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This includes the availability of cross-sectorial talent, the depth and breadth of industry clusters, good air transport links and ICT infrastructure, as well as a reputation as a good place to live.
Malta has the opportunity to be a truly global centre for the gaming industry, similar to what New York, Hong Kong and London are to the finance industry.
The gaming industry in global terms is still in its infancy and expected to expand significantly in the coming years.
Accelerating growth in the gaming sector by creating a dynamic marketing mechanism anticipating market changes. Engaging with stakeholders and providing business support to ensure that Malta is the most attractive environment for the gaming industry to thrive.
Standing out through innovative ideas and leading the iGaming industry through research and promotion of the Maltese jurisdiction so as to be a proactive, dynamic catalyst for change.
Supporting the MGA in implementing the brand strategy and road map development for the gaming industry. Bringing stakeholders together — ensuring close cooperation while creating business and networking opportunities for firms working in the sector.
Malta offers iGaming companies a plug-and-play environment, says Ivan Filletti of the GamingMalta Foundation, whose main aim is to ensure that Malta remains attractive to digital and gaming companies.
What do iGaming companies typically highlight as main advantages of operating in and out of Malta? A richly networked and growing ecosystem which lends itself to creating new opportunities for growth and innovation, complemented by a forward-looking and responsive Malta Gaming Authority MGA that embraces new business models.
Malta is increasingly one of the most advanced and respected online gaming jurisdictions in the world, as well as having the most licensed operators.
We want to keep it that way and continue to narrate this success story. Coupled with this, business gets done here. Malta is also the place where ingenuity and determination pay off.
You come, you settle, you succeed. Connecting with like-minded individuals is of paramount importance. Our strong economy, EU member state credentials and resources, people and culture, as well as a strong presence of B2B and B2C companies and an affiliate cluster, give any operator an immediate plug into the gaming sector.
To this, add the lifestyle on this sunny Mediterranean island, which is something special. What is GamingMalta doing to improve Malta as a gaming jurisdiction and how are you assisting companies on the island?
We are there to engage with all the key stakeholders and ensure we connect with the different parts of the ecosystem to promote, strengthen and accelerate the growth across all gaming sectors.
Tangibly we do this by working closely with the public sector, for example with Identity Malta, where we facilitate the service given to iGaming companies and incoming talent.
We also hold Identity Malta outreach programmes at our offices in Smart City, which have been met very positively by the sector.
These outreach programmes also extend to us visiting gaming companies to address their employees and also hear their feedback about the jurisdiction.
Joining and connecting the dots within the ecosystem is a vital component of our game. Our networking events and international roadshows serve as a platform for this.
These also help to attract investors to the iGaming industry. We are increasingly reaching out to other non-gaming channels. Many people are not aware of the skills that are required to work in the industry.
This is to become a must-attend event in the global Daily Fantasy Sports calendar, and we are looking into more sectoral events being organised on this front.
We support many initiatives on other fronts, including poker and eSports tournaments. We also support and promote start-up events on our international roadshows and ensure that start-up founders are given a platform to present their new business models.
Taking into consideration the entire gaming industry, what segments could be developed further in Malta? Remote gaming is only a part of this marvelous world of gaming.
By , eSports will be a billion-dollar industry, and Malta has a lot to offer in this respect. We already have successful video gaming companies based here, and we want to ensure that structures are built to give further and sustainable impetus to this sector.
This is all boils down to a talent game. We want to work closely with the sector in order to attract key talent to Malta. We will be intensifying our efforts in all these areas while ensuring that we consolidate and support organic growth of the remote gaming sector.
Malta offers the complete gaming ecosystem. We have the resources, people and culture to give iGaming professionals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals where business gets done.
Attracting foreign workers is key to our future, and we want to smoothen the process for anyone looking at taking up a position in Malta.
We are committed to addressing the skills mismatch and strengthening the iGaming industry. A brand-new Gaming Act will enter into force in , which will eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify licensing processes and speed up time-tomarket for operators.
Malta has seen licensed operators reach record numbers, and we continue to attract operators from all over the world.
Our island is experiencing significant growth and continues to attract foreign gaming companies, but we can only stay on this successful path if we embrace new technologies and gaming activities, such as Daily Fantasy Sports, eSports and video gaming.
Gaming is unquestionably a key contributor to our economic growth. Not only are gaming companies net contributors to Malta in terms of revenues, but there are also strong economic multiplier effects from expatriate workers relocating to Malta.
