EEGReport Magazine: Eman, Dennis, now I know you for a while. There is something about doing business with you, which I cannot quite explain. Business seems to flourish at SiGMA, and you guys have created a great informal networking environment. Can you shed light on the recipe to this success?
Far too kind with words, Zoltan! It seemed pretty obvious that there was a good opportunity for an igaming show to be held in Malta – this is a question that has actually been brewing in many igaming enthusiasts’ minds. The infrastructure lends itself perfectly for such an expo, with affordable hotels, proximity to entertainment hubs as well as some 300 gaming companies in a five mile radius.
When Eman started this journey he approached some of the brightest, best connected people, including the government of Malta, to make this show a reality. A solid partnership with Dennis was soon established shortly after. Our backgrounds are different but complementing at the same time. For the sake of SiGMA, they match perfectly! Dennis is versatile with most reputable operators and affiliates.
Before going public with the project, the backing from a number of important stakeholders was essential, so we made sure that the likes of the Malta Gaming Authority, the Government of Malta, reputable operators and solution provides were on the same page as us.
We all agreed that the show should be all encompassing rather than focus on one area exclusively, such as regulation or affiliates. For the past number of years we have been noticing the three distinct pillars within the industry – solution providers, operators and affiliates – coming closer together. Today’s affiliate, for instance, is fast becoming a successful operator within months. With SiGMA we wanted to offer a 360° igaming showcase in Malta that reflects this trend.
EEGReport Magazine: Do you have plans to move the show to another city?
Malta has, over the years, built a healthy igaming ecosystem, meeting all industry needs. Today the island state offers a package that goes beyond ‘reputable jurisdiction’. The gaming industry in Malta has been strong for over twelve years now, with around 300 gaming companies, some 500 gaming licenses and a strong workforce of 10,000.
For these reasons we believe that the show should stay in Malta for the time being. SiGMA in Malta provides a unique opportunity for delegates to network with a rich industry that is already established on the island.
On a more tangible level, it is nice to see delegates taking some time during their trip to Malta to visit some of the gaming companies at their offices, or go out with affiliate managers for dinners. It is nice to see so many operators based in Malta going the extra mile to showcase their brand in Malta during SiGMA. Several Malta-based companies rely on the SiGMA platform to treat their employees to a gaming show – a feat that would otherwise be too costly overseas.
SiGMA is also an ideal for companies based outside Malta to do B2B shopping in Malta – meet accountants, the regulator, recruit talent. Let’s not forget that the country also offers a company tax regime of 5% based on a rebate scheme, which is very attractive for high earning companies. C-level executives also benefit from advantageous personal tax incentives.
Malta is also a pleasant place to live in, with 300 days of sunshine, a rich history and culture. Weather wise, autumn is the ideal season to host a B2B show in Malta. The rest of Northern Europe starts freezing, while delegates in Malta can still top up their tan, enjoy a swim or a ride on a jet ski in the warm Mediterranean Sea.
With so much activity going on in Malta, it makes perfect sense for any igaming enthusiast to book a flight and a number of meetings throughout their stay. SiGMA simply provides an ideal backdrop for networking. It came as no surprise to us that, following last year’s SiGMA, some of the delegates decided that opening an office branch in Malta was a good idea. The networking and sales potential is very good here.
EEGReport Magazine: Can you tell us what’s in store for the SiGMA team come 2016?
SiGMA remains a ‘works in progress’ and we have big plans for 2016, summarised here:
- A seminar in collaboration with Clarion Events during Ice Totally Gaming
- A SIGMA Pitch during SiGMA16
- Chartered flights incentives during SiGMA16
- ICE is an undisputed heavyweight, not only in Europe, but worldwide. Last year we were surprised to notice a number of top affiliates shopping around the booths at ICE and felt that we could contribute the following year, in the industry’s best interest. As a result we have penned a number of good quality topics come February 2016. We are always happy to collaborate with different partners – this has been our mantra since the day we took off.
The gap between the two pillars – affiliates and operators – has been shrinking constantly, with reduced barriers to entry. It used to cost a fortune to set up a white label site, but these days many affiliates are finding it easier to cross over.
There is never a dull moment in the industry, with so many mergers, acquisitions as well as new innovations entering and revolutionizing the market – IOT, gamification, cryptocurrency and blockchain, games of skill, e-sport, fantasy sport; affiliates who manage to find the right pitch are in for a good time. They must be willing to adapt their managerial style, consider relocating to more favourable environments in terms of recruitment and taxation.
To this extent, we have brought to this show some of the brightest minds in the industry who can speak from first hand experience, leaving no stone unturned for the several aspiring operators out there. It will be an opportunity to meet mentors, network and establish long-term working relationships.
