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Meet Neil Tanti

Disa Stigh

Estimated Time 12 min

July 27, 2020

Hi everyone and welcome back to another episode of “5 days, 5 News faces”, which is a series where I introduce you to iGaming profiles. A lot of different people with different professions where the aim is to connect everyone more or less. If you are watching this and you are interested in purusing a career within iGaming, I’m going to give you a lot of insights and tips about different companies and different ways to pursue a career within iGaming.

Today I got a very cool guy lined up for you and he knows everything more or less about casino and the online gambling industry. So, if you’re interested in watching Neil Tanti, the founder and owner of the first live academy studio in Malta, keep watching.

Disa: Welcome and I’m really happy that you both wanted to participate to do this and speak about OLCA and iGaming in general.

Ray: Thank you very much for having us Disa.

Disa: Should be start with that you present yourself a little bit so we can get to know you a bit more Neil?

Neil: Absolutely. So, my name is Neil and I’m the founder of Online Live Casino Academy which is Malta’s first licensed group for live dealer academy. I’m from Malta. I grew up in a town called Rabat which is actually near the Silent City which is Mdina. I started working in the gaming industry around 8 years ago as a game presenter and so for it has been a great journey.

Disa: I can imagine. And what about you Ray? Are you also from Malta?

Ray: Yes. Yes, I’m Maltese. I live in Rabat as well. I started in the gaming industry in 2016 I believe. I took their course, the online live casino dealer course. I started the course in February if I’m not mistaken and after 6 weeks, I finished the course and started working with NetEnt for four years as a game presenter. After that I became a customer support costumer support agent.

Disa: I guess that’s pretty much the same way you took Neil, right? You also started your career as a croupier?

Neil: Yes, I started my journey as a game presenter and along the way I noticed that there was a high turnover in the recruitment of game presenters and casino croupiers. It was clear that the gaming industry had the need for qualified croupiers and game presenters who are looking to pursue a long-term career in the gaming industry.

Disa: So, is this why you started OLCA which you will be speaking more about?

Neil: Yes exactly.

Disa: So, tell us more about OLCA. Let’s jump into that.

Neil: Absolutely. Online Live Casino Academy was founded in 2015. We acquired the license from the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. We provide courses which are accredited and also funded by the “get qualified scheme”. We provide 2 courses at the moment which are the croupier land-based casino and live studio lever. And the second course is the award and casino presenter. The most famous course so far is the croupier land-based casino and live studio level. Basically, the student will have the opportunity to learn how to deal Roulette, Blackjack and Caribbean Slot Poker. At the end of the course the student will have the opportunity to either work with a land-based casino or a live studio casino.

Disa: That’s great. There are so many people coming to Malta from many different countries that are taking your course. As we have NetEnt, Evolution Gaming and many other iGaming providers that offers live casino settings, there is a path and a career in front of them if they want to work with online casino.

Neil: Yes

Disa: How many nationalities do you have at OLCA at the moment?  

Neil: Currently we surpassed 15 nationalities. We have Italians, Japanese, Koreans, Indians and plenty more.

Disa: The course is obviously in English or do you have any other native languages?

Neil: Thecourse is held in English, yes. So, everyone can understand.  

Disa: Exactly. How many people do you have currently taking the course now during Corona and how has that affected the school and the academy in general? Are you staying at home and doing more theoretical practice?

Neil: We feel that it is challenging times, however, we embrace change. We are currently delivering courses online. We also provide all the necessary casino equipment in order for the student to practice at home.

Disa: That’s good. How do you feel Ray? How did you find the course? What was the most challenging? Did you ever play or gamble before you took the course?

Ray: No, it was my first time experiencing it to be honest. Before when I was at school, I was at ITS (Institute of tourism) and did a couple years there before I wanted to change everything, and I went with OLCA.

Disa: What was the most challenging part and what was the most fun part about the course?

Ray: Everything. Because it was all new and had to learn everything. I don’t know if you ever experienced the Roulette wheel. It looks so easy but is very hard to do it.