We are acknowledging trends in the field of cryptocurrencies by allowing the use of virtual currencies in the industry within a sandbox environment.
I would like to put Malta on the international map as a blockchain hub; my wish is to create an entire new industry based on blockchain technologies and attract innovative start-ups.
We are willing to throw our doors wide open to help companies develop new solutions. We wanted to position Malta, and in particular the MGA, as a thought-leader in regulating the gaming industry, and I think today we are being perceived as such.
We have built up a reputation for working with the industry, rather than against it wherever possible, and this in itself makes us an attractive hub for gaming companies.
Today Malta is synonymous with a thriving gaming media. More than knowledge and worse, misinformation. We are still seeing huge never stands laundering, we closely collaborate with the interest in the sector; this points to a successful Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit FIAU , the In fact, we in Malta, given that our new legislative package do we as a usually get criticised due to the amount of will finally enter into force once it goes through information that we request from operators.
Our the parliamentary process. I am not saying that all our processes drivers of this recent growth? I in this sector. Our framework was designed to make Malta a remote gaming hub of repute.
We have put a lot of am a firm believer in regulation, and I think it is counterproductive effort into promoting Malta internationally, while endorsing and to criminalise an industry as it will only drive it underground.
Furthermore, Malta today Can you tell us more about the new Gaming Act? However, more important than the legacy has been the work past three to four years.
In , we published the white paper that we have carried out during the past four years. The fact proposing the changes, and the feedback we received from the that we set out to develop a new Gaming Act sent a very clear industry was extremely positive.
The legislation is currently message that Malta is a forward-looking jurisdiction, eyeing the going through the parliamentary process, and the new Gaming next generation of games and gaming operators.
This has helped Act should become effective from 1st July I am aware that to attract new companies and provided certainty to existing many within the industry think it took quite long to come up with licensees who expanded their operations in Malta.
We also this new legislation, but we really wanted to make sure that our looked at new products, with the introduction of our controlled new framework, which also includes the subsidiary legislation skill games regulation in — the first in the European Union under this new Act, is robust, innovative and able to future-proof catering for daily fantasy sports and other forms of controlled the jurisdiction, which is facing ever-increasing technological skill games.
This led to a surge in interest. To date, we have issued disruption. We have also ensured that organisationally there more than 15 licences for this emerging sector.
The industry would be the necessary skill and resources to implement and never stands still, and neither do we as a regulator. In , we transition the licensed industry players into this new framework, started licensing betting on lotteries as a gaming activity.
I think the new Gaming Act will reposition Malta as the most innovative jurisdiction. We are proposing a two-tiered licensing structure: This regime will oversee both physical and online gaming activities.
Another major change will be the shift from prescriptive to risk-based instruments and controls; underpinned by a set of principles and policy objectives that will provide the MGA with the necessary powers to regulate gaming activities.
As much as possible, we want to avoid the duplication of regulatory and administrative requirements that have already been met; this will speed up the time it takes new products to market.
For instance, the new regime will be technology neutral, meaning that we recognise that a game can be provided through different channels, including desktop, mobile and tablet.
We are also looking at extending the licence period from five to ten years and proposing a new tax and administrative fee structure. B2B licensees will be exempted from gaming tax, and we are envisaging that this will make Malta more competitive as a hub for B2B gaming activities.
How do you plan to handle the transition period with regards to tax and licence fees? Given that the new regime will come into force in July, operators will be required to pay taxes and fees in accordance with the current Remote Gaming Regulations until 30 June As of 1 July , they will start paying gaming licence fees under the new regulations.
At the end of , we will calculate the difference between what was due for the first six months of and the rest of the year under the new regime.
Licensees who have paid more than what was due will receive tax credits equivalent to the excess amount paid, and licensees which have paid less, shall pay the difference accrued by the end of the year What other new and novel concepts will you be introducing?
The new Gaming Act will also introduce the concept of administration. So far, in the scenario that we suspend a licence for a gaming company and investigate them if we suspect they violate the regulations, the company has to stop operating.
The company could lose a lot of business until the investigation is finalised. In the end, even if no violations are found, this can cause a lot of damage to the brand.
Introducing an administrator who oversees the operations of the company in question can therefore protect jobs and player funds. Also, if the company is found to be in breach of regulations, the administrator will help wind down the operation.
Many within the industry are now eager to learn more about the technical standards. When can they expect them? We are working on them but we also wanted to get the legislation out first.
