In the past decade the Island nation of Malta has become home to companies from the online gaming industry. Malta has positioned itself as one of the leading financial service centers in the EU. That has been instrumental in encouraging companies to move to the beautiful island of Malta. Malta also has a lot going for it with a favorable climate and it is a great place to raise a family making it easy for companies to lure IT employees here.
The Online Gaming Industry in Malta
The online gaming industry is worth BILLIONS of dollars but there has been a gap in the market in the entertainment industry, primarily for those who enjoy casino games from the luxury of their own homes. Malta has stepped in to fill that void. In 2014 the booming online gaming industry has seen the number of licenses issued in Malta increase by 25% . The island nation also plans a $250 million development meant to attract more and more tech companies to the island.
Active in the online gaming industry since its inception more than 20 years ago the country is on the forefront of developing the regulatory and legal frameworks that will carry it forward into the future. The online gaming industry is Malta’s second largest contributor to the country’s GDP, with more than 12% of the annual income coming from online gaming services. Right now the industry supports roughly 8,000 employees and more than 250 operators.
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta or the LGA is who oversees the industry and they are the ones you can thank for both the indirect and direct economic benefits that have coming because of the booming gaming industry. The LGA is set to take up residence in SmartCity, the international business park that is also home to companies like IBM, Microsoft and other tech companies that call Malta home.
Malta already has more than 250 online companies and Maltans are ready to see that number increase even further and the LGA has a strategy in place to make that happen. They have plans at the ready to bolster the anti-money laundering regulations and they are developing partnerships with other jurisdictions and trying to build relationships outside of the EU. The position of the government is that the attempt to block gaming is largely an exercise in futility and patrons will turn to illegal or unregulated sites where there are no protections in place. If the government takes control and regulates the industry, you can protect the consumer while removing the elements of organized crime and money laundering. Much like what was done with real world gambling in Las Vegas.
The Help of the Banks
While you look at the success of the online gaming industry it couldn’t happen without the cooperation of the banking industry. Malta has built a solid foundation to their banking industry which allowed them to be one of the few countries to escape the market turmoil of 2008 in very good shape. Like Canada and a few other countries the banks in Malta are heavily regulated and well capitalized. The don’t take heavy risks and are very conservative and they didn’t need to use taxpayer money to re-capitalize banks that happened throughout the US and much of Europe.
The financial industry is indirectly responsible for the success of the gaming industry here. The made regulatory changes more than 2 decades ago that was enacted to lure business to the country. This step made a tremendous difference in companies deciding to come to Malta. However the influx of IT workers made it hard to find housing in some of Malta’s bigger cities, for instance property to rent in St Julians Malta became a little harder to come by.
Malta is the Place to do Business
In 2004 Malta was the first EU nation to launch remote gaming regulations and created the right atmosphere for online gaming organizations to do business here. There was a transparent licensing system, rules for consumer protection and anti-money laundering regulation all enacted at the same time. That has paid off incredibly well. Malta is poised to post a growth in their GDP of more than 3 percent this year. Malta is doing its best to lead the pack in an incredibly competitive marketplace and the focus is on long term sustainability. Here is a video to show how Malta is forward thinking and encouraging the gaming industry.
Another feature that allows Malta to be unique in the gaming industry is the development of Smart City. Smart city is a group of likeminded business people who all want to see the gaming industry succeed. It has high tech and cutting edge technological infrastructure to support the demands created by gaming companies. There are backups and redundancies for both internet connections and electricity. They based much of the design for Smart City on the Dubai Media City along with Silicon Valley. Making Malta the place to be when it comes to the online gaming industry.