Malta has for a long time been home of some of the world’s leading online casino brands, but a corruption investigation into money laundering has threated to bring it all crashing down. In the wake of the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) has spoken up to say that they wish to reform the industry on a whole later this year.
What has made Malta so appealing to online casino developers and operators is the fact that the nation is rather relaxed when it comes to legislation. The problem is that this has gone to create more problems than it has solutions over time. That is until now, as the MGA is looking to clean up the nation’s image and modernise gambling laws. According to Jose Herrera (Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Competitive and Economic Growth) the gambling laws in the country will be brought before parliament this November. This announcement comes hot on the heels of a prior report from the MGA that said that it has been trying to push through reforms for over two years.
In many ways it is the famous hands off approach from Malta that has led to the issues and the need for reform. The country’s low tax approach has allowed many operators to start operations without any real background checks taking place. This move may increase the level of variety with regards to what’s available, but it hasn’t proved to be in the interest of players. Problems first started when the MGA was accused of not doing enough to protect players in the aftermath of the Everleaf Network scandal, as players were not aided in trying to get back money owed, while the process of closing Everlead Network down were considered slow at best. The newest corruption allegations have thrown fuel on the fire, as Italian police have raided several Malata based online casinos and found that they are Mafia run. Known as ‘Ndrangheta’, the operation has thrown a spotlight over the sector and has subsequently raised serious questions.
Scandal after scandal has seemingly left the online casino sector in Malta and the MGA rocked, so much so that action now must be taken. The new regulations will by all accounts increase the level of player protection, while making sure that all online casino operators in the region operate within the law. An MGA spokesperson said, “In light of recent events, we [MGA] have decided to strengthen and extended our overall governing approach when it comes to the online casino sector in Malta. By introducing new security technologies and increased vetting, we feel that we can get the situation back under control”.
Players are now recommended to pick casinos via well respected gaming guides, like casinoswe.se, in order to ensure that the casino they play at is safe and secure.
As far as corruption goes it seems that Malta is a country that has been treading a fine line for sometime. Players from around the world, while undoubtedly concerned with what has triggered such, will be happy to see that change is going to be implemented. However, one must ask if the arrival of reforms has come too late in the day to save the reputation of Malta’s online casino industry.