I would like to assure the industry that there will not be any surprises. We will also be mindful of the technical specs already adopted in other member states.
Where possible, we will aim for alignment to avoid duplication and unnecessary costs for the industry without undermining the desired outcomes.
However, there is no denying that we are in the midst of an unprecedented technological revolution, one that is transforming the way gaming services are supplied and consumed.
While we need to embrace these changes, we have to ensure a safe operating environment and assess risks and implications properly.
Hence, we envisage implementing a sandbox, which would involve introducing cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies within a controlled environment.
In the sandbox, we want to see what issues come up. I see this soft rollout as taking on a calculated risk, which will provide further clarity on the use of virtual currencies, in a real time-environment.
We have already received interest from some 50 companies wanting to be part of the sandbox. I truly believe that should this exercise be successful, Malta would be in a position to be among the first countries developing regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrencies.
Malta is keen to position itself as blockchain hub of the Mediterranean. How is the MGA helping realise this vision? The blockchain opportunity is even bigger than the cryptocurrency potential, and Malta can become a key player in this sector.
Blockchain technology could decentralise gaming services just as the internet has decentralised media and information.
We have reached out to the industry to gain their insight. We know that a lot of expertise lies within the industry, with a number of innovative projects and concepts already available on the market.
I would like to see our own systems running on blockchain technology. I think this would be another step towards achieving greater efficiency and innovation in the way we conduct our regulatory function.
During , affiliate marketing came under renewed scrutiny. Nonetheless, they have avoided the scrutiny of regulators for years. However, I think the incidents of past years have clearly shown that regulators cannot ignore their existence and their role in the industry.
To date, and like many other regulators, the MGA has focused its regulatory attention on the licensee who is ultimately responsible under the licence, irrespective of sub-contracted third parties.
However, our outsourcing policy and our new gaming legislation allows us to assess the operator-affiliate relationship on a case-by-case basis. This allows us to put in place a condition that affiliates may be held directly responsible for breaches of advertising rules, without departing from the principle that the operator also maintains responsibility.
In my opinion, the affiliate industry should also look into adopting a code of conduct, which clearly outlines standards and accepted marketing practices and is agreed upon by all stakeholders.
The worlds of video gaming and iGaming are moving closer together. However, we will not regulate eSports competitions as such, but we are closely following developments in the sphere of skin.
These could be categorised as controlled skill games and thus be subject to increased oversight, given that operators hold funds on behalf of players.
We are also following the current discussion on video games that feature loot box mechanics, as these could potentially also fall under our controlled skill gaming licence.
How do you expect the gaming industry to develop in Malta in the coming years? In the wake of a fast-changing global regulatory landscape, we had to ask ourselves what Malta stands for as a gaming jurisdiction.
I think the new Gaming Act will reposition Malta as the most innovative jurisdiction, and we hope that the measures we are taking now will ensure that the industry will continue to grow in Malta.
Innovation is becoming mission critical and our outlook as a jurisdiction has always been more forward thinking than most other European countries.
The fact that many companies based here are expanding their operations, while new ones are moving in, is very positive. Malta is the place to be for any start up, as well as fully fledged and operational gaming set ups.
I expect that we will also see growth in the B2B sector given that we are putting in place attractive incentives, as well as growth in new verticals such as eSports and Daily Fantasy Sports.
I remain confident that notwithstanding all challenges and risks and with the support of all stakeholders, Malta has a bright future ahead, not just as a place of establishment but as an innovator in gaming regulation.
After four years at the helm of the MGA, how much of your plans and priorities do you think you have achieved? We have achieved a lot; the new Gaming Act is just one of the many projects that we have pursued.
I believe that any authority needs to be equipped properly to regulate effectively. After four years, I can say that we are not perfect, but we have created a culture of excellence in everything that we do.
Furthermore, we have a relentless drive to change and continuously improve. There is still a lot of work to be done and exciting times ahead for this growing industry.
He is a certified public accountant and fellow member of the Malta Institute of Accountants, specialised in management and finance.
Videoslots has built up a reputation for fast payouts and quick, responsive customer service. The company has also made the conscious decision not to target VIP players, says CEO Alexander Stevendahl, as gaming should be fun and entertaining above all else.
I started as a poker player when I was 18 years old. I remember I had a friend who earned a huge amount of money, and I obviously wanted to make what he was making.
