NetEnt to Cut “A Few Hundred” Jobs in Malta After Evolution Deal
Leading European slot developer NetEnt is set to cut “several hundred” jobs from its offices and studios on the Mediterranean island of Malta, according to Times of Malta reporters.
The company’s live casino studio in Qormi, Malta, will be closing down immediately. Many staff members were sent home pending further instructions on Tuesday morning.
The news comes as the proposed $2.26 billion purchase of NetEnt by live casino giant Evolution is moving closer to completion. Last month, both the Maltese and UK Market Authorities gave their go-ahead to the deal.
They had been investigating the deal’s potential implications for the overall gambling market in their countries and, more widely, Europe. However, they decided in favor of both companies and gave the green light for the deal to move forward.
That will be bitter news to many staff members at NetEnt’s live casino studio who are now out of a job. Just a few months ago, NetEnt expanded the studio with extra tables, citing increased demand.
However, with Evolution being a live casino specialist – and already the market leader by some distance – it was on the table that NetEnt’s secondary live casino business would face a tough hand.
Risk of Redundancy
Although NetEnt has not made any official statement yet, Evolution confirmed to The Times of Malta that the Qormi studio would be closing. “The people working directly with this product are at risk of redundancy,” the source said.
The Maltese Economy Ministry has already set up a special phone helpline for employees who are made redundant. This is a welcome move, especially this close to Christmas – although we imagine many employees will already be getting a reasonable redundancy settlement from NetEnt.
The Maltese government has also “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,” according to an official statement.
The Gaming Malta Foundation is also engaged in discussion with other gambling operators and affiliates in the (busy) local market about their “readily available” job opportunities.
Malta has long been a gambling hub country in Europe, although not without controversy. Russian Oligarchs and other super-rich individuals, such as Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich, can essentially buy an EU member state passport by investing in the country.
Acquisitions and Savings
NetEnt itself has already laid off 120 employees across its Stockholm and Malta offices earlier this year after its acquisition of slot developer Red Tiger.
Those redundancies were expected to save around €13 million ($15.7 million) annually.
There is no official statement yet, and we don’t want to speculate too much, but the latest round of cuts will probably make a similar if not bigger impact.
Still, even with these cuts, NetEnt will be employing over a thousand people across the world. Its new parent company, Evolution, employs several thousand more and is growing rapidly.
Both companies also indirectly contribute to the economics of wider online casino operators, with affiliates helping continue many more jobs in the industry.
For the latest news on this developing merger story, plus much more from the online casino world, keep checking our pages.