(Exclusive interview).- Eman Pulis, CEO of SiGMA, talked to Focus Gaming News about the importance of the show in the region.
SiGMA 2019, a world class event focused on iGaming, will be the busiest show to date, with over 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 industry-leading speakers and a record breaking 15,000 attendees from over 80 countries.
SiGMA has developed a strong brand, evolving into a global influencer with the ability to facilitate the biggest deals across the iGaming sector. Before this year’s SiGMA, Focus Gaming News talked to Eman Pulis, CEO of SiGMA, about the importance of the show in the region, as well as the expectations for the 2019 event.
How important is SiGMA for iGaming companies as it’s based in Malta, the iGaming mecca?
In recent years, SiGMA has become the biggest European show specifically for the iGaming sector, and now we’re attracting a more global audience to the island each year. Alongside the Maltese governments leading stance as a regulatory jurisdiction for the iGaming sector, Malta has benefited from a huge influx of companies locating their headquarters here and offering fantastic employee benefits such as great weather, affordable living costs, and the unrivaled Maltese hospitality. With so many iGaming companies now located in Malta, SiGMA is the ‘home turf’ for many leading companies in the industry and having Europe’s biggest iGaming summit on their doorstep is clearly of huge importance.
Last year you broke the attendance record, do you expect to outperform 2018’s show?
SiGMA’19 will be welcoming around 15,000 attendees, making it our biggest show ever! Soon we’ll have to change our branding from ‘The World’s iGaming Village’ to ‘The World’s iGaming City’!
With so many iGaming companies now located in Malta, SiGMA is the ‘home turf’ for many leading companies in the industry.
Which is the top, “the ‘must’ conference” or feature for this year at SiGMA and why?
We’ll be looking at topics including regulation and compliance, AI & Blockchain in iGaming, Payments & Fintech, Affiliates & CMO’s, as well as disruptive innovation shaping the future of the industry. Each conference will be a key part of the content that makes SiGMA an unmissable event in the iGaming calendar.
The iGaming segment is transforming worldwide and some countries are passing legislation either to expand it (e.g US) and others to shrink it (Italy), what are your thoughts on the current situation and which markets do you see the segment growing the most?
In 2019, we’ve seen progress in how regulatory bodies collaborate with each other – the MGA announced earlier this year a memorandum of understanding with the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen. There’s also been a tightening of restrictions from UKGC, which has caught some gaming companies off-guard, and resulted in some having to relocate from the UK, or simply to shut down their UK operations. For these reasons, it’s important that we put regulation issues at the forefront of our activities for SiGMA.
SiGMA Group’s relationships with regulatory bodies is an important part of the events we put on around the world – not just our main shows, but also the roadshows we host in different locations around the world. In 2019, these included New Jersey, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Las Vegas and more, each providing insights and learnings for a variety of core iGaming areas, such as sportsbetting, affiliates, compliance, and casino. Each event includes service providers with expertise in key areas, so, for example, we had the key regulatory expert in New Jersey to inform those attending about the latest in legal, regulatory, and compliance issues relating to sports betting.
SiGMA Group’s relationships with regulatory bodies is an important part of the events we put on around the world.
Of course, we have a close relationship with the MGA and the government of Malta, and our SiGMA Show this November will give a platform for the government to put a spotlight on the changing landscape for regulation in the iGaming sector.
Similarly, we are building a strong relationship with PAGCOR in the Philippines, with the idea being to provide a similar platform to start a conversation between Asian regulatory bodies and the companies looking to expand in Asian markets. It’s a crucial part of the process which cannot be overlooked when expanding operations to any part of the world.