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SiGMA’19 makes history with record attendance numbers

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SiGMA’19 makes history with record attendance numbers

 

15,000 delegates make it SiGMA Group’s biggest show yet 

SiGMA Group’s biggest show to date closed its doors last week after three days brimming with conferences, workshops, a high energy expo floor, and premier networking events.  Official numbers put the number of attendees for the show at just over 15,000, making SiGMA’19 the group’s biggest ever event.

Live gaming and eye-catching stand designs made this year’s expo a feast for the senses. Exhibitors brought a global flavour to the summit, showcasing cutting-edge games and software, offering innovative industry solutions, and bringing crucial networking opportunities to delegates looking to make next-level connections and deals. With energy high throughout the three-day-event, the expo floor was definitely the place to be for delegates looking to mix business with pleasure.

Bridging the knowledge gap for the growing sector, a series of six thought-provoking conferences and workshops offered a mixture of knowledge-sharing and fierce debate from some of the best minds in the industry. From finance and blockchain solutions, to tackling the brain drain in the HR and Careers conference, to regulation and compliance across jurisdictions both new and old, to eSports and sportsbook, delegates were presented with a 360 degree look at the iGaming sector.

The annual SiGMA Start-Up Pitch also brought investment opportunities and sound business advice to start-ups looking to gain a foothold in the industry as they battled it out for the top prize. A fiercely-fought battle saw Bethereum crowned its winner for it’s social betting solution built on blockchain technology.

And while the days were jam-packed with activity, the evenings included networking opportunities at iGathering dinners, SiGMA’s (and Malta’s) first WBC World Title fight, and a closing night party hosted by Fashion TV Gaming, Pragmatic Play and Videoslots which ended the summit in style.

As the week came to a close, Eman Pulis, founder and CEO of SiGMA Group, commented, “What an amazing show for all those involved!  Now we’re looking ahead to 2020 and the launch of our super-expo in Asia in June 2020. With this new event in Manila, we’ve truly become a global brand in the iGaming industry and I can’t wait to introduce all our friends and partners from both East and West.”

In conjunction with ICE Asia and PAGCOR, the gambling and emerging tech show will cater for the land-based gambling and iGaming sector, as well as blockchain, AI and emerging tech.  More than 10,000 delegates are expected to attend from across Europe, the US, and Asia, making this one of the biggest shows to unite East and West in the region.

Space at the Manila show is already filling up fast, so interested parties looking to expand their business operations in Asia are advised to contact Eman Pulis (eman@sigma.com.mt) for opportunities.

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Non-South African Platforms are Breaking into ZA iGaming

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Non-South African Platforms are Breaking into ZA iGaming
Photo Soure: pixabay

 

While Europe has established a very healthy iGaming industry and traditional forms of iGaming are taking root in North America – as the activity of gambling on daily fantasy sports has been long-established – platforms are turning their attention to the next big regions. There’s a lot of excitement around South America given the recent changes in regulation in Peru and Colombia, but perhaps the most interesting locale is that of Africa.

The African market is very promising, with there being a remarkable demand for the gambling segment alongside the relatively small level of competition in place. Focusing on the current market of South Africa, it can be seen that alongside domestic providers, some non-South African platforms have been able to garner some of the audience. Today we look at how these international brands are winning the trust of the consumer in this potential future hotbed of iGaming.

The state of play in ZA

South Africa totes three well-rated nationally-based online casino operators win Springbok Casino, their sister site Thunderbolt Casino, and ZAR Casino. However, among the small collection of online casino brands present in the South African online space, there are two standout international websites. Based in Malta, Sloty Casino and Karamba Casino offer their gaming to South Africa and are both ranked among the most popular online casinos in the country. Sloty ranks the highest of the two, but Karamba boasts the only perfect five-star review score of all five of the stated operators.

As you would assume from a rather underdeveloped and only slightly competitive online casino scene, the established national brands haven’t been required to reach a high level yet. Brands that are Europe-facing have had to keep up with the competition and continue to enhance their offering. While the incoming casinos didn’t necessarily have to bring their whole European platform and could arguably have entered the market with a slightly better offering than what’s in place, they appear to have done so to great effect.

Competing with European experience

Source: pixabay

As can be seen across the five detailed brands, they all cater to the local audience by offering the rand currency. However, the experience of the Malta-based brands shines through as soon as you look at the welcome bonuses available to South African players. Springbok and its sister site offer a nice welcome bonus of bonus funds, but Karamba and Sloty offer 100 free spins and 300 free spins respectively, alongside bonus funds. ZAR has followed this welcome bonus structure as it has proven to be competitive in Europe, let alone the comparatively sparse space of South Arica.

Another key aspect is the range of game providers included on the websites. Springbok, which is currently ranked as the best in South Africa, only offers games from RTG. While RTG is a great game developer, only offering titles from one provider can make the experience feel lacking in variety. Sloty boasts games from the likes of Yggdrasil, Oryx Gaming, NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n Go, and Evolution Gaming while Karamba draws from NetEnt, Microgaming, Pragmatic Play, NeoGames, and Evolution Gaming. More games, more creative directions, and more regular updates to the library become essential in a competitive sector.

