GIG to host Developers event at Malta Yacht Club

Gaming Innovations Group will be sponsoring its second evening at the Royal Malta Yacht Club entitled “An introduction to Progressive Web Applications“. Organized by the MaltaJs community, the event will be hosted by Kevin Farrugia, who is the co-founder of Incredible Web and currently writing a book entitled “Building Progressive Web Apps“.

Progressive Web Apps are applications that are available through your browser that leverage the latest technologies to provide an engaging app-like experience. Building a Progressive Web App requires following a set of fundamental principles that will ensure a high level of quality & reliability. This book aims to guide readers in following the recommended guidelines and serve as a reference whenever building a PWA. Throughout the book, readers will be developing a real-life PWA using the technologies described & code samples.

Mr. Farrugia will be addressing the meeting to speak on Web Apps and guide the audience on how to build their first PWA. His book, which will be published by Packt Publishing, is targeted towards junior and experienced Developers alike with knowledge of JavaScript, HTML & basic CSS interested in learning about & building Progressive Web Apps (PWA).

The event will take place on Wednesday 5th April at 18:30 with registration starting at 18:00. It is recommended to RSVP early as there are already 35 spaces booked from a total capacity of 50. You are invited to register here.

The presentation will be followed by a networking event.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find our more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Interview with Thorsten Andreassen from www.casino752.com

interview with Thorsten Andreassen from www.casino752.comWe had an interview with Thorsten Andreassen from www.casino752.com, who is taking part in Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn this April.

Hello Thorsten, how are you?  Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam  2017?

Hi Marius, I´m great thanks! And Thanks for giving me this opportunity. Yes I´m really looking forward to see you all at AGS in Tallinn, which btw is a very nice city. And very cheap compared to Stockholm.

How did you come to enter the online casino space and set up your company?

I joined my brothers company. I was in the entertainment business for many years before I entered the affiliate and the iGaming industry. My brother has been my mentor in business terms since early years.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

We only handle Affiliates as today.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

Well I am, but my brother has been in the industry since 1998, so he’s more cool about it and seen the ups and downs. Of course this gives me a personal kick to work harder.  

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

We’re not planning for the nearest future, but who knows?

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

We do as we do right now but with a few tweaks. There is one project right now which is very much based on a character and his style of content writing which will be interesting to see how it´s going to be received and convert.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?

Focus is Sweden for some of the brands and Europe.
If we manage to get the manpower it would of course be interesting to go Asia and North and South America.

How do you find Scandinavian markets and competition?

As a gaming market fantastic, but lately the competition is horrific. We see an increasing competition. Lots of new luck seekers. But I think it´s the genuine affiliates that will survive in the long run.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

Holy Cow! Google has refined the algorithms so though now there are almost no back doors at all left to tweak. You just have to work harder and invest more hours to really work with your keywords, SEO and content has to be 100% unique.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

Hmm. Yes actually there is, but nothing I can share here right now.

What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?

Our vision and goal is to be a trustful and reliable competitor to the big major affiliates sites out there today.

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

Our platforms have been 100% responsive since start, so the transition to the mobile devices was very smooth. I can’t really see any downsides with it. The oppertunities are massive since the Scandinavian People are picking up their phones 150 times per day in average. Mobile devices have about 70-85% today.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

I think there will be a bigger competition, so in terms of SEO the work will be harder, and more time consuming.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Stay out of it! Just kidding 😉
1. Make sure you understand the work of SEO. This takes time, so be patient!
2. Go to the conferences and meet people like SIMGA Conferences can offer. When you sign up with a casino affiliates, milk the account managers on all crusial details you need to know to promote their welcome offers etc. It’s in their interest you get a win/win scenario!

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

Yes I do play slots, but not like I used to do. Got too much work these days.

If I won 1 million Euro I would definitely spend it on investing in future projects, secure some money in stocks for my kids. Get a nice and long vacation, which I haven’t had in years.

Thorsten Andreassen have been working as a Head of Projects of Intergalaxy Media Malta Ltd from 2014. Besides that he also works as an Festival Director/Artistic Director for Stockholm Street Festival.    

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find our more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Oddsring announces withdrawal from Poland

In light of the recent regulatory developments in Poland, Oddsring announces that it has ceased to accept both new and existing customers from Poland.

