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Malta the European iGaming leader

Malta on top of the European iGaming Sector

Renowned for its 300 days of sunshine per year, the Mediterranean island is also well-known for its iGaming strong activity and is seen as an iGaming leader in Europe. As the Malta Summit of iGaming is coming next week, let’s have some insights on this market.

Malta and the iGaming Industry, a 20 Years Story

On the contrary of most European countries, Malta is pioneering when it comes to the iGaming industry. The island was the first to regulate those activities in 2004 via the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), even if the first betting website was launched four years before in the country.

The MGA was founded in order to regulate all forms of gaming in Malta, including remote gaming operations. Regulations are divided into four classes depending on which type of operation companies fall under and include licenses for B2C operators as well as B2B (around 590 active licenses).

Today, almost 300 companies are involved in the iGaming industry and 10,000 people are directly or indirectly working for it. As the country is a tourist hotspot, it has a lot of aerial connections, making it seen as an European iGaming hub.

Beyond the international aspect, Malteses are high iGaming consumers. According to the last forecasts of the MGA, 56 % of the population would regularly spend money in iGaming activity, for a total amount of 150 million euros.

Say Hi to HiPay at SiGMA Booth S171

It is already the 4th edition of the Malta Summit of iGaming. During four days, over 100 exhibitors and 5,000 visitors, all coming from the iGaming industry, will have the occasion to share their experience in terms of payment, fraud and more.

Some might ask “why Malta”? As we explained, Malta is a pioneer of the European iGaming industry. Organizing a significant event in the country is after all a return to the sources.

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 Innovation Summit to take place this Friday

Malta Innovation Summit to take place on Friday 13th October

On Friday 13th October NetRefer will be hosting the first edition of the Malta Innovation Summit at Westin Dragonara resort in St. Julian’s.

SiGMA will be participating via its COO Jarek Gorny who will be the moderator of a panel about Malta’s startup scene and about how startups bring innovation and the challenges they face in doing so.

Jarek is in charge of the SiGMA Startup Pitch, bringing around 100 startups and 50 investors from all over the world to SiGMA on 22-25th November 2017.

sigma-igaming-jarek-gorny

Jarek Gorny, COO, SiGMA

Edward de Bono, the inventor of lateral thinking, and the best international speakers on the subject are flying to Malta for the Malta Innovation Summit.

Edward de Bono, inventor of ‘lateral thinking’

The summit will

  • bring together innovation stakeholders under one roof to discuss, share and learn real-world experiences, ideas, trends and best practices in innovation,
  • put the limelight on innovative initiatives around us – all types of innovation not just the typical consumer technology,
  • identify gaps where we can improve in being more innovative,

and it will do this at 3 levels:

  1. international, national level
  2. organisation level
    1. being it an established organisation
    2. or a startup
  3. at a person level – we need to first be innovative ourselves before expecting everyone and everything else to be innovative.

For more details visit: http://www.maltainnovationsummit.com/

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.

BREAKING: EveryMatrix signs large operator Tipico

EveryMatrix is thrilled to sign Tipico for CasinoEngine Direct, the EveryMatrix casino solution delivering the largest selection of games in the industry through a single integration. According to the agreement, EveryMatrix will be delivering games via CasinoEngine for more than 20 casino providers considerably boosting Tipico’s website with more RNG games and premium live casino from Evolution and others.

Founded in 2004, Tipico is an international provider of sports betting and first-class online casino entertainment based and licensed in Malta. The company is a leadingoperator in Germany and Austria and a long-standing sports supporter and sponsor of the football league clubs FC Bayern München, Hamburger SV, and RB Leipzig in Germany, as well as the Austrian Tipico Bundesliga and RB Salzburg team. As a founding member of German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), the German Online Casino Association (DOCV) and active member of various Austrian betting associations, Tipico is committed to integrity and the highest standards of product, data security, and protection of players.

Marlon van der Goes, Tipico

Marlon van der Goes, Tipico

“We are impressed by CasinoEngine’s gaming portfolio and its ability to integrate with our digital platforms. The partnership with EveryMatrix is an important step to revamp our gaming offering, as we are looking to provide our customers a state of the art entertainment experience” stated Marlon van der Goes, Tipico CCO.

Ebbe Groes, EveryMatrix CEO, went on to elaborate, “We are proud to add a considerable casino portfolio into Tipico’s platform and we look forward to work with their highly professionally team. Jointly this will lead to one of the most competitive casino offerings in the region.”

