As we approach our flagship event, it feels like a milestone that marks our progress. My part of it has been great, for the most part. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of the coolest cats in gaming this year, who’ve proven that cleverness and kindness need not be mutually exclusive. The best thing about the job is meeting the diverse cast of characters that make up the gaming industry. They rarely give a dull interview, and that’s high praise coming from a writer. My SiGMA colleagues are no slouches either. I must start with Katy Micallef, who also happens to be one of my oldest friends. Working with her again has been great. She’s really gotten it together since our university days. Jessica Camilleri has really made an impact on the design side of things, and Aleksey Leonov gives us a photographic edge – not to mention that his stoic outlook has helped keep me relatively sane when things got a little mental. I hope you’ll find the magazine to be as worthwhile as a read as it was to make. We’ve tried to include a little bit
of everything. You’re going to find some of the hottest shots in the business featured in these pages, and we pride ourselves on finding the ‘next big thing’ – we’ve got a number of those stories in this issue, I believe. I really love our cover – it reminds me I need to dust off my old Face/Off DVD and see if it has stood the test of time. On the other hand, who needs Travolta and Cage when we’ve such exemplary individuals starring in our cover story? One of my favourite features in this magazine deals with one of SiGMA’s more altruistic initiatives, as we’re looking for greener ways to get around. SiGMA does a lot to promote positive societal change, and we like to reflect that commitment in our pages too. Our biggest event of the year, the show where it all comes together, is very close now. It promises to bring together everything that we stand for. Last year, SiGMA was a four-day assault on the senses, and this year’s edition is going to be even better. All you have to do is turn up and let the event do the rest. Enjoy the show!
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.
8 ON OUR GAME! Eman Pulis shares the initiatives SIGMA has implemented, from an increased global presence to the launch of innovative projects.
56 A GLASS HALF FULL Alexandre Tomic enlightens us with his expert opinion on the evolution of the iGaming industry.
63 A MAN WITH A PLAN Thomas Mahoney offers a refreshing take on the ever-changing iGaming industry and what makes it tick.
82 GALLERY Glance through some of the most memorable moments of this years’ gaming landscape.
112 SOLVING CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS Mike Moczkowski from BitbayBet delivers a thought-provoking view on the global stance of cryptocurrency in the sector.
118 ARTIST VS ARTIFICIAL Angelo Dalli and Mark Mallia juggle their thoughts on the alliance of art and artificial intelligence.
123 iGAMING ON THE BLOCK Vadim Fedotov explores the emerging presence of blockchain technology in the iGaming sphere and its impending implications.
139 UNDER THE INFLUENCE Wesley Ellul breaks down Quizando’s quiz delivery system and illustrates its effect on the influencer industry.
161 WHO’S WHO Get to know some of the industry innovators that make the iGaming globe go around.
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)2700 2836 / 2133 6670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org www.sigma.com.mt SiGMAgazine is published by Viking PC Health Ltd., Gaming Hub, Judge Paolo Debono Str., Msida Skate Park, Msida. MSD2032, Malta.
Editor: Ivan Borg Layout & Design: Jessica Camilleri Photography: Aleksey Leonov Contributing Editor: Katy Micallef Content Writers: Christopher Attard & Claire Leo Sales: Laima Bobrika, Sophie Crouzet & Sintija Rimsa
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Stars Affiliate Club will soon be the new affiliate program behind The Stars Group leading brands:
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
on our game! We’ve not been idle. Last year, SiGMA established its
really develop these two new pillars in order to become the
credentials as a marquee event on the gaming calendar and
complete package, with wire-to-wire coverage of the gaming
redefined expectations for the company going forward. We’re
industry from every conceivable angle.
no longer content operating on the local scene. 2018 has been all about taking SiGMA to the global stage, and all the
The deepening of our commitment to our events calendar,
challenges that go with that.
coupled with the widening of the scope of our company with
First of all, SiGMA is no longer all about a single flagship
to expand our team. We’ve undergone significant growth over
event in November, although that remains our anchor. We’ve
the past year, as our redefined expectations for ourselves have
populated our calendar with a number of forward-thinking
translated into a much-increased workload. However, we’ve
events that allow us to spread our wings and engage with
managed to take on the growth without much in the way of
other markets. Our Affiliate Grand Slam series took the lead
growing pains. A larger SiGMA hasn’t come at the expense of
in giving our international ambitions a tangible form – we’ve
our agility. We still offer a personalised touch to anyone who
been offering our own take on affiliate networking through the
works with us – something that’s only possible because we’ve
series, and it’s just been a case of success breeding success.
kept an agile, flexible mindset while going about our work.
Our last AGS in Kiev managed to bridge the divide between the European and CIS markets to great effect. Before that, AGS made its first foray into Asia with its Hong Kong edition – again, we managed to create the ideal talking shop for two major
our take on gaming news and careers, meant that we’ve had
I’m also very proud of our efforts in the name of corporate social responsibility. We’ve always been active on that front, but I’m exceptionally heartened to see the growth there
markets to meet.
match the overall development in the company. We’re still
We’ve also launched a brand new series with our Alpha Boot
relationship with the office of the President of Malta on that
Camp, an event with similarly global ambitions. The inaugural
front just keeps going from strength to strength. We’re also
leg of the series took place in Buenos Aires, where we brought
supporting a number of other charitable endeavours, including
some of the most important LatAm operators together with
this year’s Kilimanjaro Challenge. I’m very happy that three
some premier suppliers from the European scene. We’re
members of our team – Sophie, Laima and Denis – have chosen
looking at the U.S. for the next leg of our newly-minted
to take on the challenge themselves, and will be attempting the
series of Alpha Boot Camps, as that market has been given
Kilimanjaro climb for charity at the end of the year.
great impetus following the PASPA ruling. Even our series of iGatherings took flight in 2018, as we took one of those events
actively supporting the Malta Community Chest Fund, and our
As you can see, we’ve had a pretty full year – and it’s about to
to the beautiful city of Stockholm.
reach its climax. The entire team has poured in a lot of effort
Equally importantly, SiGMA is no longer just about our events
reach you, most of the preparation will be done, and there’ll
– although obviously they’re important. We’ve launched two
be not much else left to do but for you to enjoy the networking
other pillars this year – news and careers. We’re looking to
experience at SiGMA - the World’s iGaming Village.
into the SiGMA 2018 experience. By the time these words
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
PROPELLING THE iGAMING SECTOR TO THE FUTURE
The fact that we have reached the 5th edition of the show and
So it’s imperative that listening to the iGaming industry’s concerns
are welcoming 12,000 delegates is a testament not only to the
should be one of my priorities. Together with the GamingMalta
success of this event, but also to the iGaming sector in Malta.
Foundation our active participation in different fora such as HR
This country offers the complete iGaming ecosystem, where
Connect and the iGaming executive network is proof of this.
embracing change and innovation is a profound part of our DNA.
We are committed to addressing the skills mismatch and
We have the resources, people and culture to give iGaming
strengthening the iGaming industry. Attracting foreign workers is
professionals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with
key to our future, and we want to smoothen the process for anyone
like-minded individuals where business gets done. Gaming is
looking at taking up a position in Malta. As from last September,
unquestionably a key contributor to our economic growth. Not
the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM), a collaborative
only are gaming companies net contributors to Malta in terms of
agreement between MCAST and the MGA, welcomed its first cohort
revenues, but there are also strong economic multiplier effects
of students to the full-time one-year diploma programme.
from expatriate workers relocating to Malta.
We will continue to encourage students to pursue a career in
2018 was the year we intensified our efforts to consolidate our
the gaming industry and make sure that the same students are
success, and propelled tangible initiatives. The new Gaming Act,
provided with a curriculum that reflects the needs of the industry
approved by Maltese Parliament on 8 March 2018, came into force on the 1st August 2018, after undergoing the EU Technical
itself. We are also working to launch a Student Placement Programme in 2019 to provide internships so that students can
Regulation Information System (TRIS) process, in line with
apply their skills and gain hands-on experience.
European Union Directive 2015/1535.
We are actively looking at other verticals such as eSports and
The new legislation repeals existing laws and replaces it with
Video Gaming. Helping to join the dots and build bridges across
a single act, while strengthening regulation and eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, simplifying licensing processes, and speeding up the time-to-market for operators. We are determined
the ecosystem is vital. It’s important to stay ahead of the game, to watch developments, to keep up with the competition, to embrace innovation.
in our efforts to ensure the gaming industry continues to be run
On this front, we are now firmly positioned as the Blockchain
responsibly, fairly, and free from criminal activity. In this way, Malta
Island. We were given the title as being the world’s Blockchain
could continue to provide a safe and well-regulated environment
Island due to the way the Maltese government views the
where the industry could develop and innovate.
technology as a whole. While other countries are typically
Suffice it to note that the new framework elevates the jurisdictional profile of Malta from a regulatory perspective by strengthening the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically the Authority’s compliance and enforcement functions, to better achieve its regulatory objectives. This is in line with concurrent developments relating to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism. Success also brings responsibility for us to manage this success.
looking at crypto and blockchain for short-term gains, we understand what blockchain technology can offer in the long run. One thing we know for sure is that the only constant in life is change. It is such a great time to be in the iGaming business as the opportunities that exist with this next wave of tech is limitless. We are going to see tech that completely changes the way we do things at a pace that we have not experienced before - which will create a world where Malta-based entrepreneurs will thrive.
REGULATING THE GAMING LANDSCAPE SiGMA Stand G312
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
THE MGA REGULATES THE VARIOUS SPHERES OF THE GAMING INDUSTRY THAT FALL UNDER THE AUTHORITY BY ENSURING A CULTURE OF FAIRNESS AND TRANSPARENCY, MAKING SURE PLAYERS ARE PROTECTED AND PREVENTING CORRUPTION AND CRIME FROM TAKING HOLD. IVAN BORG SAT DOWN WITH HEATHCLIFF FARRUGIA FOR AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
YOU’VE BEEN WITH THE MGA FOR OVER 4 YEARS NOW,
to ensure that the legal regime is responsive to changes in
FILLING A NUMBER OF KEY ROLES. WHAT WERE THE
technology and industry practice, whilst retaining the focus on
BIGGEST CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH EACH ROLE?
keeping the industry well-regulated.
Working with such an important regulator, both locally and
The MGA’s regulatory ethos for new products, technologies
internationally, is always very challenging. Whilst occupying
and practices is centred around the avoidance of prohibition
the COO role, the main focus was on the transformation the
in favour of proper and robust regulation, which in our view is
Authority was going through, specifically the organisational
the best means to protect players and is also well-received in
restructuring and the focus on appropriate human resourcing.
an industry as dynamic as the gaming one. This has ensured
As to the CRO role, the main challenge was to make the directorate more efficient, whilst at the same time strengthening our efforts on monitoring and supervision of our licenses’ compliance with their regulatory licence obligations. Taking over the CEO role, my primary challenge in the first 6 months was to ensure the MGA remained focused on the introduction of the new gaming law, and its practical implementation – including the continuation of our shift towards a more risk-based approach to our decision-making processes across all functions within the organisation. HOW DOES THE MGA MANAGE TO COMBINE THE REGULATORY RIGOUR NECESSARY TO FULFIL ITS ROLE, WITH THE LEVEL OF AGILITY REQUIRED IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY? Admittedly, this is no mean feat, since the pace of the industry we regulate is impressive. However, the two are not mutually exclusive, and at the MGA we continually strive to achieve this difficult balance. Technological developments and innovative ideas are
that Malta remained attractive to serious gaming companies seeking a reliable place of establishment, which has led to the development of the holistic ecosystem which is now present on the island.
“As a regulator we have always endeavoured to ensure that the legal regime is responsive to changes in technology and industry practice, whilst retaining the focus on keeping the industry well-regulated”
the rule of the day and regulators need to work hard to educate themselves in order to have appropriate regulation in place. This is why our approach to regulation is underpinned by constant consultation with the industry and other affected
AS THE INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO GROW AND EVOLVE, WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU ANTICIPATE FROM A REGULATORY STANDPOINT?
stakeholders. Our regulatory objectives are set out at law, and
The gaming industry is currently in a phase of consolidation and
the Authority is well aware of what it wants to achieve; as a
is maturing very rapidly. One challenge which always remains is
regulator, our primary responsibilities remain those of protecting
that of keeping the pace with developments and ensuring that
players, ensuring gaming is fair and free from crime.
any issues which may arise from the fact that the law inevitably
THE IGAMING INDUSTRY IN MALTA HAS GROWN DRAMATICALLY IN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. WHAT ROLE DID THE MGA HAVE IN MAKING THAT GROWTH POSSIBLE?
lags behind technological development are addressed swiftly. Moreover, the industry is affected by a growing number of legal instruments that are horizontally applicable to multiple sectors, and therefore ensuring coherence between the various requirements and synergy with the entities in charge of
The regulated iGaming industry in Malta is now nearing its 15th
guaranteeing compliance with these other applicable laws, is an
year. On this front, as a regulator we have always endeavoured
area of focus for the MGA.
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ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Mr. Heathcliff Farrugia won the OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO GAMING AWARD at the Malta Gaming Awards 2017.
HOW DO YOU SEE REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS IN OTHER
Many believe this technology has the power to revolutionise
JURISDICTIONS (US, SWEDEN & THE UK, FOR INSTANCE)
the way industries do business, and hence we are closely
IMPACT SIMILAR EFFORTS BY THE MGA?
monitoring the developments on this front. With this in mind and
As aforementioned, we embrace the view that regulation is preferable to prohibition. In the context of regulating an industry which is very much cross-border in nature, the MGA follows with interest developments in other jurisdictions, as the sharing of information and best practices is always helpful to ensure continuous improvement in the performance of our functions. Different countries have different objectives and priorities, but certain
cognizant of the rapid rise in interest from gaming operators to leverage DLT assets, in particular VFAs, and DLT as a technology in their operations, the MGA has reinforced its strategy to be at the forefront of gaming regulation, and after months of public consultation, has recently issued its guidelines for a sandbox framework, allowing the controlled introduction of VFAs and DLT by licenses, seeking to achieve the right balance between embracing innovation and ensuring regulatory compliance.
shared views are always present, such as the focus on the protection of players and vulnerable persons. The recent joint statement by several regulators participating in the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), to name one instance, is a clear example of the benefit of open channels of communication between regulators. IS THERE ANY EMERGING TECHNOLOGY THAT THE MGA IS MONITORING AS A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF DISRUPTION ON THE REGULATORY FRONT?
“We embrace the view that regulation is preferable to prohibition” We have also seen applications of virtual and augmented reality in gaming products, which are likely to increase as these
I believe the world is currently looking at Distributed Ledger
technologies become more widespread and are refined in
Technology (DLT), also known as Blockchain, and related DLT
a manner which makes their use more seamless with users’
assets, and Malta is undoubtedly focused on ensuring that
day-to-day activities. Artificial intelligence is an area we are
these technological innovations are met with appropriate and
also following with interest, as it may in the near future become
proportionate regulation where necessary, across the various
necessary to ensure that certain obligations are equally applicable
to an artificial intelligence as they are to natural persons.
The first conference in a great lineup. The Regulatory Conference will discuss regulatory issues – from both a local and global perspective, and touch on the sustainability of responsible gaming.
09:00 - 09:05: Introduction by Conference Chair
Introduction by conference chair James Scicluna, Co-Managing Partner at WH Partners.
09:05 - 09:10: MGA Outlook
MGA CEO Heathcliff Farrugia takes the stage for a brief introduction to the MGA perspective.
Gaming Act: Adoption, Implementation and Issues
Olga Finkel, Partner at WH Partners gives an analysis of the law, how it’s been implemented and what the issues are.
The New Regulatory Framework Q&A with MGA, Powered by IAGA
Robert Zammit, a Senior Associate at WH Partners takes on the debate between operators and regulators.
10:00 - 10:30: The Next Paradigm of Innovation
Dr Joseph Borg, Senior Advisor at WH Partners, Angelo Dalli, CEO at bit8 and Alexandre Tomic, CoFounder at Affiliate Republik join forces for a discussion centring around AI, AR, VR, Blockchain Products, tools, and opportunities.
10:30 - 11:00:
International Update – IMGL
Morten Ronde, Director at IMGL and Jason Chess, Partner at Wiggin give an international perspective.
The Next Big Step: Buy, Sell, List, Borrow?
This Panel will discuss strategies for growth relating to use of finance, capital market opportunities,
11:30 - 12:00:
TBC 12:00 - 12:40: What does the future hold for Pan-African regulation?
John Kamara, Director of Developement at Global Gaming Africa gives a talk about the recent regulatory reform and the need to create Pan-African regulation.
13:10 - 13:30:
Responsible Gambling – Sustainability for fully-committed Operators
Jack Symons, CEO at Gamban, tackles the flaws, challenges and opportunities associated with Responsible Gaming.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Block tech has captured the islandâ€™s imagination. With that in mind, the Blockchain Conference will delve into some of the most pressing issues facing the disruptive technology today.
14:00 â€“ 14:10
Matthew Scott, CEO of Navada Group talks about how blockchain will democratise, decentralise and disrupt the entertainment industry forever.
Five Gaming ICOs will battle it out on stage in front of six hungry investors. A three minute Pitch will be followed by five minutes Q&A.
MGA Update on DLT
Carl Brincat, Deputy General Counsel at MGA, Abdalla Kablan, Entrepreneur & Fintech Expert at the Malta Stock Exchange and James Harrison, Director at FunFair Technologies put their heads together to discuss how the Malta Gaming Authority is taking the lead from a regulatory standpoint as well as the opportunities and challenges ahead.
ICO vs IPO
A discussion on the main differences and similarities between Initial Coin Offering and Initial
The Payments Conference will cover pertinent issues such as social responsibility, global investment possibilities and payment solutions throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Ray Wilson, Director at AML Global Solutions will give a brief introduction to the benefits of
Moving forward with external investment
John Kamara, Director of Developement at Global Gaming Africa talks about Africa’s market potential.
Building a pathway to smoother transactions throughout Sub-Saharan Africa
A discussion that looks at what payments will look like across the continent, who will deliver the solutions and how this benefits both domestic and international gaming economies.
Revolut – A radically better banking experience
Dimitris Litsikakis discusses digital transformation in traditional banking, with a particular focus on the benefits of Revolut.
Payment and IP Blocking in Europe, Asia and the Nordics – A comparative approach
This Panel will include a discussion by leading industry experts, including Assaf Stieglitz, Owner at Odds1x2, Rolf Sims, Public Affairs manager at Kindred, Ilkka Aalto-Setälä, Partner at Borenius, Dr Ola Wiklund, Partner at Wiklund Law and Tal Itzhak Ron, Chairman at Tal Ron Drihem & Co.
The panel will cover some of the hottest topics of the iGaming industries with a focus on IP Blocking, licensing and the current state of competition in the Nordics.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Affiliates & CMO’s Conference
The Affiliates and CMO’s conference is the fourth conference taking place at SiGMA. The conference will cover engaging topics such as: emerging markets, the regulation of markets and upcoming trends in SEO.
Humanism in Technology
Matthew Scott, CEO at Navada Group will discuss the human element of applications within technology.
Conversion, Engagement and Retention via Web Push Notifications – Newest and Best Performing Marketing Channels
Filip Lysikowski, Head of Marketing at MaxTraffic, provides an enthralling talk on the conversion, engagement and retention of marketing channels.
Emerging Markets outside Europe – Where to go next?
Rickard Vikström, Founder of Internet Vikings, looks at which emerging markets outside of Europe have the most to offer.
Affiliate Marketing: A new frontier for Africa
Yahaya Maikori, Rickard Vikström and Adekunle Adeniji make up a panel on the growth of the African gaming market and the new opportunities it offers.
Affiliates in Regulated Markets: Pitfalls to avoid, opportunities to embrace
Itamar Ronen, Chief Revenue Officer at Cellxpert, forms part of a panel discussing how affiliates will tackle the twists and turns of regulated markets.
Omnichannel loyalty – a case for sports, casino and poker
Shahar Attias, CEO at Hybrid Interactions Ltd., moderates a panel on how leading product owners of casino, sports, poker and bingo, maintain their retention rates and run efficient cross-sell initiatives.
Head Start! SEO Trends to watch out for in 2019
Martin Calvert, Marketing Director at Blueclaw distils the most important parts of SEO and player acquisition in 2019 into a growth-focused session of the day.
Interaction with players and punters in real time and in a contextual way
Oren Cohen Shwartz, the European Managing Director at Skywind Group, takes part in a discussion on the importance and advantages of interaction between players and punters.
All Google manual penalties explained
Kaspar Szymanski, SEO Consultant at Search Brothers, explains Google manual penalties, their impact on your website and how to deal with them successfully. The presentation is followed by an open Q&A.
Live Affiliate Coaching Panel
This session offers the opportunity to get your site analysed by some of the industry’s most established and successful affiliates and SEO experts.
It's a great time to be working at Betsson. Get in touch to learn more.
SiGMA stand: G12 www.betssongroup.com www.BetssonGroup.com fb.com/BetssonGroup fb.com/BetssonGroup linkedin.com/company/Betsson-Group linkedin.com/company/Betsson-Group
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Geeks & Techies Conference
There really is something for everyone. The Geeks and Techies conferences will give valuable insight into on-trend topics such as creative AI, an in-depth look into hacking and the growing technological transformation of iGaming in Africa.
The Pursuit for Digital Excellence to take African Online Gaming to the next level
John Kamara, Director of Development at Global Gaming Africa, Edouard Dessain-Gelinet,
CEO at FBAds and Patrick Udu, Regional Manager in Africa of Elbet look at how growing technology investment across the region is transforming iGaming.
Creative AI: How AI designed to optimise language could transform your marketing and turbocharge your revenue
Join Paul McNea, Director of Business Development at Persado and take an in-depth look at how AI can increase engagement and make you more money.
What lies beyond a firewall?
Jean-Michel Azzopardi, Founder & CEO at Kralanx discusses how to stop hackers in real time using AI and industry-leading services and tools.
Win back the hearts of your players. Making an impact with sports big data
Alex Kornilov, Managing Director at Betegy, gives a talk about how to keep sportsbooks relevant in the evolving big data era as well as tips on leveraging vivid data visualisation to increase your affiliate partners traction.
DFS & eSports Conference Chaired by Ivan Filetti, Head of Business Development at Gaming Malta, the sixth
and final conference will focus on the future of eSports and DFS.
SiGMA FLOOR PLAN 28-30 NOVEMBER 22
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242 242 191 202 215 215 171 171173 173 191 202 228 228
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MR8 MR8 MR9 MR9 MR10 MR10
BRANDING BRONZE GOLD PLATINUM SILVER STANDARD
EXHIBITORâ€™S LIST B107 Cerberus
Boss Gaming Studio
White Hat Gaming
W2 Global Data
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Golden Rock Studios
Focus Gaming News
Iron Dog Studio
Easy Payment Gateway
1X2 Network Iron Dog Studio
SG Digital Gaming
Kheper Software House
Western Union Business Solutions
Matching Visions Matching Visions Matching Visions
Carma Marketing Hub
myclubbetting \ Gift Point
What has established our global reputation in the gaming industry? A leader and a world-renowned regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is considered as a flagship authority within the gaming industry. Bolstering a strong worldwide reputation, the MGA regulates one of Maltaâ€™s major economic contributors; the local remote and land-based gaming industry. The MGA is responsible for approximately 513 remote gaming licenses and 266 companies, whilst also regulating all types of gaming and gambling activities including national lotteries, bingo halls, casinos, gaming parlours and remote gaming. Whilst being the role model for other jurisdictions thanks to its excellent track record, the MGA always thrives to achieve its main aim; that of exceeding the expectations of its licensed operators, its business partners and its stakeholders at large.
Malta Gaming Authority Building SCM 02-03, Level 4, SmartCity Malta, Ricasoli SCM1001 T: +356 2546 9000
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE NOT SO UGLY GAMING INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018
US SUPREME COURT REPEALS PASPA Since its origin, the gambling industry has been renowned for its unpredictable and evolutional nature. In May, this was perfectly captured by the US Supreme Court decision to declare PASPA unconstitutional. That decision will be instrumental to the fate of the industry in the coming years. Finally, a door that was shut for many years was pried open. The gambling world hit gold and the once untouchable American soil opened its doors to a previously confined European market, with top firms following suit. However, it is not all safe sailing from here on out. The uncertainty of the repeal is clouded at this stage with deliberating and debating taking place between States. The majority of States took full advantage of the news. Some regions like New Jersey took centre stage and legalised it straight away followed by Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Washington DC has gotten the ball rolling but certain States have shied away from implementing any changes.
More recently, Congress dug their claws in and gave their two pence on the restrictions that will come with the legislation. Next year, the overall outcome of PASPA will be in full swing and its knock-on effect will become more visible with time. Nonetheless, good things come to those who wait and PASPA is not exempt from that.
SWEDEN OPENS ITS DOORS Gambling in Sweden is an inherent part of the culture. The roots of gambling can be traced back as far as the Viking Age. In recent years, the time-old struggle between the Swedish government and The European Union has been a testing point in the industry. The government attempt to control betting in a morally apt manner was a source for considerable critique from the EU. In June, Sweden loosened its belt on its archaic regulations. As of 1st January 2019, the state will reinforce re-regulations which will eliminate the monopoly Sweden once reigned over, consequently levelling the European gambling field. The new legislation saw the pick of the industry innovators apply for the gaming licence, pledging their one-way ticket to Swedish territory. Not only will the legislation increase government revenue, but it will also generate a safer market, improving consumer protection, game security and giving clear market conditions. It is unclear what results the new legislation will bring for the Swedish market. One thing that is certain is that the gaming battlefield is continually edging onto a global stage.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
F1 LIFTS 40-YEAR BAN
This year, Formula 1 executed one of the greatest commercial moves in its history. A pivotal peak of the industry was the lift on the 40-year ban of in-play betting during F1 racing. In September, Formula One announced a sponsorship and data rights deal to enable live in-race betting during Grand Prix. The sponsorship was welcomed with open arms by some and turned away by others. The question of whether it was morally right crossed some minds and the promise of profitable prospects lit up others. Undeniably, both sides of the coin bring their pros and cons. Nonetheless, a colossal change in the F1 betting market is on the cards. Despite the controversy, the sponsorship will ultimately manipulate the way the sport is perceived. From dedicated fans to veteran gamblers, the sponsorship simultaneously unlocks the potential for a new Formula 1 following.
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Meet the GamblingCompliance experts at SiGMA 2018. Stand B177
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
THIS SMALL ISLAND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN IS A BIG FAVOURITE AMONG FTSE100 COMPANIES WHO RETURN TIME AND AGAIN TO HOST THEIR EVENTS IN FIVE-STAR LUXURY SURROUNDED BY 8,000 YEARS OF HISTORY. A member of the European Union since 2004, Malta has a long and complex history, providing a unique backdrop to any event. This probably explains why the island is currently welcoming record numbers of both leisure and business visitors. Increased flight connections to and from Malta have helped the island acquire its status as a hub in the Mediterranean. The Malta International Airport serves more than 100 destinations with over 30 partner airlines. In 2017, the airport registered over 6 million passenger movements. No European gateway is further than three hours away and, with daily flights from most European Capital Cities, travel figures have been on the increase over the years. Back in 2017, over 180,560 business tourists visited Malta registering an increase of 32% over the previous year. Business travel accounted for 7.9% of total tourist volume which reached the over 2 million visitors. There was also an increase in the C&IT market share out of total inbound tourists which rose from 4.5% in 2016, to 5.3% in 2017. The increase in business was also attributed to events and meetings associated with Maltaâ€™s EU Presidency. This positive trend in tourism figures has continued throughout 2018 especially due to Valletta acquiring the title of European Capital of Culture. Built in the 16th century, Valletta is currently enjoying a renaissance after years of extensive regeneration. The city now has a growing number of alternative boutique hotels housed in its grand old palazzos and townhouses. Most importantly, a number of areas such as Triton Square and Castille Square have now become pedestrianised allowing new areas to be offered as backdrops to memorable events.
The capital is home to Maltaâ€™s flagship venue, the Mediterranean Conference Centre (MCC) which used to be the hospital of the Knights of St John. This venue cleverly combines history with the latest technology and features a state-of-the-art auditorium seating 1,800 as well as numerous other event spaces. The MCC has hosted prestigious conferences and important figures including her royal highness her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015. MCC is one of five convention centers on the island. The majority of five star hotels have their own in-house meetings facilities with dedicated staff. International hotel brands including Hilton, InterContinental, Kempinski, Radisson Blu and Starwood Properties all have a presence on the island with Marriott and a Hard Rock hotel scheduled to open in the near future. There are currently 3,500 rooms across 15 five-star properties plus a further 14,000 beds in over 40 four-star hotels spread on the islands of Malta and Gozo. In addition to an adequate infrastructure, the island has suppliers specialising in the C&IT business. A number of Destination Management Companies work closely with locals and suppliers to ensure quality and success, earning them a status in the international M.I.C.E. field. Conventions Malta works closely with all trade by extending marketing support across board. Offering free of charge and unbiased information, Conventions Malta lends assistance to event organisers considering Malta as their next destination to host their event. For more information about the Islands and our organization, please feel free to visit www.conventionsmalta.com.
INNOVATION NATION SiGMA Stand P215
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SUPRNATION HAVE BEEN CLAIMING ACCOLADES FOR THEIR FRESH TAKE ON THE COMPETITIVE CASINO SPACE. IVAN BORG MEETS WITH FOUNDERS JOAKIM STOCKMAN AND HENRIC ANDERSSON TO FIND OUT WHY THEY’RE DRAWING RAVE REVIEWS.
Everyone loves it when an underdog punches above its weight, but no one ever really expects it to happen on a consistent basis. Eventually, the expectation is for the bigger players to throw their weight around and take the lead. SuprNation are bucking this trend – every time they redefine expectations for themselves, they somehow manage to exceed them anyway. When I sit down for a chat with SuprNation CEO Joakim Stockman and COO Henric Andersson, I had expectations of my own – what with Voodoo Dreams and NYspins already on their record, and Duelz Casino looking like a winner already. What followed was more of a surprise. For one thing, the SuprNation offices are pretty unique. They chose to convert a
Henric explains that while they were working together for their previous company, they learned a lot of the lessons that would underpin their ambitions for SuprNation. “We identified when we were laying down the strategy and the positioning of our product that everyone was moving rapidly to ‘mobile-first’ and having a great mobile product. Our conclusion was everyone might not be there yet, but very soon everyone was going to be there to the point that it’s not going to be a competitive edge. We felt we would, of course, need to have a fantastic mobile product, but to also have something else. Having a fantastic mobile product is purely hygienic in the long run. Once you have a great mobile product, then what? We wanted to go for ‘then what?’ right away”.
classic building into one of the most vibrant workspaces I’ve seen – and that’s an understatement. The aged venue contrasts with the dynamism of the team. It feels like walking into a palace after a revolutionary overthrow. More importantly, while most C-suite execs are often overly measured in their dealings with the likes of me, Joakim and Henric are both remarkably and refreshingly candid throughout our conversation. They tell me how they conceived the company as colleagues sharing a flight. That fateful conversation was followed up,
“Once you have a great mobile product, then what? We wanted to go for ‘then what?’ right away”
and before long they had set off on their own, and went about looking for funding – a process that they make look deceptively easy. “Once that idea was born, I think neither of us kind of could let it go,” Joakim tells me. “Down the line we decided ‘Okay, let’s give it a shot’ and went out to try to raise money and build the company that we want to build. We got funded in late 2015, early 2016 – since then we’ve been working full speed on doing what we believe is innovative in this industry”.
