Will Malta Increase its Online Gaming Sector?

Both the Malta Gaming and Lotteries Authority (LGA) and the Maltese government announced their specific plans to create “the best iGaming structure in the EU” at a press conference earlier this week.

The Responsible Gaming Foundation (RGF), alongside Malta’s secretary of competitiveness and economic growth, Dr. Jose Herrera, presented a four-year plan to government officials attending the press conference. The plan included both business and economic strategies to promote the country’s online gambling industry.

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Much of the initiative focuses on Malta-specific gambling research. To begin the research, the government will create the Gambling Academy, an institution that will absorb the LGA.

The academy will research gambling addictions and the best ways to promote responsible gambling for European customers. The RGF would form the backbone of this aspect of the initiative.

Through a report formed by the RGF, Malta Parliament Member Silvio Schembri claimed that no Malta-wide research has been done on gambling addiction, although there has been research across the EU. Between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of people who gamble in the EU are afflicted with addiction.

Other conclusions from the report include data indicating that Maltese people, on average, play digital or video games about once a day for an hour. It also claimed that gambling may affect a person’s health, employment, interpersonal relationships and finances and that gambling prevalence affects youths at a rate four to five times higher than adults.

Joseph Cuschieri, the CEO of Malta LGA, also announced the formation of a new online gambling organization called Gaming Malta. The goal of Gaming Malta is to promote the country’s jurisdiction services and business regarding online gambling.

Online gambling has risen to be Malta’s largest economic sector behind tourism. More than 250 gaming companies have set up on the island in the past decade, creating an industry that employs more than 8,000 people. The announced changes seek to further foster growth for this aspect of the Maltese economy.