CasinoEngine is the largest and foremost casino gaming aggregator in the industry. With a single integration, operators can gain access to a continuously growing library of close to 5,000 casino games from over 60 game providers seamlessly integrated into a single casino lobby and wallet. Value added services built on top of this unified application includes a highly flexible bonus system, common reporting, and easy lobby management.

Ebbe Groes, EveryMatrix CEO

Ebbe Groes, EveryMatrix

“With CasinoEngine Direct, operators may integrate the CasinoEngine directly into their own platform and in-house wallet. CasinoEngine Direct secures minimum latency and optimal game speed while giving operators complete freedom to develop and host their own website or build together with EveryMatrix,” added Groes.

Robert Dowling, EveryMatrix Malta Office

Robert Dowling, EveryMatrix Malta Office

SiGMA reached out to EveryMatrix, Malta-based, Robert Dowling, who was instrumental in securing the deal;

“I am happy to see two large Maltese companies working together to create one of the best online casino products of the moment. Malta has always been a hub of opportunity for the iGaming industry and our latest collaboration with Tipico represents a major step forward for our ongoing growth in the region.”

Both Tipico and EveryMatrix exhibited at SiGMA last year. View comments from both representatives below:

Interview with Rob Dowling, EveryMatrix

Interview with Jonathan Pace, Tipico

Sky Betting and Gaming applies for local licence

Sky Betting and Gaming, one of the UK’s leading online bookmakers, has applied for a sports betting licence in Malta.It is the biggest online player by customer numbers in the UK market.

Sky betting & Gaming

Headquartered in Leeds and led by chief executive Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming was formed in 2001 and now has a team of 1,200 employees.

It has offices in Sheffield, London, Rome and Munich, recently expanded into Italy and has plans to do the same in Germany soon.

Sky Betting & Gaming today operates five major online products – Bet, Vegas, Casino, Poker, and Bingo – as well as leading sports affiliate Oddschecker. Sky Betting and Gaming was recently valued at £800million.

The Gaming Authority has received 59 applications from gaming companies in the first four months of the year and approved 36 of them.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had yesterday hinted at gaming application, telling journalists that a “household name” in the gaming sector was seeking to relocate to Malta.

Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

 

LCB on Maltese approach to gambling regulation

For all its advantages, gambling online can be a dangerous endeavor. In an age when our favorite casino games are only a click away, it is hard to believe that such a wide-spread phenomenon is still lacking a global legal framework to protect both operators and consumers. Instead, we find ourselves caught in a confusing whirlwind of constant changes, where we’re never really sure where we stand in legal terms. Regulations differ from country to country, from one venue to another, and often stand opposed to each other, complicating matters even further. Players quickly learn that to pass unscathed in this dynamic environment; there are safety measures to be taken first.

The first thing most of us look for in a casino is an appropriate license issued by an established authority. A valid permit should not be easy to come by nor to keep, so we take it as an indicator of a trustworthy company. There exist many licensing jurisdictions in the world today, a fact that poses another dilemma for both players and the companies seeking to operate a gaming site: which of them is of the highest merit?

There is no absolute answer to this question – all governing institutions have certain advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the kind of assurance they provide. One of the oldest and best known legislative establishments is the Malta Gaming Authority.

Malta was the first of the EU member states to regulate gambling on the Internet. Looking for ways to boost its economic growth, the country recognized the potential of the increasingly popular remote gaming and chose to cultivate this entertainment branch by giving the sector a set of necessary control measures. The framework implemented when the industry as a whole lacked coherent regulations, and as such, it’s considered a standard today. Malta is among the world’s largest and most popular jurisdictions, having issued licenses to more than 200 operators since its conception.

Simplified Application Procedures

The MGA used to grant multiple types of licenses relating to different gaming categories and platforms. Operators who wanted to run casino games, betting on sports and poker all within the same website, as well as on desktop and mobile, had to acquire a permission for each of these, making the procedures overly long and complicated. It was improved upon in 2004 when the legislation was corrected to simplify the application processes. In this respect, the license classes that the MGA now awards are closer in type to most other jurisdictions.

Low cost

International companies are attracted to Malta due to the affordable corporate and income taxes. Annual fees vary depending on the type and number of licenses granted, but a maximum gaming tax does not exceed €460,000. While some others, like Curacao, charge nothing whatsoever, the MGA fees can still be considered competitive.