It’s been a few years since the lightning flash of inspiration seared across both their minds, but Joakim believes that the industry has developed even more. While a number of gaming companies, including some big names, have botched their transition to mobile – no need to mention them here – Joakim believes we’ve moved beyond mobile-first.
“To be honest, we’re thinking not really mobile-first anymore,” Joakim explains. “We’re thinking mobile-only. Then the desktop comes on top of that. You have to go for a mobile product, and it needs to be state-of-the-art”. The logical next step is the question of differentiation. If the industry has indeed fully woken up to the need to shift towards mobile, and has attempted it with varying degrees of success, it stands to reason that it can’t be relied upon to get a leg up on the competition. I ask them what they actually did to capitalise on the prescient hunch at the very outset of their enterprise. The answer, it turns out, is gamification. While there’s a number of gaming luminaries preaching this particular concept, Joakim and Henric have really followed it up with actual implementation into their core strategy – and it really shows with products like Duelz Casino. “I think our advantage today is not primarily having a good mobile product – it’s the extras that we offer on top,” Joakim explains. “There are still companies out there who don’t have a mobile product and against them, of course, all of us who have a very good mobile offering, or good mobile UX and so on, have an advantage because most gaming happens on a mobile device now. But I think our advantage is still sitting mostly on the unique selling point that we have with our gamification”. Henric explains that the idea, and even more so the level of implementation of gamification elements into the gambling experience, have evolved over the years. He also points out that SuprNation is not after a trumped-up loyalty programme disguised as gameplay. They’re after the real thing, not a sideshow, and are investing a lot of effort into weaving it seamlessly into the overall player experience. “The younger audience requires a lot more engagement to be stimulated and excited, a lot more human interaction,” he tells me. “When you play against someone else, or compete to some extent, you also end up with bragging rights if you win. That’s very clear in the videogaming industry. What we’re doing with a new brand is that we take that space and bring it together with gambling. We’re just coming from the other direction. That’s when videogaming and gambling start to merge, especially with the younger demographics but also people like us. People in their thirties and forties today play games. When my father was forty he didn’t play computer games. He would still consider it childish if I play. But forty-year-olds today play Candy Crush or Fortnite”. Both founders agree that the traditional casino experience will still be in demand. “I don’t think we believe that casino only will die out,” Joakim concedes. “But there is a kind of new category that merges computer gaming, mobile gaming, and casino gaming. That will definitely evolve as a clear market”. Henric agrees – “There will definitely be segments who want these two to be merged. There will be segments that don’t care about that, who just want to gamble”.
I’m then ushered into a room rigged for an actual demo of their latest project – and the one they’re most proud of, by their own admission. Duelz Casino has been turning some heads in the industry, and I wasn’t immune. The game features an array of features that would be normally found in an RPG. “Will this type of product appeal to every gambler?” Henric asks. “The answer is ‘probably not’. We don’t need all of them though. If it appeals to a segment, however big that segment is, we’d probably dominate that segment. As soon as someone who likes this sees it, they can’t play it anywhere else. For anyone else who tries to copy us, good luck! You have to invent it”.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
“I think our advantage is still sitting mostly on the unique selling point that we have with our gamification”
Joakim expresses the level of pride that comes with the great feedback they’ve been receiving by some of the most jaded observers of the industry – “I mean it’s from all sides of the industry: media partners, affiliates and providers. Everyone’s had the same reaction. They would have never had this reaction from just talking about it because there’s been a lot of talk in this industry about innovation and so on. In general, to move to this space, we feel like we are among the first movers, and like Henric said we don’t need everyone to embrace this. We just need enough people to like this kind of experience”.
As my conversation with the two founders winds down, it’s clear that their ideas are well worth buying into. In an industry with a lot of replication, their desire to be different is backed up with planning and execution to match, Yes, SuprNation is still a relatively young, small company. However, I’m not sure we’ll be able to call them an underdog much longer – this puppy looks like it might get pretty damn big.
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THE TEAM BEHIND SiGMA Meet the faces behind the pages
What do I like most about working for SiGMA? It’s all about the Friday cookies!
SiGMA has become a household name in the iGaming industry and it feels just awesome to be part of the team behind this show!!
Oliver De Bono COO
Chris Grech CFO
I’ve been working with the company for 3 years, it has been an amazing experience to work alongside Eman and a privilege to watch SiGMA’s evolution from a local start-up to an international and well-known show.
I love the diversity in the team and the fun times we have together at the events. We are not just colleagues, we are a big family.
Sophie Crouzet Head of Projects
Laima Bobrika Head of Marketing
We are working in a spaceless pace, which makes me superbly excited every day! And it is great to work with friends, not colleagues. Yes, maybe we are crazy here, but we love every second!
Every day is different. I have really good camaraderie with the team – I can always count on a few comedians to brighten up my day. The food allowances, limitless snacks and occasional wine Fridays are also a huge plus!
Sintija Rimsa Operations Executive
Natasha Tikasz Office Manager
Working with Sigma means I get to be involved with the companies that are shaping the future. Every day I get to meet and chat with some of the brightest people in the world.
We have a motto at the office -’leave your ego at the door’ - this job taught me exactly that.
Bekki D’Agata Business Development Manager
Mario Di Florio Project Manager
EXPERIENCE OUR WORLD
VISIT US AT
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
With multiple events on the go all year round, Sigma is a fast-paced company with a lot of challenges to tackle on the fly. It keeps me alert, sane, unsettled.
This job has exposed me to so many different people and ideas, I feel like I’ve learnt so much since joining the team. SiGMA has become my home away from home!
Max Portanier SEO Specialist
Katy Micallef Content Manager
I’ve never heard my name called out by so many individuals in such a short span of time. Work hard, play hard.
Working with the SiGMA family has not only opened my eyes to the blockchain space, but has also shown me that an amazing team of people can make anything happen. The parties ain’t bad either..
Jessica Camilleri Senior Graphic Designer
Sinead Byrne Account Manager
SiGMA’s clear interest in blockchain got the ball rolling for me, as it indicated that we are way ahead of the curve. After meeting our bubbly team, I knew my place was here. Bring on 2019!
I like that there’s a hands on dynamic, you can learn a lot in a week! I have really enjoyed meeting a lot of different people – we’re all a different piece of the puzzle that has come together to make something special.
Chris Attard Content Operations Manager
Claire Leo Content Writer
I fell in love with event organising when I was an intern at SiGMA. Fast forward one year and I have been blessed with the responsibility to organise dinners for the best minds in the Gaming and Blockchain world.
I’ve enjoyed SiGMA because it exposes you to some of the most colourful characters in gaming. A lot of them work for SiGMA too, actually.
Myriam Gauthier iGathering Manager
Ivan Borg Head of Content
With SiGMA I am always able to shoot great people.
The challenge, the atmosphere, the team. It’s a wonderful feeling being part of something really big and important.
Aleksey Leonov Photographer
Denis Dzyubenko Head of PR
HR Challenges in iGaming SiGMA Stand P131
JAIME DEBONO, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF IGAMING ACADEMY AND ANTHONY HENNESSY, MANAGING CONSULTANT FOR PENTASIA, SHARE THEIR VIEWS ON THE EVOLVING HR LANDSCAPE IN THE MALTESE GAMING COMMUNITY.
Recruiting and retaining the best talent continues to be an ongoing challenge for HR departments across the gaming industry. One of the best ways to mitigate the problem is to keep the talent that’s already on the company books. However, this depends on finding the right talent in the first place. Then, it is a matter of consistently developing that talent to keep up with the requirements of the business. Anthony Hennessy of Pentasia, and Jaime Debono of iGaming Academy, cover both sides of this equation. I ask them to assess the landscape of the market, from their unique vantage point. “iGaming has evolved as an industry. It’s now more technically sophisticated and has matured to a highly competitive landscape, not only from the operators’ market share perspective but also from growing industry staffing requirements,” Jaime tells me. “Its business infrastructure is increasingly global, and complex regulation requires greater commitment to compliance. Finding and keeping employees with a strong understanding of the industry – or with the commitment to pick it up fast – is critical”. Jaime also identifies specific areas of concern, some of which relate to recent changes on the regulatory front – “Bottlenecks for hiring continue to include technical developers, European language skills and specialist product managers, particularly at the mid-to-senior level. Increasingly, compliance expertise is in demand particularly following the new MGA Gaming Law changes. The US PASPA ruling is also being felt, and as the hiring boom over the Atlantic grows apace we expect this to add extra strain to the talent market over here in Malta”. Anthony points out that the industry must contend with an added layer of competition in recruitment – “Talent remains a top priority for the industry. To thrive in a competitive market, companies need the expertise, skills and experience of top candidates. The iGaming sector still offers many of Malta’s most attractive roles, attracting talent from across Europe and beyond. But we’re seeing increasing competition from other sectors such as fintech, payments, marketing tech and e-commerce”.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
I ask Anthony to identify the specific challenges faced by the industry from a recruitment standpoint. “iGaming employers often hold the cards when it comes to recruitment and negotiation, but many are having to work harder to recruit and retain top talent,” he explains. “Top-tier salaries regularly exceed €200,000, and even some graduate roles command in excess of €35,000”. However pricey acquiring talent might be, it remains crucial – and the bigger fish of the gaming industry are well aware of this. “With consolidation, the big players’ market dominance is strengthened by their hold on the best talent in the market,” Anthony explains. Earnings and opportunities for career progression tend to keep their talent pool sweet, but where this is limited, departing employees with over two or three years of experience have their pick of opportunities on the island and further afield”. Very often, the best addition to make is an increase in the skill level within the existing team. New hires come with some inherent risk, and while this can be drastically reduced by a good recruitment process, it cannot be eliminated. “Many of the HRs and business leaders we speak to increasingly understand the value of training and investing in their employees,” Jaime explains. “Utilising existing teams is often the most attractive option when compared to recruitment or acquisition. Those who’ve been in the industry a while benefit hugely from their understanding of this often complex sector. For newer recruits or those with increased responsibilities, the learning curve can be steep. When businesses merge or diversify, whole departments can often be left with the challenge of getting to grips with increased regulation, niche products or new business practices”. Anthony explains how the challenge of a restricted supply from a salary standpoint doubles as the proverbial carrot on the stick in motivating employees to add to their respective skill-sets. “Where expertise is concentrated with a select handful of the talent market, salaries can peak,” he tells me “This can be challenging for employers to manage, but equally provides a strong incentive for employees to specialise and commit to their own career progression”. Malta’s iGaming workforce now runs into the thousands, placing the onus on its HR departments in populating the company with talent, and equipping, motivating and mobilising every individual employee to perform optimally. “Scaling operations can create additional issues for employers,” Jaime explains. “Ensuring quality standards, the spread of knowledge throughout the company, and understanding of crucial compliance issues are a critical function of any HR team tasked with growing operations”. As the industry continues to expand internationally, alternative solutions continue to be exploring. This may include employees working remotely, which presents its own set of challenges from a harmonisation, coordination and team-building perspective. However, a basic HR formula will likely continue to apply – select and train the right talent for the job, and provide the training necessary to adapt to an ever-evolving landscape.
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SiGMA Stand S59
NOEL ZAMMIT, HEAD OF CUSTOMER SUPPORT AT LEOVEGAS, EXAMINES RESPONSIBLE GAMING FROM A PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW.
“Responsible Gaming has been a core value since LeoVegas’ inception. We have always prioritised the wellbeing of our customers”
WHAT POLICIES DOES LEOVEGAS CURRENTLY HAVE IN PLACE TO DEAL WITH THE ISSUE OF RESPONSIBLE GAMING AND ADDICTION? WHAT ARE THE EXTRA STEPS TAKEN BY LEOVEGAS? Responsible Gaming is the priority at LeoVegas. In order to correct common misconceptions about the industry’s priorities, we are promoting and championing the idea of sustainable growth. In order to do so, LeoVegas has invested heavily in the creation of procedures related to the topics of Responsible Gaming, including topics such as the identification of problem gamblers, and the detection and handling of minors. The company has also created an in-house self-assessment which customers are encouraged to use at regular intervals. This assessment will allow customers to gain a better understanding of their gambling profile and will alert them to any concerning aspects of their gambling. Customers using the assessment will receive a detailed summary of their results as
well as suggestions about which tools may be useful given their particular situation. Customers are also given the option to be contacted by a member of our RG team to discuss the results of the assessment as well as the way forward. In order to continue to provide vulnerable customers with the information and support they need, LeoVegas has also invested in the creation of dedicated Responsible Gaming portal, www.leosafeplay.com, which serves as a repository of information about the prevention, identification and management of problem gambling. WHAT IS LEOSAFEPLAY? LeoSafePlay was created with the intention of providing our customers, as well as the wider gambling community, with information about the dangers associated with gambling as well as what tools are available to increase consumer control over their gambling. We wanted this information to be presented
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
on a separate platform, making it so that individuals
Gaming and the safeguarding of customer wellbeing.
viewing this information are taken away from the main
Additionally, external professionals have been used
to refine training and procedures, as well as to deliver
The website’s landing page presents users with the following four scenarios: “I am gambling more than
training to the Responsible Gaming Team on the most sensitive areas of Responsible Gaming.
I intend to,” “I feel I have developed a gambling
WHAT TOOLS ARE USED IN RG? WHAT INFO IS
addiction,” “Someone I know is a problem gambler,”
READILY AVAILABLE ABOUT PLAYERS?
and “An underage person I know is gambling online.” This will allow individuals who find themselves in similar situations to easily access concise information about what they may do to remedy the situation. The website also contains a dedicated glossary defining frequently used terms in the industry as well as a list of player-protection measures commonly offered by remote operators.
The Responsible Gaming Team makes use of a number of tools in order to improve their efficiency, with the ultimate aim of benefitting our customers. The team employs a ticket escalation system which allows all customer-facing teams to escalate any concerns they may have about certain customers to the Responsible Gaming Team. The Team will then carry out a full review of the account to assess whether the
HOW DOES THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT
customer is at-risk, and whether any interaction or
DEPARTMENT FUNCTION WITHIN A GAMING
intervention is necessary.
COMPANY? ARE ALL CS AGENTS TRAINED ON THE RG AREA? WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN CS AND RG ON A DAILY BASIS?
Customers also have a number of intuitive gaming limits available to them to use at any time, including deposit, loss, wagering and time limits and alerts,
The Customer Support Department forms a crucial
as well as the option to self-exclude for a period of
part of any remote operator’s structure, and LeoVegas
their choosing. The Responsible Gaming team may
considers this key department to be at the core of our
also elect to place limits on accounts or temporarily
operations. The Department acts as the first line of
or permanently exclude individuals if concerning
interaction with our player-base, dealing with queries
behaviour persists over a significant period of time.
and providing customers with any assistance which they may request. Due to the Department’s close connection to, and frequent correspondence with, our customers they are in an ideal position to identify and tackle any concerning behaviour displayed by our customers. In light of this, all Customer Support Agents receive intensive training on the topic of Responsible Gaming during their induction, as well as ongoing workshops dealing with particularly challenging areas of Responsible Gaming.
Moreover, LeoVegas’ focus has shifted to prioritising proactive intervention in recent months. To this end, all Customer Support Agents have been provided with concise and relevant information about customers’ gambling behaviour, including information about whether session-length, deposits and wagers are increasing. This information, which is clearly presented to Agents when corresponding with a customer, allows our Customer Support Team to proactively engage with the customer about their behaviour, addressing any concerns. These
The Responsible Gaming Team and the Customer
tools, combined with the extensive training given to all
Support Department maintain a very strong relationship,
Customer Support Agents on the topic of responsible
even sharing a workspace. Communication and
gaming, allow us to tackle any problematic behaviour
escalation between the two teams is carried out via
early on in our relationship with our customers.
dedicated channels, but constant contact is maintained due to their proximity. WHAT RG TRAINING DO EMPLOYEES RECEIVE AT LEOVEGAS?
HOW HAS THE IMPORTANCE OF RG GROWN WITHIN THE COMPANY OVER THE LAST YEARS? AND WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? Responsible Gaming has been a core value since
Every LeoVegas employee, regardless of role or
LeoVegas’ inception. We have always prioritised the
title, completes a dedicated Responsible Gaming
wellbeing of our customers, and continue to find
online training course. This provides all employees
new ways to minimise the risk which our customers
with knowledge of the central tenets of Responsible
are exposed to when making use of our product. As
Gaming, as well as remote operators’ responsibilities
previously mentioned, we are shifting our focus to a
in safeguarding their customers’ wellbeing. Moreover,
more proactive stance with regards to our Responsible
all teams who have some interaction with our
Gaming interventions, and we are trying to ensure that
customers, either directly or indirectly, receive specific
we intervene as soon as early as possible. We are also
Responsible Gaming training related to their specific
constantly incorporating new Responsible Gaming tools
field. The training sessions are structured in such
to aid our employees in identifying and acting on any
a way that prioritises discussion about the role of
concerns as well as tools which allow our customers to
remote operators in the promotion of Responsible
exercise greater control over their gambling.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
PERFECT The iGaming industry in Malta is thriving, which means there’s no better environment for a start-up to put down roots and flourish. SiGMA Pitch has provided the ideal platform for iGaming start-ups to secure the attention of some of the most influential investors in the sphere. The business start-up event drew a sizeable crowd to its stage last year - featuring around 70 start-ups. This year 100 businesses are slated to take part, and expectations for the event are naturally running high. All start-ups gain invaluable branding visibility on the expo floor as well as entry to top-notch networking events with C-level executives. Also included in the package is premium access to SiGMA’s social media channels. Competition will be fierce as the cream of the crop battle it out in front of a live audience and 7 eagle-eyed judges. A prominent line-up of industry-savvy experts with decades of experience to their name, will take their place on this year’s judging panel. Event headliners include individuals such as Melissa Blau, who brings a background in investment and VC to the table – making her an ideal addition to the panel. Blau also has 14 years in the online gaming sector as an operator and advisor and 7 years in venture capital and investment under her belt. Prior to the iGaming sector, Blau was a co-founder and General Partner of a $450m MediaTech venture fund. Joining her is visionary Mark Blanford, a Partner at Burlywood Capital, and investor in educational tech company, University Compare. Blanford was one of the first offline bookmakers to see the potential for sports betting online, leading him to launch SportingBet in 1998. His intuition earned him AIM entrepreneur of the Year in 2002 and later AIM Transaction of the Year in 2005. Carla Maree Vella is the CEO at Consult XD and founder of blockchain startup VERFiD. An impressive CV includes a role as CEO with Optimizer Invest, and a position as managing director for Betsson’s flagship brand, Betsson.com.
Simon Collins, currently CEO at River iGaming is well known in the industry for his entrepreneurial spirit. Founder of Gaming Realms - a novel bingo-based consumer proposition targeting smartphone and tablet devices and a role as managing partner at New Game Capital and Founder of Cashcade Ltd, which was sold back in 2009. Petter Moldenius currently holds a role as CEO of Optimizer Invest. Prior to this, Petter gained experience in technologyorientated M&A, taking on positions as head of the M&A department at Swiss company Ascom and M&A analyst at Lagercranz Group. Dan Andersson comes from a unique background. In 2005-2007 he created Maria Bingo and Maria Casino together with Jörgen Nordlund, as well as a B2B network of bingo sites that are still active today. The group was sold to Unibet after 18 months of operation for SEK 705m (USD 105m), providing investor superior cash on cash returns well above 10x in 18 months. Together with Jörgen Nordlund, Johan Königslehner and Magnus Åhman, he subsequently created Vera&John and the Dumarca Group. The brand gained a high degree of recognition in the Nordics and ranked number one in Japan. The team built an Asian and European operation − operating from Malta, Hong Kong and Manilla. They also created a B2B business in Asia for Asian operators using Vera&John’s technology and set up a successful operation in South America. The company was sold to IntertainGroup for EUR 89m, 39 months after they started providing investors with superior cash on cash returns well above 10x in 2017. Rounding off the star-studded list is Morten Klein, an investor with a background in business administration and marketing. Morten Klein currently sits as Chairman of the Board for Klein Eindom AS, as well as holding the position of Founder and Chairman of the board at Klein Group and Chairman of the board at Cherry AB. From media exposure to investment capital, to canny advice – the SiGMA Pitch has all the key ingredients required for a start-up to grow.
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WHAT YOU GET 100 start-ups get narrowed down to 10 on Friday 30th. 10 minute Startup Pitch presentation for ten finalists – meet the investors on stage. A free 1m booth at SiGMA18, including the cost of printing and furniture. Free office space in Gaming Hub and Microsoft Innovation Centre, Malta, to use for meetings. Invitation to premium networking events during SiGMA. SiGMA PR – magazines, website, email newsletters and interviews. Free consultancy and potential leads from leading industry veterans.
Ivan Filleti, Head of Operations and Business Development, Malta Gaming
Simon Collins, CEO, River iGaming
Dan Andersson, Founder, Glitnore Group
Mark Blandford, Partner, Burlywood Capital
Melissa Blau, CEO, Veltyco Group Plc.
Morten Klein, Founder & Chairman of the Board, Klein Group
Petter Moldenius, CEO, Optimizer Invest
Carla Maree Vella, CEO, Consult XD
A SURE BET IT’S NOT SO LONG AGO THAT A SMALL TEAM OF GAMERS HAD THE IDEA TO BUILD A FAST AND RELIABLE BETTING EXCHANGE FOR THE ESPORTS MARKET. SINCE THEN, IT’S BEEN A WHIRLWIND OF CHANGE FOR THE WINNERS OF SIGMA PITCH 2017 - WITH THEIR BETTING EXCHANGE WEBSITE REACHING OVER 150 THOUSAND USERS AND BRINGING IN MILLIONS OF BETS. SIGMA CATCHES UP WITH YURY KOLESNIK.
PVP are now working hard to improve their multi-
“If you are betting on a match you’re likely to also
faceted gaming platform whilst maintaining their
want to watch it, betting attracts viewership to
focus on esports and video games. The company has
tournaments and increased viewership attracts
also recently moved to a B2B path and is offering
sponsorship, and sponsors attract money, which
betting for Nano, which offers a partnership between
in turn, leads to bigger prize pools - these create
Nano and cryptocurrency.
an infrastructure for an audience. It’s a bubble that
“Our main goal is to work with gaming communities and offer betting there, we’ve also signed a few white labels, the first of which will be in Spain – where we will be offering social betting on video games and eSports. Right now we are working with a Spanish company, providing a white label for them. The second will be in Russia in a few months” PVP are also focusing on their data gathering engine,
keeps growing.” He also cautions the need for balance, there is a dark side to the eSports sphere. Unregulated betting and the targeting of minors are particular areas that need to be tackled. Overall though he is positive about the benefits it can bring, including to gaming companies - drastically boosting your viewership experience and getting more people engaged in the game.
which sources datum for video games and will focus solely on eSports. There is, he explains, an issue in
Yury also believes betting can both aid data
getting data for smaller games that don’t have any
collection and improve the game, bringing more
API’s or data provided by developers.
opportunities for coaches to analyse and improve
We move on to the potentially thorny relationship between betting and sports. The success of the sport depends on the ecosystem around it and many believe the sports betting world has, despite some controversy, had a positive influence, will this be the same for eSports and video games?
the game. Crowd-sourcing can also function as an intermediate step before game developers start allowing API’s and giving access to the data in a more automated way. “In the long run, the more popular games become, the more integrated they are into betting, and the
Yury is an advocator of betting– he believes that
more eager developers will be to provide some sort
betting can help gaming grow. He explains how
of content, because the they will see how it helps the
betting has helped boost the more neglected
game grow, it increases the lifetime of the product,
corners of the sports world, such as Tier 2 and Tier
and gains more viewership. If they can earn more
3 tournaments - tournaments that no one would be
money by providing tools to get the data from the
likely to watch if it wasn’t for betting.
games they will definitely do it.”
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
The Sleeping Giant When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision declaring
The FanDuel-PaddyPowerBetfair deal certainly sheds some
the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)
light on the value attributed to DFS in relation to a favourable
unconstitutional, it set the stage for a major shift in the sports
jockeying position in sports betting. FanDuel and DraftKings
betting market. It was by no means an overnight gold rush –
had both been very careful to distance themselves from sports
developments at the Federal level need to be followed up at
betting before the Supreme Court ruling was handed down.
the state level, after all. There are a number of questions to be
The reason why they had to expend so much effort on affirming
addressed, as the dust settles.
and reaffirming this distinction, besides the obvious threat to
Ivan Borg is no stranger to the sports world, having represented Malta from 2005 to 2013 as a track and field sprinter. In this piece he explores the aftermath of a decision that has shaken the sports betting market from its slumber. THE FUTURE OF DAILY FANTASY FanDuel and DraftKings, the two major players in daily fantasy, both expressed their support for the eventual overturn of PASPA in the months leading up the ruling. At the same time, daily fantasy was seen in some quarters as an alternative – permissible under the ‘games of skill’ exemption – to outright sports betting. After the Supreme Court decision, many believe
their legal status, is that there is a definite overlap between sportsbook and DFS – in target market, if not substance. Put more simply, the same audience that had been secured by FanDuel and DraftKings was the likeliest, most receptive audience in a world for sports betting now post-PASPA ruling. That should be a relatively straightforward leap – as the immediate aftermath of the ruling proved. Longer term predictions are harder to make. In more mature regulated markets, we’re seeing increased efforts by regulators to rein in problem gambling. That’s a good thing, and numerous operators have said as much. From a cynical business standpoint, however, and increased likelihood of regulatory zeal is a potential
that DFS will decidedly fade away.
threat. At the same time, there’s a real problem keeping a truly
Indeed, the possibility of pivoting into a full-blown sportsbook
more of a problem in casino than sportsbook, but it’s a problem
was mooted relatively early on by the DFS giants themselves.
nonetheless. Both these threads are likely to pivot the sports
diversified product – good ideas are copied. This is arguably
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
industry to a model that resembles more closely the one
generated for the NBA – although the league has the right to
employed by the mainstream entertainment industry, where it is
make other similar deals in the future, which would add to the
now possible to get more hours of engagement out of a smaller
revenue it generates via sports betting.
expenditure – and profit accrues from the sheer number of participants in the model. Having a diverse library of products is a key requirement if this model is to be pursued.
The one thing that makes this particular partnership really interesting is data. More specifically, the agreement establishes a two-way flow of real time data. The NBA intends to use
The U.S. sports betting market is not as mature as, say, the
this wrinkle in the deal to proactively hunt down threats to
European one – especially from the supply side (although that
the integrity of the game. If done effectively, this would give
can be turned around relatively quickly). At the same time, the
credence to Adam Silver’s pragmatic outlook on sports betting.
U.S. market is better versed in fantasy sports in general. So
Going the other way, there’s a number of ways access to NBA
while the market may not yet have encountered the problems
data can be useful to a sportsbook operator. We’re accustomed
of a zealous regulatory push-back or competitive entropy due
to seeing this on the European scene. However, U.S. sports have
to sheer earliness, it might already have a partial solution in its
a more established legacy using data, for a number of reasons. It
locker. DFS might play second fiddle to sportsbook, but the lead-
is arguable that baseball, basketball and American football lend
in traffic could well be worth having. THE NBA-MGM DEAL
themselves more easily to statistical analysis than association football. The NBA specifically has invested heavily in its arenas, in order to be able to collect data more widely and efficiently.
In August, the NBA signed a partnership agreement with MGM,
I believe that his exchange of data that will take place under
becoming the first major U.S. sports league to sign a deal with
the MGM deal has been eclipsed by the sheer controversy that
a gaming operator. The deal itself was not surprising – NBA
comes with the NBA – a staunch opponent of sports betting
Commissioner Adam Silver had explicitly expressed his support
in the David Stern years – embracing a gaming operator. It is
for legalised, regulated sports betting on several occasions. Nor
sneakily the most appealing part of the deal, definitely from a
was the deal particularly sizeable, at least in terms of revenue
A GLASS HALF FULL AS WE LOOK BACK ON OUR SUCCESSES, ONE CAN’T HELP BUT LOOK FORWARD TOWARDS THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT SUCCESS BRINGS WITH IT. SIGMA FLEW TO BARCELONA TO MEET UP WITH ALEXANDRE TOMIC, THE CEO OF ALEA GAMING - A MAN WHO’S SEEN IT ALL.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Shortly after meeting Alexandre, I quickly learn that he is clearly ahead of the curve. Indeed, our conversation starts with a cautionary yet well-meaning tale for iGaming in the Maltese islands. More specifically, Alex senses an air of unsustainability in the way things are currently handled. “Some employee salary packages don’t seem justified. It isn’t so much that the bar is being raised, but that more resources need to be allocated towards training and educating new employees.” Personnel are still very eager to show their impressive portfolios, but Alexandre believes more is required to take this maturing industry to new heights. “There needs to be a new level of ownership and commitment to a project. It needs to be spearheaded with a warrior-like mentality. Put simply, the attitude that mistakes partying for working needs to be recognised and tackled.” Alex describes how iGaming platforms are being given licenses by regulators and offering turn-key casino solutions which then sublicense to firms with no capitalistic relationship with each other. He explains: “The process normally takes years, but some companies will receive a sublicense, start with three people, spend all their budget on marketing and possibly some form of support and launch the casino. The end result is that everyone profits except investors. This is unsustainable, however, and for one successful operation, 99 of them fail. I see this as a consequence of an overly lax regulatory environment, as sublicensing to companies with no shareholder connection can only go one way.” “Instead of taking the easy route, businesses could do what we did and build the software from the ground up, integrate fifty plus game and payment providers and licences, and take things from there. This would take years, but starting from the bottom-up has many benefits.” The facts on the ground in Malta are revealing operators’ inclination to ‘race to the bottom’, according to Alex. “Nowadays, there is too much reliance on bonuses and promotions in games”, he says, adding that this sets the stage for an unhealthy, hyper-competitive landscape. This climate forces a “survival of the fittest” policy, where “all you can do is try to stay alive and focus on your turnover until the competition burns itself out.” At the same time, he realises the risks associated with this process, as any casino which takes this route could themselves turn out to be one of the weaker ones. Currently, an uphill struggle is what awaits those who want to leave their mark. While the island has enjoyed tremendous success, there are clearly areas that need to be looked at and remedied
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
if Malta wishes to remain competitive. He states: “In my view, the ecosystem is in a comfort-zonemode mindset, and with all that’s happening on the regulatory and competitive fronts, nobody should be taking the back seat.” Shifting gears towards iGaming’s renowned reputation for innovation, Alex delineates his intentions to redirect ALEA’s raw power into the corporate social responsibility department. There are two sides to this coin. “Regulators are clearly becoming more serious in their approach. On the one hand, it’s a bit worrying, because it would be easy for an increase in regulation to kill a casino, but on the other hand, it’s important for operators to take responsibility for their players, which includes the way they treat them”, he said.
