MALTA LICENCE A trademark for the Remote Gaming Industry
FOREIGN INVESTMENT A steady stream of new investment flows into Malta
ICT EXCELLENCE State-of-the-art ICT systems operators can rely on
E U R O P E A N H U B FO R T H E e G A M I NG I N D U ST RY
HR and Recruitment Licensing and Operating Regulation and Legislation eGaming Jurisdiction Overview eGaming Technical Infrastructure Banking and Financial Services
Editor Blanche Gatt /CountryProfiler email@example.com Regional Directors Kristina Ernst / CountryProfiler firstname.lastname@example.org Garvan Keating / CountryProfiler email@example.com
Project Manager Mandrina Caputi / CountryProfiler firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Director Rick Martin/ CountryProfiler email@example.com RESEARCH Victoria Vasiliou / CountryProfiler firstname.lastname@example.org Art Director Ramon Micallef/ Box Design email@example.com Advertising Sales Simon Doggett / CountryProfiler firstname.lastname@example.org Photography Alan Carville Malta Tourism Authority Airmalta Printing Gutenberg Press Ltd, Malta
All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without written permission. Opinions expressed in CountryProfiler Malta are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. All reasonable care is taken to ensure truth and accuracy, but the editor and publishers cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions in articles, advertising, photographs or illustrations. CountryProfiler would like to thank the Ministry of Finance, the Economy and Investment, Air Malta, Lotteries & Gaming Authority and Malta Remote Gaming Council for their support and assistance.
7 Malta at a Glance 14 Country Profile
Building on Innovation - The Mediterranean island of Malta is aiming to become the foremost international business centre in the Mediterranean region
eGaming Jurisdiction Overview Malta: The Tier One European eGaming Jurisdiction - Malta’s ground-breaking legislation and stringent regulation have led to it becoming a trademark for the international eGaming industry
Quality Attracting Quantity Interview with Tonio Fenech, Minister of Finance
Maintaining the Highest Standards Interview with Reuben Portanier, CEO of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority
Control and Regulation the Keys to Successful Remote Gaming Interview with Daniela Grioli, Chairperson of the Malta Remote Gaming Council
Regulation and Legislation
34 Regulatory Overview
Reputable, Responsible and Responsive - An overview of Malta’s regulatory framework
38 Remote Gaming Regulation
Promoting Responsible Gaming - Malta’s Remote Gaming Regulation make player protection a main priority
Licencing and Operating
Operating Environment Business-Friendly and Cost-Effective - Malta’s operating environment offers top quality services at some of the lowest rates in Europe
Banking and Financial Services
Banking and Financial Services Built on solid fundamentals, Malta’s financial services industry offers a wide range of products and service
Licencing Overview The three-stage process to obtain a Malta licence is stringent and thorough
Gaming Taxes and Fees Malta’s advantageous taxation regime allow forward planning and minimum tax leakage
Corporate Formation Setting up a Malta company is a straight-forward procedure that brings significant benefits
Market Access and Barriers Malta offers operators a reputable, Tier One Jurisdiction at the leading edge of the industry
Advertising and Marketing A thriving creative and design sector means Malta is well-placed to service the international industry
Commercial and Residential Real Estate Malta offers a wide range of commercial and residential property at advantageous prices
eGaming Technical Infrastructure
62 Telecommunications and ICT
Malta has a world-class IT and telecoms infrastructure that can guarantee continuous connectivity and service to online-based businesses Technical and Professional Services From legal and corporate services to technical security and gaming platform testing and certification, Malta’s service providers are both experienced and highly-skilled
HR and Recruitment
HR and Recruitment Malta is a magnet for eGaming professionals from across the globe, while Maltese IT specialists are fast learning this dynamic new trade
Comments from Malta’s eGaming industry leaders
Travel and Living
Mediterranean Delights Visit Malta for a chance to explore some of the island’s most beautiful treasures and experience the extraordinary charm of the Mediterranean lifestyle
The Best of Both Worlds Who said you can’t have it all? Living in Malta offers a unique opportunity to enjoy true balance in your life
Directory of Business Profiles
90 Company Profiles
at a glance COUNTRY OVERVIEW
ocated in the centre of the Mediterranean, the Maltese islands consisting of Malta, Gozo, Comino and two uninhabited islands, lie midway between Europe and North Africa, 93 km south of Sicily and 290 km north of Libya. Malta’s 7000-year history has seen a succession of foreign conquerors ruling the island until 1964, when Malta gained independence from Britain after 160 years. Malta, with its 400,000 inhabitants, is the smallest of the 10 countries that joined the EU in May 2004 and adopted the euro as the national currency in January 2008. Since independence Malta has transformed its economy to become a leading centre for financial services, ICT, container and freight transhipment, high value manufacturing and tourism. Public Holidays January 1st (New Year’s Day) February 10th (St Paul’s Shipwreck) March 19th (St Joseph) Good Friday & Easter Sunday March 31st (Freedom Day) May 1st (Workers’ Day) June 7th (Sette Giugno)
June 29th (St Peter and St Paul) August 15th (Assumption) September 8th (Victory Day) September 21st (Independence Day) December 8th (Immaculate Conception) December 13th (Republic Day) December 25th (Christmas Day)
The Malta Flag The Malta flag was officially adopted on September 21, 1964. The flag of this island nation uses the traditional red and white colours of the Knights of Malta. The George Cross (upper left), outlined in red, was added to the flag in the 1940s, as King George VI of Britain presented it to islanders for outstanding gallantry during World War II.
5,000 B.C. First human settlers 60 A.D. Shipwreck of St. Paul the Apostle 395 Byzantine Rule 870 Arab Rule 1091 Norman Rule 1530 Knights of St John Rule 1798 French Rule 1814 Malta a crown colony of the British Empire World War II Heavy bombing by German and Italian air forces targeting Allied bases 1942 King George VI awards colony the George Cross - Britain’s highest civilian decoration - for heroism 1947 Self-government granted 1959 Self-government revoked 1962 Self-government restored 1964 Full independence 1964-71 Nationalist Party pursues pro-Western alignment 1971 Dom Mintoff’s Malta Labour Party takes power; new era begins of non-alignment and special friendship with Libya and Communist states 1974 Malta becomes Republic 1979 Closure of British military base 1984 Mintoff resigns, succeeded by Carmelo Mifsud-Bonnici 1987 Victory of Nationalist Party marks move toward European integration. Eddie Fenech Adami becomes prime minister 1989 Malta hosts first summit between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George Bush 1990 Malta submits application for full membership of the European Union (EU) 1995 April Malta joins NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme, only to leave in October 1996 in order to maintain its neutrality 1996 Labour Party, led by Alfred Sant, regains power and shelves application for EU membership 1998 Eddie Fenech Adami’s Nationalist Party returns to power, revives application to enter EU 1999 Guido de Marco sworn in as President 2001 May Pope John Paul II visits Malta for the second time during his papacy, where 98% of the population are Roman Catholic. The Pope beatifies three Maltese clerics at an open-air ceremony 2002 December EU summit in Copenhagen invites Malta to join in 2004 2003 March Just over 53% of voters say yes to EU membership in a referendum 2003 April Fenech Adami’s ruling Nationalist Party claims victory in a general election, confirming the pro-EU referendum result 2004 March Lawrence Gonzi sworn in as Prime Minister following retirement of Eddie Fenech Adami 2004 May Malta is one of 10 new states to join the EU 2005 April Malta joined the ERMII mechanism 2005 July Parliament ratifies proposed EU constitution 2007 July ECOFIN unanimously approves Malta joining the Eurozone in January 2008 2008 January Malta adopts the euro as the national currency 2008 March Nationalist Party wins general election 2009 George Abela sworn in as President
Country Official Name: Republic of Malta Capital: Valletta European Union: Member since May 2004 National Holiday: September 21 - Independence Day (1964) Time: 1 hour ahead of GMT (2 hours ahead in summer) Measures: Metric and Imperial Geography Location: The Maltese Archipelago lies virtually at the centre of the Mediterranean, with Malta 93 km south of Sicily and 290 km north of Africa. Gibraltar is 1,826 km to the West and Tel Aviv is 1,940 km to the East. Structure: Archipelago comprised of five islands - Malta, Gozo and Comino (inhabited) Fifla and Cominotto (uninhabited) Area: 316 sq km (Malta 246 sq km, Gozo 67 sq km, Comino 2.7 sq km) Climate: Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours sunshine in mid-winter to more than 12 hours in summer. Main Towns Population in ’000s: Valletta (capital) 9.1, Birkirkara 22.1, Qormi 20.2, Sliema 13.5 People Population: 403,000 Nationality: Maltese Descendants: Maltese are descendants of ancient Carthaginians and Phoenicians, with strong elements of Italian and other Mediterranean stock. Religions: Roman Catholic 98% Languages: Maltese (official), English (official) Literacy: 92.8% Median Age: 39 years Life Expectancy: 79 years Population Growth rate: 0.4%
Government Form of State: Republic Head of State: President Dr George Abela Head of Government: Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi Suffrage: 18 years National Legislature: Based on universal adult suffrage. Parliament elected every 5 years Elections: Last held March 8, 2008. Held every five years. Legal System: Based on the English Common Law and Roman Civil Law Juridical Branch: Constitutional Court; Court of Appeal; Judges for both courts are appointed by the President on the Advice of the Prime Minister. Economic overview Total GDP (EURm): 5,686 (2009) GDP per Capita (EUR): 13,741 (2008) Real GDP Growth: 2.5% (2008) Est. GDP Growth 2009: -2% GDP Composition by Sector: Agriculture: 2%; Industry: 15.5%; Services: 82.5% Economic Sectors: Tourism, electronics, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, ICT and Finance. Main Trading Partners: Italy, UK, France, Germany, Singapore, US (2008) Inflation: 7.9% (2009) Current Account Balance (EURm) –357.092 (2008) Labour Force (000) 173 Unemployment 6.5% (2008) Currency: Euro Trade euro Imports (EURm): 3,379.9 (2008) Exports (EURm): 2,034.8 (2008) No. of Tourist Arrivals (000): 1,291 (2008) Sovereign Rating Moody: A1 (2009) Fiscal Year: Calendar Year
A HISTORY OF
7000 years HISTORY
alta’s magnificent megalithic temples, evidence that the island has been inhabited since prehistoric times, rank among the oldest free-standing structures in the world. These exceptional prehistoric sites, together with the baroque city of Valletta, built by the Knights of St John, and the old medieval capital, Mdina, are all designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The first recorded people to have settled in Malta were the Phoenicians. For the next two millennia the islands were colonised by a succession of peoples. Throughout history, Malta’s fortunes in peace and war were intrinsically linked to its strategic location at the confluence of shipping routes, with its deep natural harbours making Malta ideal for trade and defensive purposes. The Phoenicians were followed by the Carthaginians, but after the destruction of Carthage, Malta was absorbed into the Roman
Empire. St Paul the Apostle was shipwrecked on the islands in A.D. 60, converting the country to Christianity under the Roman governor Publius. In the later years of the Roman Empire, Malta formed part of the Byzantine bloc. The Arab expansion reached Malta in A.D. 870 and the country remained under Arab domination until 1090, when Count Roger of Normandy added Malta to his conquest of Sicily. Malta shared in the fortunes of Sicily until 1530, when, in an attempt to strengthen the southern frontiers of his domains against Islam, Charles V of Spain offered Malta to the Knights of St John of Jerusalem, an international order of chivalry founded in the early years of the Crusades. For the next three centuries, the destinies of Malta and the Knights of St John were linked. The Knights of St John were driven out of Malta by Napoleon
Did you know? ■ Malta is the smallest EU country by both population and size. Malta has 400,000 of the EU’s 495 million people, and is 316 square kilometres in size, out of the EU’s total size of 4,324,782 square kilometres ■ Malta is the third most densely populated country in the world, with 1256 people per square kilometre, after Monaco (16,135 people per square kilometre) and Singapore (7,641 people per square kilometre) ■ Malta has the fifth highest car ownership in the world, with two cars for every household. The total amount of passenger cars during 2006 in Malta was 525 cars per 1000 inhabitants ■ Malta was Vodafone’s first foreign venture outside the UK. The mobile phone giant’s Maltese company was set up in 1990, and Vodafone Malta is now both the smallest and the oldest foreign subsidiary in the Vodafone Group ■ Malta is visited regularly by high profile super yachts, including Pelorus, Roman Abramovich’s 377foot $100 million dollar super yacht, and Tom Perkins’ 289-foot $100 million sailing yacht, Maltese Falcon
in 1798, and the French ruled for two years. Malta became a British Crown Colony in the early nineteenth century and remained so until 21st September 1964, when it became an independent sovereign state. In 1974, Malta was declared a republic. Malta is a member of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations. Soon after independence Malta was admitted to the Council of Europe. In December 1989 Malta hosted the Bush-Gorbachev summit that sealed the end of the Cold War. In 1990, Malta applied for European Union membership. Accession negotiations were concluded in December 2002 and the accession treaty signed in April 2003. Malta became a member state of the European Union on 1st May 2004 and adopted the euro as its currency on 1st January 2008. Malta joined the Partnership for Peace (PfP) in March 2008 and is a keen participant in the European Union’s Euro-Med process. n
■ Proudly displayed in the top left hand corner of the Maltese flag, the George Cross was awarded to the people of Malta by King George VI in April 1942 in recognition of the outstanding bravery and heroism of the island’s population who were subjected to unrelenting, devastating attacks and bombardments by the Axis powers during long periods of the Second World War ■ The ancient Neolithic temples found in Malta are the oldest freestanding monuments in the world ■ The Maltese Islands have three sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are the City of Valletta, the Megalithic Temples and the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum ■ The Knights of St John ruled Malta from 1530 to 1798, arriving on the island after they were defeated
and expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman Turks, where they had ruled since 1309. Their legacy in Malta includes a wealth of military engineering and architectural wonders: forts, bastions, watch towers, aqueducts, churches and cathedrals, as well as the Sacra Infermeria (today the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta), Europe’s foremost hospital in its day ■ A live Maltese Falcon was the yearly symbolic rent at which Emperor Charles V ceded the Maltese islands to the Knights of St John ■ The artist Michelangelo Merisi, better known as ‘Caravaggio’, spent a year and a half in Malta in 1606 – 1607. His greatest masterpiece, The Beheading of St John, was painted during his brief stay in Malta and is still on display in the Museum of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta ■ Valletta is the first example of a city built according to detailed plans and a road grid system ■ Malta’s sister island Gozo is thought to be the mythical island where the nymph Calypso seduced Ulysses ■ Malta has the highest number of churches per square kilometre in the world – 365 in all. One for each day of the year ■ Malta hosted the famous BushGorbachev summit in December 1989 where the end of the Cold War was finally sealed ■ Maltese born Edward de Bono, the originator of Lateral Thinking, is regarded by many to be the leading authority in the world in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He has written 62 books with translations into 37 languages and has been invited to lecture in 54 countries ■ Joseph Calleja, considered to be the most exciting young tenor in the world today, was born and brought up in Malta. Calleja has sung in all of the world’s major opera houses and is one of just a handful of classical artists to have an exclusive recording contract with Decca Records.
innovation COUNTRY PROFILE
A Mediterranean island with 7000 years of history behind it, Maltaâ€™s decisions to join the EU and adopt the euro have strengthened its bid to become the foremost international business centre in the region
alta’s traditional reputation as a sun and sea destination for holidaymakers is changing rapidly as the island ever more aggressively pursues its own role within the world business community. Recognising the intrinsic value of its geographic location and its highly skilled, multi-lingual, flexible workforce, this tiny island nation is determined not to allow size to dictate success. Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and adopted the euro as its currency in 2008, turning itself into one of the most attractive investment locations in the region. Small but highly ambitious, Malta is well on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the regional centre of excellence in IT and financial services. Positioned strategically between Europe and North Africa, the island promotes itself as a stepping stone between the two continents, and is building aggressively on its strong reputation as the ideal regional hub for expansion-focused businesses. The island’s legislative and regulatory systems, formulated and implemented over the last fifteen years to create a solid yet flexible framework for business; its state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure and wealth of highly skilled professionals in every field; plus the injection of EU structural funds accelerating the upgrading of the general infrastructure, combined with its central Mediterranean location and unique sun-kissed lifestyle are coming together to help Malta win both foreign investment and international recognition. The island’s economy, the smallest in the European Union, emerged from the international financial crisis relatively unscathed, with its financial system intact and winning international acclaim for the solidity of its banking system. Indeed, the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index 2008-2009 has ranked Malta 34th (out of 134 countries) for financial market sophistication, with a banking system that is the 10th soundest in the world. Despite these accolades, Malta’s open economy was hit by the effects of the global recession in the second half of 2008, and the country registered a Gross Domestic Product of 5.7 billion euro in 2008, an expansion of just 2.5 per cent in 2008, down from growth of 4.2 per cent in 2007. The latest forecasts for 2009 predict a contraction of two per cent for the year, though positive growth of around 1.1 per cent is expected in 2010. Mediterranean Island Just over 316 square km in area, the Maltese islands, comprising Malta, Gozo and Comino, lie midway between Europe and North Africa, 93 km south of Sicily and 290 km north of Libya. Malta’s 400,000 inhabitants are among the most international of peoples. With a 7000-year history that has seen a succession of foreign conquerors ruling the island until 1964, when Malta gained independence from Britain after 150 years, the islanders have acquired a unique ability to adapt to new ideas and adopt, and improve, the best of them to their ultimate advantage. The main island, Malta, is 27 kilometres long and measures 14.5 kilometres at its widest point. It takes just 45 minutes to cross Malta, reducing commuting times and increasing leisure time, enhancing the island’s overall superior quality of life and making this one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy ‘eight hours of work, eight hours of play and eight hours of rest’. Gozo, with an area of just 67 square kilometres, is home to around 25,000 of Malta’s 400,000 inhabitants, and offers visitors and residents a less developed and more rural environment to live in.
Malta’s main towns include the capital city, Valletta, built by the Knights of St John in the 1500s, the popular sea-side towns of Sliema and St. Julians on the west coast, the inland towns of Mosta and Hamrun, and Paola, situated in the south of the island. While some 90 per cent of Maltese live in urban settings, there are numerous small villages that still evoke the traditional Mediterranean, rural way of life. These include Naxxar, Mgarr, Zebbug and Siggiewi, amongst others. A rocky Mediterranean island with a dry and often windy climate, Malta enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year and the best climate in the world, according to International Living. Surrounded by some of the clearest and cleanest waters in the Mediterranean, the island’s countryside is characterised by the tiny terraced fields carved out of any available agricultural land, supported by laboriously constructed rubble walls, and utilising every available pocket of land, no matter how small.
Small but highly ambitious, Malta is well on its way to achieving its vision of becoming the regional centre of excellence in IT and financial services.
Government and International Relations Malta’s population is one of the most politically active in Europe, with elections seeing voter turnout regularly exceeding 90 per cent and more. The island achieved independence from Great Britain in 1964 and inherited much of its political structure from its erstwhile colonists. Today the island is a parliamentary representative democratic republic, in which executive powers rests with the Prime Minister while the President fulfils the function of Head of State. The last general elections were held in March 2008, when the incumbent Nationalist Party, led by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, won a third consecutive term by a narrow margin. The main opposition party is the Labour Party, led by Joseph Muscat, while the current President is George Abela. As a member of the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Commonwealth, and a keen participant in the Euro-Med process, the cornerstone of Malta’s foreign policy is its membership of the European Union, which it joined on 1st May 2004. Malta is keen to see a further strengthening of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and supports the further enlargement of the EU. On defence matters Malta usually allies itself with its fellow neutral EU member states such as Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Austria. The island has good relations with the Arab world, particularly the countries of North Africa. Maltese Lifestyle The official languages are Maltese and English, with 90 per cent of Maltese being totally bi-lingual. English is used predominantly in business, education, entertainment and newspapers, while Maltese is more commonly used between family and friends, though most people easily switch between the two languages.
while from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, Malta sold itself as a manufacturing base for products like textiles and electronics, using low wages and plentiful supply of labour as its main selling point, by the end of the 1980s it was recognised that educating the workforce to include highly qualified professionals would attract higher value added products and services to the island. Embracing Change Transforming the economy to fit the vision was not always easy, especially post 2001. Privatisation of many government enterprises, radical restructuring of state-owned companies, tight control on government expenditure, higher effective taxation and a stringent tax compliance regime, all measures aimed at reducing the country’s deficit and establishing a stable fiscal platform for the island’s economy, delivered a series of challenging economic shocks. However, the results of these policies reaped success for Malta and not only breathed new life into the nation’s economy but helped boost its performance in the years between EU accession in 2004 and the onset of the recession in mid-2008. New industry sectors – knowledge-based activities that barely even existed two decades ago, such as life science, remote gaming, information and communication technologies, aviation services and financial services – began to grow rapidly, competing with the upgraded traditional leading sectors of tourism and manufacturing for the title of fastest growing sector. Euro Adoption Maltese is a Semitic language believed to have developed during the Arab occupation of the islands (870 – 1090 AD), and it is still the only Semitic language to be written in a Latin script. Most Maltese have a good command of Italian while French and German are also widely spoken. Most business correspondence is in English, which makes Malta an attractive place to conduct business. An added benefit derived from the Maltese’ excellent command of English is that Malta has become one of the most popular destinations for foreigners to study English. The Church plays an active role in most communities on the islands. This is reflected in the large number of churches to be found in Malta; 365 in all – one for each day of the year. Most Maltese are Catholic, but other religious denominations are also represented. The influence of religion is also felt in the country’s traditions with each town and village celebrating their patron saint’s feast day with great pomp and gaiety. The food is mostly European, with a strong Italian influence and Maltese bread is renowned to be excellent. Creating an Economy Before Independence in 1964, Malta was a Fortress economy, with a 150-year tradition of reliance on the British armed forces. The majority of the Maltese workforce was either employed directly by the British forces or in industries servicing the military machine. In the four decades since Independence, Malta’s leaders have laid the foundations for a sustainable economy based on tourism, industry and services. Apart from the natural beauty of the islands, with their golden limestone, crystal clear sea and charming rural landscape, Malta has no natural resources bar its people. And,
EU membership in 2004 and efforts to meet the criteria for adoption of the euro in January 2008 meant Malta’s government had to introduce often unpopular measures to reduce the deficit to below three per cent, cut back levels of public debt to below 60 per cent of GDP, bring down inflation to below the EU’s two per cent benchmark and rein in unemployment. Euro adoption went ahead as planned on 1st January 2008 in a well-managed and stringently supervised transition that attracted the praise of EU leaders across the bloc. In the last year, however, much of the progress registered in the run-up to euro adoption was eroded, with inflation rising through 2008 and only beginning to fall in the second half of 2009. Government finances deteriorated dramatically through 2008, in tandem with many other European countries, and Malta ended the year with a deficit of 4.7 per cent of GDP. In late 2008 the government was forced to postpone its goal to achieve a balanced budget by 2010, but says it has managed to bring the shortfall down to less than four per cent in 2009, and aims to further reduce it to below the European Union limit of three per cent by the end of 2012. Attracting Investment The euro goal had long been seen as a key element in Malta’s potential attractiveness to investors, and as official reports in the years leading up to adoption confirmed that Malta was on target for achieving the Maastricht criteria, foreign direct investment figures for 2006 and 2007 bore this theory out, while UNCTAD’s World Investment Report 2008 ranked Malta in 4th place globally for inward investment performance.
The latest NSO data available indicate that Malta attracted 600 million euro in 2008 in inward investment, down by 96 million euro on 2007 and a significant drop from the record amounts registered in 2006 (1.4 billion euro). However, continued inward investment in Malta in 2008 provided evidence that the island remained an attractive, competitive investment location despite the international situation.
driven for the most part by effective regulation, and the sector now comprises well over 335 licencees operating online gaming sites from Malta, up from just 20 in 2005. This growing sector, which contributed 19 million euro to government finances in 2009, now employs over 2,500 people. The ICT sector is also on a roll, with Malta-based firms enjoying success on an international stage, while Malta-developed software is making substantial leaps forward.
Investing for Progress
Euro anticipation and adoption can be credited with at least part of this success, but other essential elements have also been instrumental in ensuring the steady stream of investment into the country. These include massive investments in infrastructure, including the construction of a state-of-the-art telecoms system, a modern Freeport, airport and power station, dedicated and sophisticated legislative and regulatory systems, and, very significantly, human resources. Most investors and business operators already based in Malta cite their staff as being the main reason they keep their investment in Malta: highly educated, multi-lingual and extremely flexible as well as cost-effective, Malta’s workforce is one of its greatest strengths. And as government and education authorities step up their efforts to marry the output of educational institutions with industry needs, working in tandem with the business community to create courses of study that correspond to specific industry HR requirements, Malta’s university and vocational colleges are producing an everincreasing stream of qualified professionals to service the growing financial services, ICT and the expanding health, pharmaceutical and electronics-related manufacturing sectors.
While Malta’s banking system emerged relatively unscathed from the international financial crisis, the effects of the global recession began to hit the island in mid-2008. Malta’s performance began to show increasing evidence of the consequences of declining international demand, as lower tourist arrivals and a sharp downturn in international orders hit both the service and the industrial sectors of the economy. The island’s high exposure to external influences indicates that these difficulties will intensify in early 2010. While the economy shrank by two per cent in 2009, according to European Commission and Malta government forecasts, observers expect to see the economy picking up speed again in 2010 and register growth of 1.1 per cent Despite the country’s current disappointing performance, its government remains confident that Malta’s diversified economy based on new, knowledge-based industry sectors such as IT, financial services and professional services as well as high value added manufacturing and tourism, is resilient enough to withstand the worst of the effects of the international recession. Initiatives to assist industries struggling to survive have been implemented, with strings attached that commit companies benefitting from state assistance to increasing the size of their investment and their employment levels in the country over the next couple of years.
