Founder of SiGMA
We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Eman Pulis. He is the founder of SiGMA, a highly-anticipated and successful iGaming expo and conference home to 14,000 attendees, 500 sponsors and exhibitors, and renowned speakers and experts. He also founded the AIBC Summit and Medical Cannabiz World.
Eman, everyone in the industry knows your name and everything you have been working on with your team for more than 10 years already. Tell us something we don’t know.
Well, we’re always got a few things up our sleeve! We’re currently revamping our website, including our news site – so keep an eye out for that. We’ll also be announcing a couple of exciting new ventures in the coming months – stay tuned!
How did you enter the iGaming industry and what made you decide to stay?
I started out quite young. When I was a student, I began organising events, such as concerts and parties at university, gradually altering my focus towards expos and conferences. The first showcase event I organised for iGaming brands in Malta filled a niche that had remained relatively untapped. It was such a success that I couldn’t help but stay on and see it through to the next year, and here we are 6 years later with highly-sought after shows across 4 continents.
You started the year with a great dinner party during ICE. Was it difficult for you to turn all networking digital and what is the overall feedback from the industry?
While digital events are no substitute for the thrill of a packed expo floor or for the relaxed atmosphere of our networking dinners, they have brought their own unique brand of value to the table. In the wake of the health pandemic it has been vital for companies to strengthen their connections, to keep informed and to discuss the way forward together – our recent digital summit offered a great platform for this, with a series of topical conference keynotes, as well as for discussion in our live chat. Moving forward the virtual platform will be integrated into our live shows for a more holistic experience.
What’s next for your business in the post COVID-19 times? How will you plan your event going forward to remain relevant and a market leader?
We’re excited to take our show forward on a more global level. Our Europe show will go ahead as planned this November, opening in Malta on the 17th to the 19th and combining AIBC and SiGMA into one super show, bringing the tech and iGaming worlds closer together. We’re also holding a digital show focused on the LatAm markets this September.
Come 2021 it’s full steam ahead with the launch of our first Asia supershow, to be held in Manila – with such a fast-developing scene for gaming in the Philippines, and great support from regulator PAGCOR, Manila seemed like the perfect backdrop for our show. We’ll also be exploring the South American region more closely with plans to launch a show there already in the works. Looking further ahead – Africa lies on the horizon in 2022.
You are organizing some of the most visited digital events nowadays, and planning more in order to help the industry stand together, stay informed and connected at a time when working together has never been more important. Do you have some hot topics you will be focusing on?
Post Covid many businesses have had to change the way they think and work. The players that went into lockdown are not the same as the ones who have emerged. We’ll be looking at this new normal, and at the rise and fall of different verticals. Diversification will be a hot topic, as will retention and recruitment. We’ll also be looking at the issues related to cybercrime, the esports boom, deploying AI on a large scale, building solid frameworks for regulation, and the impact of 5G.
Do you think that the social distancing and the current reorganization of more and more companies to continue with remote work will increase the proliferation of blockchain in the event industry?
Blockchain certainly has a valuable role to play as we enter a more digital world. An increase in work from home practices has accelerated the rate at which operations are being required to rethink the way they do things. As we move forward in a post covid world, tech will have a pivotal role to play – which is why SiGMA is the first gaming event to embrace the deep tech industry – we hope that our combined show this year will bring tech closer to the gaming community and introduce a fresh wave of innovation to this sector.
What should we expect from the November Summit?
The summit will be held at the MFCC in Ta Qali, with SiGMA taking the first day, AIBC the second, and a combination of the two on the third. As always expect a buzzing expo floor packed full of carefully chosen exhibitors – from suppliers to online casino and sports betting operators and from affiliates to thought leaders and policy makers, there’s a holistic approach to the industry. We also have a full agenda of hot-topic debate driven by some of the best minds in the industry across all three days.
Thank you, Eman!