So I decided to read a book about how to play poker. I started to play freerolls and won a lot. It was the early days of online poker, and I jumped in at the highest tables.
Then there was a period where I lost a lot, and I decided to take a break from playing and moved over to the affiliate side. I started a site called Rakebacklovers that exploded and became the biggest Scandinavian rake provider.
I was very successful until things went sour and poker went downhill. At the time, I also collected a lot of domains, and I put a bid in on videoslots.
During our first two years at Videoslots we experienced a few ups and downs, however from onwards we always registered growth.
Today, we have employees and are currently looking to hire 30 more people. What do you believe is the secret to your success? I think it is our products and our customer service.
In terms of product innovation, we have brought new concepts to the industry. For instance, we were the first company to offer players to play against other players in real time on online slots.
Nobody had done that before. Our customer service also sets us apart. If we see that something is wrong, we try to fix it immediately. We also built up a reputation for fast pay-outs.
Together, these two factors helped us grow organically, with little reliance on affiliates. The majority of our new customers still come from Google because the domain is so strong.
In your opinion, does the industry rely too much on affiliates? However, I think operators will rely less on affiliates in the future, and we have already seen some companies dropping affiliates completely.
There is increased regulatory pressure on affiliates and operators, with regulators saying operators are responsible for what their affiliates are doing.
It is a tricky situation, and many operators are not able to check up on thousands of affiliates. Having been on both sides, how do you think the affiliate-operator relationship will evolve in the future?
I think all signs point towards licensing of affiliates, and that will result in tough times for affiliates.
In many countries there are also cheaper marketing channels such as TV advertising. We have tested this in Sweden, where it turned out to be more cost-effective to run TV commercials than acquiring clients from affiliates.
You have firmly positioned yourself in the online slots segment. Are you planning to move into other verticals?
First of all, I want to improve our mobile offering. Our desktop product is quite amazing, but the mobile version is still not perfect.
We are also working on reviving online poker, because I think an online casino needs to have a good poker product.
In a land-based casino, I also expect a good poker room. I am looking at small tournaments, so that players actually know that they have a chance to win.
We have also started working on a sports betting product, but this will take some time to be launched. I believe we can continue to own the slots vertical and have other products on the side.
What are the key challenges that you are currently facing? Compliance and regulation, and we are fighting many different battles so to speak.
We are only targeting regulated markets. We recently had to close our Australia operations when a new bill was passed that bans online casinos from targeting residents in Australia.
Then there was the UK Gambling Commission, which forced us to change our game characters, saying that they are too child-friendly, despite them approving the games initially.
We are obviously looking at areas such as Anti Money Laundering and KYC; we now have seven in-house lawyers and a strong team of analysts.
I sometimes feel as if I am running a bank! We have created our own system that flags people that might have a gambling problem.
However, more importantly, we actually encourage players to bet low, and all our promotions are built around that concept.
We position ourselves firmly in the entertainment spot. As soon as we realise that someone has a problem, we have to tell them.
But the big question for us is: He then moved on to becoming a poker affiliate before founding and investing in Videoslots in together with Mattias Sesemann and Magnus Hyltingö.
In , he was appointed CEO of Videoslots. How do you find Malta measures up as a base for iGaming companies?
Is it a handy Head Office location or are there other countries that you could easily move to? I have mixed feelings.
The MGA is a good regulator; they are working with the industry, not against it. I also think that Malta is a good start-up location as it is easy to find your way around.
But I think there is one big problem: I think Malta has made a big mistake by educating its own people to a level required by the industry.
This, in turn, also creates a problem for the industry. It is relatively easy to bring in staff from abroad, but only a limited number of people stay for a very long time on the island.
This means operators need to constantly recruit and train new people. Then there is the hike in rental prices, which affects our staff and also our ability to attract people from abroad.
We are advertising the high quality of life on the island, but when people come here and find out that they can only afford a shared room in a shared flat, they are rightly questioning the quality of life.
Thinking about the future, where do you want to go from here? Would you consider a listing? We want to stabilise our business and complete our product, and that will take some time.
We are looking at new markets. We just completed our licence application for Denmark, which I think was the most comprehensive licence application so far.
We are also targeting licences in Romania, Spain, Italy and Portugal. In the future we could also develop a B2B product as technically we can act as a platform.
We are not planning an IPO at the moment, simply because there is no need for it. We are well capitalised and financially strong.
What piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about starting up a gaming company in the current climate? I think it is really hard to start up these days.