Leading Industry Sectors Tourism remains a cornerstone of Malta’s economy, contributing some 25 per cent of GDP. Other leading sectors include financial services, high-end manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, ICTs, aviation and maritime activities as well as professional services. All of these industries have shown growth since Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004. Indeed, joining the EU brought significant sector-specific advantages that have led to considerable expansion over the years. In efforts to ensure these areas continue to grow, Malta is investing heavily in educating its young people for careers in these sectors, often designing specialised courses in conjunction with industry representatives in order to ensure that future growth is not hindered by a shortage in qualified personnel. In financial services, a sector that has seen 30 per cent growth per annum in the last three years, one of the main reasons for Malta’s attractiveness as a domicile for financial services operators is the passporting rights firms enjoy to other EU and EEA areas, which has led to Malta becoming a magnet for insurance and fund management firms. This growth has been internationally recognised and the 2008 Global Financial Services Index, published by the City of London, ranked Malta in 4th place as the Centre most likely to increase in importance in the next few years, and in 5th place as the Centre where most organisations are likely to begin new operations in the next two to three years. Other areas are also showing similar growth. Remote gaming is fast becoming a major revenue earner and employer, again
The ICT sector is also on a roll, with Malta-based firms enjoying success on an international stage, while Malta-developed software is making substantial leaps forward
Moving Ahead Malta’s strengths lie mainly in the resilience and ambition of its people, qualities that are a direct result of the chequered history that makes Malta fascinating. Offering foreign investors the security and ease of operating within EU borders yet within easy reach of the emerging markets of North Africa and the Middle East, supported by top class legislative framework, a stable political and economic environment, and a cost-effective, driven workforce, Malta is moving ahead rapidly for foreigners working in Malta, the a combination of an efficient business climate and excellent infrastructure enhanced by a relaxed Mediterranean environment - providing a unique and magical opportunity to do business in the sun. n
MALTA : THE TIER ONE EUROPEAN
eGaming jurisdiction eGAMING JURISDICTION OVERVIEW
eGaming operators looking for a European base are increasingly opting for Malta as their jurisdiction of choice, drawn by the Mediterranean islandâ€™s offering of strong regulation, attractive tax regime and state-of-the-art IT infrastructure
emote gaming has become one of Malta’s most important industry sectors, registering continuing year-on-year growth and putting Malta in the lead as the most prestigious European Tier One jurisdiction for eGaming companies. Offering one of the most progressive environments in the world for eGaming activities, Malta has embraced the online gaming revolution with vigour and vision. With hundreds of licensed operators and service providers now based on this small Mediterranean island, the industry is proving that tight regulation and stringent supervision offer the ideal conditions for remote gaming companies to operate in. Built on a solid foundation of legislation, services and technology infrastructure, Malta’s remote gaming industry now includes some of the world’s largest and most profitable online gaming companies. Structuring a New Industry Sector In 2004 Malta became the first European country to offer dedicated legislation for online gaming: the Remote Gaming regulations came into force on the 20th April 2004, and since then the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (the Malta Regulator of the remote gaming industry) has processed over 500 applications for a remote gaming licence. In May 2004 Malta joined the European Union, giving licencees the added benefit of being located in and regulated by a jurisdiction that formed part of the largest single market in the world. Today there are some 335 active licence holders operating out of Malta, including some of the world’s largest operators and gaming software providers such as Betfair, Betsson, Unibet, Expekt, Interwetten, Regent Markets, Entraction, Chartwell Games, Boss Media, Tain Operations and Net Entertainment. The remote gaming industry in Malta is comprised of two distinct segments: online casinos and sports betting. In the area of sports betting Malta has succeeded in attracting some of the leading European names to establish operations on the island while online casinos offer perhaps the biggest opportunity for the island’s remote gaming industry, and with the ever-increasing popularity of Internet based games such as poker, progressive jackpots, roulette, blackjack and slots worldwide, the island is keen to attract leading operators in this area. Creating the Right Environment for eGaming Malta is the smallest member state in the European Union, in terms of territory, population and economy, however its proximity to the European mainland, its EU-compliant legal system and bilingual, multi-skilled workforce have made the island an attractive
base for international business. Over the last two decades, Malta has transformed itself into a service economy, with a strong focus on ICT and knowledge-based industries, dubbing itself the ‘Smart Island’ since winning a multi-million euro investment from Dubai which will see a new concept IT business park built on the island in the next few years. Remote gaming offered an opportunity to combine the island’s strengths and allow Malta to reap first-mover advantage by being among the first countries in the world to legislate and regulate the then nascent industry. Reaping the Benefits The advantages of operating within an efficiently regulated system are myriad, and Malta is fast reaping the benefits of its revamped legislation. 335 licences to operate in Malta have been issued so far, held by around 250 operators, and the sector already employs some 2,300 people with more than 2,000 others providing ancillary services such as web hosting, security audit, certificate agencies, legal work and others. In 2005 the industry, then consisting of just 20 operating companies, handed over just under 5 million euro in taxes to the Treasury, while in 2009 the Maltese Government collected 19 million euro in revenue from the gaming sector, up from 15.6 million euro the previous year. The relatively low licence fees of 7,000 euro a year nonetheless offer Malta’s government yet another stream of revenue, and as the number of licensed operators rises steadily so too does that sum. Valuable Economic Sector The importance of the industry to the island’s economy was stressed by Finance Minister Tonio Fenech in a speech he gave at an eGaming conference held in Malta in November 2008. “Over the past four years the Lotteries and Gaming Authority has processed over 500 applications for a remote gaming licence,” Minister Fenech said. “The industry has become a significant contributor to job creation and to date more than 4,500 people work in the gaming industry: 2,300 of whom are directly employed with the remote gaming industry. This year the country will have generated a percentage increase of 46 per cent in revenue from what the Government received in year 2007.” Already seeing a multi-billion euro total annual turnover, the eGaming sector in Malta is one of the most dynamic new industries on the island. With 335 licensed operations and some 120 in the pipeline awaiting issue, that total would appear to be merely a starting point, and with the larger companies processing some 100 million euro each in annual turnover it is clearly a sector with vast potential. Tier One Jurisdiction The remote gaming sector in Malta has grown very rapidly over the last couple of years, and the island is now well-established as a Tier One jurisdiction. The reasons for this are various, and primary among these is the role played by the legislation and strong regulatory regime, which offers operators a stable and secure framework in which to carry out their business, adding weight to their reputation and giving them an advantage in dealing with banks, financial institutions and investors. Malta’s regulations were
the first serious venture into cyberspace; in an attempt to reshape it into a well-regulated environment. Indeed, the LGA’s quest to keep criminality out of gaming and to adequately safeguard players is paramount. However, beyond that is the fact that Malta, as an EU nation, offers operators a gateway for business in the EU and finally, while taxation is not the lowest on offer, it is within the acceptable range and capped at 466,000 euro per year. Furthermore, operators are drawn to Malta by the attractive set of advantages the island offers over other locations. As a globally respected international financial centre, the island gives gaming companies a top tier address from which to base their operations and, with an established state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure capable of hosting and delivering round the clock connectivity through four submarine fibre-optic links to mainland Europe, as well as the presence of industry support services such as online payment processors, security auditors and gaming software developers and platform providers, the island provides a tailor-made environment vastly conducive to growing a successful business. In addition the island offers the benefit of low taxation, a network of double taxation agreements and a declared government commitment to encourage and develop the industry. Telecoms and IT Supporting the Industry Over the last two decades, Malta has transformed itself into a service economy, with a strong focus on ICT and knowledgebased industries. Already regarded internationally as a centre of excellence in financial services, Malta’s strategy has been to create the legislation and infrastructure to support knowledge industries such as financial services and ICTs, and to proactively develop the necessary services to support these industries.
Malta’s strict regulation of online gaming and EU member status also qualified it to move automatically onto the UK government’s White List of localities from which online gaming companies are allowed to tap into the lucrative UK market and advertise their services in the UK. The news, coming out in mid 2007, prompted an immediate response from the online gaming industry, with no less than 27 international companies shifting their online operations to Malta in August 2007 alone
International connectivity is pivotal to the remote gaming industry and Malta’s developments in this area over the past few years have cemented the island’s position as the leading EU jurisdiction for eGaming operators. GO, Vodafone and Melita, operators of the submarine fibre optic cables giving Malta most of its international connectivity, say that around 50 per cent of their broadband capacity services eGaming industry, either directly or indirectly via data centres, though both companies emphasise that their future capacity is virtually unlimited. This is vital for the potential of further expansion of the industry, and means that both the eGaming sector and other sectors that require bandwidth, such as financial services companies, airlines and other onlinebased activities, are not limited by connectivity issues, either in the present or following future growth. Providing crucial hosting and co-location services to the eGaming and other industries, Malta has developed a growing cluster of data centre service providers, ranging from those operated by the telecoms operators with their own international fibre optic cables, to telecoms companies offering telephony and internet services as well as hosting services, and several specialist data centres set up specifically to service the industry. Software Developers Malta has also proved an attractive location for software developers and providers supplying the eGaming industry, with some 25 companies holding a Class 4 licence from the LGA. Companies present in Malta include Chartwell Games, Entraction and Net Entertainment, as well as Microgaming, Parlay and Wagerlogic. While any software or platform operated by eGaming websites licensed in Malta must also be in possession of a valid licence from the LGA. Developers that maintain an office and staff on the island say that the strict regulation of the industry as well as the advantageous tax regime and availability of high quality staff and professional service providers make the island an attractive location to operate from.
Attracting the Right People One of the main benefits of establishing operations in Malta is the high quality of the local human resources and the attraction of Malta to staff being recruited from abroad. While the Maltese workforce is renowned for its strong work ethics, loyalty and high productivity across all industry sectors, the relatively young remote gaming industry requires specialist knowledge that is as yet largely unavailable in Malta. As a result, over 50 per cent of employees in the eGaming sector in Malta are foreign expats, attracted by the rapid growth of the industry and the added value of living on a Mediterranean island. However, according to recruitment specialists and operators in the industry, Maltese employees of online betting and gaming companies have proved quick to learn new skills, meaning they progress fast up the career ladder, and offer strong loyalty to their employers, reducing employee churn and adding enormous value to the company. Market Access and Barriers – EU international dimension While the debate on remote gaming in the European Union remains undecided to date, the Malta jurisdiction has been clear that it believes there should be EU-wide regulations governing the industry on the basis of the principle of freedom of movement of goods and services. In Malta’s view, operators who obtain a licence in one member state should be free to operate wherever that company wishes to in the EU and the island has been very vocal in defending the right of locally licensed remote gaming companies to operate across Europe’s borders. Malta’s reputation as a quality jurisdiction with a serious and reputable regulator monitoring the industry has given locally licensed operators the solidity of a firm legal basis to their claim to operate throughout Europe.
Notwithstanding this position, the current trend, supported by the most recent European Court of Justice rulings, by many EU governments has been to regulate the eGaming industry on a national basis. This trend of national regulation has prompted Malta to seek greater interaction with its fellow regulators across the EU to help assist Malta-licensed operators to gain faster approvals in countries where companies are required to seek a licence from the national governments. The remote gaming industry itself is gravitating towards reputable jurisdictions, like Malta, that offer stability, legality and credibility. As the debate on European acceptance of online gambling goes on, the industry continues to fight its corner. It may be impossible to predict when full liberalisation in Europe will come, but both the industry and the Malta jurisdiction are determined to see that it does. Regulation and Legislation Having set up a regulator for the industry, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), and introduced new regulations on online betting in 2000, Malta introduced its new Remote Gaming Regulations in 2004, under the Lotteries and Other Games Act. The groundbreaking regulations brought many new concepts to the gaming industry, with the most important of these being that regulations are technology neutral and game neutral, thus encompassing any type of gaming using a means of distance communication including internet, digital TV, mobile phone technology, telephone and fax. Malta was the first country in Europe to pass dedicated online gaming legislation. Since Malta’s membership of the EU in 2004, the island’s regulations have been harmonised with those of other European states, but Malta still remains one of the few European countries with a dedicated regulatory regime to govern online gaming. Awarded the Business Britain Magazine’s award for services to the Online Gaming Industry in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and Best Regulator in 2007, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority in Malta is considered exemplary in leading the way in terms of regulation and legislation for this industry. Malta’s strict regulation of online gaming and EU member status also qualified it to move automatically onto the UK government’s White List of localities from which online gaming companies are allowed to tap into the lucrative UK market and advertise their services in the UK. The news, coming out in mid 2007, prompted an immediate response from the online gaming industry, with no less than 27 international companies shifting their online operations to Malta in August 2007 alone. The Malta Remote Gaming Council The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC), launched in 2005 on the initiative of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, is made up of all the stakeholders of the remote gaming industry, including licenced operators, data carriers, internet service providers, lawyers and professional services providers. With the objective of serving as ongoing discussion forum between the Regulator and the industry, the MRGC gives a voice to the remote gaming industry, and is charged with building credibility in the industry, as well as promoting and enhancing it.
Challenges and Future Trends While Malta continues to see rapid growth in the eGaming sector, operators and professionals working in the industry believe it is time for the remote gaming regulations to be updated and finetuned to reflect developments and technological advances of the past few years. Technology is a fast-moving sector and, they believe, the Maltese regulator needs to keep up with the innovations coming through if it intends Malta to retain its position as the leading European eGaming jurisdiction. In addition, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, though universally praised for the excellence of its work and thoroughness of its supervision, has been criticised for delays in processing and issuing licences. Recognising this problem, the LGA is focusing on streamlining their procedures in order to operate more efficiently, according to the Dr Joseph Borg, Director Legal and Enforcement at the LGA. In 2008, a new CEO was appointed to head the Authority, Reuben Portanier, and one his first objectives was to increase the efficiency of the LGA without diminishing the stringency of their operations. By January 2010 the LGA had already accelerated its licencing turnover time by 27 per cent and intends to further improve this record by speeding up the processing period by 40 to 45 per cent over the next months. Thriving Sector Among the 335 licence holders already in Malta are Betfair, Betsson, Expekt, Unibet, Interwetten, Primebet, Bingo.com, William Hill, StanleyBet and Regent Markets, and, as others join the list at a rapidly increasing rate, this thriving sector becomes ever more attractive as a proposition to the remote gaming operators the world over. Malta offers online gaming companies a secure, stable and well-regulated environment for all interactive gaming activities, as well as a highly developed legal and technological infrastructure, well placed to satisfy the needs of a continually evolving remote gaming sector. Add to that the island’s state-ofthe-art telecommunications infrastructure, low-tax environment and European Union membership and it is clear why the island has become an attractive proposition for online gaming operators from around the world. n
Malta offers online gaming companies a secure, stable and well-regulated environment for all interactive gaming activities, as well as a highly developed legal and technological infrastructure, well placed to satisfy the needs of a continually evolving remote gaming sector
Interview with Tonio Fenech, Minister of Finance
quality attracting quantity Malta is now recognised as a leading jurisdiction for remote gaming. How was this result achieved? Way back in 2000 Malta aimed to establish a name for itself as the leading regional centre of excellence in financial services by 2015. Effective and sophisticated legislation combined with efficient and responsive regulation have proved to be the winning formula in Malta’s ambition to succeed not only in the financial services but also in the IT and telecoms sector. Furthermore Malta focused on being the avant-garde EU country promoting e-Government, in excelling in ICT and made concerted efforts in having a sound legislation on cyber crime, e-commerce and anti-money laundering procedures. However, I believe that Malta was also at the right time and in the right place to invest our energies in the then relatively new remote gaming industry. In 2004 Malta was the first EU country to regulate effectively this industry and has registered considerable success over the past five years. Malta’s strong regulatory framework, the fact that Malta is an EU member state, Malta’s excellent track record, economic and political stability, a high standard of living and a strong financial services industry are all key factors that have attributed to Malta’s success in becoming the leading European jurisdiction for remote gaming. However, they are not the only ones. The laws and regulations were designed to establish a quality jurisdiction which regulated effectively the online gaming industry, while being focused on the player. This quality and player-centric philosophy, intrinsic in the remote gaming regulations, allowed Malta to build robust systems to monitor and supervise operations and thus gaining high international repute.
Are there any plans to update Malta’s 2004 legislation to reflect innovations and new technologies that are emerging and if so, by when will this be achieved? Yes, in fact the Authority is working very closely with the Ministry in order to propose a new framework for all the legislation and regulations relating to gaming. The global gaming scene has developed a lot in the last few years, especially with the advent of new technologies and the convergence of delivery platforms. This gave rise to the need for streamlining all the related legislation into one main Act, under the same principals and coherent licensing structures. The project was initiated in November 2008 and is due to be completely finalised by the end of 2010. The overhaul of the Remote Gaming Regulations is part of this project and the ultimate aim is to have regulations which are, as much as possible, technology and game neutral. What was the annual growth rate of the industry, in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. What growth do you anticipate for 2009? The annual growth rate in terms of Revenue generated to Government (gaming duty) was 63.5 per cent in 2005, 80 pe rcent in 2006, 22.5 per cent in 2007 and 53.3 per cent in 2008. We are forecasting an increase in revenue of ten per cent, the reason being that we are not expecting a significant increase in the number of applications is mainly due to the international financial crisis which had left an impact on all the sectors and to a smaller extent even to gaming. Moreover, start-up companies do not usually generate a significant growth in their revenues and therefore will not pay higher gaming duty. The forecast of a ten per cent increase is also based on the fact that all licensees are subject to a capping of 466,000 euro per annum on all remote gaming duty. Therefore in the case of major players who already pay the full capping, increase in their income will not generate an increase in the tax paid. Furthermore Class 1 and Class 4 licenses have fixed tax rates irrespective of their income.
In 2009 alone, the remote gaming sector contributed 19 million euro from gaming duty. Apart from that the sector generates the direct employment of about 2,500 employees and a significant part of Malta’s international bandwidth is used for remote gaming.
What is the total revenue per annum of the remote gaming industry in Malta? What is the total contribution to government finances per annum from remote gaming operations, for 2007 and 2008? What revenue does government foresee for 2009?
The other member states of the European Union are divided over the issue of remote gaming, with some states banning it outright and others limiting it to their own national monopolies. What is Malta’s position on remote gaming within the European Union?
In terms of Total Revenue remote gaming brings to Malta, the source of such data is the NSO. However, the direct contribution of remote gaming to government as per gaming duties collected in 2009 is 19 million euro – 53.3 per cent increase from the previous year. This does not include the corporate tax, the National Insurance and Income tax of remote gaming employees and other indirect contributions. As mentioned before the government foresees a ten per cent increase in gaming duty from the previous year.
The LGA does not limit the Jurisdictions where licencees can operate, however it is the operator who has to seek its own legal advice to seek that it is fully compliant with the laws and regulations of the jurisdictions it intends to operate in.
How important is the remote gaming industry for the Maltese economy and how committed is the government to ensuring the industry is encouraged to develop further?
Since Malta is a full Member of the European Union and is consequently also part of the European Economic Area, it has attracted a huge number of operators facing the European market. In its position as Member State of the EU Malta has the opportunity to voice its support for operators licensed in Malta in various EU fora and with various EU institutions. Furthermore, it has the possibility to review and submit reasoned opinions on proposed laws and regulations of other States which form part of the European Economic Area, before such laws and regulations are enacted or issued, as the case may be.
The remote gaming industry together with the land based gaming and lotteries sector contribute significantly to the Maltese economy. In 2009 alone, the remote gaming sector contributed 19 million euro from gaming duty. Apart from that the sector generates the direct employment of about 2,500 employees and a significant part of Malta’s international bandwidth is used for remote gaming. Furthermore the sector also generates income indirectly through service providers, corporate tax and other significant contributions. The Government’s main support to the industry is seen in efforts made to create the factors conducive to its development. Intrinsically the gaming industry is built on Malta’s excellence as a centre for financial services and ICT: two essential and critical pillars required for the i-gaming industry. The Government also supports the i-gaming industry and its rights within the EU internal market in order to ensure that there are no illegitimate obstacles to trade within the EU.
Does the Maltese government offer any support to Maltese licence holders who are impeded from offering their services in other EU countries?
What is the Maltese government’s position on remote gaming operations in the European Union? Does the European Commission support this position? Malta has always held that the provisions of the EC Treaty, namely articles 43 (Freedom of Establishment) and 49 (Freedom to provide services) must be respected. Furthermore Malta has always held that Gaming is a service in terms of Article 50 of the EC treaty. n
Interview with Reuben Portanier, CEO, Lotteries and Gaming Authority MAINTAINING THE
highest standards Malta is now the largest European remote gaming jurisdiction in terms of number of licencees. What has led to this growth and how do you intend to ensure it continues? Malta’s lead position in the European remote gaming industry came about as the result of the radical restructuring of the Maltese economy that has taken place over the last two decades. When it was decided that Malta would focus on becoming a regional centre of excellence in services such as financial services, ICTs and telecommunications, accompanied by massive investment in transforming the infrastructure to match this ambition, this created the ideal foundation for the island to also become a centre of excellence in remote gaming. Without this crucial infrastructure, it would not have been possible for Malta to develop the remote gaming sector significantly, but the infrastructure alone, of course, was not enough. The Maltese government took a conscious decision to invest in creating strong regulation that was flexible enough to cater for innovation; this initiative kicked off its efforts to create an iGaming industry, which culminated in 2004 when Malta joined the European Union and, with its fully EU compliant legislation in place, became one of the first EU states to offer a serious, fully regulated environment for operators.
issuance, as well as where and how to improve those processes. This has already resulted in improvement: our biggest issue was in the licencing area, but in just three months we have managed to reduce the backlog by over 20 per cent. It is also pertinent to point out that there has been a huge influx of applications in the past two months with almost double the amount of applications received as opposed to the normal trend – a sign of confidence in our jurisdiction. How important is the remote gaming industry for the Maltese economy and what commitment do you see from the government to ensure the industry is encouraged to develop further? The commitment from government is manifested not only in terms of economic activity, but also in terms of making sure the industry is compliant to all laws, that it is free from criminality and that it is fair for players. The commitment from government is towards both the industry and the player and has been manifested very publicly. The principles of the Maltese government are 100 per cent in line with the principles of the EU Treaty and this is vigorously respected in all our laws. This in itself is a very clear indication of the government’s commitment to the industry.
The LGA has issued 500 remote gaming licences to date, around 335 of which are currently operating online gambling websites. Does the LGA have sufficient staff to deal with new applications and monitor and supervise the operations of all licence holders?
The other member states of the European Union are divided over the issue of remote gaming, with some states banning it outright and others limiting it to their own national monopolies. What is LGA’s position on remote gaming within the European Union?
Over the past months we have looked into our processes and identified how these could be streamlined and we have taken on new staff and engaged firms of high repute to assist us in certain elements of our processes. In parallel, we also initiated a process review in order to streamline the processes leading up to licence
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority is the regulator of the industry and as such it enforces the laws and regulations published by the government of Malta. Those laws are in line with EU principles and are fully compliant with EU laws and our position is that we regulate in full compliance with EU principles and laws.
The commitment from government is manifested not only in terms of economic activity, but also in terms of making sure the industry is compliant to all laws, that it is free from criminality and that it is fair for players.
Several remote gaming operators have been penalised for offering their services in certain EU countries. What support does the LGA give Maltese licence holders who face this sort of problem? Malta is supporting the principles of the EU Treaty and the European Commission, in various instances, has been upholding this position. If we look at two recent reasoned opinions raised by the European Commission against the proposed laws that Belgium and France respectively wanted to enact, the Commission said both countries were infringing the principles of the EU Treaty. As regards the LGA, we are not the legal advisors of the licence holders, however we keep up to date with all developments. What do you believe are the main challenges facing the industry in Malta at the moment? First of all, the industry is facing a challenge in Europe, in that at European level there is no agreement as yet on how to regulate the industry effectively across Europe, and as remote gaming is a crossborder operation, this constitutes one of the major challenges the industry is facing. However, we have to make sure that players are protected and whether the industry is regulated by country or on a European level, it must be regulated and this must happen as fast as possible. As for challenges in Malta, the fact that we were one of the first to regulate put us in a position of strength and this strength still stands today because the regulations were drawn up with vision and with a strong focus on standards. Maltaâ€™s application procedure is a rigorous one, a fact which means players know they are much more protected under our laws. Predominantly our licencees are very strong, and this is not going to change, in fact, if anything, it will get stronger. The main challenge for the LGA is how to continue enhancing quality checks and taking them to the next level, to ensure we always excel.