Fair Conditions

The requirements and protocols that the MGA imposes on applicants and license holders are quite rigorous but fair. Regarding the difficulty of obtaining approval, they can be considered middle ground between the strictest and the most lenient that exist today. Companies must be, at least in part, physically located in Malta. Solid reputation and the outline of a business plan are expected of all applicants. To run a proper business, ensure player protection and prevent money laundering, casinos must maintain financial records and monthly reports of player balances, follow data security protocols and endorse responsible gaming. One notable condition, not all jurisdictions require is the certification of fairness obtained six months prior – this ensures the software is using random number generators to produce the outcomes of the games. Furthermore, in a case of any changes to the already certified software, the company must be audited again.

Malta is also the only governing body to keep track of online casinos that falsely claim to hold their licenses – the list is published and updated accordingly on the official website.

Effective Support Functions are in the Works

In recent times, the MGA has been focusing on improving the laws relating to player support and protection. This segment criticized in the past as inadequate has the jurisdiction promising higher quality services to match those offered to operators. A particular emphasis is given to support options directly with authority itself, and to this end, they have recently implemented a live chat function on the website.

In addition to monthly audits of player funds, licensed casinos ensure all customers are of legal age and have the options of self-limitation, self-exclusion and access to the Responsible Gaming Foundation to promote responsible gambling and helping risk players.

Due to the experience, longevity, stringency and the fact that many established casinos operate under its supervision, Malta has earned a reputable status in the industry. Holding a strong position as one of the most attractive European-based regulators, it remains committed to enhancing fraud prevention, as well as consumer support.

Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.

Casumo celebrates their 4th multimillion winner

Malta-based online casino Casumo celebrated their 4th multimillion winner earlier on the 30th March. The lucky winner was a 28-year old loyal Swedish Casumo player who was rewarded the Mega Fortune jackpot of €3,317,639.08 on a €2.50 spin.

This is the fourth multimillion win which exceeds €2 million that Casumo has had the privilege of paying out and it is also the second largest payout by the online casino to date. Nine months ago, a Swedish player by the name of David won an extremely handsome jackpot of €2,971,469.79. A year ago, it was a lucky UK player who after only three spins, walked away with a magnificent €2,700,000 jackpot. And the whopper of Casumo payouts to date goes to a Finnish player back in 2013 who won €3,330,000.

Casumo stated that they were thrilled to welcome another instant millionaire to their ranks and we congratulate the winner here as well. Casumo is sure to be looking forward to many more instant millionaires in the near future.

Mega Fortune is an online Net Entertainment progressive slots jackpot that may be played and won at online casinos which provide games from Net Entertainment. The slot game pays out on average over €3million every 8-14 weeks approximately and is one of the largest NetEnt’s jackpot arsenal.

Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.

New real estate trend emerges in Malta catering to igaming expats

It is no secret that the iGaming industry in Malta is booming right along with the growing number of expats. There is a constant influx of new recruits in igaming coming to Malta and in need of a place to stay until they settle down here. Because of the continuous new arrivals gracing our shores, a recent trend has emerged in real estate here catering to the needs of these igaming expats.

One prime example of this new real estate fad catering to the igaming industry is a brand new block of apartments in St Julians soon to be finished and available to the public no later than Summer 2017. Located 8-10 minutes from the St Julians seafront, this high-end apartment complex will house 11 units in total, 9 apartments and 2 penthouses (tallying 46 beds) which will be available for a minimal rental period of 1 year.

Render Open Space St JuliansThe asking price for the entire block is available upon request and comes with the maintenance of the common part including the lift while the maintenance and upkeep of the actual apartments/penthouse will be the responsibility of the persons or company renting.

Render Bathroom - St JuliansThe specifications of the block are as follows:

3 X 3 bedrooms apartment with 2 separate bathrooms in each apartment (showers / single beds)

6 X 2 bedrooms apartment with 2 separate bathrooms in each apartment (showers / single beds)

2 X 2 bedrooms penthouse with 2 bathrooms (baths /double beds)

Render BedroomThese apartments are fully finished and furnished with everything but the expat. They incorporate a full equipt kitchen with gas cookers, electric oven, microwave, dishwasher and appliances. The living room area is finished with flat screen TV, puffs, sofa, coffee table, dining table and chairs.

