While it appears Malta’s gambling and iGaming community is waiting out the storm of greylisting, the task of earning international confidence was urgent, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek on the state of Malta’s gambling industry.
The report, penned by journalist Willem Marx, details how Malta found itself as the iGaming hub of Europe, and a major global player. It cites Britain’s 2007 decision to levy a 15 per cent corporate tax rate on profits generated by internet betting and Malta’s launch of a licence that would allow holders to offer web-based casino and slot games to customers anywhere in the world as being instrumental to the rise of the industry on the island.
Fast forward to 2021, where the industry is thought to account for almost a tenth of the national economy, Malta found itself being placed on a list of increased monitoring, the so-called grey list, by the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which cited shortcomings in Malta’s Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) transparency and accuracy, and the need for the country’s regulators and enforcement agencies to focus on tax evasion and money laundering.
Malta was placed on the grey list in June 2021, and, while there have not been materially significant impacts so far, increased scrutiny of transfers in and out of the country, and an expected reluctance by foreign international financial institutions to shoulder risk associated doing business with Malta should the country remain on the grey list for an extended period of time, could have serious impacts on the lucrative iGaming industry locally, as the Bloomberg feature explores.
In comments from Finance Minister Clyde Caruana, he is reported as having warned that the task of earning international confidence was urgent:
“It doesn’t mean that if business is waiting [for Malta to come off the grey list] it will keep on waiting forever.
“I, together with the rest of the Government, with my colleagues, we have to make sure that they [iGaming operators] don’t leave.”
Finance Minister Clyde Caruana addressing a press conference after delivering the Budget 2022 speech in October / DOI Photo
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