MGA chairman Joe Cuschieri tipped for MFSA CEO job

MFSA change in leadership to coincide with reform

Joe Bannister is set to step down from his leadership role with the MFSA after 20 years in the hot seat. Joe Cuschieri, current chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority, is widely acknowledged as the favourite for the MFSA CEO position. John Mamo is to over as non-executive chairman.

Change is in the air at the MFSA, as the changes at the top are happening in the context of institutional reform. The amendment to the Malta Financial Services Act being debated in parliament will enable the government to forge ahead with its plans to appoint a chief executive officer. Current legislation does not provide for this position.

The Act makes provision for a chairman of the Board of Governors, who is to be appointed by the prime minister, as well as a director general and chief operations officer, who together with the chairman, the Director of the Legal Office and the Registrar of Companies make up the co-ordination committee.

A spokesman for the Parliamentary Secretariat for financial services said that the second and third reading are forthcoming. “The authority and the Opposition are being kept abreast about all these discussions and the proposed changes,” he said.

Sources say that the vacancy can only be advertised when the position is created, making the legislative process key to progress. The Bill specifies that the CEO would be chosen by the board of governors. There is no word yet, from official or unofficial sources, on any likely successors to Joe Cuschieri should his move to the MFSA materialise in the wake of the Malta Financial Services Act.


30,000 Foreigners to Join Maltese Workforce as iGaming Flourishes

Number of foreign employees in Malta expected to increase

Only 25% of the roughly 10,000 new jobs created in Malta yearly go to Maltese nationals, according to economist and JobsPlus chairperson Clyde Caruana. In an interview published today by the Malta Independent, Caruana gives an overview of the Maltese employment landscape, and the influence of the iGaming sector.

At the current rate, the island could be looking at 28,000-30,000 additional foreign workers within three years. According to Caruana employment of foreign nationals in such quantities is essential to maintain the level of growth required for economic development.

JobsPlus is currently pursuing employing third country nationals and only this week emails are being sent to European non-EU countries seeking to attract employees to Malta.

Caruana seemed unfazed by recent news of redundancies at a leading iGaming firm, stressing that such developments are not out of the ordinary in the industry. He made it clear that if the entirety of the industry had to relocate, the effects would be more harshly felt.

“If, hypothetically, all iGaming companies decided to all just lock up and leave, then yes. That would leave prominent effects, and it is important not to put all our eggs in the same basket. In the past iGaming took up 4 per cent, today it takes up 12 per cent of our GDP which is quite a sizeable number,” Caruana explains. “Companies now and then will make some of their employees redundant for various reasons. But if we had to look at the sector as a whole the number of employees are still going up, so it does not mean that if there some redundancies this is a symptom which is the norm for all”.


Three Key Trends for iGaming in 2018

iGaming is often on the forefront of the biggest trends in both gaming and technology. The dedicated fanbase is eager to try new technology, even before it reaches the mass market. Gaming trends can also be applied to iGaming in order to enhance a player’s engagement with the traditional gameplay. But what evolutions in iGaming should we be looking for at a glance in 2018?  

Live Dealers

The future of online casino definitely revolves around the interaction of players, the providers, and one another. Technological advances work to make us more communicative and interconnected, and by taking a common solitary pastime and adding an element of camaraderie to it, it can be improved. Live dealers have long been a staple of iGaming, with games developers focusing on blackjack, roulette, and baccarat as key games that benefit from the live dealer. Having a live dealer allows players to amp up the tension as they would at a physical casino, while also ushering in social cues to affect the game e.g. the player may be more tempted to try a riskier move with someone ‘watching’. Live streaming is definitely a trend seen in modern circles and may even help attract millennials to more traditional iGaming. 

Branded Games

The rise in branded games will also continue in 2018, with more and more franchises opening themselves up to the iGaming treatment. Franchise owners and film companies are realising the enduring power of iGaming and that, by connecting with an iGaming fanbase, they can further their own reach. Microgaming is a leading purveyor of branded games, with franchises chosen suitable for everyone, ranging from Bridesmaids to Jurassic Park to Battlestar Galactica. As is shown through their prominence on Canada’s updated Slots rankings for 2018, Microgaming features heavily with its offerings across a variety of online casino sites. The games may be different, but the Microgaming touch of branded content remains.  

