part from increasing by 6% over the previous year’s spend, of the money played a total of €255 million went back into their pockets, leaving the operators of Malta’s land-based gaming market with €78 million in gross revenues.
Malta’s jealously guarded gambling and betting industry has doubled in size in a decade since 2004, and in 2015 the entire industry – which includes Malta’s 269 online betting companies – contributed nothing less than 8% to the economy’s gross value added, making it a key driver of growth in Malta.
Altogether the gaming industry has left €55.2 million in tax for the gaming authority. Of this, €28.1 million was paid by the remote gaming industry alone.
In 2015, Casino Malta became the fourth operational casino in Malta. Four new gaming parlours added 70 video-lottery terminals in the market, and 21 lotto booths were added to Maltco Lotteries’ total of 246 outlets.
The number of visits to Maltese casinos, which also serve as a major junket destination for Italian players, increased by 8% over 2014 – a total of 381,608 Maltese players and 399,450 non-Maltese players.
The growth is attributed to an increase of 19% in non-Maltese player visits who take part in international poker tournaments organised throughout the year. Indeed, Maltese visits actually decreased by 2%, which the Gaming Authority says reflects a downward trend from 2012 – Maltese players are shifting to the so called ‘street market’ into gaming parlours.
1,159 people barred themselves from gaming parlours, casinos and bingo outlets, more than half asking for the self-imposed ban to last for six months while 48 per cent opted for a one-year ban.
The increase in casino visits directly results in higher gaming revenue from the casinos, which generated tax revenues of €13.7 million in 2015.
Gaming parlours also increased across Malta and Gozo – the sister island’s two gaming parlours alone had almost 11,000 visits, up by 68% over 2014.
There were 46 licensed gaming parlours across all Maltese and Gozitan localities, with 18 street parlours in the southern harbour area that includes the Three Cities, Fgura, Paola, Zabbar and Valletta. These shops registered the largest number of visits at 108,000, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year.
Altogether gaming parlours saw a total of 281,590 visits – an increase of 17 per cent over the previous year. They also generated €1.1 million in tax.
Maltco Lotteries, which runs the national lottery up until 2022, saw a decrease in sales of 5% from 2014, mainly in instant games. Its draw-based games form the mainstay of its sales (74%), and the decrease in sales also saw a reduction in payable tax of €11.6 million, down 8% from the previous year.