About Gaming Malta
Establishment and Mission
As an independent and non-profit foundation, Gambling Malta is tasked with promoting the Maltese Isles as a global hub for iGaming. Set up by the Government of Malta and the Malta Gaming Authority, its responsibilities also include coordinating with local initiatives to ensure that the islands retain their renowned reputation as a pillar of the digital gaming sector and to ensure that this reputation catalyses the growth of the industry locally.
This is conducted through a wide variety of duties such as the strategising of a developmental road map with respect towards the sector locally as well as collaborating with other promotion agencies to broadcast the isles potential to a truly global audience. To this end, it has been an invaluable bridge between the public sector and the many actors of the iGaming industry locally, advocating for a business-friendly environment that can contribute to the prosperity of the Maltese islands while remaining within the standards and regulatory principles expected of a European nation.
To quote Gaming Malta’s Chief Operating Officer, Ivan Filletti, “Some of the world’s biggest and smallest iGaming operators have set up shop in Malta, making the island as important to online gambling as London or New York are to finance.” On the island’s nature as a global hub of the online gambling sector, he elaborated that “Malta is increasingly one of the most advanced and respected online gaming jurisdictions in the world, as well as having the most licensed operators. GamingMalta’s mission is to engage with all the key stakeholders and ensure we connect with the different parts of the ecosystem to promote, strengthen and accelerate the growth across all gaming sectors.”
Pointing towards Malta’s advantages as a EU member, an English-speaking country and its service-based economy, Filletti argues that Malta has a potential to be a pillar for the sector not only in the present but also moving forward into the future.
Gaming Malta and eSports
Looking towards the future, Gaming Malta has also been one of the most significant advocates for the burgeoning video game and esports sector in Malta. As esports grows exponentially and the video game sector becomes more and more valuable, Malta has all the competitive advantages to be a global hub for a global enterprise with several triple A studios already present on the island such as 4A games which relocated from Ukraine to Malta in 2014. To this end, Gaming Malta has published a development strategy and policy document on how Malta can capitalise on this growing potential investment. One of Gaming Malta’s recent initiatives, Base Camp, seeks to empower video game developers, esports entrepreneurs and immersive technology pioneers by providing them with a work space specifically meant as an incubator for projects and community development. It offers a luxurious office space with everything entrepreneurs might need to create the perfect sectorial launchpad as well as an accelerator programme that will allow users to engage in workshops and networking events that would allow them to make the most out of their participation.
This effort has not gone unnoticed with Sony PlayStation Europe founder and former CEO Chris Deering referring to Malta as “the California of Europe” in terms of the regional video game industry. “Over the last ten years I’ve seen Sony developer-friendly Malta emerge as the California of Europe, with games companies of all types,” he stated. “Frankly this has been no accident. The energetic and progressive government of Malta is always pushing the envelope.” This means that the burgeoning global industry may soon find its home in Malta, capitalising on the country’s artistic and technical benefits while also turning Malta into a metropole for one of the most creative industries in the world.
As a nexus for iGaming through both its global portfolio of events as well as its operations in Malta, SiGMA has worked hand-in-hand with Gaming Malta to support the island’s position in the international economic ecosystem. This partnership has allowed both to benefit from each other’s networks within the iGaming industry as well as in the promotion of Malta as a well-respected leader in the industry. Ivan Filletti has spoken at several SiGMA Summits such as SiGMA 2019 where he spoke about the evolving context in Malta’s iGaming sector and efforts in reputation management as well as emerging areas such as the aforementioned convergence with esports. He also represented Gaming Malta in our 10th Issue of the SiGMA magazine where he spoke about his award for Outstanding Contributions to Gaming. In the same article, he elaborated on his close cooperation with iGen – the European Gaming Network on HR Konnect as well as other efforts to bridge the local talent gap that was keeping iGaming firms from upscaling such as the European Gaming Institute of Malta. He also spoke at length about Malta’s growing potential to be a global hub for the next generation of video games due to its support of AI and Blockchain technologies and its efforts in attracting investment from abroad.
“eSports or competitive video gaming now enjoys a global audience estimated at more than 292 million occasional viewers – effectively a multibillion-dollar business making $1.5 billion, generated by eSports in 2020 and reaching the unreachables: the millennials with more than 80% eSports viewers being in the 18-34 age bracket.”
Gaming Malta and SiGMA
On SiGMA’s end, our 2021 summit saw a strong eSports component that even included the presence ofNolan Bushell, the founder of Atari and one of the main figures to popularise video games as a whole and their transformation into a $159.3 billion industry as of 2020.
SiGMA fully intends to build on this foundation to become a cornerstone of the growing eSports industry globally especially through its integration with other frontier technologies such as the metaverse, VR, and Artificial Intelligence.
In summary, SiGMA and Gaming Malta have been close partners for the entire span of the summit’s existence and have a very bright future ahead of them as SiGMA incorporated eSports into its broader portfolio of interests while Gaming Malta continues to be a beacon for investment and opportunity for both the Maltese and external firms alike.