“In my view, the ecosystem is in a comfort-zone-mode mindset, and with all that’s happening on the regulatory and competitive fronts, nobody should be taking the back seat” Alex tells me how corporate social responsibility means that one must avoid targeting vulnerable people and children. But this disposition also extends towards those who start showing behaviour of losing control of their spending. “Through an ongoing dialogue with the UKGC, we came to the realisation that we had a responsibility to help those who couldn’t help themselves.” Delving deeper into a real talk atmosphere, Alex explains how at the end of the day, people in the iGaming industry are dealing with a product that could cause addiction. “The same way a bartender will not give an inebriated customer his car keys, nor should casinos allow players to harm themselves through excessive gaming. This attitude is also reflected in the way we communicate with our clients through adverts. In the 50s, doctors promoted ‘healthy smoking’; company directors thought it was okay to smoke a cigar and drink bourbon at 9am in the office. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just look at Mad Men! We need to constantly question ourselves and learn from the past to improve things”, he says.
Alexandre Tomic first formed ALEA Gaming
Despite the fact that many casinos now
with his partner, Charles Gross, in 2012
comply with such regulations, ALEA has
with an MGA license. They later acquired
been at the forefront of setting new,
a UKGC licence to focus their efforts on
industry-wide standards. This moves in
the UK market. Their strategy revolves
lockstep with the company’s resolve to
around producing quality content, building
provide a consistent, fair, and informative
fully-fledged systems from the ground up,
experience to its players. “We believe that if
and integrating every software provider in
something shouldn’t be done, we shouldn’t
the market - from Playtech to Novomatic.
allow it – simple as that”, Alex declared.
Known for its interest in pushing the envelope, the company released game gateway AleaPlay and B2B this year. Today the tech pioneer is also looking to new horizons, partnering with Nadir Ounissi, Marcin Szpalerski and Marcello Ferri, who have more than ten years’ industry experience after meeting at Betclic Group, to launch their new Casino Secret project with a world-first functionality of certified cashback on lost bets. Building on this with a somewhat revelatory inclination, he continues: “Our interest lies in having a customer-focused casino and offering our players the best possible experience. That said, there’s no pleasure without knowing hardship. This is to say that in order to truly know success, you need to have tasted failure. My personal opinions aside though, we do
While start-ups and underdogs might find compliance and regulation a daunting task, the available resources of iGaming heavyweights means that they are able to go the extra mile to ensure the quality of their product. “People with our experience and knowledge can walk players through the process from start to finish, which is why the company has trained staff who guide new players through all the processes they need to understand the utility in such tools,” he adds. Anticipating those who might want to play devil’s advocate, Alexandre elaborates further: “Even before it was mandatory, we integrated our software with the UK’s national self-exclusion scheme – GamStop – which can limit the risks associated with gambling.”
our best to ensure that players have a fair
“These days, most casinos offer very
experience by offering various tools that
similar things, housing similar games with
can be used to encourage healthy and
similar features and graphics. This means
ethical gaming practices.”
that the only variable is the bonus. If other
Diving head first into what is arguably a contentious realm in the iGaming sector, I discover that the topic of ethical gambling isn’t one Alex takes lightly – not by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the
casinos raise the bar, you have no choice but to rise with it. Eventually you reach a point where competition is so tough that you need to rethink your strategy and figure out a new way to acquire players.”
company has many ways for players to
He goes on to say that this in turn creates
control their gaming habits and expenses.
a situation where margins are non-existent,
“We’ve gone out of our way to include the
which isn’t ideal as a business has to turn
necessary tools required by the UKGC, such
as cool-offs and self-exclusion features, where players can close their accounts for
To mitigate the downside that would
a set period of time if their gambling habits
inevitably arise from a “bonus war”,
take a turn for the worse,” he says.
Alex’s goal is to differentiate his platform apart from the rest. On the upside, ALEA
He continues: “We also provide other
Gaming’s reputation for technology
optional features, such as withdrawal
adoption precedes it. Indeed, the company
locks to stop players from re-submitting
has accrued a lot of social capital, partly
bets and losing their winnings, and a max
due to its early adoption of VR technology
bet feature which means players cannot
into its games, but also because of its latest
invalidate wins by accidentally exceeding
CSR projects, which are a welcome breath
betting limits when playing with bonus
of fresh air. On top of that, the company
money or are simply not able to use bonus
has received a lot of positive feedback,
money on games that can’t be played with
both from inside and outside the gambling
industry due to its grass-roots beginnings.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
“The same way a bartender will not give an inebriated customer his car keys, nor should casinos allow players to harm themselves through excessive gaming”
However, a great reputation can only take you so far. That is why ALEA Gaming is working on expanding its selection of games. Currently listing 55 plus game providers on SlotsMillion, with a choice of over 2,500 desktop games and over 1,900 mobile games, the company is looking to further expand its great position in this fiercely competitive industry. The philosophy that buttresses these expansionary tactics is the fact that “not every game is great, but every provider has great games.” Coupled with the customer-focused attitude, Alex believes this is a working strategy. So much so that player feedback now centres around the ‘personal touch’ ALEA Gaming brings to the industry.
“More and more customers tell us that what matters most is how much effort we put into making their lives simpler - helping them with technical issues or questions, for example,” he says. All things considered, while it’s clear that Malta has advanced considerably in the last couple of years, there is room for improvement. For this to happen, iGaming titans could follow in the footsteps of ALEA Gaming and opt for a ‘facts-on-theground’ approach. The question is; do you see the glass as half empty, or half full?
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
A man with a plan THOMAS MAHONEY IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND MAHONEY CONSULTANCY, A BUSINESS THAT COVERS A RANGE OF CONSULTANCY MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORKS AND BUSINESS SOLUTIONS DEVOTED TO DRIVE, BUILD, RE-STRUCTURE AND THE A TO Z MANAGEMENT OF A PLETHORA OF AVENUES, INCLUDING EMPLOYER BRANDING, SOCIAL MEDIA & PLATFORM INTEGRATION, AFFILIATE MARKETING, BRAND MANAGEMENT AND BRAND CONCEPT. KATY MICALLEF CAUGHT UP WITH HIM TO FIND OUT WHATâ€™S BEEN KEEPING HIM BUSY RECENTLY.
“We have not only exhausted the local talent, but we’ve also exhausted some of the European digital talent pools. We have already started to see a huge shift from the gambling industry to the blockchain industry”
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Readers familiar with SiGMAgazine will remember Thomas Mahoney, a man with an entrepreneurial spirit who had poured his energy into fine-tuning the theory of employer branding. Today he is working on a new passion of his, project planning.
For Thomas, there are two things at the heart of any business: trust and relationships. A good relationship is in his opinion integral to the process. Information flows faster - which means work only really gets underway once you start building relationships.
“In order to start evolving within this sector of work you need to branch out for yourself, unless you get a one in a million opportunity to start heading operations in a properly set-up company. The reason I have recently moved away from employer branding is that I felt like my job as a creator of this concept was done. Even within my career revolution, I feel like it’s complete.”
And how does he do this?
His new line of business offers the complete package, from concept creation through to execution. He currently focuses on the operations side of the business, navigating the complex process of bringing together the sprawling elements that make up a coherent and complete project. Products, technology, customers and different international markets must all come together as part of a unified vision. Thomas also touches on how technology has shaped the way he does business. There is a need he says, to adapt, to keep pace with a fast-changing industry - digital tools have replaced more traditional systems, taking over certain parts of the process, making it easier and in some instances more meaningful. If you know how to use the tools properly and are familiar with the digital infrastructure you can maximise your resources. The key is efficient application, allowing you to connect the stray elements of a company together. “We live in a world where planning to execution has become an incredibly quick process. So, if a product is on the market then obviously you’ve got one of your main competitors snapping at your heels. The product definitely drives growth, both on a company level and on an industry level. What the digital industry brings to the world is visibility - so the fact that you can see what your competitor is doing in such a short period of time gives companies the opportunity to grow their own product, which in turn grows the industry. This is exactly what happens in gaming and what we’ll likely start to see in the blockchain sphere. Ultimately it’s all about the product.” The hardest part, he says, is to get immersed in the cover history of the company. On paper everything seems very straightforward. “When you get into running the operations of a company, you start to understand that once you touch on certain elements - it’s like opening a can of spaghetti. You understand that the past is mostly a burden on decisions to be taken in the future.” While many things are set in stone, there are still a lot of components that help you open the doors. His old passion project, employer branding and other elements such as training are highly effective at bringing teams together.
“I take the bull by the horns actually, I fly out to different countries, sit down with people, listen to them, speak to them and understand their culture. You really need to initiate the relationship yourself. You need to mature enough to anticipate the person and their feelings, their wants, needs and requirements. This person gives you half the information really. The operation is like having a jigsaw puzzle, a bit upside down, all the bits are on the floor, half the pieces are missing and you need to put it all together. It’s not easy, it’s not always traditionally put together, so there is no format for solving a problem or putting a whole operation into place, but obviously the more experience you gather the easier it becomes to solve.” Talking about resources, Malta has seen a huge amount of growth, especially in the gaming industry. How difficult is it to source good human resources and for employers to retain talent? “This is a very sensitive topic to talk about. I have to be careful with how I say this, but to put it simply - pulling in new talent is very difficult. Firstly, we live in a time where companies want to plug and play. Is it still the reality that we want to invest in people and that we want to train them? Employer branding has become a formality these days. If you have to dig deep down and understand what they’re selling versus what they actually offer you would realise that you could probably count the companies who have meaningful employer brands on one hand. We have not only exhausted the local talent, but we’ve also exhausted some of the European digital talent pools. We have already started to see a huge shift from the gambling industry to the blockchain industry. Most of these companies are start-ups and they do not have any historical data or history to base their business value on apart from an attractive, respectful vision. So basically, the only way they can pull in people is to pay them more, using inovative forms of payment, currencies and methods. I personally know a lot of people who have been working in the gambling industry moving to blockchain start-ups.” I don’t know what Thomas Mahoney will be doing when next I speak with him. Thomas himself doesn’t know. One thing is for certain though - it will be something he loves. For Thomas there is nothing more important than doing things which are meaningful and which make you happy – and right now he’s in his element.
“It takes time and generations to hang certain issues out. When jumping into a project, it takes quite a bit of effort and reading between the lines to get an operation running smoothly. That is one of the pitfalls when getting into the background works of an operation.”
FAIR & FUN FOR ALL SiGMA Stand P242
GIG HOLDS A PLACE IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY AS LEADERS IN TECH PRODUCTION AND SERVICES, OFFERING TOP OF THE RANGE CLOUD-BASED SERVICES AND PERFORMANCE MARKETING THROUGH THEIR B2B PRODUCTS. THE COMPANY ALSO OFFERS A WIDE RANGE OF CASINO GAMES, SPORTS BETTING AND POKER TABLES.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
GiG is confident about the way forward. The iGaming industry has been buttoned up for far too long and it’s time the iGaming sphere embraced a clear vision for the future – one that is fair and fun for all. We’re doing this by creating a comprehensive ecosystem of products and services that power growth for operators, and creates the very best end user experience. To that end, we are continually adding new innovations to our ecosystem. We’ve partnered with over 40 operators, with more coming on board. Complementing our platform offering is an outstanding team of over 700 professionals, spanning a plethora of industry sectors, providing insight and experience in core areas such as technology, media and product and service. We are totally focused on one thing – making insanely good products and services. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX We have a complete ecosystem of products and services, combining our high-performance technology platform, GiG Core, with sports and casino betting, and media services. Our platform supports 2 million players and processes 6.1 million game transactions per day. We are continually adding new services and cutting-edge technology. GiG Comply, which has recently been launched to support responsible advertising, works by providing improved visibility of where and how brands are being advertised online, giving operators the opportunity to set up their own checks and balances to ensure their criteria is being met. The scalable marketing compliance technology tool hit the market in August and will strengthen control over third party advertising and brand protection, offering protection from promotion on websites which are not brand-safe, whilst providing a framework to stick to advertising standards in regulated markets.
STANDING OUT FROM THE CROWD Everything we do is focused on one thing – to open up iGaming and make it fair and fun for all. It’s this combination of creating fantastic new end user experiences, together with taking our responsibility seriously that makes us stand out in a crowded marketplace. Additionally, we have set our sights on new markets and partnerships - achieving authorisation in June from the State of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to provide a realmoney online casino platform solution to operators in the state and signing an agreement to partner with Hard Rock International. IN GOOD HANDS We are one of the fastest growing publicly listed iGaming companies – and for good reason. Over our five-year history, we have consistently delivered revenue growth for operators and continually developed new products, which improve the iGaming offer. GiG will be present at SiGMA 2018, interested individuals can stop by stand number P242 to meet the team or to find out more about our products and services.
GLOBAL ASPIRATIONS SiGMA Stand S275
ALESSANDRO FOCARDI IS GLOBAL GAMING’S MOST RECENT ADDITION TO THE TEAM. TAKING ON THE ROLE OF CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER, HE HOPES TO HELP FOSTER SCALABLE EXPANSION WHILE ALSO FOCUSING ON THE ACQUISITION OF NEW CUSTOMERS. HE SHARES HIS PLANS WITH SIGMAGAZINE.
YOU HAVE EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY – CAN YOU ELABORATE ON YOUR BACKGROUND? WHAT INITIALLY INSPIRED YOU TO GET INVOLVED IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY? I’ve been fortunate to be in iGaming for the last twelve years. I started while living in Costa Rica, where at the time, the iGaming
GROWTH SURGED WITHIN GLOBAL GAMING’S Q1, WITH NUMBERS FOR YOUR FLAGSHIP BRAND NINJA CASINO UP AS WELL, WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS GROWTH TO? Q1 was quite good to us, but I would have to say Q2 was even better. In a nutshell, we were able to cater effectively to our player’s needs.
industry was booming. I was lucky enough to have a friend working as an online marketer in the industry and he took me under his wing. From there, it has been an amazing evolution through several of the big players in our industry. One such organisation was the The Stars Group, where I worked from their London office and then at Blexr in Malta, where I held the position of Director of Digital Marketing. Joining Global Gaming was the natural progression. For me, taking this role was a no-brainer. Such a dynamic player in the markets we operate in and having so much opportunity to grow really captured my attention. YOU WERE RECENTLY APPOINTED AS CHIEF GROWTH OFFICER FOR GLOBAL GAMING, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THIS ROLE? The first thing that we did when considering the creation of this position, was to take a hard look at our operational structure, we were looking to foster more creativity and focus, as well as
“When it comes to regulation affecting growth in the Swedish market, I believe 2019 will be a very interesting year for the key players in the market, where most will see double digit growth, based on the amount of operators that will decide not to pursue a licence and on the improved marketing avenues that will be available”
creating a culture of freedom and accountability throughout every team. It has been about 7 months since I joined and so far I am ecstatic with the way it has been developing and how this new structure is playing out, we’ve brought onboard several outstanding people that I’m certain will be key to our future success. On an individual note, I hope to bring more latitude and focus to our growth efforts and for us to be able to expand in several directions in a scalable way.
Paired with our decision to pursue a data-driven approach to the World Cup as an event - where we focused on not competing for the same audiences that most operators were after. We were also more conservative with our spend. Players have been responding very positively to Ninja Casino in both Sweden and Finland (our core markets). This paired with the launch of an effective marketing campaign with Mika Salo as our ambassador for the Finnish market was a recipe for success.
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ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
YOU HAD QUITE AN AGGRESSIVE MARKETING METHOD
(helmed by our CMO Morten Madsen) where their focus is on
FOR NINJA CASINO WITHIN SWEDEN - DO YOU PLAN TO
increasing player retention. Better retention drives customer
RECREATE THIS IN OTHER EUROPEAN MARKETS?
value, thus increasing our potential acquisition capabilities.
Sweden is quite unique as a market, where a high degree of
This also has to do with the market size and our competition.
context is required to do a good job - hence our marketing
As our position within a market matures, it becomes paramount
efforts were completely tailored to it. A perfect example of this
for us to find the optimum split between our focus and efforts
would be the launch of SpelLandet, a second brand catering to
towards acquisition and retention.
the Swedish market. We believe in a true localised approach, where we’ll adapt our marketing efforts to what should be the right mix for sustainable growth in the market. Taking that into account, we’ll err on the side of making an impact with every activity, within reason. WHICH NEW MARKETS WILL BE KEY TO GLOBAL GAMING’S CONTINUED GROWTH? Unfortunately I can’t share much at the moment, but we are looking into several interesting markets, where we believe we can provide a better product and experience for the user. We recently acquired an Estonian license and have announced
“As our position within a market matures, it becomes paramount for us to find the optimum split between our focus and efforts towards acquisition and retention”
our entry into sportsbetting through our partnership with Kambi. So we have a lot cooking when it comes to avenues of expansion. YOU RECENTLY PUT IN AN APPLICATION FOR A SWEDISH LICENCE, HOW DO YOU EXPECT REGULATION TO AFFECT GROWTH IN THE SWEDISH MARKET? We welcome regulation as it allows us to provide a better service to our users and at the same time creates a higher degree of
HOW DO YOU THINK GROWTH AND PRODUCT INFLUENCE ONE ANOTHER, HOW DOES THE PRODUCT DRIVE GROWTH? From a marketer’s perspective, there is nothing easier than to grow with an excellent product, it simply makes life simpler. A good product that solves a big problem for our users and eliminates friction, plus the word of mouth and adoption that a
predictability in the market.
great product can have cannot be understated.
When it comes to regulation affecting growth in the Swedish market,
Product innovation helped us be at the forefront of solving a
I believe 2019 will be a very interesting year for the key players in
big point of irritation for our users with regards to quick access
the market, where most will see double digit growth, based on the
to their winnings with PayNPlay. This has certainly been a
amount of operators that will decide not to pursue a licence and on
large contributing factor to our success. We look forward to be
the improved marketing avenues that will be available.
delighting users in the future with new innovations.
Overall a nice win for both the established operators and the users.
ARE YOU EXPLORING ANY NEW VERTICALS, SUCH AS
PART OF YOUR ROLE WILL FOCUS ON THE ACQUISITION OF NEW CUSTOMERS, WHAT STRATEGY DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE TO ACHIEVE THIS? HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN THE BALANCE BETWEEN RETENTION OF OLD CUSTOMERS AND ACQUISITION OF NEW ONES? I believe we’re doing a great job at executing our strategy when it comes to acquiring and retaining our customers. There are several initiatives we’ve been working on to drive acquisition. A clear example of this would be the launch of our new brand SpelLandet and our signing of Mika Salo to be our ambassador in Finland. Another project aimed at increasing acquisition has been the announcement of Global Gaming entering sports betting.
SPORTSBOOK? Yes, we recently announced our partnership with Kambi that we believe will be crucial in order to deliver an excellent sport experience and the kind of high-quality product that our users that have grown to expect from their expirience of Ninja Casino. Regarding other verticals, at the moment we’re mainly interested in continuing to execute well and deliver scale. But in this fast paced environment, who knows? WHAT ARE GLOBAL GAMING’S LONG-TERM GOALS? World domination of course (hence the ‘Global’ in our name). On a more serious note, we believe that continuing to grow and to
We believe acquisition and retention have a symbiotic
position ourselves as a key player in the markets we operate in
relationship, hence our work in growth with the marketing team
is certainly a long-term goal for us.
SPIRITS SiGMA Stand P71
OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS KINDRED HAS GONE FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH, BRINGING TOGETHER A POWERHOUSE OF 11 OF EUROPEâ€™S MOST SUCCESSFUL ONLINE GAMBLING BRANDS. KATY MICALLEF SAT DOWN WITH ALEXANDER WESTRELL, GROUP HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, AND MARTIN DYHOUSE, HEAD OF BRAND STRATEGY AND DELIVERY AT KINDRED FOR A LOOK AT HOW THE BRAND IS ESTABLISHING SYNERGY AND CLARITY AROUND A GROUP MULTI-BRAND STRATEGY.
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“Within Europe, markets such as Sweden and the Netherlands are on the verge of re-regulation, which of course brings with it a lot of opportunities for a leading operator like Kindred”
KEY MARKETS ARE RE-REGULATING AND EXISTING
Kindred. The UK is the world’s largest locally regulated betting
REGULATIONS CONTINUE TO DEVELOP. HOW HAS RE-
market and as such is always a key market for any operator.
REGULATION AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS AND HOW HAS YOUR STRATEGY EVOLVED TO DEAL WITH IT?
Earlier this year, the US Supreme Court overruled the PASPA Act which prohibited online sports betting across all states. The
The re-regulation winds blowing across Europe and other
ruling means that states are free to open their markets to online
markets such as the US is the result of the digital transformation
sports betting, which can potentially be a huge market and thus
in our society, which we have witnessed the past 20 years. We
very interesting going forward. As each state in the US is similar
have been arguing for this development ever since Unibet was
in size to a European market, the potential is enormous, but the
founded back in 1997, as we could already see where the future development was heading. We have seen similar developments in a range of other industries. A key cornerstone in our long-term strategy is to increase the share of revenue from locally regulated markets, which currently amounts to 43% of GWR (Gross Winnings Revenue) as of the second quarter this year. We are pleased to see that more markets are choosing to adopt a more modern and sustainable local gambling regulation and we are working closely with local authorities to share our expertise and knowledge. Our most fundamental pillar within Kindred is to offer our customers a great experience in a safe and secure environment. To ensure this, it is crucial that as many players as possible enjoy their gambling within the local license system, i.e. a high
regulatory complexity is also significant. It is imperative that any operator who is looking at the US knows what they are doing. TWO YEARS AGO YOU REBRANDED FROM UNIBET TO KINDRED, WAS THIS A STEPPING STONE TO EMBRACING A MULTI-BRAND STRATEGY? HOW HAVE THINGS EVOLVED SINCE THEN? We have operated a multi-brand strategy ever since we acquired Maria Casino back in 2007, but not fully embraced this until we transformed from Unibet Group to Kindred Group back in December 2016. The transformation is not only manifested in the name change, the entire organisation has adapted to fully capitalise on being a multi-brand organisation.
The change to Kindred has given us a greater focus on our long-
WHICH MARKETS ARE YOU LOOKING TO MAKE HEADWAY IN
in our portfolio. We have as a result become more agile, focused,
RIGHT NOW AND WHAT CHALLENGES DO THEY POSE?
term strategy and increased flexibility to add and remove brands and efficient as an organisation, giving our customers a much more relevant and entertaining offering. Adopting a multi-brand
Our focus has been on Europe and this strategy has not
strategy has allowed us to create a differentiated proposition
changed. Within Europe, markets such as Sweden and the
for each brand around a specific customer need. This allows us
Netherlands are on the verge of re-regulation, which of course
to service our customers with an offering that is truly relevant to
brings with it a lot of opportunities for a leading operator like
them without limiting the broader growth plans for each brand.
“Adopting a multibrand strategy has allowed us to create a differentiated proposition for each brand around a specific customer need”
WHAT’S THE KEY TO IMPROVING AND ESTABLISHING THE SYNERGY AND CLARITY AROUND A GROUP MULTI-BRAND STRATEGY IN ORDER TO SECURE CONTINUED GROWTH? HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO UNITE RESOURCES ACROSS ALL BRANDS? Multi-brand success requires three distinct things to thrive and support our growth plans: The first is a clear understanding of why we have this strategy in place, what it means for our customers and the impact that it has on our ways of working. Having this vision and understanding helps drive the day-to-day decisions to ensure they are the right thing to do over the long-term. It is very easy to get distracted by the urgent needs of the day-to-day activities and forget that the reputation and success of each brand requires a long-term approach. Second is to help colleagues understand the number of brands we have, where they operate, the range of customers they attract but most importantly the differences between the brands. For any multi-brand strategy to flourish it’s important that colleagues understand their responsibilities for delivering the relevant brand promises. They need to know that a Unibet customer has a different expectation than a Vlad Casino or Storspiller customer and all of them must be treated in a way the resonates with that brand. And third, is in the execution. Brands live and die by the experience they deliver to their customers. At Kindred, we have clearly defined responsibilities of who does what at each stage of the customer journey. We have clarity over the resource allocated to each brand either on priority, growth opportunity or customer value. Having this synergy means we can continue to deliver the right experience for each customer and the right moment in the customer journey.
YOU RECENTLY RELOCATED YOUR OLD OFFICES TO A NEW, LARGER SPACE AT TIGNE POINT, MALTA. APART FROM BENEFITTING THE GROWTH OF BUSINESS, THE OFFICES OFFER A LOT TO YOUR EMPLOYEES TOO. CAN YOU EXPAND ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING ALL YOUR MALTESE EMPLOYEES UNDER ONE ROOF? WHAT IS ESSENTIAL TO CREATING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR EMPLOYEE GROWTH? Since we changed our group name to Kindred we have embarked on a journey to adapt our major office locations to the multi-brand strategy and company values. To date, we have either moved or updated our offices in London, Copenhagen, Gibraltar, Malta and Paris. During the first half of next year, our team in Stockholm will also move into new premises. We can see from internal surveys that having offices that mirror the Kindred brand, culture and values not only improves collaboration, but also raises the feeling of being part of a bigger and common team. In locations such as Malta and Gibraltar, where we have acquired businesses, the co-location of teams has been critical in terms of integration and improved efficiency. Getting all teams into the same office has been a key goal and we have pushed hard to ensure we create an inspiring environment for all employees. We also see greater engagement and passion across departments and teams, which is positive across the board. The office in Malta is located at Tigne Point, with stunning views and a range of benefits such as three complimentary meals prepared fresh seven days a week, a large social area dubbed “The Hub”, yoga classes and access to Pearl Beach Club over the summer months. We also offer generous well-being benefits together with private medical insurance and pension saving scheme to all our employees in Malta. Being able to
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
“Being able to work in an inspiring environment where teams can easily meet and exchange ideas, as well as live and breathe our values, are critical aspects to help teams and individuals develop”
work in an inspiring environment where teams can easily meet
technology and innovation, very few industries are so aware of
and exchange ideas, as well as live and breathe our values,
what their customers want, and very few industries are growing
are critical aspects to help teams and individuals develop. At
Kindred you are trusted to grow, and our new office gives you every opportunity to achieve this.
Kindred has always been one of the leaders in this industry and
WHAT ABOUT FUTURE EMPLOYEES? DOES YOUR NEW
sustainable growth in all markets. We have a great team, a great
OFFICE SPACE FORM PART OF A STRATEGY TO GIVE YOU A COMPETITIVE EDGE WHEN IT COMES TO ATTRACTING AND RETAINING QUALITY TALENT? Absolutely. When we transformed into Kindred we set out five new values, which act as the foundation of our business. These values are reflected in every part of our new office space, however a nice office and great benefits will take you part of the way. Having a sound and healthy culture is the most important aspect to retain talent for any company in any industry. Kindred
we intend to keep this position by cultivating our strategy on culture and a great strategy to build on. And we are passionate about what we do as one team. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE CURRENTLY FOCUSING ON? WHAT ARE BOTH YOUR LONG-TERM AND SHORT-TERM GOALS? Our long-term goal is to continue to transform gambling into a fun, safe and secure entertainment industry across locally regulated markets.
has always had a great culture – including when we were Unibet
IS THERE ANYTHING EXCITING IN THE PIPELINE YOU CAN
Group, which has been manifested from our founder all the way
SHARE WITH US?
down the organisation. We are passionate about what we do and about our customers. Giving customers a great experience in a safe and secure environment lies at the very heart of our culture, which rubs off on our employees. Having a strong culture is also critical when acquiring new businesses. Our new Kindred offices help facilitate a ‘one team’ feeling regardless if you have joined from recruitment or through an acquisition. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE INDUSTRY? The gambling industry has its challenges in terms of image and perception, but it is an amazing industry with great potential. Very few industries are so progressive in terms of adopting new
The current re-regulation continues to be a key area of focus for the industry, and therefore for Kindred too. Right now, we have the Swedish market re-regulating as of January 2019, and the Dutch market expected to follow in early 2020. The US is also opening up, bringing with it great potential for those operators who enter the market with a sensible and well thought through strategy. Common to all these markets is the ability to offer customers a relevant and compelling gambling experience in a safe and secure environment. If you get this right, the possibilities are huge. If you get this wrong, the uphill battle will be very challenging. ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SIGMA 2018? Always!
iGaming Tech Needs A
Philosophy SiGMA Stand B107
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
CERBERUS WAS BORN OUT OF FRUSTRATION – FRUSTRATION WITH COMPLICATED SYSTEMS THAT DON’T WORK, FRUSTRATION WITH LACK OF SCALABILITY, FRUSTRATION WITH NEVER-ENDING PROJECTS. THIS FRUSTRATION LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A GAMING PLATFORM LIKE NO OTHER, BUILT FOR SPEED, FOR FLEXIBILITY AND FOR RELIABILITY. WE BELIEVE THAT THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE BASED ON OUR PHILOSOPHY IS WHAT SETS OUR PRODUCT ABOVE THE REST, AND EVERYTHING WE DO IS FOCUSED ON A BETTER EXPERIENCE FOR THE CUSTOMER. OUR GOAL IS TO POSITION CERBERUS AS THE TRUSTED TECH PARTNER TO THE INDUSTRY. WE MANAGE YOUR TECH, SO YOU CAN MANAGE YOUR BUSINESS. CTO OF CERBERUS, JONATHAN GAUCI EXPLAINS.
Wait, what, a philosophy? After 12 years of working in the iGaming industry, I can confidently say that adopting a philosophy might be the most important human upgrade for your product – one that can distinguish a truly good platform from a good-looking fake one and, very often, the most overlooked one too. This realisation didn’t come easy, nor quickly. As I said, it took me a decade plus an odyssey through the stormy seas of technology, navigating my way through the shifting regulations, thorny ethical issues and ambitious marketing initiatives, to learn how important it is to have a true north that could guide a team when developing products, especially in an intimidating landscape of competing platforms that seem to promise the earth to their users. How can a personal philosophy help anyone find their bearings in an industry that chews up egos and spits out even bigger ones? The answer is in the definition of philosophy itself - “the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence”. This form of academic inquiry, in part characterised by deep introspection, will build the pillars needed to keep the company on track and should be the starting point of every technical project and task at hand. With enough diligence and practice, the result of this introspection process can be priceless: a set of coordinates that help guide any project along a consistent path towards achieving the goals it set out to reach. These principles will keep a company true to its original vision even when the team driving the technological innovation, or indeed the regulatory context your company operates in, continuously changes around you.