Variations on a Classic

The enduring gameplay of iGaming, from poker to slots to blackjack and roulette is what keeps the interest of fans. But that doesn’t mean the formula can’t be tweaked slightly. The rise of skills based games – which will take something like slots and add an extra puzzle element to it in order to give it an added edge will continue. Added skills in gaming have been proven to improve abilities of its players. Moreover, variations on classic games, such as poker that features the gameplay of classic Texas Hold ‘Em or Omaha Hi-Lo, but with themed changes to the big blind, to pre-flop and flop rounds will help keep the classics fresh. By changing the formula slightly, but retaining what keeps audiences hooked, iGaming can continue to up their offering as an industry. By adding modern twists to the classic gameplay, both traditionalist fans and those new to the game can be pleased.   

iGaming will continue to go from strength to strength in 2018, cornering the market as a niche as equal as console gaming or mobile gaming. The ability for developers to test new concepts on the iGaming community and perfect the use of technology keeps the industry fresh and punters coming back for more. 


Three Ways iGaming Can Engage Audiences

The iGaming industry is booming – and, as such, the market has become extremely saturated with sites fighting to be heard in the noise of both online and land-based competitors. So, online casino providers need to be clever about how they target potential new audiences while keeping original fans happy and returning. There are multiple ways this can be done, from welcome bonus offers to attempting new ways of packaging the gameplay.

Welcome Bonuses

One of the surest quick wins of attaining new customers and fans of online casino to a site is through an incentivised system if they choose the site. These can range from free spins on online slots to huge cash bonuses on offer for signing up. Some sites opt for the simple reward that guarantees the initial few bets for free while customers investigate the site, while others opt for the possibility of winning huge rewards, which will attract the more adventurous gamer. As sites collating Canadian focused casino promotions show, both larger rewards such as $2000 are offered as well as smaller ones spread over bonuses.

Newer Technology

Keeping on trend with the latest technology in iGaming is crucial for a site to keep up with the competition, especially with the slew of new developments. For example, live casino is now the norm across most sites due to the increase in live broadcasting technology coupled with online casino. Most sites offer some variation of live dealer, with others going as far as offering live games with the ability to see your opponents. The live variation isn’t for everyone but it helps create the immersive atmosphere for the players that want one. The simple offering shows that an online casino provider is committed to changing things and developing, as opposed to settling with a well-worked formula. In all business, evolution is critical to ongoing success.  

Game Content

While most people tune into online gaming to play the simple games on offer, such as blackjack and poker, which have remained the same for centuries, others are enticed by the packaging of the games. By adding rich visuals, an exciting soundtrack, and enhanced graphics, those less familiar with the actual gameplay will be more interested in trying it out. Attracting new fans is crucial for online casino and by packaging the basic offering up in an innovative way, such as with branded content from Hollywood blockbusters or enduring themes such as Ancient Egypt or fantastical lands, websites can attract these fans. Branded content has proven time and again to be a sure-fire way to engage with a different breed of fans.

As with all industries, how a product is offered and marketed is crucial to its success and online casino is no different. By taking similar core offerings of the game, sites have to be clever in deciding how to target new customers, where to find these customers, and what these customers would be looking for when iGaming.


Come for SiGMA, Stay for Malta

Enjoy the various activities of the Mediterranean paradise Malta – packed with a remarkable history, a breathtaking seaside and home to many iGaming companies

The Summit of iGaming in Malta or SiGMA will open October 2018.  Whether you are a South African online casino operator, affiliate, game developer, or otherwise connected to iGaming, this summit is a must.  In addition, there is a lot to do on a visit to Malta!

The most popular sites for tourists, aside from the beautiful beaches – which may be good for a sunset walk, but less welcoming for a dip in February – are the historical sites. They reflect Malta ’s history as a strategic set of islands centrally located in the Mediterranean.  Both the British and French ruled Malta, as did the Romans in their day.  The Moors controlled the islands for a short period and the islands were ruled alternatively by knights during the Crusades.

Take a Cruise

Malta is also a popular destination stop for Mediterranean cruises.  A one-day excursion may take travelers to the Saflieni Hypogeum, which is a fancy Latin name for a massive underground network of rooms and burial sites.

Look up for Birds

Malta is a major fly-over site for migratory birds.  A few hundred species of birds fly over the islands every year.  Unfortunately, February is a bit early for the next migration but, if you’re lucky, the weather will have been warm in Europe and the birds might start flying north a month early.

