Wazdan celebrates seven nominations at Malta iGaming Excellence Awards

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Wazdan, the innovative slots supplier, has been shortlisted in seven categories at the upcoming Malta iGaming Excellence Awards.

The provider has been recognised for its exemplary collection of games, being named in the following categories: Malta’s Best Innovative Product Company of the Year, Best Online Slots & RNG Games, Malta’s Best Gaming Company of the Year, Malta’s Best Online Gaming Product of the Year, Best Employer Brand of the Year, Best Online Casino Product of the Year, and Online Table Game of the Year.

The plethora of nominations marks yet another positive awards shortlisting for Wazdan, which has recently been nominated at both the EGR B2B Awards and the CasinoBeats Game Developer Awards, which is testament to its innovative slots portfolio.

The Malta iGaming Excellence Awards will take place on Friday 16th of July at the Intercontinental Hotel in St Julian’s.

Andrzej Hyla, Chief Commercial Officer at Wazdan, said: “We’re very proud to be nominated in so many categories at the Malta iGaming Excellence Awards. As our home market, it’s fantastic to be recognised locally and we eagerly await the awards night.

“Congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted, and very best of luck to all involved!”


The Mill Adventure Bags MGA B2B License

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The Mill Adventure (TMA), a Malta-based gaming platform and solutions start up, has obtained B2B license secured from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The company, which already has a B2C license, is now poised to expand the market for its igaming platform and white label solutions.

The company offers smart and ingenious solutions powered by artificial intelligence for casino management and igaming, which promise to reduce the manpower requirements and enhance efficiency of customer acquisition.

The highlight of TMA’s array of solutions is the SmartLobby. It provides an automated system to manage the whole process and simultaneously offers the players data-rich and customized content. The company operates in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, and Germany.

Dario Arruda, the CEO of TMA, said:

“The Malta Gaming Authority is undeniably one of the most prestigious licensing bodies in the industry.

“Being granted this B2B licence not only recognizes our commitment to offering top-tier, transparent, and secure products, it also gives us access to a new business segment.

“This is our gateway to help more partners fully leverage the power of AI, automation, and flexibility, and show them just how much further we can take their business with better, streamlined solutions.”


R. Franco Digital celebrates MGA licence

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Leading Spanish supplier gains valuable Malta accreditation

 R. Franco Digital, R. Franco Group’s digital division, has landed the highly prized acquisition of its Critical Gaming Supply Licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

The licence caps a period of growth and development right across Europe for the rapidly growing provider, which has recently expanded its content offering with multiple tier one operators across regulated markets.

Franco’s extensive catalogue of innovative and engaging slots includes Time Lab, Fortune Jungle and Book of Fruits, with the Spanish supplier also boasting a wealth of innovative, polished new games currently in development.

In addition, its newly launched omni-channel IRIS 4.0 platform is integrated with over 40 providers across sports and casino, including R. Franco Digital’s in-house games.

Now armed with the MGA licence, R. Franco Digital can provide its content to Malta-based operators, with a number of tier-one brands lined up for new partnerships in the coming months.

The certification also acts to further expand the footprint of R. Franco Digital as it continues to expand its presence in regulated markets globally.

Javier Sacristán Franco, Director of R. Franco Digital, said: “As the most established gaming company in Spain, we have enjoyed substantial growth through partnerships with allies who share our vision of creating truly innovative and tailored products and technology.

“With the MGA licence now under our belt, we are excited to begin a new phase where we can form new alliances and offer our games to a wider number of European players than ever before.”

Mario Benito Campo, Commercial Director at R. Franco Digital said: “From the Commercial and Operations Department of R. Franco Digital, we are very proud to have obtained our Critical Gaming Supply Licence from the Malta Gaming Authority. This milestone is a great opportunity to expand our markets.”


Refreshed Sportsbook Software of Altenar Stays Trendy

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The field of technology is progressing day by day and most companies try to get updated with the latest technologies available in the market. Companies are not even bothered about the amount they are spending on this updating. Because they know about the revenue rise as well as the time they save from this updating.

Just think of leasing hardware for your firm. At the time when you take it for lease, it may be having the latest technology. And you may surely be satisfied.