Nowadays, I have managed to boil down the set of principles that emerged from this continuous process of introspection into two basic mottos:
“With a lean team, problems are found faster and fixed faster, it also means the effectiveness of adding a person is of greater magnitude compared to when you have larger groups” 1. “No 3AM calls.” Anyone who has worked long enough in technology knows the feeling of being interrupted, if not literally woken up, by a call from NOC bringing to your attention an urgent issue that could have been solved six months ago had the team heeded to their own beliefs not to compromise on product stability in favour of achieving that deadline. Working by this motto means being able to stay in control of your time, even in the middle of the night, because you dedicated half the development time to technical debt and chores before going live with the product. It also means you always run your automated tests before you deploy updates.
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2. “No humans involved.” This is guaranteed to get an eye-
The power and flexibility of a product with a philosophy can
roll, but the fact is that humans are messy, and running a
be truly appreciated when one sees the ease with which one
business with more people than strictly needed for a lean
integrates ideas and innovations into existing structures. New
team to operate effectively means there’s a bigger chance of
ideas quickly find their way towards testing and implementation
someone screwing things up. Worse still, bigger teams make it
at our business, instead of being stuck in a “to-do” limbo,
easier to dilute blame and never find the root of your problems. With a lean team, problems are found faster and fixed faster, it also means the effectiveness of adding a person is of greater
because a handful of people are needed to deal with it, both from a development and end-user standpoint.
magnitude compared to when you have larger groups. On a more abstract level, “no humans” also paves the way for automating user journeys for your customers, making sure their product experience is personalised, free from human error and, where necessary, undertaken in real-time. But mottos and mantras aren’t there simply to repeat for a round of applause during a company meeting. They are the keys to unlocking the burning question “Why are we here? What purpose does this company serve?”. Use your mottos often: at the beginning of a new project, when you feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, and when you’re asking yourself “What’s
“The application of these mottos is an unshakable level of confidence that helps us stay resilient in the face of changing external regulations or internal demands”
next?” once the project is finished. I have been in my current role as CTO at Cerberus for two years. What we have achieved as a team through the application of
Start by asking yourself: What are the goals of your tech? What are the core principles and beliefs? And does everyone in
these mottos is an unshakable level of confidence that helps
the team share them? These are all questions any employee
us stay resilient in the face of changing external regulations or
should make sure s/he has an answer to – developers, their
internal demands. The same logic applies when our marketing
leads, HR and CTOs included. A product needs a philosophy
team brings in a brilliant lead that increases traffic ten-fold, since
to make its development smooth sailing. Otherwise, it’s just
our architecture is the manifestation of our beliefs.
another ship lost at sea.
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17th-18th May 2018
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28th May 2018
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Our award-winning platform offers a range of gaming verticals such as market-leading casino, sportsbook, poker and lottery products. We use cutting edge technology including rule-based automation and game recommendations engine to provide operators the best, most reliable 360-degree platform solutions. Time to level up by leveraging on player loyalty and engagement.
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ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
BUENOS AIRES 11th-12th September 2018
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The rise of mobile-first gaming SiGMA Stand S259
MATTHEW ROCHMAN HAS BEEN HEAD OF ONETOUCH, A LEADING PRODUCER AND DISTRIBUTOR OF PREMIUM MOBILE GAMES, SINCE 2016. WITH NEARLY TWO DECADES EXPERIENCE IN THE LANDBASED AND IGAMING INDUSTRY, HE WRITES ABOUT FINER POINTS OF THE MOBILE-FIRST REVOLUTION.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Mobile devices enable us to manage our hectic schedules and
REINVENTING TABLE GAMES FOR THE
make life-changing decisions at the touch of a button - from getting
a cab for next to nothing to balancing your finances, selling your car in seconds and deciding who to date in a single swipe. More and more of what we do takes place on mobile; we take them wherever we go, check them 1500 times a week on average and use them
We have learned a huge amount over the years on how to design and present games and this process is constantly evolving. One area that rapidly became clear was that mobile
more often than we ever have done before.
users did not enjoy being forced to change the orientation of
Popularity, ease of use and targeted marketing of sleek,
had been ported from desktop often only worked in this setting.
increasingly powerful devices, is driving this global
This was a similar story with table games but we have invested
phenomenon, but so are the companies behind the everyday
a great deal of research and development to rapidly become
apps that we take for granted.
leaders in mobile portrait table game titles.
Banking services, comparison sites, and, of course, gaming
Our recent “player vs house” Texas Hold’em title, for example,
brands, to name a few, now all look to build their products
is designed in portrait-first mode to give players what they want
in a mobile-first environment. This immediately makes the
and expect: superior gameplay while holding the phone in its
experience smoother and easier for new users to get started
their devices to landscape to play. Until recently, slot games that
and for a new generation of consumers and players – who have only ever known life with a mobile device – to register, deposit,
For table games such as roulette, blackjack, or Texas Hold’em to
play and, the holy grail for all brands, remain loyal customers.
compete with the hundreds of other apps on people’s phones, as well as remain relevant to a new audience of younger players
The UK Gambling Commission estimates that nearly 40 per cent
who may not have experienced them, game developers must
of total remote Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) is generated through
offer a world-class mobile user experience.
operators’ mobile channels, with this forecast to exceed 50 per cent by 2020. But for many successful brands, this figure is as
While slots developers have led from the front when it comes
high as 80 per cent, particularly those mobile-first new entrants
to innovation – growing revenues and offering an increasingly
that appeal to a new generation of customers and players.
immersive experience – this has not been the case with table games.
The mobile gambling category will continue to grow significantly,
Most existing table games from stalwarts and emerging game
in part due to the emergence of newly regulated and regulating
development companies have failed to recreate the thrill players
markets, the ubiquity of 4G networks and the increase in wi-fi access,
enjoy on the casino floor. The mobile versions of these games
but also the push for more mobile-enabled content, attracting new
have, in most instances, clearly been ported from desktop with
groups of consumers, the growth of product personalisation, and the
little concern for how the smaller screen real estate impacts the
drive for the ultimate mobile gaming experience.
Crucially, mobile players also spend more time playing online than
For table games to recapture the imagination of players in the
traditional browser-based players and convert far quicker into
mobile age, we need to rethink how we deliver them to players,
paying customers, ensuring that if you intelligently design and
beginning at the development stage.
develope mobile gaming content and offer the right proposition, then recurring and future revenues are almost guaranteed. DESIGNING THE ULTIMATE MOBILE-FIRST CONTENT
Therefore, while leading from the front in mobile portrait design, we have also had to consider more general aspects of mobile gameplay. This included designing a user interface that makes it easy for players to enjoy games from an ergonomic perspective,
The UK is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mobile gaming. New markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia are all driving demand for new mobile-first content. While focusing on different markets and localising content is a core fundamental, it is crucial to focus on the mobile audience
with the action buttons easily within reach while playing onehanded while commuting home from work. These small touches all add up to the user experience mobile players now demand.
that we need to focus on, and specifically the new ‘Netflix
Table games not only compete with slots and sportsbook for
generation’ of players who the industry must attract to ensure
customers’ eyeball hours. We must offer an experience that is
mobile growth continues to accelerate.
as compelling as social gaming, Facebook, Netflix and all the
As with desktop, games on mobile must deliver the best visuals and sounds benchmarked against the latest console and social titles, while ensuring the game size remains reasonable to provide
countless other entertainment options available on a phone, and that is only achievable by putting mobile at the forefront of the design process.
fast-loading for players keen to get in on the action. Furthermore,
We are also excited about applying this approach to design to
completing the package with engaging ‘gamified’ rewards and
our upcoming range of mobile-portrait slots, with first due for
incentives helps maintain session times and encourage loyalty.
release just prior to SiGMA 2018.
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BETTING ON THE FUTURE A LEADER IN EUROPEAN GAMING, STANLEYBET CURRENTLY OPERATE IN SEVERAL COUNTRIES ON THE B2C MARKET AND THROUGH THEIR B2B BRAND, MAGELLAN ROBOTECH, WHICH DESIGNS TOP-OF-THE-RANGE GAMING PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS.
WHAT IN YOUR OPINION ARE THE KEY INGREDIENTS FOR A
Smartphones push notification and promotions, and they can
GOOD PLAYER EXPERIENCE?
provide the customer the chance to bet immediately online or
Consumers demand and expect immediacy when it comes to everyday things, whether it’s shopping for goods online or viewing their favourite TV show. Betting is no different. Time to market and technology seem to be the two key elements for a good experience. The market is going more and more “live”, as pre-match markets lose their leadership: in some European countries, live betting is definitively the most popular way to place a bet. With growing demand from bettors across the globe for quality and regular betting opportunities, the 24/7 approach will become an important model to adopt for those companies looking to match their expectations. As everybody knows, Amazon and
in the nearest geo-positioned shop during an important football match. It is a process which suits the modern bettor - they are “tech people” who have expectations of technology that are much higher than their fathers. Nothing is going to be similar to the past: according to a recent Washington Post poll, eSports is as big as American football for young Americans. The world is changing and bookmakers have to adapt to the new scenario. WHICH MARKETS DO YOU CURRENTLY OPERATE IN AND DO YOU HAVE PLANS FOR FURTHER EXPANSION? WHAT QUALITIES MAKE THESE NEW MARKETS APPEALING AND WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY TO NAVIGATE THE DIFFERENT NEEDS OF EACH MARKET?
Uber can be classified as data companies and the same can
As a BTB brand we are currently operating in Croatia, Romania,
be said for the bookmakers; the next step of in-play betting
Nigeria, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus and shortly in the UK.
will be very tailored to the desires of each individual consumer. Furthermore, the link with the video games world is crucial for young people, who are less interested than their fathers to attend the traditional betting shops. WHEN IT COMES TO ATTRACTING MORE MILLENIALS, DO YOU THINK GENERATION Z IS LESS ENGAGED WITH THE
As BTC the Group operates in Italy, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus and Germany. In our experience across Europe, the key element is to give full satisfaction to customers with a first-class service and a huge list of daily events. Our company is definitively looking for new
business chances, both in Europe and worldwide. The markets
Yes, they are absolutely less engaged than the adults with
compromise between consumers protection and freedom of
the gaming industry. The Gen Z looks for commitment and
choice for the bookmakers. Generally speaking, each jurisdiction
engagement: involving them means living in their world. This
should have a clear and fair legal framework, a sustainable
means understanding their passions, fears, aspirations, and
tax regime (which must be based on a gross gaming revenues
behaviours - making them part of the gaming process, in order
taxation) and effective tools for consumer protection. We
to live an exciting experience. The technology evolution ensures
also consider it necessary for each country to set up a strong
operators interaction with consumers in a fast and effective way.
responsible gaming program.
should mirror the UK one, where the online business is a good
â€œArtificial intelligence and robotics are key elements increasingly important in our activity and we can definitely consider ourselves as world leaders in this field when related to the sports bettingâ€?
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
HOW DO YOU EXPECT REGULATION IN SWEDEN TO
transforming the way people bet on football. The next arena
AFFECT GROWTH IN THE GAMING INDUSTRY, WHAT
is completely digital: there can be no question retail betting
KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES DOES THIS PRESENT FOR
is on a decline, with gaming machines now generating the
YOUR B2B BRAND MAGELLAN ROBOTECH?
majority of revenue. Retail operators see consumers moving
After years of planning, the re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market is finally happening. Starting from the 1st of January 2019, it will open up the gaming industry for private operators. The new legislation focuses on improving consumer protection, game security and clear market conditions. Players will have the ability to pause their accounts in a single action. In addition, increased punishments have been introduced for illegal gambling activities and match fixing. Companies will pay 18% tax for commercial gaming, zero percent for non-profit gambling activities and there will be six types of licenses offered. We think that the framework set up by the Swedish government will be able to attract several foreign operators. In this scenario, Magellan Robotech is the perfect solution
online: it’s happening across all areas of commerce. The disconnect between the retail and digital betting experience is palpable – the online product is better than the high street one. To be fair, operators have been making strides in aligning retail and online to create that ‘omnichannel’ experience. Mobile is the primary technology device in everybody’s daily life. Whether it is to stay connected with people, to use it as a remote control to check and control robotics, using it for banking, for education, for healthcare or simply for shopping. It is ubiquitous. Smartphones are incredibly efficient and as with other sectors their use is growing and evolving in the gaming industry. For this reason, the majority of new acquisitions now come through the mobile channel.
for gambling companies that want an easy to approach
CAN YOU EXPAND ON SOME OF THE COMPANY’S
provider, able to quickly and efficiently install and customise
SHORT AND LONG-TERM GOALS?
the products. For the land-based bookmakers, we will offer a complete portfolio of virtual games, from “Trident” – a
The company has targeted two main goals for the next 3 years:
football championship competition – to the “V-Sports”,
• To strengthen its position in the countries it operates already.
a large range of 3D virtual sports. For the online market, Magellan Betting Engine (MBE) is a complete gaming platform developed with the latest technologies for the web, scalable and customisable using a fully integrated CMS, and compatible with the products of the major gaming providers. WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON ITALY’S PLANS TO IMPLEMENT A NEW GAMBLING ADVERTISING AND SPORTS BAN IN EARLY 2019? We have decided not to contest the decree. On the one hand, we have expressed our concerns about the excessive nature of the advertising ban rules approved by the Italian government. But on the other hand we must consider that for 20 years Stanley has been systematically discriminated against by previous governments. We do not approve the absolute ban on advertising, but the wind of change that is now blowing with the new government cannot be rejected without a careful analysis and appropriate pros and cons assessment. We hope that reasonableness will prevail. Stanley will react, if provoked, as is its style, but will not proactively oppose the decisions of the government of change. STANLEYBET HAS BEEN OPERATING FOR A LONG TIME, HOW HAVE CONSUMER PREFERENCES CHANGED SINCE THEN – WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF INNOVATION HOLD FOR STANLEYBET?
• To develop new markets with a B2B approach. South America, as an example, is an area with one of the highest potential for a market expansion, so developing our business there is a paramount target for us today. We in fact are already progressing on important negotiation with more than one successful business. Countries in the Latin America market, which we cannot reveal of course, but we are confident that our experience within the sports betting, international lotteries and more generally on numeric games, will help us to face the challenge and to develop a successful business. WHEN IT COMES TO OPERATING IN A VERY COMPETITIVE MARKET, WHAT MAKES YOU STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD? Artificial intelligence and robotics are key elements increasingly important in our activity and we can definitely consider ourselves as world leaders in this field when related to the sports betting. To describe what leadership means and how it’s translated to the rest of the team, I use the following metaphor: lets suppose that people are connected to each other by a rope. I think there is leadership and vision if, when I grab that rope, everyone feels the vibration immediately. When I talk about robot
The pub was once a place where there were long and
model called “Patricia” or I present a new functionality, I
pleasant talks on football. People sat down and argued
see the sparkle in the eyes of the team around me. We are
who would win the championship. The technology
aware of the responsibility we’ve taken on by wanting to be
then developed that conversation, which has now
a driving force in the development of technologies that will
reached forums, blogs and then social media. And it has
cause great benefits for the population; benefits that go far
revolutionised the betting market, creating communities and
beyond the betting and gambling industry.
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ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
SOLVING CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS FOLLOWING ITS MOVE TO THE BURGEONING BLOCKCHAIN ISLAND, BITBAYPAY’S WELLRECEIVED CRYPTOCURRENCY PAYMENTS SERVICE HAS SEEN EXCEPTIONAL GROWTH IN MALTA’S ENORMOUS IGAMING SECTOR AS WELL AS WITH CONSUMERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS IN DIRE NEED OF A RELIABLE CRYPTO-PAYMENT SERVICE. I SAT DOWN WITH THE HEAD OF MALTA OPERATIONS, MIKE MOCZKOWSKI, TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW THIS ONGOING PROJECT IS DEVELOPING ON A GLOBAL SCALE.
BACK IN JUNE BITBAY, PART OF PINEWOOD HOLDING’S GROUP, ANNOUNCED ITS MOVE TO THE SUNNY SHORES OF MALTA. IS YOUR FIRM SET FOR FURTHER EXPANSION ON THE BLOCKCHAIN ISLAND?
a daily basis, be it to pay for goods and services or to transfer value across borders with ease. It’s also a great tool for designated payments from your customers if you run a business, both foreign and domestic.
As we looked to expand our operations, Malta turned out to be a favourable destination for our business development, among other things. We plan on strengthening our presence on the island by establishing the necessary groundwork for close cooperation with local organisations and institutions.
From an intuitive perspective, integration is fast and simple. Merchants have access to ready-to-use plugins which sync with an online shop. More importantly, however, BitBayPay completely eliminates the risk of fraud and chargeback since the final transaction is final and unalterable. BitBayPay is also multi-platform ready – allowing you to receive payments via mobile devices in-app.
BITBAYPAY IS YOUR BLOCKCHAIN-BASED SOLUTION FOR ONLINE PAYMENTS. FROM A FUNDAMENTAL POINT OF VIEW, HOW DO THE BENEFITS OF THIS SYSTEM OFFSET THE EASE OF A TRADITIONAL, FIATBASED ONE? BitBayPay is a universal blockchain solution that gives users maximal benefit from using cryptocurrencies on
Moreover, our service doesn’t only provide a payments solution, but also processes outgoing transfers, which is a particularly useful feature in case of settlements with external specialists and partners. When transferring funds to a recipient on another continent, the cost is much cheaper when compared to a traditional bank transfer.
BITCOIN TRANSACTIONS AREN’T KNOWN FOR BEING THE
BITBAY CURRENTLY HAS SEVERAL SERVICES AND
FASTEST PAYMENT METHOD OUT THERE. DOES BITBAYPAY
APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE ONLINE AND ON THE PLAYSTORE.
HAVE A WORKAROUND FOR THIS INDUSTRY-WIDE
ARE THESE APPS PURPOSELY KEPT SEPARATE AND WILL
OBSTACLE, AND WILL THE PLATFORM SUPPORT OTHER
USERS SEE A UNIFIED APPLICATION IN THE FUTURE?
CRYPTOCURRENCY TRANSACTIONS IN THE FUTURE? As we developed BitBayPay, we listened carefully to users while As we all know, the Bitcoin network still has some cons
taking new trends in our industry into account. This resulted
with regards to efficiency, but it is still commonly used for
in a Point of Sale (POS) application for businesses such as
transactions. That said, Bitcoin’s intrinsic value is significant, and
restaurants, shops, hotels, and others. Our app allows for easy
any sudden changes strongly affect traffic in the system which
and convenient cryptocurrency payments using mobile devices.
could possibly extend the waiting payment time. To give you a snippet into our plans, we would also like to Given this context, the highly engaged blockchain community
mention that our entire group of companies are now working
has developed new solutions like the Lightning Network, which
on mobile solutions, which is to say that our IOS and Android
allows for a faster way of processing cryptocurrency transfers.
application for the BitBay.net platform will be live soon.
BitBayPay encourages and utilises these new technologies, partly to improve the underlying tech, but also to better the user experience of our customers. Speaking of user experience, BitBayPay is also set to spice up its offer even further by adding more cryptocurrencies. In our current development cycle, we are now focusing our efforts on a new and improved version of our service in which all listed coins on our trading platform BitBay.net are available. MERCHANTS ARE OFTEN SUBJECTED TO HIGH FEES WHEN USING THE PAYMENT PLATFORMS CURRENTLY ON OFFER. HOW DOES BITBAYPAY PUT MERCHANTS’ MINDS AT EASE IN THIS REGARD? We understand this concern all too well. In fact, cryptocurrency transactions through BitBayPay are significantly less expensive than most traditional non-cash payment methods. As an added bonus, our service gives businesses the option to add client-side transaction fees, which is a desirable option for e-commerce business owners. AS YOU KNOW, WHILE MORE AND MORE MERCHANTS ARE STARTING TO ACCEPT BITCOIN PAYMENTS,
“In my opinion, we are quickly moving from mass public cryptorecognition to mass adoption by consumers. If we take a closer look at countries like Japan or South Korea, we can safely say that cryptocurrencies have become a common element in the daily lives of their inhabitants”
CRYPTOCURRENCIES HAVE ONLY JUST STARTED INCHING THEIR WAY TOWARDS MAINSTREAM RECOGNITION AND ADOPTION. HOW DOES BITBAYPAY DEAL WITH CRYPTO
DO YOU SEE ANY SYNERGIES BETWEEN
FIAT LIQUIDITY AND WILL THIS BE EXTENDED TO OTHER
CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND THE IGAMING INDUSTRY AND
DOES BITBAYPAY HAVE ANY PLANS TO BUILD ON THIS GIVEN THE ENORMITY OF THIS SECTOR IN MALTA?
The competitive advantage of BitBayPay is the synergy
effect gained by being a part of a crypto-oriented business
That’s a definite yes. We see great potential in this area. In fact,
group which includes, among other things, a straightforward
BitBayPay has already established its presence in the industry.
cryptocurrency exchange service - BitCantor.com and a trading
For over a year now, we’ve provided a service for the largest
platform BitBay.net. As a result, our parallel crypto exchanging
iGaming platform - G2A. Taking our platform as an example, we
services make us better operators than other platforms which
can see how cryptocurrency transactions in iGaming in particular
could deliver sub-par user experience due to the lack of
are on a steady incline. This sector carries with it a great
resources and initial investments. This is also buttressed by the
possibility to merge with a budding and exciting industry full of
fact that we clearly have more profound market recognition,
potential, talent and growing global recognition. As such, we
which allows us to benefit from integration with other exchanges
expect to see an increase in the scope of cooperation within this
to support users via the best exchange rates on the market.
industry, partly due to our presence in Malta.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
THE CRYPTO SPACE HAS MASSIVE IMPLICATIONS FOR ANY
COMPETITION IS PICKING UP IN THE DLT SECTOR, WITH
INDUSTRY THAT REQUIRES ACCESS TO A LARGER POOL
MANY ENTHUSIASTS AND MEDIA PUNDITS ANTICIPATING
OF LIQUIDITY, SUCH AS IGAMING. WHEN DO YOU THINK
A TIDAL WAVE BIGGER THAN LAST DECEMBER’S BUBBLE.
CRYPTO WILL REACH A LEVEL OF MASS ADOPTION THAT
WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE FOR BITBAY 2019 AND BEYOND?
WILL MAKE THIS POSSIBLE? The cryptocurrency industry has locked it’s crosshairs on In my opinion, we are quickly moving from mass public crypto-
stabilisation and raising its visibility in the eyes of a global society.
recognition to mass adoption by consumers. If we take a closer look at countries like Japan or South Korea, we can safely say
In truth, cryptocurrencies have already become an integral
that cryptocurrencies have become a common element in the
part of our pop culture. With the exclusion of fraudulent use of
daily lives of their inhabitants.
tokens, the looming introduction of clear regulations to protect users, and innovative forms of blockchain in the works, it’s
On a more local landscape, the trend in Europe and North
certain that the industry will reliably continue to develop in the
America to concentrate on regulating the crypto industry
years ahead. From our end, it’s all hands on deck to develop and
will undoubtedly lead to an upsurge in digital asset users, as
pump out more functionalities which make life easier for digital
regulation translates into a safety net for big investors as well as
your average consumer. This is to say that with further regulation comes a level of institutional safety.
So hold onto your seats as we hope to surprise you in 2019!
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
BLOCKCHAIN MEETS iGAMING IN SiGMA CONFERENCE
DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY AND IGAMING WERE DESTINED TO EVOLVE TOGETHER FROM THE START. WE SET OUT TO MAKE BITCOIN’S SATOSHI NAKAMOTO PROUD BY CREATING THE FIRST EVER HIGH-LEVEL DISCUSSION WITH SIGMA 2017.
The conference featured an animated blockchain atmosphere, as the two sectors came together to discuss mutual value propositions between the emerging tech and the well-established iGaming industry. Dubbed the Blockchain Island, Malta is the ideal place for tech to lay down roots and grow. The island already hosts a thriving iGaming scene, and its government rapidly followed up on its pledge to affect the comprehensive legislative groundwork for DLT to grow in sunny Malta. As the Blockchain Island continues to instantiate its position as the best point of overlap between iGaming and blockchain, SiGMA has focused its resources to amplify that convergence – especially since it introduced a blockchain-themed conference back in 2017, and stole the show. The success of last year’s conference was evidenced by the bubbly and exciting atmosphere it brought to the table. It shone a light on the enormous potential of DLT when applied to the iGaming industry. Indeed, the blockchain conference was a real highlight of the 2017 show, and was attended by the likes of Jon Matonis and the controversial but always topical Dr. Craig Wright. The 2018 edition of the SiGMA blockchain conference is expected to draw a great deal of interest as Malta cements itself as a primary iGaming jurisdiction, and continues to be a global pioneer in blockchain. This year’s expo will also give twenty ICOs the opportunity to pitch their project on stage before facing a Q&A session from jury members, venture capitalists, and the audience. The ICO PITCH offers an invaluable opportunity to meet industry established investors, with the winner benefitting from mentorship and investment in their brand. The winning ICO is also granted a dedicated marketing video about their ICO. The flagship SiGMA expo in Malta anchors an international event calendar, which in turn underlines a year-round commitment to the global iGaming community, with last year’s summit opening its doors to over 8,000 visitors and featuring 200+ exhibitors – a record-breaking figure which saw 2016’s numbers doubled. The fifth edition of SiGMA will take place from 28th - 30th of November at the MFCC, Ta’ Qali. Positioned at the cutting edge of a highly competitive industry, SiGMA has progressed into the decisive iGaming showcase. SiGMA 2018 will welcome over 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 industryleading speakers and a record-breaking 12500 attendees. With the launch of our latest BLOCK magazine, we’ve gone out of our way to provide an expansive platform for all the pioneers, enthusiasts and earlyadopters in this exciting new space. And what better way to complement our print than through another massive conference with speakers from all across the globe attending. This fall’s conference will indeed be one to remember. That being said, there is no doubt that Malta is the ideal place for the two spheres to meet and plan future collaboration. As such, the SiGMA blockchain conference is the ideal event to explore the immense possibilities of blockchain applied to iGaming and beyond.
Artist v LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WELCOME TO THE MAIN EVENT. IN THE RED CORNER: AN ARTISTIC MAVERICK WHOSE WORKS ARE AS PROVOCATIVE AS THEY ARE FRESH – MARK MALLIA. IN THE BLUE CORNER: WEIGHING IN WITH OVER 20 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN AI AND TECH ENTREPRENEURSHIP – ANGELO DALLI.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
s Artifical A few years ago, I stumbled across an article that ranked
friend and artistically-disposed collaborator, Mark Mallia.
various human pursuits by the likelihood that they’ll
The AI pioneer (and evil genius) is taking on the challenge
be made obsolete through automation. If you’re in
of creating art through AI – and he’s hoping he can teach
accountancy, I’ve some bad news: your job probably goes
his infernal machines the style employed by Mark, who
first. Professions featuring a higher level of creativity were
is an established artist. That in itself is quite a tall order –
considered safer, as were those jobs where a human touch
Mark is known for the sheer variety of his work. He’s been
is still a core necessity. Creativity is a more complicated
exceptionally prolific in his artistic career, and is renowned
quality for machines to replicate effectively, as opposed
for his refusal to stagnate – which is great for his fans, but
to a function like bookkeeping. Angelo Dalli is taking a
tricky if you’re a machine trying to emulate him and learn his
good proverbial swing at it, however – with the help of his
â€œIt becomes Mark Mallia, and the AI: what the AI has learnt from Mark, but also what it has added, its own interpretation of what the artist has usedâ€?
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
I ask Angelo to explain the process behind the seemingly
Mark concedes that some accommodations had to be made
sci-fi proposition, and I also ask him to do so in language
in the short term. “Firstly, I had to work on things that the AI
understandable to a toddler or a terrier. “We’re using
is going to be ‘comfortable’ with,” he tells me. “We eliminated
generative networks, more specifically called adversarial
installations and harshness in the paint so we could have a
networks, because it’s one neural net ‘negotiating’ against
smoother texture”. It’s still relatively early days, and there
the other,” Angelo tells me. “One is learning Mark’s style
really aren’t tools designed to feed an AI data of such a
and the other is trying to copy him. They ‘fight’ against each
specialised nature – and AI needs data like the human brain
other internally, as they run the process of generating an
image, assessing whether this is an image he has created, and then updating the image. Through this process of trying to copy him and altering something, it starts to learn its own new style. So it becomes Mark Mallia, and the AI: what the AI has learnt from Mark, but also what it has added, its own interpretation of what the artist has used”.
Be that as it may, I ask Mark to speculate what machine learning or artificial intelligence of this kind means for the future of art. “I would say it’s going to immortalise some artists,” he tells me. “When the artist passes away, his work can still be carried on by the AI – it can learn his style and we can keep experiencing the artist’s work, in a way, even after
Angelo tells me that they’re actually giving their outcomes a
he’s gone”. At this point, Angelo jumps in with an interesting
true baptism of fire – “We’re going to do the first comparative
question of his own: “That is the question though – would
exhibition between human art and AI art… or more
that still be art?”
specifically, an AI interpretation of Mark Mallia’s artwork”. Really and truly, that’s the primary (and sole) source of antagonism between Mark and Angelo’s diabolical devices. The artistic outputs will be displayed alongside one another, lending an outward impression of competition between man and machine. Indeed, the photography that accompanies my words also makes a play on that trope. However, Mark is more of a teacher and collaborator. If we had to retain the boxing analogy, he’s not really the AI’s opponent - he’s more of a coach and sparring partner. I ask for more detail on how they intend to go about achieving their goal. “For this particular auction we’re actually using neural nets that have been trained on payment processing on fraud streaming,” Angelo explains. “Effectively, with fraud payments the goal is trying to determine authenticity – which is why it is useful in the adversarial network”. The true conflict isn’t between man and machine, as he elaborates – “The conflict is between the AI that has been taught by Mark and the AI that is trying to replicate Mark’s work. One network is taught Mark’s style, and the other network is taught how to detect forgeries. The conflict or negotiation between these two is what produces a new
“It would be a continuation of what the artist could have done if he had to evolve,” Mark speculates. “For example, you can combine four styles together and absorb one style that could actually form a painting. On the other hand, an artist is formed not only by the artistic process but also by human life and experience that the AI couldn’t possibly have. Once the input of the artist is removed, how can the AI continue to evolve as the artist would, if the artist is no longer there to teach the AI? The AI can only take the technique, and the artist has a subconscious mind that the AI does not. However when you start working on a piece of art you realise that you are making changes subconsciously. For now, an AI doesn’t have this subconscious mind”. Angelo chimes in and agrees – “This is the limit of what AI can do at the moment. You’ve hit upon the limit – it cannot have real life experiences of its own, and it can never have the context of the artist’s life. With the current technology there will always be that limit. However, having said that, maybe in a few years’ time it will change. There may be an AI that can literally follow the artist’s social media profile, and start going out into the world on its own and learn such context”.
piece of art. We’re planning to print the output on canvas,
“It could be injected with my DNA,” Mark jokes. “You never
frame it, and hang it next to Mark’s piece. Both works will be
know”. “I’m not sure if you’ll be around by then!” Angelo
auctioned for charity”.
counters. After we all have a laugh, he also addresses the
It may sound effortless, but there’s actually some work to be done behind the scenes, and a lot of it will involve the
point more seriously – “I think a lot of it is about experience, rather than innate ability”.
input of the artist himself. Around a thousand servers will be
As the conversation winds down, the two continue to
employed on the cloud, and it takes roughly a whole day
poke fun at the other. They make an odd pair, but together
to print and produce. Obviously, it takes much longer for
they’re testing and probing the very nature of creativity.
