Patrick J O’Brien is a respected figure both in financial and iGaming circles. As EXANTE’s Communication Director, he has spearheaded many campaigns to promote Malta as the ‘ideal place to do business’, putting Malta firmly in Forbes Top 30. MaltaToday interviews Patrick on his recent role as iGaming Ambassador.
We hear you are the charity ambassador for iGaming Idol this year. What does your role entail and how do you actively work on inspiring others within the industry to give back and integrate more within the public community?
It was a great honour for me to be asked to be charity ambassador for iGaming Idol. My main role is to promote the importance of supporting local charities and for companies through CSR to give back to their local communities. I believe that many within the Gaming sector are unaware of the numerous charities on the Island who are doing tremendous voluntary work and are in dire need of assistance. As for inspiring others, not sure about that, I believe we all have a role in giving back to society. Be it partaking in an event, giving of your time to care for someone or financial donation to ease the burden of some charitable organisations.
Patrick J O'Brien (left) in conversation with Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation
For the 2016 show, iGaming Idol supported the Malta Community Chest Fund with a donation for every ticket sold. In which way will this award show be giving back this time?
This year we have many surprises on board. Yes from every ticket sold will be a certain percentage towards the MCCF but we all plan some creative events like a pre event on the 6th September explaining the charity side and getting people involved. We will be raffling some amazing prizes.
Malta’s success as a gaming hub is attributable to multiple factors. What are the factors which are attracting companies to relocate or start up their iGaming business in Malta?
The MGA as an accessible and forward-looking regulator having a pragmatic and pro-business approach has much to do with this success. The authority under the Chairmanship of Joseph Cuschieri has been phenomenon in the work they have done in I for one believe just that. A stable political climate and highly qualified and highly skilled workforce with fluency in various languages are many of Malta’s attractions. The government has laid the foundations for the Island to be an iGaming hub and I remember the days of Hon Jose Herrera who was a champion for I gaming and I have no doubt that Hon Silvio Schembri will follow suit as he has already made a significant mark in very short time
What has been the secret of EXANTE’s success, making it a global leader in brokerage?
EXANTE’s success is simple, we provide a one stop shop for clients. Our main competitive advantage is pioneering new technology. Since 2011, EXANTE has grown to be a constant choice of trust for clients looking for an alternative. I would also note that a major part of our success is that our directors are never afraid to "to think outside of the box" which means we are constantly evolving.
What makes EXANTE so ideally placed to assist the iGaming industry?
EXANTE was born out of innovation. We take great pride in our IT systems and employ only the top brass in this area. We give accessibility, flexibility but most of a 24/7 direct service to our clients. As global thinkers we are constantly adding and giving our clients what they need. The synergies with iGaming is that we are both in a fast paced and ever changing environment. I believe for instance that our CryptoCurrency Fund has great appeal for I gaming enthusiasts.
Patrick J O'Brien (centre) at iGamingIdol launch with Johan Styren, former CEO Leo Vegas (left) and Carmel Briffa, secretary to the President (right)
Cryptocurrency is gaining popularity, and EXANTE has recently introduced five more cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin. Do you see cryptocurrency being a real game changer for the gaming industry?
I for one believe that cryptocurrencies are a universe that’s yet to be untapped. Recently we introduced Cryptocurrency trading adding to over 45,000 instruments on our platform. As the creators of the most successful fund in finance, The Bitcoin fund, I firmly endorse that this is where finance is leading, whether people embrace it or not. Bitcoin entered the gaming zone with ease and has made its impact, let’s see where this road leads.
With a number of companies merging in order to achieve operational synergies, do you think a saturation point has been reached in this sector or do you think the market still has the potential to keep growing?
Malta has the potential to attract an ever increasing amount of companies from the Financial and Gaming sector. What the Government needs to make sure is that we have the infrastructure and human resources to cover such sectors. Brexit could also attract a number of US companies to Malta that would have set up in the UK as a way of penetrating the European market. Being the only other EU country which is English speaking (apart from Ireland), benefitting of a UK legal approach, boasting a business tax favourable environment, and offering full EU framework provides Maltese financial firms with an interesting opportunity.
Source: Times of Malta.