Why Malta Is the Ultimate Gambling Hub in the EU


Malta has over the years, established itself as one of the most popular gambling destinations in the EU. Many European gaming companies are based in Malta, even though it is the smallest country in the EU. Most gaming companies based in Malta offer online casinos and lotteries though a significant number of betting companies and software providers are also based in the country. Its popularity is due to a favourable business environment and a highly-skilled workforce.

Friendly Gambling Laws

Malta was one of the first EU countries to introduce regulations for online betting in 2004. This made it a popular destination for the booming online gambling industry at the time. Since then, the country has worked to strengthen its position as a gambling hub. The country now hosts the biggest online gambling companies in the EU, including Evolution Gaming, Paddy Power Betfair, BetPoint Group, and NetEnt.  

Malta had licensed over 500 online gaming companies in 2021-the highest figure in Europe. Many of the popular gaming companies operating in the EU are based in Malta. For gaming companies, Malta offers a friendly business environment while enjoying full access to the EU market. The country is popular due to its transparency and full compliance with international laws. This attracts companies wishing to set up gambling businesses in Europe.

Global Reputation  

Even though Malta has some of the strictest gambling regulations in the EU, many online casinos prefer to operate under a Maltese license. Part of the popularity of the Maltese license is because it’s trusted around the world. Many overseas players prefer using Malta-based online casinos, such as Casino Ultra, due to their credibility and reputation. Operators love Maltese licenses because the laws are clear with easy to understand requirements.

Another attraction of Maltese regulations is that they are relatively stable, which enables gambling companies to create profitable business strategies without fear of new regulations. The Maltese Gaming Authority is business-friendly and will always consult operators and other stakeholders before introducing gambling law reforms.

MGA licensing is popular internationally due to its transparency, fairness and comprehensiveness. National regulators and players have high regard for online casinos that have passed the MGA’s strict requirements and granted the prestigious license. Indeed, many regulatory bodies around the world use MGA’s quality standards as a benchmark for their own gambling laws. MGA licenses are acceptable all EU countries and UK as well as several countries around the world, including Canada, Russia and India.

Favorable Business Environment

Malta offers a fast-growing economy, glamour, and a stable political environment. The country's innovative IT sector and related support services and infrastructure make it attractive to gambling software companies. The gambling industry accounts for about 12-13% of the country’s GDP and employs over 9,000 people.

Malta also has a highly educated and skilled multi-lingual workforce. It has one of the best financial services sector in the EU, which the gaming industry use provide innovative financial solutions to their customers.

The country has one of the most educated populations in the EU, with universities producing thousands of technology, marketing, legal, and advertising graduates every year. The highly-skilled population offers gaming and gambling businesses ample human resources they can tap into to develop and promote innovative gaming products.

With a population of 500,000, Malta is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. This makes its labour costs much lower than other European countries. The low labour costs coupled with low taxes make it more cost-efficient and sustainable for gambling companies to base their operations in the country.

Even though Malta is close to Italy, English is the official language. This makes it easier for igaming companies to hire both local and international talent that can serve English-speaking clients around the world.

Financial Incentives

Malta is one of the seven tax havens in the EU, with tax rates as low as 5% compared to over 20% in most European countries. The country also has one of the lowest annual license fees in the EU, with gambling companies free to choose from among four different licenses and approval options.

Malta offers several financial incentives for gaming companies wishing to set up there. It has a favourable corporate tax regime and has double taxation treaties with several EU countries. This financial policy is designed to encourage investments from abroad.

For example, the Value Added Tax Act of 2018 introduced VAT waivers on bets and wagers offered by local betting exchanges, bookmakers, and similar businesses. The waiver covers betting activities on both physical and online gaming platforms.

The MGA introduced this act in anticipation of the EU’s plans to exempt earnings from lotteries, betting, and other forms of gambling from VAT. This highlights Malta’s aggressive and proactive approach to enhancing itself as gambling hub in the EU. Malta is well-positioned to dominate the igaming industry which is expected to be worth over $27 billion in 2025.