Malta - Europe's thriving iGaming island

There is a lot of activity in Malta. Once a quiet, sleepy island in the Mediterranean, it has now become the exploding epicentre of European gambling.

Anyone who has ever set foot on a beach will immediately understand that Malta is a tourist destination. Bathed in sunshine 300 days a year, the tiny archipelago has much to offer visitors with its 246 square kilometres of rugged coastline, charming villages and beautiful beaches. Malta has some of the oldest temples in the world - certainly worth seeing if history and ancient cultures are your interest.

It was also where Napoleon Bonaparte suffered his only (and final) defeat, when he was driven out by an Anglo-Maltese fleet sent to support the locals in an uprising against French rule.

You may be pleased to know that Malta has 365 churches - one for each day of the year if you are religious. Regardless of your personal preferences or religious beliefs, you will never get enough of the country's rich history and proud heritage.

But it's not all about ancient relics and turquoise waters. Over the past 20 years, the island has obviously done something right in attracting top iGaming talent to its shores.

In the past decade, some of the best known names in the industry have settled in Malta, as Malta is different from other countries for various reasons.

According to the World Bank, iGaming contributes around $1 billion to Malta's economy every year. According to a March 2019 report by the Gambling Commissioner, the Maltese government agency that regulates online gambling in the country, Maltese iGaming Companies in 2019 via 1.56 billion euros to the island's treasury, up 9, 6% compared to the previous year. The overall economic contribution of the iGaming industry is the second most important private sector after retail, accommodation, and hospitality - a sure indication of the importance of the sector.

Home of 300 licensed iGaming operators

Playing cards over the cell phone

The iGaming sector in Malta is on the rise. New licence applications come from companies trying to get their piece of the pie. According to the regulator, 89 licence applications were submitted in 2019, of which just over half were accepted - bringing the total number of licensed companies operating from Malta to just under 300.

Malta's highly competitive gaming industry requires excellent iGaming marketing to be successful, and Malta's hectic iGaming calendar of networking conferences allows companies to do just that.

Gaming Conferences are a series of events that bring together gaming operators, vendors, and partners for a multi-day networking extravaganza where vendors can showcase their goods and services to an interested audience.

Events like SiGMA and MiGEA not only recognize industry leaders, they also foster a culture of collaboration as well-connected industry professionals come together to exchange ideas, negotiate business proposals and agree on seven-figure amounts that could change the course of the iGaming industry.

Finally, the after-parties of the events, where no expense is spared, are not to be missed.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 continues to dominate the iGaming business, as well as numerous other industries. Most of the events planned for 2021 have been postponed indefinitely due to a pandemic with far-reaching consequences.

Fortunately, many virtual events have already started to fill this gap. While not quite as human, these interactive events allow operators to get a glimpse of vendors' product roadmaps while engaging in discussions on current iGaming topics.

What is the great appeal of iGaming?

The gambling sector is a fast-paced, innovative business alternative that many jobseekers are rushing into. Malta is one of the few places where you can do this.

According to the governing body of the eSports Industry Association, the salaries of 9,000 eSports employees increased by 11% in 2019 compared to the previous year, outperforming comparable industries as both graduates and established professionals took advantage of the competitive job market in the field.

If the enticing package of year-round sunshine, island living and a fantastic work-life balance isn't enough, how about a starting salary of €35,000? Compared to comparable positions in other European countries, this is the approximate salary that newcomers to the iGaming sector in Malta can expect.

The growth in iGaming employment has helped boost the island's housing market, as some real estate agents and freelance agents now cater exclusively to iGaming tenants.

Malta's appeal becomes even clearer when you add all the factors together. You get a location of great value and far greater benefits when you add a vibrant real estate market to the low cost of living.

The iGaming Academy on the Isle of Man offers a place for anyone looking to improve their job prospects or expertise want to expand. The goal of this purpose-built centre of excellence was to provide potential employees with the skills and training needed for a successful career in the iGaming industry. Recently, a new project called Why iGaming was launched to encourage people from the To support the region in entering the gaming industry and at the same time to fill gaps in the job market.

The average iGaming company in Malta is now run like any other company. Customer service, sales, marketing, IT, human resources, legal, product development and much more are integrated into the value chain. As a result, the Maltese job market has recovered thanks to a large supply of world-class talent across a range of sectors.

Malta is a leading international digital hub

With the emergence of start-ups and new industries, Malta's fast-growing sectors have attracted large numbers of foreign professionals. It has also benefited the diverse expatriate community who struggle to adapt to the slower pace of Maltese culture. All of this is facilitated by English, which is also the country's official second language. It's hard to find anyone on the island who doesn't understand at least a little of the global language.

Malta's telecommunications infrastructure has improved significantly recently to meet the growing demand for digital services. Robust internet connections are essential for iGaming businesses that need blazing-fast processing speeds to process millions of transactions every day.

This combination of characteristics makes Malta a world leader in the gambling industry. Malta is one of the most powerful countries in the world when it comes to online gambling. Amazing considering that Malta had only been independent for less than 50 years when the British packed their bags and left the country.

Ruled by the British, Romans, Arabs and French, among others, why has this tiny island become a thriving iGaming metropolis?

