Back in November of last year I donned my lanyard, packed my pocket full of business cards and headed to the first ever Summit of iGaming in Malta: Sigma14. It was the first iGaming conference of it’s kind in Malta and I really had no idea what to expect. Safe to say, I was blown away. Despite being its first year, the conference was a huge success. Hoards of online casinos, big and small, took a punt on Sigma14, trusting the team behind it, and booked exhibitions and plenty of affiliates, like me, headed down there to see what it was all about.
For me, it proved incredibly lucrative. I got speaking to lots of new casinos, most of which are now featured on the site, giving our readers more choice, a more comprehensive NetEnt guide and more industry news than ever. You could say that Sigma14 directly helped us grow the site as it created a fun filled networking environment where casinos and affiliates could come together and create relationships.
There’s never a dull moment in this industry, not only in Malta, but worldwide, and the SiGMA show couldn’t take place at a more pertinent time, with so many mergers and acquisitions, emerging markets, shifts in regulatory goalposts and other revolutionary innovations.
In view of this, we decided to go with more focused, shorter, conferences. At SiGMA15 each conference will only last half a day, giving delegates more time to hop from one stand to the other and network at the adjacent expo floor. From regulatory issues, to payments, anti-fraud, security, crypto currencies, affiliates, SEO and gamification – there is a topic to suit every delegate’s interest.
– Eman Pulis, Sigma Organiser
For the casinos it provided an excellent chance to exhibit their product. To show us what they had coming up, what was in development and why they were a casino worth promoting on our site. It was their chance to shine and show us, the affiliates, why we should tell our readers about them.
Back in April this year I popped along to the Sigma15 Networking Drinks to see what they had to say about the upcoming conference and was super impressed at the turnout and the open support that Sigma15 has garnered from the Malta Gaming Authority and the government too.
Sigma15 is the brainchild of a team of people who are knowledgeable, dedicated and each bringing a different skill and perspective to the conference. The main faces of this event are Eman Pulis and Dennis Dyhr-Hansen and it’s largely down to them that the conference was so well organised and such a resounding success in 2014.
Today I was lucky enough to speak to one of the brains behind Sigma to talk about this years offering: Sigma15.
How does it feel to be part of something that was so successful from the outset and why do you think Sigma did so well last year? How did the success of Sigma’s first year feel for you? Did it exceed your expectations?
Quite frankly, it feels great! Double the exhibitors. Double the delegates. Double the conferences. This pretty much sums up the feedback we have following last year’s baptism of SiGMA. Many had serious doubts there was room in the industry for a new large show, but Dennis and myself stuck to our guns and today we are truly humbled by the response and the good business this show has brought to many affiliates, operators and solution providers.
Has the conference evolved for it’s second year?
Yes, we learnt so much since last year. I’ll be honest with you, I had little knowledge of the gaming industry – my expertise was mostly events and conference planning. Thank God I had a solid partner like Dennis, who knew how to guide the event in both subtle and obvious ways, and to know when to do which.
Last year the show was held on Friday, Saturday. We quickly realised not to touch our delegates’ weekend this year. So the show shifted to Thursday and Friday instead.
Last year we had two conferences – Regulatory and Affiliates – each of which lasted two days. We understood that most of the delegates wanted to spend more time in the expo floor, hopping from one stand to the other. So this year we will have four conferences instead of two – Regulatory, Payments, Affiliates and Gamification – each of which will only last half a day. Each delegate is entitled to ONE conference, meaning an extra day and a half can be spent on the expo floor. Shorter, more focused conferences should pave the way for some serious networking.
Whereas last year we put most of our energy in filling up the expo floor with booths, this year we’re sold out since last April and are therefore dedicating most of their time to attract the right crowd – the crème-de-la-crème of the industry. We’re inviting to Malta some of the best 30 affiliates in Europe, responsible for real heavy traffic, no expenses saved, to an all-inclusive VIP treat. This alone should make operators and their affiliate managers go wild! We’re also bringing some of the best speakers, including the likes of Ory Weihs (XLMEdia), Michael Finderup (PMG), Itai Zak (SBTech), Justin Franssen (Kalff Katz & Franssen), Bradley Wiskirchen (Clickbank), Johan Styren (LeoVegas), Erik Bergman (Catena), and others. We’re distributing this very copy of SiGMA Magaizne a month before the show kicks off to give any last minuters enough time to register for the show.
Why should affiliates consider Sigma a conference not to miss this year?
Why SiGMA? Why Malta? We’ve been bombarding affiliates with a number of key reasons why they should consider Malta in their busy calendars. With some 300 gaming companies based in Malta and now also a yearly show like SiGMA; it should be relatively easy to understand why SiGMA and Malta should earn a spot in your busy calendars.
Despite mixed reactions, we took off last with the idea of bringing the whole industry, from affiliates to C-Level executives, solution providers to operators, under one roof. We were often told to focus on one sector instead but we firmly believed that the three distinct pillars within the industry – solution providers, operators and affiliates – are coming closer together. Today’s affiliate, for instance, is fast becoming a successful operator within months, which is why we wanted a 360° iGaming showcase in Malta that reflected this trend.
I shall be attending Sigma15 later on in the year, another chance for me to work hard to ensure that our readers get the best content, the best casino information and the best bonuses and promotions of any other affiliate site! Thank you so much to Dennis and Eman for creating such an exciting event and special thanks to Eman for taking the time to chat with us.