There are a lot of locations that stand out on the digital gambling map, such as the Isle of Man, Macao, and Gibraltar. However, few of them are as exciting as Malta—a picturesque set of islands that can be found between Sicily and Tunisia.
Due to its proximity to Italy, it’s often considered part of the country. But although its architecture closely resembles many of Italy’s major cities, the people and culture are very different.
Malta and iGaming
Image Credit: Forbes
Malta’s 300 days of sunshine have made it a primary tourist spot for those looking to relax beneath the warm rays of the sun. However, while tourism is the largest contributor to the Republic’s economy, local reporter Tim Diacono notes how iGaming is a close second, representing 13.5% of the country’s direct GDP.
Malta’s iGaming history started when it became the first member of the European Union (EU) to regulate online gambling in 2004. As a member of the EU, it had easy access to the European market. So, it quickly became a major gambling authority across the continent. In fact, a large number of European gambling sites are currently regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Additionally, a review of the online casino LeoVegas by Sandlot Games details how the Stockholm, Sweden-based provider—which has 1,000 games in its roster—has licenses issued by the UK, Denmark, Ireland, and Malta, the last of which has become a badge of honor for those in the web-based gaming industry. Ever since the government introduced several changes to the country’s Gaming Act in 2018, having a gaming license issued by the MGA has been considered a vote of confidence, proof that the license holder is secure by the standards of the emerging new Silicon Valley of the Mediterranean.
There are approximately 513 online gaming licensees under the MGA, with an additional 255 licensees for betting companies. However, getting a gambling licence from the MGA involves a lot paperwork and criteria, such as having money to fund the business, a clear ownership structure, and a clean criminal history. People place a lot of trust in the MGA to ensure that their online gambling activity is safe and fair.
A hub of digital innovation
Image Credit: Bloomberg
Although it’s known for iGaming, Malta has seen its fair share of technological uproar in recent years. The Republic has even earned several names, such as “crypto heaven on Earth” and “blockchain island” because of its liberal use of cryptocurrency and other technologies. For instance, in Cryptonewsz’s latest article on Malta’s digital exploits, it was noted how it was the first country (ever) to regulate blockchain. This has led to some major crypto exchanges, such as ZBX, Binance, and OKEx to primarily operate in Malta.
In fact, Malta was the first to adopt and regulate many other technologies, too. This includes being the first to set up cryptocurrency exchanges and service providers with Distributed Ledger Technology, and the first country to give decentralised autonomous organisations legal representation. Now, their most recent endeavours involve artificial intelligence (AI), where they hope to replicate the same regulatory success they had with blockchain and iGaming.
Malta’s economic achievements are largely due to the country’s willingness to pursue and innovate new technologies. In the words of David Xuereb, President of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry: “Our [true] national success is in the fact that we always try to reinvent ourselves, and try to find what is new and where it is we should be going, even when things are going well.”
Charvi Shah is the co-founder of Love with Travel Blog. She loves helping people unplug from the chaos, follow their bliss, travel more and create better memories. She inspires many people to travel more! Charvi`s travel focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.
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