By Mr. Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, MGA
The remote gaming industry is one of the most dynamic economic sectors in the world, generating billions in revenue for the operators quite apart from the multiplier effect it creates in other sectors servicing this industry.
As far back as 2004, Malta was the first country in Europe to identify the potential of this lucrative industry and enact the appropriate legislative framework in order to position Malta as a leading global player in remote gaming regulation. With the regulatory and financial incentives in place, the portfolio of companies setting up their operations in Malta started to grow at a fast pace and today the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) hosts a remote gaming industry which directly contributes 8% of GDP, employs more than 8,000 people and its direct and indirect economic benefits have created a multiplier effect impacting many businesses like for example property, ICT services, hospitality and corporate services amongst others.
Malta’s huge success is underpinned by a package of incentives and hygiene factors which when put together make Malta a unique gaming jurisdiction of international repute. The Malta package includes key elements such as corporate and personal tax incentives, a robust ICT infrastructure, an English speaking population, a strong educational system and a regulatory framework which focuses on consumer protection, strict compliance and the prevention of money laundering. In fact, other European jurisdictions have looked at Malta as their role model when developing their national legal frameworks for remote gaming. More than 250 remote gaming companies and 400 licenses are currently on the MGA’s books and the numbers keep growing steadily.
But what got us here won’t get us there and past successes are not a guarantee for the future. In order for Malta to stay at the top of the game, we need to innovate and re-think our strategy in a much more challenging and competitive environment. We need to rethink what Malta as a gaming jurisdiction stands for. What makes us different from the rest of the jurisdictions? What do we need to do to future proof ourselves for the next decade? To this effect, the MGA is currently undergoing a broad reform exercise targeting the way it operates, its organisational structures, processes, positioning, IT infrastructure but also the recalibration of its long term strategy so that Malta’s position as a gaming jurisdiction is consolidated and the sector keeps growing at a steady pace.
Our current legislative framework is in the process of undergoing a major overhaul in order to put in place a new legal framework which is innovative, cutting edge, growth focused and one which raises the bar in consumer protection, innovation and technology. Furthermore, the MGA is evaluating entry into new geographical markets such as Asia and Latin America where Malta can be positioned as the gaming jurisdiction of choice. The regulatory scope of gaming shall also be widened as well to include other forms of remote gaming licensing like social and digital games of skill with prize. This will ensure that Malta taps this growing market globally. Another key initiative which we will be launching soon is the setting up of Gaming Malta.
The latter will consist of an independent foundation tasked with promoting Malta as a gaming jurisdiction internationally. This move will separate the promotional activities from the regulatory function of the Authority. In the area of human resource development and knowledge, we are working on the setting up of a new Gaming Academy with the aim of building the necessary skill sets required for the gaming industry both land based and remote. This institution will have the necessary educational accreditation and partnerships to become a centre of excellence in training and development for the gaming industry. Our management ethos is based on the continuous engagement with all stakeholders to make sure that our decisions and strategic initiatives are grounded on evidence, performance, research and quality information. Our ultimate objective is to make Malta the most respected jurisdiction of choice for the gaming industry globally. The latter can only be achieved through the creation of a unique eco system which differentiates Malta from the rest whereby all the players in the industry can develop, grow and sustain their businesses within a serious and transparent regulatory environment.
I and the entire team at the MGA are very excited by the future. We have the drive and resolve to make a difference and future proof Malta’s gaming industry for the next decade.