Nature Loves Malta

The Ghadira Nature Preserve may offer some good bird-watching but it also features many other exotic animal species.

Beautiful Churches

If you’re of a church-going mind, you might enjoy Sunday Mass in one of the many magnificent churches on the islands.  The Maltese are far more religious than mainland Europeans and church attendance is still high.  Even if you prefer not to attend Sunday Mass, we recommend a tour of St. John’s cathedral.  There are two wonderful paintings by Caravaggio on display in the cathedral.


Wine has recently become much appreciated by the people of Malta.  Tourists can enjoy many different wines at the many wine bars that have popped up in the last few years.

Walking Tours

One of the best ways to see Malta is through a walking tour. Private tours are quite expensive but group tours are reasonably priced and just as good.  You can get a group tour of many locales on the islands.  You’ll be tempted to take a full day or half day tour but the summit is the reason you’re in Malta so take one of the shorter tours.  You won’t be disappointed.

Heritage Trails

The best known is the Xemxija Heritage Trail.  It boasts caves and catacombs amongst other attractions.  A clear day in February is just about the best time of the year to explore this trail.  It’s a difficult walk at times with some steeps climbs but you can always go in as far as you can and turn around.


The immortal movie The Maltese Falcon (which was based on an equally great book of the same name) is so named because falconry has long been a major part of Maltese culture.  The Malta Falconry Centre is the most accessible to most locations on the island.  The guides offer excellent tours.  This is another perfect short activity you can do whilst keeping your close attention on the summit.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that in addition to being the leading certifying agency of your favourite online casino, Malta also has many land based casinos.


If you can arrive a day early, or stay a day longer, we strongly recommend a trip to Mdina.  This is a walled city that dates back, some say, as many as 4000 years ago.  Legend has it that St. Paul lived here.  The catacombs are named after him and are well worth a visit.  There are numerous museums in the church buildings and palaces.  You’ll need at least a full day to properly explore this ancient city.
Over the generations, the nobility of each ruling family lived here so the silent streets are lined with historical memories such as several palaces.  Every building in Mdina has historical significance.

Malta, the Underappreciated Destination

We feel strongly that after you visit Malta for SiGMA, you’ll want to come back for everything that Malta has to offer and that you didn’t have time to see or do.



iGaming Idol Doubled in Size

iGaming Idol Doubled in Size and Sets a New Standard for Industry Award Events

NetEnt take home most awards whilst Mr Green and Jackpot Joy follow. Robin Ramm Ericson & Gustaf Hagman of Leo Vegas win Outstanding Contribution to the Industry.

The much-awaited second annual iGaming Idol gala awards dinner lit up the Industry with a full capacity attendance of 430 iGaming executives, employees, friends and 18 new ‘Idols of the Year’.  The event, which doubled in its attendance figures when compared to the 2016 edition, was held in the prestigious Grand Master Suite at the Hilton Hotel in St Julian’s, Malta.

Distinguished guests were welcomed to the black-tie event with red-carpet treatment and champagne on arrival, before being hosted to a three-course dinner and a night of glitz and glamour by industry personalities Michael Caselli, Editor in Chief of iGaming Business, and Rebecca Liggero from Calvin Ayre.

SiGMA-igaming igaming idol

Michael Pedersen, CEO of iGaming idol, welcomed the guests, finalists and sponsors by thanking them for their support, whilst he reiterated that those attending were supporting the Industry and the local community in a major way.  Mr Pedersen said: “iGaming Idol is all about the recognition of individuals and giving employees within the industry their due importance. Supporting charity and giving back to the community is another pillar of iGaming Idol and we are thrilled to donate more than €12,000 to the Malta Community Chest Fund this year.”

Special guest, the Hon Silvio Schembri, Paliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, delivered the opening speech by praising the organisers for their innovative concept in recognising the talent behind the industry’s success. He congratulated all the finalists, noting that it was encouraging to see a good number of Maltese nationals had made the list in several categories. Hon Schembri also announced that Government was taking measures to facilitate work permits and visas to attract more foreign talent.

The attendees were entertained throughout the evening with live music, and the hosts were on spectacular form. The evening culminated with the awards ceremony and 16 winners taking home the title of ‘Idol of the Year’ within their respective categories. The finalists were put through a rigorous process including being interviewed by expert judges from the same category. In addition to the 16 Idols, prestigious awards were given out to Robin Ramm Ericson and Gustaf Hagman of Leo Vegas for winning ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Industry’ as well as Catena Media for taking home ‘Employer of the Year’.  The iGaming Idol Awards are fully audited by BDO Malta, an affiliate organisation of BDO International.


