How Malta Became the iGaming's Industry Capital


Malta has emerged as the capital of the iGaming industry, attracting an impressive number of companies and professionals from around the globe. Strategically located in the heart of the Mediterranean region and boasting a long-standing history in the gaming sector, Malta has cultivated a thriving environment for iGaming businesses to flourish. From its flexible regulatory framework to its robust economic environment, it is no wonder Malta is increasingly becoming the preferred destination for startups and established giants within the iGaming industry.

Key Takeaways

  • Malta's flexible regulatory framework and robust economic environment have created an ideal hub for the iGaming industry.
  • Conferences and events in Malta bolster the industry's growth and development.
  • Malta's thriving iGaming sector offers diverse career opportunities and an appealing lifestyle.

Historical Context

Malta's pioneering role in regulating online gaming began in 2004 when it became the first EU member state to regulate the iGaming industry. This strategic move positioned Malta as an attractive hub for iGaming companies seeking a secure and reputable jurisdiction. The Maltese government recognized the potential of this booming industry and provided a favourable regulatory environment to support its growth.

Since the regulation of online gaming, the iGaming industry in Malta has experienced significant growth and evolution. The first online gaming company to set up shop on the island was Betsson in 2004, and many others followed. As the industry expanded, Malta established itself as a frontrunner in the iGaming world, with a regulatory framework that fostered innovation, security, and ethical practices.

In recent years, Malta's impact on the iGaming industry has become widely recognized. The island nation has played a central role in the sector's rapid growth and transformations, including developing new technologies and gaming experiences. Today, Malta attracts global iGaming operators, thanks partly to its advantageous regulatory, taxation, and licensing opportunities. The iGaming industry has substantially contributed to the Maltese economy, generating a Gross Value Added of approximately €1,495 million in 2022.

Reasons for Malta's Attractiveness to iGaming Companies

Malta's EU Membership: Malta's attractiveness to iGaming companies can be attributed to its EU membership, which provides access to the single market. This membership allows companies to operate within the European market while enjoying an environment more favourable to the iGaming industry.

Competitive Tax Rates: Another factor that draws iGaming companies to Malta is its competitive tax rates. Compared to other European countries, Malta offers lower tax rates for businesses, enabling them to generate higher profit margins and further stimulate the growth of the iGaming ecosystem.

Reliable Internet Infrastructure: A quality Internet infrastructure is crucial for any online business, especially iGaming companies. Malta has invested in its technological infrastructure to ensure fast and reliable internet connectivity, allowing users worldwide to have uninterrupted gaming experiences.

Skilled, Multilingual Workforce: Malta's workforce is another factor that makes the country an ideal setting for iGaming companies. The island boasts a qualified, multilingual labour force, enabling businesses to communicate with players across the globe. Additionally, the country's strong emphasis on education and training helps maintain skilled workers' availability.

Political and Economic Stability: A stable political and economic environment is essential for any thriving business sector. In Malta, iGaming companies can expect a solid foundation, as the country's political and economic stability encourages growth and security within the industry. With its favourable regulatory environment, Malta is well-positioned to remain a leading hub for iGaming companies.

Regulatory Framework

The regulatory framework in Malta has played a significant role in establishing the country as the epicentre of the iGaming industry. One critical aspect of this success is the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which has established a robust framework that balances stringent regulation with innovative growth opportunities.

The licensing requirements for iGaming companies in Malta are designed to ensure industry transparency, integrity, and fairness. Companies seeking an iGaming license must undergo a rigorous application process, including stringent background checks and ensuring that their operations adhere to strict anti-money laundering measures, player protection policies, and other relevant regulations.

Recent updates to Malta's regulatory framework have focused on ensuring the nation remains at the cutting edge of iGaming regulation. As part of its ongoing commitment to excellence, Malta has introduced changes to its rules, adapting to new trends and challenges the iGaming industry faces. This includes updates to licensing procedures and the continuous development of best practices to maintain Malta's position as a leader in the iGaming sector.

Economic Impact

iGaming's contribution to Malta's GDP: The iGaming industry in Malta has a significant economic impact. The industry has grown quickly in recent years, thanks to the country's favourable regulatory framework and strategic location. It is estimated that iGaming represents around 12% of the Maltese economy, making it a critical sector for the country's growth and prosperity.

Employment in the iGaming sector: In addition to contributing to GDP, the iGaming industry has dramatically influenced employment in Malta. With the influx of companies operating in the country, numerous job opportunities have been created for locals. Currently, the sector is said to employ around 8,000 people directly, providing a significant boost to the island's workforce.

Indirect economic benefits: Beyond direct impact, the presence of the iGaming industry in Malta also contributes to various indirect financial benefits. For example, the sector's growth has led to increased tourism, as professionals and stakeholders visit the island for conferences, meetings, and networking events. Moreover, the demand for supporting services such as legal, accounting, and IT services has also increased, further stimulating Malta's economy.