- We have also noticed that a great deal of innovative ideas fail to make it to the next stage due to lack of funding. Thanks to SiGMA, we are in a position to connect innovative minds with serious entrepreneurs and igaming veterans. To this extent we are in a position to launch the “SiGMA Pitch”, a three-hour session taking place during SiGMA16 where innovators will have the opportunity to present their ideas to a captive audience of ‘hungry sharks’, investors who have money to invest.
- A good show is also dependent on the quality of the delegates. Furthermore, it is important for exhibitors to meet new delegates, new affiliates, new C-level executives. There is little more annoying than meeting the same faces year after year. To this extent, we are happy to announce that we’re chartering four flights from some of the best jurisdictions in Europe – including the likes of Tel Aviv and London. We will be spending the next ten months hand picking the right talent – and offer a crowd of 600 affiliates and C-level executives a trip to SIGMA – flights and transfers on us! This will guarantee that exhibitors, delegates walk out of SIGMA satisfied.
May we add, if anyone out there is interested in a speaking opportunity at one of the SiGMA panel discussions, they can contact us before June 30th, 2016.
EEGReport Magazine: Would you like to add anything in conclusion?
Given space considerations and a much bigger demand, booths will be stacked next to each other, creating a cosier atmosphere and making it relatively easy for delegates to stroll from one stand to another. It’s safe to say that over the past year the SiGMA expo floor provided value to all of its exhibitors, in terms of new business leads and brand awareness.
The SiGMA goal, ultimately, is to bring together the entire gaming community, from affiliates and operators through to regulators and vendors. If you’re looking at an exciting show where this industry can meet, learn and do business, look no further; SiGMA16 ticks all these boxes.
Tom Light -SBTech Interview- (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
EEGReport Magazine: Eastern European markets are growing at an incredible rate and I don’t think that anyone can argue about the fact the sports betting is the biggest niche when it comes to online gambling in Eastern Europe. Do you feel that this is accurate?
Tom Light: In most cases yes, we see that in countries such as Bulgaria, Czech, Hungary, Lithuania & Poland, sports betting is accountable for 75%-90% of the Gaming GGR, which includes Sports, Casino, Poker & Bingo. For markets like Latvia, Romania & Slovakia Sports is still a major sector within the gaming industry being accountable for 30%-50% of the GGR.
In play in particular has been a growth denominator in the past years for online sports-betting, allowing the punter roll-over his funds several time during one match.
Beyond the turnover it is important to mention that the margin is much high when it comes to sports betting, as well as the image of sportsbetting, which says that if you are good and knowledgeable you can make money.
We should even see a bigger increase during the Euros coming this June, as many non-punters would start betting on their favorite reprehensive teams.
EEGReport Magazine: Can you maybe give examples of countries where this isn’t happening and casino or other gambling products might surpass the sport betting audience? You can even mention markets that aren’t yet legalized in terms of licensing.
Tom Light: Romania is an example for a country that up to last year had 10% more turnover on casinos then on sportsbetting, I think this is related to regulations and since the new regulations came in to place I’m sure that during 2016 sportsbetting GGR will surpass casino.
To put in perspective, globally, the sportsbetting GGR is bigger than the all the other gaming sectors…Combined!
EEGReport Magazine: There has been a lot of innovation when it comes to sports betting products, and with one of the major European soccer event coming up this June, are you guys busy in the lab trying to bring new technology that will make online sports betting easier or even more attractive?
Tom Light: These days we are simply talking about personalization, which in core is the knowledge the operator has for each of his punters, the more knowledge the more personalized. Data can be gathered via the most common logs of all betting activities, behavior on the website, but even polls and ‘Mark as favorite’ buttons. Mapping this business intelligence is not a simple task, but the operators who are able to do so will have amazing insights on their clients.
Once data is collected and offer must be created via various algorithm and rules, based on many variables such as favorite teams/leagues, past winnings, past losings, trigger-happy cashout, etc… in order to create various offers for example:
“Manchester United did the job for you last time, can they do it again?” (While adding a betting button).
These offers are much more effective and are much more converting then just showing a generic offer to all customers or even to customer segments.
Another way to create offers, is using cross-player data, same as amazon does, with:
“Customer who bought these products, also liked XYZ …”. The likes of Bettorlogic offers this type of service which is taking the betting behavior of punters who made similar bets and are informing the customer which bets he might like. Since this is a more social way of bet recommendation, this might be more appealing to the punter which might not driven from the ‘house’ recommendations, as much as the activities of other partners.
The last part is to serve this offer in a proper matter, which can be targeted ads, SMS marketing, push notifications, widgets / pop-up on the site, or even gentle highlights of bet markets across the page.
