The future is golden for Malta’s iGaming industry

Journalist Patrick J O Brien's reputation as a leader in attracting both gaming and financial companies to Malta is well noted. He now reports on an industry which has embedded itself within the Maltese Economy

Guests at the launch of IGaming IDOL 2017
Guests at the launch of IGaming IDOL 2017

The rise of the gaming industry in Malta is an indisputable success story, one which continues to go from strength to strength. Without doubt, Malta has become the jurisdiction of primary establishment for most operators within the industry.  In Europe, the iGaming sector has been steadily growing and is still developing, even though its growth is made somewhat unpredictable by regulatory pressure exerted in disparate states across Europe. Seconded by UK and Gibraltar, Malta has established itself as the iGaming capital of Europe and, at least for now, the iGaming capital of the world.

The European market is by far the largest market for iGaming. Of the €34.6bn of online GGR created worldwide in 2015, north of 47.6% went to European operators. The European online gambling market is estimated to produce a Gross Gaming Revenue ( GGR = stakes minus winnings) of about €16.5 billion and is expected to grow steadily to a whopping €24.9 billion by 2020 into motion in Europe. Several countries are moving forward with passing legislation on online gambling or issuing licenses.

For example, the Czech Republic mended its gambling laws and is finally on its way to issuing online gambling licenses. 2017, has been an action-packed year, with changes in iGaming regulations implemented or placed Likewise, Italy has put forward a new tender for online gambling licenses, while Sweden and the Netherlands are moving ahead with legislative proposals intended to open their online gambling markets. For the first time, Poland has passed legislation that allows the operation of online casino games via a state monopoly, and online promotional lotteries via private companies, coupled with stronger enforcement measures for unlicensed operators.

Today online gaming comprises 12% of the Maltese economy, generating €700 million and employing 9,000 people. Over 330 gaming companies, including giants Betsson, Tipico ,Betfair,  now call Malta home.

Thomas Biro is CEO and co-founder of MultiLotto, Malta’s newest success story. A long time betting leader he was, alongside the companies’ COO Markus Cordes drawn to Malta in late 2016 for its business-friendly tax and gaming regulations. MultiLotto, has established itself as a key player in the Lottery and Gaming market. In the space of twelve months they have more than tripled their workforce, expanded operation into several new markets (UK, Ireland) whilst adding to its strong existing core of players in the Nordics and Eastern Europe. Now offering its clients over 16 different lotteries to choose from, including lottery betting favourites Powerball, Mega Millions, Euro Millions and Euro Jackpot, they are now solid markets leaders.

Marcus Cordes COO, MultiLotto ,Ulrich Bez, Brand Ambassador and Board member at Aston Martin ,Thomas Biro, CEO MultiLotto all enjoying a recent James Bond theme evening at Villa Arrigo
Marcus Cordes COO, MultiLotto ,Ulrich Bez, Brand Ambassador and Board member at Aston Martin ,Thomas Biro, CEO MultiLotto all enjoying a recent James Bond theme evening at Villa Arrigo

Considering the fact that there are some gambling markets that feature much tighter regulation of online gambling, it is not surprising that experts projected future growth for Malta’s online gambling industry. Outgoing MGA Executive Chairman, Joseph Cushieri highlighted the necessity of a continuous new generation of legislation which is much more complied with recent innovations in terms of technologies and even new forms of gaming. Customers’ needs are also constantly rising, so legislation needs to be adapted in a way that offers suitable customer protection measures.

The gambling landscape in the country has changed, already quite positive for Malta’s reputation as a reliable destinations for various forms of gambling. According to the MGA’s Chairman, these changes could be even used as a worthy example for other jurisdictions not only in Europe but also around the world.

The vision is for Malta to become the Silicon Valley of the industry, to reach that goal, the country needed the right incentives, the right regulatory framework and above all the continued support of the industry, and it has reached that goal. Malta prides itself on being a microcosm of Europe and now one of the most trusted hubs in Gaming.