The winners were:


Affiliate Manager Idol of the Year Laura O Brien Mr Green
Business Intelligence Idol of the Year Andrew Galea NetRefer
Casino Product Idol of the Year Alan Brincat Quasar Gaming
Compliance and Regulated Markets Idol of the Year Ewout Wierda Videoslots
Customer Service Idol of the Year Viktor Mardberg Jackpot Joy
Design & User Experience Idol of the Year Martin McDonald Join Games
Fraud & Risk Idol of the Year Daniel Buttitieg APCO Pay
HR Idol of the Year Roberta Geres Mr Green
Live Casino Dealer Idol of the Year Joscelyn James Sims NetEnt
Manager Idol of the Year Lahcene Merzoug Evoke
SEO/SEM Idol of the Year Sean Bianco Quasar Gaming
Sports Product Idol of the Year Tamara Caligari Tipico
Recruitment Idol of the Year Jakob Wallof NetEnt
Tech Back-end Idol of the Year Anthony Sammut NetEnt
Tech Front-end Idol of the Year Kurt Aquilina Play N Go
VIP Manager Idol of the Year Steve DeGiorgio Jackpot Joy
Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Robin Ramm Ericson & Gustaf Hagman Leo Vegas
Employer of the Year Catena Media


Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Malta gearing up for blockchain revolution

The Maltese government has started revealing details of an ambitious plan to turn the island into one of the first countries in the world to embrace the blockchain technology.

iGaming, Digital Economy Junior Minister Silvio Schembri said that the plans are twofold – for blockchain to be rolled out across the board in the public sector and for Malta to become a hub for international companies that operate on the technology.

“We already have all the elements in place to embrace blockchain – a gaming sector and a robust gaming authority, a strong financial services sector, a reliable ICT infrastructure, an attractive taxation system, and a flexible and pro-business government,” he said in an interview with MT.

“We’ve heard enough about the opportunities posed by blockchain and it’s now time to put words into action to create new opportunities for both citizens and the economy. It’s my priority to turn this vision into a reality.”

The plan is to implement blockchain across the public sector, most notably in the Lands Registry – which will be made public – and the national health registries.

Hon. Schembri added that a project to promote blockchain in the education sector will also be announced by the education ministry in the coming days.
has said it is his priority to pioneer Malta into embracing blockchain.


Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Silvio Schembri, responsible for the Government’s new Blockchain policy

‘Blockchain is the new iGaming’ 

On a macro-level, Schembri said the government plans to turn Malta into a hub for businesses that operate on blockchain, in a similar fashion as it had attracted iGaming companies.

These will include companies that offer services in smart contracts, which use blockchain technology to verify and enforce business contracts quickly and in a manner that is non-tamperable – essentially cutting out the lawyers.

To this end, a new authority will be set up to regulate the new industry and to hand out licences to them as the Malta Gaming Authority does to gaming companies.

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

“There are many of these companies out there who are itching to have a proper licence under which to operate, and we could be the first in Europe – if not the world – to provide them,” Schembri said. “Some oil companies are interested in shifting to blockchain – can you imagine how much money we can earn through taxation if they register in Malta?”

He added that Malta would have an edge in attracting these companies because the Labour government is particularly business-friendly – ministers and even the Prime Minister often agree to meet up with businesspeople only a few days after receiving an e-mail request.

“This government is very accessible and it doesn’t shy away from taking decisions, even controversial ones, if they are in the country’s best interests.”

Blockchain, Cryptocorrencies and Disruptive Tech will take centre stage this year at SiGMA, with a dedicated conference and world class speakers from all over the world. Registration for this summit is open, with a sold out floor plan and around eighty startups and VCs lined up for the Startup Pitch.

EveryMatrix Signs Casino Content Deal with CEGO

Leading iGaming software provider EveryMatrix has signed a casino content deal with CEGO, an online casino operator that powers some of the biggest brands in Denmark.

Following the agreement, CEGO’s newest brand will get access to premium content from NYX, Scientific Gaming, Evolution, and Magnet Gaming, via EveryMatrix’s CasinoEngine product. All the content will be delivered via Web API on external wallet with EveryMatrix’s bonusing system.

