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The Real Worth of Malta’s iGaming Industry

Niji Narayan

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The Real Worth of Malta’s iGaming Industry
Photo credits: Zoover
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The original source of the information found beneath was created by Rebecca Anastasi (MaltaChamber.org.mt) – View original source here.

Malta’s iGaming sector contributes over 12 per cent of the country’s GDP. Does it have a knock-on effect in the economy?

The official figures about online gaming industry reveal overall prosperity, high employment and revenue rise. Its worth is estimated roughly to be €1.2 billion, or over 12 per cent of its GDP. However, but these direct effects tell only part of the story. The iGaming industry has also positively affected the other industries in the country as well.

Leisure and entertainment

The rise of iGaming has “coincided with the increase of affluent business professionals on the island”, according to Jon Grafton, Creative Marketing Manager for Azure and Azure Ultra – an outfit which organises yacht charters. Mr Grafton says that the industry sees chartering a yacht “as an ideal way to spend leisure time and de-stress.” He estimates that around 20 per cent of Azure Ultra’s business comes from those involved in iGaming, from professionals seeking to book a private charter or from businesses organising team-building exercises. “The increased demand has had a positive impact on our bottom line, which we plough back into the business through purchasing more yachts and employing more captains and crew,” Mr Grafton explains.

Indeed, as a result of the increased business, the agency has created tailor-made charter packages for the sector, since “iGaming-oriented bookings tend to include a lot more special requests in terms of cuisine, water-sport activities and themed itineraries, such as famous film locations around the Maltese archipelago,” he says. Moreover, the company has had to become more flexible to accommodate last-minute changes, and bookings, in order to keep up with the demands from the sector. The team also now includes a specialist charter executive “who is a wiz at creating bespoke charter packages.”

While Azure is experiencing an increased demand for specialised on-board catering and services, such as massages or water-sports instruction, which do come as an extra cost, it is careful to ensure that its prices are fair. “Our prices are always right because we – quite uniquely among Malta yacht charter companies – own our own yachts and they’re all fully insured,” Mr Grafton says. In the future, the company plans to keep building on this success, offering corporate conference packages at sea. “iGaming has a great need for variety and excitement, and that’s what we’ll offer,” Mr Grafton asserts.

Back on dry land, catering establishments in the main entertainment areas of Valletta, Sliema and St Julian’s seem to be constantly pounding with patrons, with tables often difficult to secure, unless you have a booking. Robert Bonnici, PR and Marketing Manager for the ubiquitous Hugo’s brand, underlines this “positive effect” on the industry. Not only do professionals working in the iGaming sector “frequent our venues on a regular basis, but their spend is often much higher than average,” he explains. Moreover, there has been a demand for corporate functions and private events catering to the local and international iGaming community according to Robert.

Andrew Galea, the Sales and Marketing Manager of hotel Group Corinthia, adds that while the company picks up some business for corporate and social events, as well as some hotel bookings for visiting delegates, the business accrued during industry conferences, such as Sigma, is what really makes a difference to the company’s bottom line, with many delegates staying in the hotel. Indeed, the remote gaming sector is a market the Group is very interested in. “We are currently in the process of promoting the range of services Corinthia possesses, not only in terms of hotel rooms, but also ancillary entertainment services such as restaurants, bars and event venues,” Mr Galea says.

IT infrastructure

As a sector which relies heavily on technology, iGaming requires high-level resources and services. Computime Software, a company which specialises in providing IT infrastructure, software and business solutions, is one stakeholder which supplies such products and capabilities to businesses operating in Malta’s online gaming industry.

John Wood, the company’s CEO, says that the company has seen a positive multiplier effect arising from the increased business with iGaming companies. “The sector attracts large multinational iGaming operations which create demand for the software and infrastructural solutions which we deliver,” he states, going on to assert that this accounts for “currently, approximately 15 per cent of our revenue.” The most common solutions on-demand are IT engineering and infrastructural solutions, IT security products and services, and software solutions focused on compliance monitoring and marketing optimisation, he explains.

He also notes that iGaming clients demand sophisticated solutions and, as a result, the market “provides us with an opportunity to develop our business, and to adapt our solutions by widening our product portfolio with a clear focus on servicing iGaming companies.” Indeed, he explains the changes in the type of solutions the company is currently offering, specifying that Computime is customising its software solutions to meet the specific demands of the iGaming sector, enabling them to deliver a quick return-on-investment to their clients. Other changes the company has instituted include adapting its client onboarding process to make sure “we only do business with reputable and established iGaming companies”, allowing the company to better manage its payment and credit terms, along with the other business risks inherent in such an enterprise.

