Remote gaming is second biggest contributor to GDP

Jose Herrera - Malta is a "giant amongst remote gaming jurisdictions"

LGA Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri
LGA Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri

The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) has announced positive interim results for the first six months of 2014 at a press conference held this morning.

Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the LGA, told attendees that the number of licences issued in 2014 has increased by 25% and the number of registered companies has also gone up 17%  when compared to 2013. Total revenue from this sector is also up 1.3% while license processing time has decreased by 50%, now taking an average 2.5 months to be granted.

“I am satisfied with what the LGA has achieved so far, both in terms of financial and regulatory performance” said Cuschieri. “Malta is a major player in the global remote gaming industry and our solid reputation was instrumental for our growth”. Cuschieri highlighted the importance of innovation and reform in order to maintain Malta’s competitive edge over other jurisdictions.

“The LGA is financed by the industry itself” he said, “there is no government subsidy. On the contrary, it is a major contributor to government revenue. In fact Gaming has now surpassed financial services in contribution to the economy.”

Addressing the press conference, Parliamentary secretary for competitiveness and economic growth Jose Herrera said he wants Malta to become an “Electro-digital hub”. The industry contributes 10-12% of GDP, second only to tourism. He described the role of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) as “a friend of the industry”and not a policeman.

“We are doing our best to maintain our competitive edge over other jurisdictions. We must do our utmost as a regulator and from the political aspect to maintain this digital edge,”said Herrera, advising that the government will announce a package of measures to combat the tussle with the EU over VAT in the coming days.

He described Malta as “a giant in online gaming”, adding that influential countries in the European Union are now trying to get a finger in the online gaming pie.  “Some countries may have an agenda that is not necessarily in line with the EU as a whole,” said Herrera, adding that “there is no other country in Europe that has a sector this successful in terms of GDP. There is a certain envy on the part of other countries. We have enemies, there are no two ways about it.”

“We need to be more competitive and have a stronger workforce” he said, stressing the need for more people to widen their technical knowledge and seek employment within the gaming industry. “A survey carried out in 2013 shows that 77% of foreign companies do not find enough Maltese workers with the necessary skills to work in this sector”and tied this with the launch of the Gaming Academy in the first quarter of next year is one of the steps taken by the LGA to increase employment rates in this sector.