Customers were duly informed last week, and Oddsring is supporting its existing customers throughout the process of withdrawing their funds in a timely manner prior to 1st April. Customers who have not processed their withdrawals by this date, will be aided by support staff in doing so manually.

All of the company’s affiliates were also contacted, and Oddsring is working with them to ensure fulfillment of any March commissions, as well as the removal of Polish marketing materials from affiliated sites.

Oddsring announces withdrawal from PolandMark Thorne, CMO of Oring Limited said: “Oddsring is obliged to effect this withdrawal from Poland, but none the less we value the understanding and cooperation of our customers and affiliates throughout this process, and hope that we may at some point in the future resume the excellent relationships established in the market since 2012.

 

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find out more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

EveryMatrix completes strategic investment round and appoints new board members

EveryMatrix completed a 4.3 €mil. private strategic investment round widening its shareholder base with  Strawberry Capital, a large Norwegian fund owned by Petter Stordalen and select private individuals. Simultaneously, high caliber profiles have been added to the EveryMatrix board adding critical skills in preparation for the next expansion phase of the company.

The new non-executive board members who all participated in the capital increase, are Anders Böös, former Chairman of IFS, Jan Gottlander, co-founder of Snow Software, and Norbert Teufelberger, co-founder and long term CEO of bwin, as Chairman of EveryMatrix.

EveryMatrix completes strategic investment round and appoints new board members including ex-bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger as new Chairman“This is the first ever external investment into EveryMatrix. With more diverse skills and broader ownership at the board level, we are confident in executing our growth strategy and pursuing our long-term vision over the coming years.” said Ebbe Groes, Co-Founder & CEO of EveryMatrix.

EveryMatrix was founded in 2008 with the aim to creating a fully flexible and tailored software solution for operators whilst working with high-profile iGaming partners. Our company has been growing fast since we started almost 10 years ago,and we presently have 400 dedicated, highly skilled and hard-working staff employed out of 10 offices in Europe and Asia.

“This investment provides our company with significant resources for improving our industry-leading solutions and deliver the necessary services to present and future clients. The extended board will have a great mix of talent which I’m positive will help us professionalise the company further, accelerateour product innovation cycles and expand our global footprint.” added Stian Hornsletten, Co-Founder of EveryMatrix.

EveryMatrix completes strategic investment round and appoints new board members including ex-bwin’s Norbert Teufelberger as new ChairmanNorbert Teufelberger, the new non-executive Chairman of the board of EveryMatrix, has been involved in the global casino and gaming industry since 1989. As part of his new position, he will assist with the formulation of its business strategy focusing on reaching its ambitious commercial goals over the next years. As part of the relationship, Norbert will work with EveryMatrix founders to identify and implement potential strategic partnerships and opportunities.

“I’m truly excited to invest and chair EveryMatrix. Being part the bwin’s story since its inception was a wonderful experience for me and I look forward to assist the founders and team of EveryMatrix in developing a blue chip B2B technology provider for the fast expanding global I-gaming market. After an extensive due diligence period, I was particularly impressed with the product vision and innovation capabilities and drive of the EveryMatrix team.” said Norbert Teufelberger.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find out more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Maltese lawyers ranked amongst the world’s 50 top gaming and gambling lawyers

WH Partners are pleased to announce that, following an independent review by Chambers & Partners, publishers of one of the leading directories of the legal profession who are widely respected for the independence and objectivity of their research have voted and ranked two of the firm’s partners, Dr Olga Finkel and Dr James Scicluna, amongst the World’s Top 50 Gaming and Gambling lawyers.

Having been consistently ranked in this category since 2011, Chambers & Partners have just released its 2017 ranking placing Olga Finkel amongst the top tier, that is, amongst the top 23 gaming and gambling lawyers in the world.

Chambers & Partners said the following:

Maltese lawyers ranked amongst the world’s 50 top gaming and gambling lawyersDr Olga Finkel is renowned for her work in Maltese gaming law, Olga Finkel is based at WH Partners, the firm she founded. She brings extensive corporate experience and technological savvy to her work for gaming clients. “She is very forthright but very malleable,” said one client. “She is the most knowledgeable person I have met when it comes to companies, shares and stock exchange rules. She is dynamic.” She acted for the online casinos and lotteries company Cherry in its acquisition of share capital in the gaming business Come On. Additionally, Finkel is praised by peers for her firm grasp on Maltese gaming regulations. Sources say: “She is a very good anchor to have in Malta and you can always be comfortable when Olga’s behind a matter.”