How do you see the industry in Malta developing over the next five years? There are various signals throughout the industry. We are seeing movements whereby smaller operators are looking at merging in order to enjoy economies of scale advantages, and also in order to pool talent, expertise and technology in order to offer much enhanced operations. We are also seeing medium sized operations taking over small operators, while large operators are acquiring smaller operations to enrich their gaming offering and the experience for their players. Small operators meanwhile are moving into niche areasâ€Śso there is a lot of movement, but it is not one clear trend, however, you no longer find small operators trying to offer everything, but instead they specialise in one area and as they grow, add on new services. Another trend we are seeing is that mass media and gaming are going to converge very fast, offering services such as Specialised Gaming Channels, and other dedicated sport channels that have partnerships with gaming operations. The future seems to be exploiting to the fullest all forms of delivery channels via any remote means, a development already envisaged in our existing remote gaming laws. What is your message for the remote gaming community in Malta and abroad? As the regulator of the Malta jurisdiction, my message is that it is important that the licences we issue maintain the high quality seal that has now earned the Malta jurisdiction such a high repute. Operators need to be proactive and forward-looking, they need to adhere strongly to the spirit of the law and ensure always that players are protected effectively and games are not only fair, but also transparent enough that they are seen to be fair, as well as seeing that responsible gaming is promoted with their customers. Our licencees already have this mentality, and my message to them would be to continue to embrace this commitment and enhance the high levels of service they already offer. n
Interview with Daniela Grioli, Chairperson of the Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC)
keys to successful remote gaming The MRGC was set up to represent the remote gaming industry in Malta. What are the main issues brought up by your members and what steps does the MRGC take to support these issues? The main issues relate to licensing problems and the excessive delays. There are also a number of ad-hoc issues that arise. This is a fast-changing and evolving industry and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority are still trying to cope with licensing back log and find it hard to find time to discuss and decide on new business concepts and models. The MRGC holds frequent meetings with the CEO, Compliance Director and Legal and Enforcement director to discuss these issues and to reach solutions that are satisfactory for all concerned parties. With revenue to government finances rising rapidly every year, do you believe the sector in Malta can continue to grow at the same rate of the past few years? What should government do to ensure it continues to grow? It is very difficult to sustain the same level of growth as most of the larger players in the industry have already set up in Malta. Moreover, other jurisdictions in and outside the EU have followed Malta’s initiative, enacted similar legislation and are attracting operators to their shores. Malta has to be attentive to the market demands and competition and try to stay ahead and be pro-active. We believe that due to the turmoil created by changes in leadership at the Authority, Malta may have fallen a bit behind. However, we believe that the present CEO is on the right track and given time Malta will again become pro-active and more industry aware. There has been some criticism of the LGA in terms of delays in issuing licences and concerns that the Authority needs additional resources in order to fulfill their monitoring responsibilities. Do you agree with this criticism and what step do you believe should be taken to address these issues? One cannot but agree as the facts are there for everyone to see and touch. The workload has been overwhelming and changes in the LGA personnel have also had a negative effect. Let’s be clear we are not blaming anyone, it’s just that changes always cause delays and problems until the new setup settles down and gets into gear. We
have discussed our members’ thoughts and ideas several times with the Authority and we are hoping that they have understood our concerns and will take any actions within their power to improve matters. We understand that the Authority commissioned a process review to understand where they can improve the licensing process and also the monitoring process and be more efficient and effective as a regulator. Some operators and service providers have said that while the legislation attracted them to Malta, it is now five years old and needs to be updated. How important is it that the regulations are updated and how urgently should it be carried out? This is another area where the MRGC has discussed on various occasions with the Authority and the responsible ministry. The MRGC agrees that the regulations are due for a facelift to bring them more in line with the developments that have occurred since they were first introduced. It is also imperative that any new regulations are more generic in nature to allow for future developments that may occur in the industry. Not many countries have laws governing remote gaming, however, this must not be of comfort to us as we see more and more jurisdictions looking into the possibility of creating their own regulations and we may quickly find ourselves falling behind, and from leaders we become stragglers. How important is the remote gaming industry for the Maltese economy and what commitment do you see from the government to ensure the industry is encouraged to develop further? Love it or hate it, people like to gamble, online or through a land based casino or betting shop. Malta was the first to legislate this industry and is now reaping the benefits. The remote gaming industry has become an important part of the Maltese economy and needs to be nurtured and protected. From meetings we have had with top government officials and Ministers (the fact that we manage to meet with them is already a good sign) it is very evident that the Government understands the importance of the industry and wants to develop it and protect it. We have also had tremendous support and backing from some of the MEPs. Suffice to say that Malta had a key role in blocking the French and Belgian proposed gaming laws at EU level.
We feel optimistic that things are about to improve and that the MRGC will continue to help the industry and the legislators and regulators to ensure that the most important parties, i.e. the remote gaming operators will stay in Malta and new ones will come. The other member states of the European Union are divided over the issue of remote gaming, with some states banning it outright and others limiting it to their own national monopolies. What is MRGCâ€™s position on remote gaming within the European Union? The MRGC has always been very clear about its position and has always voiced its opinion that it does not agree with protectionism and discriminatory behaviour by most of the EU countries. The European Courts have also voiced the same opinion. The MRGC believes that like every other industry of a sensitive nature, online gambling should be properly regulated and made available to any EU citizen irrespective of where they live and irrespective of where the operator is licensed in the EU. Stopping cross-border gambling with the excuse of money laundering, gambling addiction and every other excuse possible is not working. Our biggest fear is that each country will be allowed to license operators in their jurisdiction for their own citizens and stop other EU licensed operators from penetrating their market. This is exactly what the EU is NOT about and it seems so far that the EU is resisting this trend. Recent rejected laws are proof of the EU resistance. While many remote gaming operators in Malta state they obtained their Malta licence specifically to service the European market, several remote gaming operators have faced problems offering their services in certain EU countries. What support does the MRGC give Maltese licence holders who face this kind of problem? What we would like to do and what we can do are two different things. Unfortunately there is not much anyone can do. It seems that even the EU cannot force these countries to accept a valid, legal EU licence. The EU has commenced infringement procedures against a number of these countries and a number of ECJ rulings would also indicate that these countries are infringing on the EU treaty. The most we can do is speak with the Maltese Government, the MEPs and provide any feedback, information or backing when we are able to. What is the MRGCâ€™s position on remote gaming operations in the European Union? Does the European Commission support this position?
Remote gaming is here to stay. There are negative effects of gambling on society in the same way as there are negative effects of carbon emissions, alcohol, tobacco, pornography, violent games, etc. None of these are banned, they are controlled and regulated. This is what the MRGC wants to achieve: control and regulation over an industry that is here to stay. We prefer it to be above ground than to go underground where it will become more dangerous. We sincerely believe that the European commission has to support this position in order to respect the spirit of the EU treaty. If countries are willing to license their monopolies then it is very clear that they do not want to ban online gaming but are simply out to ensure that the gaming tax is retained in their country. Studies have proved that private operators are better equipped and regulated (most times selfregulated) to help problem gamblers and prevent fraud, underage gambling and other problems associated with remote gaming. How do you see the industry in Malta developing over the next five years? It depends on how the three points above are tackled in the coming months. The MRGC has proposed, and will be proposing, ideas on these matters and we hope that our proposals are taken seriously as the MRGC is voicing the opinion and feelings of the majority of the industry. Thankfully we have built up a good working relationship with the Authority and Ministries and continue to work very positively with them. We feel optimistic that things are about to improve and that the MRGC will continue to help the industry and the legislators and regulators to ensure that the most important parties, i.e. the remote gaming operators will stay in Malta and new ones will come. What is your message for the remote gaming community in Malta and abroad? Malta is still the leader in remote gaming in the EU. It has lost a bit of its lead in the past year but we are confident that it can be regained. We are confident there is the will to do so from all the relevant parties. We want to tell the other EU countries to liberalise and respect other EU countries and stop protecting their monopolies. They are depriving their citizens of a right to choose and are disrespecting other EU countries by not accepting their licensing regime. n
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regulation and legislation
reputable , responsible and
responsive R E G U L ATO RY OV E RV I E W
The key principles of Malta’s cutting edge remote gaming legislation and regulation are what underpin the island’s extraordinary success as the leading remote gaming jurisdiction in Europe
alta has become the leading European jurisdiction for eGaming companies, led by an award winning regulator, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, and bolstered by the enactment of dedicated remote gambling legislation that has attracted some of the world’s largest and most important Tier One operators to the island. While Malta also offers an advantageous corporate and gaming tax regime, as well as various other industry benefits, the fact that the island offers a secure, well-regulated environment that places great emphasis on player protection and responsible gambling as well as anti money laundering and anti fraud measures, (all of which takes place within an EU context), remains the main reason most companies choose to establish operations in Malta.
“The key success factors for Malta’s remote gaming industry can be summed up in three words: Reputable, Responsible and Responsive. Malta took a bold step from the outset to introduce remote gaming regulations that were far superior to any other jurisdiction in terms of strict licensing procedures, strong monitoring controls and player protection mechanism,” said Minister Tonio Fenech, the Government minister responsible for the remote gaming industry in Malta. Fenech’s statement is mirrored in the praise of leading operators based on the island: the first reason all operators we spoke to cite as being key to their decision to set up shop in Malta is the fact that Malta offers a wellregulated, EU environment that has won the respect of the industry across the world.
regulation and legislation
Brand New Industry While Malta has been a pioneer in developing the European gaming industry, remote gambling is still a brand-new industry with barely 15 years of operation under its belt. The first online gambling sites only appeared on the internet in the mid 1990s after Antigua, the first jurisdiction to offer legislation and licensing, passed the Free Trade and Processing Zone act in 1994. Antigua’s foresight was quickly replicated by Kahnawake, in Canada, which established its Gaming Commission in 1996 and began issuing licences to the by-now growing number of online casinos and poker rooms being set up. Malta soon recognised the potential of this burgeoning industry and in 2000 introduced regulations for Offshore Betting Offices under the Department of Public Lotto Act, attracting more than 60 companies to establish themselves in Malta between 2000 and 2004. The first companies to arrive, which included Unibet, licenced in 2000, and Expekt, licenced in 2002, were attracted to Malta by the fact that the island offered a regulated market, with the correct amount of supervision and monitoring of the industry by a government entity. The fact that the island also offered a favourable taxation regime, both in terms of corporate tax and gaming tax, and that Malta had a good infrastructure, with adequate bandwidth that has continued to improve over the years, helped to reinforce the operators’ choice. Now regarded as the leading gaming location in Europe, Malta is regarded by gaming companies as an upstanding jurisdiction that is well regulated, and situated within the EU. This means their players can feel their money is safe, and that, of course, is of primary importance to an online gambling operation.
The key success factors for Malta’s remote gaming industry can be summed up in three words: Reputable, Responsible and Responsive
Front Runner in Regulation In 2004 Malta became the first European country to offer dedicated legislation for online gaming: the Remote Gaming regulations came into force on the 20th April 2004, and since then the Lotteries and Gaming Authority has processed over 500 applications for a remote gaming licence. In May 2004 Malta joined the European Union, giving licencees the added benefit of being located in and regulated by a jurisdiction that formed part of the largest single market in the world. Today there are some 335 active licence holders operating out of Malta, including some of the world’s largest operators and gaming software providers such as Betfair, Betsson, Unibet, Expekt, Interwetten, Regent Markets, Entraction, Chartwell Games, Boss Media, Tain Operations and Net Entertainment. A further 120 applications are currently in the licensing pipeline and due to come online the next few months.
The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC), launched in 2005 on the initiative of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, is made up of all the stakeholders of the remote gaming industry, including licensed operators, data carriers, internet service providers, lawyers and professional services providers. With the objective of serving as an ongoing discussion forum between the Regulator and the industry, the MRGC gives a voice to the remote gaming industry, and is charged with building credibility in the industry, as well as promoting and enhancing it. Legal Framework Operating within the EU environment and understanding how the remote gambling sector within the 27-nation bloc is regulated is challenging, with each of the member states legislating differently on what, how and by whom online gambling is allowed within their national borders. This ongoing situation means that different laws govern each separate jurisdiction, and operators seeking to offer a European-wide service face a complicated task in dealing with multiple jurisdictions. It is no less complicated for the governments themselves, seeking to create the laws to adequately govern this fluid and internet-based ‘borderless’ industry that remains very much in the nascent stage in terms of regulation. Malta was one of the first countries in the world and the first country in Europe to address the issue of regulation for the remote gambling industry. The island’s remote gaming regulations, published in 2004 and set to be updated this year, provide lawmakers grappling with this challenge with a clear and detailed example of a legal framework that can adequately and efficiently regulate this growing industry. Remote gaming in Malta is ruled by the Remote Gaming Regulations 2004 and administered by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA). The regulations provide a comprehensive legal framework to regulate Maltese remote gaming operators and provide a secure on-line environment to on-line players. Malta’s laws are governed by a written constitution that requires a two-thirds parliamentary majority to be amended. Once ratified by law, international or regional treaties and conventions become national law. Since Malta’s accession to the European Union in 2004, all Maltese laws are compliant with Union rules, and all recent amendments or additions to Maltese legislation have drawn heavily from EU Regulations and Directives. The financial, banking and insurance sectors, as well as intellectual property laws are regulated according to international norms and conventions in line with EU Directives. As a remote gaming jurisdiction, Malta has a cutting edge legal framework and regulatory environment which is continually updated to reflect European laws and ensure the island keeps pace with the rapid developments, both technological and legal, of the industry. As a European Union member state, Malta offers operators the opportunity of leveraging the freedom of movement for goods and services principle within the other 26 states of the Union. The island’s remote gaming regulations recognise the fluidity and fast-moving nature of this industry and while they lay out the main principles, they also encompass the flexibility to take into account future developments, built as they are, upon the concept of technology-neutral and game neutral remote gaming.
Malta Licence: A Trademark in the International Industry
regulation and legislation
the Maltese license has become an international trademark thanks to its strict, standardised and stateof-the-art application process
Interwetten, which came to Malta in 2005, chose the island because of its stringent licensing process, excellent regulatory environment and strong focus on player protection. Malta offers qualifying operators the opportunity to obtain a European gaming licence on the basis of a three-phase and strictly regulated licensing process, which also includes a live systems review. Apart from a strict focus on industry best practices, the licensing procedures emphasise player protection and responsible gaming procedures. Both issues are of crucial importance to the industry, both in global terms and on the European level, and several operators now describe the Maltese gaming licence as a trademark within the international industry. Award-Winning Authority
The operators’ perception of the value of Malta as an eGaming jurisdiction is bolstered by the performance of the award-winning Lotteries and Gaming Authority, which won the Business Britain Award for Services to the Online Gaming Industry in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the Business Britain Award for Best Regulator in 2007. Despite some criticism over delays in processing applications, the LGA still draws praise from operators for the way in which it regulates, assesses applications, monitors the industry and interacts with players. Taking into account the rapid development of the industry, the Maltese government has recently launched a thorough review of its remote gaming legislation and regulations in order to ensure they encompass any emerging technologies and business models. The ambition is to strengthen further the social responsibility aspect of the regulations without obstructing the international aspect of operators’ licences and ventures. Malta’s approach is based on providing licences with stringent and effective enforcement, while also defending the interests of Malta-based operators and protecting the interests of players. With these principles forming the cornerstone of the Maltese legislation and regulation, the island has developed into a well-respected jurisdiction for the regulation for remote gaming operations and both the Maltese government and the LGA are firmly committed to retaining its position as Europe’s leading remote gaming jurisdiction. Operators and service providers agree that the fact that Malta is an EU member state adds significant weight to the jurisdiction, and coupled with Malta’s positive reputation for stringency, can help operators expand their business and their markets. The Malta licence gives operators credibility, industry experts say, and offers a crucial legal point to stand on in case of any issues. For Maltalicenced gaming companies operating in Europe, Malta’s status as an EU member state is an essential advantage, and, with the island’s reputation now acting as a trademark for the international industry, the island’s strategy of creating tailor-made legislation accompanied by strict supervision is certainly taking effect. Any reputable gaming company wants to be in a well-regulated environment and Malta is best placed to offer that.
Stringent and Rigorous
The strict regulation of the industry is proving to be a strong advantage to Malta, as many operators and service providers confirm. It is seen as being a feature which gives Malta-based operators a winning edge over operators based in other jurisdictions. According to operators, the Maltese licence has become an international trademark thanks to its strict, standardised and state-of-the-art application process. Serious operators appreciate the Lotteries and Gaming Authority’s stringent demands on the online gaming industry in Malta, and the requirement that operators continue to liaise closely with the Authority and obtain approval for any changes to the licenced operations has won the island’s authorities even more respect. For the online gaming industry, Malta has set excellent standards, and this is a major attraction for selecting Malta as the jurisdiction of choice. Indeed, the reputation of Malta as a stringent and wellregulated jurisdiction gives players confidence and peace-ofmind. Regulation provides players of Maltese based operators with the added comfort of knowing that their monies are secure and that the games offered by such operators are fair and free from fraud and other irresponsible gaming practices. Maltese regulation also offers operators further direct benefits through the requirements for operators to implement effective Know Your Client procedures, while the anti money laundering policies provide operators with the assurance that their operations are protected from fraudulent activities carried out by third parties. Betfair, the world’s largest internet betting exchange, came to Malta three years ago, citing Malta’s status as an EU member state and its strong reputation as a serious jurisdiction as one of the main reasons for the decision to establish operations in Malta. In addition, as the online space is changing so rapidly, along with the technology and other technical requirements of the industry, it is important that legislation is reviewed on a regular basis. While Malta’s current legislation is currently undergoing a thorough review by the LGA and the legislators, operators say that in circumstances where they have felt that the regulations did not support their particular business model, they have received flexibility and a common sense, pragmatic approach from the authorities, thereby facilitating the set up of their business and ensuring local operators are able to remain at the cutting edge of the international industry. Malta is considered a leader in the industry not because obtaining a licence is easy and uncomplicated, but because the industry is well-regulated and the regulations give operators and clients certainty and a timeframe within which to operate, eGaming operators and service providers say. A regime that is accessible and transparent and aimed at granting the best protection possible to players while allowing operators to run their business within the parameters of a healthy and competitive environment provides the right framework for serious gaming operators to do business successfully in. n .
regulation and legislation
R E MOT E G AM I N G R E G U L AT I O N
Promoting Responsible Gaming Stringent player protection and safeguarding against criminality form the main tenets of Malta’s cutting edge remote gaming regulations
he three main principles of Malta’s regulation are that gaming is provided fairly, that children and vulnerable persons are protected and that gaming is kept free from crime and money laundering. These brought many new concepts to the gaming industry, with the most important of these being that regulations are technology neutral and game neutral, thus encompassing any type of gaming using a means of distance communication including internet, digital TV, mobile phone technology, telephone and fax. In addition to player protection and crime avoidance, the regulations comprise a number of key elements that provide the framework for eGaming companies to operate within. n Technology Neutral – Apply to all types of technologies (internet, mobile, telephone, fax and game devices) n Game Neutral – Apply to all types of games (Betting, P2P, Online Casino, Community Games, Leagues, etc.) n Future Proof (as much as practicable) n Shift from regulating games to regulating the means of carrying out gaming n Establish a safe environment for players n Give operators a competitive edge Giving Malta the edge over competitors is the fact that the island has good regulations in place and through the LGA it has the functions and the processes to be able to enforce that legislation. With safeguards for the player firmly in place, the island promotes responsible gaming, and is vigilant and committed to keeping criminality out of gaming. Malta Gaming Licence Any remote gaming operator planning to set up in Malta must obtain a valid licence, as prescribed by the regulations. Applications can only be submitted by a limited liability company registered under the laws of Malta. The applicant is obliged to provide the gaming authority with the necessary due diligence documents in respect of the key officials, directors and shareholders of the applicant. The due diligence exercise ensures the suitability of the all persons involved for the conduct of gaming operations in Malta. A remote gaming licence is valid for a period of 5 years after which it may be renewed by the LGA. The regulations prohibit the assignment or the transfer of the licence unless this is approved by the LGA. The regulations require that the core part of the online gaming operations must be physically located in Malta. Other aspects of the operation such as front end games or customer support operations, may, however, be located outside Malta.
Key Official Every licencee is obliged to appoint at least one key official who is responsible to supervise his operations and to ensure that the license holder complies with all laws, regulations, conditions and any directives issued by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority. The key official should be resident in Malta and appointed as a director of the gaming company. Guarding Against Criminality Throughout the licensing process and the operations of remote gaming company in Malta, the LGA is rigorous in ensuring that operations do not comprise any money-laundering, fraud and any other criminal activity. In the pre-licensing stage, the LGA examines all persons involved in the applicant company to ascertain that they are ‘fit and proper’ persons and that they will take all the necessary steps to prevent money laundering and any other suspicious transactions and adhere to the applicable laws under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations, 2008. Having carried out due diligence in respect of a company’s key officials, directors and shareholders, the LGA will ask each applicant to submit a detailed anti money laundering programme in writing, following which they will be subject to ongoing monitoring and review throughout their operations. Operators are obliged to submit Suspicious Transaction Reports, to verify the identity of customers and that they do not accept payments in excess of 2,000 euro out of a player’s account until the player’s identity, age and place of residence have been verified, amongst others. The ‘Know Your Customer’ requirements, obliging companies to verify the identity of customers, is one of the key elements of the anti-criminality requirements, guarding against and screening out potential criminal activity and giving operators peace of mind and confidence. Types of Licences Remote gaming licences are issued by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, the body responsible for the regulation and monitoring of the industry in Malta. There are four different classes of licence and companies setting up in Malta will need to obtain a licence of the class appropriate to their operations. Applicants can apply for one or more types of licence depending on the nature of their business. Licencees are expected to operate in compliance to the Lotteries and Other Games Act (LOGA) and the Regulations, as
regulation and legislation
well as adhering to anti-money laundering legislation, electronic commerce legislation and any other relevant law. The licence is valid for five years and can be renewed thereafter for further periods of five years. The four types of licence are: n Class 1: For operators managing their own risk on repetitive games. This class covers casinotype games, skill games and online lotteries n Class 2: For operators managing their own risk on events based on a matchbook. Under this class fall fixed odds betting, pool betting and spread betting n Class 3: For operators taking a commission from promoting and/or betting games. This class includes P2P, poker networks, betting exchange and game portals n Class 4: To host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licencee himself. This is intended for software vendors who want to provide management and hosting facilities on their platform Gaming System and Controls In applying for a gaming licence, the applicant must present to the LGA the software used and the specifications of the control
system which will be used to conduct gaming operations and are subject to the verification testing. The operational manual must include the following details: game description, software, reporting requirements, and a full list of the terms and conditions with the rules of the games. In addition it should include the general procedures to be followed for the operation of remote gaming computer software where applicable, the procedures for recording and paying prizes won in remote gaming, the accounting systems and procedures to be followed to play a game. The LGA also requires the following to be submitted: Â the procedures and standards for the maintenance, security, storage and transportation of equipment to be used to conduct remote gaming; the procedures for the setting up and maintenance of security facilities including general compliance and internal controls relating to access to critical systems; a disaster recovery plan and an adequate system of data backup. Before a new gaming system becomes operational a licencee must provide adequate certification to the LGA to confirm that the gaming system was found to comply with all technical specifications within the previous six months. These requirements relate to being a technologically sound, secure and unbiased system. More specifically, the data in the gaming system must be randomly generated, unpredictable and unable to be reliably reproduced. The operation of all gaming equipment must have the prior approval of the LGA. The requirement for randomly generated data means the system must pass appropriate statistical tests of randomness to prove that the data is unpredictable and that it is computationally
regulation and legislation
unfeasible to predict what the next number will be given complete knowledge of the algorithm or hardware generating the sequence, and all previously generated numbers. In addition, the tests must prove that the series cannot be reliably reproduced, if, for example, the sequence generator is activated again with the same input, it must produce two completely unrelated random sequences. Moreover, the outcome of the game event, and the return of the player, must be shown to be independent of the CPU, memory, disk or other components used in the playing device. Nor must the game event outcome be affected by the effective bandwidth, link utilisation, bit error rate or any characteristic of the playing. Player Protection One of the main pillars supporting the Maltese regulations governing eGaming is the concept of player protection. This is manifest throughout the regulations, from those governing companies’ treatment and ring fencing of player fund accounts to the obligations on responsible gaming that are imposed on operators. In addition, the LGA maintains an open channel of communication with the players, who are given the opportunity to contact the LGA in case of any dispute with an operator, and ask them to intervene to ensure their rights are protected. The excellent reputation of the LGA reinforces this commitment to the player. Customers are reassured by the LGA because it gives them a point of contact and if they have any complaints they can approach the Authority, which is renowned to be very rigorous and determined in the pursuit of a fair resolution. Dispute resolution In addition, the LGA has formed an agreement with independent standards organisation, eCommerce and Online Gaming Regulation and Assurance (eCOGRA), whereby Malta-registered online casinos and poker rooms as allowed to display the eCOGRA ‘Play it Safe’ seal, the most recognised seal in the world of online gaming. For Malta-based operators, this brings an added benefit in that operators using software supplied by eCOGRA, and subject to eCOGRA’s principles and testing methodologies, will not be required to submit to further review and monitoring processes when applying for a licence, though the LGA continues to use its own methods in conducting due diligence investigations on applicants and when reviewing issues of player protection and responsible conduct. Registration of players The regulations require certain information to be submitted to the licencee prior to registering an online player, including the following details, which the operator is obliged to obtain from each player: that the player is over eighteen years of age; the player’s identity ; the player’s place of residence;, the player’s valid e-mail address. Anyone under the age of 18 years is prohibited from being registered for on-line gaming and the licencee must keep a secure online list of all registered players. This database server must be physically located in Malta and could be subject, if necessary, to inspection by the LGA.
