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How Did Malta Become the iGaming Hub of Europe?

Are you wondering how Malta managed to become the iGaming hub of Europe in the past few years? Well, you're about to find out. While it sounds unbelievable, this small Mediterranean country with only half a million population is one of the most attractive destinations for the world's largest operators. No other country in the world has embraced online gambling quicker than Malta. In fact, this is the first country that introduced iGaming regulations in Europe. Today, Malta is home to hundreds of online gambling companies. Plus, it's a host of SIGMA, one of the biggest gaming conferences in the world.

How It All Started?

Gambling and sports betting were always popular in Malta. However, 2004 was an important year as the country finally regulated online gambling. That way, it gave online casinos the chance to operate in a legal and fully regulated environment. Malta introduced clear and uncomplicated regulations, and they turned out to be a success. Such operations were placed under the jurisdiction of the Malta Gaming Authority, which has been around ever since 2000.

What Are the Benefits for Operators?

Malta is a global leader when it comes to online gambling. Hundreds of companies have either started up in the country or moved there, and it's for a good reason. iGaming is prohibited or limited in many jurisdictions, and operators go through a lot to meet the needed requirements. However, Malta has made everything easier.

The country offers more than just regulated online gambling. It also provides a broader reach as those licensed in Malta can offer their services anywhere. That's how Maltese gambling companies have made big bucks in other jurisdictions like Finland or Norway, for example.

Here are other critical factors that play a big part in the country's excellent reputation.

Excellent Payment Options

Malta is a global force in the iGaming industry, and that position is very well-earned. The country's finance sector is well-established and offers numerous services and advantages. That's one of the main factors that has contributed significantly to Malta's success. Operators can offer their clients multiple payment options. Thus, they can easily place bets and enjoy their gambling adventure.

Lower Taxes

Malta-based businesses pay much lower taxes than other countries in the EU or the world. While online gambling operators pay as much as 21% of their profit on taxes in the UK, companies are taxed only 5% in Malta. That makes the country even more attractive for online gambling businesses.

Stable Internet Connection

A fast and reliable internet connection is essential for all online gambling operators. High-speed internet means faster data transfer, quick loading times, and an enjoyable gaming experience. That's precisely what Malta offers. The country has a top-quality fiber-optic internet connection. With that, it sends data to other countries at around 70% of the speed of light.

EU Membership Benefits

Malta's membership in the European Union is a huge advantage. It allows companies that work on its territory to provide online gambling services to all parts of the world. Furthermore, EU online gambling companies can quickly move to Malta and enjoy the numerous benefits of working there.

An Excellent Ecosystem

Malta is the first EU member country that regulated online gambling. Therefore, it has a broader ecosystem, which is especially attractive for start-ups. Industry peers surround Malta-based gambling companies, and that's very valuable for networking. Companies have access to a wide range of experienced potential employees and iGaming support services, from lawyers and accountants to SEO agencies. Whatever you need, you can easily find it and use it to your advantage.

Simple Licensing Process

The process of licensing an online casino in Malta is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is provide the MGA with a business plan and evidence that you have enough start-up capital. Then, you will go through a detailed test of your technology. The process also involves numerous admin and compliance fees and extra charges for annual licenses. However, the whole process is simple, and it only takes a couple of weeks. After that, you'll receive a gaming license valid for the next five years.

Non-Hostile Authorities

The MGA is a renowned organization that offers excellent support to foreign start-ups. Also, it is supportive of operators who have decided to move to Malta. The organization always maintains the highest standards. Thus, gaming companies don't have to deal with intrusive inspections and unfriendly authorities.

The Other Side of The Success Story

While Malta experienced massive success over the past few years, things have started to change. All the hype surrounding the industry is slowly fading. The Financial Action Task Force or FATF recently placed Malta on its grey list. It means the country will be strictly monitored under suspicion of money laundering. Also, many of the unregulated markets started introducing regulations to legalize online gambling. With that, the MGA license slowly loses its importance and global reach.

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Milena Petrovska
Milena Petrovska
Published: 28 Jul 2021
Updated: 29 Mar 2023
Milena is second-to-none when it comes to researching, reviewing, and recommending top online casinos. She stops at nothing when it comes to getting all of the facts and figures straight in each of her expert reviews. Plus, having worked as a writer within the iGaming industry since 2014, Milena has seen it all and is familiar with every aspect of online casinos.

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