Malta Moves to Protect Its Online Gambling Industry

Published Sunday, December 09, 2012 -

Malta has a licensed and regulated online gambling industry that is part of Malta’s economic engine. The European Union has been attempting to bring a stable and universal set of rules into play that is compatible with all the member states concerns and needs.

Malta has been vocal and critical of the European Commission’s recent efforts to combat match fixing in sports. Malta is opposed to the strategy that sees member states able to restrict technological access to illegal betting in accordance with national legislation. During a meeting of the EU’s Education and Sports Council Malta responded to the strategy by saying that some member states may use these measures to bypass general EU rules permitting international gaming companies to operate freely within the Union.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Maltese government, Clyde Puli, while supporting efforts to combat corrupt practices in sport also wanted to see more specific wording in the strategy to deal with the geographical origin of gaming activities. Malta’s veto of the strategy speaks volumes about its need to protect its economy and online betting industry. The right to offer services throughout the European Union has been supported by the industry and the European parliament. The gambling industry agreed with the Maltese stand, “Malta cannot afford to have countries using this new policy as an excuse to block online access to Maltese online gambling sites in their territory,” the source continued to explain, “We already had many attempts in the past from large member states such as France and Italy trying to stop companies operating in other EU member states to access their lucrative gambling markets. If we believe in the free movement of services, then Malta is on the right track.”

It was argued that the regulation of internet sports betting was under the auspices of the internal market and not the responsibility of sports ministers to make policy. Online gambling makes up as much as eight percent of Malta’s GDP.

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