Malta’s SiGMA expands operations into Middle East, Asia

Aerial shot of SiGMA’s iGaming show in 2018. (source: SiGMA media)

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After having become a benchmark event in Malta for iGaming and attracting thousands of industry professionals internationally, SiGMA’s new vision includes Dubai where the firm is setting up new offices, eyeing expansion into new markets, according to a press statement sent to Business Malta. SiGMA also plans to launch an event in the Philippines in 2020.

The move will take advantage of expanding interest in the Middle East for the emerging technology of online gaming due to “its potential to invigorate the economy and shake up governance,” the event organisers say. While Malta continues its focus on regulation, the Emirates and its neighbouring states are looking at blockchain with fresh eyes which SiGMA hopes will help its operations flourish.

The company says that its move to the Middle East coincides with “other major companies looking to get a finger in the blockchain pie, with industry players instead eyeing the United States as their base for business,” according to the press statement sent to BM.

“As part of the company’s strategic growth, the plan for 2020 will focus on strengthening core events in Malta and on the smooth running of the inaugural opening of the Emirates A.I. & Blockchain Summit. Rounding off an ambitious expansion plan, 2020 will also set the stage for the launch of SiGMA in the Philippines, with the event making its Asian debut in Manila,” says Eman Pulis, CEO if SiGMA.

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Quick evolution

SiGMA — which is used interchangeably for the organising firm and the iGaming event — has gone through a rapid transformation since the first event was held in 2014. That year the firm says it moved into an untapped niche of opportunity within the local iGaming market. By 2015, SiGMA expanded operations and doubled its numbers. With attendance figures on the rise, 2017 marked entry to Europe, however, organisers say the plunge for becoming a world-class event came in 2018, “with an elite selection of delegates, policymakers and thought leaders pouring in from across the globe,” according to the press statement.

“It is this kind of international support and interest that has helped propel SiGMA into truly becoming the world’s iGaming village. Through a commitment to quality and years of successful operations, SiGMA has nurtured the development of a strong brand, allowing for its evolution into a global influencer on the iGaming world stage,” the press statement says.

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Expanding operations

In 2018, the company expanded operations and launched a show dedicated to the emerging blockchain sphere; the Malta Blockchain Summit, which received positive feedback from the players in the industry. The show was also the launchpad for three pieces of Maltese government regulation; on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), and the initiation of a government Artificial Intelligence Task Force.

The blockchain summit in November 2018 attracted 8,500 participants and brought speakers such as W. Scott Stornetta, John McAfee, the Winklevoss Twins and Sophia the Robot to Malta’s stage. The organisers say that their summit took the scene by storm and has secured its place as the “leading event in blockchain tech”.

As of 2019, the show has expanded focus into exploring more niches and today runs rebranded as the Malta AI & Blockchain Summit. This year, two blockchain shows will be held in Malta — in addition to SiGMA’s iGaming summit and the first Cannabiz Summit World—; one in May and another one in November. The shows aim to attract a global crowd of exhibitors by boosting its offering to include artificial intelligence, quantum tech, internet of things and big data.

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Cannabiz Summit World

The company will also host a medical cannabis summit; Cannabiz Summit World, where it hopes to offer a platform for leading researchers and regulators to explore the revolutionary cannabis industry to boost economic growth and revitalise the health industry.

Organisers hope that the event will lay the foundations for an evolutionary leap into medical cannabis as the worlds of science, technology, and agribusiness converge.

“The summit is a reflection not only of Malta’s efforts through Malta Enterprise and the Medicines Authority in attracting the most reputable firms to the islands but is also a reflection of the direction many states worldwide are taking in creating the right legislative framework for medical cannabis research, production and/or consumption,” the press statement says.