Commenting on the deal, EveryMatrix CEO Ebbe Groes said: “Following the Norsk Tipping deal, this is yet another step forward for EveryMatrix, and we are happy to carry out our privileged position in the Nordic market through our latest partnerships.”

CEGO CMO Esben S. Thomsen also commented: “We are looking forward to cooperating with EveryMatrix. It will open up a large portfolio of new and exciting games, which will benefit our players and strengthen our gaming products even further.”

Groes went on to say: “At this moment, our company is one of the few Danish certified platform providers, and with the new CEGO agreement, we continue to grow our name in the Nordics region.

“Our platform was recently selected by Norsk Tipping state lottery to provide services for their iGaming Integration Platform, and now with Danske Spill owned CEGO we see the recognition of our hard work and focus we invested into building one of the most competitive products on the market.”

CEGO is a highly experienced Danish online casino operator; it works with some of the largest online casino brands in Denmark, such as and

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Catena Media Acquires US Online Gambling Assets

Online lead generation company Catena Media has entered the regulated US online gambling market by confirming the acquisition of licensed affiliate website assets from three separate US founders.

Catena Media governance, specifying acquisition details, stated that it has agreed to pay an upfront cash and shares deal valued at €15 million, with 25% of the deal being settled through a distribution of a total of 440,669 new shares in its business.

As a further deal incentive, based on revenue performance of the assets over a three-year period, it has placed a $45 million cap earn-out.

Catena stated that its new assets would contribute directly to corporate performance, and further detailed that the acquired websites had an estimated revenue €1 million per quarter, with a 75% operating margin.

The revenues generated stem from licensed operators in the regulated Casino and Poker markets in the states of Nevada and New Jersey. It is estimated that following the acquisition, close to 50% of Catena Media’s revenue will be derived from regulated markets.

While Catena governance did not disclose the name of individual assets, it did confirm that and are among its acquired US online websites.

Commenting on the US acquisitions. Catena Media CEO Robert Andersson said: “We are very excited about this opportunity, which will not only see Catena Media becoming the largest regulated casino affiliate in the US, but also puts us in pole position to take advantage of further re-regulation in what has the potential to become the world’s largest iGaming market. This is an important step in realizing our vision to become the world´s number one provider of high-value iGaming leads.”

This year has seen Catena Media move to increase its international affiliate network as the company moves to extend its player marketing footprint in regulated iGaming and betting markets. This month, Catena confirmed its £10 million acquisition of leading UK player portal

Website co-founder and seller to Catena Media, Aaron McCann, commented: “We are impressed with Catena Media and are excited to join their strong and experienced team, which will enable us to take advantage of the many strategic and 2 D-2452017-v2 financial benefits expected from the regulation in the US. We look forward to continuing the journey we have started, and Catena Media is a great match for us.”

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Betsson Group Upgrades Mobile Casino to be Largest in the World

Online gambling company Betsson Group AB has declared that its flagship brand – – now boasts over 800 game titles, officially making it the largest mobile casino in the world.

Releasing its latest mobile casino client, Betsson Group updates its product with a new interface reflecting the company’s recent rebrand under the tagline “Anytime’s Playtime”. The product comes as a direct response to customer demand, and incorporates a lighter and fresher style with clearer game titles and jackpot amounts, larger thumbnails, and a completely updated architecture of the casino to offer improved search, filtering, and favouriting, as well as personalisation and recommendation.

Development teams at Betsson have placed user-experience and customer journey as the main focus of its product upgrade, with the mobile casino offering an optimised product layout as mentioned above.

Commenting on the upgrade, Managing Director Fredrik Axelsson said: “We’re very excited to be able to offer such a diverse range of games on’s mobile casino.

“Betsson Group is well known for leading the field in terms of technology, and this further innovation brings to the absolute forefront of the industry”.

The company revealed that its mobile casino was its first product to be built on the firm’s in-house development front-end platform, ‘OBG – One Betsson Group’.

The OBG platform will support the operator’s technology platform ‘Techsson’, connecting all 21 front-end Betsson Group brands. offers a vast range of first-class online gambling products that include sports betting, online poker, casino games, and many more, in a safe and fun environment. The sportsbook offers more than 4000 sports betting channels, which include a live betting option and a large array of in-play betting opportunities. The casino offers everything from table games to slot machine games, as well as a host of other games.

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