Africa is a diverse melting pot of culture and language

Adeleye Awakan has a question and answers session with Eman Pulis the founder SIGMA brand regarding the upcoming SiGMA Africa 2022, what stakeholders should expect in the 2022 event, the company background and what SiGMA brand stands for and the success of the brand so far.

Eman Pulis said about himself: I read for a degree in Education, and later, for a master’s degree in both diplomacy and creativity & innovation. I developed a taste for organizing events during my University years, when I was responsible for putting on some of Malta’s biggest music festivals. I was also active in the sports scene, competing on a national level – I represented Malta in 2003 at the Small Nation Games, in fact, I broke the national record in the triple jump. The life of an athlete is one which requires an obsession with perfection, a dedication to completing the task at hand, and stamina – all qualities I find useful in taking SiGMA forward today.

Adeleye Awakan: Since this is your first time hosting an iGaming event in Africa, we would want you to tell our readers what SiGMA Event is all about, including company background.

Eman Pulis: SiGMA has grown tremendously over the last few years, moving from the local scene to an international arena. This year we launched events in all four corners of the globe; in 2021 SiGMA Asia will debut in Manila, SiGMA Americas in Brazil, and in 2022, SiGMA Africa in South Africa. All our events have been boosted by a series of successful digital events, with our inaugural edition of SiGMA Europe Virtual Expo coming to screens this November. In fact all our events next year will be supported by the cutting-edge tech behind the virtual expo.
SiGMA Group also runs AIBC Summit, an event focused on emerging tech, Med Tech Summit, and Med Cann Summit – expos dedicated to the latest innovations in medical technology and to the developing medical cannabis sector.

Adeleye Awakan: Why did SIGMA choose to come to Africa in 2022?

Eman Pulis: Africa certainly stands out from the crowd as a continent garnering growing interest from the gaming scene. We believe this region is ripe for potential; the potential of future regulatory development, the notable presence of mobile gambling and of land-based gambling all make for an attractive future.
As the geographical, political, and linguistic distinctions reflect considerably on the gambling landscape, we decided to have not one but three host cities. SiGMA Africa will rotate every year: in 2022 we’re heading to the vibrant city of Cape Town in South Africa for the inaugural summit, SiGMA Africa will then fly West to Ghana the following year and in 2024 East to Kenya.

Adeleye Awakan: Africa gaming industry has been growing over the last ten years, and we have seen a couple of event organizers cementing their ground in Africa trade shows. Why did the SIGMA brand wait this long to show its intention for Africa in 2022?

Eman Pulis: We are committed to high standards of quality, which is why we make sure that when we venture into a new marketplace, we can maintain our reputation for excellence.

Adeleye Awakan: What prompted SIGMA to think it’s the right time to organise an exhibition event in Africa?

Eman Pulis: As a leading event and media company within the gaming industry, and with a strong presence in Europe (Malta, Ukraine), the Americas (Brazil), and Asia (Philippines), heading to one of the world’s fastest growing economic powers, Africa was the only reasonable next step for our growing portfolio of events as we solidify our presence in the global gaming industry.

Adeleye Awakan: Over the past few years, SIGMA has grown a lot and is now very visible in the gambling industry. Moving from one event in Malta to many around the world is a significant increase. How do you manage to assemble an experienced team to organize the next trade fair events?

Eman Pulis: The SiGMA Squad team has grown significantly over the last couple of years. And while Malta remains our headquarters, we also have a strong workforce in a number of other locations across the global. SiGMA also continues to invest in its staff through external and internal training.

Adeleye Awakan: What is your current assessment of the situation in the gambling business post-COVID-19 pandemic? Do you think it will return to normal later this year?

Eman Pulis: The gambling industry has shown itself to be flexible and adaptable in the face of uncertainty. Many companies are looking to diversify their output and to reassess the way they think. We hope that through the SiGMA platforms, such as our upcoming virtual expo – we can continue to help businesses remain connected, to facilitate communication on issues affecting the industry and to ensure a space to grow during these tough times.

Adeleye Awakan: Which markets are SIGMA especially targeting, while being in great competition with existing trade fair organizations such as Eventus international and Clarion gaming in Africa?