Mark to ‘train’ the AI – a process that involves a painstaking
I’m exceptionally intrigued, although I also fear that Angelo
recording of his process, for the machine to learn the artist’s
might decide to make writers obsolete for his next trick.
brushstrokes and composition.
Don’t do it, sir. Please don’t do it…
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ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
iGaming on the Block SiGMA Stand BR270
THE IGAMING INDUSTRY IS DIPPING ITS TOES INTO BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY, AND WITH ICO PROJECTS LIKE AETOKEN ON THE MARKET, IT ISN’T ANY WONDER. CHRISTOPHER ATTARD SAT DOWN WITH THE CEO OF AETOKEN, VADIM FEDOTOV, TO DISCUSS HOW THEIR PROPOSED SOLUTION AIMS TO TACKLE AFFILIATE FRAUD, SCALABILITY AND THE CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKET MORE BROADLY.
YOU COULD SAY THAT AETOKEN TECHNOLOGY IS THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK. WHAT FIRST PROMPTED YOU TO DIVE STRAIGHT INTO SUCH A NOVEL AND UNCERTAIN AREA? I’ve been following the blockchain craze for a few years but never particularly dug into it myself. As I started learning more about it through discussions with industry professionals at the highest level, the possibilities for the affiliate industry was always lurking at the back of my head. This all came together last December while I was dealing with the daily challenges of my affiliate business and like a lightning strike, it suddenly occurred to me that blockchain was the most effective solution not only to some of the problems I faced personally, but also major issues that existed industrywide. As for the “uncertain area” portion of your question, I disagree. I would say it is simply a case of using a novel technology to tackle existing challenges. The internet too has been through these growing pains, but just as great companies with compelling technologies and the right team made it through the dotcom bust, and are worth billions today, I think the same will prove true for crypto in general and AEToken specifically.
â€œWe offer increased profit margins from affiliate traffic due to minimal affiliate payout costsâ€?
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
YOUR WHITEPAPER STATES THAT AETOKEN’S MAIN VALUE
BACK IN DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR, BITCOIN’S NETWORK
PROPOSITION IS BUILT ON TRUST. COULD YOU ELABORATE
NEARLY CAME TO A STANDSTILL DUE TO A MASSIVE SURGE
ON HOW YOUR TECHNOLOGY WOULD SOLVE AFFILIATE
IN TRANSACTION VOLUME. HOW DOES AETOKEN PLAN TO
FRAUD IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY?
There are several aspects of AEToken designed to address
We are very cognizant of the scalability issues for both Bitcoin
the trust deficit in the industry. First, the technology in general
and Ethereum – which are relatively young technologies. This
– Blockchain – has always been the best proposition for
is why we’re initially offering a utility token that will convert to
trust between the parties as it certifies transactions through
the final chain method we choose to implement. We’re also
immutable smart contracts and computer processes. Our
looking at other projects like Stellar, second-layers solutions
smart contracts will make any attempted fraud increasingly
like Coloured Coins on Chia, and even the Lightning Network
transparent, if not eliminate it completely.
potentially. As AEToken grows, we want to implement solutions that will build on the trust, immutability, and fungibility of the
Secondly, since we are building our own affiliate platform on the
major blockchains without having other successful Dapps
blockchain, all the FTD’s, user registrations, etc will be housed
(decentralised applications) clog the network or protocols we’re
on our own back end. Certainly, casinos could attempt to shave
using to make and settle affiliate deals.
or inflate admin fees, but given that our platform will allow for much cheaper transactional fees and payouts while increasing
HAS THE RECENT DOWNTURN IN THE CRYPTOCURRENCY
fraud security, it would not be in their interests to bite the hand
MARKET CAPITALISATION AFFECTED THE TEAM’S MORALE
that feeds them.
IN ANY WAY?
Last but not least, our use of mediation will ensure that any
Absolutely not. We see the current market situation as a tough
disputes on payment or fraud are adjudicated swiftly and fairly by mutually agreed mediators. In essence, AEToken bridges the trust deficit gap because neither affiliates nor publishers need to trust each other anymore provided there the system runs on
positive. Granted, right now it is much harder to raise funds, get accepted on exchanges or for crypto to get to the point that is trusted as an alternative in FIAT dominated industries. That said, while weaker projects are at a standstill (even if they’ve already
AEToken’s smart contract and mediation service.
got their funding rounds), we are steamrolling ahead during
WITH THE EMERGENCE OF THE DIGITAL AGE, AFFILIATE
AEToken’s solution, and our product offers undeniable benefits
FRAUD HAS ONLY BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED. HOW
to the industry. If anyone doubts this, please look at our team,
WOULD AETOKEN DEAL WITH MORE TECHNICAL PROBLEMS
which has clearly attained a wealth of experience in the affiliate
LIKE SPAM BOTS ON AFFILIATE WEBSITES?
and crypto space. Furthermore, our team is extremely confident
Well, this is where the threat of arbitration comes in. If one side has evidence that these sorts of technical attacks are occurring, then they now have leverage to ask for a discount or
these “tough times” because we know that there is a need for
in the value of our solution, so we see the constant discussion around volatility in the crypto space as a distraction. We stay focused on just putting out the best product.
a monetary increase depending on what’s appropriate. As yet,
WHAT WOULD BE THE IDEAL PRICE TARGET ONCE YOU’VE
AET is more focused on the contractual and payment operations
LAUNCHED YOUR COIN TO THE PUBLIC?
section, but as we develop more enterprise software tools, we can be a neutral data reporting party to increase transparency between sites and affiliates.
When we launch next year, the coin will be priced at $2 initially. This will then go through a complex variable-based tokenomics model whose development spans out over the next 5 years. To
Additionally, there are some countermeasures we can deploy.
give you a sneak peek, our internal modelling puts the coin at
The main thing to remember is that bot traffic follows certain
about $23 by 2023.
patterns that often give their activity away. Take bounce rates for example, abnormally low or abnormally high bounce rates could indicate bot activity. We will also look at the source and location of the bad traffic. By contrast, genuine traffic comes from
IN THE MOST CONCISE, READER-FRIENDLY TERMS POSSIBLE; WHAT DO IGAMING GIANTS STAND TO GAIN FROM ADOPTING YOUR TOKEN?
a variety of sources, however, if we see unusually high volumes
Well, to start with, we offer increased profit margins from affiliate
of direct traffic from a single IP or from just a few referral links,
traffic due to minimal affiliate payout costs. We also offer the
we will take a closer look. Similarly, if we see heavy traffic from
ability for them to upscale their business with affiliates at a rapid
known sources of bot activity, AEToken will tackle these issues
rate without have to worry about fraud which would otherwise
adaptively and in real time. At the end of the day, when bots
result in lower affiliate platform operating costs. Finally, if there
attack, they do so in a mechanically repetitive fashion, indicating
ever is a dispute, we provide swift, fair mediation at minimal price,
non-human traffic. We will detect this and thwart the activity.
thus avoiding the long, costly legal proceedings we see today.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
CREATIVE DISRUPTION By Rebecca Barbaro Sant, Founder of the Authentic Brief
THE AUTHENTIC BRIEF OFFERS CONSULTANCY SERVICES THAT STEM FROM A DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING, PROVIDING A UNIQUE DIRECTION FOR YOUR BRAND OR EVENT. TEAMING UP WITH ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS ALIKE, THE AUTHENTIC BRIEF AIMS TO DELIVER CUSTOMISED, CREATIVE RESULTS.
There is no doubt that we live in a fast-paced world, new trends are in constant flux and our attention span has a healthy appetite for new material. The creative process however is content to evolve at its own pace. Whether I’m running an elaborate campaign or consulting on an event, allowing ideas to naturally converge and develop is the key to bringing home success. Creativity is about breaking ground with new inventions – the creative process is constantly evolving, often it’s simply about viewing an old concept in a way that may not have crossed people’s minds. My ultimate goal is to create an event which is meaningful and memorable, to turn your vision into reality, after all no one knows the brand better than you. With this in mind, I love to weave the senses into projects I’m working on. Our senses are the foundation of our experiences and as such have the potential to yield rich and immediate interactions, putting you in the right frame of mind to make the most out of an experience. Whether it’s introducing a smell to stimulate a feeling, connoting ideas through different colours or experimenting with different textures to provoke memories, having an emotional connection is at the forefront of my approach. Understanding what makes us connect to the brand and having insight into the world around us is important. I do believe that brand interaction is one of the most powerful ways of communicating a company’s message, this can be done in different ways but an event always brings you face-toface with your audience, intensifying the connection. A good example is if you are launching a new game or simply creating a brand event. Taking a Gestalt approach and looking at how the whole picture works together, including understanding the culture and community, is paramount to binding a network of competing ideas into one smooth thought process. For example,
when planning an event, it’s not just the event in and of itself; it’s the whole process, from buying a ticket to leaving the venue. Each element must be carefully crafted so that the final product can be viewed holistically. Once I have a direction I can then bring in the expertise of other individuals. It is also important to look at the health and safety aspect of any ideas, what seems feasible on paper doesn’t always translate well to real life.
“My ultimate goal is to create an event which is meaningful and memorable, to turn your vision into reality, after all no one knows the brand better than you” BLEXR
At the heart of every good event are closely forged relationships based on trust and mutual understanding, which must involve solid foundations before they can flourish. I never sign off on projects unless I feel a connection with the client, it’s important that the project is one I want to work on, one that I’m excited about. Once the first steps have been taken I can then hunker down and work on getting a sense of the way a company works, gathering information on and gaining an understanding of what’s at the core of their ethos. Cultivating a different way of thinking enables me to make sure your message is heard, understood and remembered.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
CONTENT DELIVERED CORRECTLY ROSS HASELHURST, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR AT BEDE GAMING EXPLORES WHY THE GAMING INDUSTRY IS DESPERATE FOR A FRESH APPROACH TO CONTENT DELIVERY.
There’s a tendency to lament the underdevelopment of online
The last few years, however has seen gambling begin to respond,
gaming when it comes to user experience, but as an industry we
with a handful of forward-thinking operators brave enough to
largely have ourselves to blame. The approach has been tired,
make the leap from bulky, unchangeable legacy software systems,
slow moving, and lethargic for too long and we are rapidly being
and instead partner with disruptive suppliers. These businesses
left behind as a form of entertainment by a new generation of
can offer rapidly-integrated, flexible player management
players whose attention spans are shortening and whose share
platforms, complete with cutting-edge, automated marketing tools
of wallet is being increasingly fought over by thousands of Gen Z savvy brands and apps. Prior to the explosion in mobile gameplay, gambling had it good for many years but in more recent times it has been too slow to react, with monetised in-app casual games, dating,
that can revolutionise a brand offering in record time. Never has differentiation, efficiency and user experience been so key. Consumers’ eyeballs, so often distracted by a haze of offers across multiple screens, can only process so much
clothes, gadgets, takeaways, music, films and social media, to
and, even then, they need to be convinced enough to make
name a few, all getting in on the act far quicker, and far better
a buying decision which is often slim at best. Loyalty is also
than our industry could; showcasing a rapid, personalised,
more fickle than ever, more so in our industry with hundreds of
customer-focused set of diverse offerings, and giving the ‘Netflix
different brands, thousands of games and millions of offers and
generation’ what they want, when and wherever they want it and
markets all vying for a small pool of attentive customers who
on their device of choice.
“In the near future a ‘Netflix-style’ recommendation engine model cannot be far away from being a realistic proposition in gaming”
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
OVERCOMING THE FEAR OF CHANGE The challenge is immense. However, as several risk-tolerant, often mobile-focused and more advanced operators have found, it is surmountable. The answer is twofold. First, select the right software supplier that has the agile platform technology and automated marketing tools with the power to cut through and offer players the right dynamic content at the right time and in the safest and most responsible environment. Once that is achieved, brands are freed up to further develop player trust, engagement, and customer service, increasing both loyalty and revenues and their reputation for offering people the best possible experience.
could be alerted as soon as their favourite or ‘lucky’ table or dealer comes online. The platform uses a rules-based approach
Second, operators must be brave enough to admit they need to
and data-driven customer behaviours and parameters such as
change with the times, switch platform providers and market in a
when they are online, their favourite games, tables, dealer, and
more intelligent, more efficient, and more personal way to their
demographics, to determine who should receive that information
customers if they are going to remain relevant and boost acquisition
and when. This example has contributed to a consistent 30%
and retention rates. This is a tough ask in any sector but there is
average increase in revenue across Bede operator partners and
strong evidence this is reaping rewards for several gaming brands.
we are constantly exploring ways to push this even higher.
At Bede, our technology provides a series of highly configurable,
A crucial part of delivering data-driven, agile platform technology
automated tools such as, Campaign Manager and Bonusing Tools
is ensuring we go above and beyond responsible gaming. We
that can segment and dynamically target any type of player or
pride ourselves on being the ‘safest place to play’ and continue
event, and market directly to them, down to an individual level
to dedicate huge effort, time, and resources to responsible
based on real-time events – all in a matter of seconds. We work
gaming initiatives. As a result, we have created a wide variety
closely with our partners to learn exactly what their requirements
of RG tools within the platform that operators can configure to
are for their specific customer base. They then use these tools
their needs, including rules around suspect betting patterns that
to set up a rules-based approach to specific offers, bonuses or
instantly notify brands’ fraud and risk teams. Any operator worth
campaigns they wish to run depending on their target audience.
their salt must have tools such as these in place or at least be
Almost any segment, offer or bonus is possible in this scenario –
considering them in the coming months.
the polar opposite to the ‘bucket approach’ many operators still use to mass market to high volumes of unsegmented customers, with little or no thought to personalisation, or their customers receiving the right experience with the right products, at the right time. MARKETING TO THE MASSES IS OVER
LOOKING AHEAD In the near future a ‘Netflix-style’ recommendation engine model cannot be far away from being a realistic proposition in gaming, with new AI technology able to learn, determine and recommend products based on an individual’s favourite game(s), if a player has
Powerful automated marketing tools such as these can market
a favourite theme, which bonuses, what paylines, and maths model
down to individual player level and alert players on various
he or she prefers, how much they deposit on average, or on certain
elements of their favourite games, notify them on, or after, certain
days or times, or perhaps whether or not they have a propensity
actions such as staking €100 and being rewarded with a bonus as
to go above their means which then sets off several responsible
a result, or reward loyalty and allow a player to ‘level up’ or accrue
gaming triggers. Based on user behaviours, these parameters and
additional loyalty points as a result or his or her actions.
more, will all soon be used to determine what products should be
Any number of triggers can be set up, configured, automated
served to whom, when and at what time and on what device.
and monitored using live data tools that can be tracked by
We are already streets ahead of other suppliers when it comes
an operator’s CRM and marketing teams. For example, if a
to empowering our forward-thinking partners with the most
campaign is not working as well as expected then an operator
agile, platform agnostic technology and the most in-depth,
can instantly spot the reasons why and, either bring it to an
personalised, dynamic marketing tools that have significantly
abrupt end, or optimise and enhance the offering in any number
enhanced our partners’ revenues and their customers overall
of ways to ensure results improve.
experiences. A large section of the industry, however remains in
A relevant case is Evolution, with whom we have worked to create a deep integration which all our customers, like Rank,
the dark and unable to move with the times due to cumbersome software that is often locked into multi-year agreements.
one of the UK’s largest multi-channel operators can access.
Those operators open to change and those that are prepared
Rank, for example, offers Evolution’s live casino and, thanks to
to transform their online and mobile approach to appeal to, and
Bede’s personalised platform and marketing tools, Rank players
attract a new generation of players, will flourish, while those that
have access to one of the most dynamic and compelling gaming
don’t will fall further behind. We look forward to working with the
experiences on the market. For instance, Rank live casino players
former but will politely be declining the latter.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
AN INDIVIDUAL APPROACH ROYRITCHIE HAVE BEEN TURNING HEADS WITH THEIR OWN SIGNATURE WAY OF DOING BUSINESS, AND IT’S BEEN PAYING OFF. RADOSŁAW BARAŃSKI EXPLAINS THAT IT’S ALL ABOUT BRINGING AN INDIVIDUAL TOUCH TO THE PROCESS.
Per aspera ad astra. The politics of the company and for my
Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also in
personal development as an Affiliate Manager. Having started in
different Latin American countries including Brazil.
customer service, and aiming higher and higher in the pursuit of set goals, I have gained lots of experience along the way – it all comes down to knowing the customer’s needs, and figuring out an individual approach.
With offices in Malta and Poland, RoyRichie.com operates under a Maltese license and employs over forty employees from different nationalities and backgrounds. A recent deal with a media company has given RoyRichie.com a huge TV brand exposure
As a personal running coach participating in obstacle cross
during the away matches of Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and
running events like Spartan Race as one of the team members, I
Atlético Madrid in all the previously mentioned markets.
know just how important it is to coordinate your efforts with the rest of the group in order to achieve an objective. However, one win does not make sustained success – staying on top is tough. That is why Roy Richie puts as much emphasis on keeping the client or affiliate once we have got one. I take the trouble of preparing individual offers for each affiliate in order for him to earn as much as possible, keeping both sides of the deal happy. I attend every conference representing our brand, and travel all
This new 2018/2019 season starts with expectations as the company has launched some great Sports Betting features: Add2Bets, YourBet, Action Betting and Pulse Betting. We’ve also added a great number of new casino slots, all in a very short period of time. Let’s just say that we do not settle very easily. We have a very flexible affiliate program that will consider the particular attributes of every partner – this is borne out by the numerous successful deals so far.
around the world to be able to grow and consider every little detail of each country’s specifics to make the deal with.
All the above mentioned is a solid base for the affiliates who want to start the cooperation. I can assure you that it becomes more
Just like me, our company has worked well with the “small start”
and more convenient and advantageous as we have set the bars
– initially not having just as many games and possibilities as
high, and loyal partners are not to be forgotten once we’ve made
the others. However, we do grow fast and at this point we are
our way to the very top. Loyalty and honesty are extremely valued
proud to say that our project has grown exponentially in Sweden,
and appreciated by us.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY IS DISRUPTING EVERY INDUSTRY IT LAYS EYES ON. WE MET WITH THE CEO OF SOCIOS AND CHILIZ, ALEXANDRE DREYFUS, TO DISCUSS HIS PLANS FOR TAKING THIS BUDDING INDUSTRY TO NEW HEIGHTS IN THE ATHLETIC DOMAIN.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
SOCIOS.COM IS A TOKENISED SPORTS FAN VOTING
BOTH FOOTBALL AND ESPORTS HAVE FAN BASES
PLATFORM. COULD YOU BRIEFLY EXPLAIN YOUR VISION
COMPRISED IN THE MILLIONS. IN TERMS OF LONG-TERM
AND WHY SPORTS ENTHUSIASTS SHOULD BE PART OF IT?
GROWTH, WHAT ARE YOUR ESTIMATES AND EXPECTATIONS?
Socios.com is first and foremost a voting platform for sports fans.
We want to build a global community of sports fans that are
We want to enhance the fan experience for supporters by giving
united both by their passion for the sport and their desire to be
them the ability to participate in clubs’ polls and ballots through
connected to the teams they love to follow.
a mobile voting platform, as well as serving as a ticket into a secure, exclusive inner circle of fans. The more tokens a fan holds, and the more they vote, the higher the clout rating of that fan - moving them upwards through different reward tiers until they have access to the biggest VIP benefits on offer. DEMOCRACIES ONLY WORK WITH ACTIVE PARTICIPATION. WHAT FIRST PROMPTED YOU TO MAKE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN SPORTS AND BLOCKCHAIN, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MAXIMISE INPUT FROM SPORTS FANS AROUND THE WORLD?
THERE SEEMS TO BE A DISCONNECT BETWEEN REALWORLD APPLICATIONS FOR BLOCKCHAIN AND THE WIDER UNDERSTANDING OF THE TECH. IN LAYMAN’S TERMS, HOW WOULD YOU BEST EXPLAIN THIS TECH TO SOMEONE WHO IS NOT CONVINCED ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF BLOCKCHAIN? Blockchain enables peer-to-peer transactions to be recorded on a distributed ledger. The technology is not limited to cryptocurrencies, and can be applied to virtually any industry where there is a transference of assets. Theoretically, a digital token can be used to represent a stake in any conceivable asset and the use of tokens,
Socios.com was inspired by the fan-led management frameworks
or ‘tokenisation’ - as it has come to be known - has already been
or ‘Socios’ of major football clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona
embraced by myriad industries, from agriculture to photography.
or FC Bayern Munich. Dubbed ‘Socios 2.0’, the platform represents the digitisation of this model of fan-management. As a voting platform, we chose blockchain as the most practical and eloquent way to unite the need to maintain voting integrity whilst turning voting rights into an ownable commodity - in our case, a token. Blockchain guarantees the transparency of the votes and creates a legal representation of the digital assets. Over the next few months, we are focused on building our digital communities and educating them about blockchain and the use of tokens. By partnering with some of the biggest football clubs in the world, with millions of fans around the world, we have a unique opportunity to bring blockchain to the masses. BLOCKCHAIN IS CLEARLY A DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY THAT IS SET TO CHANGE MANY INDUSTRIES. HOW DID SOCIOS.COM TAILOR THIS CONSENSUS TECHNOLOGY TO SUIT ITS NEEDS AND AMBITIONS? The chiliZ token ($CHZ) is an ERC20 utility token on the Ethereum blockchain that serves as the digital currency for
“Dubbed ‘Socios 2.0’, the platform represents the digitisation of this model of fan-management. As a voting platform, we chose blockchain as the most practical and eloquent way to unite the need to maintain voting integrity whilst turning voting rights into an ownable commodity - in our case, a token”
the Socios.com platform. By having organisations on this permissioned chain — connected to the ETH Main Net via tokens
BILLIONAIRE-PHILANTHROPIST WARREN BUFFETT RECENTLY
exchangeable with $CHZ — we are able to create a direct ‘fan-
CALLED CRYPTOCURRENCIES LIKE BITCOIN “RAT POISON
funding’ solution for sports and eSports teams in the future. Fan
SQUARED”. DO YOU HAVE ANY COMMENT ON THAT?
Tokens operate on a separate, validated side chain. THE PLATFORM WANTS TO BE THE ONE-STOP-SHOP FOR ALL-THINGS SPORTS. WHAT DO FANS STAND TO GAIN BY
There is a lot of misinformation about cryptocurrencies in general and, of course, fear of the unknown. I myself do not own or trade cryptocurrencies, not because I don’t believe in
USING YOUR SERVICES?
their utility, but because they are a volatile investment, and I’m
The Socios.com platform is not intended as a one-stop-shop for
traditional investments, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. People
all things related to sports. Our platform aims to offer enhanced
tend to forget that Bitcoin itself is a technology framework and
fan engagement and a new way for fans to connect with the
the underlying blockchain technology on which it is based has
clubs and teams they love to follow.
fuelled a huge amount of innovation in recent years.
not a gambler. While Bitcoin is very different compared to more
UNDER THE INFLUENCE KATY MICALLEF SAT DOWN WITH WESLEY ELLUL, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER AT QUIZANDO, TO FIND OUT HOW THE QUIZ DELIVERY SYSTEM IS SET TO CHANGE THE INFLUENCER WORLD FOREVER.
It’s rare to find a business that is all about giving back. The smooth-running of the Quizando ecosystem is not only dependant on its own success but on that of others. The platform aims to shake things up for a growing network of influencers, revolutionising their ability to make money and increase their followers. Quizando offers influencers an avenue to host live video stream quizzes and engage in live chat with their media faithful, allowing for a more personalised brand of interaction. The end result is a win-win situation for all parties involved. Players net the chance to win money, while both Quizando and the influencer secure a juicy share of profits. The process also frees up valuable time that can be spent creating exciting new content, giving them a ‘whole new avenue to create’. Converting just 1% of their audience can easily earn them up to double what they might have made on their current platform. “One of the reasons why Quizando Live exists is because we saw a need within the influencer market. There are a lot of influencers who create incredible content through their social media; they’re sitting on a valuable following of say, fifteen to twenty thousand members but fail to monetise that audience.”
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
It is these influencers that will become the driving force to
familiarise themselves with player preferences. Building a strong
promote the platform to their vast hive of followers. They
relationship with players has been integral to the development
are also, as Wesley explains - the key to mass adaption and
of the platform.
acceptance of Crytocurrencies via the Quizando platform.
I ask Wesley about their plans to expand into new markets – an
The blockchain is currently integrated into the platforms
intention to offer quizzes in French and Spanish is already in
payments scheme, with a rewards system in place for users who
deposit the Quiz token in the system. Players who jump aboard the gravy train will gain access to boons such as exclusive VIP games, additional free play on classic quiz games, as well as the option to access quizzes that have physical prizes. There are also plans to offer closed room games where players can win
“The direction we’re currently heading towards is the English language world, because that’s where we’re strongest, but yes, French and Spanish are the next 2 languages in the offing. It’s quite interesting because this is one of the reasons why we
chose Boyce Avenue; their secondary market is actually Spanish
The transparency behind the tech means that token deposits will
speaking countries around the world.”
and Portuguese. They will also act as ambassadors to Spanish
be held in escrow - remaining visible in the system and creating a web trust between the influencer and platform. The influencers themselves will receive cryptocurrency through this, making them likely to encourage others to use the Quiz coin, thus building its value within the Quizando ecosystem. “This is the first step in that creation of trust between all parties involved. One thing we would like to do eventually is have the whole game on the blockchain platform.” Wesley is positive about the Blockchain Island’s recent steps to embrace regulation. “I think regulation is one of the best things that can happen for crypto and blockchain – something which has been a grey area for a lot of people around the world for a long time. The fact that Malta is taking the bull by the horns and is going for regulation is a good thing.
“There are a lot of influencers who create incredible content through their social media; they’re sitting on a valuable following of say, fifteen to twenty thousand members but fail to monetise that audience” The recent union with Boyce Avenue came about almost accidentally. About a year ago one of the other companies in
The mainstream media doesn’t always get down to the brass tacks
Wesley’s personal portfolio were bringing Boyce Avenue down to
of it. Mass adoption is all about education, about being comfortable
play a concert in Malta. He showed them around the island, which
and understanding what’s happening. Since I educated myself in
they loved. A close friendship evolved, paving the way for their
the world of crypto and blockchain I’ve become much more at ease
future partnership with Quizando and making them a natural first
with how this works and in fact I feel confident in my investments.
choice for Wesley during the development of Quizando Live.
Now we’re seeing progression, stable projects rather than just random ideas.” Quizando’s recent partnership with Boyce Avenue is a prime example of this philosophy in action. The only way for their 11.7 million strong fan base to access these games is to actually have the quiz coin.
“When we had the idea for Quizando Live I felt they would be the perfect guys to bounce this idea off because we were looking at the influencer market”. Boyce Avenue may be at the height of their popularity now, but the alt-rock band know a thing or two about how hard it can be to gain recognition, the group initially had just one thousand followers to
“We’re opening up a community for them and they’re starting
their name. The band is part of a wave of artists who have used the
to see a real use case for crypto. Unfortunately, a lot of the
internet rather than extensive touring to get their music heard.
influencer platforms out there make influencers into beggars. There are platforms where you can support an Influencer with monetary donations. The problem is that sooner or later funding dries up because people either get tired of paying money out and not actually getting anything in return, or lose interest. We on the other hand are paying for their creativity, rather than just giving a small amount per month. If they’re creating great content and being great quiz hosts, they’re going to continue expanding and nourishing their audience - they’re also going to get new audience members from other quiz creators on there
Wesley initially asked the band for advice but the idea appealed to them so much they decided to be a part of the project because ‘they felt they could give back to the small content creator on Youtube by helping them build up an initial contact base’. For Wesley it’s been a long but worthwhile journey. “It’s been the most amazing learning curve I’ve had in my life. We appealed to a market that is not being catered for out there, a market with people who like to play games and people who like to win. They don’t want their winnings based on chance - they want to be
and vice versa.”
responsible for their winnings. They also want to be responsible
The last few years has been a testing ground for the company,
been the key success to Quizando - we’ve allowed people to
an opportunity to understand the game mechanics and
become the masters of their own destiny.”
for their losses, they want to be challenged. I think that’s what’s
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
A Reactivation Sensation SiGMA Stand B93
REACTIVATION GROUP CEO HARPO LILJA TELLS IVAN BORG HOW AND WHY GAMING OPERATORS SHOULD TAKE MEASURES TO RETAIN THEIR CUSTOMER BASE.
A LOT OF GAMING OPERATORS FOCUS ON ATTRACTING NEW BUSINESS OVER RETAINING THE CUSTOMERS THEY ALREADY HAVE. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE? DO YOU THINK ITS SUSTAINABLE LONG TERM?
that we care about them, taking the time to talk to them. At the same time, we receive valuable feedback for operators, their players’ preferences, likes or dislikes and this is something a SMS or email can never achieve.
Well frankly, this is just how the industry has evolved. There has always been a high focus – and budget – for marketing and acquisition teams, but very little thought spent on the retention part. I don’t think this strategy will work for anyone in the long term. Why? When acquiring new players with these sky-high acquisitions and affiliate costs, you never know the value of the new players you are investing money in. Really, it’s a gamble in itself. We can all agree here you need new customers to grow. However, the industry lacks the involvement of retention. Retention is key here, and I’ll tell you why. You already have a track record of your players and you are able to segment and target the most valuable players you wish to bring back to your brand, all at a much lower cost.
SO WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS THAT ALL OPERATORS IN THE INDUSTRY SHOULD INVEST MORE IN RETENTION? I believe retention and acquisition should go hand in hand. Well to start, it’s not only about retention. We are so much more than just a retention-focused company. What we actually do is help create brand awareness and strengthen customer loyalty for operators. I dislike using the term “sales”. It’s so much more than that. When we are communicating with players we are providing them with an experience, resulting in a higher amount of active and loyal players for our partners.
