Estimated Time 12 min
December 16, 2020
Employees of NetEnt AB are facing an uncertain future after the online casino games developer revealed that it intends to cut “several hundred” jobs from its office and studios on the Mediterranean island of Malta.
According to Times of Malta reports, NetEnt accepted a SEK 19.6bn (€1.8 billion) acquisition offer by Evolution Gaming in June 2020. This means that NetEnt’s 90% of corporate shareholding would be acquired by Evolution at 79.93 ((€7) per share.
The company’s live casino studio in Qormi, Malta, will be shutting down immediately. NetEnt purportedly stated that the employees are not at a ‘risk of redundancy’ and it has already started the formal process to decide who will lose their jobs as part of the deal.
NetEnt employs over 1,000 people around the world and reportedly announced just three months ago that it would be expanding its Qormi studio with the addition of new Blackjack tables. However, the newspaper detailed that several industry experts predicted that the acquisition would result in job losses as Evolution already has 9 such facilities including one in the nearby Valletta suburb of Birkirkara.
Risk of redundancy would be mitigated
Speaking to the Malta Business Weekly, Gaming Malta Foundation’s Chief Operation Officer Ivan Filletti remained confident that the affected individuals will be relocated positions within top gaming companies.
“There are currently over 700 open vacancies within the Maltese islands. Many companies have reached out to us to match skills with those made redundant. Job casualties in the sector are related to mergers and take-overs, not Covid-19,” said Filletti.
Filletti remarked that the gaming situation in the country is stable, and Malta continues to be the desirable hotspot for gaming companies from across the globe.
Additional sources within the gaming industry resonated with his statements, saying: “The presence of Evolution Gaming on the islands is a strong testament to our success, they remain one of the world’s top players.”
Alternative assistance promised
The newspaper reported that NetEnt secured approval from the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority in September.
The Ministry for Economy, Investment and Small Business is said to be in discussions regarding identifying alternative jobs for employees that could be affected by redundancies.
In a statement, the Economy Ministry said that the acquisition has “resulted in the closure of some business lines in Malta and elsewhere.”
It said: “Whilst noting the strong commitment by Evolution Gaming Group AB to its Malta operation, the government through the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses have immediately started discussions with the relevant entities to facilitate the smooth transition of employees who may be at risk of being laid off as a result of this restructuring.”
It has encouraged the affected employees to register for employment through JobPlus and has set up a dedicated helpline for them.
“Further arrangements have also been done for JobsPlus to offer a purposely set-up job match-making support service to affected persons.”
NetEnt is a leading provider of premium gaming solutions for online casinos around the world. The company was founded when online gaming started to take off in the mid-1990s and its first online casino was launched in 2000. NetEnt was listed on NGM Equity in 2007 and in 2009 it moved to the main list of the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
In 2015, the company launched games with several major operators in the US state of New Jersey. In the same year, local licenses were granted in the UK and Spain, where several operators were also launched. NeEnt went on to become an associate member of the World Lottery Association (WLA) and entered regulated markets in Romania, Bulgaria and Portugal in 2016.
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