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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:

 

Category
Winner
Company
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.

silvio-schembri

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 Spilnu.dk and CasinoDanmark.dk.

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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 playnj.com and USPoker.com 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 Casinouk.com.

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

“Betsson Group is well known for leading the field in terms of technology, and this further innovation brings Betsson.com 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.

Betsson.com 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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NetEnt Expands Into Mexico’s Online Casino Market with Codere

Premium gaming solutions supplier NetEnt has announced that it will be introducing its offering in the Latin American region via an extension of its existing agreement with Codere; a Spanish gambling operator.

NetEnt has repeatedly pointed out that expanding into regulated jurisdictions has always been a crucial part of its growth strategy. The Mexican regulated online gaming market is set to become the latest to have the Swedish supplier’s games and solutions launched in, as well as the first one in the Latin American region.

Codere is a leading gambling operator in Mexico which operates in both the land-based and digital segments of the industry. NetEnt will be able to go live in the country via its partner’s licence.

The Mexican iGaming market, as well as the markets in other Latin American jurisdictions, have become particularly attractive to major gambling operators and service providers across the globe, holding great potential for profitability.

In a press release, NetEnt Americas LLC Managing Director Björn Krantz commented on the latest announcement, saying that they are very excited to be going live in Mexico with their partner Codere. He added that the agreement marks an important milestone for the company, particularly its entrance into the Latin American online gambling market.

Mr Krantz expressed confidence that NetEnt will be able to support Codere’s growth in Mexico’s online casino segment, and that local players will enjoy their gaming content.

The two companies first shook hands on a content distribution partnership back in 2015, when NetEnt was looking to enter the Spanish regulated market. A selection of NetEnt’s online casino games went live with the major gambling operator later that year.

Apart from its land-based and online presence in its domestic market as well as in Latin American regulated jurisdictions, Codere is also a leading gambling operator in Italy.

NetEnt’s announcement about entering Mexico comes merely days after the Swedish provider launched its Christmas-themed gaming title, Secrets of Christmas – a 5-reel, 25-line, 3-row slot which features funny and colourful symbols and exciting bonuses which capture the spirit of Christmas and create a festive atmosphere for players.

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LeoVegas Launches Silver Lion – New Lightning Box Games Slot

The new Silver Lion game from Lightning Box Games has been given an exclusive launch on LeoVegas.

The slot game will only be available to LeoVegas.com players until it goes to general release on December 7th.

The 5×4 reel, 1024-way slot features tribesmen and animals such as zebras, hippos, and meerkats, and takes players on a safari across the sweeping plains of the African Savannah in search of the mythical Silver Lion. Players can expect bonus rounds when the lion appears through the undergrowth, along with opportunities to win big prizes.

Designed and built in premium HTML5 for desktop and standard HTML5 for mobile, the game comes with graphics and soundtracks that transport the players to the heart of the wilderness.

Commenting on the game, Lightning Box Managing Director and Co-Founder Peter Causley said: “Silver Lion is a beautiful game which offers players big prizes by multiplying their stacked wins by up to 27 times. The math model behind the game ensures players are engaged and entertained in equal measure.

“It is a great addition to our growing portfolio, and the result of months of hard work from everyone here at Lightning Box Games. We are sure players on LeoVegas will enjoy playing the game as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Head of Casino at LeoVegas, Karolina Pelc, commented on the launch of the game: “We’re very pleased to once again deliver on LeoVegas’ promise of being the first with the latest. We’re confident that Silver Lion will be one of those popular games with all our players.”

Lightning Box Games also recently struck a trio of deals with online casino operators in the UK, with its Stellar Jackpots-Chilli Gold x2 title launching with bet365, Coral and Ladbrokes simultaneously.

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Mr Green Moves its Main Market Listing to Nasdaq Stockholm

Online gambling company Mr Green has announced that the company has officially moved its main market listing from Sweden’s mid-sized AktieTorget to the bigger Nasdaq Nordic Market.

The European iGaming operator was founded in 2007 and is now the 76th enterprise to list at Nasdaq’s Nordic markets in 2016.

Earlier last month, Mr Green’s governance stated that it would change its main listing, given that it was a “logical step” for the company’s long-term progression.

