Exclusive interview with Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman and CEO of Malta Gaming Authority

“For Gibraltar-based operators seeking an alternative jurisdiction, Malta tops their list”

“The measures we are introducing will ensure that Malta's reputation and relevance as a global gaming jurisdiction is sustained in the long term, leading to increased business activity and development,” Cuschieri exclusively told Yogonet.

Malta 
| 10/07/2017

With new legislation expected to be announced on July 12, Malta is hoping to further establish itself as an innovative and forward-thinking gaming jurisdiction. Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman and CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), believes the new regime will not only strengthen the MGA by giving it more powers, but also provide appropriate mechanisms to protect consumers.

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“The measures we are introducing will ensure that Malta's reputation and relevance as a global gaming jurisdiction is sustained in the long term, leading to increased business activity and development,” Cuschieri exclusively told Yogonet.

Recent information shows that between January – April 2017, Malta saw a 79% increase in license applications and a 33% rise in licenses issued compared to the same period the previous year. In addition to this, the gaming authority experienced an increase in enforcement activity between the same period over the last three years.

According to Cuschieri, “These figures show that the integrity of Malta’s jurisdiction coupled with the MGA’s regulatory ethos is key in the attractiveness of Malta as a global place of establishment for remote gaming operators.”

When the UK voted to leave the European Union in June last year, industry heavyweights agreed on one thing: Malta would benefit greatly if online gaming companies decided to pull out of Gibraltar. The Gibraltar gaming industry received a new blow last month when the European Court of Justice ruled that it would have to pay more taxes to UK. But what is the impact of the tax increase on Malta's gaming industry? With Gibraltar losing privileges, what are the opportunities for Malta? Is this the end of the Gibraltar business model? “We have been following such developments closely. Whether it is the end of a business model or not is probably premature to say at this stage but I think it will present a number of existential challenges going forward unless mitigating measures are taken strategically. From our experience since Brexit, for Gibraltar-based operators seeking an alternative jurisdiction, Malta tops their list,” Cuschieri said.

A recent study conducted by the local gaming authority found that more than half of the Maltese adult population spent money on gambling in 2015, showing how the pastime is an established part of Maltese culture. When asked about the challenges of drafting new regulation, Cuschieri said the MGA takes into account the success stories of other European jurisdictions. “We conducted a lot of research and commissioned numerous studies and consultations with all stakeholders to make sure legislation is future proof and addresses the challenges the industry is facing.” The MGA boss goes straight to the point: “Innovative and business-friendly regulation should never come at the expense of transparency and consumer protection.” After all, companies want to operate in a properly regulated environment where consumer protection, crime prevention, integrity and transparency are at the heart of the regulatory ethos.

Cuschieri concluded by saying that, despite the global political landscape failing to keep pace with developments in the industry, “You can expect more innovation and a relentless drive for change and continuous improvement under my leadership.”

Exclusive Yogonet.com

By Macarena Rodicio -
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