[WATCH] Updated | Rents outpace wages, gaming boss says

The head of an association of gaming companies has warned that Malta’s sky-high rent costs have outpaced the salaries of a large chunk of gaming industry employees

Playground office: but now even well-paid gaming workers are feeling the brunt of Malta’s rising rental prices
Playground office: but now even well-paid gaming workers are feeling the brunt of Malta’s rising rental prices
Rents outpace gaming salaries

Updated at 1.40pm with statement from Digital Economy parliamentary secretariat

Malta’s sky-high rent costs have outpaced the salaries of a large chunk of gaming industry employees, the head of an association of gaming companies has said.

Enrico Bradamante, chairperson of iGen, a representative group of the gaming sector that is one of the stakeholders discussing the current rent reform Bill, warned that if the issue is not solved, Malta could end up losing its competitive edge.

Bradamante, who is also CEO of Maverick Gaming, said that many gaming sector workers at the lower end of the salary spectrum, such as customer care staff and copywriters, were finding it unaffordable to rent property.

Such staff made up a considerable portion of all industry employees, and the gaming sector offered them higher than average salaries for their line of work, he noted. Despite this, they are still finding it hard to keep up with steep increases in rent prices landlords charge when renewing contracts, he said.

“I think the issue of the rental market in Malta is that it’s an unregulated problem which is causing challenges for iGaming employees, and consequently for the industry as a whole. It is, I would argue, the biggest contributor to the cost of living in Malta and it is something which the government must address, and is addressing, with the new rent law,” he said.

He underscored that the government was being very receptive to iGen’s concerns and had pro-actively been engaging with the association and listening to its proposals. Bradamante added that he was confident the government would put in place the needed changes to the law.

The rent reform Bill is currently passing through the normal parliamentary legislative process.

“I am confident that the required changes will be made, because otherwise the industry would lose its competitiveness… Malta risks losing its competitiveness. This is an economic argument, the prices can’t continue to rise at this pace, which has outpaced the rise in salaries within the gaming industry,” he said. Bradamante will be interviewed in the upcoming edition of BusinessToday.

Parliamentary secretariat committed to dialogue with gaming companies to ensure sustainability

In a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon, the Digital Economy parliamentary secretariat, headed by parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri, said it had taken note of the comments passed by Bradamante.

"The Parliamentary Secretariat welcomes Mr Bradamante’s comments confirming that this Government is engaging with IGEN and other stakeholders, and is conducting discussions on the ongoing rent reform," it said.

"The Parliamentary Secretariat remains committed to keeping an open dialogue with gaming companies to ascertain that this important industry remains sustainable," the secretariat added.

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