EEGReport Magazine: Most of the Eastern European countries have qualified for the EURO 2016, this means that you don’t have to a betting fanatic to bet on your country during such events. Everyone will do it for at list the period on which the tournament is being played. What does this mean for online sports betting operators and especially software providers?
Tom Light: Back in the day, it was very clear, if you are an Italian operator, and there is a game ‘Italy VS Portugal’, you are as much gambling as all the punters on your sportsbook – the risk was one sided, and the results were sometimes amazing but other times destructive.
In today’s world, this scenario cannot happen, the punters are betting 85% of the times on in-play live betting where the bet markets are very liquid, such as fast markets – what will happen in the next one minute, corners, 1×2 rest of the match, etc… all these markets spread the risk around various bet selection making the operator the desired margin instead of a roller coaster.
EEGReport Magazine: Looking further into the future. What are in your opinion the top markets that are going to open up for online gambling in Eastern/Central Europe?
Tom Light: I would look at Netherlands, Czech Republic, Portugal, and the evolving of the Romanian market.
Netherlands being a market proven in the .com market with high PV.
Czech Republic which is the Eastern European diamond, which is now dominated by TipSport, iFortuna, Sazka, Synot and StarTyp will open up Jan 2017 for additional licenses by international companies.
Portugal, with mass-market attraction for sportsbetting, various .com case studies such as BWIN and Betsson(Dhoze).
And of course the Romanian market which is proving to be very fruitful by the day.
Tom John Light Biography – (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
Tom John Light was born and presently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tom has lived and traveled worldwide and is highly knowledgeable and experienced working in various global regions.
Tom has been working in the gaming industry for many years with a focus on casino operations and sports betting. Currently Tom acts as Vice President of Business Development at SBTech. He is renowned for his role as Vice President of Business Development at FashionTV. Additionally Tom has successfully served as CEO for several online gaming companies such as 7Red Casino and 1King Casino.
Tom is recognized for his high involvement with the creation of the Online How-To Guide ‘eHow’ and has been featured/published in various interviews and articles.
Gal Ackerman Crowdtrading – (EEGReport – Magazine – Issue2 – February – May 2016)
EEGReport Magazine: In the last couple of years we have seen a growth in the launch of financial programs, but none of them seems to attract so many new traders as Trade360. The innovation which came with CrowdTrading seems to have swept the enthusiastic traders off their feet and they now choose your platform for their trading activities. What is the real innovation behind this phenomenon?
Gal Ackerman: In a nutshell, CrowdTrading is about taking the big data that banks and brokers rely on and putting it in the hands of the people. Revealing how new market trends develop in real-time is really the perfect way for new Traders to get a feel for the rhythm of the markets, and as their knowledge grows, their profits should too!
EEGReport Magazine: When it comes to financial trading programs and platform, a huge concern always is raised and it’s a concern the EU is trying to battle daily. It is concerns regarding Money Laundering. How is Trade360 with such problems, has there been any incident, is it tracked and reported?
Gal Ackerman: We have a talented and experienced team dedicated to AML. So far, we’ve managed to identify and prevent the handful of attempts that have been made to cheat the system. We’ve reported each incident to the appropriate authorities and we’re confident that we’ll continue to stay well ahead of the curve and maintain our all-important integrity.
EEGReport Magazine: Since Trade360 is a rather new financial service form, it falls within the newer and stricter operating guidelines issued by CySEC. How are client deposits protected and standards executed in this enhanced regulation?
Gal Ackerman: Our legal team in Cyprus is in constant contact with CySEc to ensure full regulatory compliance. Our clients’ funds are held securely in segregated accounts at top-tier EU banks and our customer support team is always working to ensure the highest standards of service across the board.
EEGReport Magazine: How are the affiliates taking advantage in promoting this innovative way of trading? There certainly has to be a high demand for marketing materials and payouts. We’ve seen that there is a top $650 CPA for affiliates.
Gal Ackerman: The growth in our Affiliates Programme has been exponential, and we’re all very proud to be part of it. We know that to attract the finest Affiliate talent, we need to pay the best CPA, and I’m so pleased that there have been so many substantial payouts in such a short time. Our USPs are proving to be super-appealing to clients, feedback from Affiliates is universally positive, and it’s very gratifying that collateral take-up is so high.
EEGReport Magazine: As we know, you have always been in the Financial industry. In your expert opinion, can there still be room for innovation in these trading platforms? We have witnessed so many these couple of years, that gave access for individuals that did not know anything about trading to start and venture into this great niche.
Gal Ackerman: I think there will be major convergence between people’s social, leisure and economic networks over the next few years, with advances in augmented reality enabling us to multi-task far more effectively. And with the growth of decentralized, crowd-based and peer-to-peer financial services, I think we’re going to see some very interesting developments in terms of synergy, gamification and crowd investing. Watch this space!
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