If you want to build something of scale, you are in for a challenge. Matching Visions was founded in early Our idea was to offer a proper affiliate network.
Building on the great connections we had in Malta, we were able to strike a number of good deals with online casinos. Our network since than has been growing at a quick pace.
In addition, we focus on paying our affiliates on time, which is often not the case within the sector. We pay our affiliates within 15 days of the end of the following month.
This means we pay our affiliates before we get paid. We now have 20 people in the office and we take care of some 20, affiliate accounts.
We are very trusted in the industry. Both operators and affiliates come to us if they encounter any problems, and we have no issue being an interlocutor.
We know that the affiliate sector is coming under serious pressure, but we also see the regulation of the affiliate sector as a positive step towards improving industry standards.
What is the affiliate landscape looking like right now and what is the profile of the affiliates that you are working with? Consolidation is still the order of the day, with larger companies acquiring smaller ones.
However, there are still many smaller affiliates in the market, and this means affiliate networks remain a vital source of traffic for operators.
We act as the middle man, so we bring together thousands of affiliates and hundreds of operators. This helps affiliates as they can work with different operators, plus it gives the operator access to a large pool of affiliates through one contact.
Affiliates are also still an important marketing tool for operators. Our affiliates vary in size and stature.
Once affiliates reach a certain size, there is usually no need to use a network and they negotiate deals directly with the operators. We guarantee them one easy payment each month, we help them to get content for their newsletters and websites and we help them in dispute cases with operators, where our size gives some weight to the argument.
The affiliate industry has seen significant growth in recent years. How has this changed your approach to the market?
We have already started cleaning up our database, as we only want to work with serious affiliates. Next year we plan to continue this process.
There comes a point where we have to choose with whom to work with. So we are cutting down on brands that are not performing, as well as on affiliates that drive very little traffic to those operators.
The UK Gambling Commission has become a key protagonist of responsible advertising within the affiliate industry and is holding gambling operators responsible for the actions of their affiliates.
How did you react to these developments? There is a lot of confusion in the UK market at the moment. We have suspended our UK operations for the time being; it is just too risky.
We want to comply but are waiting for some solid information on what the regulation would look like. It obviously does not help that the authorities are not really willing to collaborate.
They appear to just want to shut down the industry. What steps are you taking to ensure your affiliates follow good marketing practices?
From our end, we ask affiliates for copies of e-mails sent out. We do this periodically, for instance to make sure that they include information on responsible gambling.
E-mail spamming is one of the biggest malpractices, and it will eventually backfire on the industry. It has got to the state that operators want to preapprove every e-mail which will be send out by an affiliate.
This obviously creates a huge operational burden for both the affiliates and the operators, but it is also understandable. Operators can receive hefty fines for irresponsible marketing, so they want to be able to hold their affiliates responsible too.
What impact does this have on the affiliate network? Our knowledge of the player is very limited. For us, it would be very difficult to verify the players that an affiliate passes on to an operator.
All signs point towards regulation of the affiliate sector in the future. What do you tell your affiliates that they need to be doing in terms of compliance and what processes are you following at the moment?
BIO Originally from Denmark, Dennis 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.
While there are still many unknowns, we expect that we will be required to provide full verification of our customers at some point.
We are currently putting processes in place to work out how we receive documentation from an affiliate and forward it to an operator in a safe and secure way, as we need to keep in mind legal and compliance aspects, as well data protection regulations.
What effect would the regulation of the affiliate sector have on your margin? The margin, in the worst case, will stay the same. In the best case it will increase.
Once we have our system in place, affiliates can save a lot of time. Imagine the hassle if you are an affiliate working with casinos and you need to submit your information to all casinos.
I believe if we integrate the compliance function into our system, it will attract an even larger share of affiliates to work with us.
In your opinion, what will the next years look like for affiliates, and do you think smaller affiliates will find it more difficult to operate once the market conditions change?
No, there always will be smaller affiliate companies. Affiliation is a massive and fast-growing industry. We know of companies that started six months ago, and they are now well on their way to becoming important players in the market.
Then there is also the trend of operators acquiring affiliates, which is also fuelling growth within the affiliate industry.
I think in the coming years the industry will continue maturing due to increased compliance. But many people think that affiliation is a wild west industry with lots of cowboys; this is not the case.
Yes, there are a few shady guys in the industry, just like in many other industries too. Beyond iGaming, there are many other industries that use affiliates to market their products.
