Malta - A Hive of Online Gambling Activity
Posted: 12th August 2016 07:44
The hot Mediterranean country of Malta has long been a popular destination for tourists looking for a dose of history and sea. But among the megalithic temples, the famous hotel chains and fine dining, this sun-soaked archipelago hides another landmark that many holiday-makers remain oblivious to – it’s gaming authority.
Malta has been on the forefront of the online gambling industry ever since it opened the doors for online casino licensing with the formation of its Malta Gaming Authority in 2001. The pioneering move attracted many gaming operators to set their business in Malta, starting a trend of licensing activities that continues to this day. Chances are that almost half of the casinos you can find on sites like CasinoAppList.co.uk will be licensed in Malta, which is a massive success for such a small country.
How Much Online Gaming Is There?
Malta was the first country in the European Union that set up a licensing authority to regulate online gambling. This bold move put Malta on many operators’ map at a time when pioneering casino software developers were expanding to the online market and made possible for European casino enthusiasts to safely join the online community, where they could play Royal Vegas casino games among hundreds of others, all in the comfort of their homes.
The success of Malta in becoming one of the most targeted destinations for setting up online gaming operations and acquiring licenses has given the small country an economic boost, with the current gaming operator system accounting for 9% of Malta’s GVA. Of course, none of this would be possible without the appealing regulations that the Malta Gaming Authority has created.
By the end of 2015, the Malta Gaming Authority reported that it had 468 valid gaming licenses issued to both brick-and-mortar and online operators, which accounted for more than €52 million per year in gaming taxation money and employed over 8,000 people – directly or indirectly. Joseph Cuschieri, the executive chairman of the Authority, stated that these numbers will only go higher with the new changes to the regulatory framework they had in mind.
Why Is It So Popular?
Malta’s wide success is a combination of various factors, from banking stability to legal and financial frameworks, all of which were available at the right time and place in gaming history.
First and foremost, the regulatory framework set up by the Malta Gaming Authority was designed in a way that it benefits both the player and the operating body, with a balanced approach that allows for transparency and fair restrictions on operators, but still complies with EU’s legislations to ensure player protection. This, in combination with one of the most stable banking systems in Europe, was a large part of Malta’s initial appeal as one of the best licensing destinations.
Another factor that contributed to Malta’s popularity is its strategic importance. Malta was the first remote gaming authority in Europe and as such was attractive to online operators not only due to the importance of holding a European gaming license, but also its position in the Mediterranean, where businesses could be set up in a stable economic environment and there would always be a steady influx of work force, due to the country’s appeal to expats from across the EU.
And finally, Malta’s taxation and licensing regime has always remained very competitive, turning gaming operators to abandon other off-shore authorities and obtain Maltese licenses instead. This trend will only continue to rise, it seems, as the Gaming Authority continuously works on promoting and adapting their regulation to attract more operators.