East Timor emerges as a powerhouse in virtual gaming

Lea Hogg 3 weeks ago
East Timor emerges as a powerhouse in virtual gaming

In an exclusive interview, Dr. Joseph Borg, a leading figure in the iGaming industry, shared his insights with SiGMA News on East Timor’s potential as an innovative jurisdiction in virtual gaming and other initiatives that include, for example, fintech and blockchain.

Dr. Borg’s interest in East Timor was sparked by a meeting with President Jose Ramos Horta, Nobel laureate and driving force behind Timor Leste’s initiatives to modernize its economy.

East Timor’s potential through President Horta’s eyes

The meeting took place during a visit to the Asian island earlier this year, following an invitation from President Horta himself. Dr Borg says that the resilience of the Timorese people, who fought for their independence in the 1980s and 1990s and were victims of genocide, left a deep impression on him.

Timor Leste will not be competing with Malta, but rather it will be complementary, offering Malta-based operators an opportunity to tap into a market that is very difficult to target from Malta.

Dr. Joseph F. Borg

During his visit, Dr. Borg, (pictured on left), also met with a group of experts working on a new gambling framework for the country and was invited to join the Virtual Gaming Association (VGA) advisory committee to the government of Timor Leste. This experience further solidified his belief in the potential of East Timor’s economy.

Recent developments in the iGaming space have highlighted the need for more reputable “.com” jurisdictions to complement Malta’s leading position in the sector. Dr. Borg sees East Timor as a much-needed new iGaming jurisdiction, particularly in the Asian region, which currently offers the greatest potential. The gaming industry can bring significant opportunities to the Asian island, particularly in terms of job creation and the development of a technology ecosystem to service the iGaming industry.

Despite the geographical distance, Dr. Borg sees many similarities between Malta and East Timor. Both are islands with many common cultural similarities, largely due to Timor Leste’s long history as a Portuguese colony. He believes that the two countries can cooperate in numerous ways, with Malta serving as a gateway to the EU for Timorese and Timor Leste offering a gateway to Asia for Malta-based businesses.

Innovative technologies for economic development

In terms of iGaming, Timor Leste will not be competing with Malta, but rather it will be complementary, offering Malta-based operators an opportunity to tap into a market that is very difficult to target from Malta.

Dr. Borg envisions the role of innovative technologies like Fintech, Blockchain, IoT, AI, and TMT as crucial in the economic development of East Timor. He believes that iGaming is only the first step of the economic development plans of East Timor in this area. The iGaming industry will require an ecosystem around it, and the ripple effect will create opportunities for other sectors to develop that can cater for the iGaming sector. Eventually, they will establish themselves as independent industries in their own right.

In conclusion, Dr. Borg’s insights paint a promising picture of East Timor’s future as an innovative jurisdiction in virtual gaming and other fintech and blockchain initiatives. The resilience of the Timorese people, coupled with the strategic initiatives led by their leaders, positions East Timor as an emerging powerhouse in the global iGaming industry.

Overview of gambling regulation in East Timor

Timor’s Decree-Law No. 6/2009 provides the legal framework for gambling, encompassing various forms such as lotteries, cock fighting, and casino games. The law outlines the principles, scope, and definitions for each gambling category, and details the procedures and criteria for the concession and licensing of gambling operators, including their responsibilities.

The law’s primary objectives are to integrate gambling into the legal economy, prevent impunity, and contribute to public revenues, all while promoting social and financial harmony. The state plays a crucial role in regulating and supervising gambling activities, emphasizing the importance of public tenders and transparency.

The law’s main points cover the implications for Timor’s gambling sector, highlighting the significant strides made in addressing problem gambling and developing a responsible gambling environment.

Nobel Laureate and advocate for East Timor

José Ramos-Horta, (pictured on right), the second president of Timor-Leste, is a renowned figure in the global peace movement. He played a significant role in East Timor’s fight for independence and served as the spokesperson for the East Timorese resistance during the Indonesian occupation. His contributions to peace earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. In academia, he has taught at various universities and written numerous articles. He holds degrees from Columbia University and Antioch University, among others. A multilingual advocate for human rights, Ramos-Horta has received several honorary doctorates and awards worldwide.

Neighbour to Indonesia with unique characteristics

East Timor, located southeast of the Timor Sea and southwest of Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, is a rugged island nation with a high plateau at its centre. The country has a dry tropical climate, diverse flora and fauna, and a population that is predominantly Christian and speaks around 40 different Papuan and Malayan languages. Tetum and Portuguese are the official languages, while Indonesian and English are also widely used. The majority of the population is rural, with Dili being the most populated urban area.

As we conclude our conversation, it is clear that East Timor is on the cusp of a transformative era, with its potential as an innovative jurisdiction in virtual gaming and emerging technology initiatives. Dr. Borg’s insights and the strategic initiatives led by the Timorese leaders paint an exciting picture of the future. With the resilience of the Timorese people and the evolving legal framework for gambling, it is clear that East Timor is on its way to become an emerging powerhouse in the global iGaming industry. The journey of East Timor is one to watch, promising a blend of innovation and opportunity.

Lea Hogg from  SiGMA News spoke with Dr. Joseph F. Borg, Advocate and Partner at WH Partners. Dr. Borg leads the firm’s Blockchain Advisory and Gaming and Gambling Advisory sections. His expertise extends to esports, sports, technology, telecoms, and intellectual property law. Recognized by Chambers and Partners for his contributions in Fintech, Dr. Borg is a recognised leading individual in the field.

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