“I believe retention and acquisition should go hand in hand” AND HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THIS? We cover all aspects of customer communication to achieve this goal. Our main services are reactivating dormant players, converting NRCs to NDCs, VIP services, and providing excellent Customer Support. It all comes down to actually communicating with the players on a personal level and this is more successful in a personal call or contact. During this time we are showing players
TOMORROW’S IGAMING TODAY SiGMA Stand S260
HELIO GAMING IS A FULLY-SCALABLE LOTTERY PLATFORM THAT PROVIDES A SEAMLESS SOFTWARE SOLUTION BY BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HUMAN INTUITION AND THE GAMING EXPERIENCE. THE COMPANY HAS PARTNERS ALL OVER THE WORLD AND IS NOW VENTURING INTO EMERGING MARKETS SUCH AS AFRICA AND LATIN AMERICA. CHRISTOPHER ATTARD SAT DOWN WITH THE CEO, RICHARD MIFSUD, TO GAIN FURTHER INSIGHT INTO THE COMPANY’S GAME PLAN MOVING FORWARD.
“We’re also going out of our way to have CSR programs in which we help people on the ground with the goal of getting people out of poverty”
YOU’VE BEEN IN THE IGAMING INDUSTRY SINCE THE
YOU SAY ON YOUR MAIN WEBPAGE THAT YOU’RE PROVIDING
EARLY DAYS, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOURNEY
INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO TODAY’S RISING DEMANDS.
COULD YOU ELABORATE ON WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOUR LOTTERY PLATFORM FROM THE REST?
I’ve been in the industry for over fifteen years. So much so that I even remember the initial stages of the iGaming industry in
As I said, my background is largely in the lottery sector, and
Malta and the creation of the MGA. Things naturally evolved
for the past years I’ve been working with an upcoming betting
and my career developed in several areas including, software
initiative on international lotteries whilst still keeping an eye on
development, product management, business development and marketing management positions - including one of the first online casinos and several other industries like telecoms, the
the other iGaming verticals. Having such extensive experience in the sector and being surrounded by a very strong team, puts us in a strong position to where we want to take the company.
financial industry, system software industry and so forth. All in
Unfortunately, even though they usually misunderstand the
all, I think Malta has came a long way from back in the early days
concept and are completely misinformed, a main challenge
and I am sure we still have a long way to go.
when operating betting on international lotteries is that some
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
state lotteries might see you in a very unfriendly way,
I’ve been attending SiGMA since the beginning and I’ve
which isn’t what any business wants to wake up to. To
seen the brand grow into different industries. To answer
mitigate this situation and innovate a lottery vertical
your question, we do have some innovative products
which has become the dinosaur of the industry with huge
which we intend to launch during SiGMA 2018. For
companies embracing the status quo, we came up with
obvious reasons, I can’t elaborate too much on this as
a product like Lotto Hero, which is a primary lottery that
I’ll be giving it away.
can work alongside any other form of gaming - including other state lotteries. A clear example of innovation here is that we created a product in a modular way, where we offer operators a complete lottery suite with Lotto Hero, their own branded lotteries, and a full range of international lotteries.
EVERY INDUSTRY IS ABLAZE WITH TALK OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY. IS HELIO GAMING EYEING THIS SECTOR TO ANY RELEVANT DEGREE? We’re very lucky to be based in Malta. As I alluded to earlier, Malta was always on the forefront of innovation
In addition, every jackpot is insured, so it is completely
and the blockchain phenomenon is no different.
risk free to our partners. Our lotteries can work on
Many of us in the industry are looking closely at what
our certified RNG software or collaborate with us to
blockchain can bring to the table, so we have no
base the results off other lotteries and outcomes,
problem embracing innovation. In addition, it’s clear that
such as base branded lotteries on the outcome of any
our authorities are prioritising DLT regulation, blockchain
international lottery or event. In reality, it’s a bit of a
and cryptocurrencies in general. Incidentally, we have
hybrid, but we are the only provider on the market that
already looked at crypto-lotteries, and we’re deliberating
offers a full lottery solution where the operator can
the technology as things progress. Distributed ledger for
achieve a truly comprehensive lottery portfolio.
customer data is interesting, but it’s too early to say what
LET’S SHIFT GEARS. YOU’VE RECENTLY WRITTEN A PIECE TITLED “RECOGNISING AFRICA’S POTENTIAL”. HOW DO NON-TRADITIONAL MARKETS MEASURE
will happen here. That said, I do believe that blockchain will naturally integrate into the iGaming industry the same way it’s integrating into other sectors.
UP TO ESTABLISHED ONES, AND DO YOU SEE
MALTA HAS SEEN A MASSIVE EXPLOSION IN
MORE GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS OPENING UP THE
IGAMING. HOW DOES THIS AFFECT RECRUITMENT
POTENTIAL FOR EXPANSION?
STRATEGIES AND DOES THE ISLAND HAVE THE
As you say, we’re looking at emerging markets such as
INFRASTRUCTURE TO HANDLE THIS GROWTH?
Africa, Latin America and so on. The crux of it is that you
I think recruitment is a challenge for everyone in this
can’t have the same approach as you do with Europe.
industry. This is both an opportunity for the youngsters
I’ve been looking at Africa in particular for a number of years and have established a network with several operators in the area. After studying the market, I realised that no product was one hundred percent suitable for it, and I incorporated this into our development. To give you an example, if you go with a jackpot of 100 million euros within any territory in the sub-Sahara, you will not be trusted as it’s too good to be true. Crude as it may sound, this is the reality. There’s a situation where there is a big lack of trust mostly coming from their colonisation history. We took all this into account and launched in Kenya, Nigeria and several other sub-Saharan countries, and the product is already proving to be successful on the ground. In a way, we are actually helping these territories by providing a very high-level solution to a territory where innovation is lagging. We’re also going out of our way to have CSR programs in which we help people on the ground with the goal of getting people out of poverty. YOU’LL BE ATTENDING SIGMA’S UPCOMING 2018 SUMMIT. HAVE YOU PREPARED ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR THIS FALL’S EXTRAVAGANZA?
and a challenge for those of us who have been in the industry for a while. There’s definitely no shortage of jobs, and those who can fit into the culture are guaranteed a job. On the other hand, management teams face a nightmare. We’ve been trying to look for people and this is a challenge both in terms of salary brackets, knowledge and experience and we must also deal with those who abuse the situation. Still, it is what it is and we have to work with it. WHILE BEING A YOUNG COMPANY, YOU’RE STILL ESTABLISHED IN THE INDUSTRY. DO YOU HAVE ANY LONG-TERM GOALS THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? We now operate in various territories around the world, from South-East Asia to Latin America, with Africa in between and obviously Europe. At the moment we’re integrating with all the major players in the industry with all the big platforms looking closely at our product. Things have exploded so much that we’re speaking to operators with whom I didn’t believe possible in the early days. In truth, we’re overwhelmed with the response. My goal is to get this company to being one of the best lottery platforms in the industry. That said, I’m sure we
SiGMA is one of the most important events which we
can shake the waters to the point where all involved
planned to attend since we first founded the company.
parties will benefit.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Green Machines KEITH MARSHALL IS AN ENTREPRENEUR WITH AN ENVIRONMENTALIST STREAK. HE TALKS TO IVAN BORG ABOUT HIS VISION TO BRING SMOOTHER, GREENER TRANSPORT TO MALTA’S IGAMING HOTSPOTS WITH THE MIKU MAX SCOOTER.
Malta has experienced immense growth of late, largely
thanks to those who opt for a bike. “Malta might not be
on the back of the ballooning presence of the gaming
a perfect bicycle island, what with all the inclines,” Keith
industry. However, growth brings about challenges too.
claims. “But a motorised scooter, that’s a different story”.
Businesses in Malta, especially gaming companies, tend to seek out office locations in the Sliema and St.Julian’s areas. This means that there is a daily convergence on those areas by the thousands who work there. Keith Marshall has been described as a solution in search of a
However, Keith isn’t just satisfied with peddling twowheel travel. He’s not kidding about a holistic approach, and intends to solve multiple problems at once. He’s proposing an electric scooter, which would also address
problem, and is now applying himself to this one.
the environmental aspect of commuting. “I’m normally
His background is peppered with initiative, but he’s
find a fault with this electric scooter,” Keith tells me. “It
mostly known locally as a philanthropist. He has taken the
creates zero noise pollution. It makes about as much
Kilimanjaro Challenge from inception to its current status
noise as a bicycle, and the charge covers raw distance,
as a staple on the local calendar, and a truly positive
not time. You can cover fifty kilometres on a single
change-agent. When the man says he’s got a solution to
charge. If you’re stuck in traffic for half an hour it won’t
something, I can’t help but sit up and take notice.
make a difference, it won’t drain your charge at all.”
This time, the solution is a modern electric scooter. I
I ask Keith why he got involved in this in the first place.
asked him how a scooter can alleviate the seemingly
“We believe we can effect a change. We want to be
intractable problem of Maltese traffic. “It has to be a
involved in a positive change,” he explains. “We have
holistic approach,” Keith explains. “From the practical
the perfect island for scooters and bikes, and the more
point of view, traffic is a serious quality of life issue for
people adopt them, it will get incrementally safer to
anyone whose place of work is too far to walk to”. He
use two-wheelers. The stop-start nature of road travel
explains how he’s looking to promote an electric scooter
in Malta is ideal for it, and from a parking standpoint, a
as a solution to multiple problems, starting with the
car takes up the space of five scooters”. I ask him how
quality of life of the average commuter. Shifting to two-
he came to select this specific model. “It’s a win-win.
wheelers from four-wheel vehicles would immediately
The aim was always there, but we weren’t sure of the
alleviate the traffic problem for everyone – including
product,” he tells me. “We waited for the perfect product.
those who absolutely need to use a car for practical
It’s sleek, it’s fashionable, it’s cool, and it’s different. It’s
reasons, who’d find a much-improved traffic situation
very avant-garde and the specs are perfect”.
the wettest of wet blankets you can find, but I can’t
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
The scooter will be on display at SiGMA 2018, as part of a recent partnership intended to promote alternative transport within the gaming community in Malta. I ask Keith how the partnership came about. “On a personal level, my friendship with SiGMA founder Eman Pulis goes way back,” he tells me. “When it comes to SiGMA specifically, the collaboration is more recent, but this doesn’t mean it hasn’t been important. As you probably know, I’m heavily involved with the Kilimanjaro Challenge. As the name suggests, it’s all about making it to the top of the tallest free-standing mounting in the world, but we do it to raise money for a good cause. Over the past eleven years, we’ve collected over 720,000 euros that are going towards ten projects in Kenya and Ethiopia. SiGMA has been one of our biggest contributors over recent years”. Keith is now hoping to take his collaboration with SiGMA into another arena by bringing sustainable transport to the local iGaming community. “The gaming community obviously contributes to the traffic problem, just like every other business sector,” Keith claims. “However, when you focus on the individuals who are the actual lifeblood of the gaming industry, you’ll find that they experience the traffic problem in different ways.
“We believe we can effect a change. We want to be involved in a positive change”
As most gaming companies are based in the same area, and employ a large number of foreigners, most of these employees feel the need to live very close to their place of work. They would tend to centre their life in the same area, and don’t really venture around the island as much as the locals do”. “Through our partnership with SiGMA, I feel we can solve multiple problems at once. We can alleviate traffic in areas most populated by the iGaming community, and reduce the overall carbon footprint. It is exceptionally quick and easy to get a license if you can already drive, so there’s no reason we can’t achieve a good level of adoption. If we are able to get there, it’ll help the largely foreign gaming workforce to move around more easily – they’ll be able to discover parts of the island they feel they can’t currently access efficiently”. The scooter will be featured on the SiGMA 2018 expo floor, and the hope is for the very desirable foot traffic to be translated into a reduction of automotive traffic. Keith Marshall certainly hopes so, and with his long history of turning motion into emotion, I’ll not bet against him swaying enough minds to effect the change he wants to see.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Living the DIGITALISATION era CLAYTON J. ZAMMIT IS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE HIVE, AND A DIGITAL MAVEN WITH UNIQUE INSIGHTS ON THE POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS OF TECH. It’s an undeniable #fact – digital technologies have become
before to attract prospects’ attention. Penetration and frequency
part of our daily life, and the world is moving towards more
of messaging might not be enough. Experience taught us that
tech-dependency. It all started a few years ago, when digital
users need to feel valued as well as cared for – and will always
and social media were used to support offline campaigns,
gravitate towards ease-of-use, which is now the order of the day.
offerings and messaging. In this day and age it is a fully-fledged integrated ecosystem made up of a string of touch-points - all configured in such a way to be relevant and useful to the target persona it is positioned to reach, and subsequently leveraged by companies and brands.
The ‘carrot strategies’ do not work wonders in conversions any more, user profiling and trend analysis help tailor ‘standard’ offerings to personalise the experience. Syncing offline and online in a seamless manner, and the move from one to the other by customers, is becoming more frictionless by the day.
Statistics show staggering numbers relating to internet connections, smart phone usage and active social media
This has been the mindset behind The Hive. We help create
accounts. For the most part, we can no longer imagine life
your brand’s presence in an omnichannel approach, which in
without 24/7 access to our ‘second world’ – a virtual construct,
turn produces value for your clients. We also help you optimise
made possible by virtue of the myriad connections we’ve built
your conversion funnel through UX and CX refinements, lending
for ourselves through contemporary tech.
more efficiency to the lifecycle. Business models are constantly
Companies still work the segment-position-target tactic by using an array of digital tools, and ensuring the right touch-points are manned to offer painless on-boarding and a consistently high level of service. Now that the digital ecosystem is used to
changing due to the importance of digitalisation - providing new revenue streams and countless more opportunities. Companies should strive to make the ongoing shift into digital flawless, with user-centricity at its core.
promote one’s messaging or to educate the public, companies
The future lies within new AI advancements and blockchain, with
abandon the megaphone approach to communication, and are
its decentralisation and empowerment of users and customers
now engaging in a more sophisticated round-the-clock, two-way
with full autonomy over their own data. As these developments
communication structure. The nature of digital platforms and
continue to cement our dependence on the digital sphere,
the internet has placed players of different stature on the same
organisations with a head start will be able to truly capitalise on
level of play. Consequently, it is now more difficult than even
the digital cutting edge.
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Visit us at booth S213 125 Georgiou Griva Digeni, 3101, Limassol, Cyprus, +357 25 388 600, www.cardpay.com, email@example.com
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
HOT CAREERS FrontEnd Developer (Full Time)
WordPress Developer (Mid/Senior level) (Full Time)
This position will be based in Stockholm. You will be part of a Scrum team architecting, designing and implementing Game Framework components and features that enable Game teams to focus on creating magical gaming experiences. You will develop, maintain and support our code base to keep it maintainable and up to date with current technology, well designed, and optimized. Visit netent.com for more information.
Game Production Lead (Full Time) As a Game Production Lead at NetEnt you will be responsible for managing new game productions in line with our targets and oversee all aspects of the game’s development, delivery and required governance. You will be working closely with Game PO’s to ensure both timely deliveries and high-quality game design, while at the same time supporting development teams in their work and contributing into building an efficient game development process throughout the organisation. Visit netent.com for more information.
Junior Legal Counsel (Full Time) We are looking for a Junior Legal Counsel with good working knowledge of Maltese gaming laws and UK gaming and contract laws to join our growing team in our office in Malta. If you think you are the right one for this, look no further and contact us. Interested? Apply and send your CV with the subject “Junior Legal Counsel” to firstname.lastname@example.org or apply through LinkedIn.
Product Design Lead, NetEnt Live (Full Time) NetEnt Live is setting up an internal design team and we’re now looking for an experienced product design lead to join our team. As our product design lead you’ll be responsible for designing the user interfaces and interactions of the live games as well as owning the player journeys. As part of your role you’ll also conduct and lead user research for NetEnt Live. You’ll be part of guiding and shaping the expanding portfolio of the NetEnt Live service over time, working with the development teams to ensure player experience continues to be a competitive advantage. Visit netent.com for more information.
Account Manager (Full Time) Playson is looking for Account Management specialists to join our A team, either in the office or working remotely. Candidates will find a fun and flexible environment, where we value positive communication, self-management and conscientiousness. We also value good jokes and secret handshakes. Should we have piqued your interest, please send us your CV and cover letter to email@example.com.
Business Analyst (Full Time)
Sportsbook Manager (Full Time)
Our Data & Analytics team is continuing to grow, and we are looking to add a new Business Analyst (BA) to the team. Each BA will have its own specialisations, responsibility and focus, but we all share the same goal, to support the company with information, structure, process, analysis, reporting & insights!
We are now looking for the next superstar Sportsbook Manager to join our award winning team. As the Sportsbook Manager, you will have overall responsibility for LeoVegas having the most relevant offers for the Swedish and/or Danish markets.
Each BA will be working closely with one or more business departments but will also help out with other projects throughout the Data & Analytics team. Being part of the team will provide you an excellent opportunity to gain a deep insight into LeoVegas as a business, as well as being part of a team who can support and teach each other. You will learn the business from the bottom up in order to contribute and provide helpful insights based on your analysis. You will have a steep learning curve, have excellent opportunities for career development and be expected to take on significant responsibility from day one.
This is a full time role with normal working office hours, Monday-Friday. Competitive guaranteed salary, benefits and modern and relaxed office environment. **Applications in English only please. Visit leovegasaffiliates for more information.
This is a full time role with normal working office hours, MondayFriday. Competitive guaranteed salary, benefits and modern and relaxed office environment. **Applications in English only please. Visit leovegasaffiliates for more information.
Quantitative Research Analyst (Full Time) Tipico is the #1 sports betting company in Germany, both online and through our retail network. You would work in the Bookmaking Department which is in charge of Tipico’s core service – the sports betting offer. The Quantitative Research Analyst is part of the Bookmaking’s QR team which develops & maintains statistical models and tools to assist mainly bookmakers, traders and risk managers in their daily work. Development and implementation of automated solutions and supportive tools will be the core of your job. Interested? Apply now via – http://smrtr.io/KsrP
Sports Copywriter – Norwegian Market (Full Time) LeoVegas is looking to add a new Norwegian Sports Copywriter to our Creative and Brand Department. This is a fantastic opportunity for somebody with a positive, can do attitude, a vast sports knowledge and the desire to become part of a fast-paced and growing company. Reporting to the Sports Creative Lead you will be working alongside other Copywriters within the Creative and Brand Department to deliver high quality sports content for all areas of the business. Competitive guaranteed salary and benefits such as gym allowance, health insurance and modern and relaxed office environment. If you are not based in Malta we will also provide you with a relocation package. **Applications in English only please. Visit leovegasaffiliates for more information.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator (Full Time) Our Salesforce instance which includes Service and Marketing Cloud is used group wide across multiple locations and you will be joining a team of three Salesforce Administrators. Working in a highly dynamic industry and within a central team in Tipico, you will be involved in various projects touching all branches of the business. In this role you will participate in the design, configuration, enhancement and maintenance of marketing cloud, support business users and collaborate with different teams to maximise the value of the platform. We are striving to provide AI infused, multi-channel best in class Marketing and you will be an essential part realizing this goal. Interested? Apply now via – http://smrtr.io/Ksnq
AML Analyst (Full Time) The AML Analyst will be responsible for assisting in, improving and refining the AML procedures set by the company with the main focus on establishing affordability for customers and suggesting the best approach going forward. The chosen candidate will report directly to the AML shift leader.
Our teams are multicultural, cross-functional and self-organized. At Tipico’s technology division we live the agile philosophy.
**Applications in English only please.
Our tech journey has taken us to process millions of transactions every day, in a low latency, high volume environment, pushing the sports betting industry boundaries. As we continue to learn and grow, we are passionate about writing clean, maintainable code in scalable systems in the cloud, being active participants in open-source community and being the pioneers of innovation in our sector.
Visit csbgroup.com for more information.
Interested? Apply now via – http://smrtr.io/Ksn
Hours will include Rotating shifts. Competitive guaranteed salary and benefits such as gym allowance, health insurance and modern and relaxed office environment. If you are not based in Malta we will also provide you with a relocation package.
Full Stack Developer (Full Time)
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator (Full Time) Our Salesforce instance which includes Service and Marketing Cloud is used group wide across multiple locations and you will be joining a team of three Salesforce Administrators. Working in a highly dynamic industry and within a central team in Tipico, you will be involved in various projects touching all branches of the business. In this role you will participate in the design, configuration, enhancement and maintenance of marketing cloud, support business users and collaborate with different teams to maximise the value of the platform. We are striving to provide AI infused, multi-channel best in class Marketing and you will be an essential part realizing this goal. Find out more at tipico-careers.com
QA Engineer (Full Time) As QA Engineer, you will be responsible in creating new testing strategies as well as maintaining existing ones. You must be a strong team player, with a can-do approach who needs minimal supervision, ambitious, and ready to grow with the team. If you are interested in applying and hearing more about this role please send us your CV and portfolio. A portfolio of work covering a range of digital assets must be submitted with your application. Applications will be reviewed in the order within which they were received. Visit heliogaming.com for more information.
Front-End Web Developer (Full Time) We are looking for an experienced Front-End Web Developer who is motivated to combine the art of design with the art of programming. Responsibilities will include translation of the UI/UX design wireframes to actual code that will produce visual elements of the application. You will bridge the gap between graphical design and technical implementation, taking an active role on both sides and defining how the application looks as well as how it works. Candidates will be part of a young, creative and enthusiastic team that is responsible for delivering a dynamite software for companies and individuals alike.
Account Manager (Full Time) We are looking to recruit an Account Manager who enjoys working in a fast-paced, highly dynamic and challenging yet rewarding environment within a young team. He/she must be passionate about Customer Service and First Contact Resolution and be highly motivated to form part of an organisation that has high-quality customer values and champions innovation. Although previous experience in a customer service or contact centre environment is not necessary as full on the job training will be provided, but it will be considered as an advantage. If you think you have what it takes to contribute to our success, we would like to hear from you! Find more information on www.smswarriors.com.
Back-End Business Analyst – Malta (Full Time) We are looking for a Business/Product Analyst to support the development of our gaming platform through requirements gathering, writing detailed specifications as user stories and supporting the development teams through the entire development cycle. The job requires an understanding of the Gaming platform components such as bonus flows, Payments, games integrations and more. www.genesis.com.mt
SEO Specialist – English Speaking Markets (Full Time) Head of Customer Service (Full Time) The Head of Customer Service role is a people’s person role. The main responsibilities include effective resource planning, maintaining all service levels through performing a good quality and coverage of service by supervising team leads and agents, monitoring level of service quality, motivating current team members and identifying whether training is needed, problem solving and reporting to the management.
Do you have the desire to make a difference, and better still, do you know what that takes in the field of Search Engine Optimisation? Well either way, we are looking for a well-organised individual with a fantastic eye for detail to develop the ranking performance of our Englishspeaking markets. Although prior SEO experience would be nice, your ability to produce quality written content, contribute to the greater team good and be counted upon is much more important!
Visit www.videoslots.com for more information.
Visit www.videoslots.com for more information.
Take part of our success. Come see us at our stand at SIGMA.
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
NOC Engineer’s (Full Time) We are looking for some NOC Engineer’s to join our 24/7 team. Operating from the Malta office, having strong technical skills and an unbending desire to make things right, the candidate will be supporting the systems of our casino & sportsbook platform which drives dozens of gaming websites and provides sport events to hundreds of thousands of players worldwide. Visit www.tain.com for more information.
Chief Product Officer (Full Time) The DAO.Casino Chief Product Officer (CPO) is responsible for product vision, product strategy, and the product design, and ensures the delivery and monetisation of the products based on agreed upon dates and ROI. The CPO will oversee every element of the product from its conceptualisation to its launch and post-launch performance. The CPO is broadly responsible for the building of great products that add sustainable value in terms of revenue and profits for the business. The successful candidate will be a person who can demonstrate excellent leadership skills and experience, have a passion for innovation, strategies and total offering. This role offers the opportunity and responsibility to be part of taking the company to the next level on its successful growth journey. Find out more at www.dao.casino.com.
Helpdesk Agent (Full Time) Tain is seeking to expand the Helpdesk team by on boarding a super star Helpdesk Agent. Operating from the Malta offices, the Tain Helpdesk provides 1st line support to its customers, suppliers and partners around the world. We are looking for an energetic person to join as part of this fast moving company in a fast paced industry. Send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Content Manager (Full Time) A start up gaming company is seeking to recruit a very creative, ambitious, positive minded individual to join their team as a Content Writer. You will be responsible for copywriting across multiple formats and audiences to support the Marketing, CRM, Social and Product teams. The salary on offer is around 30K depending on the candidates’ experience.
Account Manager (Full Time, Leeds, England)
Find out more at csbgroup.com.
As an Account Manager within the Client Services team, you will act as the link between the client and the Blueclaw internal operations team, retaining and growing existing business through the pursuit of profitable growth opportunities across your client campaigns. You will be responsible for the management of client campaigns and relationships, as well as providing support to the Account Director, whilst ensuring all campaigns under your charge are performing to the highest standard. This integral role in the client services team requires a proactive, hardworking, confident individual who thrives in a fast-paced working environment. The Account Manager has demonstrable experience in all product areas and manages the day to day client relationships. You will be responsible for the ensuring the client receives the agreed deliverables within the framework outlined in the associated Service Level Agreement (SLA). The Account Manager is expected to add value, guidance and insight to clients at all appropriate times.
Affiliate Manager (Full Time) Our client is seeking to recruit an Affiliate Manager to manage and attract Affiliates while liaising with the Marketing and Design teams. The successful candidate must have a keen interest in Scandinavian markets and will be reporting directly to the Head of Marketing. Find out more at csbgroup.com.
Visit blueclaw.co.uk for more information.
Head of Bingo (Full Time) Risk Manager and Finance Specialist (Full Time) We are looking for a Risk Manager and Finance Specialist who has extensive experience in AML, fraud and payments, to join a start up gaming company here in Malta. The Risk and Fraud Manager will be responsible for actively managing the risks associated with online marketing fraud.
A well-established online gaming company is seeking to recruit a Head of Bingo, who would be responsible for defining, delivering and executing the Bingo strategy for the company. Candidates must be bingo passionate and hold knowledge of Bingo related products. An attractive salary will be offered to the right candidate. Find out more at csbgroup.com.
SiGMA | Whoâ€™s Who
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
WHO’S WHO IN THE MALTA GAMING INDUSTRY
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Kevin Reid CCO 1X2 Network is an independent software company whose HQ is in the UK. Pioneering soft gaming content since 2002, the 1X2 NETWORK consists of 1X2gaming and the new Iron Dog Studio brand that is taking the industry by storm. The group’s platform has a varied portfolio of RNG content including Table Games, Slots, and Virtual Sports created either by one of its own brands, its strategic partner Leap Gaming, or aggregated from several third parties.
Evgenij Kiriushin Head of Business Development 1xBet is a betting company with 8 years offline and online experience. We offer high odds, video streaming, in-house affiliate platform, 100 payment methods, wide range of bonuses, live casino, branded slot games, user friendly interface, multi-language platform and 24/7 CS service. 1xBet works in Europe, CIS, Asia and Africa.
Vadim Fedotov CEO AEToken provides blockchain enabled secure payment solutions for the affiliate marketing industry. Affiliate marketing is the primary lead driver with various industries and AEToken revolutionises these processes by eliminating the need for minimum payouts, reducing complaints with built in dispute resolution and minimising fraud by utilising smart contracts.
Andy Jones Owner/Managing Director Powering iGaming and eSports since 2003.
Roy Pedersen CEO & Chief Editor All-in Translations is the preferred language service provider for companies like Playtech, Betsson, Ladbrokes Coral, BetConstruct and many more. Now they are celebrating 10 years in Malta, and the company is widely regarded as the #1 provider of translation, localisation, content writing, multilingual link building and language proficiency testing for the gaming sector. All-In Translations.com have added esports and crypto as areas of specialisation. 70+ languages.
Dinos Stranomitis COO Altenar is a provider of sportsbook services to licensed gaming operators, ranging from ‘software-only’ product offers to the provision of a fully managed sports betting platform stack. Our software is developed and operated in-house, whilst being powered by premium quality data feeds.
Keith Mangion Livori Head of Business Development Founded in 1999, Tain is one of the most established content and technical services provider in the online gambling industry. In 2013, Tain joined forces with the sportsbook veteran Betting Promotion to strengthen its’ standing as an independent full-service supplier. This approach has been further consolidated in 2018 with the announcement of Tain’s brand: Amazing Gaming, which will purely focus on creating innovative player-facing content while introducing new verticals to its’ suite of in-house products.
www.tain.com / www.amazinggaming.com
Ian Pellicano Managing Director ApcoPay is a fully integrated payments solution, an all-in-one platform that provides clients with all they need to cater for multi-channel and multi-currency payment options through a single interface. The solution is designed to cater for high transaction volumes, scalability and continuous improvement. We are specialists in payment solutions with over 12 years’ industry experience driven by a passionate team of experts. With headquarters in Malta, Apco encompasses a blend of over 26 acquiring partners and over 200+ payment options to 800 merchants in over 25 countries across the globe.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Kristoff Zammit Ciantar CEO
Manfred Galdes Chairman
Aqubix is a specialist IT consultancy and solution provider with specific focus on the automation of regulatory processes. KYC Portal being the flag-ship product of Aqubix, is already helping numerous gaming operators in addressing the major challenges of keeping up with the regulation through automation whilst minimising risk.
A|R|Q Group, is a multi-disciplinary professional services organisation, which provides its local and international clients with bespoke solutions within the corporate, taxation, remote gaming & financial services advisory, risk & AML compliance, trust & fiduciary, shipping & aviation, accounting and economic & business intelligence sectors.
Denis McQuade Sales Director
Tsachi Maimon CEO Aspire Global, the complete iGaming platform, has been offering an “all in one” platform for operators since 2005. Our robust platform features slot games, casino table games, live casino and sports betting, and is certified under 6 jurisdictions. We invite you to join the top-level brands currently enjoying day to day success with us.
Aurum Solutions is a leading supplier and developer of Reconciliation Software. Their flagship software, Groupit, is highly featured and capable of automating complex processes at an affordable cost. The company currently works with many big names in the Gaming industry where they have drastically reduced workload and mitigated financial risk by adding enhanced governance and improving financial control.
Jonas Delin CEO Authentic Gaming is the largest supplier in the world of live tables that are broadcast from the floors of luxurious resorts and casinos. Authentic Gaming’s exclusive roulette portfolio includes LIVE Roulette streaming from the USA, Italy and Denmark, as well as a number of Auto Roulette Games from the Auto Roulette LIVE ARENA, the largest and most hightech auto roulette studio. The company’s LIVE Roulette table range is offered through the most engaging and exciting user experience across all devices.
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 HP finance available. As independent fleet operators we source any vehicle make/model to suit you. We try harder!
Mark Attard CEO 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 also assists clients in blockchain, virtual currencies and DLT related areas.
