As part of an ongoing restructuring exercise, Swedish online casino and sportsbetting provider Betsson AB has announced (pdf) that it will be cutting some 160 employees from its workforce with the vast majority of these reductions due to come in Malta.

According to a report from the Times of Malta newspaper, Betsson AB is the largest employer from the online gambling sector in Malta thanks to its 1,100-strong local workforce but the firm is now set to make 130 of these staff members redundant in order to realize estimated cost savings of $6.2 million to $7.4 million.

The newspaper reported that 48 of those affected by the restructuring involve Maltese nationals although Jesper Svensson, the recently-appointed Chief Executive Officer for the Stockholm-listed firm’s Betsson Malta subsidiary, allayed any fears that his company may be about to abandon the island nation completely by describing the move as ‘solely an internal exercise’ that is being undertaken ‘in order to make the company more efficient’.

“We are committed to Malta [and] we are planning to stay here,” Svensson reportedly told the Times of Malta. “Our headquarters remain in Malta. We have had a long period of successful growth and we have also in the last few years been buying a lot of different companies. When we have been buying those companies we have been bringing on a lot more staff and we have now done an exercise where we have looked through the whole company and addressed areas where we have a lot of duplications and areas where we need to improve in order to become more efficient.”

Silvio Schembri, a local MP and the ruling Labour Party government’s Digital Economy Secretary, reportedly told the newspaper that the Maltese online gaming industry remains healthy with a workforce of approximately 9,000 people before declaring that any locals laid off by Betsson AB will likely ‘be immediately absorbed by other operators in the industry’.

“The gaming industry registered a double-digit growth of 11.6% last year and is expected to maintain this level of growth in the coming years, especially once the new gaming regime is enacted later this year,” Schembri reportedly told the Times of Malta.