After almost two decades dedicated to establishing, nurturing and growing Malta’s robust iGaming industry, local and international developments – from a global pandemic to Malta’s temporary greylisting – have threatened its stability.
And yet, the iGaming industry’s adaptability is a key positive element that stakeholders are quick to praise.
Lahcene Merzoug, CEO at PressEnter Group, says that although most businesses were impacted by the pandemic with regards to finding a new way of working in very little time, many were able to continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach – albeit, a new one.
“We decided to invest in a new office at the end of 2021, expanding our footprint further in Malta. We now have state-of-the-art headquarters based in Silema which have been designed to provide the optimum working environment for our staff. During that time, we also recruited some of the best talent in the industry and I think that’s because Malta created a fantastic environment for iGaming to thrive.”
Throughout the pandemic and beyond, PressEnter upheld its ‘people first’ ethos, putting it front and centre of the company’s culture, ensuring that colleagues never felt isolated, were reminded they are valued and part of a team – even if they were working from home. “We did this by sending care packages such as fruit baskets, exercising gear and cakes on birthdays. We also care deeply for the overall health of our staff, and we offered free mental health consultations with a well-respected organisation in Malta,” says Mr Merzoug. “We stepped up, and I think this was reflected in the fact that we didn’t see any of our employees leave the company as a consequence of the pandemic. We are very proud of that fact.”
Reflecting on 2022, Mr Merzoug says the company’s expansion strategy, both offline and online, has been one of its foremost achievements. “Offline, we have grown our team and launched our new office, which was officially opened by Silvio Schembri, Minister for the Economy, EU Funds and Lands a few months ago,” he explains. “Online, we launched UltraCasino and RapidCasino, headed by superb leadership teams that are highly experienced in the markets they are live in. We have also integrated new and exciting content from some of the best game providers in the industry, including adding a sportsbook to our portfolio, and we received our Romanian licence.”
Sharing his views on Malta’s removal from the grey list last year, the CEO says this will undoubtedly make a difference to all businesses in Malta, and not just those that operate in iGaming. “The fact that Malta was removed within 12 months is testament to the Government’s commitment to resolving this situation as soon as possible. All businesses in Malta have a responsibility to ensure that it’s not a situation that the jurisdiction finds itself in again,” says Mr Merzoug.
“We all have a role to play in this thriving ecosystem that we have helped to curate. In our industry, Malta has long been known as one of the best, if not the leading jurisdiction in iGaming, and this is why we increased our own commitment by taking new premises and making it a fundamental part of our expansion plans moving forward.”
PressEnter Group CEO Lahcene Merzoug / Photo by Inigo Taylor
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