Player accounts and payments Operators granted a Malta licence must set up and maintain a player’s account for each player registered and the licencee cannot accept a wager from a player unless a player’s account has adequate funds to cover the amount of the wager. The licencee is barred from accepting cash from a player and funds can only be received from the player by credit/debit cards, electronic transfer, wire transfer, cheques or any other method approved by the LGA. It is a strict provision that a licencee must not provide credit to a player or act as agent for a credit provider to facilitate the provision of credit to that player. Licencees are not permitted to accept wagers from a player ‘on credit’ and adequate funds must be maintained in the player’s account to cover the amount of the wager. When a player requests to withdraw funds from their account, the licencee must remit such funds within five working days and a licencee must not personally deal with the credit of a player’s account. Inactivity for 30 months on a player’s account permits the licencee to remit the balance in that account to the player or, if the player cannot be satisfactorily located, to the LGA. The licencee must keep players’ funds separate from the licencee’s own funds in a client’s account held with an approved credit institution. The licencee must instruct and authorise the credit financial institution at which a players’ account is held to disclose any information as may be requested by the LGA in respect of a players’ account Responsible Gaming Malta’s commitment to player protection includes an obligation to put in place safeguards to ensure responsible gaming. The dangers of compulsive gambling and other gambling related problems are well recognised by the legislation and regulation governing Malta’s remote gaming industry, and the LGA has put in place a variety of checks and balances to prevent the abuse of gambling and the proliferation of compulsive gamblers. “The social perspective is of the utmost priority to the LGA,” the Authority states on its website. Measures to combat gambling addiction and protect vulnerable players are enshrined in all gaming legislation. These measures include the protection of minors, making it illegal to sell any game to a person under the age of 18 years, and the provision of self-barring opportunities to players who feel they should exclude themselves from playing for a period of time. Selfbarring can also include provisions such as limiting the amount per wager, or limiting losses. Keeping Players Informed The regulations oblige all licencees to display at all times, in a prominent place on the entry screen of the website, a warning of the addiction possibilities of gaming and links to other websites assisting compulsive/problem gamblers. The system must enable registered players to set themselves a limit on the amount wagered or time played, and it must also allow for players to change or cancel this limit. If the game is displayed on a screen, an automatic counter must indicate the player’s account balance.
regulation and legislation
In addition, after every hour, an automatic reality check that suspends play must appear that: indicates how long the player has been playing; displays the player’s winnings and losses during such period of time; requires the player to confirm that the player has read the message; and gives an option to the player to end the session or return to the game. All amounts displayed must be quoted with the symbol of currency that the player is playing with, while full screen games cannot be offered unless a real time clock is displayed on the screen at all times and players are given the facility to exit the game. Self barring Self-barring gives players the option of managing their gaming activity effectively and all registered players must be given the facility to set a limit on the amounts wagered within a specific period of time, set a limit on the losses which he may sustain within a specific period of time, set a limit to the amount of time the player may play in one session and exclude the player from playing for a definite or indefinite period of time. Advertising Guidelines The regulations also lay out detailed guidelines on advertising and licencees are not permitted to carry out advertising that, amongst others: implies that remote gaming is required for social acceptance, personal or financial success or the resolution of any economic or social problems, that contains endorsements by wellknown personalities that suggest remote gaming contributed to their success, that encourages individuals under 18 years of age to engage in remote gaming, or that sends unsolicited electronic mail, whether it is through its own operation or by the intervention of third parties. The guidelines specifically prohibit advertising that: n encourages any person to contravene a gaming law; or n shows persons under eighteen years or other vulnerable persons gambling; or n encourages or targets persons under eighteen years or other vulnerable persons to gamble; or n is likely to be of particular appeal to persons under eighteen years or other vulnerable persons, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture; or n exploits the susceptibilities, aspirations, credibility, inexperience or lack of knowledge of persons under eighteen or other vulnerable persons; or n is false or untruthful, particularly about the chances of winning or the expected return to a gambler; or n suggests that gambling is a form of financial investment; or n portrays, condones or encourages gambling behaviour that is socially irresponsible or could lead to financial, social or emotional harm; or n suggests that skill can influence games that are purely games of chance; or n promotes smoking or the abuse of the consumption of alcohol while gambling; or n implies that gambling promotes or is required for social
acceptance, personal or financial success or the resolution of any economic, social or personal problems; or n contains endorsements by well known personalities or celebrities that suggest gambling contributes to their success; or n exceeds the limits of decency; or n suggests that gambling can provide an escape from personal, professional or educational problems such as loneliness or depression; or n portrays gambling as indispensable or as taking priority in life, for example over family, friends or professional or educational commitments; or n suggests that gambling can enhance personal qualities, for example that it can improve self-image or self esteem, or is a way to gain control, superiority, recognition or admiration; or n links gambling to seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness. Money Laundering Safeguards to ensure the prevention of money laundering are built into the Maltese remote gaming regulations and Malta’s legislation includes a prevention of money laundering legislative framework fully in line with the EU’s Third Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The Prevention of Money Laundering Regulations (PMLR) apply to gambling operators in the same way as it applies to the financial services sector and indeed, all ‘legal persons’ in Malta, and its scope extends to all providers of goods when payments are made in cash in excess of 15,000 euro. Operators are required to appoint a Money Laundering Reporting Officer and to notify the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (a unit of the Malta Financial Services Authority) and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of the appointment. The importance of this aspect of the regulations is underlined in the provisions laid down, which require operators to have systems and training in place to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. These systems include customer due diligence procedures, record keeping and internal reporting procedures. Gaming operators should take particular notice of the following sections of the PMLR regarding the requirement to be aware of compliance requirements on identification of criminals, on appropriate record keeping, on dealing with internal reporting procedures and on establishing the duty to report money laundering activities. Legal Vehicle Remote gaming operators in Malta must set up a Malta company through which to carry out their operations. Limited liability companies incorporated under Maltese law are governed by the Companies Act and its subsidiary legislation, the provisions of which are in conformity with EU Law. Maltese companies used for remote gaming operations are excluded from the requirement of obtaining an advance revenue ruling. Such companies however, must clearly state in their Memorandum of Association that their main object is the conduct of remote gaming operations.
regulation and legislation
Whilst Maltese law does not have a specific requirement on the nationality and residence of directors of a company incorporated under the laws of Malta, gaming companies are required to appoint a director to act as a key official and this director must be resident in Malta. Â Maltese law does not lay down any specific requirements on the shareholding of a gaming company and the gaming company may be owned indirectly through a Malta holding company or directly by non-resident shareholders. As long as the due diligence requirements for shareholders are fulfilled, there are no restrictions on the percentage of shareholding which may be held by persons not resident in Malta. This implies that a Maltese gaming company may be wholly owned by persons not resident in Malta. Monitoring and Supervision The LGAâ€™s rigorous application process is designed to ensure ethical behaviour and fair play, from the strict due diligence process each company undergoes prior to being issued with a licence, to the constant monitoring and supervision of the operations once they are set up and running. The Compliance Department of the LGA, responsible to supervise and monitor the activities of licencees, assesses and reviews all gaming operations at pre-licensing, at provisional licensing and at post-licensing stage. Each company issued with a remote gaming licence is expected to comply with a number of procedures, including the reporting of uncontrolled incidents within 24 hours, the notification in advance of any critical changes to the gaming infrastructure, core system
modules and gaming operation, the request for approval of any changes to the rules of the games or terms and conditions and the introduction of new games, the submission of monthly player and gaming data, the submission of monthly players balances in the gaming system and players bank account statements, and the submission of six monthly financial and audited financial statements. In addition, the Compliance Department carries out constant supervision of its licencees through a suite of applications that enable it to perform real time monitoring of systems and traffic, detecting DDOS attacks and other extraordinary network traffic conditions, ensuring that the website is actually intended for public use at all times, as well as scanning the websites to detect updates to content such as new games, new languages and others. Firm Commitment Player protection and the avoidance of fraud or money laundering are among the most important aims of the Maltese legislation, regulation and supervisory regime. The safeguards that have been put in place do not only protect players, but also guard against gaming operators themselves becoming exposed to fraudulent transactions or attempts at money laundering. This aspect is a key element in the reasons so many eGaming operators choose to establish operations in Malta, and the Maltese government has remained committed to updating legislation and expanding the LGAâ€™s capacity in order to continue to improve the business environment for online gaming companies well into the future. n
licencing and operating
business - friendly and
cost-effective operating environment
Maltaâ€™s all-round operating environment offers businesses the ideal combination of a reliable yet flexible legal framework within the European Union, highly qualified and experienced professional services providers and personnel and costeffective rates on everything from taxation and salaries to utilities and real estate
hile Malta is an EU location with a sophisticated professional and business infrastructure, the island remains highly cost-effective as a base to do business from. Operational costs in Malta are generally estimated to come in at a half to two-thirds of those prevailing in the UK or mainland Europe, a calculation that applies to salaries as well as general business costs such as office space, services and utilities. But while costs may be lower, the level of service provided is not, and Maltaâ€™s highly respected legal framework, fully compliant with EU laws and directives, professional service providers, telecoms infrastructure and business service suppliers are renowned to be among the best in the world.
This combination of cost-effective operation with top-class service makes Malta one of the most favourable locations in Europe for international businesses. And with over 335 remote gaming operations already licensed in Malta, and over 100 more in the pipeline, the islandâ€™s service providers have accumulated a broad expertise in the requirements and processes involved in setting up a remote gaming operation in Malta. Experienced legal firms, business consultants and industry specialists are available to hand-hold operators through the entire process, from setting up a Malta company, to applying for the remote gaming licence, locating suitable office space and data centre services, recruiting staff and offering out-sourced accountancy and administrative services.
licencing and operating
Regulation The remote gaming sector in Malta is regulated by the Remote Gaming Regulations, 2004, issued under the Lotteries and Other Games Act (LOGA). The regulatory authority for the sector is the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA). The legislation is structured around three main principles, namely that gaming is provided fairly, that children and vulnerable persons are protected and that gaming is kept free from crime and money laundering. A basic tenet of the regulations is the requirement that the core part of the online gaming/betting operations, i.e. the servers and equipment that control the gaming operation, must be physically located in Malta, and the company must appoint a company director as the designated key official for the licencee, who must also be resident in Malta in order to act as the company’s liaison with the LGA. The licensing process in Malta is one of the longest and most thorough in the industry and it can take between six or seven months from initial application to the final issuing of the five year licence by the LGA. While some operators consider this to be too slow, the LGA has taken steps to review the process and look at where and how certain procedures may be changed in order to streamline the process without diminishing the stringency of the overall exercise. The LGA, under the stewardship of CEO Reuben Portanier, is aiming to become more efficient without losing any of its thoroughness and by January 2010 had succeeded in accelerating the process by 27 per cent. Corporate formation Any eGaming operator intending to obtain a Malta licence and operate from Malta will need to form a Malta company. Aside from the industry specific advantages of setting up in Malta, as a member of the European Union and the eurozone, Malta offers significant advantages as a company domicile, offering fully EUcompliant, low effective tax rates, an excellent professional services infrastructure and a respected, well regulated legal jurisdiction. Corporate Tax Corporate tax for remote gaming companies established in Malta is taxed at a flat rate of 35 per cent on profit. However, shareholders of Malta registered companies are entitled to benefit from a tax refund when the profits are distributed by way of dividends amounting to (6/7ths) of the tax paid by the company. For shareholders nonresident in Malta, for tax purposes, this means that the effective rate of tax is five per cent on profit. Benefits The benefits of setting up or relocating gaming operations to Malta are numerous and include regulatory, fiscal and operational advantages. In terms of regulations, Malta’s very stringent and rigorous legislation is designed to ensure that operators offering remote gaming services are operating within a well-regulated and monitored framework, offering strong credibility for operators in dealing with banks, governments and other official entities as well
as in helping to build up player trust and confidence. The fiscal advantages include the island’s highly favourable tax regime, with very competitive gaming tax, capped at 466,000 euro per annum, and an effective corporate tax rate of 5 per cent, wherein corporate tax is paid at the applicable rate of 35 per cent and a percentage refunded on the issuance of dividends to shareholders. Banking and Payment Service Providers Malta’s international banking centre has been gaining considerable ground in establishing itself as the finance hub for the Mediterranean region. Banks in Malta now offer the full range of banking services, including retail banking, private banking, investment banking, trade finance, commercial banking, project finance, treasury and syndicated loans. The domestic retail banking landscape in Malta is dominated by the Bank of Valletta and HSBC Malta, who between them control extensive branch networks across the Maltese islands and account for around 80 per cent of the consumer banking market. While HSBC operates a policy that excludes gambling business, BOV, Banif Bank and Sparkasse Bank Malta, amongst others, welcome eGaming business. According to various payment service providers, remote gaming companies in Malta probably process upwards of 5 billion euro per year; most eGaming operators in Malta maintain merchant accounts and player fund accounts with top tier overseas acquiring banks such a RBS and Lloyds, while the local, Maltese banks are used for operational funds, personal bank accounts and wealth management solutions. A number of specialist PCI certified payment service providers are established in Malta, offering a full range of payment services and connected to all the major banks, ewallets and financial institutions. Cost of doing business All-round costs, including licence fees, property rentals, utilities and services, are lower than European averages, with competitive salaries generally lower than the averages for other jurisdictions and licence and professional fees still below the average level in most European cities. The only exception is the cost of bandwidth, which, according to operators remains higher than in the rest of Europe. While the advent of a third international gateway operator on the market means that this is expected to go down in the near future, the cost of bandwidth is easily outweighed by the rest of the package, according to leading operators and software providers, and costs in Malta remain significantly lower than those in European cities. Experienced Professionals Malta has a long history of excellence in the field of professional services and the island offers a large pool of world-class legal, accounting, auditing and consulting professionals offering their services across all sectors of the economy. Remote gaming is a relatively new discipline, however despite this the island already boasts a growing number of specialist firms offering gaming consultancy, technical services, testing labs, certification, KYC, legal services, back office operations and auditing.
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HR and Recruitment As Malta’s popularity and reputation as an eGaming centre has grown over recent years, attracting more and more operators to base their businesses on the island, specialist recruitment firms soon followed suit, and operators based in Malta are now able to tap into their services, dealing with a local presence, rather than a long-distance recruiter based in London or elsewhere. Malta’s overall package for gaming operators, including the tax benefits, the location and climate are important motivators for operators moving to the island, but the fact that so many gaming personnel of different nationalities are now based in Malta means operators are confident they will find the right employees for the positions they need to fill. Market Access and Barriers While the situation in the EU markets (where remote gaming legislation has not been harmonised and the sector is still largely unliberalised) remains challenging, the Malta jurisdiction is vigilant in identifying what it considers discriminatory action being taken by national governments, and has vigorously defended the rights of its operators to offer their services across the European Union, a fact that is unsurprising given Malta’s substantial investment in its remote gaming sector. Advertising and marketing Malta is also fast becoming known as a centre for creative industries such as film, website design, graphic design, animation, digital media and advertising. The island offers a well established infrastructure that can support the creative needs of the eGaming industry and is indeed already servicing blue chip clients from around the world. Malta’s cluster of creative and design companies are able to offer international standard services at rates which remain significantly lower than those offered in many European cities, thus making it highly cost-effective as well as convenient for Malta-based eGaming operators to tap into their services. Property In recent years Malta has seen a surge in high quality office space as a result of the growth of its services sector, and at the top end of the market, commercial space in prestige developments comes in at around 300 - 420 euro per sq.m. a year. Mid-market, smart office blocks in the central Malta areas of Sliema, Gzira and Ta’Xbiex cost around 58 - 116 euro per sq.m. a year. In the past few years, Malta has become one of the most sought-after locations in Europe for foreign nationals seeking to purchase homes as an investment or for relocation purposes. With its excellent climate, English-speaking culture and ease of access to major European cities, Malta is firmly on the map for local and overseas’ real estate investors. Malta’s property prices are still competitive in comparison to those in urban areas in most of the rest of Europe. Housing prices and rentals are around half to two-thirds of the price of similar property categories on continental Europe and even more competitive in relation to the UK market. Malta has always had a thriving real estate market; now, purpose-built, top-end developments, such as gated communities and marina and coastal
complexes, are coming on stream, adding a new stock of real estate lifestyle complexes that are ideal for investment. International Connectivity and IT Malta’s international connectivity and communications capacity has expanded enormously over the last few years, with four submarine fibre optic cables connecting the island to the European mainland. Indeed, the island has seen huge public and private sector investment in ICT over the past 15 years and today boasts a truly modern infrastructure with one of the highest broadband access rates in the EU; around 66 per cent of all connections are broadband enabled, while mobile phone usage stands at 84.9 per cent of the population. As the infrastructure has opened up to market forces, access rates have increased and tariffs have lowered. Data Centres Providing crucial hosting and co-location services to the eGaming and other industries, Malta has developed a growing cluster of data centre service providers. eGaming operators in Malta say that the data centre services they receive on the island are excellent, and provide a consistently high level of quality as well as adequate safeguards against unforeseen events and potential disasters. Offering round the clock technical support, enhanced security levels and duplicated systems, Malta’s data centres are seeing their reputation grow as more and more companies, from both the eGaming sector and others, use their services and drive further growth. Software Developers and Providers Malta has proved an attractive location for software developers and providers supplying the eGaming industry, with some 25 companies holding a Class 4 licence from the LGA. Companies present in Malta include Chartwell Games, Entraction and Net Entertainment, as well as Microgaming, Parlay and Wagerlogic. While any software or platform operated by eGaming websites licensed in Malta must also be in possession of a valid licence from the LGA, this means Malta-licensed operators looking to introduce new games or adopt new platforms are able to take advantage of the fact that some of the world’s most successful remote gaming software providers are already licensed in Malta. Indeed, leading software developers have stated that while initially they obtained their licence to service specific clients, now the fact that they are in possession of a Malta licence brings new business to them. Pro-Business Attitude Low costs and high service levels give Malta a leading edge over other jurisdictions. Combined with the island’s state-of-the-art telecoms and IT systems, the availability of highly-skilled and qualified professionals and a reliable yet flexible legal infrastructure with ground-breaking legislation and regulatory regime, the advantages Malta offers in terms of all-round operating environment are not only numerous but also compelling. This is proven by the large number of remote gaming operators already working out of Malta, and as the sector heads for further growth and expansion in the future, it is clear that the island’s pro-business attitude has gone a long way to cementing its excellent reputation. n
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three-stage process licencing overview
The three-stage process to obtaining a Malta licence is meticulous and thorough, ensuring that Malta continues to build its reputation as a well-regulated and supervised jurisdiction
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Obtaining an Online Gaming Licence With some 335 remote gaming companies already licensed and operating out of Malta, and some 100 new licences in the pipeline, the island has developed a full range of services catering for the requirements of the eGaming industry cluster. Operators and gaming software providers seeking a Malta licence will find that the process is thorough and rigorous, however, it is this very stringency that gives the Malta licence its greatest value: according to the LGA, players and users recognise the Malta jurisdiction as a reputable and well-regulated base which helps to build up player trust and confidence in the brand. Types of Licences Remote gaming licences are issued by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, the body responsible for the regulation and monitoring of the industry in Malta. There are four different classes of licence and companies setting up in Malta will need to obtain a licence of the class appropriate to their operations. Applicants can apply for one or more types of licence depending on the nature of their business. Licencees are expected to operate in compliance to the Lotteries and Other Games Act (LOGA) and the Regulations, as well as adhering to anti-money laundering legislation, electronic commerce legislation and any other relevant law. The licence is valid for five years and can be renewed thereafter for further periods of five years. The four types of licence are: n Class 1: For operators managing their own risk on repetitive games. This class covers casinotype games, skill games and online lotteries. n Class 2: For operators managing their own risk on events based on a matchbook. Under this class falls fixed odds betting, pool betting and spread betting. n Class 3: For operators taking a commission from promoting and/or betting games. This class include P2P, poker networks, betting exchange and game portals. n Class 4: To host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licencee himself. This is intended for software vendors who want to provide management and hosting facilities on their platform. Licensing â€“ Three Stage Process The process for getting a Maltese gaming licence requires that even before initiating the application process, the identity of the person must be disclosed to the LGA and through a due diligence test conducted by the LGA the prospective applicantâ€™s background, suitability, and qualifications will be vetted. Any non-disclosure of criminal records or misleading information will result in automatic disqualification.
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Stage one: Fit and Proper and Business Plan Review During the first phase of the process the LGA will carry out a fit and proper exercise on the applicant, examining the details of all stake holders with 5 per cent or more interest and carrying out a financial analysis of the business plan as well as looking at the business viability of the operation. The LGA will require the following documents to be submitted along with the application fee of 4,600 euro: n Fully completed Application form n Personal Declaration Form for each person with 5 per cent or more interest, plus certified copies of their birth certificates and passports, passport size photo, conduct certificate from the law enforcement authority in the country of origin of the applicant, Statement of Affairs, credit and/or financial references, bookmaker licence if issued in other countries n Preliminary meeting with the LGA including the business plan and three year financial forecast (Please refer to the LGA website at www.lga.org.mt for full details of documents to be submitted) On completion of its investigation into the personal background and finances of the applicant, and conclusion that the applicant is a ‘fit and proper’ person and financially equipped to operate the proposed licensed business, the Authority will inform the applicant to proceed to the second phase of the investigation. Stage two: Business and Technical Ability Assessment On successful completion of the first stage, the LGA will inform the applicant to proceed to the next stage. This stage involves: n Registering a Malta company n Providing the list of games to be offered with the rules and regulations n Engaging the services of a data centre, with agreements on server hosting and bandwidth provision n Submit a detailed description of the system, architecture and applications (Please refer to the LGA website at www.lga.org.mt for full details of documents to be submitted) The Authority will review the applicants plan and organisation in detail, and will request additional information as it deems necessary to complete the application, including interviews with and inspection of the facilities of the applicant. On successful completion of the second stage, the applicant is issued with a Provisional Licence in the form of a Letter of Intent (LOI). The licensee will be issued a letter of intent that gives him the right to offer remote gaming based on the business structure, finance, games and technical infrastructure described in the applicant’s business plan. The applicant now has six months to complete the establishment of infrastructure and operations, and
obtain a certificate of compliance based on an audit of the live operation of the business against the applicant’s business plan and the licence conditions. Stage Three: Compliance Systems Review The LOI acts as a provisional licence for a period of six months. During this period the licencee is expected to set up and start operating with the intention of obtaining a certificate of compliance within the six months. A formal licence is issued when the LGA obtains approval from the compliance certification entity. The certification procedure usually takes two weeks to be carried out. The final phase consists of a detailed audit of the applicant’s completed and operating business. Documentation to be provided and issues to be investigated in connection with the compliance audit will include: service provider authorisation form, listing third party suppliers of computer hardware, software, server capacity etc., and detailing the services to be provided; copies of all third party agreements that impact the gaming activity; reports from live testing of the game and gaming system including management security, backup and disaster recovery; banking systems and sufficiency of balances; routine data submissions to the Authority; checks on gaming odds, payout and integrity of the RNG; review of agents, third party relationships and staff. Audit fees are charged to the applicant based on cost. Issuing of Licence Once the audit is complete and approved, a five year licence will be issued. Ongoing operations of the licencee will be subject to compliance with the licence conditions as well as with monthly and periodic reporting requirements. The Authority has statutory powers of inspection and investigation, and a range of regulatory and criminal sanctions to enforce compliance with applicable regulations Timeframes LGA information sheets say the process should take four weeks for the first stage and six to eight weeks for the second stage, provided all information and documentation submitted is correct and in order. Several operators report delays however and while the LGA is working towards resolving these delays, the process can take several months longer than expected. Key Official All remote gaming companies licensed in Malta must appoint a key official who is also a director of the company and resident in Malta. Companies must appoint their key official within 21 days of the Letter of Intent being issued. The responsibilities of the Key Official include overseeing the system review and certification of compliance, the sealing of servers and monitoring to check seals are not broken, incident reports to the LGA, advising the LGA of any changes in the set up approved by them, the submission of monthly gaming tax and annual gaming tax fee, submission and audit of company accounts, supervision of players’ funds, data protection and various others, including ensuring the company is operating in line with the applicable Malta laws and regulations. n
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long term gain gaming ta x es & fees
Malta’s advantageous taxation regime allows gaming operators to plan ahead and effectively minimise tax leakage
ne of the most competitive aspects of the Malta jurisdiction is its gaming tax and fee structure. This coupled with its corporate tax regime give Malta an advantage that few EU and eurozone locations can offer. As a member of the EU, Malta’s advantageous refundable tax credit system continues to enhance Malta’s position as a jurisdiction which is very attractive for remote gaming companies. Taxation overview The Maltese fiscal regime has been one of the main drivers in creating an attractive environment for foreign investors, and eGaming is no exception. Since joining the EU in 2004, Malta
has become an attractive jurisdiction for tax planning and corporate structures. An agreement with the EU preserves the competitive Maltese full-imputation tax system and has been deemed by European Commission to be compliant with EU nondiscrimination principals. The full imputation system has formed part of Maltese law since 1948 when income tax legislation was first enacted, and Malta is the only EU member state with a full imputation system of taxation in force. As with all imputation systems, shareholders are entitled to a credit for the company tax paid on distributed profits and will qualify for a refund when the credit exceeds their tax liability. Under Malta’s taxation system, gaming and betting companies are subject to two levels of direct taxation in Malta: corporate tax on profits and gaming tax.
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Gaming Taxes and Fees Fees n Application Fee An application fee of 2,330 euro is payable upon the application for all types of licence n Annual Licence Fee Once the licence is granted, a yearly fee of 7,000 euro is payable on an annual basis. n Renewal Fee A fee of 1,165 euro is payable upon renewal of the licence.
Licence fees are payable to the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority.
