From Vegas to Gibraltar to Malta, SiGMA caught up with Ben Clemes, who has settled in Malta with a mission to make iGaming Cloud one of the leading platforms on the market.
Nice to have you with us, Ben. iGaming Cloud has a solid presence in Malta. Did the tiny state meet your expectations to date? Tell us about your upcoming shifting from Ta’ Xbiex to what’s arguably the sexiest office building in St. Julian’s.
Malta has exceeded expectations and I am always overwhelmed with the level of talent and warm personalities that we find on the Island to join Gaming Innovation Group.
I admit we are all really excited about the move next year to what is arguably one of the most technologically advanced and and, as you say, sexiest buildings in Malta. To quote Robin Reed, group CEO of GIG, “We want to attract the most passionate people and we want to give them an environment and a community where they can be the most effective and innovative version of themselves.” We have always had really great offices in Malta but I think this one is going to take the cake.
More and more EU states are introducing their regulatory frameworks, asking for specific licenses to operate in that particular jurisdiction. Is this trend paving the way for an eventual relocation to another jurisdiction? With such brands operating in multiple continents, how relevant is Malta?
I don’t believe so. Malta is a great country to have an HQ and we have been really fortunate to find great talent on the Island and it is not that hard to convince people to move to the sunny Med. Malta’s infrastructure has also very much improved over the years and their licensing regime is also adjusting to the times.
Can you take us through a journey in time for the company GIG, and for iGaming Cloud specifically, shedding light on some of the most remarkable moments, challenges and achievements in the brand’s history?
There have been so many remarkable moments over the past 3 years but the moments that stand out the most would be launching Guts, moving into the GB building into a space so large which we thought we would never outgrow but basically did before we even moved in. Deciding to build, what is now known as iGaming Cloud turned out to be a monumental moment and I still have found memories of our first stand at ICE in possibly the worst location as we booked it so late. Our first client, Betspin, going live was very special and was a proud moment for everyone that put their heart and soul into the development of the platform as was the migration of Guts to IGC in 2015. Something very inspiring is that we keep creating remarkable moments so I am sure next year when you ask me the same question I can add a lot to the above list.
“I would say there has been some growth as we have gone from less than 10 employees in 2013 to over 300 employees today across multiple countries. Growth of course has its challenges to overcome but despite the growth we have always maintained an amazing company culture and provided an environment where people are inspired and can inspire others. I think people stay with us because we don’t stop innovation and we provide people with a surrounding that allows then to grow both personally and professionally”.
Has the company seen a sporadic growth in employees? And has this growth slowed down creativity and increased red tape? On an employee level, what makes employees stay with the company?
I would say there has been some growth as we have gone from less than 10 employees in 2013 to over 300 employees today across multiple countries. Growth, of course, has its challenges to overcome but despite the growth we have always maintained an amazing company culture and provided an environment where people are inspired and can inspire others. I think people stay with us because we don’t stop innovation and we provide people with a surrounding that allows then to grow both personally and professionally; and of course, the amazing lunches that we serve everyday at the GB Building is not keeping people away.
In terms of the end user, what distinguishes your brand from the many competitors out there?
Our vision is to make the iGaming industry lean and connected, a vision that has been very well received. With regards to stability, I don’t think there is a better platform out there and we are constantly opening up our APIs to support innovation in gaming allowing operators to offer some really amazing player experiences. iGaming Cloud is developing products for the future and not just reacting to what is happening today.
“Malta has exceeded expectations and I am always overwhelmed with the level of talent and warm personalities that we find on the Island to join Gaming Innovation Group.”
E-sport, fantasy sport, binary; has any of these buzz words made it to the GIG board room yet? Are there plans to delve into these markets?
Interesting buzz words indeed. The thing is we are not really “delvers” so when we decide to something we go full steam. I cannot divulge what is coming in the near future but I can say whatever we do we will do it the GIG way.
Tell us a bit more about you. How did it all start? How long have you been working in this industry? Was online gambling always a part of the mix or did it only evolve at a later stage?
About 11 years ago, I was working for MGM in Las Vegas when I met with some guys from Party Gaming who offered me a job as an executive host for their US players. I gladly accepted and next thing I know I was on a plane to Gibraltar. 3 years later my now wife and I (we met during training at Party Gaming) were on a plane to Malta onto new opportunities and I guess the rest you can say is history.
What’s life like outside work? Do you manage to squeeze in some free time? How do you spend leisure time?
I have a seven-year-old which keeps me really busy and I love to play golf but finding the time is difficult to say the least. I also love to cook and which is a hobby that my wife welcomes and I really like to read unless a new season of Narcos is out and then I am glued to Netflix.
We are thrilled with your regular participation at the show. What are affiliates, operators B2B and new recruits expected to meet at the booth?
We are thrilled to be back and SIGMA has turned out to be a highlight of the year’s event calendar. This year I will be there of course, along with Roger, our Head of Sales, and a whole lot of GIG and IGC people from our marketing communication manager to engineers to the CTO. Please come down and see us at SIGMA and meet the great people from GIG and IGC.
Anything we missed?
Nothing from me; just really looking forward to SIGMA this year and I am sure it is going to be bigger and better than ever.