Insurance

The meteoric rise of the iGaming industry has also resulted in a demand for ancillary corporate services in a variety of fields such as insurance. “Remote gaming has provided a lot of potential to prove our mettle in managing the varied and sometimes complex insurance requirements that the Gaming industry needs,” says Malcolm Ellul, Associate Director of Mediterranean Insurance Brokers, specifying that it now manages a sizable gaming portfolio, which is growing rapidly in size.

While Mr Ellul admits it is hard to establish the percentage of MIB’s business derived directly from the iGaming sector, he claims that the requirements are broad and range from “the direct insurances taken out by the business operators themselves” to “affinity and benefit schemes for employees.” In the future, the company hopes to attract even more interest, and, to this end, it has started attending Gaming-related conferences locally and overseas, and “plans to remain a market leader in providing insurance arrangements for the gaming Industry” since “gaming falls within the natural growth process of the Group,” Mr Ellul asserts.

Indeed, this seems to be the trend, for as Malta continues to attract further investment in the field of iGaming, businesses in attendant sectors are gearing up to continue offering the specialised resources to the sector, thus enabling Malta to retain its competitivity and its winning streak.

Source:  MaltaChamber.org.mt

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.

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AGTech announces revenue report of 2018

Niji Narayan

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AGTech announces revenue report of 2018
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AGTech Holdings Limited announced its final results for the last year, revealing a profit of approximately HK$317.1 million (US$40.4 million). The results were up from a loss of HK$302.2 million in the prior year period.

Revenue of the group, however, was down 44.2 per cent year-on-year to approximately HK$168.6 million.

The main revenue contributions were from lottery hardware, lottery games, and systems, provision of distribution and ancillary services, games and entertainment business in the PRC.

The decrease in revenue was caused by an HK$86.0 million decrease in revenue from its games and entertainment division and a decrease in sales of lottery hardware of approximately HK$60.3 million.

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GVC confirms departure of Lee Feldman

Niji Narayan

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GVC confirms departure of Lee Feldman
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GVC Holdings is seeking a new Chairman, as incumbent Lee Feldman is preparing to announce his formal departure from the FTSE100 betting group. Feldman has been a GVC governance advisor since 2004 and was appointed corporate Chairman in 2008, becoming a key stakeholder in the firm’s aggressive M&A expansion strategy and corporate financing structures.

The news of the departure comes amid GVC investor backlash at Feldman and Chief Executive Kenneth Alexander having offloaded a combined 3 million of company shares at discounted price. This drawn the criticism from GVC investors, having shrunk the firm’s shareprice to 519p and further being branded as showing a “lack of confidence by leadership” on GVC’s long-term prospects.

GVC maintains that Feldman will be leaving the betting group, as part of City governance guidelines obliging FTSE Chairmanships to last no-longer than nine-years. The corporate governance had begun an accelerated process to find Feldman’s successor.

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Smarkets announces strengthened executive team

George Miller

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Smarkets announces strengthened executive team
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Smarkets, one of the world’s largest betting exchange and prediction market platforms, has this morning announced a strengthened executive team.

Robin Harrison, a former engineering team lead at the company, has re-joined the company as Chief Technology Officer after a year in the role of Head of Engineering at Asto, a fintech startup backed by global bank Santander.

Meanwhile, Tom Hardman and Céline Crawford have been promoted to Chief Operations Officer and Chief Communications Officer respectively.

Hardman, who formerly held the title of Head of Business Operations, is one of Smarkets’s longest-serving employees having joined in 2010 after graduating from Oxford University. During his time at the company, he has overseen many areas including finance, legal and customer support.

Crawford has been with Smarkets since 2015 after working in the banking and communication sectors for over a decade at companies including finnCap and Commerzbank.

Smarkets have also hired Chris Baldacchino as Chief Compliance Officer. He joins after holding the same position at Hero Gaming, having previously been COO at the Malta-based firm.

The quartet join CEO and Founder Jason Trost on the company’s executive team.

Trost said: “I’m delighted to welcome Robin and Chris to the company, as well as adding two of our most dedicated employees, Céline and Tom, to the executive team.

“Robin, having been a team lead at Smarkets previously, is well-placed to develop and advance our class-leading product further, while Chris’s industry expertise will be invaluable as we look to expand to new territories, such as the emerging US market and other European countries.

“Both Céline and Tom are integral employees who have been with the company for many years and fully deserve their promotions, having played a big part in our recent success.”

The C-suite announcement comes shortly after Smarkets revealed that it had over £150m of trading volume on its exchange during the recent Cheltenham Festival, with all-time records broken for concurrent users on both the company’s web and app platforms. Read more at smrkts.co/chelt19

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