Gaming Tax The gaming tax is relatively low when compared to other European Union Member States and the gaming tax payable in all cases is capped at a maximum of 466,000 euro per year.
of the tax refund is set at 6/7ths of the advance corporation tax paid by the company (5/7ths in the case of passive interest and royalties). The refund is reduced to 2/3rds where the distributing company claims double taxation relief. Malta grants relief from double taxation under the credit method on source-by-source and country-by-country bases. The Maltese tax regime governing double taxation relief includes not only treaty relief but also unilateral relief and the flat rate foreign tax credit, and thereby ensures that income arising from overseas is not subject to double taxation, even if there is no double taxation agreement in existence. Malta has a wide double tax treaty network and the combination of Malta’s tax system and its extensive double tax treaty network means businesses operating on the island are able to effectively minimise tax leakage to ensure maximum profitability. Other key features of Malta’s corporate tax law
The gaming tax depends on the class of the licence:
In addition to the considerable benefits of the full imputation system and the extensive network of double taxation treaties, Malta offers businesses other key benefits under its tax legislation, including the following:
n Class 1 – Fixed rate at 4,660 euro per month for the first six months and 7,000 euro per month thereafter
n As an EU member state, entities have access to the ParentSubsidiary, Interest & Royalties, and Mergers Directives
n Class 1 on Class 4 – 1,165 euro per month
n Participation exemptions
n Class 2 – 0.5 per cent on stake
n An exemption from tax on income derived by collective investment schemes
n Class 3 – five per cent on real income n Class 4 – No tax for first 6 months of operation, 2,330 euro per month for the subsequent 6 months and 4,660 per month thereafter for the entire duration of the licence In all licence classes, the annual gaming tax is capped at 466,000 euro. Gaming Taxes must be paid to the LGA on a monthly basis and the licencee must ensure that such monthly payments, covering the previous month’s activity, are tendered to the LGA by the 20th of each month. Corporate Tax Under Malta’s full imputation system the shareholder will, upon a distribution of dividends, be entitled to a refund of in part or in full of any advance tax levied on the distributing company. Corporate tax for remote gaming companies established in Malta is taxed at a flat rate of 35 per cent on profit. However, shareholders of Malta registered companies are entitled to benefit from a tax refund when the profits are distributed by way of dividend amounting to (6/7ths) of the tax paid by the company. For shareholders non-resident in Malta, for tax purposes, this means that the effective rate of tax is five per cent on profit. An added tax advantage is that Malta does not impose any withholding tax upon distributions on outbound dividends to shareholders resident in any other jurisdiction. The amount
n Advance rulings issued by the Maltese Commissioner of Inland Revenue on international transactions that guarantee the tax position for a minimum of five years and may be renewed for a further five year period n An absence of ‘thin capitalisation’ rules and no anti-controlled foreign corporation legislation n No capital duty on share issues and exemption from duty on transfers of shares in, by or to companies having the majority of their business interests outside Malta n The possibility for companies to denominate their share capital and their accounts in any convertible currency with the chosen currency then being used for payment of tax and tax refunds (where applicable) thus minimising exchange risks n The possibility of migrating companies to and from Malta n Relative ease of incorporation for non-regulated entities n Low registration and maintenance costs n A taxation scheme for groups of companies allowing offset of losses between group companies n
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winning formula corporate formation
Setting up a Malta Company is a straightforward procedure that brings significant benefits both in terms of operational structure and environment and in terms of tax advantages
ny eGaming operator intending to obtain a Malta licence and operate from Malta will need to form a Malta company. Aside from the industry specific advantages of setting up in Malta, as a member of the European Union and the eurozone, Malta offers significant advantages as a company domicile, offering fully EUcompliant, low effective tax rates, an excellent professional services infrastructure and a respected, well regulated legal jurisdiction. A Maltese company can be a valuable international tax planning tool, offering the possibility of an effective tax rate of under five per cent. Malta companies pay tax at the normal corporate rate of 35 per cent, but shareholders enjoy a substantial refund of the Maltese tax paid on the distribution of dividends to shareholders. The past ten years have witnessed the creation and consolidation
of Maltaâ€™s reputation as an international eGaming centre. This reputation is solidly underpinned by a regulatory framework aimed at attracting reputable players in the international market, and fuelled by the relentless commitment of the regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority, and practitioners alike to retain a quality of service and high standards of business regulation. The efforts of the regulator to keep the Maltese regulatory framework in sync with the changing demands of the industry and in line with the requirements laid out at EU level translates to constant vigilance of market requirements and developments and prompt and proactive updating of the regulatory regime to ensure it retains maximum relevance, effectiveness and attractiveness to the international business community.
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The Maltese legal structure is a hybrid system of Civil and Anglo law. While it is based on the civil law pattern of continental Europe, most administrative and fiscal legislation is constructed on the British model. This offers Malta a particular advantage in company formation as practitioners have a cultural affinity to both systems and can easily bridge the gap between continental European and Anglo (UK) legal frameworks. The Malta Company General Information Company Law: Companies Act 1995 Type of Company: Private Limited Liability Company Language of Legislation and Corporate Documents: English Exchange Control: No Length of Time to Incorporate: 3 to 5 working days Government Registration Fee: 349.41 euro for authorised share capital up to 4,658.75 euro Shelf Companies Available: No Corporate Names Name Restrictions: Names identical or similar enough to create confusion, offensive or otherwise undesirable Endings and Abbreviations Required: “Private Limited Company”, “Limited” or its abbreviation “Ltd.” Length of Time to Verify Name Availability: Less than 24 hours depending on name similarity Reservation of Names Permitted: Yes Language of Name: Any language using the Latin alphabet Capital and Shareholders Minimum Number of Shareholders: 2 (there are exceptional circumstances where one member is permitted) Corporate Shareholders Permitted: Yes Local Shareholders required: No Disclosure of Shareholders: Yes (Anonymity can be retained through a licensed Fiduciary or Trustee) Minimum Authorised Shares to be Issued: 1,164.69 euro (one thousand one hundred and sixty four euro & sixty nine cents) Bearer Shares Permitted: No Registered Shares Permitted: Yes Number Par Value Shares Permitted: No Directors and Company Secretary Minimum Number of Directors: 1 Minimum Number of Company Secretaries: 1 Corporate Directors Permitted: Yes Corporate Company Secretary Permitted: No
Local Directors / Company Secretary Required: No Disclosure of Directors / Company Secretary: Yes Appointment of Subsequent Directors / Officers: Yes Meetings Annual General Meeting of Shareholders Required: Yes - notice to be given to every member of the company and its auditor Annual General Meeting of Directors Required: No Location of Directors and Shareholders Meetings: Malta - for place of effective control & management Adoption by Consent Permitted: Yes Quorum Required for Purposes of Meetings: 2 members personally present shall be a quorum in so far as the articles of the company do not contain other provisions Local Requirements Registered Office/Agent: Yes / No Register of Directors / Officers to be kept at Registered Office: Yes Company Seal Required: No Copy of Minutes to be kept at Registered Office: Yes or at any such place as may be specified in the memorandum of articles Copy of Share Register to be kept at Registered Office: Yes Annual Requirements Minimum Annual Government Fee or Franchise Tax Registration of an annual return, 163.06 euro where the authorised share capital of the Company does not exceed 11,646.87 euro Requirement to File Annual Return: Yes (42 days after the date to which it is made up) Requirement for Financial Audited Accounts: Yes Requirement to file Financial Statements: Yes (ten months after the end of the relevant accounting reference period & 42 days)Requirement to file Tax Return: Yes Other Relevant Information Member of Apostille of the Hague Convention: Yes Increase or Reduction of Amount of Issued Shares: By extraordinary resolution - restrictions may apply Appointment or Removal of Director(s): By ordinary resolution - restrictions may apply Redomiciliation Permitted: Yes Reinstatement at Registry: Yes, by Court order preceding striking-off Removal from Registry: Following dissolution & consequential winding up Corporate Tax: 35 per cent however credit / refunds may apply to the shareholder(s) Double Taxation Agreements: Yes, 53 n
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at the leading edge mar k et access and b arriers
While Europe continues to debate the future of online gaming within national borders, Malta offers operators a reputable, Tier One jurisdiction at the leading edge of the industry
s one of the first countries in the world, and the first country in the European Union, to create dedicated legislation for remote gaming, Maltaâ€™s Tier One position at the leading edge of this rapidly growing global industry remains an enviable one. Now the largest jurisdiction in the world in terms of licences, Malta offers operators a strictly regulated, EU base to launch operations across the continent.
While the situation in the EU markets, where remote gaming legislation has not been harmonised and the sector is still largely unliberalised, remains challenging, the Malta jurisdiction is vigilant in identifying what it considers discriminatory action being taken by national governments, and has vigorously defended the rights of its operators to offer their services across the European Union. This is not surprising as Malta has invested heavily in its remote gaming sector.
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Leading the Pack The attraction of Malta also lies in the fact that it offers a wellregulated, EU environment for online gambling businesses and most of the 335 remote gaming licencees currently in Malta have taken out those licences specifically in order to service the European market, with Malta’s EU member status ostensibly giving them the legal basis to offer their services right across the 27 member bloc. Uncertainties in Europe The European Union’s principle of freedom of movement of goods of services should mean, according to Malta’s LGA and the operators based on the island, that licencees in any EU country should be able to operate across the European Union. In practice though, the situation in Europe remains nebulous, with seven EU countries banning online gambling outright and several of those that allow online gambling reserving it exclusively for the state gambling monopoly. Operators have experienced problems in a number of EU countries, including France, Germany, Belgium and Italy, with several high profile enforcement actions being taken against companies operating in those countries, including: the blocking of websites, the arrest of company directors, the introduction of legislation limiting operations in a particular country to licence-holders in that country and attempting to block payment processing or governments banning banks from processing payments to gambling sites. Malta strongly believes that restrictions only serve to drive activity underground while opening up the market would in fact increase the number of participants to the benefit of all operators. Defending Operators’ Rights The Malta jurisdiction believes there should be EU-wide regulations governing the industry and upholding the principle of freedom of movement of goods and services that operators who obtain a licence in one member state should be free to operate wherever that company wishes to in the EU. While Malta has been very vocal in defending the right of locally licensed remote companies to operate across Europe’s borders. The current trend by many EU national governments has been to regulate the eGaming industry in their own home countries, and the most recent European Court of Justice rulings have sanctioned national governments’ protection of gambling monopolies on the grounds of player protection and fraud prevention, allowing national governments to maintain the status quo. This trend of national regulation has prompted Malta to seek greater interaction with its fellow regulators across the EU to help assist Malta-licensed operators to gain faster approvals in countries where companies are required to seek a licence from the national governments. Adjusting to U.S. Limitations The Malta licence imposes no conditions on where licencees may operate. The licence is issued to operate over the internet,
with no restriction on particular geographic areas or regions. “However, we do say to licencees that it is up to them to seek legal advice regarding their right to operate in a particular country,” Joe Borg, a director at the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, said. The United States, where online gambling has been effectively banned since 2006, could present a problem for the reputation of the Malta jurisdiction, if Maltese licence holders were found to be contravening the ban and operating there in spite of the legal situation. This potential threat to the jurisdiction was eliminated however, when members of the Malta Remote Gaming Council, the industry organisation representing most of Malta’s licencees, took a collective decision in 2006, in the wake of the US’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, that Maltese operators would no longer accept customers from the US. Seeking EU-Wide Regulation Despite the fact that there have been various attempts to arrive at Community-wide agreement to implement harmonised legislation covering the 27 nations of the bloc, based on the European Union’s principle of freedom of movement of goods and services, this has not happened yet, and indeed, in March 2009 MEPs voted to support a report, presented by Danish MEP Cristel Schaldemose, that effectively proposes maintaining the status quo: that individual member states control their own national gambling markets instead of adopting a uniform code based on the principle of freedom of movement of services. An alternative report, arguing that online gambling was an economic activity like any other and should therefore be regulated by internal market rules was rejected by MEPs. A Matter of Time Malta operators and legislators still believe that it is a question of time before Europe agrees on a community-wide solution that enshrines the EU principle of freedom of movement of goods and services. The current trend seems to point towards nations wanting to keep individual national regulations in place in the short to medium term. However, most operators and service providers continue to believe Europe will move towards EUwide liberalisation of the gaming market in the future. Making a Mark Malta’s reputation as a quality jurisdiction with a serious and reputable regulator monitoring the industry has given locally licensed operators the solidity of a firm legal basis to their claim to operate throughout Europe. The remote gaming industry itself is gravitating towards reputable jurisdictions, like Malta, that offer stability, legality and credibility. As the debate on European acceptance of online gambling goes on, the industry continues to fight its corner. It may be impossible to predict when full liberalisation in Europe will come, but both the industry and the Malta jurisdiction are determined to see that it does. n
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dynamic service centre advertising & mar k eting
Malta’s expanding creative and design sector, coupled with the island’s established topclass technical cluster, means Malta-based operators are ideally placed to maximise marketing resources and optimise any promotional opportunities
s the eGaming industry continues to evolve, European operators are facing increasing challenges in marketing their operations and accessing markets. Malta’s EU membership and status as Europe’s hub for remote gaming offers operators significant advantages when launching their products across the European Union. One of the important elements in the package that the Malta jurisdiction offers eGaming companies is access to the 27 countries that make up the European Union and the largest single market in the world. To date, the situation regarding online gambling in the European Union remains nebulous and confused with online gambling being permitted in 20 EU states while it is prohibited in seven others. Those 20 states that allow online gambling have not all fully liberalised the market, however, and several have banned
online gambling other than that offered by the state monopoly, a position that has been challenged repeatedly by operators suing governments in the European Court of Justice. Advertising in European Union Countries Other countries, such as Sweden, have banned advertising of online gambling, though this position has also been challenged, while a handful of countries, such as Spain, the UK and Ireland, have fully liberalised the market and allow advertising. The UK has gone a step further and introduced a ‘White List’ of jurisdictions that are accepted as well regulated, legally acceptable domains from which advertising of remote gambling is allowed.
licencing and operating
Indeed, the publication of the UK’s White List in 2007, which included Malta as one of the jurisdictions from which operators of online gambling sites would be allowed to advertise in the UK from, boosted Malta’s eGaming industry significantly. Within a month of the announcement some 27 eGaming operators relocated their operations to Malta, and the steady influx of companies has not abated since. The UK media now carries advertisements and promotions from operators in those selected countries regularly, and betting opportunities for sports fans are broadcast during big sporting events, bingo and casino advertisements appear on television, magazines and newspapers, while several of the nation’s largest tabloids even run their own White Label gambling or bingo sites. Traditional Advertising Traditional advertising such as print and broadcast media generates roughly 30 per cent of eGaming traffic, according to industry specialists. Given the importance of being able to use the traditional media to attract business, Malta’s White List status gives gaming operators based on the island the opportunity to advertise in countries that permit it, as well as giving them the legal basis for their EU-facing websites. The Malta stamp is also vital in reassuring media partners and potential customers that an independent trusted authority has verified the credentials of the operators. Malta, with its reputation for stringent regulation and tight supervision, gives customers the confidence of knowing that gaming companies and their operations are being monitored closely. In addition, Malta is fast becoming known as a centre for creative industries such as film, website design, graphic design, animation, digital media and advertising. The island offers a well established infrastructure that can support the creative needs of the eGaming industry and is indeed already servicing blue chip clients from around the world. Malta’s cluster of creative and design companies are able to offer international standard services at rates which remain significantly lower than those offered in many European cities, thus making it highly cost-effective as well as convenient for Malta-based eGaming operators to tap into their services. Affiliate Programmes Affiliate programmes remain one of the most powerful drivers of customers to online gaming sites, and generally operate in a manner that is more cost-effective and advantageous to the gaming company than traditional advertising. Affiliate programmes represent 40 per cent of revenue generated by eGaming companies
and are thus a critical component of the success of any eGaming venture. And with just 20 per cent of affiliates producing 80 per cent of a gaming site’s business, the ability to attract high performing affiliates is crucial to any operator’s successful affiliate programme, with trust and credibility being a powerful driver. Malta’s White List status gives gaming operators based on the island the opportunity to attract the best affiliates, as the island’s reputation for stringent regulation and tight supervision gives affiliates the confidence of knowing that gaming companies and their operations are being monitored closely. Online support The importance of the internet and the recent development by Google to begin accepting adverts from online gambling sites means it is essential that eGaming companies have access to talent that can support their business from Malta. The island has human capital and technical expertise to support all operation including critical expertise in areas such as Search Engine Optimisation, affiliate management companies and consultants, which are all available in Malta. Over recent years the island has succeeded in attracting the key players and support companies to establish operations on the island, thus ensuring that a vibrant and creative cluster of talent and know-how is in place to help companies setting up on the island launch a successful operation. Ideally Situated The situation regarding remote gambling in several European countries, including whether it is legal to offer gambling services as well as whether advertising is allowed, may remain unresolved in the short-term, however, those eGaming companies already established in Malta, the first country in the European Union to create dedicated remote gaming legislation, are already finding themselves in a position of advantage on a number of levels. This includes the issue of marketing, and the fact that they are able to access the right marketing support from affiliate managers and specialists, as well as from film and digital media professionals, means they can maximise the advantage of being in Malta by tapping into the cost-effective and highly professional resources already available on the island. Malta has developed a strong infrastructure to support eGaming operations and the island is continuing to expand the range of technical and creative support services offered, thereby allowing operators positioned in Malta to take advantage of developments as they happen, both in terms of offering the services to new customers and in terms of marketing across the Union. n
licencing and operating
moving upmarket real estate
From industrial parks to office towers and business estates, Malta offers a wide variety of commercial property to meet any requirement, while the residential market is well-stocked and advantageously priced
espite the limited land area available, Malta offers a wide range of both commercial and residential property, in very distinct locations. Office space comes in many flavours: a firm can choose between purpose built office blocks, converted houses or flats or a location within some of the new, large mixed use areas currently under development. Similarly for residential property: Malta’s estate agents will be only too happy to show a wide range of properties in different areas, available for rent or outright purchase. One of the advantages of Malta’s small size is that commuting times between Malta International Airport and an office is rarely greater than 20 minutes, and it almost never takes more than 40 minutes to get to anywhere else on the island. This means there are few restrictions on where a business setting up in Malta can choose to establish its operations. In effect, the final choice will depend upon preferences and relative cost related to the quality and suitability of the property concerned. Commercial Real Estate Malta offers exceptionally good value in terms of its commercial real estate in comparison to similar urban areas in the EU. It also offers enviable locations with sea views and marinas as well as prestigious landmark office complexes within easy commuting of residential areas. On account of the islands’ size, all office space is within around 20 minutes of Malta International Airport. Overall, rentals are around two-thirds to half of those charged for comparable commercial spaces on continental Europe. The islands have seen a huge surge in high quality office space in recent years as a result of the growth of its services sector. Private consortia are developing new commercial spaces and increasingly investing in so-called ‘lifestyle’ developments which offer a combination of commercial, retail, leisure and private residential spaces. These are generally located in key, urban areas and afford sea views. At the top end of the market, commercial space in prestige developments comes in at around 300 - 420 euro per sq.m. a year. Mid-market, smart office blocks in the central Malta areas of Sliema, Gzira and Ta’Xbiex are around 58 - 116 euro per sq.m. per year. Industrial rentals are exceptionally good value for money.
