The workforce challenge in iGaming

Jaime Debono, Managing Director of iGaming Academy shares his views on the evolving iGaming industry here in Malta and the pressure businesses face to source a skilled workforce which can keep up with this fluid industry.

Jaime Debono - Managing Director of iGaming Academy
Jaime Debono - Managing Director of iGaming Academy

Recruiting and retaining the best talent continues to be an ongoing challenge for HR departments across the gaming industry. One of the best ways to mitigate the problem is to keep the talent that’s already on the company books. Then, it is a matter of consistently developing that talent to keep up with the requirements of the business.

Jaime Debono of iGaming Academy assesses the landscape of the market, from his unique vantage point. “iGaming has evolved as an industry. It’s now more technically sophisticated and has matured to a highly competitive landscape, not only from the operators’ market share perspective but also from growing industry staffing requirements,” Jaime tells me. “The industry’s business infrastructure is increasingly global, and complex regulation requires greater commitment to compliance. Finding and keeping employees with a strong understanding of the industry – or with the commitment to pick it up fast – is critical”.

Jaime also identifies specific areas of concern, some of which relate to recent changes on the regulatory front – “Bottlenecks for hiring continue to occur across the talent market and increasingly, compliance expertise is in demand, particularly following the new MGA Gaming Law changes. The US PASPA ruling is also being felt, and as the hiring boom over the Atlantic grows apace, we expect this to add extra strain to the talent market over here in Malta”.

Very often, the best investment to make is to increase the skill level within the existing team. New hires come with some inherent risk, and while this can be drastically reduced by a good recruitment process, it cannot be eliminated. “Many of the HR and business leaders we speak to increasingly understand the value of training and investing in their employees,” Jaime explains. “Utilising existing teams is often the most attractive option when compared to recruitment or acquisition. Those who’ve been in the industry a while, benefit hugely from their understanding of this often complex sector. For newer recruits or those with increased responsibilities, the learning curve can be steep. When businesses merge or diversify, whole departments can often be left with the challenge of getting to grips with increased regulation, niche products or new business practices”.

Malta’s iGaming workforce now runs into the thousands, placing the onus on its HR departments in populating the company with talent, and equipping, motivating and mobilising every individual employee to perform optimally. “Scaling operations can create additional issues for employers,” Jaime explains. “Ensuring quality standards, the spread of knowledge throughout the company, and understanding of crucial compliance issues are a critical function of any HR team tasked with growing operations”.

As the industry continues to expand internationally, alternative solutions to staff retention continue to be explored. This may include employees working remotely, which presents its own set of challenges from a harmonisation, coordination and team-building perspective. However, a basic HR formula will likely continue to apply – select the right talent for the job, retain them and provide the right training solution to cope with an ever-evolving landscape.

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