Do you see regulating the wider affiliate industry as another big opportunity for Malta? Regulation makes it much more attractive for the serious market players.
Regulation could give affiliates from all industries a seal of approval, and I believe Malta would make an attractive European hub in this scenario.
We exist to empower our clients to move forward with confidence. To make confident decisions about the future, a growing business needs a different kind of adviser.
Our Business Advisory service line offers a dedicated unit to help you understand the regulatory requirements and to implement controls effectively.
We will help you exploit our knowledge to best implement your strategies and achieve your goals. Experience the power of being understood. Each member of the RSM network is an independent accounting and consulting firm each of which practices in its own right.
The RSM network is not itself a separate legal entity of any description in any jurisdiction. The brand and trademark RSM and other intellectual property rights used by members of the network are owned by RSM International Association, an association governed by article 60 et seq of the Civil Code of Switzerland whose seat is in Zug.
The remote gaming business accounts for an important part of our clientele. Therefore, we have taken several measures over the years to ensure that our service offering and operations reflect the importance and prominence of this sector to our business.
The second step was to ensure that our gaming clients experience the advantages of our integrated approach. Managing different professionals — lawyers, tax advisors, auditors and others — may sometimes prove challenging in terms of timeframes and coordination.
So we built our own business process to provide a seamless and integrated workflow, focusing on a project team drawing on different professional skillsets available under one roof.
To ensure even higher degrees of efficiency, we have dedicated Remote Gaming Desk Coordinators, whose sole objective is to deliver exceptional service to our gaming clients.
What are the main mistakes that many iGaming companies make when starting up? It is a well-known fact that the gaming industry is lucrative, and this sometimes leads to individuals entering the market without the necessary experience and without having done the necessary market research.
Another common mistake is failing to define their strategy and products well enough, and this reflects in the legal and compliance setup. Over the years BDO has gained in-depth experience and knowledge in what is required, to ensure that the start-up process of gaming companies runs smoothly.
Therefore, we have built a methodological approach to the process in order to further ensure that our gaming clients can also effectively set-up and obtain the applicable licence within the shortest time frame.
As an advisor, I would highly recommend that entrepreneurs seek our advice at an early stage, prior to setting up their intended.
That way, we can leverage our experience to guide new gaming companies on the optimal way forward both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.
What are the three things that you would advise startups to consider before kicking off iGaming operations? A sensible approach would be to conduct specific research with respect to the critical business fundamentals, as well as the experiences that potential customers are presently demanding.
Whether you are new or an industry veteran, always seek advice from consultants on the latest legislative changes within the jurisdiction you are considering.
Such changes may affect your operation, your financing and your profitability, which ultimately means the difference between winning and losing.
Players are spoilt for choice with many platforms to place their bets. Product innovation and player experience are critical factors to success.
From your experience, what is the average profitability of iGaming companies and what should these companies be targeting? There are many factors that affect profitability within this sector.
For example, an online casino that is heavily dependent on affiliation to drive its traffic will have a different cost-base to those platforms who invest in building organic traffic.
One must also consider at what stage of life the company is. Companies in their first two to three years of operation would not generally make any net profit since they would be focused on reinvesting any available funds into marketing, with the sole aim of growing their brand, and as a result their turnover.
In terms of auditing a gaming company, what are the big issues that you encounter? Many gaming companies use custom software to run their business.
This means that an auditor cannot assume that everything has been recorded. As auditors, we are obliged to confirm that the financial statements reflect what is in the system and therefore, we look closely at their IT systems to understand the transaction flow.
Auditors also need to have the right knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry and its different contractual obligations and operations.
Needless to say, regulatory and tax issues are quite significant for gaming companies, particularly in relation to their online operations, due to a constantly changing environment in multiple jurisdictions.
There is also a global dimension to consider - many gaming companies may have a base in Malta, however, they are very likely to have structures in other jurisdictions such as Israel, UK, Sweden, Denmark and Gibraltar.
In fact, I would say that there are hardly any structures that involve only Malta. Our BDO network, present in different countries, provides immense support in other jurisdictions and global auditing services.
When advising on a merger or an acquisition, what areas are you looking into? These transactions are typically very complex because they are likely to involve different jurisdictions, with several structures in each jurisdiction and therefore wide tax and legal implications.
VAT registered person, since this entails that the operator would be unable to claim any credit for input VAT. In reality, since online casino operations are deemed to be electronically supplied services and, therefore are deemed to take place where the customer, in this case the punter, is established, the online casino operator would be required to collect Maltese VAT only when the customer is established in Malta.
