Gambling Industry Poised to Bring Further Economic Growth to Malta

The Government of Malta will strive to improve the island nation’s GDP growth from last year by reaching a 6.5% real-term economic growth by the end of 2017. In 2016, a GDP growth of 5% was registered. Lawmakers will also try to ensure a 0.5% GDP surplus this year.

Speaking to Manuel Zarb in an interview for the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry website, Malta’s Minister for the Economy Chris Cardona, Malta Business Bureau President David Zahra, and economist Gordon Cordina commented on the main priorities of the government for the rest of 2017 and the years to come.

Minister Cardona said that lawmakers are planning to further focus on the proper promotion of Malta as a popular hub for multiple information and communication technology sub-sectors. The Mediterranean nation will also pursue energy efficiency projects, as well as projects related to the food and manufacturing sectors, which have showed great potential so far and are poised to grow even further.

Mr. Cordina commented on Malta’s thriving iGaming industry, acknowledging that it has been the nation’s fastest growing business sector for over six years now. The leading economist pointed out that gaming accounted for over 20% of Malta’s overall economic growth in the period between 2011 and 2016.

According to Mr. Zahra, the online gambling and financial services sectors will keep on being leading drivers of economic growth in the year’s to come. Malta’s proven reputation as an attractive destination for tech-savvy workforce and the friendly corporate tax environment were listed as important factors that have contributed and will contribute to the further development of these two sectors.

Minister Cardona also said that lawmakers will seek to facilitate companies in applying for the necessary authorization to do business in Malta by reducing bureaucracy.

In the context of the gambling industry, it has recently been announced that the Malta Gaming Authority and the Ministry for Finance are working closely together on the creation of a new regulatory system, under which the gambling industry will be monitored. The revised Gaming Act will also provide for a new licensing system.

At present, gambling companies need to apply for a number of different licenses depending on the type of services they are providing. Under the new legal framework, there will be only two types of licenses – one for business-to-business operations and the other for business-to-consumer operations. The Malta Gaming Authority has issued more than 500 licenses so far.

The new regulatory regime will see the regulatory body’s power in relation to the industry’s monitoring and regulation increased. The MGA will also be given greater power when it comes to the protection of the island nation’s gambling industry from being used for masking illicit financial outflows and other criminal activities.

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