Favourable industry climate

Let's start with the island's iGaming regulator, the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority).

The MGA has played an important role in putting Malta on the map as one of the most respected gaming regulators in the world. Malta was the first EU member state to enact online gambling regulations in 2004 - thanks in no small part to the regulator.

Malta's pioneering role has helped the country outperform its competitors and position itself at the forefront of the world market. The island-state strives to maintain its pre-eminence, and the MGA has therefore continuously developed its legal framework.

The MGA is the most reputable organization in the gaming industry and offers a standard of excellence that has helped many existing iGaming companies and those looking to enter the global market. Established in 2001, the main objective of the MGA is to ensure fairness and transparency while preventing crime and money laundering. The CGA's responsibilities are diverse and include checking games for legality, monitoring activities to keep games and money out of the hands of criminals, and advising throughout the approval process.

The MGA has worked hard to create a favourable business climate for potential operators by implementing cost-saving measures.

iGaming licences in Malta are far cheaper than in other European countries. A Maltese B2C (business to customer) licence, for example, costs around €25,000 - far less than the rates required by iGaming regulators in other European countries. Gambling operators licensed in Malta can benefit from tax rates as low as 5%, which is by far the lowest rate in all of Europe. In addition, companies conducting iGaming research and development receive tax credits as an incentive to outsource their operations.

In turn, the country's iGaming sector has made a significant contribution to the state budget in the past years. The industry spending in 2019 amounted to 12% to 13% of Malta's GDP, resulting in a win-win situation for both parties. It is clear that the MGA has done their research and found that Malta is an excellent operational headquarters for iGaming companies.

iGaming licence types

The operating licence of the Maltese iGaming industry is the beginning for many companies. To ensure all areas are covered, the country's licensing framework is comprehensive and effective. It includes four different licence types and allows a variety of iGaming providers to legally offer their services across borders. Each licence category sets the parameters under which an iGaming company may operate based on its business line and product area.

Malta Gaming Authority logo

There are four main categories of licences issued by the MGA, which can be purchased for 10-year terms. Below are the four main categories of iGaming licences available from the MGA:

Class 1

Operators that offer games of chance where the outcome is determined by a random number generator are most likely to get a licence. If a Malta-based company offers Online Slots alongside other similar games or lotteries, it belongs to this category. It is no surprise that Class 1 gambling activities brought in the most money in 2019 and Represented 56.0% of all iGaming spend.

2nd grade

A Class 2 licence allows one to operate iGaming businesses that offer gambling based on an event or competition. For example, if you bet on a football match, the bet is likely to be accepted by a company with a Class 2 licence. Sportsbooks usually have this type of approval.

Class 3

Class 3 includes operators who derive their income from commissions. This includes online poker sites operated via P2P (peer-to-peer) networks and betting exchange providers.

Class 4

Finally, Class 4 licences are only available to iGaming companies that offer skill-based, controlled games. Fantasy sports are considered by the MGA to be more dangerous for customers, which is why these licences are often subject to increased regulatory scrutiny.

In 2019, over 20 million people had active accounts with approved iGaming companies based in Malta. This represents a 12.7% year-on-year growth, showing that the sector is thriving.

Island life

It goes without saying that every iGaming destination has its advantages and disadvantages, but Malta has worked hard to give itself a chance.

The Gambling Act 2011 gave the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) responsibility for regulating online gambling in the European Union, as well as other countries that have signed Free Trade Agreements with Malta. We've already talked about the work of the MGA in making Malta a major global hub for iGaming. But what else makes the country such an attractive location for iGaming companies and their employees?

There are several other islands that also offer an excellent standard of living. The allure of sun, sea, and sand has attracted numerous iGaming experts to Malta, which is one reason for its success as a gambling destination.

Sun all year round

The strategic geographic location of the country is also worth mentioning. Located 182 kilometres south of the southern tip of Sicily, Malta is known for its more than 300 days of sunshine a year, making it an ideal spot for sun-seeking iGaming experts. Take a walk along one of the coasts to enjoy the breath-taking views, or swim in one of the cleanest seas in Europe if you want to cool off.

Many people have chosen to migrate to a sun-drenched island with a beach close by, opposed to colder climates like Scandinavia. If crowded coastal cities are your personal purgatory, take a long bike ride into the peaceful countryside.

Malta's proximity to Europe makes it an ideal location for international trade, which is expected to develop as vaccinations are introduced around the world.

![Maltese Beach at Sunset]( 2_uid_615590765a997.jpeg)

Work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is becoming increasingly important in today's successful companies. Employees who can pursue their hobbies outside the workplace perform better and have higher retention rates.

Malta wins the prize again. For people who have only known the monotony of city life, Malta is a heavenly escape from the soulless rat race. Within days of moving, newcomers are likely to experience less stress, more free time, and a better tan!

Compared to many other European countries, the crime rate in Malta is significantly lower. Maltese residents are known to leave their doors unlocked at night, unheard of in most other areas of Europe. In addition, Malta has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe.

Malta has all the necessary components to become a world leading iGaming hub, making it an extremely attractive location for iGaming professionals of all ages. Despite the global recession from COVID-19, the sector continues to develop rapidly, supported by a solid regulatory framework that offers massive incentives for potential gambling businesses.