Bedrooms come with wardrobe organizer, bedside tables and lamps (with key lockers), blackout curtains and bed linens.

Each apartment is finished with tiled flooring while the penthouses sport a parquet flooring. Additionally, there is also a washing machine in each apartment and penthouse, fully air-conditioning, mosquito nets for windows /double glazing and card-entry system door for each apartment and penthouse.

You are welcomed to email SiGMA on info@sigma.com.mt for further information on these new block of apartments.

Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.

RAKETECH strengthens management with new Chief Financial Officer and Board Member

RakeTech Group, one of Europe’s leading affiliate companies within the iGaming, today announced that it has recruited two senior people to lead. The highly qualified Anna Nilson will take over as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in May 2017. Furthermore, joining games industry veteran Fredrik Svederman to the Board.

Johan Svensson, Founder and Director of RakeTech Group with Joel Jacobson co-founder, Trustly at SiGMA15

Johan Svensson, Founder and Director of RakeTech Group with Joel Jacobson co-founder, Trustly at SiGMA15

Nilsson will review the financial strategy and ensure that it continues its path to a financially well-run and profitable company in the ongoing maturation phase. In her luggage, she has several years of experience from companies such as EY, Phone House, TrueCaller, and her last position as CFO at MTGx Digital Ventures.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to work with all ambitious employees RakeTech” says Nilson. “My primary focus will be on guidance and new perspectives on the acquisition, in order to further strengthen the company’s growth strategy. It is very exciting. “

Fredrik Svederman

Fredrik Svederman

Fredrik Svederman takes the board and brings many years of industry experience and knowledge to the company. The last six years he has worked as CFO of Evolution Gaming and previously as CFO of Nordnet.

“These new additions to our management team has extensive experience in business development, management and acquisition,” said Michael Holmberg, CEO of RakeTech. “We are currently experiencing a tremendous growth in RakeTech, and the knowledge that Anna and Fredrik possess will both bring and mean much of the company’s continued growth in the future. “

Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.

888 considers relocating from Gibraltar to Malta post-Brexit

In an annual report by one of the world’s most popular online gaming operators & platform providers, 888 Holdings PLC Company, it was stated that they were considering a possibility that post-Brexit, they may have to move their headquarters from Gibraltar to Malta.

In the report, they highlighted the various risks that the European online gaming industry faced. One of them is currently the uncertainty of Brexit as most of their business is presently drawn from the UK. Although they stated they were considering moving their headquarters and license away from the Rock, they will still retain some presence there.

According to the report, it said: “The proposed status of Gibraltar in relation to the United Kingdom as a result of ‘Brexit’ is at present unclear. If 888 were to remain registered, licensed and operating in Gibraltar in these circumstances, its ability to rely on EU freedom of services/establishment principles in supplying its services within the EU will be limited.”

It went on to state: “Brexit could adversely affect economic or market conditions in the United Kingdom, Europe or globally and could contribute to instability in global financial markets, in particular until there is more certainty as to the form that Brexit will take and its effect on Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and the EU. Malta may be considered as an alternative ‘dot com’ licensing jurisdiction.”

There are currently around 30 leading iGaming and sports betting companies regulated and licensed in Gibraltar including BetVictor, Ladbrokes, 32Red, Bet365, Yggdrasil, NetEnt, Bwin and Lottoland to name a few.

Not every gaming company in Gibraltar predicts the same post-Brexit future for their company as 888 Holdings. Bwin’s GVC Holdings group stated: “Beyond the impact of currency movements there has been no visible impact on the business from the UK’s decision to seek an exit from the EU. The Group has greater sterling costs than revenues and therefore the impact from sterling weakness is a net positive. The detail of how the UK intends to exit the EU is yet to be decided, however, management believe GVC’s global footprint gives it significant flexibility to face any challenges that may arise.”

In the meantime, Lottoland, which offers the world’s biggest jackpots and attracts around four million players has confirmed their loyalty to the Rock.  Its operating base is located in Gibraltar’s Ocean Village Marina development with over 160 employees.

Nigel Birrell, Lottoland CEO stated: “We began operating from Gibraltar in May 2013 and it has been the perfect base for our business, providing an excellent platform for our success… Our business is thriving and the benefits of staying in Gibraltar remain very strong indeed.”

Have you attended SiGMA last year? 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.