Malta is reaping the rewards from the gambling industry that directly contributed €1.1bn ($1.28bn; £970m) to the economy in 2017, according to the annual report from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which was published earlier this week.
The island has a population of just 436,000, of whom 9,800 are employed in the gambling industry, which accounts for 11% of Malta’s economy.
The island collected €66.3m ($77.1m; £58m) in revenue from license fees, gaming taxes, and other fees and fines. That amounts to €150 ($175; £132) from the gambling industry for every one of its residents.
The MGA report said: “The robust growth of the gaming industry has been sustained in 2017. The gaming industry [has] consolidated its position as Malta’s third-largest economic sector, as well as contributing to economic growth in other sectors.”
MGA feeling bullish
The MGA clearly feels optimistic about the future. Some surveys predict that gross gaming revenue should grow by around 15%, with employment in the sector increasing by 10%. Given the number of sports betting companies and other operators keen to enter the lucrative European market, you suspect that those figures could prove to be underestimated.
According to the MGA’s report: “Existing operators expect to increase their expenditure in Malta [by between] 8% to 13% over the next two years, contributing to further growth in the service, retail, and real estate sectors.”
Looking ahead in 2018, the MGA said that it would implement GDPR-base impact assessments during the year to ensure the privacy and security of customer data. It will also be overhauling its IT systems and infrastructure as it focuses on the security of information and as it prepares for an influx of new companies and investors to the island. Malta’s new Gaming Act will now come into force on August 1, 2018, a month later than had been previously expected.
Given the success Malta has enjoyed and the undoubted boost the gambling industry has brought to the local economy, it is not hard to see that other countries will want to go down the same route. As we’ve noted above, there seems to be no shortage of companies wanting to enter the market and Malta, along with plenty of other countries, will be rolling out the welcome mat.