The gaming industry in Malta continues to make a significant impact on the country's economy, contributing approximately 9.5% to the Gross Value Added (GVA) during the first half of 2023, according to the latest . The total GVA generated by the gaming sector in this period amounted to €810.7 million, with the industry's overall contribution to the economy reaching 12.2% when indirect effects are factored in.
The growth in the gaming industry's value added during the first half of 2023 is estimated at 1.1% compared to the same period in 2022. This suggests that the sector's contribution is stabilising, emphasising its continued fundamental role in the Maltese economy.
As of the end of June 2023, the MGA had licensed 335 companies, including both online and land-based entities. These companies held a combined total of 345 gaming licences, along with 329 approvals for various game types under the B2C licence and an additional 208 approvals under the B2B licence. Comparatively, at the end of the first half of 2022, the number of MGA-licensed companies stood at 357, with 363 gaming licences and 374 approvals. The current data underscores the industry's resilience and ongoing contribution to Malta's economic landscape. During the first half of 2023, the MGA collected €41.2 million (compared to €39.8 collected in the same period in 2022) in compliance contributions, licence fees, levies, and consumption tax, reflecting the industry's financial vitality.
Visits to local casinos in the first half of 2023 rose by 26.0% compared to the same period in 2022, maintaining a consistent upward trend since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions the previous year. Visits by players of all age groups increased in line with the overall increase in the number of visits, with the distribution between age groups following that registered in the past reporting periods. Visits by persons aged 65 and over continued to constitute the largest demographic category of visitors to casinos, accounting for 31.5% of the total visits. Visitors from the 35–54 age bracket constituted 25.7% of the visits, with this being the second largest category. Visits by players from the 25–34, 55-64 and 18–24 age brackets accounted for 19.8%, 13.6%, and 9.4% of the total visits, respectively.Gaming industry outlook
Despite challenges such as regulatory complexities, tax uncertainties, and geopolitical tensions, Malta's gaming industry has maintained its strength, contributing around 9.5% directly to the country's economy. The sector is expected to continue growing, though with reduced momentum. Investors identify gaming, along with tourism and leisure, as one of Malta's top three business sectors for the next five years.
Online gaming operators anticipate positive outcomes, with 74% expecting revenue growth in 2024 and 60% foreseeing increased employment. However, rising business costs, particularly in legal, professional, and marketing domains, are anticipated. Divergent regulations across jurisdictions and lack of regulatory convergence pose challenges, requiring operators to adapt swiftly.
The sustainability agenda gains prominence, emphasising transparency, accountability, and responsible gaming. The integration of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into the sector's strategy is seen as crucial for long-term profitability.
Uncertainty surrounds the introduction of a minimum global corporate tax, prompting the Maltese government to delay implementation by at least a year. The government aims to maintain competitiveness within the evolving international legal landscape.
Looking ahead, emerging technologies and market trends are transforming the gaming sector. The next generation of gaming platforms offers immersive and collaborative experiences, integrating traditional gambling with other games. Virtual products like digital collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming integral. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) supports innovation, emphasising technology neutrality.
Overall, Malta's gaming industry outlook remains positive, leveraging a robust regulatory framework and an established gaming ecosystem. As the sector stabilises and adapts to emerging trends, its role in the Maltese economy remains a key driver of growth and innovation.
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