Maltese lawyers ranked amongst the world’s 50 top gaming and gambling lawyersDr James Scicluna is a founding partner of WH Partners in Malta. Sources are quick to highlight his strengths in commercial work for gaming clients, including major M&A advice. “James is very competent and gets straight to the point,” said one client. “He is knowledgeable about the industry and knows the metrics so you don’t have to explain how things work. He is able to wrap it up in a very short time.” Scicluna is also well versed in Maltese gaming regulations and has recently advised the Malta Gaming Authority on adapting the regulations.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find out more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Interview with Dennis Dyhr-Hansen from Matching Visions

Interview with Dennis Dyhr-Hansen from Matching VisionsWe met Dennis Dyhr-Hansen, the founder of Matching Visions, who is taking part in Affiliate Grand Slam in Tallinn this April.

Hello Dennis, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017?

I’m great thanks and very excited about the upcoming event. It’s going to be an awesome few days of networking and fun and I always look forward to getting involved in these much-needed industry gatherings.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company? 

Like a lot of people, I was involved in the poker industry back in the days and that’s what brought me to Malta and into the world of iGaming.

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

We run Matching Visions, which is a successful affiliate network. We act as the middle man, so we bring together thousands of affiliates and hundreds of operators all under one roof. This makes life a lot easier for the affiliate as they have everything in one place, plus it gives the operator access to a large pool of affiliates through one contact.

Dennis Dyhr-Hansen, Matching Visions

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

It’s certainly been a crazy year in terms of acquisitions, but I’m not entirely surprised that this is how things have panned out. There’s a few very big players in the game nowadays and if they see something with potential or that could compete in any way with their business, they want it. Obviously for operators this is not ideal and hopefully it’s something that will slow down in the near future.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

When we started we focused primarily on Scandinavia, which are obviously great markets. However, after a while we saw the potential with expanding into new markets, all over the world. Now we offer campaigns from over 25 countries, including some lesser known geos such as Poland, New Zealand and Canada for example. This list is growing every month and there’s certainly some countries we have a very close eye on, especially the huge South American and Japanese markets.

How do you find Nordic markets and competition?

The Nordic markets are now very saturated, with new casinos open up almost daily it seems. This gives affiliates more choice and therefore more power to negotiate with older operators, so it’s an interesting dynamic. We see so many casinos coming and going over the years and it’s quite easy to see from the start which ones will still be around in a year’s time.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

We always have exciting plans in the works. Recently we just launched our new affiliate gamification tool ‘MatchingMissions’. We’re really excited about this as it’s the first of its kind and there’s a lot of potential for us to grow this product and make it into something really cool!

What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about Matching Visions?

We would just like the readers to know that we take a lot of pride in what we do and are very proud of what we have created so far. We have big plans for the future and we’ll continue to do things the right way and have fun whilst doing it!

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

Further consolidation is a challenge for us, as many of our affiliates who we grow with and work with for years get purchased and then can no longer work through us in most cases, which is a shame. A wider challenge is transparency with operators, especially the hundreds of new ones popping up. Knowing where and who you’re sending your traffic to and having peace of mind that you’re going to get paid.

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

The first piece of advice I’d give is to sign up with Matching Visions, as we really do make your life easier as a new affiliate. The second thing is making sure you have something unique and exciting. With so many affiliates out there, you need to make you site and concept stand out, or you need to make your texts catchy and attractive. If you have the concept, work with the right people and put in the long hours, things will hopefully start to fall in place.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

Yes I play slots now and again and if I won the jackpot I’d probably just play more slots!

Originally from Denmark, Dennis Dyhr-Hansen has been at the forefront of the gaming industry in Malta for several years and works closely with hundreds of casinos and affiliates on a daily basis. In 2014 he founded the iGaming affiliate network Matching Visions, which has grown from strength to strength and cemented its place as one of the leading networks in the industry. As well as Matching Visions, Dennis is involved in several other projects and events within the industry.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find out more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Kindred Group contemplates use of AI to uncover problem gamblers

Kindred Future, the innovative arms of Kindred Group (formerly known as Unibet Group) recently co-hosted a roundtable session in conjuncture with Karmarama and The Friday Club earlier this month in London. Their aim was to explore the opportunities of how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in order to aid in recognizing patterns in player behavior and thus be able to spot developing problems for an earlier and more effective intervention.

