Malta’s economic sector has been booming with the government exploring innovative ideas to promote the country as a hub for digital innovation. A major sector in Malta is the gaming sector, with numerous companies choosing Malta to operate from due to favourable tax incentives. In May 2019, the government launched Malta’s ‘Vision for Video Game Development and Esports’ through which it will launch strategies and incentives on personal income tax, video games and start-up funding in the e-sports field, which initiative was launched in coordination with Malta Enterprise. From a legislative perspective, gaming rules and regulations are present and developing on an ongoing basis. This article will provide an overview of the latest developments in Malta’s gaming legislation with particular emphasis on games of skill and e-sports.
Malta’s gaming sector is regulated primarily by the Gaming Act of 2018 (Chapter 583 of the Laws of Malta). A number of Regulations and Directives also provide further clarifications with regards to specific areas such as licences, tax, and player protection.
The Gaming Act established the Malta Gaming Authority (the “Authority”) to act as the main regulatory entity for the gaming industry in Malta. The Authority is responsible for granting licences relating to gaming and for monitoring licenced gaming as well as for collecting gaming taxes on behalf of the government. The several incentives which are made available to employees of remote gaming businesses and to the company itself have seen licences issued by the Authority increasing consistently from year to year.
Malta’s legislative framework provides a clear distinction between games of skill and games of chance, with the latter requiring a licence. However, recent developments in the digital gaming industry are keeping the Authority on its toes to provide additional rulings on licencing and controls on games of skills.