Mr Green also believed that its placement on the main Nasdaq Scandinavian market would help the operator in its quest to target international growth, helping it to attract a broader range of investors.

Commenting on the firm’s Nasdaq Nordic listing, Mr Green CEO Per Norman said: “We launched our new technology platform earlier this year and have already started to implement and deliver on our new business strategy, and there is no doubt that our customers like the new Mr Green.”

He added: “I am happy and proud of what our organisation has achieved in such a short period of time and look forward to our journey of change towards continued growth.”

Adam Kostyál, Senior Vice President and Head of European listings at Nasdaq, also commented: “We welcome Mr. Green to the Nasdaq Stockholm main market, where it will make a compelling addition to our consumer services sector.

“Mr Green is yet another example of an online gaming company leveraging Nasdaq Stockholm as a platform for future growth, and we congratulate the company on its listing.”

Reuters reported Mr Green’s financial targets in conjunction with the new listing, stating that the company plans to achieve annual organic growth that exceeds the online gaming industry.

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PokerStars First to be Granted Online Poker Licence in Portugal

PokerStars, subsidiary company of Amaya and the largest online poker cardroom in the world, is now the first company to be granted a casino and poker licence to operate its website in the Portuguese market.

The Serviços de Regulação e Inspeção de Jogos (SRIJ) national regulatory body has confirmed that it has awarded the online poker licence to REEL Europe Ltd – a division of Amaya – who will operate the PokerStars website, Pokerstars.pt.

The new website is currently under development, displaying a “coming soon” splash screen. Following the recent Portuguese gaming laws, however, when the site does eventually launch, betting services will be limited until a deal is struck to share liquidity with other regulated gaming markets within the European Union, such as Italy, Spain and France.

The SRIJ licence entitles PokerStars to offer tournament poker, Hold’em and Omaha cash games, as well as Blackjack and Roulette. The new website will mark the first time for Portuguese players to be able to gamble legally on PokerStars since the company left the market in July 2015 following the country’s adoption of new gambling regulation.

PokerStars made its official debut in Bulgaria’s new regulated market and was joined earlier this month by Bet365’s iPoker skin. The duo has now been joined by GVC Holdings’ Bwin.party, which launched a Bulgarian-licenced poker site under its Bwin brand. The company has informed players that held Bwin poker accounts before the country imposed its new licensing regime where their old account info is no longer valid and they must open a new account.

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Playtech Appoints Armin Sageder as New Playtech BGT Sports CEO

Gambling software development company Playtech has announced that it has appointed Dr. Armin Sageder as CEO of Playtech BGT Sports.

The new division brings together Playtech Sports companies – BGT, Geneity, Unilogic, Mobenga, and Playtech’s internal Sports Trading team, and has over 600 employees based in Nicosia, Malmö, London, Vienna, Bremen, and Sofia.

Reporting to Playtech CEO Mor Weizer, Sageder will take responsibility for all business and customer relations of Playtech BGT Sports, and establish and lead a team to manage the division.

Not only did the new CEO found the online payments company Paysafecard, but he also founded BGT in 2005. Earlier this year, Sageder and his co-shareholder sold a large number of their shares to Playtech. He will remain a 10% shareholder of the Playtech BGT Sports division.

Commenting on his new position, Sageder said that he is very excited about the opportunity, adding: “When combining the BGT team spirit together with the extensive know-how and knowledge of all the great talent that exists across Playtech, we have the opportunity to create a powerhouse for the benefit of our clients and their customers.”

He explained that by doing so, they will invest further in their platforms, products, offering and services and will provide customers with a truly enhanced betting experience and maximize the benefits for their licensees.

He went on to say: “Furthermore, we will continue to provide operators with the expertise and capabilities they expect from Playtech and BGT as well as the relevant tools in order to allow them to differentiate their customer propositions and achieve their strategic goals.”

Weizer also commented: “I am delighted that Armin has accepted this role and I strongly believe he is the best person to take our sports offering to the next level together with the talent we have internally.

“Playtech BGT Sports will provide leading sports betting operators with best-in-class platforms and products as we well as a series of unique Omni-channel solutions that we believe will continue to revolutionize retail and online betting businesses alike.”

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