In any case, since the supplies are deemed to be taxable for Maltese VAT purposes, the online casino operator would be able to recover in full all input VAT incurred or self-assessed.
In addition, the changes should lead to a reduction, and in certain cases the complete removal, of the use of a non-Maltese entity in a joint-venture setup.
Can you describe the ideal Chief Financial Officer for a gaming company? That is, comfortable operating with lightning speed, in a continuously changing environment where profits are high, but risks are also very high.
The ideal CFO must be fully capable of setting financial policy and direction for the gaming company to ensure efficient control of financial resources and maximisation of profits.
Positive; we will see more growth driven by new technologies and enhanced customer experience. Corporate substance is becoming increasingly an issue.
Corporate substance is mandatory for companies to benefit from refunds and other mechanisms. New company formations require appropriate physical presence, registered employees on their books and all other requirements typically associated with the activity of the company.
New VAT guidelines will come into force in January. What will change for operators in Malta? Although an exemption from tax is generally believed to be a positive status, this is not the case for a.
He has more than 22 years of professional experience in accounting, business development, IT consultancy, company restructuring and finance. He is a Certified Public Accountant with more than 15 years post-qualification experience.
Growing the brand internally by developing a robust and well-rounded employee experience that has its employees singing praise at the Saturday night dinner table!
Just like the rest of Videoslots, our HR department has also been through some exciting winds of change. Lorraine, who was one of the first to join the company has recently been assigned a new role, focused around employer branding.
This will see new and improved changes, not only in the way we promote ourselves externally but also how we retain and grow our people.
We want our employees to feel proud and cared for. As part of our new learning and development strategy, Justin was recently brought on board to develop this crucial function.
He will foster a continuous learning culture as well as support our internal branding though the strengthening of HR processes.
His background in coaching and organizational psychology offers our staff the necessary support to develop themselves personally and professionally.
From a branding point of view this year will see her focus on strengthening our talent acquisition processes. Gemma our most recent addition will oversee the whole function and ensure that our HR strategy is aligned with our organisational objectives.
Fresh Fruit daily, Soft drinks, a wide range of alternate coffees such as Dolce, Intense, Delicato and Decaffeinate flavors, as well as a nice variety of flavored tea selections.
Gambling can be addictive, play responsibly. The facilities provided to UK players is solely made in reliance on the latter licence. Robin Reed, CEO of Gaming Innovation Group GiG , says disruptive and innovative start-ups can today take advantage of a strong and mature iGaming ecosystem to grow their business, but good tech needs to be at the heart of every new challenger brand.
Can you tell us more about the roots of GiG and your business model? The predecessor of GIG was a poker forum and social network called Donkr.
We launched it during the Facebook boom when we figured poker players would not want to discuss their game in their Facebook feeds.
We wanted to put an end to this and decided to launch Gaming Innovation Group in in order to work towards our vision to make iGaming an open and connected ecosystem for the benefit of all.
The first milestone was the launch of White-label Guts. We wanted to control the front-end and customer service to improve the user experience.
Guts grew quickly and to pursue our vision, we had to obtain our own licences. We wrote our own platform from the first line of code. We sold the platform in order to enable a sharing economy.
By integrating suppliers and operators, we could avoid them having to do duplicate work, thus freeing up resources to improve the UX for all stakeholders.
In , iGamingCloud was launched following the vision of making the iGaming industry lean. In we also went public on the main stock exchange in Norway, in order to gain access to the capital markets and to turn GIG into a liquid instrument.
From there we proceeded to create a publishing business and called it GiG Media. Too many people are writing with a one-sided view on our industry.
We wanted to highlight all the amazing products and services on offer. Since then, we have built one of the largest affiliate networks in the industry through organic and acquired growth.
Today, we are the largest affiliate in the Nordics in terms of Google traffic. Some of them are only coming into play as we speak and in the near future;.
Today, the company employs more than people. Fuelled by our vision to open up iGaming, we are aiming to become the most influential company in the industry.
As an investor in B2B and B2C products, what criteria do you look for when choosing a company to invest in? We would want to see a core group of dedicated, insanely knowledgeable and motivated staff, who are in for the sport.
While not a fully fledged solution, there would need to be good tech at the heart of the business. They would need to be socially conscious and inspired by regulatory compliance.
