SiGMA 2014 Day One Recap

SiGMA 2014 Day 1 Recap

iGaming a fundamental pillar of the Maltese economy”- UlrikBengtsson, CEO Betsson Malta

SiGMA 2014 Day 1 RecapThe inaugural “Summit of iGaming, Malta”, otherwise known as “SiGMA”, kicked off today at the Intercontinental Hotel in Malta’s St. Julian’s Bay.  The purpose of this event is to educate the industry on what Malta has to offer as an iGaming hub in addition to bringing together the companies already located on the island for a few days of sessions, expo hall, networking and sharing of ideas.

This morning SiGMA featured a series of sessions highlighting the size and strength of the iGaming industry in Malta, the state of regulation in the country and how the Maltese government plans to bring more iGamingcompanies to the jurisdiction.  These sessions were led by representatives of the Maltese Government, The LGA andby senior leaders from Operators based on the island.

The Honorable Jose Herrera of the Maltese Governmentis responsible for the iGaming sector in Malta.  He confirmed Malta is the largest jurisdiction in the EU and gaming contributes between 10 and 12% of Malta’s revenue making it the second biggest industry on island.  He highlighted the iGaming industry directly contributes to Malta’s economy and creates a positive ripple effect by bringing in employees from other nations who then pay rent and spend money and also creates jobs in other industries onisland.

Low taxes, no governmental conflicts, nice weather, nice people and high standard of living are more reasons why Malta is an attractive location to base an iGaming business.  Herrera believes with further education on the perks of living and working in Malta, the industry will continue to grow and flourish.

Herrera explained the government is doing a lot to continue the promotion of iGaming in Malta, including a push to remove any bad feelings people may have about the industry.  For example, the Responsible Gaming Foundation has been created to help people who have gambling additions and this project is also an opportunity to give back from the iGaming industry proceeds.

The development of an “iGaming Academy” is also in the works, a project with the goal of training professionals interested inworking in iGaming and cultivatingmore talent for the industry on island.  A shortage of talent is a problem Malta faces, so hopefully this push from the government will help solve some of the employment issues.

Joseph Cuschieri, the new Executive Chairman of the LGA, echoed Herrera’s comments and explained the LGA endeavors to “provide a unique ecosystem for iGaming companies” where innovation is facilitated by the regulator.  Its clear the LGA is making an effort to spread this message, agood example being their heavy involvement in SiGMA this year.

Over at SiGMA’s expo hall, booths ranged from affiliate programs to operators, suppliers and regulators, a solid slice of the iGaming world.  The vibe in the hall was fun, buzzing, busy and casual- one delegate even said the vibereminded him it of what it used to be like at conferences in 2005/2006, a feeling that industry “old-timers” often grieve.

So what is different on this expo floor? The booths are small, they are close together, people can easily “booth hop” and find their friends, beer was flowing, music was playing and people were able to pop in and out as their schedule permitted because they actually live in the host city.

One of the busiest booths today was Euro Earners, a Scandinavian facing affiliate programfeaturing a boxing contestto raise awareness of their soon-to-launch Bethard, “the toughestiGaming brand”. The prize of 1000 Euros will be awarded to the man (or woman) who punches the boxing bag the hardest AND we’re guessing the Euro Earners open bar manned by beautiful women had something to do with the booth’s exceptionally heavy foot traffic.

This afternoon over at the Affiliate & SEO Session Ralph Tegtmeier enlightened the crowd on how to beat the “Great Firewall of China”.  Tegtmeier has been in the SEO world since 1995 and is known for his “blackhat” SEO tactics, tactics that he uses for success with China’s premier search engine Baidu.

According to Tegtmeier, “the secret sauce to success” with SEO in China is “PowerCloaking 3.0”, a strategy that splits traffic between search engine spiders and humans and “tricks” the search engine into ranking the site(s).  What’s key to remember when cloaking is to keep a “squeaky clean” white site (the main affiliate site), clone that site and use those clones for cloaking but make sure the cloaked sites cannot be traced to the clean one.  “Have the best of both worlds”, he said.