A gaming company in Malta has begun cutting jobs and has shut down its live casino studio in Qormi after the business was acquired by another industry giant.
On Tuesday morning employees at NetEnt were sent home and told to expect an email from their employer with further instructions following the acquisition by Evolution Gaming.
The company would not confirm how many of its Malta workforce will be made redundant, however Times of Malta is informed that “a few hundred” of NetEnt’s employees will lose their jobs as part of the deal.
A special government helpline has been set up to help the staff whose jobs have been cut weeks before Christmas.
Responding to questions, a spokesman for Evolution Gaming said that its Qormi-based studio would be shut down and so “the people working directly with this product are at risk of redundancy.” The formal redundancy processes have been initiated, the spokesman said.
Just three months ago, NetEnt had announced it was expanding its Qormi studio, with new blackjack tables, saying it was down to heightened demand.
However, industry sources said some redundancies had long been expected as part of the takeover. Evolution Gaming submitted its all-share bid to acquire NetEnt in June, valuing the company at around €2billion.
Job support promised
The company secured approval from the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority in September.
The Economy Ministry said it was in discussions to identify alternative jobs for employees that could be affected by the restructuring process.
In a statement, it said the acquisition had "led to the closure of some business lines in Malta and elsewhere."
It said: "Whilst noting the strong commitment by Evolution Gaming to its Malta operation, the Government, through the Ministry for the Economy and Industry, has immediately started discussions with the relevant entities to facilitate the smooth transition of employees who maybe at risk of being laid off
as a result of this restructuring."
It encouraged staff to register for employment through JobsPlus and set up a dedicated helpline on 22201251 to assist affected people.
"Further arrangements have also been done for JobsPlus to offer a purposely set-up job matchmaking support service to the affected persons," it said.
It said Gaming Malta Foundation is also currently in talks with other gaming operators who have "readily available job opportunities".