The Kindred Group sees themselves as leaders in the responsible gaming space and has been recognized in this area with numerous industry awards, always aiming to be ahead of regulatory demands.

Kindred Futures opened up the roundtable discussion between leading academics, addiction psychologists, technology pioneers and Kindred’s team of responsible gambling experts. They focused on the value of AI in modeling behaviors and changes in behaviors throughout a period of time to assess whether a player is developing a gambling problem or not. Early detection of gambling problems greatly improves the positive results of an intervention to successfully prevent a destructive gaming pattern.

Although many critical factors were identified in previous research on gambling addiction like the player stakes, the time they play for and their methods of depositing money, it is not a clear cut science as each individual differs. Concerns with false negatives and false positives arose where some problem players may be missed and other players flagged that do not have a problem despite the complexity of the machine learning and the validity of the score it provided.

Head of Kindred Futures, Will Mace stated: “This was a fascinating discussion, bringing together experts from several different fields. The outcome was very encouraging – we agreed there was significant potential for an AI capability to bring together and analyze many data sources to give a much-improved ability to detect signs of a developing problem. We also agreed there was real value in doing this – both socially and commercially.”

Kindred Group continues their research into machine learning and AI to complement their proprietary system PS-EDS (Player Safety Early Detection System) in hopes of monitoring and preventing problem gambling in the future.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find our more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

PlayOJO Launches UK TV Ad Campaign

PlayOJO teams with advertising agency 101 on a TV campaign that aims to rewrite the script for online casinos.

PlayOJO.com has kicked off its landmark arrival on the online gaming space with a television advertising campaign that has been created by top London-based advertising agency, 101 and shot by award-winning director Chris Woods.

The ad, that began airing last Friday 24th March on Channel 4, Sky and digital channels, stars Geoff Bell (Green Street; the Business; Kinsgmen: the Secret Service) as a rogue PlayOJO employee who represents the “old” way of running an online casino. He ultimately resigns in disgust at PlayOJO’s policy of giving its players money back on every bet, which leads us into the tagline: “Not bad for an online casino.” There is a 30-second and 40-second version of the TV ad, with 10 second version airing in May.

Play OJO

PlayOJO launched last month with a mission to shake-up the online casino industry with a braver, fairer proposition for players. The disruptive new model rewrites the script when it comes to bonuses and rewards, which have for years been alienating players with their hidden catches buried in small print.

Instead it offers players a refreshing alternative. PlayOJO puts the player back in the driving seat by paying back real money on every bet, win or lose, instantaneously and directly into a players account. That money is available to withdraw immediately, with no hidden wagering requirements on anything, ever.

The new casino is investing big in the UK market, with a strong push across multiple marketing channels, because it sees itself very much as a challenger brand, according to Ohad Narkis, co-founder of the brand.

Ohad NarkisWorking with a brilliant, intelligent and creative company like 101 was a real pleasure. They really understood the uniqueness of the brand, and our playfulness and sense of fun, and that comes across in the TV ad”, said Narkis. There’s a real unique and creative approach at work that we believe will help the ad stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Importantly, though, we have become so used to seeing ads for online casinos where the offer seems too good to be true, and it usually is. But this is a completely different kind of ad for a completely different kind of online casino, a better, fairer alternative to what’s currently out there. The key message we wanted to communicate was that with PlayOJO there are no catches. What you see is absolutely what you get.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find our more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.

Meet Keith Hathaway from Geeky Gambler

SiGMA met Keith Hathaway from Geeky Gambler for an interview about his business and the work as an affiliate.

Hello Keith, how are you? Are you ready for the Tallinn Affiliate Grand Slam 2017?

I was born ready Marius, it is a great country I head and a new one for me. It will be very exciting with a pure affiliate focus and the best of my peers all in one place. In a far more intimate way than the usual conference setting, I think it’s an awesome initiative.

How did you come to enter the online gaming space and set up your company?

I am one of the dinosaurs, I was first a Poker affiliate in the UK back in 2005. That lasted till around 2010 and then “Black Friday” in 2011 killed it off. I then moved to Malta as an Affiliate Manager for the next 6 years, until last year I became a full time affiliate again.