Malta Enterprise, the government agency assisting incoming firms, can provide industrial property to prospective investors at highly competitive rates. Malta’s average industrial property rate of 10 euro per sq.m. compares favourably relative to the secondary rental markets in Italy, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Ireland and the UK and Malta’s prime industrial property rates are among the lowest in EU markets. Malta has ten industrial zones offering industrial property at these competitive rates, while smaller, governmentbacked parks include Mosta Technopark in the centre of the island. Designed with technology firms in mind, it houses technology investors from Malta, Italy, France, Germany and the UK. In addition, Malta Enterprise operates a Business Incubation Centre (KBIC) for start-ups which offers a portfolio of subsidized services to its clients. Residential Real Estate In the past few years, Malta has become one of the most soughtafter locations in Europe for foreign nationals seeking to purchase homes as an investment or for relocation purposes. With its excellent climate, English-speaking culture and ease of access to major European cities, Malta is firmly on the map for local and overseas’ real estate investors. Malta’s property prices are still competitive in comparison to those in urban areas in most of the rest of Europe. Housing prices and rentals are around half to two-thirds of the price of similar property categories on continental Europe and even more competitive in relation to the UK market. Malta has always had a thriving real estate market; now, purpose-built developments are coming on stream which can be deemed ‘lifestyle’ complexes and ideal for investment. Developments in recent years include marina and coastal complexes at the top-end of the market. Similar projects are under way inland in established urban areas. Typically, these offer a mix of residential, retail and leisure spaces. There is a wide range of mid- to lower end apartments across the islands as well as individual, unique properties such as farmhouses, palazzos and villas with swimming pools. Gozo’s property tends to appeal to the holiday rental or second home market and is dominated by rustic style farmhouses and modern apartments. n
eGaming technical infrastructure
connecting the world telecommunications & ict
Offering stable and reliable telecoms and international connectivity, Malta has a worldclass IT infrastructure that can guarantee continuous service to online-based businesses
altaâ€™s international connectivity and communications capacity has expanded enormously over the last few years, with four submarine fibre optic cables connecting the island to the European mainland. Indeed, the island has seen huge public and private sector investment in ICT over the past 15 years and today boasts a truly modern infrastructure with one of the highest broadband access rates in the EU; around 66 per cent of all connections are broadband enabled. Mobile phone usage stands at 84.9 per cent of the population. As the infrastructure has opened up to market forces, access rates have increased and tariffs have lowered. International connectivity is pivotal to the remote gaming industry and Maltaâ€™s developments in this area over the past few years have cemented the islandâ€™s position as the leading EU jurisdiction for eGaming operators. GO, Vodafone and Melita, operators of the submarine fibre optic cables giving Malta most of its international connectivity, say that around 50 per cent of their
broadband capacity services the eGaming industry, either directly or indirectly via data centres, though all operators emphasise that their future capacity is virtually unlimited. This is vital for the potential of further expansion of the industry, and means that both the eGaming sector and other sectors that require bandwidth, such as financial services companies, airlines and other online based activities, are not limited by connectivity issues, either in the present or following future growth. Strong Infrastructure This is crucial if Malta is to remain the leading jurisdiction in Europe. Competing locations will not only have to be able to offer the right legislative framework for the industry, but will also need to create a friendly infrastructure that is as reliable, stable and secure as that offered in Malta. Malta has spent years building and expanding
eGaming technical infrastructure
its international connectivity, and while other jurisdictions may emerge to compete on the same levels, they will have to be able to match Malta’s state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure before they are in a position to compete seriously. This strong position has been achieved as part of a strategic plan for the evolution of the Maltese economy into a knowledgebased ‘smart’ economy based on services such as ICT and financial services. Since the early 1990s, government policy has emphasised the development of IT in Malta and has encouraged extensive investment in Malta’s telecommunications infrastructure, making it one of the best in Europe. At the end of March 2007, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the Maltese Government as the second most successful administration in the world in promoting the use of information and communications technologies. The European Commission ranked Malta second in its latest assessment of the sophistication of eGovernment Services. Similarly the Economist Intelligence Unit placed Malta as 23rd on its most recent eReadiness Index. Malta’s size works in its favour in this respect by making it easier for government to implement the required policies and strategies within a short timeframe. Telecommunications & Internet Malta has one of the most sophisticated telecommunications infrastructures in the world, with large bandwidth networks providing high capacity communication to and from the island. Networks are completely digital and international connections have been significantly expanded through satellite technology and high capacity fibre optic cables linking Malta with Europe. The three main telecoms service providers are Go, Melita and Vodafone. Fixed telephony services had been dominated by Go until Melita, a cable TV company that moved into data and internet service provision in the late 1990s, started its own VOIP-based service over its cable network. In Malta, virtually all homes are linked to the fixed-line telephone network while the cable network passes through 98 per cent of all properties with 67 per cent of all businesses and household actually using such service. Mobile services are provided by Go Mobile, a Go subsidiary, Vodafone Malta and Melita as well as various MVNO brands such as MTV mobile, partnered with GO , and One Mobile, partnered with Vodafone . Both GO and Vodafone have introduced 3G services besides their GSM service. Mobile penetration rates stand at 86.6 per cent of the population. Both Go and Vodafone have also rolled out wireless broadband access services, targeting small busineses and homes and selling access in a bundle with both fixed VOIP telephony and internet access. The advent of VOIP services has slashed the cost of international communications and there are around a dozen VOIP providers, including Go and Melita who each have their own low cost VOIP services. International Connectivity & bandwidth Internationally, Malta is connected through two satellite stations (one to the Atlantic Ocean region and the other to the Indian Ocean region) and four submarine fibre-optic links to mainland Europe, two operated by GO, connecting from St Julians to Catania, Sicily, and St Paul’s Bay to Mazzara, Sicily respectively, with a combined current capacity of 5 Gbps, and one operated by Vodafone, landing
in Catania, with a current capacity of 12.5 Gbps, while one other additional submarine fibre optic cable was deployed by Melita in mid-2009, dramatically increasing the bandwidth available to Malta. Both Go and Vodafone say that their cables were designed to carry a lot more traffic than current levels and as more data hungry services come online they will be able to light up more cables as required. Operators say they are currently not even using 20 per cent of the total capacity they could provision and their capacity moving forward is virtually unlimited. Redundancy Malta’s telecoms operators and data centres have focused on providing the industry with the safeguards, such as sufficient redundancy, to ensure business continuity in any circumstances. While GO operate two submarine cables taking different routes to the European mainland, Vodafone’s submarine link with the mainland and the recently commissioned Melita cable ensure that telecoms companies, data centres and operators are safe-guarded at all times. The fibre-optic cables linking Malta to Sicily were built to the highest specifications, with all fibres within each cable being duplicated and all electronic terminal equipment also duplicated and located both in Malta and in Sicily. Operators say that their systems comprise of ample inbuilt redundancy and are designed with a very high level of availability. Guarding against equipment failure, operators say that in such eventuality, traffic is automatically diverted onto alternative routing equipment within a matter of milliseconds. Ensuring Uninterrupted Service The operators, GO with two submarine cables, and Vodafone with one, both recognise that despite precautions, there is still an inherent risk in the fact that the cables are lying on the sea bed and subject to the harsh marine environment and associated risks. To address that issue, Go and Vodafone reached an agreement in December 2008 to pass traffic on each other’s cables in case of faults or damage. This agreement between the two operators was followed by regulations issued by the Malta Communications Authority in January 2009 requiring this collaboration between all three international gateway operators. Indeed, the MCA regulations state that an international gateway is to have appropriate measures in place to safeguard the integrity and resiliency of the network elements utilized to provide international connectivity and also to have alternative measures in place to ensure an adequate level of uninterrupted international connectivity. The regulations also state that an international gateway operator shall not unreasonably refuse provision of capacity to another international gateway operator in order to ensure that the latter can meet the obligations stated earlier on. Data Centres Providing crucial hosting and co-location services to the eGaming and other industries, Malta has developed a growing cluster of data centre service providers, ranging from those operated by the telecoms operators with their own international fibre optic cables, Go and Vodafone, to telecoms companies such as SIS, a joint
eGaming technical infrastructure
venture between Siemens and Midi plc offering telephony and internet services as well as hosting services, and several specialist data centres such as BellMed and Alert. While Go last year purchased 60 per cent of BellMed, an IT company SmartCity providing data centre and The SmartCity project, approved support services, in addition by Malta’s government in February to their original data centre, 2007 and involving an investment Vodafone also has two data of some US$300 million by Dubai centres of its own. SIS and Internet City’s Tecom, is being seen as Malta’s certificate of graduation as other data centres such as Alert a regional centre of excellence in IT: are provided with international a state-of-the-art high tech business bandwidth through both park that will include residential areas, Go and Vodafone, thereby hotels, restaurants, a marina and shops, ensuring redundancy and it is set to become a key attraction for international ICT investors. business continuity. Designed to the highest industry It is also expected to add to Malta’s standards, Malta’s data centres attraction as an eGaming jurisdiction, offer co-location services as it attracts more IT companies and professionals to the island and and IT connectivity as well motivates more Maltese to go into as managed services such as IT and graduate from one of the the leasing of equipment and many academies and educational the provision of any other institutions offering IT courses. While required support services such no announcements have been made about companies signed up to as technical services. SmartCity, the development is expected eGaming operators in to generate close to 6,000 jobs and has Malta say that the data centre created significant excitement across services they receive on the the island’s business community. island are excellent, and provide The first phase, the completion of eight a consistently high level of per cent of the office space, is due in quality as well as adequate December 2010, while the business safe-guards against unforeseen park has a completion target of 2015 events and potential disasters. and the entire project, including residential and commercial areas, is Offering round the clock expected to be completed by 2021. technical support, enhanced security levels and duplicated systems, Malta’s data centres are seeing their reputation grow as more and more companies, from both the eGaming sector and others, use their services and drive the rapid growth. Data centres’ strategy is to provide guaranteed business continuity in the unfortunate event of a disaster. Go, for example, has duplicated its equipment and network operations centre and placed it in two separate locations. This means should an unforeseen event occur in one location they are able to transfer control and operation to the other centre and continue operating normally. Software Developers and Providers Malta has proved an attractive location for software developers and providers supplying the eGaming industry, with some 25 companies holding a Class 4 licence from the LGA. Companies present in Malta include Chartwell Games, Entraction and Net Entertainment, as well as Microgaming, Parlay and Wagerlogic. While any software or platform operated by eGaming websites
licensed in Malta must also be in possession of a valid licence from the LGA, meaning that some software developers obtain a Malta licence because their clients operate out of the island on a Malta licence, those developers that maintain an office and staff on the island say that the strict regulation of the industry as well as the advantageous tax regime and availability of high quality staff and professional service providers make the island an attractive location to operate from. While software providers may initially have come to Malta simply because a client using one or more of their platforms was licensed in Malta, now, they say, they are getting new business through being on the island as well as seeing their new clients also proposing to re-locate to Malta. As the number of gaming operators in Malta grows, the cluster of software developers and providers are also gaining business by holding a Malta licence: new gaming operators who decide to come to Malta and then look around to see what software is available and already licensed on the island. Call Centres Another area registering significant success in Malta is the setting up of call centres offering multilingual services across a diverse range of business sectors from remote gaming and financial services to airline reservations. Malta’s credentials in this sector are highlighted by the companies already operating on the island. These include Avail-a-call, Besedo, 24 Contact Centres, World Aviation Group, Airline Partner Solutions, Dial-it and HSBC among others. While many of the larger online gaming operators on Malta have their own in-house customer relations team, many of the smaller or more cost-conscious outfits are turning to outsourcing to ensure they can service all customers in any language at any time. Call centres have a pool of trained customer relationship personnel able to speak a variety of different languages: this presents eGaming operators with an opportunity to cut costs by outsourcing their customer relationship management to a call centre that services several eGaming companies, essentially ‘sharing’ an agent with 3 or 4 other companies and reducing expenses significantly. The success of Malta’s growing call centre sector is constructed on some of Malta’s most fundamental strengths. The fact that English is an official language of the island, coupled with Malta’s pro business environment and favourable IT infrastructure, are ensuring that the island’s international business centre is proving to be a very attractive proposition for companies across all fields. The Right Position Malta’s excellent IT infrastructure and continually expanding international connectivity gives the remote gaming industry the solid foundations it depends on in order to be able to operate efficiently and at maximum profitability. Adding to the island’s attractiveness is its close proximity to most European business centres, its highly qualified English-speaking workforce and a cost base that is significantly lower than other European locations. Combined with the island’s many other advantages, this reinforces Malta’s ambition to be the leading European jurisdiction for online gaming, and as increased competition from multiple market players continues to drive telecommunications prices down, the island is in just the right position to achieve that aim. n
eGaming technical infrastructure
agile, robust and cost-effective technical and professional services
From legal and corporate services to technical security audits and eGaming platform testing, Maltaâ€™s strong contingent of professional and technical services providers are well-placed to answer any of the remote gaming industryâ€™s requirements
eGaming technical infrastructure
alta has a long history of excellence in the field of professional and technical services and the island offers a large pool of world-class legal, accounting, auditing, consulting, IT security and certification professionals offering their services across all sectors of the economy. Remote gaming is a relatively new discipline, however despite this, the island already boasts a growing number of specialist firms offering specialist gaming consultancy, technical services, legal services, back office operations and auditing as well as security auditing, technical due diligence and the full range of software and security certification. Malta has established a strong cluster of firms that have specialised in providing professional services to online gaming operators, guiding companies through the pre-licensing process, the licence application and post-licensing requirements, the setting up of a Malta company, establishing operations, setting up an office and recruiting HR, as well as offering back office services such as book-keeping, payroll and others. Most also offer Key Official services as well as business advisory services, providing operators with a director and LGA liaison who is both experienced and highly knowledgeable. On the technical side, Malta licensed eGaming companies have access to essential services such as PCI and DSS audits, eGaming software security audits, software testing and certification, game output audits and network security reviews, amongst many others. All-Round Service provision Malta’s professional service providers are internationally renowned for the excellence of their service and are well positioned to offer meaningful support and strategic guidance to ICT and remote gaming companies. The focus of the support is predominantly to add value to the client’s business by providing legal advice and solutions aimed at not only ensuring a solid legal foundation and regulatory compliance of the company, but also at maximising the benefits to the business through its efficient structuring and use of various available incentives. Technical Specialists Technical services are well catered for in Malta, with a number of firms being set up exclusively to service the eGaming industry. These include eGaming specialist firms offering comprehensive security audit services and custom-tailored assessment and examination programmes to test every aspect of eGaming system security, testing of all types of games on a wide range of gaming platforms.
Established Sector Malta’s service industry is well-established and comprehensive, and has long played a significant role in Malta’s economy, serving both local customers and a broad international clientele. Its ever expanding role is now proving essential to the development of Malta’s international business centre and economy as a whole. The business community in Malta is strongly supported by a large range of accounting and auditing practitioners ranging from small boutique practices to the global Big Four accountancy firms, as well as most international network brands. Malta’s lawyers are equally world class offering a high degree of specialisation and sophistication, and most of the leading, international firms have a presence in Malta through associate links with local firms of longstanding repute. Cost-Effective Services Malta is able to offer operators professional and technical services such as accountancy, business consultancy and legal services at costs that are generally lower than in other Western European locations, ensuring costs are kept in check and customer satisfaction is high. This adds enormous value to Malta’s overall package for gaming operators, and the opportunity to apply this value across all areas of required services, whether legal, corporate or technical, further reinforces the island’s position as the leading European jurisdiction for remote gaming. n
banking and financial services
innovative and proactive BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES
Built on solid fundamentals, Malta’s financial services industry continues to grow and offer an ever widening range of products and services to the remote gaming industry
alta’s financial services sector offers key services to the eGaming industry on the island, offering banking services, payment gateway solutions for the processing of card transactions and a host of wealth management options for expatriate employees of gaming companies looking to invest or manage their money. The Maltese financial services centre has so far proved resilient to the worst effects of the international financial crisis and recession, a circumstance that has strengthened the island’s growing reputation as a stable and reputable international financial centre. With a banking system that has been praised internationally for its conservative approach based on sound fundamental banking business, Malta’s financial services industry continued to see growth through 2008 and 2009, as banks, collective investment schemes, insurance companies and other finance related companies set up operations on the island.
An article in the February 2009 issue of The Banker entitled ‘Setting the Right Example’ captured the message that is doing the international rounds: Malta’s closely monitored yet flexible regulatory framework offers the ideal environment for financial services operators to conduct their business with confidence and advantage. Growing Sector Indeed, the island’s flourishing financial sector has been experiencing unprecedented growth in recent years. Malta’s strength as a financial services centre is based on innovation and a strong desire to provide an optimum operating environment for business. The creation of a positive legislative framework that ensures strong compliance but also offers a non-standardised approach to dealing
banking and financial services
with its clients, where custom-made solutions can be delivered, has allowed Malta the chance to develop as a meaningful and reputable financial services centre, competing successfully against the most established locations in the business. EU Membership provided Malta with the catalyst it needed to become one of Europe’s most dynamic and fastest growing finance centre. The impact of joining the EU has been very positive for Malta; the financial centre enjoys greater credibility, state-of-the-art EU compliant legislation and direct writing and passporting rights to the entire European market, ensuring the island’s placement on the radar of the international finance industry. Economic Driver A relatively new area for the Maltese economy, the Maltese financial services sector is today fast becoming a cornerstone of the economy, broadly accounting for around 12 per cent of GDP and expected to contribute over 25 per cent by 2015. The sector has been experiencing tremendous growth, expanding by 30 per cent a year in the last three years and now employs some 6,000 people (around 3.8 per cent of the workforce). Malta has received international recognition for its EU compliant and sophisticated regulatory framework, which is described as modern and in touch with today’s operating environment. All financial services in Malta are now subject to one regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA), set up in 2002, and which has been described by the financial sector as effective, responsive and proactive. Well-developed and professional The well developed banking and finance sector can support all international operations, while experienced lawyers, auditors, service providers and EU compliant legal and tax professionals support the sector in addition to an active stock exchange. Since Malta’s entry into the EU in 2004, the financial services sector has been making significant inroads into the European financial services scene, particularly in fund management, banking, trade finance, intra-group financing, back office operations, mergers and acquisitions, call centres and insurance industries. Malta’s strengths as a wealth management centre lie in its solid fundamentals; the financial centre offers a wide range of investment vehicles including specialist funds regimes, trust companies and a positive tax regime. Banking Malta’s banking industry attracted international accolades when it remained stable through the international financial crisis of 2008, and the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index 20082009 has ranked Malta’s banking system as the 10th soundest in the world. Banking is one of the most interesting economic drivers on Malta, with analysts pointing to the sector’s continued robustness during the crisis as being a key indicator for the future performance of the industry which, along with other financial services, is earmarked by the authorities for significant growth. Malta’s banking landscape comprises some 23 foreign or privately-owned credit institutions and 15 financial institutions
licensed by the Malta Financial Services Authority, while over 200 international banks and financial institutions have registered their intention to provide services in or out of Malta. Some of the most highly respected names in institutional finance have chosen to establish operations in Malta and use the island’s strategic location as a springboard for future development in the Mediterranean region. Malta’s international banking centre has been gaining considerable ground in establishing itself as the finance hub for the Mediterranean region. The island’s strategic location between Europe and North Africa makes it an ideal stepping stone for financial institutions wishing to tap into the ever-increasing wealth being generated in the region. Banks in Malta now offer the full range of banking services, including retail banking, private banking, investment banking, trade finance, commercial banking, project finance, treasury and syndicated loans. The domestic retail banking landscape in Malta is dominated by the Bank of Valletta and HSBC Malta, who between them control extensive branch networks across the Maltese islands and account for around 80 per cent of the consumer banking market. While HSBC operates a policy that excludes gambling business, BOV, Banif Bank, and the Austrian Sparkasse Bank all welcome eGaming business. According to various payment service providers, companies in Malta probably process upwards of 5 billion euro per year, though most eGaming operators in Malta maintain merchant accounts and player fund accounts with top tier overseas acquiring banks such as RBS and Lloyds, while the local, Maltese banks are used for operational funds, personal bank accounts and wealth management solutions. In addition, foreign banks such as Volksbank, Bawag, Sparkasse, Credit Europe, Finansbank, the International Banking Corporation, Saadgroup Bank Europe and FIMBank all offer mortgages, commercial banking, deposit accounts and trade finance as well as their international business. E-Money Institutions Malta provides a favourable regulatory framework for electronic money and electronic institutions, with the Banking Act giving licensed banks the scope to offer electronic banking under their banking licence. It also however, makes provision for so-called ‘stand-alone’ electronic money institutions, which are regulated by the Electronic Commerce Act of 2001 and the Electronic Money Institutions Directive. Malta’s financial services legislation is modern and sophisticated, leading many of its competitors in the areas of e-commerce regulation and facilitation. Regulated by the single regulator, the Malta Financial Services Authority, E-Money institutions set up in Malta are able to benefit from Malta’s favourable tax regime, relatively low cost base and experienced, qualified personnel as well as the island’s strategic location midway between Europe and Africa. Most of Malta’s leading banks as well as a number of new entrants, such as Credit Europe, offer electronic banking to their customers; the Maltese authorities believe that entities such as online stockbrokers, credit card companies, fund and investment managers and others will follow the banks’ lead in offering this type of service to clients.
banking and financial services
International eWallets such as Moneybookers, Neteller and PayPal have become major components of the ecommerce industry, providing security and peace-of-mind to users wary of giving out credit card details to numerous different online shops, entertainment sites or service providers. Malta offers the right environment for this type of company to establish themselves, industry practitioners believe. The island offers the right legislation and infrastructure to support their operations while the presence of a large number of online gaming operators and software providers situated actually on the island means a cluster of potential clients are already in situ. This is seen as an excellent opportunity for eWallets and eMoney providers to set up operations and take advantage of the many benefits Malta offers. Payment Service Providers A number of specialist PCI certified payment service providers are established in Malta, offering a full range of payment services. These include companies such as Apco and Alert Communications, amongst others. These companies have seen their business expand radically over the past few years and they now collectively service several hundred customers every month, with between 20 and 30 per cent of their business being generated by the online gaming industry. Payment service providers in Malta maintain their own in-house data centres with redundant connectivity and power, and extremely high security and are connected to a large number of international and local banks, ewallets and financial institutions. Insurance A key player in Malta’s financial services sector, the insurance industry, both the segment serving the local market and the segment that caters to an international clientele, has been growing steadily over the past couple of years. Served by carefully crafted legislation, fully harmonised to EU rules, Malta is proving increasingly
attractive to insurance firms seeking a reputable and wellregulated jurisdiction from which to operate. The island’s insurance sector now includes insurance companies, agencies, reinsurers and captive insurance companies as well as Protected Cell Companies. This means that companies based in Malta are able to tap into some of the most sophisticated insurance products on the market, including industryspecific products. For the remote gaming industry, with its specialist requirements that range from technology cover to business interruption cover, key official cover and many others, this means timely access to the right products for the business. Indeed, for remote gaming, an industry that offers services across international borders and into several different markets at the same time, properly structured, bespoke insurance is crucial. While Malta’s insurance industry can offer remote gaming companies a range of options, insurance broker MIB and insurer CFC Underwriting launched a specialist product, ICE, in mid 2009 tailored specifically for remote gaming companies in Malta. Backed 100 percent by Lloyds of London, ICE offers full breach of contract cover as well as cover for intellectual property rights infringements; software bugs cover and key official cover as well as many other features. In addition, Malta’s thriving domestic market can also provide any personnel cover, home cover, health insurance and motor insurance expatriate employees and directors of remote gaming companies may need. The island is able to offer remote gaming companies the technology, infrastructure, personnel and legal framework in which to operate successfully: it can also offer the insurance products to ensure online gambling companies are protected and covered for the business risks associated with internet gambling, providing operators with the confidence and flexibility necessary to be able to operate successfully in this rapidly evolving environment.
EU Membership provided Malta with the catalyst it needed to become one of Europe’s most dynamic and fastest growing finance centre
Cost-Effective and Convenient Offering services that are tightly regulated and closely monitored, the financial services and banking industries are well placed to offer top quality products and services under highly advantageous conditions. This cost advantage also applies to Malta’s financial services industry in general, however. The sector is sophisticated, stable and able to offer a wide range of the services and products remote gaming operators require. The island’s highly respected banking system and widely praised legislative and regulatory regime offers gaming operators the security of knowing they are operating within a world class system. And, as Malta attracts more and more international financial institutions to establish themselves on the island, the opportunities for remote gaming operators and other customers will expand in tandem with the industry. n
HR and recruitment
building on success HR AND RECRUITMENT
As the eGaming industry in Malta expands, so does the availability of multi-national, multi-lingual staff eager to work in this young and dynamic industry
ne of the main benefits of establishing operations in Malta, according to leading remote gaming operators on the island, is the high quality of the local human resources and the attraction of Malta to staff being recruited from abroad. While the Maltese workforce is renowned for its strong work ethics, loyalty and high productivity across all industry sectors, the relatively young remote gaming industry requires specialist knowledge that is as yet largely unavailable in Malta. As a result, over 50 per cent of employees in the eGaming sector in Malta are foreign expats, attracted by the rapid growth of the industry and the added value of living on a Mediterranean island. However, according to recruitment specialists and operators in the industry, Maltese employees of online betting and gaming companies have proven quick to learn new skills, meaning they progress fast up the career ladder, and offer strong loyalty to their employers, reducing employee churn and adding enormous value to the company.
The Maltese governmentâ€™s long commitment to raising the level of information technology skills in the population has paid off as Malta begins to stand out as a regional centre of excellence in ICT. The Global Information Technology Report 2006-2007 of the World Economic Forum ranked the Maltese government as the second most successful government in the world in promoting ICT. This is reflected in the number of ICT courses offered by state schools, colleges and university as well as various private specialist IT academies that have established operations in Malta. Sourcing the right people One of the key elements in running a successful operation is human resources, and sourcing the right people for a particular operation is crucial. There are a number of specialist remote gaming recruitment companies located in Malta, including Pentasia,
HR and recruitment
BettingJobs.com, Reed iGaming and VacancyCentre.com. These companies can assist operators in deciding how and where to recruit the human resources necessary, using their international networks to reach potential candidates from around the world, and perfectly positioned to attract the right people for the right jobs. Foreign staff are easy to attract to Malta, according to leading operators and recruiters. The island’s climate, Mediterranean lifestyle and proximity to Europe make it attractive to north Europeans eager to relocate to a place in the sun. Remote gaming: a new career path Across the world, specialist expertise in remote gaming is hard to find: the industry is relatively new and there are few specialist academic or training courses for people looking to make a career in the eGaming field. Currently the industry tends to recruit from different online sectors such as online dating, adult or ecommerce sectors where there are clearly a lot of transferable skills and more and more positions are being filled through career progression, with people entering the industry at a trainee level and working their way up the ladder to higher and more responsible positions. Availability of HR Maltese staff tend to be employed to fill positions in IT, finance and general management, while the more specialist gaming and marketing posts are filled by expats, according to several of the recruitment specialists based in Malta. According to leading recruitment agencies, the bigger operators are investing significantly in training local people because they are perceived as more loyal and tend to remain with the same company in the long term. Maltese staff are renowned to be hardworking and very committed, while foreigners may have had more exposure to the industry,. Indeed, as the industry in Malta grows, the availability of staff expands along with it. Today, eGaming operators seeking staff are able to tap into a multi-national, multi-lingual pool of potential employees that are already on the island, or willing to relocate to Malta. Companies looking for staff have a wide choice even in Malta, because more and more foreigners from across the world are coming to Malta and staying, even when they decide they want to change jobs. Salaries and staff costs Malta remains significantly cheaper than other European capitals in terms of staff salaries and costs, and though the eGaming industry tends to offer remuneration that is some 30 per cent higher than other industries in Malta, the amounts are still significantly lower than the average in European cities. And in light of the fact that the industry sources around half its employees internationally, operators are quick to point out that the lower cost of living in Malta means that staff actually enjoy a much higher quality of life on the lower salary in Malta than on the higher salary in somewhere like London or Scandinavia. While salaries in the eGaming sector have risen above the average Maltese pay packet, this has not had an effect on the island’s competitiveness in this area, operators say, and salary levels in Malta are highly competitive when compared to other European capital cities.