Sergey Chernyavski Deputy Director, Sales & Marketing Belatra Games provide exciting online games for the iGaming industry. Since 1993, the firm has been accumulating experience, with a closeknit team of professionals which allows them to create high-tech games that operators from different countries use. We are driven by a thirst for new discoveries and a fierce desire to help our partners achieve their goals. Welcome to the world of exciting online slots!
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Kristina Hambardzumyan Regional Director of Malta bet365 is the world’s largest online gambling company. The group employs over 3,500 people and has over 22 million customers worldwide. bet365 secured top spot for the eighth year running in the eGaming Review’s Annual Power 50 for 2017 and claimed the prestigious Operator of the Year and Mobile Sports Product accolades at the 2017 eGaming Review Awards. At the iGaming Business Affiliate Awards 2018, bet365 retained the Best Sports Betting Affiliate Programme award for a fifth year running.
BetConstruct is an award-winning provider of online and land-based gaming solutions. The company’s proven offerings include a range of products and services integrated in SpringBME: Sportsbook, eSports, Sports Data Solutions, Retail Solutions, RNG Casino, Live Dealer Casino, VR Casino, Poker, Skill Games, Fantasy Sports, Social Platform and more.
Alex Kornilov Managing Director BETEGY licenses the analytical data and visualisation systems to global sports betting and media companies like ESPN (USA), Turkcell (Turkey), Ringier Axel Springer (Eastern Europe), Wozhongla.com (China), Yahoo Sports (UK), Bwin (Russia) and others. The team also created an automated self-learning system which predicts outcomes of football games with high accuracy.
Aiste Garneviciene COO 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 multi-channel solution which suits perfectly for land-based betting shops & online business (desktop, mobile).
Valentyn Kyrylenko VP of Business Development
Tobias Brunner Director of Marketing Operations
BetInvest is an international company with in-depth knowledge in developing and providing betting solutions. Having over 18 years in experience and very strong insights into the industry. Well-established technologies enable us to provide fast and safe operations and a unique system of risk management, guaranteeing stable and positive financial profit dynamics all over the world for each of our clients.
Betradar is a brand of Sportradar, a global leader in understanding and leveraging the power of sports data. We provide all services in order to run a bookmaker operation, including fixtures, results, odds compiling, trading tools, in-running services, risk management, betting stimulation tools, live streaming services, innovative gaming solutions and eSports betting solutions.
Annamaria Anastasi Marketing Director Betsoft Gaming develops innovative casino games for desktop and mobile. It’s 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 additional licenses in Romania and Curaçao. In addition, Betsoft is fully authorised to distribute content in multiple regulated markets, including Italy and Denmark.
Jesper Svensson CEO of Betsson’s operations With 17 brands, including Betsafe.com, Betsson.com, NordicBet.com and CasinoEuro, offering sportsbook, casino and other games, Betsson Group is one of the world’s largest gaming groups, at the heart of entertainment for over five decades. The company’s vision is to provide the best customer experience in the industry – listening to, and learning from, it’s customers, and then exceeding their expectations. Betsson Group is wholly owned by Betsson AB – listed on Nasdaq Stockholm Large Cap.
THE PLATFORM WITH ALL THE TOOLS YOU DIDNÂ´T KNOW YOU COULD HAVE. #ChooseTheEasy
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Chuck Robinson New Business Development Manager BetSys is the 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 back-end applications which collaborate together and bring a proven method of 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.
Arman Ovsepyan Owner The company was founded in 2011. We have unique experience in product development and operation. Our current portfolio consists of 14 unique live games such as keno, poker, bingo, money wheel and other games based on bets on numbers which are powered by built-in live technology. We constantly improve the quality of our customers’ service.
Srdjan Kapor Affiliate & Marketing Manager
Vassilis Trochalidis CEO
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.
Bit8’s innovative platform supports business growth and acts as a source of competitive advantage for all its operator partners. It is one of the industry’s most reliable platform solutions, delivering growth and broad gamification, without encountering scalability obstacles. Bit8 comes with experience in multiple markets and product verticals, including casino, sportsbook, sports pool and lottery.
Zisimos Stavropoulos Senior Account Manager Blexr is a performance marketing company which generates leads of the highest quality. We work with more than 800 brands, including the most prominent names in online casinos, sports betting, poker and forex. We’re always looking for talented staff to join us, and forwardthinking partners to work with.
BlockChip is the future of iGaming. By combining the latest blockchain and AI technologies, BlockChip is developing an iGaming platform with near-instant transaction speeds, zero transaction fees, seamless gameplay and unrivalled security. The platform will feature potentially unlimited games from a decentralised game development hub, giving players greater choice than ever before.
Martin Calvert Marketing Director Blueclaw is an industry-leading digital agency, providing SEO, content marketing, advertising and data services to betting & gaming operators and affiliates. Blueclaw’s gaming expertise has been recognised this year with major wins at the UK Search Awards, European Search Awards, Drum Search Awards and Northern Digital Awards.
Mark Suwankumpoo CEO
Filippo Ferri Director of iGaming and New Product Strategy BMM is the longest established and most experienced private independent gaming certification lab in the world, providing professional technical and regulatory compliance services to the gaming industry since 1981. BMM is a systems-expert company that has provided consulting for and tested many of the largest gaming networks and systems.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Franz Gerhart CEO
Frederick Niehusen CCO
In pursuit of our credo in becoming Europe´s most personal gaming entertainment operator, BonkersBet.com offers their customers more than 3,500 casino games as well as over 30,000 in-play and 55,000 pre-match events each month together with great promotions, outstanding customer support and innovative technology. BonkersBet. com, personal online gaming!
Booming Games deliver high-end, next level gaming to the slots market. Utilising the knowledge of seasoned experts, they offer an established portfolio encompassing uniquely themed games, innovative features and volatilities to satisfy every spectrum of the player market. They harness proven formulas for success, combined with the latest developments in the gaming industry to deliver a winning experience.
Catalina Lukianenko COO
Charles Bonici Mompalao Managing Director
BOSS. is an independent world-class software developer and provider of high class online and land-based gaming solutions. We have more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry. We also provide our clients with full assistance in marketing, affiliates, licensing, accounting, management, customer service, technology, operational support, etc.
Brandit is a Maltese company focused on the supply of promotional items, large format printing, digital printing, embroidery, engraving and offset printing. We supply all kind of goods, from a simple pen to made to measure products. We look forward to suppling you with a unique tailored solution that will surely meet your requirements!
Håkan Frostne CEO
Dmitry Arabuli Head of Affiliates
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.
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.
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.
Anthon Jahreskog Affiliate Manager & Co-Founder Casino Calzone is a recent arrival on the online casino scene with a unique pizza-themed, superior platform-agnostic user experience, highly tailored CRM engine, and Holy Calzone! – an innovative loyalty programme appealing to players across the value spectrum. Casino Calzone is targeting mainly the UK and Scandinavian markets.
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Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Per Hellberg 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.
Itamar Ronen CRO 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 to ad serving and regulation tools.
Daniel Gambin COO Cerberus was born out of frustration. Frustration with complicated systems that don’t work, frustrated with lack of scalability, frustration with never ending projects. What has resulted from this is a gaming platform like no other, built for speed, for flexibility and for reliability. We believe that the customer experience is what sets a product above the rest, and everything we do is focused on a better experience for the customer. Our goal is to position Cerberus as the trusted tech partner to the industry. We manage your tech, so you can manage your business.
Peter Williams CCO Continent 8 Technologies is an award-winning, multi-jurisdictional hosting & network solutions provider that connects, manages, and secures the online gaming industry’s most valuable information. Our advanced data centres and high-quality networks support critical online operations in both private and public sector organisations in over 30 locations across Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Tom Bloor Head of B2B Founded in 2013, Cryptopay has made bitcoin accessible to consumers and businesses for years. We provide merchants with a simple and secure gateway, so they can accept bitcoin from customers instantly, with zero friction. We settle daily in traditional currency – or immediately in bitcoin!
Roger A. Strickland Jr Director & iGaming Consultant CSB Group provides its clients with a spectrum of specialised business and commercial services, offering a complete turnkey solution to clients wishing to set-up or relocate their iGaming business to Malta. The Group, operator of VacancyCentre, is able to provide the iGaming industry with complete recruitment solutions whilst guaranteeing efficient and personalised services with maximum confidentiality.
Anton Cristina Executive Director CSL Data Centre Services is offering private cloud, shared cloud and colocation services to 100+ clients in the gaming industry and financial services industry.
Tony Axisa CEO Cybergaming Consultants is the brainchild of Anthony Axisa, a lawyer by profession and former legal and enforcement director of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta, who has co-authored and drafted Malta’s Remote Gaming Regulations, and Michael J. Bianchi, a director of long standing. Cybergaming Consultants has been conceived as a tailor-made solution to your requirements. When using our wide-array of services you will know that at Cybergaming Consultants we are true to our promises.
SiGMA | Who’s Who
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Ilya Tarutov CEO DAO.Casino is disrupting the iGaming industry by developing the protocol based on Ethereum blockchain technology. The protocol ensures the automation of transactions and facilitates interactions between all the industry participants: casino operators, game developers, and affiliates. DAO.Casino team is fully dedicated to developing the best products and making the gambling industry a better place.
Denitza Dimitrova Managing Partner 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.
Malcolm Booker CEO Deloitte Malta is a multidisciplinary firm which offers a range of professional services, within a network of firms in more than 150 countries and territories, all committed to making an impact that matters. Deloitte has the largest, award-winning, international tax practice in Malta, a dedicated financial services practice, an audit and assurance team, a financial advisory arm and a growing consulting practice – all servicing a vast range of national and international organisations.
Daniel Friberg Head of Sales iGaming iGaming Audience Platform – a product by Delta Projects. iGaming Audience is a programmatic platform for campaign management and execution, ad-serving, machine-learning, analysis and reporting. Delta Projects develop smart campaign management solutions for efficient online advertising so that our clients can improve their 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.
Alexander Udalyi CBDO Decentralised B2B gaming platform with zero comissions, encrypted user wallets and built-in currency exchange. We offer solutions for web, mobile, brick-and-mortar and TV.
Marcos Toran Head of Business Development Easy Payment Gateway is the real one stop solution for the gambling industry. We offer an online gateway with over 250 solutions and acquirers worldwide. We offer all the tools that a operator needs to manage their payments and fraud through one very simple API. Forget about those fix reports, or fix fraud or payment rules, we give the operator the option to decide based on their needs. Also our integration makes possible the operator to host the cashier, without the need of being PCI. Come and see us!
Paul Marcantonio Head of UK & Western Europe
Jonathan Amrani Director of Operations
Ecommpay is an international payment service provider, direct bankcard acquirer and engineering bespoke payment solutions for clients worldwide. Our payment gateway facilitates an omnichannel payment process, combining and acquiring, alternative payment methods, payout capabilities, and technological innovation within a single, seamless integration.
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 lowcost and simple means of paying individuals and staff worldwide.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Dominic-Daniel Liénar CEO edict gaming GmbH develops cutting-edge casino software for the gaming industry. As a subsidiary of Merkur Interactive, edict is part of the Gauselmann Group and distributor of the Merkur slots. edict provides established online operators as well as industry newcomers with two remarkable gaming products: edict Game Solution and Turnkey Solution.
Michael Golembo Sales Director EgamingOnline has been serving affiliates worldwide for over 12 years and offers the best deals and support in the industry. All their brands are well known for effective workable promotions, solid player support and high conversion rates. EGO guarantees that if you are looking to promote one brand or all of them they will work with you every step of the way. Their dedicated team of experienced affiliate managers provide 24/7 support in many languages, easily accessible campaign trackers and a newly developed self -exclude API tool for sending mailers and sms. They will always be there for you!
Todor Zahariev Managing Director EGT Interactive brings the 15 years of experience of the EGT’s land-based casino slots to the world of online casino games. Our more than 150 games are known worldwide in more than 85 countries.The proven engine, attractive RTP, high execution quality of the video slots and the Mystery Jackpot feature are only some of the advantages that build our strong base of dedicated players and attract new users.
Chris Thomas General Manager Emailage is a global leader in helping companies reduce online fraud. Powering our best-in-class predictive risk intelligence, key partnerships, proprietary data and machine-learning technology. We help companies fight back against fraudsters, scale into new markets and focus on what matters - growing business.
Chris Smart SVP
Germano Arno Founder & CEO
emerchantpay is a leading online, mobile and POS payment service provider. We help e-commerce businesses of all sizes and sectors accept payments via multiple customer touch points. Designed to increase conversions, our offering includes robust payment processing technology, coupled with popular alternative payment methods and a range of acquiring services.
Em@ney is a provider of financial services and innovative banking solutions. Fully licensed by MFSA as an Electronic Money Institution since 2013. We offer banking platforms, also in white-label and API, that guarantee safe transactions, AML and anti-terrorism compliant, thanks to the use of proprietary screening tools that prevent anonymous and unlawful users.
Anastasia Rimskaya Business Development Manager Endorphina is a producer of HD slot games. Our colourful game themes, which focus on details are deeply researched, vary from classic Egyptians in “Temple Cats” to fruits in “7up!” and first of a kind themes like cryptocurrency “Satoshi´s Secret.” All our slot creations are done by our in-house team.
MIkael Hansson CEO and Co-Founder Enteractive is a leading provider of player retention solutions for the iGaming industry. Co-founded by CEO Mikael Hansson, the company specialises in player reactivation and customer support services. Enteractive received its responsible gaming accreditation from the Global Gaming Guidance Group and is committed to supporting the responsible policies of its operator clients. Their clients include names such as Kindred Group, Betsson Group and GIG.
The Forestals Group is renowned for its high-end brands such as HP, Sony, CTouch, Miele, Smeg, Pergo, Burmatex and many others. By consolidating all products and services offered by the Group of Companies, we specialise in providing a one-stop shop for complete office fit-out solutions complemented with cutting-edge technology required in demanding industries.
Mriehel Bypass, Mriehel T: 2343 6000 E: email@example.com W: forestalsgroup.com
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Tiziana Cannizzaro Sales & Marketing Director
Christian Diegelmann CEO
The Espresso Games brand was created in 2002 and is currently under the ownership of Talenta International Limited, with the head office in London and representative offices in Malta, Bogotà, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Miami. In 2017 the Milan office was opened, dedicated to the production of new, highly stylish games and to the diffusion of the brand in major strategic markets.
Euro Payment Group (EPG) leverages the unique advantage of a deep industry knowledge combined with strong technical expertise to provide customised and optimised payment solutions for various kinds of online merchants. With it’s licensed financial institution, EPG encompasses a blend of over 15 acquiring partners and 200 payment options worldwide.
Dmitry Starostenkov CEO EvenBet Gaming is an innovative online gaming supplier providing innovative omnichannel poker platform, daily fantasy sports software, and integrating casino games and sports betting solutions. In 12 years of development and gaming products delivery, the company has launched more than 60 real money and crypto based poker projects.
Ebbe Gros CEO EveryMatrix is a multi-award winning iGaming software provider, delivering a comprehensive product suite including a fully managed sportsbook, the largest casino content aggregator on the market, a complete gaming and payment processing platform, and a stand-alone affiliate/agent management system. Our products work independently and can be easily integrated with existing platforms to accommodate different types of clients from bookmakers to lotteries, and from existing large operations to newcomers. With offices and servers across Europe and Asia, EveryMatrix delivers custom-built solutions and localised service.
Paul Goedtke Senior Partner Manager
Alexandr Levchenko CEO
EVO Payments, Inc. was founded in 1989. It is headquartered in New York and is a principal member of Visa and Mastercard. It’s international presence stretches across the USA, Canada, Mexico and Europe. EVO Payments International GmbH offers all of the cashless payment services in e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail.
Evoplay Entertainment is a game developer of slots, table and instant games. Since 2017, over 50 games were delivered and a Curaçao license was received with UKGC and MGA, which will be coming early 2019. Evoplay Entertainment is an innovator in iGaming for developing the first in it’s kind 3D/VR in-browser slot, called “Necromancer”.
Aleksandar Saric Senior Partner & CEO EXEFEED is a company specialised in odds calculation, as well as in creating applications for sports betting. Currently 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. LIVE MATCH TRACKERS - Following the latest trends, we have developed Live Match Trackers in order to increase your customer engagement. GOAL RACE - a unique and brand new game on the market.
Adrian Sciberras CEO and Founder Fairwinds Management Limited is a company formation and administration specialist offering an extensive range of corporate, legal and financial services including Malta and offshore company formations, holding and trading structures, opening of bank accounts, VAT and tax applications, gaming licenses, and other administration tasks related to your new set up.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Martin Prantner Founder & CEO Founded in 2008, Finnplay provides a handcrafted open iGaming platform with the option for operators to own the source code and be in control of their own development road-map. The platform is compliant in the regulated gaming jurisdictions of Malta, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Mexico, and Curaçao, providing access to some of the largest player gambling markets.
Mikhail Bogdanov Founder Fire Lotto is the world’s first decentralised lottery using Ethereum smart contracts. On January 1 2018, three draw lottery games were launched on the Fire Lotto platform.
John Farrugia Randon Head of Commercial Sales The Forestals Group is renowned for its high-end brands such as HP, Sony, CTOUCH, Miele, Smeg, Pergo and many others. By consolidating all products and services offered by the group of companies, we specialise in providing a one-stop shop for complete office fit-out solutions complemented with cutting-edge technology required in demanding industries.
Adrian Gatt Head of Business Development 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.
Antoine Szczot CEO
Ollie Woods CCO
Gambling Affiliation is the leading independent affiliate network specialised in sportsbook, poker, casino and horse racing online campaigns. Working with the leading brands from the gaming industry, Gambling Affiliation recruits thousands of deposit players on a monthly basis thanks to our affiliate network of more than 35,000 affiliates.
GamblingCompliance is the leading provider of independent legal, regulatory, and business intelligence to the global gambling industry. Trusted by leading names all over the world, our independent analysis of legal and policy developments helps power more informed understanding and effective decision making.
Sylvain Boniver CEO
Andrea Sipone CEO
GAMING1 is a company that provides a complete range of services and solutions to help casinos and sports betting sites optimise themselves. This full-service partner specialises in high-performance online casino and sports projects, and offers everything from consultancy, platforms, marketing, CRM, management, investments and more.
Founded in 2016, Gamshy is an Italian start-up providing casino games and betting services, aiming to create alternative ways to play, pursuing design and playability. Today Gamshy is a gaming lab, where design meets engineering priming a revolution of the traditional game concept. A portfolio of nine games will be presented at SiGMA.
CHANGE. FAIL. LEAD. Welcome Change. Embrace Failure. Take the Lead.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Taku Sawada Ganapati PLC CMO, Ganapati Malta CEO Ganapati PLC is an international company comprising of game studios, media platforms and production companies and ICO, with offices in London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Malta, Taiwan, Estonia and Curaçao. Our content is designed to engage players like never before by offering a completely new mix of gaming and entertainment, our products are truly unique. We combine the traditional European iGaming experience with an authentic Japanese flavour that can only be found with Ganapati. Our innovative approach means that the games you’ll find are truly distinctive and refreshing.
Ariel Reem CEO Genesis Group was established back in 2014 and has been rapidly growing since day one, now with seven 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 and 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!
Helen Westmoreland MD & Co-Founder Giftpoint has been delivering first class creative promotional solutions to brands and businesses alike for over two decades and are now one of the largest and most trusted promotional gift suppliers in the UK and Europe. Giftpoint are one of the leading international suppliers of gifts and merchandise for corporate and promotional marketing, with an impressive portfolio of gaming and major blue chip clients across the globe. Despite its growth, Giftpoint still manages to maintain the right balance of small company service, with large company peace of mind and support.
Robin Reed 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.
Elaine Gardiner Head of Affiliates Global Gaming offers B2C and B2B gaming products and services to partners and consumers in regulated and emerging markets. It’s flagship product Ninja Casino has revolutionised the customer sign-up process by removing traditional registration requirements and featuring a bespoke payment solution that ensures most winnings are paid within 5 minutes.
Martin Wachter Founder & CEO Golden Race creates award-winning virtual sports and complete, flexible, and cost-effective omnichannel betting solutions - specifically tailored to customer needs, wherever they operate. Easy to set up, scalable, and reliable 24/7 virtual betting with an ever-growing suite of proven virtual sports and casino games to quickly engage players.
James Curwen CEO Golden Rock Studios is a new games studio founded by industry experts James Curwen and Will Mathieson. A highly-anticipated roadmap of 12 games is set for release in 2019 with their first game Star Gods launching in December. Delivering the highest quality content, developing innovative game concepts, engaging gameplay and industry leading user-centric design.
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 it’s 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-of-the-art platform and custom commission plans so you can optimise your campaigns and promote GOWILD’s brands – your way.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Gernot Baumgart Head of Marketing & Sales Greentube Internet Entertainment Solutions, the global interactive unit of NOVOMATIC, is a leading developer and supplier of iGaming solutions. Greentube is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NOVOMATIC Group, one of the biggest producers and operators of gaming technologies and one of the largest integrated gaming companies in the world. Greentube’s industry leading omnichannel technology allows the convergence of online, mobile and land-based games. The well-diversified product portfolio includes classic slots, table games, live dealer gaming, awp reloaded slots, server based gaming, social casino gaming, bingo and more.
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, multicurrency 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.
Yancy Naughton CEO The HasTraffic family of brands including WantsTraffic, CPC Email Exchange and HasSocial make up a multichannel traffic platform. We are the best place to trade email, sms, domain, pop, search, redirect, push notifications and social. Ask us about buying and selling these channels, as well as novel ad units like back button, thank you page, and exit intent which can provide more revenue from the traffic you already have.
Richard Mifsud CEO Helio Gaming offers a fully-scalable lottery engine system delivering multiple API functionality. It can accommodate existing gaming platforms, customer relationship management, campaign management, affiliate management and other marketing automation tools. It’s portfolio includes a host of custom-made lottery games, including the flagship brand Lotto Hero.
Bryan Blake CEO & Founder
Mikael Jansson Head of Marketing Hero Gaming strives to be the innovators of the online gaming industry, always advancing while delivering excellence in all aspects of our products. Our vision of redefining and creating wow experiences for our customers is the guiding light for the organisation.
The payment experts for the iGaming industry, Hexopay Limited, is a leading online payments company providing services specifically for global iGaming and managed risk merchants. Hexopay’s innovative solutions enable online operators to take secure payments, maximise their growth potential and run their day-to-day operations while managing risk and payment fraud.
Erik Gjerde CEO Highlight Media helps people make 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.
Laurent Reysbosch SVP HiPay offers iGaming websites, digital content publishers and e-tailors the most relevant payment methods to grow their business. Their solutions benefit from two European banking licences - payment institution and e-money issuer. Hipay’s core activities rely on three main pillars - a unique expertise, a technological innovation and a constant search for optimisation.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
David Pope Head of Marketing and Sales
Stav Zilberstein Co-Founder & CEO
We are specialists in identity confirmation products for the gaming industry, offering two unique solutions – HooYu Identify, our global identity confirmation service that combines identity technologies to speed up KYC checks and HooYu Investigate, a ground-breaking data visualisation platform, enabling operators to discover hidden connections in any type of investigation.
Hyperion Tech is a dedicated IT teams company for mid and long-term projects based in Malta. We build outstanding passionate dedicated teams. We know that by creating the right company culture, teams form in their true potential and that is exactly what we do. Hyperion is a disruptive force in the IT market thanks to a lean and effective approach for enterprise clients.
Jamie Debono Director
Mario Fiorini Director
With 25,000+ learners online, 1,500+ classroom attendees and 60+ corporate clients, iGaming Academy is the industry’s foremost provider of compliance and skills-based training. Available in eLearning or faceto-face format and delivered via our state-of-the-art, fully customisable learning management system, our course portfolio is trusted by online gambling, land-based casino and betting shop businesses worldwide.
iGamingAdvisors is a turnkey solution for implementing the 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 start-up. iGamingAdvisors offer key function roles, TAX, setting up of ICOs, white paper review and more.
Roderick Briffa Business Development Executive i-GSN offers a fully customisable and user friendly back office including RNG Games, live casinos & sportsbook, all integrated into one seamless wallet. Ad hoc development projects are also considered. Our large variety of payment providers will allow you to choose the best option for your operational needs. Check our website for more info.
Pierre Mallia Managing Director iMovo specialises in Customer Experience Management (CEM), Business Intelligence (BI), Big Data Analytics and Workforce Management. By blending 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 Planday, Qlik, Salesforce, Tableau, Talend and Zendesk.
Ali Özsevim Sales Manager vNet is a sport betting and casino platform built with the latest technology. The InPlayNet platform offers the complete package and encompasses all aspects of a platform into a system which is truly omnichannel and is suited for both offline and online sports betting and casinos.
Antoine Vella Managing Director Ipoint International Ltd. is a branding and marketing company delivering a spectrum of services namely, graphic design, stand design & management, website design & development, video explainers, up to 3D & game assets creations. Our three pillars are aesthetic, function & philosophy. Ipoint creates impressing concepts, transmitting the right message that lasts.
Accept Bitcoin Payments Integrate bitcoin payments into your business and carry out convenient and swift payouts cryptopay.me
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Kevin Reid CCO Iron Dog Studio is the newest brand built on the 1X2 Network that produces high production slots and casino games. All content is available for the UK, Malta, Gibraltar, IOM, Italy, Spain and Colombia. This creative studio creates innovative and ground-breaking concepts using the latest technology for a superior gaming experience that both entertains players and provides a great range of content for casino managers and marketers alike.
Michael Probert Business Development Director iSoftBet is a premium online casino software provider offering a remarkable collection of Flash and HTML5 mobile games including branded content from some of the world’s largest TV and film studios. iSoftBet also allows operators to benefit from over 20 additional game providers’ content in one swift integration with its Gaming Aggregation Platform.
Ramon Monros CEO Italtronic S.L. is a well known consultancy company specialised in the gaming sector with more than 20 years of experience in business and commercial development and prominent international customers in Europe and Latin America involved in both land-based and online gaming. Italtronic’s headoffice is in Spain with branch and local staff in Italy, Colombia, Roumania and USA.
Marzio Panelli CEO Ivyn is a start-up company founded by people with vast experience in sectors such as software development, e-commerce, payments and online gaming with a common vision and mission to “bring cryptocurrencies into everyday life in an easy way”. The Ivyn Digital Currency is a payment platform for managing cryptocurrencies and includes functions such as real time transfers, virtual prepaid crypto card, multi-cryptocurrency wallet, wallet recover system, merchant api integration and cryptocurrencies exchange.
Alisher Abdulkadyrov Company Director Jeton Wallet is an online payment provider operating in more than 200 countries with 27 currencies. Jeton has payment solutions for your local and global expansions, delivering the best local payments in every market. Make payments and withdraw funds in a simple, quick and secure way which includes instant banking.
Join Games Malta Ltd is a B2B casino and poker provider founded in 2014, our games are made entirely in-house and are certified under this jurisdiction: Malta (MGA), Italy (AAMS), Curaçao, Colombia, Isle of Man and many more on the way.
Anies Khan Head of Sales, EMEA Jumio Netverify® enables businesses to dramatically reduce fraud, increase customer conversions, and simplify regulatory compliance (e.g. GDPR, AML and KYC). Jumio leverages AI, machine learning, computer vision, biometrics and human review to quickly and reliably verify a user’s online identity around the globe. Visit Jumio at Stand B32.
Luigi Spina COO
Arnaud Serour Managing Director Karamba is a leading online gaming brand built on the foundations of fun, laughter and doing things differently. 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! Join our unique affiliate program.
SiGMA | Who’s Who
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Stefano De Gemmis Chief Business Development Officer Kheper Software House Ltd is a Maltese company developing blockchain solutions for the gambling industry. Together with our partners, we have developed a gaming platform to help licensed operators and other gambling businesses enter the cryptocurrency world. If you think blockchain is the future, let’s chat about it!
Henrik Tjanstrom CEO Kindred Group (previously Unibet Group) is one of the largest online gambling companies in the world with more than 23 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. Our office is located at Tigne Point and we offer career opportunities within customer service, player safety, tech, online marketing, creative design and much more.
Dennis Mark Gauci Partner - International Clients KSi Malta is a corporate and private client advisory, accounting, audit and tax firm providing a full range of financial, legal and business advisory services to a diversified client base. KSi Malta is a member of Morison KSi, a global association of leading professional service firms, established to meet cross-border accounting, auditing, tax and business consulting needs of clients. It consists of 160 member firms, is present in 82 countries, employs over 10,000 staff and has a turnover of over $1 billion.
Alan Alden Director Kyte.Global is operating in 49 countries, headquartered in Malta with regional offices in Kiev, Ukraine and offers a range of risk management services across a wide variety of industries. We help clients identify their risk areas and support them in implementing practical and cost effective solutions. Our objective is to assist companies heavily reliant on information and communications technologies to achieve their business objectives in a secure manner. The services that Kyte provides include remote aming licensing, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, information security training, fraud management solutions, GDPR, AML and crypto compliance and licensing.
Massimo Matteazzi Head of Affiliate Marketing L&L Europe Ltd is the top choice for players and affiliates! We have 13 uniquely-themed casinos that run on a state-of-the-art platform. Our loyal players love our high-quality games, smooth gameplay, innovative features and plentiful promotions. Also our affiliates love our deals! Let’s strike one today – come join the fun!
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 global 5,5Tbps network, and 18 data centres strategically located around the world, Leaseweb connects customers to solutions that fit both their unique infrastructure needs and business goals.
Petra Blixt Head of Sales LeoVegas was 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.
Michael Pedersen CEO & Co-Founder LetsBet.com is a new and innovative online casino with a focus on live streaming and social features. Their mission is to remove the feeling of isolation from the online casino experience.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Witold Gedymin Managing Director LottoPlanet is the ultimate lottery experience, providing customers with dozens of lotteries with the best customer service and a user-friendly system. LottoPlanet is developed by WizardLotto which delivers successful online gambling brands and software solutions. For many years, our business ventures provide our clients with the best services in lotto, casino and betting.
Katarina Lilja Sales Manager Thanks to LottoWarehouse, operators can add the world’s biggest lottery jackpots to their platform, with all higher-tier payouts guaranteed by a jackpot coverage model. Jackpots available include America’s record-breaking Powerball and Mega Milliions, Europe’s EuroMillions and EuroJackpot and several more. Players benefit from an exciting new vertical and the chance to win hundreds of millions. Operators gain an exciting, zero risk new product capable of generating huge revenues. LottoWarehouse are licensed by the MGA and the UK Gambling Commission and powers several major websites, including Multilotto.
Lorena Torregrosa Auzmendi COO Our entrepreneurial journey began in 1972 in the land-based gaming industry. Luckia is currently executing an ambitious strategic plan with a strong digital focus. We are present in Spain, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Portugal, Croatia and Malta and in the year 2021 we expect to operate in twelve countries.