Now just imagine that your lease period has been expired and the hardware which was once the best-in-class in the industry has gone outdated. At such a point what will you do? It is sure that you will ask the provider to refresh the hardware before renewing the lease. Or else you will search for a new provider.

According to Stanislav Silin, CEO of Altenar, the operators entering into a partnership with a supplier not committed to “regular refreshes” of the software – or not wanting to build their own platform from scratch – will “always be a hostage of the legacy offering.”

Altenar launched V1 of its platform in 2010. After many updates, when it realised that a new version is needed instead of further updates, the company has launched V2 of the platform in April 2020 to “serve operators on a global level in a more efficient manner.”

“I’m not saying this is going to be the platform we will stay on for the next 10 years. But we’ve worked in certain additional modularity so that it is easier to migrate or expand to refresh the tech in a few years’ time,” Silin said.

Around 15-20% of the partners of Altenar have moved on to the latest platform. Silin said that the roadmap for how this ramps up in 2021 is dependent on both the best time for the migration from the operator’s perspective, but also the providers as many operators are working with a different company for the player account management platform.

That is the reason why Altenar still works on both platforms – both in terms of updating coded features and maintaining test house evaluations.

“At some point, we will obviously stick with the V2 platform and expand out to all markets,” Silin said.

“The reason why I’m being vague on timelines (for onboarding all partners) is because, as I said, it does depend a little bit on the operators and we don’t want to put hard deadlines on them at the moment,” he added.

Konrad Pizzuto, Director of Technology Operations at Altenar, explains the key changes and client benefits of the new platform.

“The new platform has margin management that has the ability of setting separate odds for those cases when necessary, completely separate from what the default would be. That’s something that didn’t exist in the previous platform,” he said.

“And there is also an improved content mapping tool that allows us to connect as many content and odds and data providers, mixing and matching what we need,” he added.

According to Silin, this need to work with multiple odds feed providers is another reason in favour of buying software from a specialist sports betting provider rather than building your own – as going it alone “doesn’t take away the necessity of dealing with all these providers.”

The advanced features of the V2 platform are not just those most visible to the end users such as integrated third party content and a wider breadth of odds.

“One of the less visible benefits of the new platform is it is more geographically scalable. It is served much closer to where the people are using it,” Pizzuto said.

“There are also lots of underlying architectural implications to the way it was built. Something that should pay off in the longer term, for example, is a shift to the way applications are deployed. So we now run most portions of it in the Kubernetes open-source system,” he added.

“The agility that comes with the technology we’ve integrated means we can respond to feature requests from our partners more rapidly,” he concluded.


Malta Gaming Authority Appoints New Chief Executive Officer

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The Board of Governors of the Malta Gaming Authority has appointed Dr Carl Brincat as Chief Executive Officer of the MGA with immediate effect, in terms of article 6(2)(a) of the Gaming Act (Cap. 583 of the Laws of Malta). The appointment follows a highly competitive selection process which was commenced with the launch of a public call for applications on 17 December 2020.

Carl is a lawyer by profession and previously held the role of Chief Legal & Enforcement Officer within the MGA. Following three years of training in the field of criminal law, he joined the MGA’s legal team and has been a part of it for over six years, forming part of the strategic direction of the Authority and its high-level regulatory Committees for the past four. Carl sits on the Board of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, and is a member of the Chamber of Advocates (Malta), the International Masters of Gaming law (IMGL), and the International Association of Gambling Regulators (IAGR), and has also been a regular speaker in local and international conferences relating to gaming and international regulatory issues.

Carl Brincat said: “It is an honour to be selected to lead the organisation at such a critical juncture for the MGA and the industry alike. I am proud of the work that has been done by the Authority so far in raising regulatory standards and committed to ensuring that we continue along this path. However, it is essential that we cultivate stronger partnerships with other regulators and stakeholders, and the industry itself, to achieve a regulatory environment that accomplishes the MGA’s objectives as set out in the law in the most effective, transparent, and proportionate manner.”


GWU and NetEnt reached agreement – Severance offer improved; 40 jobs saved

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The General Workers’ Union – Malta (GWU) has secured several jobs and successfully negotiated an improved severance offer for employees of gaming company NetEnt who were declared redundant following the company’s acquisition by Swedish gaming giant Evolution Gaming Group.