Specialist recruitment firms As Malta’s popularity and reputation as an eGaming centre has grown over recent years, attracting more and more operators to base their businesses on the island, specialist recruitment firms soon followed suit, and operators based in Malta are now able to tap into their services, dealing with a local presence, rather than a long-distance recruiter based in London or elsewhere. Malta’s overall package for gaming operators, including the tax benefits, the location and climate are important motivators for operators moving to the island, but the fact that so many gaming personnel of different nationalities are now based in Malta means operators are confident they will find the right employees for the positions they need to fill. Training At the moment Malta’s educational institutions do not offer tailormade courses for the remote gaming industry. Most companies do in-house training for their staff, and specialist recruiters agree on the necessity for independent industry specific training to be offered. Malta does offer a fully-developed ICT training centre and is successful in attracting large numbers of young people into the ICT stream of education. This is due largely to the Maltese government’s long and unwavering focus on developing Malta as an ICT centre of excellence, an ambition reflected in government educational policies to increase the availability of IT training and producing hundreds of IT graduates every year. Apart from the Computer Science Department at the University of Malta, the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) has added a series of new IT courses to their curricula, and private colleges and institutions have affiliated themselves with British and European universities and academies, offering internationally recognized degree courses in a wide range of IT subjects. These initiatives have been seeing spectacular results: intake to ICT courses doubled between 2005 and 2006, and three of the largest IT companies in the world, Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco, have all set up specialized IT academies on the island. What this means is that Malta is able to provide qualified personnel for all levels of IT staffing: from designers and engineers who work on the development of solutions, software, telecoms links and computer hardware, to people trained to use specific products as well as an overall IT literate population. All of these people are potentially able to slot into the online gaming industry especially at entry level. Attractive Industry for Young Professionals While the online gaming industry is still very young, meaning there is a relatively restricted pool worldwide of experienced remote gaming experts, the recruitment firms based in Malta are convinced that the island offers great potential, both for recruiting locally and from abroad. The climate, low cost of living and Mediterranean lifestyle are a strong draw for expats from northern Europe or the UK, and Maltese graduates are fast learning that the eGaming industry could offer them an innovative and exciting new career. n
Comments from Malta’s eGaming industry leaders
We have now gained years of experience in handling exposures and risk management required to back up complex igaming systems. Other foreign markets who have noticed the shift of operations from other countries to Malta have marked their presence and partnered with us to provide the necessary more effective, risk management solutions, which are crucial to pro-active companies. Thomas Attard Divisional Director Business Development, Mediterranean Insurance Brokers
Our tax regime has undoubtedly attracted most of these businesses alongside a multi lingual and multi tasked workforce. The high standard of living and our climate have also been key factors. Due to the nature of this business, our anti-money laundering standards and structures have made it a secure hub. The introduction of high level offices is also allowing and encouraging more of these companies to relocate and expand. Jankarl Farrugia GM, Regus Malta
Malta has managed to achieve this position due to a successful combination of various factors including an established regulatory framework, economic and political stability, good communications infrastructure, a skilled multilingual labour force, an advantageous fiscal regime and competent service providers some of whom have become industry experts. Maria Micallef Partner, RSM Malta
Over the past months we have looked into our processes and identified how these could be streamlined and we have taken on new staff and engaged firms of high repute to assist us in certain elements of our processes. In parallel, we also initiated a process review in order to streamline the processes leading up to license issuance, as well as where and how to improve those processes. This has already resulted in improvement and we have managed to reduce the backlog and accelerate turnaround times by 27 percent, It is also pertinent to point out that there has been
a significant increase in the number of applications received – a sign of confidence in our jurisdiction. Reuben Portanier CEO, Lotteries and Gaming Authority
Besides offering a pleasant lifestyle and climate, Malta offers a highly robust legal and regulatory framework combined with an attractive tax regime for operators in the industry. The available infrastructure, ranging from Banking, IT to legal and other professional services, have further contributed to the popularity of the jurisdiction as a whole. Paul Mifsud MD, Sparkasse Bank Malta plc
Being licenced in an EU member state makes life easier for operators. The Malta license gives credibility and also gives a legal point to stand on in case of legal issues. Tony Axisa CEO, Cybergaming Consultants
A robust and adaptive regulatory infrastructure has helped to instill the confidence needed by operators to attract customers in an ever increasingly competitive market. Our skilled and diligent workforce have also helped to set Malta apart from other jurisdictions backed up by a government constantly investing in the latest technologies and training facilities. Viably attractive Tax regimes also do their part in helping companies offer better products while retaining the desired profit margins, which at the end of the day is what it’s all about. Simon Sullivan Director, Malta Gaming Consultants
One would immediately think of the fiscal and regulatory regime, mild weather, and life style. Nevertheless many discount the highly specialized professional service industry combining the legal, fiscal and financial services. These services are backbone of any sound eGaming operation, particularly where it comes to IP management and the corporate structures to serve the operation in the medium-long term. Pierre Mangion Business Development Partner, PKF Malta
Comments from Malta’s eGaming industry leaders Companies will find the people they need here. There is a pool of multi lingual and experienced candidates already here, with so many companies relocating to Malta. Having said this, companies have a vast choice when seeking to recruit locally especially since more and more foreigners are moving here. Caren Portelli Recruitment Executive, CSB Group
Apart from the island’s infrastructure, work force and climate, the most important advantage Malta provides is in its legal approach to online gambling, and the reputation of the Maltese gaming license in Europe. Based on strong regulation and providing protection against some of the major problems of modern society such as money laundering and gambling addiction, while promoting the concepts of fair gaming and security, Malta provides for the industry a legal environment matching European rules and meeting public expectations. Francois Brust CEO, B3W Group
Malta’s attraction is the result of a combination of a number of factors including first and foremost Malta forming part of the European Union, the continuous improvement of its technological infrastructure together with a solid banking system. Importantly, the island has a very effective tax system in place which is regulated by a sound yet flexible legislative framework and more important supported by all the political parties. Its highly skilled, qualified and multilingual professionals with a can do attitude add on to the success story of Malta’s Financial Services which in turn provide a good return on one’s investment. Michael Zammit Managing Director, CSB Group
The reasons for coming here were various, Malta offered a regulated market that meant we were going to get a valid licence, we would be regulated by a government entity and there were also tax incentives, both in terms of corporate taxation and gaming tax. Also Malta at that time was applying to join the EU and had an infrastructure that functioned well, with adequate bandwidth that has improved over the years. Malta today offers a well-regulated market with the new legislation introduced in 2004 and the LGA is now more experienced. As a gaming company we want to be in a regulated environment, we want a well-regulated market. George Debrincat General Manager, Unibet
Malta is the premier gaming location in Europe. People came to Malta because it’s an upstanding jurisdiction, well-regulated and in the EU. Players feel their money is safe and that is of primary importance to an online gambling operation. Malta has spent years expanding its international connectivity and other jurisdictions will take a long time to build up the infrastructure to support the industry. A.J. Thompson CEO, Tain Operations
Interwetten came to Malta due to the country’s excellent regulatory environment. Apart from a strict focus on industry best practices, the licensing procedures emphasize player protection and responsible gaming procedures. Both issues are very important to the Interwetten Group in particular, and the European market in general. We are proud to say that the Maltese gaming license has become a trademark within the international industry. Serious operators do appreciate the Lotteries and Gaming Authority’s high demands concerning online gaming. Even after the license is issued, operators are obliged to liaise closely with the Authority and obtain approval for any changes to the licensed operations. In the online business, Malta clearly set excellent standards. Wolfgang Fabian CEO, Interwetten
Malta has made a very big impact on the eGaming industry worldwide. In my opinion Malta is the most attractive jurisdiction in Europe, having a stable and comprehensive regulatory legal framework offering protection for both licenced operators and online players, with high anti-money laundering standards and a comprehensive legal framework for financial services. One of the most important aims of the Malta authority is to protect players and maintain gaming operators at a low risk for exposure to fraud and money laundering. Sharon Cauchi Director, Entraction
Malta is a respected jurisdiction, the legislation is very good, very serious, giving companies the opportunity to do good business. The very strict regulations and control includes important anti-money laundering and anti fraud measures and ensures the games are fully tested and safe for customers to play. It gives a secure environment for players and also gives players the opportunity to complain to the LGA. Thomas Kalita CEO, Betsson Malta
Comments from Malta’s eGaming industry leaders
Regulation provides players of Maltese based operators with added comfort that their monies are secure and that the games offered by such operators are fair and free from fraud and other irresponsible gaming practices. Tonio Ellul Partner, EMD
Malta is strongly regulated and has a strong reputation throughout Europe, broadly speaking the legislation fits well with Betfair – the online space is changing so rapidly, as are technology and requirements that it is important the legislation is reviewed on a regular basis. Our experience is where we’ve felt that the regulations don’t support the particular business model, we have received flexibility and a common sense, pragmatic approach. It is very important that they take that approach.
We are a service provider and we go where clients’ demand is. Now however, it gives us advantages in that we have new clients proposing to re-locate to Malta. Lee Richardson CEO, Chartwell Games
As the popularity of Malta has increased over the recent years, similar to what happened in Gibraltar eight or nine years ago, I would say Malta is now the number one place in Europe for operators to be based. This is because of the tax benefits Malta offers, its location, the fact that it’s the safest country in Europe, the weather and the fact that so many nationalities are based here…people come to Malta because its easy to find good staff and companies get more for their money here. Ricky Ruddock CEO, BettingJobs.com Malta
The regime is accessible and transparent, aimed at granting the best protection to players whilst allowing operators to run their business within the remits of a healthy and competitive environment.
Malta is light years ahead of everyone else. All the concerns regarding underage gambling, money laundering, fraud and responsible gaming are all covered by the Maltese legislation. Malta has the right legislation and infrastructure is in place and we have a large number of online gaming operators, software providers and service providers like us who can provide all the required PCI – DSS compliance assessments allowing companies to be much more cost-effective.
Karl Diacono MD, Fenlex Corporate Services
Alan Alden Director, Kyte Consultants
This is one reason specialist recruiters believe they are important to the industry. There are unique features in the online gaming industry and it is important for the recruiters to have an in-depth knowledge of the industry in order to be able to find the right people for any job.
Over the past number of years the Lotteries and Gaming Authority has processed over 500 applications for a remote gaming license. The industry has become a significant contributor to job creation and to date more than 4,500 people work in the gaming industry: 2,300 of whom are directly employed with the remote gaming industry. This year the country will have generated €19 million in revenue.
Tim Edwards International Operations Director, Betfair
David Cutajar Director, Reed iGaming
The bigger operators are investing a lot in training local people because they are more loyal and tend to remain with the same company in the long term, Maltese are renowned to be hardworking and very committed. Foreigners are perhaps more experienced having had a bigger exposure to the industry but there is no problem sourcing foreigners to fill positions, especially through a specialist recruitment firm. Chris Vella Regional Director, Pentasia
Tonio Fenech Minister of Finance
The essential part of our service offering is the collection of payment. We have our own in-house data centre with redundant connectivity and power, and extremely high security. We are connected to a number of banks, ewallets and financial institutions and we act as a conduit and facilitate payment. There are heavy fines for entities responsible for loss of data. In Malta we get audited, a PCI audit, once a year on site and four times a year externally. Ian Pelicano Director, Apco
Alert’s data centre offers the whole range of services, from leased servers and co-location to bandwidth, 24 hour tech support and ancillary services, Everything within the data centre is duplicated to ensure redundancy: we get bandwidth from both operators and all electricity, air conditioning and other provisions are duplicated to ensure continuity regardless of what happens. Claudine Cassar MD, Alert Communications
We are currently not even using 20 percent of the total capacity we could provision. Currently we are at 10Gbps and we plan to light up more cables every year and to increase by 2 Gbps each year. At the end of this year we will go to 12.5 Gbps. The Vodafone Malta-Sicily cable system was built to the highest specifications possible. All fibres within the cable are duplicated and all electronic terminal equipment both in Malta and Sicily is duplicated as well. The system has a lot of inbuilt redundancy allowing availability figures in the region of 99.99 %. Thus the system is designed with a very high level of availability. Inaki Berroeta CEO, Vodafone Malta
Our capacity moving forward is virtually unlimited, we have two submarine cables, the original one which is co-owned by Telecom Italia, and which has a 2.5 Gbps connection to the internet, and the second cable where we currently have 2.5 Gbps. This is just a fraction of our potential capacity. Both our data centres, Go and BMIT (BellMed IT) have been designed to the highest industry standards and compare very favourably with others providing these services overseas. Through our data centres we offer colocation services and IT connectivity as well as managed services through which we can lease out the equipment and provide all support services such as technical services. David Kay CEO, GO
We are moving away from unregulated jurisdictions, most of our licensees operate out of Malta now. It goes both ways: if they want to use our software, companies need to have a licence in Malta, or it could be the other way round, that they decide to go for Malta and look to see what software is available here. Daniel Lindbergh Sales Director, Net Entertainment
As an IT professional as well as a lawyer, I spent several years developing business software and lecturing in computer science before studying for a doctorate in law. “When the time came to start practicing law. It was only natural for me to combine both areas – computing and law – together and specialize in information communication technology law. Olga Finkel Managing Partner, WH Law
Legal and corporate services are less expensive here than in the UK and Europe. Our company offers a one stop shop service, ranging from IT to corporate services, iGaming services, legal services, and accountancy and employment specialists. We are a team of skilled and experienced professionals offering a service that is relatively cheap compared to European and UK norms. Adrian Vella Lawyer, Mamo TCV
The three main principles of our regulation are that gaming is provided fairly, that children and vulnerable persons are protected and that we keep gaming free from crime and money laundering. Dr Joe Borg Legal and Enforcement Director, LGA
travel and living
mediterranean delights travel
A trip to Malta offers the chance to explore some of the island’s most beautiful treasures and experience the charms of a truly Mediterranean lifestyle
lessed with delightful natural scenery, magnificent architecture, warm and friendly people and a leisurely Mediterranean lifestyle, Malta enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year and, according to International Living, has the best climate in the world. The island’s balmy weather and sparkling blue seas make for a holiday or business environment that is virtually second to none, while the island’s relaxed lifestyle and Mediterranean cuisine bursting with natural sun-ripened flavours has enchanted visitors for centuries. So Much More Sun and sea may be what most people come to Malta to find, but this island nation is much more than a simple beach resort. Blue skies and azure sea frame a vibrant island, rich with art, history, architecture and culture, forming the backdrop to a laid back
Mediterranean lifestyle at times sparking with energy, at times languid with leisurely indolence. It’s a magical combination, unlike anywhere else in the region or indeed the world. The English-speaking population of Malta, all 400,000 of them, are islanders with a difference: growing up on the island that tradition situates right at the very heart of the birth of civilisation. Malta’s cultural offerings range from the traditional to the avant-garde and the humble to the sophisticated to provide a colourful kaleidoscope of events, activities and entertainment all year round. Mediterranean Island The Maltese islands consist of Malta, Gozo and Comino (all inhabited) and the uninhabited islets of Cominotto and Filfla.
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Anchored in the crystal clear waters of the central Mediterranean, the Maltese archipelago is situated just 93 km south of Sicily and 290 km north of Africa. Malta’s strategic position midway between Europe and Africa made it a key possession for the many different conquering nations that ruled it throughout its 7,000 years of history: from Neolithic man to the Ancient Romans, the Byzantines, the Moors, the Normans, the Knights of St John, the French and the British, all of whom have left a wealth of architectural and cultural treasures. Rich in History and Culture From the Baroque city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage site replete with museums, churches, galleries, shops, open air markets and boasting the remarkable St John’s Co-Cathedral, home to Caravaggio’s masterpiece the Beheading of St John, to the old capital, Mdina, the so-called ‘Silent City, that quietly evokes a bygone era with its elegant stone palaces and hushed cobbled streets, to the St Paul’s Catacombs in Rabat, Ggantija Neolithic Temples in Gozo, the World War II shelters and the Forts of St Elmo and St Angelo, Malta offers visitors a glimpse through a 7,000 year microcosm of Mediterranean history. Winding Down History and culture come hand in hand with 360 days a year of sunshine, great food and plenty of diverse activities to enjoy. From swimming in the limpid waters of the Med to diving around ship wrecks, golfing, rock climbing or sky diving, there are myriad things to do when you’re in Malta. And evenings are fun too… with restaurants, wine bars, nightclubs as well as live music and buzzing beach parties in many different localities to make sure your evenings are as fun-packed as your days.
Malta between June and September, find out where the nearest village festa is being held and prolong your evening by sharing in the lively celebrations, fireworks and fun commemorating the village patron saint. Island Hopping If you get the opportunity, catch the ferry across the Gozo channel to Malta’s sister island of Gozo. This tiny, rural island, swirling with myth and romance has a legendary charm that enchants any visitor. Beautiful landscapes of gentle hills and undulating valleys, with a rocky coastline punctuated with occasional sandy beaches and deep sheltered bays, cliffs and bluffs, Gozo is a genuine island delight. Far less developed than Malta, Gozo’s rural communities and coastal fishing villages slumber under the Mediterranean sun in picturesque somnolence. Gozo is also home to the 5,500 year old Ggantija Temples, the oldest and one of the most magnificent examples of megalithic temples on the islands. Shopping Around Shopping in Valletta, Sliema or St Julians is excellent, and apart from all the high-street brands from the UK, Italy and France, you will also find boutiques selling designer wear at relatively low prices. If you’re shopping for traditional arts and crafts to take home with you, look out for the renowned Malta lace, delicate silver and gold filigree or the colourful and creative Malta handblown glass. Easy Accessibility
If you’re the active type or simply want to blow off steam, you might want to try one of the myriad of sporting activities available on Malta: from golf and tennis, to skydiving, rock-climbing, scuba diving, horse riding, walking or bird-watching, there’s plenty to do for anyone seeking an adrenaline rush or a blast of fresh air. Keen ramblers will discover the charm of the Maltese rural landscape; a patchwork tapestry of terraced fields, olive trees and honey-coloured stone walls.
Popular for decades with European tourists from across the continent, Malta’s proximity to the mainland means it has always been relatively easy to get to the island. The island’s national airline, Air Malta, provides regular, direct flights to and from most major European cities, and now, with the advent of low-cost airlines a few years ago improving both pricing and seat availability, getting to Malta has become as easy as catching a train into town. Just an hour away from Rome and three hours from London or Frankfurt, the island offers northern Europeans the chance to get away from it all and experience for themselves the beauty of its languid Mediterranean lifestyle, the charm of its island landscape and the vibrancy of its multi-cultural, multi-lingual, young and energetic social scene.
Trip to Remember
Whatever you choose to fill your free time with, eating out and evening entertainment will put the final touches to your days. Malta offers a great choice of restaurants, bars, jazz clubs, nightclubs, discos and casinos and the island’s vibrant nightlife draws crowds from across Europe throughout the year. Dine by the sea on freshcaught fish, sipping on a glass of ice-cold local chardonnay, and gazing up into the starry night sky for an unforgettable evening. Round the evening off with a party or nightclub, joining the thousands of young European expats and visitors for an evening of dancing, chatting and energetic socialising. And if you’re visiting
Malta’s varied, fascinating and multi-faceted attractions are an alluring draw to visitors of all ages and from all backgrounds. Whether coming for the history, the culture, the lifestyle or the parties, anyone visiting Malta is set to be charmed by the island’s balmy climate, sparkling blue seas and wonderfully hospitable people. There are few holiday destinations in the world that can offer a similar array of attractions within such easy distance of each other: Malta’s small size, proximity to Europe and excellent weather make it a unique holiday destination offering a truly Mediterranean experience. n
travel and living
the best of both worlds living in malta
Fed up of long commutes and cold, rainy weather but donâ€™t want to give up top European standards? Living in Malta means you can wave goodbye to compromises and really have it all: traditional Mediterranean lifestyle and climate, plus excellent services, facilities and infrastructureâ€Śand all in an English-speaking country where the people are famed for their hospitality
travel and living
iving in Malta is a unique experience, especially for those used to hectic city environments and long commutes between work and home. The island’s small size and wealth of entertainment options means that in Malta, it is possible to have it all: work hard, play hard and relax by the sea, all in one day. One of the most compelling advantages of doing business in Malta is its unique combination of efficient business centre and idyllic Mediterranean island lifestyle. Few locations in Europe can offer the same level of professional excellence, pleasant environment, balmy climate and compact convenience as Malta, and nowhere is it easier to achieve the proverbial balance of eight hours work, eight hours play and eight hours sleep. Malta is a tiny island, but its advanced business centre, proximity to mainland Europe and sophisticated communications infrastructure means that executives are able to achieve maximum time efficiency in their working days, leaving more time for relaxation, family and friends. Short distances between locations mean little time wasted on travel, and the sea, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, sports clubs and gyms are often within walking distance of office or home. Northern Qualities in a Southern Environment But it’s not only time issues that give Malta its edge over other European locations. The Maltese character is imbued with the British legacy of strong work ethic and powerful ambition, softened by the natural southern Mediterranean temperament. Doing business in Malta is both satisfying and pleasant because the same balance that adds value in terms of time is also present in the nature of the people you’re working with. Efficient Public Services Add to that the fact that the Maltese health service is one of the best in the world, the postal service works at a high level of efficiency, the infrastructure is robust and continually being upgraded and schools, colleges and universities are among the best in Europe, and an already pretty picture becomes even more attractive. Multi-lingual Base Your Maltese neighbours will speak three languages fluently: Maltese, English and Italian, and will probably have at least a working knowledge of French or German. The cost of living remains one of the lowest in Europe, yet banking, taxation, insurance, social
security, utilities and communications services are sophisticated, professional and reliable, often surpassing those offered in many European nations. Unique All-round Lifestyle All of this, of course, under a Mediterranean sun that sparkles on the cleanest and clearest water in the region, and that gives the island hot, dry summers, short, mild winters and gloriously warm spring and autumn weather. Does it get any better? Well yes, actually. The Maltese cuisine, a Mediterranean diet based on fresh seasonal ingredients, is one of the healthiest and tastiest in the region, crime is almost nonexistent, making Malta one of the safest places in the world, and the population’s strong Catholic tradition, evident in the hundreds of beautiful churches and chapels to be seen in every town, village or hamlet, bursts into joyous street celebrations with every feast day marked by processions, spectacular fireworks displays, band marches and general feasting. Malta offers residents and expats the unique opportunity to live every aspect of life to the full, with warm sunshine and sparkling seas providing an enchanting backdrop to a pleasant Mediterranean lifestyle.
travel and living
L I V I N G I N MA LTA
Top tips for expats Essential info for anyone planning to move to Malta for work or leisure
Country and People Just over 316 square kilometers in area, the Maltese islands, comprising Malta, Gozo and Comino, lie midway between Europe and North Africa, 60 miles south of Sicily and 120 miles north of Libya. Malta’s 400,000 inhabitants are among the most international of peoples. With a history that spans 7,000 years, Malta’s archaeological sites pre-date Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids by more than a thousand years, and the islands’ Neolithic temples being the oldest free standing constructions in the world. Successive foreign conquerors including the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Byzantines, Moors, Normans and the Knights of St. John, the French and the British have all left their mark, together with a wealth of architectural treasures, ruling the island until 1964 when Malta won its independence from Britain after 160 years. The main island of Malta is 27 km long and 14.5 km at its widest point and it takes just 45 minutes to cross the island. Rocky, with a dry and often windy climate, Malta’s country side is characterised by the tiny terraced fields carved out of the available agricultural land. Climate and Weather Malta has a Mediterranean climate, with average monthly temperatures ranging from 12 degrees C (54 degrees F) to 31 degrees C (88 degrees F). Sunshine is abundant all year round, with an average of 5 to 6 hours a day in winter and 12 hours or more in summer. Humidity is often above 40 per cent, but the Malta’s cool sea breezes diminish the effect considerably. Malta’s low rainfall registers around 600 millimetres annually, most of which falls between October and March. Strong winds are common, and during spring and autumn the island is sometimes subject to the hot and dry scirocco blowing off Africa. Getting There Malta is connected to all most major European cities, by air and by sea. The island’s international airport is at Gudja, a few miles from Valletta. Taxis and buses are available at the airport, and operate to all parts of Malta. The island is served by most major airlines, apart from Malta’s own national airline, Air Malta (KM). British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Alitalia are joined by low-cost carriers such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Germanwings, Vueling, Clickair and Volare, and link the island to every part of Europe and the region. Flight times vary from three hours to London, to 30 minutes to Catania. In addition,
high speed hydrofoil, catamarans and car ferries operate on the sea routes between Malta’s main port of Valletta and mainland Italy and Sicily. People Malta’s population stands at around 400,000, making it one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with an average population density of 1,200 people per square kilometre. Most Maltese live in the satellite towns around Valletta – Malta’s capital and country’s political and commercial centre, Sliema and the Grand Harbour, with only 15 per cent in rural areas. More than 95 per cent of the population is Maltese born. Religion Most Maltese are Roman Catholic, and tradition dates the conversion of the island back to AD60 when St Paul was shipwrecked on Malta on his way to Rome. The Church still plays an important role in most communities on the island and this is reflected in the number of churches in Malta: 365 in all, more than one church for every square kilometre of territory. While Catholicism is the main religion of Malta, other denominations are also represented and you will find small Anglican, Church of Scotland, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Methodist and Muslim communities. Language Malta has two official languages: Maltese and English. The vast majority of Maltese people speak English, due largely to the country having been a British colony in the past. Italian is also widely spoken, while French and German are also commonly spoken. Visas, Residency, Immigration and Documentation As an EU country, Malta’s requirements on visas fall in line with EU policy and the island is a member of the Schengen area. Details of visa-exempt countries and visa application procedures are available on the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs website (www.mjha. gov.mt) Permanent Residence The Maltese government is keen to attract foreign nationals to settle in Malta, provided they meet certain financial criteria. Malta has operated expatriate immigration schemes for many years and people who settle in Malta under such schemes are allowed to remain indefinitely, and benefit from a range of fiscal advantages.
