The Malta iGaming Seminar (MiGS) 2016, held at the Hilton Malta last month, attracted several companies from the gaming industry to attend the 2-day conference. The event covered topics ranging from legislations & regulations, anti-money laundering, and jurisdictions in new and changing markets in the EU, where the latter was sponsored by KONNEKT.
The Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), Joseph Cuschieri, gave the first talk, where he addressed the recent reviewal of Malta’s existing gambling laws, highlighting a recent proposal to strengthen and secure the MGA’s position within the EU.
Cuschieri informed attendees that the revised legislation will emphasize additional measures for the protection of the gaming customers where more control will be exercised upon online gambling operators. He also stated that the proposed Maltese gambling regulations will instil enough flexibility to promote economic growth within the Maltese gambling industry.
This was followed by a statistical study on the online gambling industry and its future prospects; Warwick Bartlett, a Global Gaming & Betting Consultant, highlighted a strong annual growth in revenue over the years. However, if government regulations such as compliance and commercial interests are not in equilibrium, then legislations and taxations will leave a negative influence on one’s profit margin.
The third session focused on EU taxation, the anti-money laundering directive and the VAT implication to the adoption of Crypto-currencies; the panel featured Manfred Galdes of PwC, Corinne Valletta of the MGA and Dr. Sarah Aquilina, Freelance VAT Consultant. The panel discussed the risk-based approach that is being conducted to implement the fourth anti-money laundry legislation. This directive involves identifying and categorizing elements of risk such as the types of games on the market, the types of services being provided, the free flow of data, the level of the operator performing risk assessments of players/products, and other risk measures.
Valletta added that the MGA will contribute to the preparation and education of their licensees after the standardized technical requirements are formalized for the directive to be implemented. The change in directive will impose pertinent concerns to gaming operators and suppliers as it will effect changes in VAT transactions on betting and gambling activities, corporate taxation, reporting (country by country), and other operational concerns. With regards to the Crypto-currencies, due to lack of education on the innovative technology, the process of approval has been lengthier than expected; the MGA will be focusing on providing significant movement in Malta by 2017.
In addition to Crypto-currencies, the “Virtual Currencies and Blockchain” session provided an insightful overview of how this new technology can be of benefit to businesses. Benedikt Manigold of Cubits expressed how he believes Bitcoin is one of the most stable crypto-currencies due to its infrastructure, being user friendly, having regulated exchanges, and becoming more mainstream.
On the second day of the seminar, John Andrews of The Economist, greeted the attendees with an analysis of America’s presidential election and the likely international impacts on different industries. Andrews went on to argue that the economy is progressively growing on a global scale. This was followed by a session focusing on New and Changing Markets where Wes Himes, Managing Partner of Instinctif Partners EU Office, stated that EU markets are slowly maturing to an open multi-licensing regime to online gaming regulations.
Konstantinos Maragakis of Instinctif Partners Brussels, described how Greece is one of the promising markets as it represents the largest per capita spend in the Euro Market. Himes also added that Asia continues to be a pioneer in growing markets.
To summarize, MiGS 2016 provided an in-depth overview to its delegates on the new regulations of licensees and potential operators, the implementation of the fourth anti-money laundry directive, the growth of virtual currencies, and emerging EU markets in online gambling. The IT & iGaming recruitment team at KONNEKT provides dedicated expertise in a vast selection of IT and iGaming roles.
See: IT jobs in Malta