One area where nationally-based online casinos should have the upper hand is in banking. Two of the South Africa-based casinos, Thunderbolt and Springbok, offer more than enough safe, secure, and relevant transaction options to their players (seven and five respectively), with ZAR lacking by only offering Visa and MasterCard deposits and withdrawals. Sloty has the same five-piece selection as Springbok, but Karamba has gone all-in with 11 payment options. It should be noted, however, that only Thunderbolt caters to Bitcoin transactions – a type of payment method that could become increasingly important to African-facing companies in the future.
While Springbok, Thunderbolt, and ZAR undoubtedly offer high-quality online casino gaming platforms to the players of South Africa, Karamba and Sloty have immediately broken into the market by competing on a similar level to that of Europe as opposed to the much more shallow playing field of Africa.

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AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service returned over $8,79 million to players in 2019

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AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service returned over $8,79 million to players in 2019

 

AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service team helped almost 2,000 players recover more than $8,79 million in unpaid, delayed or unfairly confiscated money in 2019.

The official AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service annual report for 2019 is out and showing impressive results! AGCCS broke their own record by recovering the staggering $8,795,250.89 of unpaid, delayed or unfairly confiscated money, which amounts to a 30% increase in comparison to the 2018 results.

According to the AGCCS Annual Report 2019, the customer support team received and reviewed 9,809 new complaints last year which were
submitted by 6,804 players against 725 different online casino brands. What’s more, the customer support team accepted 2,650 cases. In total, the support team resolved 2,257 of accepted cases, which amounts to 84% of the total accepted cases.

The AskGamblers customer support team stated: “We are very pleased to announce that we broke previous year’s records. We want to take this opportunity to thank players for using AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service and to invite even more gambling enthusiasts to turn to us whenever they have a complaint.”

You can read the full AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service 2019 report on AskGamblers and visit AskGamblers Casino Complaint Service to submit any complaints.

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Things must change

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Things must change

 

James Ashton from FindMyUKCasino.com says that affiliates targeting self-excluded players are damaging the entire industry

The relationship between online casino operators and affiliates is under more strain than ever before as regulators and watchdogs continue to tighten responsible gambling requirements.

The UK Gambling Commission has made clear that operators are ultimately responsible for the content that is published on their behalf by affiliates.

This has forced online gambling brands and their affiliate managers to audit their publisher partners and set guidelines for the responsible marketing of their sites.

As a professional online casino affiliate committed to responsible and compliant marketing, we have welcomed this approach as we believe it is also our responsibility to protect players.

This has seen us carry out major changes to our site, from ensuring significant and full terms and conditions are always next to bonus offers via auditing and reworking content.

For example, our best online casino page only lists four of our partner online casino brands with those listed scoring the highest during our review process.

Other online casino affiliates list hundreds of online casinos under their best online casino pages in a bid to maximise revenues from what is usually a high-volume traffic page.

We believe players searching for best online casinos are looking for information about the brands that stand out above the rest – listing hundreds to maximise commission is therefore irresponsible.

There are plenty of online casinos affiliates just like us, affiliates that care about players and being responsible over trying to turn a quick profit. But there are some that are not.

Recently I have seen a growing number of online casino affiliates creating content aimed at UK players that have self-excluded, pushing them to non UKGC-licensed websites.

These publishers are writing ranking pages around terms such as “Online casinos not on GamStop” when we all know that UKGC-licensed operators must work with GamStop.

These ranking pages then list tens or even hundreds of online casino sites that hold licenses from Curaçao and other offshore jurisdictions.

The only reason for creating content around these terms is to target those that have self-excluded because they believe they have a gambling problem or acknowledge the have an addiction.

This is disgraceful behaviour on behalf of the affiliate and is doing untold damage to publishers that believe the foundation of their business is to protect all players, not just the most vulnerable.

Some publishers have stopped short of actually listing online casinos that are not on GamStop and that don’t hold a UKGC licence, but have still created content around these terms.

Again, this is clearly aimed at drawing players searching for these terms to their sites, and then pushing them to other articles and reviews where they are encouraged to sign up and play.

Online gambling operators should also be concerned; some of the publishers creating these sorts of pages are among the largest in the industry and also promote UK-licensed brands.

These operators should be concerned about what impact partnering with affiliates that undertake such black hat techniques might have on their licence should the UKGC find out.

This practice needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency; online casino affiliates publishing such pages should do the right thing and take them down.

UK-licensed online casino operators should better audit their partners – just Google “Online casinos not on GamStop” and you can easily see who is creating content around these terms.

Once they have identified the culprits, they should issue an ultimatum – remove the page or they will cease working with them. This is the only way to protect players and, ultimately, their licence.

On a personal and professional note, it really is a shame to see that some affiliates do not see that their ultimate responsibility is to ensure that players are properly protected.

To do this, they need to provide them with the information they need – including T&Cs – about online casinos to enable them to make an informed decision about where to play.

They should make players aware of the resources available to them if they do feel they have a problem, such as GamStop, and not use it as a technique for acquiring new players.

There are plenty of affiliates out there doing great things when it comes to responsible gambling and compliance, which makes it such as shame that a small number are behaving so badly.

This is not only damaging to online gambling operators and affiliates, but also to the UK players they are pushing to these offshore sites.

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