Following consultations with the GWU, Evolution Gaming Group has now accepted to offer alternative employment to at least 40 employees within the coming weeks. Another 60 employees are expected to be absorbed by gaming and financial services operators in Malta, as a testament to the long term sustainability of the sector and the GWU’s commitment to the creation of quality employment.

The GWU, representing the majority of NetEnt employees in Malta, had earlier filed an application before Malta’s Superior Courts, requesting an injunction to prevent the company from implementing any form of redundancy or from terminating any employment. The First Hall, Civil Court had provisionally accepted the union’s injunction.

Thanks to the new agreement reached, the GWU has secured an improvement to the severance offer previously negotiated with an employee representative, and each affected employee will receive an additional payment of EUR 750.  Other benefits include better safeguards for employees currently on maternity leave and the availability of the company’s health benefit package to affected employees.

GWU members who are affected by these redundancies, occasioned by restructuring in the gaming sector, overwhelmingly approved the revised severance offer.

Negotiations for the GWU were conducted by Josef Bugeja (Secretary General), Kevin Camilleri (Deputy Secretary General), Riccarda Darmanin (Section Secretary), with the legal support of Aron Mifsud Bonnici.

GWU Secretary General Josef Bugeja stated that “we negotiated intensely and with determination. We saved jobs to the extent that this was possible. We ensured that all those who are being let go are suitably compensated.” He thanked Evolution CEO Martin Carlsund, and company legal advisor Paul Gonzi for their collaboration in reaching a satisfactory agreement.

The GWU today withdrew the court injunction, with the legal and industrial dispute being thus resolved.


Malta’s FIAU Publishes “Intelligence Factsheet” of STRs

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The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) of Malta has published its “intelligence factsheet” which provides an overview of “suspicious transaction reports” (STRs) submitted by Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licensees in 2019.

FIAU reported a total of 1445 STRs from 210 MGA licenced operators during 2019, continuing its 100% rise in suspicious transactions registered by its “CASPAR monitoring system” year-on-year trend.

A breakdown of results saw 32% (457 cases) of the total STRs submitted by three companies and a further 35% (498 cases) registered by another five licenced operators, with 72 organisations submitting the remaining 33% (approximately 486) of the STRs.

FIAU reported 741 STR cases related to online gambling for 2020, under which the enforcement unit continues to broaden its CASPAR system’s monitoring capability.

In its factsheet statement the FIAU detailed: “In most of the cases, the FIAU considers it more appropriate to send a spontaneous intelligence report to foreign FIUs rather than to trigger an investigation in Malta on the basis of STRs received from the remote gaming entities.

“Although the FIAU does not open its own in-depth analysis in these cases, the majority result in further dissemination to its foreign counterparts. As a result, information received through these submissions accounted for 35 percent of the total spontaneous intelligence reports shared with foreign FIUs in 2019.”


The Malta Gaming Authority Launches Online Platform for Suspicious Betting Reporting

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Following the Authority’s publication entitled Consultation Feedback & Guidance Paper in relation to Suspicious Betting Reporting Requirements & Other Sports Integrity Matters, one of the obligations for a B2C Malta-licensed operator which offers betting on sporting events is to report suspicious betting via a specific portal to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Although the above mechanism must officially be made available by 1 January 2021, the Authority is pleased to announce that the Sports Integrity Unit has made the Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism (SBRM) available to all B2C Malta-licensed operators which offer betting on sporting events as of 23 November 2020. This is being done in order to prepare for a smoother transition and make any necessary changes prior to the official obligation date.


Malta Gaming Authority CEO to Step Down

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Heathcliff Farrugia of the Malta Gaming Authority has confirmed that he would not be renewing his CEO tenure.

Farrugia confirmed to local news sources that he had requested the government not to renew his leadership terms as MGA CEO, which expires at the start of next year. Declaring his resignation, Farrugia reportedly wants to establish a new business with MGA Chief Regulatory Officer Karl Brincat Peplow.

Farrugia was an executive of MGA since 2014 and was appointed as the Chief Executive in 2018, replacing long-term incumbent Joseph Cuschieri.