The gaming industry is one of the leading pillars of the Maltese economy. It provides thousands of jobs and is one of the main reasons why the Maltese employment market is a lucrative one. The industry still remains one of the most attractive for many foreigners and Maltese locals and finding a professional job within the industry is highly likely to improve one’s lifestyle.
Although being one of the most exciting industries to work in, the gaming sphere has seen some problems over the past few months. With tightening legislation which is impacting the bottom line, together with job cuts across several companies and a diminishing jurisdictional reputation, compliance within Malta’s gaming industry has come under heavy fire.
At a compliance conference taking place at the Westin Dragonara, the UK Gambling Commission CEO, Neil McArthur slammed Malta’s gaming compliance framework. It was stated that Malta’s gaming compliance is simply not up to scratch. It is argued that gaming companies based in Malta are the biggest offenders in the UK. There were some companies who had to face fines from the British regulator. Three companies had their UK gambling licenses completely revoked.
Although the Commission states that regulation has improved significantly since 2014, a lot more is needed to reach the expected standards. The CEO underlined that going forward, fresh commitment is required to raise standards and achieve progress more quickly. Mr McArthur assured that the Commission is committed to helping in the undertaking of these efforts. He also stated that the Commission will do all that is necessary when enforcement is required.
Gaming companies in Malta hold the largest market share of the UK online gambling market. This market share is almost thirty per cent
Malta’s reputation has taken a hit as many EU countries have their gaze fixed upon us for incidents of non-compliance. These circumstances and perceptions of non-compliance have angered several EU member states, where Sweden has tightened legislation, making it more difficult for those who do not comply fully. The results of tightened legislation have seen some companies adopting re-structuring processes, which reduced employee counts.
It is truly interesting to monitor the developments in this regard. Many questions need answering and more insights will be unveiled as time progresses. What is the strategy of Malta based gaming companies to overturn these recent mishaps? Will Malta continue to attract gaming companies? Will it still be the attractive industry it is today in ten years’ time?