Malta's Role in the Global iGaming Industry

Malta's influence in the global iGaming industry has grown significantly. Its market share and international reputation are attributed to several factors that make Malta an attractive destination for iGaming businesses. The growth of iGaming in Malta can be credited to friendly tax rates, a skilled multilingual workforce, and a robust IT infrastructure. This favourable business environment has attracted various iGaming companies, from startups to established industry leaders.

Comparing Malta with other iGaming hubs around the globe reveals its unique advantages. Its strategic location in the heart of the Mediterranean offers easy access to European, African, and Middle Eastern markets. Additionally, its membership in the European Union guarantees a stable legislative framework, economic stability, and a single European market. This stability has attracted numerous iGaming companies to operate on the island.

The success of the iGaming industry in Malta is also due to its proactive approach towards regulation and innovation. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is known for being one of the first regulators to issue licenses for online gambling operations. This progressive stance has fostered a thriving iGaming ecosystem, with various support industries such as legal, financial, and technical services emerging to cater to the growing industry.

Conferences and Events

Conferences and events play a significant role in Malta's status as the epicentre of the iGaming industry. Numerous key iGaming events take place in Malta, attracting industry professionals and experts from around the globe. Some of these events include Sigma Malta, renowned for unveiling cutting-edge innovations and products in iGaming, and Malta Week. This major conference emphasizes networking and deal-making opportunities within diverse sectors.

These conferences and events provide invaluable networking opportunities for industry professionals. Professionals can engage in fruitful discussions and negotiate lucrative deals by fostering connections with key players and decision-makers in the iGaming sphere. Moreover, participants take advantage of exhibitions and workshops to gain insights into the latest innovations and standards, fostering a highly collaborative and knowledge-sharing environment.

Due to several factors, Malta has become the leading destination for the world's biggest iGaming conferences. Firstly, Malta was among the first European countries to regulate online gambling, offering an attractive legal framework for international operators. In addition, the island's strategic location within the Mediterranean region provides convenience for European, African, and Middle Eastern participants. Lastly, the dynamic local events scene stimulates the market. It encourages exchanges among industry professionals, ultimately solidifying Malta's position as the iGaming industry's epicentre.

Career Opportunities

Numerous career opportunities are available in the iGaming industry for both locals and expatriates. With a diverse range of jobs, such as software development, game design, marketing, compliance, and customer support, there is something for everyone in the iGaming sector. Many companies constantly seek talented professionals to join their teams, opening up new and exciting job prospects for individuals.

Malta's iGaming industry is known for its significant expatriate community, offering a culturally diverse work atmosphere. The presence of major gaming industries, like Bet 365, Betsson, Betclic, and Leovegas, has attracted talent from all around the world. This enriches the industry and provides opportunities for people to explore different cultures and grow their professional network.

The steady growth of Malta's iGaming sector has led to a surge in job vacancies, with hundreds of current openings in various reputable companies. These opportunities can be found on platforms like WhyiGaming, catering to job seekers interested in Malta's iGaming industry.

Community and Lifestyle

The growth of the iGaming industry has significantly impacted Malta's community and lifestyle. With the sector contributing to around 12% of Malta's GDP, it has attracted professionals worldwide, creating a diverse and dynamic society. This international community has led to the integration of various cultures and ideas, enhancing Malta's appeal as a hub for iGaming.

iGaming professionals in Malta enjoy various lifestyle and leisure activities, catering to their diverse backgrounds and preferences. Some popular pastimes include outdoor sports like sailing, diving, and hiking, taking advantage of the island's Mediterranean climate and beautiful landscapes. The quality of life in Malta has risen over time, making it an attractive destination for industry professionals.

The island's rich history and cultural heritage provide an excellent backdrop for exploring and socializing. With numerous historical sites, museums, and art galleries, iGaming professionals have endless opportunities to learn about Malta's past and present. In addition, Malta has a vibrant social scene, with numerous bars, restaurants, and clubs catering to various tastes and preferences.

Future Outlook

Malta's iGaming industry continues to face both challenges and opportunities. As a leading hub for online gaming companies, Malta attracts a skilled workforce and benefits from a favourable regulatory environment. However, as the sector expands, issues like stricter international regulations and the need for advanced technology investments emerge, potentially impacting the industry's position as the epicentre of iGaming.

To maintain its prominent status, Malta must confront these challenges head-on by adapting its regulatory framework and nurturing a stable environment promoting innovation.

Regulatory changes pose a significant challenge for Malta's iGaming industry. Years of growth have drawn attention to the sector, leading to increased calls for more robust consumer protection measures and anti-money laundering (AML) initiatives. Malta should proactively address these concerns by periodically updating regulations to meet the evolving demands of the global gaming community.

At the same time, increasing international competition from other countries may threaten Malta's dominance. To retain its position, Malta must stay ahead of the curve by investing in cutting-edge technology, cultivating local talent, and offering an attractive economic environment for businesses.