Giovanni Garrisi CEO Magellan Robotech Ltd, ISO / IEC 27001 certified, creates gaming platforms for both the online and retail market, 3D virtual games, lotteries, betting solutions and services. All the products are bespoke for every single client.
Mario Galea Chief Mentor The Malta Blockchain Hub is made up of the Blockchain Labs and the Blockchain Studios. The Labs performs testing for compliance with the Virtual Financial Assets and Digital Innovation Technologies Regulations. The studios offer hot desking facilities to start-up companies setting in Malta including, corporate services and an application process for Malta ICO and blockchain licenses.
Agne Galvelyte Head of Legal & Compliance Matching Visions is an affiliate’s best friend, and to date, we’ve made life a lot easier for almost 2000 affiliates. With just 1 signup, 1 login and 1 point of contact, affiliates get access to a long string of high value CPA, Hybrid, CPL and flat RevShare campaigns. With everything under one roof, affiliates need to look no further to grow their business. Matching Visions is the fastest growing affiliate network in the industry and we have no plans on slowing down. With our highly competitive deals and state-of-the-art software, affiliates no longer need to chase deals, payments and keep track of piles of different login details.
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.
Elmira Timirova Senior Affiliate Manager Join the affiliate program whose brands are challenging the status quo of the gaming industry! Be it the supercharge feature at SlottyVegas or the esports betting at VulkanBet, we are on a constant journey to challenge the industry and ourselves.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Malcolm Briffa Director of Business Services Melita is Malta’s leading provider of next generation broadband, fixed and wireless connectivity services. It owns and operates Malta’s largest data centre facility built to Tier 3 specifications. Through redundant submarine fiber cables connecting Malta to mainland Europe, Melita provides high quality connectivity to Malta’s growing financial, online and technology service provider sectors through its Milan-based peering capabilities to the world’s leading connectivity providers.
Heathcliff Farrugia Chief Executive Officer Considered as one of the most reputable regulators within the global gaming industry, the Malta Gaming Authority is also renowned for being a role model for other jurisdictions, thanks to its focus on consumer protection, crime prevention and the highest standards of governance and supervision of the gaming sector.
Marco Castaldo General Manager Microgame S.p.A. is the leading service provider for the online gaming and land-based betting markets in Italy, providing complete, turnkey gaming solutions in all verticals. A pioneer in multichannel service, Microgame powers over 50 licensed operators and 80 brands spanning online and land-based gaming. With its flexible, multichannel solutions, and its outsourcing capabilities, Microgame guarantees the fastest access to the regulated national market. Our success is based on strong partnerships with our clients for whom Microgame is not just an extraordinary service provider but a real strategic partner.
Roger Raatgever CEO Home to the world’s largest progressive jackpot network, Microgaming is the leading supplier of casino, poker, bingo, sportsbook, live dealer and back-office software, providing 600+ gaming brands worldwide with access to 850+ casino games and a branded portfolio that includes Playboy, Terminator 2™, Jurassic Park™, Jurassic World™ and Game of Thrones™.
Kevin Abela Territory Channel Manager
Paul Kavanagh CEO
Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and it’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. All Microsoft® products have been designed to broaden individual and business opportunities.
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.
Nigel Camilleri Director The electric scooter is the way forward for Malta and we’re excited to be associated with the face of change. We believe that we have the ideal two-wheelers to suit the local commuter and will do our very best to evoke this transition. Traffic, parking problems and pollution will become a thing of the past. Win win!
John Michael Mizzi CEO & Founder MizziSoft’s workforce management/HR/payroll software is the best fully integrated software for managing iGaming employees. It includes recruitment, onboarding, work load forecasting, work schedules, leave planning, attendance, HR, training, appraisals, performance, payroll and a powerful employee portal. All the data passes seamlessly from one module to the other. It is all web-based so it’s very easy to deploy. All this functionality is available for the price of a cappuccino per employee per month subscription!
iNTERGAMINGi Affiliates is distributed as a separate supplement or within iNTERGAMINGi magazine to all the leading igaming affiliate events in 2018 / 19. Each issue of iNTERGAMINGi incorporates opinion, speciﬁc analysis and data speciﬁc to the aﬃliates sector as well as interviews and comment pieces from the key names in the aﬃliate community, both emerging and established. Critical to succeeding in such a highly competitive sector are agile digital marketing and retention strategies. Aﬃliate programmes and aﬃliate infrastructure solution providers that choose to be included within iNTERGAMINGi’s aﬃliate section will gain access to the magazine’s international readership with multiple show distribution.
Malta Blockchain Summit, Entertainment Arena Expo, ICE Africa, CEEGC, PayExpo Europe, Prague Gaming Summit, ICE North America, Belgrade Future Gaming, Betting on Sports, IGBLive! Cyprus Gaming Show, Disrupting Online Gambling, World Gaming Executive Summit, Gaming in Holland, G2E Las Vegas, Lisbon Aﬃliate Conference, SAGSE Buenos Aires, BEGE Bulgaria, BIG Africa, ICE Totally Gaming, LAC, iGaming Asia, Games Forum London,
G2E Macau, Betting on Football, SIGMA, AﬃliateFest, Aﬃliate World Europe (tbc), Online Bingo & Slots Summit (tbc). We would love to hear from companies looking to promote aﬃliate programs and services, as well as experts on acquisition, conversion and optimisation strategies across the igaming, sportsbook, bingo, lottery and binary sectors. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive 12-month campaign or to target a speciﬁc market or region, there is an issue of iNTERGAMINGi to help you reach the right aﬃliate audience. A free digital version of iNTERGAMINGi and its Aﬃliates supplement will be sent to the membership of our iGaming and Casino Gambling World Network LinkedIn group, totalling more than 22,000 professionals worldwide.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
+44 (0)161 633 0100 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Whoâ€™s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Bel Oshana CEO
Moreno Tanfani Head of Horse Racing Business
Mobilots develops customised slots for operators to distinguish their brands in a crowded and competitive iGaming industry. In addition, the existing Mobilots portfolio consists of over 50 new to market HTML5 slots, with new game releases every month. Renowned operators are encouraged to contact email@example.com
MST is a provider of B2B services for horse racing, gaming platform, odds fixed, risk management, odds display, live video streaming and satellite, set-top box service. MST is a leading operator of the Italian horse racing market and provides turnkey service ready European and non-European countries.
Jens Bader Co-Founder
Clemence Dujardin General Manager
MuchBetter is a new payments app for iGaming. MuchBetter allows customers to transfer and receive funds in real time, combining state-ofthe-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.
MyAffiliates provides a cutting-edge affiliate management platform. MyAffiliates platform gives operators the confidence that their affiliate program is going to meet the growing demands of the industry. With powerful reporting modules, real-time click tracking and detailed statistics available, affiliates love to work with programs powered by MyAffiliates.
Therese Hillman CEO
Athena Tam Marketing Executive n2-LIVE, which was established in 2013, adopts the live-streaming technology and game data exclusively authorised and provided by EA, and now has become a leading role in mobile gaming solution provider in the industry. Currently more than 100 well-known gaming operators throughout the world are using n2-LIVE, due in large part to its good reputation and great credibility.
NetEnt AB (publ) is a leading digital entertainment company, providing premium gaming solutions to the most successful online casino operators. Since 1996, NetEnt has been a pioneer in driving the market with thrilling games powered by a cutting-edge platform, and is committed to helping customers stay ahead of the competition.
George Sarris CTO
Tony Leone Head of Affiliate Marketing
With a decade of presence in the European iGaming industry, NetShop ISP is, today, one of the most preferred choices for dedicated servers, rack collocation and virtual server hosting in Malta, Cyprus and the United Kingdom. Come and talk to us at SiGMA 2018 to learn more about our brand new hosting platform (myNetShop v5) and our latest infrastructure in Malta which has been reviewed and approved by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
A brand new, premium online casino NightRush.com offers players a rewarding, enjoyable gaming experience. Night Rush is targeted at gamers from Europe and beyond who are looking for a casino second to none with a wide selection of world-class games, a unique theme and outstanding gaming quality. Night Rush is fully authorised and licensed in both Malta and CuraĂ§ao meaning players know the casino is one they can fully trust.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
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 furniture, 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.
Matty Rochman Head of OneTouch OneTouch creates premium table and slot games for online casinos worldwide by combining innovative mobile-first designs with sharp single-touch interactivity to deliver a superior online gambling experience on both desktop and handheld devices. With a focus on Asia, CIS and European markets, OneTouch is integrated with a number of leading aggregators and their growing range of high performance mobile games are proving massively popular with players and operators around the world.
Matevz Mazij CEO ORYX Gaming is a turnkey solutions provider. Oryx’s omnichannel crossproduct platform contains a mix of proprietary and 3rd party games for casino, slots, live dealer content, lottery, poker, virtual sports and instant game offerings. They offer the perfect blend of localised and exclusive content from the likes of ORYX, Gamomat, Kalamba Games, Golden Hero, Givme Games and several standard integrations such as Quickfire, NYX, EGT, Evolution, Realistic, Kiron, Amatic and Isoftbet to collate 6000+ aggregated world-class game titles.
Anschana Caravaca Head of Gaming 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.
Mark Watts Head of Gambling Paysafe is a global provider of payment solutions, enabling businesses and consumers to connect and transact seamlessly through our industry-leading capabilities in payment processing, digital wallets and our online cash solution paysafecard. We also augment affiliate programmes through our best-of-breed digital marketing agency Income Access. Come and visit us at our stand B168 to learn more about your opportunities with us!
Dmitry Kozelkin CEO PAYTAH offers a wide range of payment processing services. The company delivers flexible and secure tailor-made solutions accommodating the needs of businesses and individuals operating online. Paytah is about to launch the world’s first fiat wallet based on heat blockchain technology. PAYTAH is a payment institution licensed by the MFSA.
Anthony Hannessy Managing Consultant
Sam A. Head of CRM
Inspiring careers in the digital and gaming sector. Established in 2001, Pentasia has placed 5,000+ 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 that candidates need to explore, discover and secure work in digital.
PlayAmo Partners is a lucrative program that’s currently 5 brands strong, with one of the brands offering sports betting. Our young dynamic team, fixed stable payments and flexible marketing strategies give our affiliates an impressive toolset for efficient promotion across all five brands, which stands for five times more profit.
IGAMINGADVISORS CORPORATE SERVICES
with your business Remote Gaming License, Malta, UK, Curacao Incorporation of Company, Key Official, Director Services MLRO Officer, Gaming Consultancy, Technical Consultancy System and Compliance Audit, Payroll and Accounting Services Electronic Money Institution, Payment Services, Business Plan www.igamingadvisors.com
(+356) 9944 1881 firstname.lastname@example.org Villa Anteve, Mons Alfredo Mifsud, Street, Ta Xbiex. Malta
Blockchain, DLT, White Paper, Crypto Currency Crypto Exchange, Banking , Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
Localised and Niche Casinos simply convert Better!
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Wendy Zitzman COO Playattack is one of the most ambitious affiliate portals. We are a team of creative and intellectual people who know how to run profitable business in win-win terms. We have a deep understanding of the gaming industry. We have 6 strong, bright brands with more than 1000 games on each project that the leading international game provides.
PlayPearls Ltd offers unparalleled social iGaming experiences for players and operators alike. We look beyond conventional gambling, and coincide with the new generations of gamers and punters. For the operator, we provide a broad range of unique casino, slot, instant win, table and lottery-like games. Come visit us, and remember, think “Responsible Gambling”.
Ivan Farrugia Managing Director Playson was founded in 2012 when a team of slots enthusiasts set out to design bold, exciting and innovative games that would deliver both fun and engagement to players. Today we are proud to look back at our achievements and growth and we are confident to have built a solid foundation for thrilling developments ahead.
Katja Nordstrand Affiliate Manager PoshFriends is a HQ affiliate program working with trendy projects Casino-X, Joycasino and Pokerdom. They demonstrate great retention results and the maximum LTV due to motivating benefits, fast and powerful platform, instant payouts and a professional maintenance of high-rollers. PoshFriends operates in the Nordics, CIS countries, Japanese, and Eastern European markets.
Yossi Barzely Chief Business Development Officer Pragmatic Play is a leading multi-product casino provider for the online gaming industry. Our passion for premium entertainment is unrivalled. We strive to create the most engaging, evocative experiences for all our operators across a range of verticals, including video slots, live casino, scratchcards and bingo.
Keith Camilleri Managing Director Pragmatic Solutions offers a mobile-focused API based iGaming platform and optional white label solutions that gives its clients full control over the look and feel of their online product together with 3rd party integrations. We have created a platform built to handle regulatory compliance across multiple markets which offers a best-inclass blend of speed, flexibility, security, scalability and value.
Matt Harrod VP Europe 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.
Colin Anderson Head of Group Acquisition Genesys Casino Group is powered by numerous software providers including GENII, Rival and Betsoft games. The casino group offers over 20 casinos for you to promote, offering great games, fast affiliate payments and a knowledgeable team of marketing professionals to assist you, join us today!
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Live the InterContinental life.
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Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Isacco Ceci CEO Quinel is an ISO 17020/25 independent testing lab and inspection body, providing services for the gaming industry, The company is located in Ta’ Xbiex and operates in regulated markets across EU, Asia and America.
Wesley Ellul CCO Already a proven success in creating, refining and adapting stateof-the-art quiz technology with thousands of people test-driving the prototype platform, Quizando is about to turn the gaming and influencer market on its head. Based on a solid, existing success story, Quizando is a sensational proposition about to be unleashed globally.
Harpo Lilja CEO & Founder We’re here to build long-term vision to be the industry’s leader in retention and customer support services. We help iGaming companies restrain their costs and maximise their results, to help iGaming brands reach their full potential. Here’s what’s new with Reactivation Group - we now have a dedicated sportsbook sales team! Get in touch with us today!
Ory Weihs CEO of XLMedia PLC Reefmedia is XLMedia’s affiliate program. Established in 2007, Reefmedia is one of the most respected affiliate networks in the industry. With timely payments, excellent affiliate care and the peace of mind which comes from working with part of the XLMedia group, it has long been a preferred partner amongst affiliates and operators.
Mario Benito Head of Sales
Calvin Kent CEO ReelNRG produces high-end quality gaming with a range of RTP’s across a spectrum of volatility and our customers are really starting to love them! Our games are designed and built to ensure they deliver great entertainment, but they are also built to deliver great profitable results for our customers.
R. Franco Digital provides operators with a complete set of business solutions for online gambling led by our powerful IRIS omnichannel platform, and a wide-ranging portfolio of 40+ slot games, AWP, video poker, video bingo, roulette, casino and mini-games.
Jeff Buttigieg COO
Nikolaj Kirillov Member of the Board
RE/MAX Malta is a real estate agency with 27 offices strategically located throughout Malta and Gozo. The company has a team of over 350 sales and letting associates that each specialise in different areas of the market. This, paired with one of the largest property databases on the island, certifies that your RE/MAX real estate agent can easily show you almost any property currently available on the market.
We are well-known payment service provider for gaming in Europe and Asia. Our payment solutions vary from wire transfers to mobile payments, from our own e-wallet to virtual cards. Our payment solution allows users to increase conversion rates and decrease fraud at the same time. We operate worldwide to provide the best payment solution for you and your customers.
Will you make it to that last hill? Can you push yourself above and beyond your last competitor, and take the challenge further? It’s hard if it doesn’t feel like the real thing. If you don’t shift a real gear on a real road, riding across real routes along with real companions. It’s time to unleash your athletic potential. It’s time to shift to real riding.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Radoslaw Baranski Head of Affiliates RoyRichie.com sportsbook and casino has grown exponentially in 2018, mainly in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, but also in Latin-America. This 2018/2019 season starts with great expectations as the company has launched 4 Sports Betting features: Add2Bets, YourBet, Action Betting and Pulse Betting, but also more than 400 slots from Microgaming, Ainswort and Pragmatic.
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.
Rahim Haji Senior Strategy Consultant
Andrew Cochrane CCO
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.
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 15+ regulated markets. It’s offering includes an industry-leading online sportsbook, a cutting-edge in-play betting platform, premium casino and live casino products, responsive design and a fully equipped iGaming platform.
Bence Jendruszak Business Operations Manager & Co-founder SEON provides a risk management tool that enables the automated detection of multi-accounting, bonus abuse, player collusion and account takeovers. Our system analyses the digital footprint of customers and is able to accurately differentiate between good and bad users. Don’t let your gambling platform become a playground for fraudsters!
Jane Zhang CEO & Founder ShellPay is creating a complete ecosystem to liberate capital and create a new economy by leveraging blockchain technology. The ShellPay infrastructure of physical incubators and digital platforms will allow capital to move freely and provide innovators the financial, marketing and strategic support systems needed to bring their vision to life.
Sandra McWilliams Sales Director SIS is the leading supplier of 24/7 betting services to retail and online operators globally. Our mission is to provide operators with desirable and profitable content with an end-to-end solution of live pictures, data on-screen graphics with betting triggers and a wide range of markets and pricing to drive betting revenues.
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 frontline online gaming experience SkillOnNet have a fully customisable turnkey solution for your online gaming needs. Powering over 21 successful online casinos come, and find out how their ‘Winning Formula’ software solution can work for you!
ORYX EXCLUSIVE GAMES Unique, proprietary and custom content, created by top development studios, implemented to a licensed and certiﬁed RGS.
YOUR SURE BET TO ACQUIRING YOUR GAMING LICENCE IN MALTA WE OFFER • Guidance in your application for Gaming Licences • MLRO, Risk & Compliance Services • Key Official Services • Corporate & Legal Advisory • Company Formation, Incorporation & Maintenance • Tax Advisory • Audit & Accounts • Payroll Services 6, Villa Gauci, Mdina Road,
Balzan BZN 9031, Malta, Europe
Tel: (+356) 2122 6176 Ⅰ Fax: (+356) 2122 6019
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.ksimalta.com
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Alexander Tomic Co-Founder
Laura Tabone Head of Operations
Alea proudly presents SlotsMillion.com, an award-winning casino established in 2015 and licensed in Malta and the UK. SlotsMillion is the world’s first real-money 3D/VR casino, creating a cutting-edge experience for players and also offers one of the largest choices of slots out there, featuring over 2000 games from a range of the industry’s best providers.
SMSwarriors® is the fastest growing SMS messaging platform in the iGaming industry. We help you to leverage the growth in the mobile industry by taking advantage of SMS to communicate faster and sell better. Our pay-as-you-go pricing model and dedicated support from account managers have enabled us to differentiate from other SMS providers.
Artyom Ustinov Head of White Label & Turnkey Solutions SoftGamings provides B2B solutions for igaming industry, including 40+ top game providers under a single API and 3000+ games. In addition, SoftGamings develops turnkey and white label casino solutions and creates modules and systems. Over 100 clients use SoftGamings products and services since 2007.
Ivan Montik CEO SoftSwiss is a widely acclaimed iGaming software provider. We offer an ultra-powerful online casino platform and a game aggregator. We also develop modern, sharp-looking casino games (marketed as “Bgaming”). Last but not least, we provide a reliable and technologically advanced cryptocurrency processing solution (marketed as “CoinsPaid”).
Sean Chua Product Director
Darren Stepsky Sales Director
Spadegaming is an Asian-based slot games provider with a library of over 100 games focused on showcasing the rich cultural elements of Asia, combining quality graphics with innovative game play. All our games are HTML5 based, perfect for desktop and mobile players itching for a taste of Asia.
Stannp.com helps you stay in contact with your customers and prospects. Our easy to use web-based platform allows you to upload data, images and bespoke messages, then we print and post your personalised postcards and letters for less than the cost of a secondclass stamp. Stannp.com – we keep you posted!
Jason Prasad Head of Affiliates PokerStars Partners is the affiliate program that supports the Stars Group brands including the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars. The Stars Group is now also offering 2 new verticals, Betstars which currently hosts 28 sports in 12 languages and online casino through PokerStars Casino which offers slots, table games, video poker and live dealer games, both proprietary and from industry third-party suppliers. PokerStars Partners is managed by a group of seasoned affiliate specialists who bring value and growth to any type of affiliate.
Joshua Farrugia Head of Affiliates Founded in 2015, SuprNation has already made great strides with two well-established products in VoodooDreams and NYspins. Following that up with the launch of our latest flagship Duelz, we are determined to deliver the best possible gaming experience a player expects when choosing their preferred casino, as well as continuing to disrupt the industry through groundbreaking innovation and technological foresight.
SiGMA | Who’s Who
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Jan Lunde CEO / Commercial Director
Jonathan Pace HR Marketing Manager
Best known for the blockbusters Pink Elephants, Esqueleto Explosivo, Fruit Warp and The Falcon Huntress, Thunderkick offers a dual HTML5 games portfolio of 29 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.
Established in 2004, Tipico is one of the leading European betting providers with land-based business and online offer. The company’s headquarters are in St. Julian’s, Malta with branches in Germany, Austria, Croatia, Colombia and Gibraltar. More than 6,000 people work for the entire Tipico Group and the associated franchise network.
David Sachs CEO
Viktorija Antanavičiūtė MD
We’re the first AI (Artificial Intelligence) driven concierge for online Casinos. We solve player issues so that they keep playing. It’s become super challenging to acquire a new player just to lose them in a whim of a second due to poor customer experience. We solve player issues in real time.
Licensed in UK and Estonia since 2009, TonyBet has a long history of providing high-quality online gaming services. Above all, the collection of sports and casino games offers up the gold standard experience to players across the web. With tailored deals and players retention of 50%+ TonyBet is a perfect partner to boost your revenues.
Nicholas Tucker Head of Sales Trustly is a Swedish FinTech company that makes online banking payments fast, simple and secure. We offer instant deposits and withdrawals to players across 29 European countries and our latest product, Pay N Play, lets players skip the sign-up step and start playing games instantly while ensuring operators stay compliant.
Karl Grech Business Development Manager Tuning Fork Ltd. specialise in information security and data protection. These are implemented by focusing on four distinct areas: • Professional competence of human resources. • Best-in-class business management, systems & operational techniques, • Conformity to regulations, legislation, industry norms, statutory. requirements & standards. • Corporate governance and risk.
Yaroslava Isaienko Head of Sales TV BET is an online company which is carrying out live lottery games with broadcasting on the internet and other platforms with the possibility of accepting bets and other entertainment purposes. Our games are not simulated or recorded in advance. It’s all live, with absolutely random results, available for you 24/7/365 all over the world. Our charming hosts and realistic scenery will leave you speechless. We do our best for you to mix business with pleasure!
Marcin Jablonski Chief Brand Officer Twin.com is the hottest 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.
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
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.
Tatiana Miller Business Account Manager UPayCard is a provider of worldwide online payment solutions for businesses and individuals. Being authorised and regulated by FCA, UPayCard provides its customers with a revolutionary solution which includes various services under one account: e-wallet, prepaid cards, crypto wallets, B2B wires etc. tailored for each type of business model.
www.upaycard.com Primary color: RGB CMYK
34 69 128 98 82 22 7
7687 C #224580
Secondary color: RGB CMYK
78 153 245 62 34 0 0
279 C #4E99F5
Ali Atam CMO
251 170 25 0 38 100 0
7409 C #FBAA19
Chris Gauci CEO
Videoslots came to life in 2011 and has quickly established itself as the player’s choice casino that has been built from the roots up around the concept of innovation, differentiation and high-end customer service. We are now the fastest growing online casino offering our players over 2550 games spanning from about 75 different providers.
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 to the end consumer with home furniture. Our B2B division serves businesses operating in the commercial, hospitality and fitness industry.
Simon Westbury CCO 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.
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 Curaçao, Wazdan products reflect our passion for games that are packed with unique and innovative features.
Warren Russell CEO With responsible gambling being the ‘hot-topic’ in our industry, the award-winning W2 Global continues to innovate in the area of income verification, affordability and source of funds checks which are all now considered ‘must-haves’ as operators continue to raise their standards in making gambling fairer and safer for all.
Stephen Ford Head of Sales Western Union Business Solutions is one of the world’s leading providers of cross-border business payments. With expertise in moving funds around the globe, access to over 130 currencies and a global financial network spanning more than 200 countries and territories.
CRM | DIGITAL MARKETING AUTOMATION CUSTOMER SERVICE MANAGEMENT | BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE EMPLOYEE SCHEDULING & MANAGEMENT
We have the tools that will help you provide the best experience for your players
Come and visit us at Booth B272 OUR PARTNERS:
www.imovo.com.mt | email@example.com | +356 2248 8300
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
James Scicluna Co-Managing Partner WH Partners is a leading Malta-based business law firm specialising in the following sectors: gaming and gambling, financial and investment services, finTech, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and taxation. Both the firm and the lawyers are highly ranked by the foremost legal directories, including Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, Who’s Who Legal and the International Financial Law Review.
Hampus Lindberg Commercial Director iGaming Wiraya is a managed mobile customer activation software that uses artificial intelligence to generate the optimum blend of voice, text and mobile messaging to inspire action from players. Working with the industry’s leading operators, Wiraya has processed over 100 million interactions to date, activating newly registered customers and reactivating passive players, all aimed at rapidly increasing your conversion rates.
Jessica Hewitt Affiliate Director Since 2001, the Winning Poker Network has been one of the most trusted and reputable brands in the online poker industry. Known for their constant innovation, they are the only online poker network to run weekly progressive points races for both cash game and sit and go players. They also accept Bitcoin and 60 other cryptocurrencies, plus run multiple tournament series guaranteeing millions of dollars throughout the year.
Suren Azatyan Head of Sales and Marketing We’re a tight-knit team of specialists that have taken the online gaming world by storm. A very quiet storm. We’re pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible and carving out a new path to business excellence. And we’re doing this because we never do the same thing twice.
John Neves Territory Manager Zendesk builds software for better customer relationships. It empowers organisations to improve customer engagement and better understand their customers. Zendesk products are easy to use and implement. They give organisations the flexibility to move quickly, focus on innovation, and scale with their growth. Zendesk was built upon a simple idea, make customer service software that’s easy to use and accessible to everyone. The company has expanded on that idea, and now offers a growing family of products that work together to improve customer relationships, and can be embedded and extended through an open development platform.
Alex Harrison Senior Affiliate Manager It was just 2017 when we gathered a team of inspired iGaming professionals to create a brand new product in a world of online casinos. The client-centred strategy was added to a unique gamification process and 900 slot games from over 10 world providers, and so Zodiacu Casino was made. Starting out in the Scandinavian market, acquisition focus was moved to Germany in Q2 of 2018, engaging players as well as affiliates. As a next step, the UK license was to be obtained in Q4. Join the Zodiacu family and reach your lucky star.
Luxury at the waterâ€™s edge Discover how our Corporate Team can assist you with your accommodation, meeting and event requirements. Contact Luke Sammut, Corporate Sales Manager on +356 9992 8994 | firstname.lastname@example.org
CORINTHIA HOTEL ST GEORGE'S BAY, ST. JULIANS, STJ 3301, MALTA +356 2137 4114 | STGEORGES@CORINTHIA.COM | CORINTHIA.COM/STGEORGES
Who’s Who | SiGMA
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
MEDIA PARTNERS Matt Chambers Editor Packed with the latest news and analysis, iNTERGAMINGi is the definitive magazine for the iGaming sector. Published in print and digital format, it is sent to all major iGaming and affiliate trade shows globally and has an international distribution of 10,000+ copies.
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.
María Victoria Cabrera Infantas General Manager Casino-Peru is the leading entertainment industry leading printed magazine in Latin America, contributing since 2000 to the development of this sector. Made in Peru, it is monthly distributed in Latin America in Spanish, and is presented at ICE Totally Gamming London, G2E Las Vegas, Juegos Miami, ICE_ Africa and now at the Summit of iGaming in Malta (SiGMA).
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.
Fernando Saffores Founder & Director Focus Gaming News is a daily digital newspaper dedicated to the international gaming executives. This communication tool brings daily all main up-to-date news from the gaming and iGaming business through its newsletter, received by more than 15,000 subscribers around the world. Latest news, regulation, legislation, casino news, sports betting, online gaming, latest products and trends, interviews to key specialists and more find their place at Focus Gaming News. Daily, it is also released Focus Latin America, an exclusive channel for being updated on this specific market.
Vera Ng Project Director Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) 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.
SiGMA | Who’s Who
ISSUE 9 FALL / WINTER 2018
Lee Hunter Commercial Manager Gambling Insider is the must-read publication for the entire global gaming industry, covering the key issues affecting the online and landbased sectors in each region. Our experienced in-house journalists and regular leading freelancers work tirelessly to produce a title that entertains as well as informs the world’s leading operators, suppliers, affiliates, legal experts and regulators, providing agenda-setting news, in-depth analysis and crucial data.
Bobby Mamudi Editor in Chief Gaming Intelligence is the leading source of news and analysis for the global interactive gaming industry. It’s daily email newsletter, website and sister publication GIQ Magazine are invaluable tools for key decision makers within gaming operators, national regulators, the legal and financial communities and the wider media.
Michael Corfman Executive Director 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.
Ian Larcombe Head of Media Sales iGB Affiliate is the biggest provider of information, insight and analysis for igaming affiliate market. We specialise in providing high quality information to everyone working within the online gambling affiliate industry, through our events, publications and online content.
Anders Svensson Business Developer We are a Swedish sports travel agency. We produce tailor-made packages, suitable as VIP/affiliate/employee rewards or prizes for competitions. Among our customers are Betsson Group, Kindred Group/Unibet & GiG/Guts. We sell trips but deliver experiences.
Rasmus Sojmark CEO & Founder Founded in 2009 by Rasmus Sojmark, SBC (Sports Betting Community) holds a strong position within the gaming industry by providing a full range of services, including news coverage, media services, events, conferences, exhibitions and awards. Key brands include SBCnews.co.uk, SBCamericas.com, SBCevents.com, SBCmedia.co.uk, CasinoBeats.com, EsportsInsider.com and AffiliateInsider.com. Event brands include Betting on Football, Betting on Sports and SBC Awards.
Eugenia Crivellini Sales Manager SoloAzar is a digital newspaper specialised 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.
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.
Verticals that cater to everyone’ s tastes
Opposites do not only attract, they create a powerful combination which attracts different segments. Our in-house products have been designed with this mantra in mind – the perfect balance between the old and the new, the Western and the Orient, the traditional with the innovative, the land-based with the online, the fully managed with the fully ﬂexible. So why limit yourself when you can have the best of both worlds?
•Asian and European User Interface •HTML5 for Desktop and Mobile •Studios in Europe & Asia •40+ Table Oﬀering •High Quality AV Streams
•23 esports titles with 30+ markets •Real time data feeds •In-house traded odds •Extensive pre-live and live coverage •Flexible and omni-channel support
SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote gaming industry, specifically in Malta. View...
Published on Nov 13, 2018
SiGMA is also responsible for SiGMAgazine, a bi annual publication shedding light on the remote gaming industry, specifically in Malta. View...