Tourism changes. If in the past it was reduced to taking the suitcase and traveling to another place to spend the holidays more or less relaxed, now it has diversified to offer almost as many experiences as the user demands. Thus, for some time now there is wine tourism, adventure, nature, golf, diving, resort , etc. Surprisingly, there are also those who are looking for a specific and special type of leisure in their destination. This is the case, for example, of games of chance and, in that sense, fans can point to a perfect place: Malta.
Of course, the majority of those who visit this Mediterranean island seek, fundamentally, to enjoy its vast monumental heritage, its privileged climate, its extraordinary offer of wrecks for divers and many other things that we can define as classic. But it turns out that Malta is also one of the European capitals of gambling and gambling is legal in practically all its wide variety, which attracts not a few players.
In fact, Malta was not only the first country in the European Union to establish legislation on online gambling, but also that activity constitutes more than 12% of the state’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – about 1,200 million euros, of which 80 million are taxes – and there are located 10% of all online casinos that are registered in the world. Not bad for a tiny point in the middle of the sea with just 316 square kilometers and well under half a million inhabitants.
Actually, the Maltese relationship with gambling dates back to the 17th century, when it authorized the first lottery draw. This became a state monopoly in 1922, by decree, and during the following decades the process of introducing games continued: in 1934, horse and dog racing; in 1958, the casinos. All this was updated with a regularization applied in 1998 (three years later for lotteries) and the opening to online gambling in 2004, at the same time that a control body was created, the LGA (Lotteries and Gaming Authority), currently renamed MGA (Malta Gaming Authority), which is a world benchmark when it comes to guaranteeing the economic security of players.
Nor should it be surprising that this peculiar sector is precisely the one that is developing the fastest growth in the country. And when we talk about the sector, we must specify: we are referring to online casinos , since the small size of the Maltese archipelago does not favor many physicists. Still, there are five big players, just like in Monaco: Malta by Olimpic, Dragonara, Oracle, Malta Racing Club and Portomaso. There are other minor ones, but they are all concentrated in the northern part of the main island, near Valletta.
They credit a wide variety of games, from the various slot machine formats -the most popular, which also tend to use programs made on the island- to various types of cards (poker, blackjack, baccarat and even mus), through the well-known roulette ( European, American, French, electronic…), bingo, scratch cards, sports betting, etc. All this using well-known software, in many languages and with multiple forms of payment that include interesting bonuses. And some of those platforms even offer the ability to play with a live dealer.
In short, online casinos are already the second industry in the country, behind tourism, because, as often happens, in addition to their own activity, they agglutinate other complementary ones around them. This is the case in computer technology (software companies such as WorldMatch, Playson and GameArt have also established themselves in Malta), graphic design, digital marketing, the financial sector and some more similar ones. They also attract events, the most notable of which is SIGMA, the iGaming World Festival; Its numbers speak for themselves: in 2019, for example, it brought together more than 400 sponsors and exhibitors, 200 speakers and nearly 15,000 attendees from some 80 countries.
The employment impact of everything is considerable and is reflected in about 10,000 workers (most, curiously, foreigners). But the demand for employment continues to grow, so that visiting Malta is no longer only of interest to the tourist-player but also to those who aspire to a qualified position in the world. Obviously it is required to know English, the official local language together with Maltese; lately, they are looking for staff who know Scandinavian languages.