Disa: I used to be a live dealer myself back in 2014. I agree. It looks so easy but it’s really not for sure. It takes a lot of practice. Knowing all the sections and numbers of the wheel of the Roulette is hard

Ray: Exactly

Disa: Why don’t the both of you tell me a little about when a student comes to your academy and wants to take the course. What’s the procedure? How long is the course? Do you get a diploma?

Neil: So… The first step would be for the student to find our website which is OCLAmalta.com. The student has the possibility to submit its application online. Once the application is submitted online, we issue the offer letter for the student. Of course, before that there is vetting. From our end we do check that the requirement for the course are met. Either work experience, in this case a CV, or otherwise a school leaving certificate. If the student possesses one of these two requirements, the student will be accepted for the course. Once the student is accepted, the duration of the course will be 280 hours where they will learn the 3 most famous casino games. At the end of the course they will acquire the croupier dealer casino and studio level award. This qualification is recognized internationally and also accredited by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. It consists of 17 credits. If the student would like to present the certificate to an educational institution elsewhere, its actually good for 17 credits. So, the student will acquire some credit to their portfolio.   

Disa: That’s Great. Was it 285 hours?

Neil: 280 hours.

Disa: 280 hours. What’s the timeline like? Do you go there twice a week or is it up to the student? Or how do you plan the course?

Neil: Usually it is 3 times a week. We have different classes available. Since many of our students works shifts and some during the day, we make sure that we give them the opportunity with a flexible timetable. We do have different times though. Let’s say we have Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 o’clock in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The we also have the late afternoon class. From 3:30 in the afternoon to 8:30 in the evening on Tuesday and Thursday. Then on Saturdays we have morning sessions from 10 o’clock till 3 o’clock.

Disa: That is really good. Speaking for myself if I would take your course. I would know for example that I could still have a job on the side. I’m not a morning person so I would definitely take the evening classes. So, it’s a good setup. What about you Ray? Did you love your morning classes?   

Ray: I’m not the best morning person.

Disa: Let’s say for example that you are a student coming from Japan or India, do you have any kind of relocation help? What would the students do if they are interested in coming to Malta and take the class?

Neil: We do have student residency. We actually have 2 students’ residencies. So, whenever we have students relocating in Malta, we are able to provide them with a student rate, with all necessities, in one place.  

Disa: That’s great to know. What are your greatest tips to these people? I mean all your students must ask you since you have been working as a live dealer yourself and you have great knowledge within iGaming? What is the greatest tip you usually give them?

Neil: So, the greatest tip would be to acquire the necessary skills, knowledge and competence before they actually start the job in order to execute the job duties at a professional level.

Disa: Yeah. I mean, there are so many that go straight away to the gaming providers where they get some training. But what you provide at your academy is many years’ experience.  How many people that you have working at OLCA at the moment?

Neil: Currently we have 6 people working at OLCA.

Disa: I met one of the girls and she was lovely. Stefanie?

Neil: Yes.

Disa: She had 6-10 years’ experience? Or something like that?

Neil: Yes.

Disa: So, there student will be very well trained and ready for all the occasions. They will know what’s coming beforehand.

Neil: Yes.

Disa: I mean, there is a lot to think about before you start.

Neil: It is. We really focus on, like we mentioned Stefanie, her experience working on land-based casino, live studio casinos and also on cruise ship. So, we try to give hands on knowledge and hands on skills directly to the students.            

Disa: That’s perfect. I guess you have a diversity of where people want to go after their course. I never went on a cruise ship myself but that really seems to be so much fun if you are interested in pursuing a career as a croupier. 

Neil:  It is. You travel the world and at the same time you get paid for it.

Disa: Exactly. Couldn’t be better. We spoke a little bit last time that in the beginning there weren’t that many local Maltese people within iGaming. Which has completely changed and is obviously great. 

Neil: Yes

Disa: What is you take on this? Do you see a lot of Maltese people at your school?