Most importantly, however, they need to be absolutely relentless and committed to improving the user experience. Many companies actually say there is very little innovation happening within the iGaming industry.
Do you agree with this statement or do you have a different point of view? Over the past decade, the iGaming industry has seen a lot of iterative innovation, but very little disruptive innovation.
This is probably due to the heavy regulatory burden, however, it is also due to bad habits within the industry; I expect this to change though.
The world of tech is accelerating its pace of innovation, which is spilling over to our industry and creating a lot of opportunity to re-shuffle the value chain.
GiG runs its own accelerator programme. Why did you choose to do this and what meaningful impact does it have on the business?
Rather than simply investing financially, we align products and start-ups with our eco-system and we can. We are also working on a knowledge-sharing programme of educational events and gettogethers for programmers and techies around the isle and a broader CSR initiative.
This will be a non-profit which seeks to inspire, promote and celebrate entrepreneurism for a better and even more progressive Malta. By collaborating with the many great existing organisations and individuals around the isle, we can ultimately make Malta an even more successful iGaming hub and reap the benefits down the line.
How do you see Malta performing as a place for start-ups and what elements could be improved? Malta has performed exceptionally well in recent years.
To continue scaling horizontally and vertically, one needs to attract top competence, and grow the standards of everyone involved in the eco-system.
The governmental bodies need to be frontrunners in this process and enable and facilitate growth by rapidly developing education, schooling, infrastructure and culture.
Finally, I would also like to add that hard-working people thrive with a great work-life balance. Beautiful nature, healthy leisure and recreation options, are some keywords.
We now have the best opportunity in the history of the island to create a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.
Growth through acquisition is one of the main drivers for iGaming companies to grow their market share. From your experience, what are the main challenges when integrating an acquisition?
Neither can the challenge of leadership. Making people who were in control of. BIO Robin Eirik Reed started his iGaming career as a community manager before founding and operating several iGaming-related businesses.
After that has been achieved, everything can be sorted, and I guess the generalist solution is: When you put smart people together and empower them, beautiful things happen.
As a foreign investor, what do you believe Malta needs to do to remain attractive and competitive as a location for iGaming companies? We are recruiting peak numbers of people in iGaming every month, with an increasing amount of people needing housing and schooling.
Employees have been increasingly voicing their concerns about the pressure on the infrastructure. Rental prices are soaring in central areas, and it is tough to get your children into the international schools.
Therefore, it is becoming increasingly challenging to attract the best talent. This is the time to invest on a grand scale into infrastructure and to distribute the wealth amongst everyone and develop Malta even further, for the decades and generations to come.
How do you see the gaming landscape evolving over the next five years? These days there are a range of established companies operating on strong platforms.
This is a trend which is guaranteed to continue over the coming years. These companies have a sustainable edge in their culture. They are in a position to consolidate, and it is becoming very hard to compete with them at a large scale.
That said, there has never been a better time for start-ups. The differentiation is the quality and targeting of your business.
The infrastructure and technology is so powerful these days, and the industry has grown much larger. One can quickly tap into the eco-system and reach scale with something disruptive and differentiated.
GiG has enjoyed great success. Where do you want to go from here? We want to bring something new and innovative to the world of sports betting.
It will allow sportsbook operators to design their front-end for all of our APIs, and we are designing our own odds from the ground up.
Our most ambitious B2C start-up to date is called Highroller. And then there is the new adventure we have embarked on with setting up our own games provider, GiG Games, in Marbella.
Can you tell us a bit about Hero Gaming and its beginnings and explain where the company stands today? Hero Gaming was founded in and went live with its first brand in June , which was then called Casino Saga.
I have personally worked many years in the gaming industry, being CTO at Betsson and Betsafe and co-founder of Casumo. After I left Casumo when the company moved completely to Malta I had an idea that the gamification of casino could be taken even further.
I then started to outline the concept of Casino Heroes, where players move forward on a map, find treasure, can jump between islands and collect Rubies - the extra currency of the site.
Since its launch, Casino Heroes has been very successful, especially in the Scandinavian countries, but now also with its recent launch in the UK market.
Casino Heroes also has a Japanese version, called CasiTabi. What was your route to market and how long did the process take from idea to market?
I started off as a programmer and still love technology. I think that the most interesting things happen at the intersection of brands, creativity and technology; so deciding to build our own platform was key to our success.
It took us one year to build the platform and launch the first brand. The money will definitely be real!
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