Eman Pulis: SiGMA has complimentary events in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. When it comes to Africa we chose to target East, West and South to incorporate a wide angle view of the gaming landscape. This diverse approach allows us to get a 360 degree perspective on all regions and topics.

Adeleye Awakan: What impact do you think the SIGMA trade show event would have on Africa’s iGaming industry, especially for stakeholders?

Eman Pulis: With three major shows in the works, the events are designed to enhance Africa’s high-growth gambling industry. SiGMA Africa unites the leading minds in this sector for a discussion on regulatory frameworks, economic development and the creation of new opportunities for businesses looking to invest across the continent.
With a record for attracting an audience from over 80 countries, SiGMA has the potential to set the stage with a global guest list of some of the best operators, suppliers, affiliates, regulators, and thought leaders in the gaming sector – bringing high-end innovation to the African gambling industry and driving sustainable growth throughout its nations.

Adeleye Awakan: SiGMA brand has been a success in the Europe iGaming industry over the years. Do you think SiGMA can replicate that success in Africa?

Eman Pulis: We are excited to discover what Africa has to offer, and with the addition of 5 new languages to our website, new additions to the SiGMA team, and increased investment in our content and media arm, we’re confident we can leverage our experience and resources to bring success to this arena.

Adeleye Awakan: Since its first-time SiGMA brand is coming to Africa, SiGMA Europe is always filled with different content such as award night, entertainment, and enough to learn from, incredibly, tech invoke. Are stakeholders going to be seeing the same contents in the Africa trade show exhibition in 2022, Or should we expect something different for SIGMA Africa?

Eman Pulis: SiGMA has a unique global network of some of the best operators, suppliers, affiliates, regulators and thought leaders in the gaming sector. And so, we hope to offer a good balance between expert-led, quality content and the entertainment and networking opportunities of a high energy expo floor.

Adeleye Awakan: What is the biggest challenge for SiGMA so far before considering Africa as the next place to expand the company brand?

Eman Pulis: Africa is a diverse melting pot of culture and language, with geographical, political, and linguistic distinctions, so we will be conscious of making sure our content strikes the right tone for each region.

Adeleye Awakan: The announcement for SiGMA Africa to host the event in three different countries in Africa came as a surprise to specific industry stakeholders, especially for Nigeria not to been included among the nations to play host to the event. Despite being one of the biggest gaming markets; in Africa, are there criteria used to determine the countries you selected, please expand?

Eman Pulis: Boasting a population of 59 million, South Africa offers industry stakeholders a fast-emerging, tech-savvy marketplace, with plenty of potential for development – leaving the doors wide open for future opportunities in this sector.
Kenya is also closely linked to SiGMA’s charitable arm – the SiGMA Foundation, having supported the Kilimanjaro Challenge in financing several educational projects in Ethiopia and Kenya through almost twenty years of expeditions, and raising a million euro towards kindergartens, schools, clinics and water projects in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Adeleye Awakan: Since SiGMA trade fairs would be host across three countries from 2022 to 2024. Do you plan to shift or rotation policy for the event to be hosted in other African countries in the future?

Eman Pulis: We are definitely open to expanding our vision to include more countries in the future – so keep your eye on our website for the latest updates.

Adeleye Awakan: Yes, in the last couple of years African gaming industry has been growing. From your perspective, what do you think Africa can do right to reach that tipping point to be reckoned with in the global stage?

Eman Pulis: Africa has an advantage in that it has the chance to take international best practice and shape it so that it works most effectively in and for their respective jurisdictions. If Africa can find the right balance, in achieving sustainable growth whilst addressing challenges such as problem gambling and money laundering, then its potential will be huge.

Adeleye Awakan: Africa has been attractive to many suitors over the years due to its numerous youth’s population. Sports’ betting has been the focal point for most companies establishing operations in the region. What do you think can be done to attract more investors?

Eman Pulis: Because the gambling market is a constantly evolving one, it is fraught with stumbling blocks. A fast-paced industry needs consistent regulation that can keep up with the times if it is to be attractive to investors. Issues like data protection, money laundering and server location still require attention from regulations.

Adeleye Awakan: Last but not, the list sums up Africa in one word?

Eman Pulis: Diverse!

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