Neil: The number is increasing. Since the number of opportunities increase as well. I mean, within different sectors such as the land-based, online and live studio, the opportunities are constantly increasing. So, that of course is encouraging students to enroll in such courses and pursue a long-term career in the industry.

Disa: Why do you think that Maltese people hasn’t applied to these jobs before? And why is it increasing slowly over the years now?

Neil: I guess that people are now more awareabout the opportunities in the industry. There were several ongoing initiatives with marketing by different iGaming companies as well as the government. The government is being proactive in bringing awareness about the industry. So, I think these are the main factors that people are more aware.

Disa: What do you say Ray?

Ray: That’s right. I remember when I finished my course, I started working 4 days after.

Disa: Wow.

Ray: Yeah, that was pretty quick.

Disa: So, it really paid off taking the course?

Ray: Yes. It paid off. I started as a normal dealer and I remember that I progressed already after 2 months. I was at the V.I.P tables and then after the pro tables. I even had the opportunity to go to ICE in England.

Disa: Nice.

Ray: I was pretty lucky and good at the same time at the job that I was doing.

Disa: Yes. There are so many opportunities and I would say to anyone that is thinking about entering iGaming that is so much fun and so many opportunities. What would you say is your key tip when it comes to casino and gambling in general? What do you think is important for students? Let’s say that you took the course. What do you think is important to know?

Neil: It is, let’s say, one of the biggest factors in the entertainment industry. Casinos and gambling. People see it as a way of entertainment so that makes you feel the thrill. Especially if you are working as a casino croupier or a deal presenter. You are part of the game. Especially if you are dealing roulette, blackjack or poker or any other game. You are a part of it. You are taking the entertainment to another level. So, the fact that you have the control over the game, enables you to take the game to another level.

Disa: It’s interesting. You’re also the first person to meet these people online when they gamble which is always fun. You really need to be energetic, social and at the top of your game with strategies and everything. It could be very challenging but a lot of fun.

Neil: Exactly.

Disa: Would you prefer blackjack or roulette yourself?

Neil: I would prefer roulette to be honest.

Disa: And you Ray? Roulette or blackjack?

Ray: I be honest. If I have to deal, I prefer roulette. But if I have to play, I prefer blackjack.

Disa: I’m the same. I’d say it would be Roulette to deal and if I play its Blackjack. Just mention 3 fast things why students should come to Malta and take your class or course?

Neil: I mean, the first reason would be that we will get the opportunity for students acquire an internationally recognized qualification. And also, industry recognized. This will give the opportunity for students to choose between working on a land-based casino or a live studio casino. Second reason would be that we will help the student to get 70% of their course fee back via the get qualified scheme. Third reason would be that a croupier is not just a job. It is a long-term career where you will have infinite job opportunities and opportunities to advance your career.

Disa: That was really hands on. And you Ray? You want to fill in with something?

Ray: I remember when I first started it opened many doors for me after the course. I have the diploma and always something to show in my opinion.

Disa: And it’s also Malta in general. The students will have so much fun and excitement ahead. Not only when they pass their course but when they explore the island which is beautiful.

Ray: Exactly. I always wanted to go and work on a boat trip or something. I just want to get a bit older. The boat is still there.

Disa: You have plenty of time still.

Ray: That’s the big thing that I want to do.

Disa: Ok. Do you have anything else that you want to mention?

Neil: From my end, not really. But thank you very much for having us Disa. I’m very inspired of what you are doing. The blog, Casino by Her. We’re looking forward continue working together.

Disa: Absolutely. I’m really happy to have you onboard and it was so nice to meet you as well Ray today. I think that you are doing a great job in educating. I think that more people in our industry should know about your academy. It was also the first academy in Malta with a license, right?

Neil: Exactly.

Disa: It’s great for students to know that you are existing and for companies that are looking for talented and experienced casino dealers.

Neil: Yes.

Disa: I mean, you would be the first option for that. You can provide them with students that to 100% want to work as a live dealer. Thank you so much for taking your time and let’s catch up again in the future.

Neil: Perfect. Thank you very much.

Disa: Thanks

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