Geeky Gambler

The Geeky Gambler working his magic away from St. George’s Bay, Malta

Can you tell us a little about how your company business is structured?

I am the main face of the business, “The Geek” so to speak, working on the sites full time and day to day. But I am partnered with some strong industry veterans you will all know making a strong and experienced team.

With the recent wave of consolidation, mergers and acquisitions of affiliate sites, are you surprised at all of the changes happening in the industry?

I learnt not to be surprised long ago, the industry works in waves and is cyclical but I do not believe we have reached the end of the acquisition cycle yet.

A number of your competitors have gone down the real money operator route, and tried their hand at white labels. Have you also done this?

Many have, and more will try. It is many peoples dream to have their own Casino and it has never been easier, but do not underestimate the hard work. I have no plans to go in this direction at all right now.

Developing unique content is a key pillar of your strategy. What will be your primary focus on this front over the next 6 months?

Very simple, high volume of content without compromising in the quality of what is published. You never stop learning on the SEO side and it is evolving all the time.

Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets ?

All of our sites are English language only, so Google keeps us strong in the UK but we like traffic from all markets if we can get it. I am fascinated by regulated markets and in theory every newly regulated market can be an emerging market on it’s own. Either that or the regulation kills it. But I believe Latin America and Africa will explode in the next 12-24 months.

How do you find UK market and competition?

The UK is and always will be tough, it has 10x the population that the Nordic markets have and huge player value. It is tough as you are always competing with some very experienced and big budget competition.

How have Google’s algorithm updates affected the way you go about traffic generation, SEO and content at your company?

I don’t believe, being under a year live, we have reached close to our SEO and ranking highs yet, so in reality we haven’t suffered at all to date.

Are there any exciting plans in the works that you can tell us about?

Nothing groundbreaking, just a lot of hard work and activity so you will hopefully see us around for a lot longer yet!

What is the main thing that you’d like Sigma readers to know about your sites?

We like to think our sites are fun and informative, we focus heavily and in equal measures on sports and casino, quite rare now as most are firmly one camp or the other. We even sprinkle some Lotto and Bingo in for variety! Oh, and our tips that we run in partnership with friends of Sigma, and partners of AGS Bettinggods.com are flying. Follow us and see for yourselves!

What challenges and opportunities has the move to mobile presented you with?

We are such a new company and sites that we have always had mobile in mind, so unlike some of the more established sites we haven’t had to make changes as we launched with mobile in mind.

What do you see as the biggest challenges ahead for your business and the wider affiliate sector in 2017?

Traffic, good content and surviving Tallinn! It’s going to be a whole lot of fun but may need a health warning before we check in to the Hilton!

What two pieces of advice would you give to any new affiliate starting today?

Work hard, be smart, network well and never give up.

Do you play slots and what would you do with 1 million Euro from jackpot winnings?

I play slots occasionally, I am more of a sports bettor and social poker player. Every now and then I will have a go on Mega Fortune or other jackpots if they get big. I am not sure what I would do, but I can promise there would be one hell of a party!

Originally from the United Kingdom, Keith Hathaway has been involved in Online Gaming since 2005 and based in Malta since 2010. Having roles in operators from Affiliate Manager, Head of Affiliates, Head of Acquisition and multiple consultancy roles as well as now being in his second spell as a full time affiliate, making Keith somewhat an all rounder in the industry.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

Wetten.com appoints former Betsson Sportsbook Director

Wetten.com has announced the appointment of a new Sportsbook Director, Jeff Tabone, within its Operational Management team in Malta with effect from 8th of June 2017. He will be responsible for company’s overall Sports betting product strategy.

Jeff Tabone, Wetten.com

Jeff Tabone joins from Betsson Group, where he has had various roles since 2007. His last role, which he held for 2 years, saw him responsible as Head of Sportsbook involving product strategy & development.

Daniel Bradtke, CEO at Wetten.com said “Jeff’s extensive and collective grasp of both, the Sportsbook product and customer, will have a profound impact on Wetten.com. He will be an asset to the whole organisation as we look to define innovative Sportsbook user experiences.”

Tabone commented: “I am honored to be joining very talented team and using my experience and Sportsbook expertise to help drive this young company to new heights.”

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. Find our more about our new Gaming Hub and register your interest.