Maltese spent €128 million on gaming and gambling in 2017

A study has discovered an upward trend in people's spending on gaming, with this now constituting 2.6% of all household expenditure

Close to €130 million was spent on gaming activities by  Maltese residents last year, a survey has found
Close to €130 million was spent on gaming activities by Maltese residents last year, a survey has found

The Maltese spent €128 million on gaming services in 2017, a scientific survey has founded, an increase of €3 million over 2015.

The survey - which was carried out by economist Gordon Cordina and statistician Vincent Marmara - covers gambling games, computer games, internet games and other types of gaming, and aimed to inquire into the consumption of gambling and gaming services by people in Malta last year

Its findings, presented today at the Malta Gaming Authority Auditorium in Smart City, showed that expenditure in this sector increase by €3 million over a 2015 estimate, and that the total spent on gaming activities now constitutes 2.6% of households' expenditure.

The research indicated that the most popular gaming activity remains the National Lottery. "Taking up around 73% of expenditure on gaming activities, National Lottery games engaged around 168,801 people last year," Cordina said. 

Those aged 45 and over are most likely to engage in gaming activities, but the younger generation was more interested in remote gaming, which is not connected with gambling.

"47% of gamers, usually from a younger generation, participated in games that are available for free: computer games, online games and other games like board games with friends," Cordina highlighted. 

The survey found that an average of 33 minutes per week is spent on a gaming and that those who do spend money on this activity fork out an average of €11.30 per week. 

Between 1% to 2% of those who spend money on a gaming activity felt that this had some negative effect on their lifestyle, according to the research. 

"This does not mean that these people have suffered a terrible loss of money. The effects could be psychological," Cordina noted, however. 

In connection to this, Kayne Said from the Responsible Gaming Foundation said that his organisation finances projects, research and educational campaigns to promote responsible gaming. 

"A €1 million project, financed by the EU, aims to take action against gaming addiction in Malta. One of the campaigns involves an educational project for year 4 primary school children," Said said. 

The foundation also provides a hotline - 1777 - for those afflicted by a gambling addiction. 

Addressing the issue of gambling addiction, Digital Economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said that people engaging in gaming to access could turn the activity into a problem.

"Like in every other situation, if you lose control over how many hours spent gaming and if that time stops being enjoyable, then it becomes a problem," Schembri underscored. 

He remarked, however, that the statistics were positive, and that €11.30 per week spent on gaming did not indicate a worrying figure.

Schembri added that as long as that amount of money spent was kept in check and controlled, within regulatory principles, then the gaming industry ought to flourish in a sustainable and healthy way.

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