MGA’s Vision Steers Malta on the Right Track
Journalist Patrick J O’ Brien examines MGA’s Chairman recent speech in London and how the Gaming Sector in Malta could benefit from Brexit.
At the helm of the MGA since November 2013, The Malta Gaming Authority Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri has not strayed away from his resilient vision to strengthen Malta’s standing as a hub for regulated gambling, finalizing the Island as the Silicon Valley of remote gaming.
“We want operators and players to see Malta as the best location to be based for both our excellent regulatory framework and for the expertise we have created to support the growth of a vibrant industry, he recently stated. Last Month at Portcullis House in London, The MGA’s Executive Chairman participated in the 2017 Gambling Seminar Series organised by the Parliamentary All Party Betting and Gaming Group entitled ‘Regulating the Future’, co-Chaired by Philip Davies MP and Baroness Golding.
Laying out his organisation’s strategy in his speech, he stated that Brexit, the decision by the UK that will see it leave the European Union was likely to see more online casino and betting companies register their operations in Malta. Considering recent research which heralds that some 40% of British gaming companies say they are considering relocating some or all of their business because of Brexit, he has a good foundation. Companies in the UK have cited losing access to talent and funding as major risks when Britain leaves the bloc.
The MGA Chairman commented on a number of recent developments in the industry, stating that “the rise of cryptocurrencies is inevitable” in a speech mostly dedicated to regulation, and was quick to highlight the challenges faced by casino companies and organisations to deal with the increasing popularity of bitcoin and its other competitors. He has announce that plans are in the pipeline to set up a national betting exchange where bets can be hedged, as well as a European Gaming Institute that will provide targeted and sector-specific training.
“Malta is well placed to tap into block-chain, as it has fantastic financial services and IT sectors and it’s just a matter of bridging the gap,” he said. “Many in Singapore believe Malta can become the Fintech capital of the world, and we can truly take the world by storm.” He stated” He predicted that the use of block-chain technology will soon explode in popularity, just as the internet did in the 1990s following the introduction of web browsers.
He did confirm that a study would be commissioned by the MGA to investigate the situation, “to ensure that all the relevant factors are taken into consideration in devising the manner in which best to cater for the use of cryptocurrencies in gaming.” Major online casinos and operators also appear to be looking to move into the fledgling market, meaning even greater need for the regulator to take interest.
The Chairman also spoke about the rise of new formats such as fantasy sports, stating that the MGA had received “numerous queries and interest”, but stopped short of pledging any concrete moves in that direction, citing a need to find out whether the “American phenomenon” would be a hit in Europe, where sports betting is widely legalised. After some research into these evolving products, the MGA found that while the proliferation of certain online skill games offered for money may require regulatory intervention, the risks being presented were different to those being presented by online casinos for example.
Have you attended SiGMA last year? Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.