Maltese authorities are hailing their nation as "the jewel in the Mediterranean" for drawing throngs of crowds to its pristine, sun-kissed shores every year. Aside from the obvious attractions, the government attributes the island's appeal partly to iGaming and Blockchain communities that have blossomed in recent years. Indeed, iGaming alone is calculated to have contributed more than 12% of GDP generated in the past year, if recent reports are anything to go by.
The global iGaming industry has shown remarkable resilience in the face of COVID-19. This booming sector continues to enjoy sustained Year-on-Year growth while other industries struggle to come to terms with the countless obstacles presented by the pandemic.
And proudly leading the charge into a new era of iGaming is the history-rich diminutive island known as Malta.
On top of the multi-million euro contributions it makes via gaming taxes, property rentals, and direct employment, iGaming in Malta has helped prop up wider service and entertainment sectors during a particularly difficult time. It now trails only a handful of sectors in the government's GDP contributions pie-chart.
Capitalising on the island's strategic location and outstanding reputation as a hotbed for digital start-ups, the iGaming industry's governing body, the MGA, has laid down ambitious plans for Malta to become the 'Silicon Valley of Remote iGaming'.
That moniker may yet be some way off, but Malta's highly respected position as a leading force in iGaming is nonetheless recognised internationally. An MGA-awarded license is now highly sought after by budding iGaming outfits looking to enter the space.
The iGaming regulatory authority offers a number of cost benefits as its attempts to steal a march over competing jurisdictions and attract the star players of tomorrow. To illustrate, a tax rate of just 5% is levied on revenue earned by Maltese-registered iGaming firms - one of the lowest, globally.
Annual license fees are also an attractive proposition - clocking in at €25,000 for operators that offer players RNG (Random Number Generator)-based games of chance like online pokies. This falls to just €10,000 for B2C firms exclusively providing Type 4 gaming services, covering verticals such as sports betting.
As added incentive for prospective start-ups, the MGA has promised to waive its minimum compliance contribution until a full year has elapsed following licence acquisition - a boon for up-and-coming businesses hoping to keep a lid on costs early on. On top of this, firms eligible for the Directive on Start-Up Undertaking are exempt from paying tax contributions for twelve months.
And the MGA's efforts appear to be bearing fruit. Alongside seasoned heavyweights of the iGaming world like Play'n GO, NetEnt, Evolution and Relax Gaming, an increasing number of start-up ventures have flocked to Malta to take advantage of its favourable tax regimen, dependable telecommunications and quality work-life balance.
These facets are supported by a robust underlying ICT infrastructure that has benefitted from radical improvements in recent years, propped up by Malta's established banking system and skilled workforce.
Regarding the latter point, estimations put Malta's cosmopolitan iGaming population at around 9,000 - with the majority densely concentrated within a 5km radius that stretches along the main north-east promenade.
The Rootz Appeal
Rootz Ltd, employing over 1% of the island's iGaming workforce, is made up of experienced industry professionals with a shared goal: to provide an enhanced user experience for its customers through cutting-edge technology. Leveraging the firm's proprietary full scope platform, Rootz offers everything from CRM and Data Analysis to KYC, Payments, Rewards, and more - the ultimate modern day gaming operation with automation at the heart.
The summer of 2019 saw Rootz's debut brand, Wildz Casino, explode onto the scene armed with a bevvy of exclusive features and a fresh, exciting identity. From the outset, Wildz enjoyed unprecedented registrations as the industry began to stand up and take notice at the new kid on the block.
Spinback™, an industry-first feature at the heart of Wildz's bonuses and rewards program, awards a consolatory second chance spin should a player endure five consecutive winless game rounds playing one of two online slots created by supplier Pragmatic Play.
Once five straight misses have racked up, the player can take their free spin to use on a different crowd-pleaser, powered by Relax Gaming. Both world-leading software studios, incidentally, base their operations within a stone's throw of the Rootz HQ in Malta.
Capitalising on their early success, Rootz wasted no time in following up Wildz by unveiling 2020 entrant, Caxino Casino, to the world.
Though slightly brighter in appearance and appealing to a broader, recreationally-friendly demographic, Caxino comes with trademark Rootz features that combine to elevate the gaming experience - like lightning-fast processes and dynamic, customised rewards.
An unprecedented introductory deposit offer of just €1 was also advertised as a way for lesser bankrolled players to experience the thrill of online casino gaming and get a taste of the Caxino brand for less.
Fast-forward to the present day, and the Rootz lot are busy plotting their next move as the dust settles on their latest project.
Packing a huge dose of Hollywood stardust, the irrepressible David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff was enlisted to promote Wheelz Casino - dubbed as the firm's fastest and most responsive online casino to date.
Wheelz comes laden with exclusive bonus extras highlighted by Extra Wheel, adopting the brand's frontman's own likeness, while the Wheel of Spinz will bee waiting with customised rewards whenever a player fills up their own individual Progress Bar.
Despite their marked differences and unique personalities, the Rootz family of online casinos each houses bulging game libraries that include some of the best-loved online casino games ever made. Chart-topping online slots like Book of Dead and Starburst sit alongside Live Casino hybrid titles that blend the best parts of table games with next-gen online casino technology.
Rootz promise to be the best of the breed through innovative technology – "apart from significantly improving the speed, easy navigation, dynamic rewards and providing a better customer experience with more winning opportunities.” Thanks to the work of the MGA, the firm is ideally placed to make that dream a reality.
Malta is a genuine breeding ground for iGaming start-up success. Its mix of cost incentives, favourable regulatory framework and island living represents a lucrative cocktail when married to a superior industry product - just ask the high-flyers at Rootz.