travel and living
Currency and Cost of Living Since January 1st 2008 Malta’s currency is the euro, which replaced the Maltese Lira. Despite recent rises in inflation, the cost of living in Malta remains one of the most advantageous in Europe, with groceries, clothing, furniture and utility services priced at below average EU levels. Tipping It is customary to offer 10-15 per cent of the total cost of the meal in restaurants and around 10 per cent to taxi drivers. Banking Malta’s main commercial banks are Bank of Valletta and HSBC. Both of these banks have branches throughout Malta and Gozo and they offer a range of personal and business banking services. Other banks present include Volksbank, Banif, FIMBank, Lombard Bank and APS Bank. Banks in Malta are open Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 2 pm. ATMs are available throughout the islands and credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Card are widely accepted. Taxation Malta has a progressive taxation system under which individuals are taxed between 15 per cent and 35 per cent of their income. Permanent residents are charged a reduced rate of 15 per cent on any income remitted into the country (not on capital), subject to a minimum of 4,193 euro per annum. No tax is chargeable on foreign source income that is not received in Malta. Foreign residents who work in Malta only pay tax on the income they earn in Malta. Insurance Residents in Malta have access to a full range of insurance products and services, both local and international. A large number of insurance companies, agencies representing major international companies, banks and other financial institutions are present on the island, and can provide all types of insurance products, ranging from personal, health, property, auto and travel insurance to any type of business cover required. Healthcare and Medical Treatment All EU nationals resident in Malta are eligible to receive free medical treatment at government-funded hospitals and clinics. The main general hospital is the newly opened state-of-the-art Mater Dei Hospital. All towns and villages have their own medical clinics. The Maltese Ministry of Health advises foreign residents to take out private medical insurance. In addition to the public health service there are several private hospitals. Malta is an EU country, and EU food and beverage safety standards are strictly monitored and enforced. Tap water is safe to drink, but bottled water is widely available. Milk and dairy products are safe, as are local meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables. Employment and Work Permits Although Malta became a member of the EU in 2004, the government successfully negotiated a seven-year period during which restrictions can be imposed on the rights of other EU nationals to work in Malta. EU nationals still have to obtain an employment licence before they can work in Malta. Salaries in
Malta are low by EU standards, about a third lower than the EU average, but are gradually increasing, and all employees are given an annual pay rise based on the cost of living. Residential Property Malta’s real estate market, both for rental and for sale, offers a wide range of properties for expats working on the island or those planning to establish permanent residency there to choose from, whether they’re looking for a city centre apartment to rent or a seaside villa or country farmhouse to buy. Malta’s property prices are still competitive in comparison to those in urban areas in most of the rest of Europe. Housing prices and rentals are around half to two-thirds of the price of similar property categories on continental Europe and even more competitive in relation to the UK market. Malta has always had a thriving real estate market; now, purpose-built developments are coming on stream which can be deemed ‘lifestyle’ complexes and ideal for investment. Developments in recent years include marina and coastal complexes at the top-end of the market. Similar projects are under way inland in established urban areas. Typically, these offer a mix of residential, retail and leisure spaces. There is a wide range of mid- to lower end apartments across the islands as well as individual, unique properties such as farmhouses, palazzos and villas with swimming pools. Gozo’s property tends to appeal to the holiday rental or second home market and is dominated by rustic style farmhouses and modern apartments. Renting Property in Malta A wide range of rental accommodation of various types is available throughout Malta and Gozo, including short-term and long-term lets. Most rental properties come fully furnished and equipped. Rental prices vary between locations, with the highest being the Sliema and St Julians areas, and lower cost accommodation available in Msida, Bugibba and the island of Gozo. Buying Property in Malta Anyone can buy property in the islands although a government permit may be required, and EU nationals have certain advantages. Maltese banks often offer mortgage facilities. Expatriates who take permanent residence in Malta are required by law to purchase a property on the island, which must cost at least 116,450 euro(69,870 euro for an apartment), if they are not renting property for at least 4,192 euro per annum. Application forms for the purchase of property in Malta, and information on the property-buying regulations can be found on the Ministry of Finance website (Acquisition of Immovable Property Section - http://www.aip.gov. mt). Education and Schools The children of expatriates living in Malta can be educated in one of the private international schools, or enrolled in the local state, church or independent schools. The local school system is based on the British model, and provides an excellent standard of education. Education is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 16. Kindergarten facilities are also available, free of charge, for all children aged between 3 and 5. Private school tuition fees in Malta are very reasonable by international standards. Tertiary education is offered through the University of Malta,
travel and living
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the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and numerous private colleges affiliated to British, US or European Universities and educational institutions. Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water) Electricity - 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plug type - 3 pronged British plug There are two utility providers in Malta: Enemalta Corporation which supplies electricity and bottled gas, and the Water Services Corporation which supplies all Malta’s water and disposes of its waste water. Malta has no natural gas network. Communications (Telephone, Newspapers, Internet, TV) Malta boasts one of Europe’s most advanced telecoms infrastructure, and a variety of different operators offer fixed line telephony, mobile telephony, broadband Internet, ISDN, VOIP, cable Internet and other services at competitive rates. The main providers are GO, Vodafone and Melita. Malta has a range of daily and weekly Maltese and English language newspapers and the island’s national TV station, PBS, broadcasts locally produced programmes in Maltese and international films, dramas and TV series in English. Cable TV was introduced to Malta in the early 1990s, and satellite TV is watched in many households. Driving and Cars Nationals of EU member countries aged 18 or over are allowed to drive in Malta on their existing licences, or exchange them for a Maltese one after having lived in Malta for six months. Non-EU nationals aged 18 or over can drive on their existing valid licence for a maximum of twelve months from the date of their last arrival in Malta. Leisure, Entertainment and Sports Watersports are extremely popular in Malta, where the climate and sea conditions are perfect for year-round activity. There are excellent conditions for scuba diving and snorkelling, particularly as the sea temperature never drops below 13 degrees C (55 degrees F), even in winter. The best sites are on the northern coast of Malta. There are also a number of highly popular spectator sports, including national water polo competitions, horse-racing, clay pigeon shooting and football. Malta has one golf course, located at the Royal Malta Golf Club, which is adjacent to the Marsa Sports and Country Club, on the road to the airport from Valletta. There are a wide range of festivals celebrated in Malta, the biggest one being the annual Carnival held in early spring. In addition, every town or village in Malta celebrates the feast of its patron saint with a big outdoor festival that often includes processions, band marches, fireworks, bare-back horse riding through the streets, singing and dancing. Shopping Sliema, St Julians, Valletta and Hamrun provide the best shopping in Malta, with both stand-alone boutiques and retail outlets and shopping malls being available. International brands are widely available. While there are few designer-clothes outlets on the island, most major European high street clothing brands are present in
Why Live in Malta • Great all year round weather • Very friendly and hospitable people • Very easy integration within local communities • Relatively crime free and very safe to live in • EU Member country offering political stability • English and Maltese are the official languages of the Islands. Italian is widely spoken and German and French are commonly spoken especially within the tourism sector • Excellent national and private hospital and medical services • Easy to get help and services • Abounding with history and cultural life • Excellent social life for all age groups and a large selection of top quality restaurants and cafes with diverse cuisine • Surrounded by crystal clear seas and several sandy beaches • Very good sporting facilities. World-class diving, sailing and other water sports • Excellent schooling to above-UK standards in English-speaking schools and University • Low cost of living and a wide variety of properties available in all price ranges • Stable property market offering steady capital growth • Daily flights to all major European and North African airports with low-cost airlines also offering a regular service • Excellent residency conditions with very low taxation • No rates or Council taxes are charged in Malta
Malta. Shops usually open from 9am – 1 pm and 4pm – 7pm and most are closed on Sundays, except for those located inside the BayStreet Shopping Centre in St Julians, and some outlets in busy tourist resorts such as Bugibba.
Cuisine and Dining Out Malta’s Mediterranean cuisine, based on seasonal fresh produce, features many of the main ingredients typical of the region: aubergines, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, onions and garlic together with freshly caught fish and seafood. Mediterranean herbs such as basil, mint, thyme, oregano and bay leaves are used in abundance, and flavours are enhanced by virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Meat dishes, pasta of all types, baked pasta and rice dishes are also very popular and feature heavily on traditional menus. Typical Maltese dishes include specialties such as rabbit, octopus, ravioli and bragioli (beef olives). A favourite Sunday lunch is roast pork and potatoes flavoured with onions and herbs. Maltese bread is excellent, and the traditional recipe calls for sourdough and a wood burning stone oven. Traditional Maltese food is served in most restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine, but in addition there are many specialist restaurants available: Italian, French, Chinese and Indian are the most numerous, but you will also find Greek, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Japanese and many others. Dining out in Malta can be a wonderful experience: From smart city restaurants in Baroque palaces, to family-run trattoria-style places in quaint village squares or seafront fish restaurants in tiny fishing villages, the choice is wide and there’s something to suit every mood, and every pocket. Taking Your Pets Malta is now a member of the Pet Travel Scheme which allows pets from any of the countries covered by the scheme to enter Malta without quarantine provided they meet specified anti-rabies, blood sampling and anti-worm/anti-tick hygiene requirements. The pet must be micro-chipped, vaccinated against rabies and blood tested, and can be brought into Malta only after six months have elapsed after a satisfactory blood test.
Directory of Business Profiles
Banking & Financial Services
Legal & Corporate
91 Apco Ltd 95 Sparkasse Bank Malta plc 95 Transactium
91 CSB Group 91 e-Management Ltd 92 EMD 92 Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal 92 Fenlex 94 PKF Malta 94 RSM Malta 95 WH Law
91 Betfair Gaming Software
91 B3W Group 92 Entraction Holding AB 93 Green Tube I.E.S. AG
Technical Support Services
95 Systec Limited
93 Kyte Consultants Ltd 93 M.G.C. Ltd
94 Regus Group
Institutions & Public Corporations
Telecom & Hosting
93 Lotteries & Gaming Authority 94 Malta Remote Gaming Council
94 SIS Ltd. 95 Vodafone Malta Limited
93 Mediterranean Insurance
Brokers (Malta) Limited
Ian Pellicano - Director
Apco Limited is a leading payment services company focusing on payment processing and other value added services. Our suite of innovative solutions is built around a flexible and secure payment gateway platform allowing our customers to expand their market reach with localized payment solutions within the platform. We offer card processing including 3DSecure, multiple currencies, multiple languages, and various payment options such as e-wallets, virtual cards and fast bank transfer. Our antifraud comprises different levels offering granular configuration. Reap the reward of additional revenues by reducing fraud through an optimized end to end PCI compliant solution.
B3W group started its operations in the gaming industry 12 years ago, but settled their Maltese offices only 3 years ago. More than infrastructures, workers or sun, the most important advantage Malta provides concerns its legal approach of gambling, and the reputation of the Maltese gaming license in Europe. Based on a strong regulation concerned by major modern problems of society such as money laundering, addiction, fair gaming and security, the industry has found a legal environment matching European rules and public expectations. Francois Brust - CEO
Betfair is the world’s biggest online betting community and pioneered the first successful betting exchange in 2000. Driven by cuttingedge technology, Betfair enables customers to choose their own odds and bet even after the event has started. The company now processes over 6 million transactions a day from its 2 million registered customers. In addition to sports betting, Betfair offers a portfolio of innovative products including casino, exchange games and poker. Niall Wass – Managing Director Betfair International
Michael J. Zammit - Group CEO
Freddy Konings – Managing Director
CSB Group (est. 1987) provides its clients with a spectrum of specialised business and commercial services including the incorporation of Maltese and Foreign companies; obtaining remote gaming licenses; regulatory and business consultancy; company secretarial, management and directorship services; key official services; trustee and fiduciary services; back office support and administration; accounting and payroll services; bank account opening and payment solutions; intellectual property registration; relocation assistance; managed office space; residence and work permit applications; and recruitment services.
e-Management Ltd, a dedicated partner of HBM Group (est. 1991) with offices in major international financial services centres, is a leading holistic provider of Corporate Services to the e-Commerce industry in general and to the Online Gaming Industry is particular. Our portfolio of services includes company formation, gaming license application, support, filing and liaising with the respective Authorities, secretarial services, accounting and corporate structuring amongst others. e-Management Ltd has more than 12 years experience in assisting major companies, software providers and operators with their corporate and licensing requirements in leading jurisdictions like Alderney, Antigua, Costa Rica, Curacao, Khanawake and Malta.
213, Psaila Street, Birkirkara BKR 9078 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2148 5045 Fax: (+356) 2148 5026 Contact Person: Ian Pellicano, Director Email: email@example.com Website: www.apco.com.mt
333, Rue d’Argens GZR1033 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2788 8222 Fax: (+356) 2788 9222 Contact Person: Henri Etrillard, PR Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.b3wgroup.com
Triq il-Kappillan Mifsud Santa Venera SVR 1851 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2271 3644 Fax: (+356) 2122 8572 Contact Person: Richard Bloch, International PR Manager Email: Richard.Bloch@betfair.com Website: www.betfair.com
The Penthouse - Tower Business Centre, Tower Street, Swatar BKR 3013 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2557 2557 Fax: (+356) 2557 2558 Contact Person: Michael J Zammit, Group CEO Email: iGaming@csbgroup.com Website: www.csbgroup.com
Regus Swatar Malta, 2nd Floor, Tower Business Center, Suite 207 Tower Street, Swatar BKR3013 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2546 6670 Fax: (+356) 2546 6000 Contact Person: Freddy Konings, Managing Director Email: email@example.com Website: www.emanagement-group.com
Dr Tonio Ellul - Partner and Director
Sharon Cauchi - Key Official/Director
EMD is a leading firm in Malta which provides professional support services to operators in the remote gaming industry. Offering a full-service “one-stopshop” concept from its new state-of-the-art offices at the Valletta Waterfront, EMD assists clients with all their licensing and compliance requirements both during the application stage and also thereafter. Services include full legal assistance, company formation, tax planning and compliance, book-keeping and accounting, payroll management, recruitment, work permit applications and other back-office services. EMD’s client portfolio includes several gaming operators licensed in Malta, including major players in the industry.
Entraction Holding AB was founded in 2000 and is a world leading supplier within the digital gaming industry. Prospective investments of interest to the Entraction Group are companies operating as suppliers within the digital gaming industry and which have a core product with strong growth and profitability potential. The subsidiary, Entraction Solutions, supplies complete systems for online gaming, meaning that media companies do not need to invest in payment solutions, customer support, other infrastructure, affiliate systems, promotional tools and payment solutions. Entraction Group endeavours to be one of the world’s three largest suppliers within the digital gaming industry, to be able to control the development of new products and services to ensure that the Group has the best offerings in the market. Europcar is well-established in Malta and provides vehicles for rentals, leasing and also chauffeur-driven services. Our main depot is centrally located in TalBalal and is by far the largest of its kind on the Maltese Islands. These premises ensure that we can cater for future growth whilst giving us many advantages through efficient operations and economies of scale. Our strategy for the future is simple, and that’s to provide good quality, well-maintained vehicles at the best prices whilst maintaining an excellent service to our customers.
Nicholas Zahra – Managing Director
Dr Christian Farrugia Joint Managing Partner
Karl Diacono - CEO
Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal was established in 2009 as a result of the convergence of three distinct but complementary, long standing professional realities and experiences. The founding partners, Christian Farrugia, Tonio Fenech, Antoine Fiott and Damien Fiott all enjoy an excellent reputation as experts in their respective fields and represent a large local and international client base in various market sectors. Areas of particular expertise include Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Taxation, Financial Services, Trusts & Fiduciary structures, Shipping & Aviation, New Media Law, Regulatory Compliance & Gaming. The firm also operates Litigation and Arbitration units from its Valletta offices.
Fenlex has been involved in the gaming industry in Malta since the late 90s. Our services include assisting clients through the license application process, setting up of the company, identification of property, selection of suppliers for technical services as well as back office operations such as accountancy, payroll and bank account administration. In addition, we also offer company secretarial support, directorship services and the service of a key official, who is responsible for the liaison with the Lotteries & Gaming Authority. Our service is built around professionalism, tailored solutions, and a culture of teamwork and trust.
Vaults 13–15, Valletta Waterfront FRN 1913 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2203 0000 Fax: (+356) 2123 7277 Contact Person: Dr Tonio Ellul, Partner and Director Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.emd.com.mt
Tigne Place Block 12 Office 2/3 Tigne Street, Sliema, SLM3173 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2133 2407 Fax: (+356) 2133 2701 Contact Person: Sharon Cauchi Key Official/Director Email: Sharon.email@example.com Website: www.entraction.com
Europcar Depot, 23, Xwieki Road, Tal-Balal, Naxxar GHR 9011 - Malta Tel: (+357) 2576 1000 Fax: (+357) 2137 3673 Contact Person: Mr. Wilfred Mangion, Sales Manager Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.europcar.com.mt
Malta offices: Tower Business Centre Level 1, Tower Street, Swatar BKR 3013 12/16 Strait Street, level 1, Valletta VLT 1432 Tel: (+356) 2549 6000 • Fax: (+356) 2549 6444 Contact Person: Dr. Christian Farrugia, Joint Managing Partner Email: email@example.com Website: www.fff-legal.com
85, St. John Street, Valletta VLT 1165 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2124 1817 Fax: (+356) 2599 0640 Contact Person: Karl Diacono, CEO Email: Karl.Diacono@fenlex.com Website: www.fenlex.com
Eberhard Dürrschmid - CEO
Alan J. Alden - Director
Greentube I.E.S. AG is the leading developer of cross-media, multiplayer cash-skill gaming solutions. Its product portfolio consists of international and national games such as Backgammon, Jass, Skat and so on. Greentube´s game-base technology provides cross-media multiplayer applications and state of the art 3D downloadable applications with amazing conversion rates. 3D Games of Greentube are the Ski Challenge, the VW Polo Challenge and many more. Beside Poker and Bingo, Greentube offers Casino Games like Slot Machines, Roulette, Black Jack and Baccarat. The main focus on the Greentube Casino solution is the ability to provide quality entertainment through a unique and captivating branded visual experience. More information can be found at: www.greentube.com
Kyte is the only company in Malta totally dedicated to information systems audits and information security. Kyte became the first and only company in Malta to be qualified as a Qualified Security Assessor company by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The directors of Kyte were also the first persons to be accredited by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority to carry out certification reviews of remote gaming operators on its behalf. With their experience and knowledge Kyte can assist you throughout the remote gaming licensing process and thereafter. Kyte boasts some of the biggest names in gaming as their clients.
The LGA was constituted in July, 2002 as the regulator that oversees all gaming activities in Malta. Since then LGA has been executing its brief to regulate, control and monitor all gaming operations. Accordingly the LGA is responsible for the operation of all gaming operated in and from Malta. The LGA aims to protect minors and vulnerable players, safeguards players’ rights, promotes responsible gaming in a safe environment, ensures the integrity of games and gaming devices and keeps gaming free from criminal activities. Reuben ‘Portanier - CEO
Simon Sullivan - Director
Joe Cutajar - Managing Director
MGC has been specifically set-up to serve a niche in the gaming market in order to facilitate and enable international companies looking to Malta for Online Gaming Services and Land Based Casino Operations. How? Simple. MGC will perform an initial assessment of your requirements and present you with an outline of time lines and costs. MGC will allocate a Gaming Project Manager to run the entire process together with our expert network of industry professionals. MGC provides you with your own trusted iGaming Project Manager to ensure time and money efficiency. With a proven track record and Consultants who have been working within the Gaming Industry since 1998 MGC can truly be the Ace up your sleeve .
MIB have operated in Malta for the past 32 years. We combine the experience of the largest local team of qualified insurance broking specialists with the vast resources of the leading global insurance broker, AON, as exclusive correspondents. Focused on designing solutions in tune with each individual client’s concerns, our brokers assist in the risk analysis process addressing the availability and feasibility of specialist products for the online gaming industry. Of particular concern are areas of cyber and technology exposures, errors and omissions liability, directors and officers liability, breach of privacy, loss of confidential data, breach of contract and intellectual property rights infringement.
Greentube I.E.S. AG Mariahilfer Straße 47/1/102 Tel: (+43) 1494 5056 Fax: (+43) 1494 5056 14 Contact Person: Doris Mayer, Marketing & Sales Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.greentube.com
Flat 1, Northfields, Independence Avenue, Mosta MST 9026 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2759 5000 Fax: (+356) 2759 5984 Contact Person: Mr Alan J Alden, Director Email: email@example.com Website: www.kyteconsultants.com
Suite 1, Level 3, TG Complex, Brewery Street, Mriehel, Birkirkara BKR 3000, Malta Tel: (+356) 2131 6590 Fax: (+356) 2131 6599 Contact Person: Ms Kristy Debono Manager, Information Analysis Unit Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.lga.org
M.G.C. Ltd, Old College Str., Sliema - Malta Tel: (+356) 7777 1111 Fax: (+356) 2138 2425 Contact Person: Simon Sullivan, Director Email: email@example.com Website: www.maltagamingconsultants.com
Mediterranean Insurance Brokers (Malta) Limited – exclusive correspondents in Malta for Aon. 53, Mediterranean Building, Abate Rigord Street, Ta’ Xbiex, XBX 1122 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2343 3125 • Fax: (+356) 2134 1599 Contact Person: Thomas Attard FAIQ, Dip. CII, Divisional Director, Business Development Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.mib.com.mt
Daniela Grioli - Chairperson
Pierre Mangion - Partner
Mark Dixon - Chairman and CEO
Maria Micallef Assurance and Business Advisory Partner
Nicola Girardin - CEO
The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC) was launched in March 2005. The MRGC Council is made up of all stakeholders in the remote gaming industry including licensed operators, data carriers, Internet service providers, lawyers and professional service providers. The Council’s main objective is to serve as an ongoing discussion forum giving valuable feedback to the Authority and other relevant organizations, so that they are able to keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry. The MRGC has provided training on Responsible Gambling in conjunction with Gamcare, UK and also carried out various surveys with its membership for the benefit of the industry.
PKF Malta is a member of PKF International, a network of independent firms of accountants and business advisors with more than 440 offices in over 100 countries. We provide services to a list of prestigious clients and have always enjoyed an excellent reputation which stems from our dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm to serve our clients. These services include the provision of financial audit and tax consultancy, company formation, trusts and full nominee and fiduciary services, back office operations and compliance services in line with legislative changes and updated. We also offer specialized International tax planning, captive insurance and PCCs, funds and shipping company registrations, and a one stop shop for remote gaming operations. The Regus Group is the world’s leading provider of pioneering workplace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully-equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the largest network of videoconferencing studios. Over 400,000 clients a day, major international groups as well as thousands of growing small and medium businesses, benefit from Regus Group facilities spread across a global footprint of 1,000 locations in 450 cities and 75 countries, which allows individuals and companies to focus on their core business and to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Since launching Regus in 1989, Mark Dixon’s vision of the global serviced office industry completely changed the way companies consider their real estate needs. RSM Malta is a multi-disciplinary firm with a proven track record in the gaming industry that provides sound and practical advice to international investors interested to set up a remote gaming business in Malta. We employ various specialists to provide the full range of services necessary to set up the business in Malta. Services offered include: licensing assistance, tax planning and compliance, company formation, back office, Business and IT advisory and audit. Our organisational set up is such that enables us to provide swift and efficient response to client needs to ensure the highest standard of quality services at all times.
SIS is a Telecommunications company providing VoIP telephony services, IP PBX solutions, video and audio conferencing services as well as internet service to Tigne Point and to businesses all over Malta. It also operates a modern data centre offering colocation and server hosting services. SIS Ltd. is also a joint venture between Siemens Italy and Midi plc. It provides Building Technology Services to the Tigné Point and Manoel Island Project including access control systems, fire detection systems, CCTV camera systems and a centralized Heating and Air-Conditioning ystem (HVAC).
c/o MRGC, Regus Swatar - Malta 2nd Floor, Tower Business Centre Tower Str, Swatar BKR 3013 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2546 6672 • Fax: (+356) 2546 6000 Contact Person: Mr. Alan Alden, General Secretary Email: email@example.com Website: www.mrgc.org.mt
No. 12, Office 2/1, Tigne Place, Tigne Street, Sliema SLM 3137 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2748 4375, 2749 3041 Fax: (+356) 2133 5714 Contact Person: Mr Pierre Mangion, Partner Email: Pierre@pkfmalta.com Website: www.pkfmalta.com, www.gmmbusiness.com
2nd Floor, Tower Business Centre, Tower Street, Swatar BKR3013 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2546 6666 Fax: (+356) 2546 6601 Contact Person: Jankarl Farrugia, GM, Regus Malta Email: Jankarl.firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.regus.com/malta
Cobalt House, Level 2 Notabile Road, Mriehel BKR 3000 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2149 3313 Fax: (+356) 2149 3318 Contact Person: Maria Micallef, Partner Email: Maria.email@example.com Website: www.rsmmalta.com.mt
North Shore, Manoel Island, Gzira GZR3016 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2060 2060 Fax: (+356) 2060 2061 Contact Person: Edward Cauchi - Techn. Sales Executive Email: Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.sis.com.mt
Sparkasse Bank Malta plc forms part of the Austrian Savings Banks and the Ertse Group Bank AG network. The ‘Sparkasse’ Brand is known to be one of Central Europe’s foremost Savings and Financial Services Group. Our Goal is to deliver highly personalised banking and innovative investment solutions backed by experience, competence and robust support services. Our core services: Private Banking, Wealth Management, Custody & Settlement, Broker Support Services International Payment Solutions Paul Mifsud – Managing Director
Ing Raphael Micallef Trigona - Managing Director
Conrad Micallef Managing Director
Mr Iñaki Berroeta CEO, Malta
Dr Olga Finkel Managing Partner
Systec Limited, is a leading IT solutions provider in Malta. Systec is the HP Authorised Enterprise Distributor to Malta, and is also an HP Authorised Service Delivery Partner for the complete range of HP IT solutions. Systec’s Enterprise Team has further expanded its core expertise to Virtualization technologies by investing significantly in training and certification on VMware, Vizioncore, Provision Networks, LeoStream and PlateSpin technologies. Systec’s further accreditation as an HP BladeSystem Solution Builder, means that it has successfully implemented many corporate HP BladeSystem and Enterprise Storage Arrays. Systec has placed a great focus on active, strategic partnerships, by virtue of which it is uniquely positioned to build complete Virtualization eco-systems.
Transactium is a leading Payment Service Provider in Malta and has been processing payments since 2003. We acquire transactions for leading clients in various sectors including E-Gaming. Since 2008, we have also been entrusted with payment processing for the Government of Malta. Transactium services and solutions are fully PCI compliant, supported on a 24x7 mission critical configuration and able to deliver an SLA of 99.9% availability. Our customers appreciate the fact that our extensive expertise is backed up by services that empower them to perform fraud screening, manage payments and access realtime business intelligence on processed transactions.
Vodafone Malta Limited is owned fully by Vodafone Group Plc. Vodafone Group Plc is the world’s leading Telecommunications Company. Vodafone Group Plc is a significant presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the United States through the Company’s subsidiary undertakings, joint ventures, associated undertakings and investments. Vodafone Malta Limited is proud to be the local provider of choice for mobile services, IP transit and the international leased lines, offering its customers superior quality network, excellent customer service and the best value available on the market. Vodafone Malta was the first overseas subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc., and has long been at the forefront of technical developments in Malta. WH Law is a multi-disciplinary niche practice offering legal regulatory and technical assistance to clients engaged in remote gaming, e-payments, telecoms, digital content, software development and other ICT-rich businesses. Services offered include remote gaming licensing and compliance, key official services, corporate restructuring, contract drafting, vetting and negotiation, intellectual property protection, advice on EU cross-border trade matters, strategic consultancy, regulatory risk assessment, technical advice on high performance systems, security, search engine optimisation. Our practitioners have been in the business since 2001. Our clients include some of the most successful global operators.
101 Townsquare, ix-Xatt ta’ Qui-si-Sana Sliema SLM3112 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2133 5705 Fax: (+356) 2133 5710 Contact Person: Paul Mifsud, Managing Director Email: Paul.Mifsud@sparkasse-bank-malta.com Website: www.sparkasse-bank-malta.com
Regional Business Centre, Achille Ferris Street, Msida, MSD 1671, Malta Tel: (+356) 2347 5000 Fax: (+356) 2134 4010 Contact Person: Ing. Raphael Micallef Trigona, Managing Director Email: email@example.com Website: www.systec.com.mt
27, Triq iz-zaghfran, Attard ATD9015 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2333 3000 Fax: (+356) 2333 3030 Contact Person: Conrad Micallef, Managing Director Email: Conrad@transactium.com Website: www.transactium.com
Vodafone House, Msida Road, B’Kara BKR9024 - Malta Tel: (+356) 9211 1401 • Fax: (+356) 9211 1683 Contact Person: Mr Malcolm Azzopardi, Bandwidth Business Executive Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.vodafone.com.mt
Suite A, Dolphin Court A, Embassy Way, Ta’Xbiex XBX 1071 - Malta Tel: (+356) 2133 2657 / 3 Fax: (+356) 2133 2490 Contact Person: Dr Olga Finkel, Managing Partner Email: email@example.com Website: www.whlaw.eu