Malta staunchly opposed to 'unnecessary' regulation of gaming industry - Herrera

The UK's introduction of a point of consumption tax are 'contrary the principles set out by the Treaties of the EU'

Parliamentary secretary Jose Herrera
Parliamentary secretary Jose Herrera

Parliamentary secretary for competitiveness and economic growth Jose Herrera has reiterated Malta's opposition to regulation of the gaming industry beyond what is necessary. 

Speaking at the EY Gaming Tax Seminar, Herrera said that Malta's approach to gaming regulation, built on years of experience, is aimed at protecting the industry. 

The comments came in the wake of the introduction of the UK point of consumption tax by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority. So far, the UK, like Malta, has allowed operators to provide services in the UK as long as such operators were licensed in the European Union. Soon, the UK will be regulating at the point of consumption and taxing at the point of consumption, essentially enforcing a national authorisation system. 

"Malta’s regulation is a strong one, based on years of experience. We will continue to maintain that restrictions, imposed beyond what is necessary, are contrary to the principles guaranteed by the Treaties of the European Union," Herrera said.

"Malta has always been of the view that such a national approach to an international industry leads to fragmentation of the market, which is ultimately detrimental to the industry itself as well as consumers."

"Malta is doing everything in its power to protect this industry at an international level. We are here to listen to the industry. There must be compliance with established principles and law, but we constantly work to resist moves detrimental to business."

Herrera said that Malta retains a good relationship with the British regulator, which has worked to make the process for appying for a license easier for businesses. 

The LGA announced that the number of licences issued in 2014 was 401, compared to 321 in 2013, a 25% increase.

The number of registered companies also went up by 17%, from 220 in 2013 to 258. Total revenue rose by 1.3% compared to same period last year. In addition, license processing time has been reduced by 50%, from an average of 5 months to an average of 2.5 months.

"Malta is a major player in the global remote gaming industry. Our solid reputation has been instrumental in bringing about growth. And we will continue to be responsive to the needs of the industry," Herrera said.