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A new series in Casino International Online, meet Lydia Melton – Head of Network Games at Microgaming
How did you first get involved with the gaming industry?
I was working as a semi-pro poker player, propping on some of the earliest poker sites and playing a lot of live poker, which funded the last couple years of my university studies. Some people I knew were working for a start-up poker network in Malta. At the time, I didn’t even know where Malta was but I knew that this was the industry I wanted to be in.
What attracted you to this sector?
Back when I joined the industry, there was still very much a start-up vibe to everything. Lots of energy and with lots of money being invested – it was exhilarating. The industry has calmed down a lot since then, and I think most of the change is very positive, but I still sometimes miss the heady early days.
What were you doing prior to the gaming industry?
I was at university getting my English degree and playing lots of poker.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in your time?
Aside from the general maturing of the industry, the biggest change in poker must be our evolving understanding of player value. Anyone really involved in poker will tell you that there have been massive changes over the past three or so years in how we determine true player value, and player/operator contributions to a living, changeable ecosystem.
What are the biggest positive factors for the sector right now?
I’d say regulated markets. The regulators in various countries are taking very different approaches to regulating their jurisdictions, and that poses huge challenges for all companies in our sector, I believe the move is generally a positive one for the industry long-term.
And what are the negatives ones – the obstacles to growth?
It would be really great if the regulators could all come together and draft legislation for all of Europe, but until that happens, obstacles will abound.
Looking at your entire career, what do you think was your smartest move?
Joining Microgaming, of course!
And the dumbest one?
When I was in university, I was working at the front desk of a boutique bed ‘n’ breakfast hotel. They didn’t have enough hours available, so I applied for a second job at another local B&B. Unfortunately I didn’t do enough research about the job so I didn’t know until after I started that it was 50% front desk and 50% housekeeping. After just a month of cleaning toilets and bathtubs, I put in my notice. Not my best ever job experience!
Where do you hope you’ll be, professionally, in ten years’ time?
I am already doing something intellectually stimulating with a forward-thinking company in a nice location. Other than that, I couldn’t say. The industry changes too fast to plan so far ahead!
If you’d never embarked on this career, what other line of work would you have liked to pursue?
Entomology - Myrmecology, to be exact [the study of ants, entomology fans – Ed.]. It’s a pet hobby of mine, and I sometimes wonder how different my life would be if I were working in the sciences.