Malta prepares for the future of Gaming
For those of us in the Remote Gaming industry, this has been one hectic week.
The Amsterdam Super Show created widespread liver damage amongst Executives and Affiliates alike, as well as a lot of interest in that rapidly expanding universe which the common folk refer to as ‘BitCoin’ and which those of us in the know call ‘BlockChain technology’.
Craig Wright was there (aka ‘Satoshi’ anyone?) and speaking very intelligently about the subject too.
Whilst by the week’s end the big news was the closing of the ‘Bodog’ case in the US, and with that the new freedoms obtained by Mr. Calvin Ayre, one of the great Rockers of the on-line world.
So look out guys, Bodog is back, and life has just got a bit more interesting!
The middle bit…..
Meanwhile during the rest of the week, the concentration was firmly toward the Casino and Remote gaming hub of Malta, yep the little rock in the sun was certainly Rocking it this week, and for your illumination there’s a bunch of links below. However, some of these are a bit of a slog to digest, and the white paper alone is plus 180 pages of fine print, so if that’s your thing dig in; or you could catch a general vibe from me – your option.
What happens in Malta?
There is a well known saying in Las Vegas, created by the media PR types, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, which is of course not technically true, especially these days of the selfie and streaming video; yes Prince Harry I’m talking about you.
Anyway, once heard in the Dragonara Casino was a paraphrase of that saying:
“What happens in the Dragonara, stays in Malta”, which is a jest based on the small scale of the island and that everybody pretty much knows everybody else. Which is the crux of the matter.
The island has done very well out of the Gaming industry, starting off in 1964 with a single casino (Dragonara Palace Casino) it now has four casinos [maybe 5 soon – Ed.], around fifty (50) street slots shops and internet Sportsbooks and a few Bingo halls. The real money though came around via the 2004 Remote Gaming Act, and now the iGaming and Gaming sectors employ under ten thousand people [Ed. – The official Govt. figures are 7,000; though with ancillary staff/associates it’s well above that number], but the share of the national GDP is 13% for the sector, so for an island with only a bit over 400K citizens, those gaming workers are very productive and mostly in the top taxation tier. Important people for any administration.
Therefore, this week the government and the Malta Gaming Authority pushed out their offensive against any potential legislative changes that are coming Malta’s way from mainland Europe.
The Good News:
For those of you following the ‘Brexit’ train crash, it’s true that Malta could collect some business as UK operators protect their positions with Europe based subsidiaries, but if you think the ‘Maybot’ is a tad inept at running things; that’s nothing to the ongoing chaos in Holland with their Remote role-out and don’t even get me started on what’s going down between the Federal German government and the Länders.
Over the centuries the Maltese people learnt a few things, one of which is that when change comes to Malta it tends to come from overseas and by force. Nowadays though the shoe is on the other foot, the Maltese are their own nation now, and they started and still hold an eminent position in a still growing and profitable business sector. So to ensure that Brussels behaves, and the other European countries don’t have time to catch-up, this week several long awaited regulatory changes have been put forward, for consultation and ultimately implementation.
I’m a big fan of the new combined Gaming Act, and it’s worth remarking on that first gaming Act is still less than twenty years old, and three are being wiped and replaced to keep things up to date – that’s how fast our industry is moving.
It’s been written in these pages before, but it’s worth repeating. ‘With this many talented, intelligent and motivated people pushing the digital currency processes forward, something big and good is going to happen; and soon’.
Anti-Money Laundering and the Funding of Terrorism.
Sorry to close on a bit of a downer, well not for me but it might be for some, the last remark being stated here is about the FIAU consultation.
I’m not the only one most likely to have noticed, I guess the fellows who wrote it put it in for a good reason, but by my opinion, the FIAU regulations, which must be implemented sharpish to be in compliance [ Don’t we just love that word! – Ed.] with the EU systems as soon as possible; will in effect make the FIAU an arm of the EU and reporting independently toward Brussels over the heads of the local Authorities or Government/Parliament.
As I said before, not a problem for me, but I reckon there’s a PEP or three out there who’ll be getting sweaty soon. They’ll not be voting for a European Federal Police agency anytime soon in my humble opinion.
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