Launch of Malta’s Vision for Video Games Development and Esports

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat launched Malta’s Vision for Video Games Development and Esports , a vision which will pave the way for the growth of this economic sector.  ‘It is very clear where we want to arrive with this strategy. The incentives that will be rolled out are in line with EU regulation and they complement other incentives already in place. We will be putting Malta as a central hub in the Mediterranean and Europe for video game development and esports’ said Prime Minister Muscat.

The vision was presented by the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri who explained that the industry has so much potential in terms of value added contribution to the economy as well as the creation of new job opportunities in the ICT and the Digital Arts Sector.

Malta’s Vision for Video Games Development and Esports , aims at helping companies already residing in Malta to expand further their operations and attract new game studios from abroad. The industry currently employes around 200 employee.  Malta’s vision for the video games development aims at growing the industry from 0.1% to 1% of the GDP in 10 years whilst creating up to 3000 new jobs’ explained Schembri.

Schembri said that Malta’s vision for the video games development and esports sector includes several strategical initiatives such as A European model for tax rebates and grants to firms, Direct Grant Schemes for Innovation, A fund for the development of video games with a cultural dimension, the development of a Venture Capital Investment Fund, Investment to support University of Malta and MCAST in upgrading their curricula and investment in new facilities required for game development related courses.  It also includes a Bursary programme to attract local and foreign graduate students to further their studies with local institutions whilst working in the industry, as well as incubator space for games development Startups.

Schembri emphasized that one of the main pillars in the strategy is in fact education. ‘The video games business model is structurally different from igaming and game developers need industry led and sector specific expertise and support to be able to grow. Hence, after discussions with key stakeholders we sought into taking significant educational initiatives to sustain the existent talent pool, cater for the needs of the industry and make it easier for future generations to pursue a career in this thriving sector which is expected to continue to grow in the coming years’ said Schembri.  Consultation on these initiatives will continue in the coming weeks with all stakeholders.

Schembri also highligthed that Esports is also central to Malta’ Vision on developing its digital economy, were efforts are underway to help attract international esports tournaments to Malta.  For this purpose, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between ESL and the Government of Malta through the GamingMalta Foundation.  The MOU will serve as an intent for both parties to develop a multi-year programme to help the development of the local grassroot esport ecosystem, the organisation of local and international events as well as the sharing of expertise in the sector.

In reaction to the signing of this MOU,  CEO of ESL Global Ralf Reichert  said “We at ESL have a core mission to create esports ecosystems and we are very excited about developing the Maltese Esports together with the Maltese Government”.

Mr Jacob Visser speaking on behalf of ESL described this as a great opportunity for the development of esports in the industry and to support the Maltese government goals of fostering video gaming and the esports industry”. ‘Let’s do it together!’ said Jacob Visser.


Malta’s vision: Video game development and esports

Game on for esports industry: How to win at the fastest-growing sport around

During SIGMA18, the GamingMalta Foundation, in association with sponsor ESL, brought an international line-up of esports specialists, including global tournament organisers, business platforms and industry success stories, to talk about the momentum of this sector and where it’s heading next.


The event was chaired by Ollie Ring, Head of Media and Editor, Esports Insider.

Open for esports business

The timing and location of the Malta Esports Summit were fitting. During the same week as SiGMA, Malta’s largest esports event yet —  the CS:GO Supernova Malta Invitational — was taking place at Malta’s Eden Arena and being beamed around the world.

Further, Ivan Filletti, Head of Operations and Business Development at GamingMalta, told delegates, that following ongoing industry collaboration with Maltese officials, the government recently announced that it will make funding available to support the esports industry in Malta.

Filletti said: “We made it happen on the i-gaming front, we made it happen on the blockchain front and there’s no reason why we can’t make it on the esports front. Malta is open for business on esports.”

A whole new ball game

Eirik Kristiansen, Pixel Digital, set the context with a potted history of the growth of esports, dating back to 1972 when a video game competition was held at Stanford University. He took in key milestones such as the 1980 Space Invaders Championship, the launch of Starcade, and the release of StarCraft and Counter-Strike “which changed the face of esports forever”.

Of course, the internet speeded growth up further, followed by the real turning point – the launch of Twitch in 2011.

The huge, exponential growth the esports industry is seeing is exemplified by the popularity of the Fortnite game and the growth of League of Legends. In 2011, League of Legends clocked 1.7 million concurrent viewers. In 2018, this had boomed to a staggering 200 million.

Esports offers such huge opportunities because anyone can play, they can connect with other people online, and all you need is a computer, console or smartphone — and it’s often free to play.

Tapping billions

The esports industry is worth billions,  Kristiansen said, with sponsorship and media partnership offering the most significant opportunities for business growth.

Industry experts highlighted the critical strategies for esports success – including understanding the audience, educating the market and changing perceptions, and tapping into the right marketing channels.

Jaap Visser, ESL Benelux, shared the key ingredients for a successful global esports event, including the right arena, a focus on the fans, engaging esports stars and, of course, the game. He also highlighted the importance of working with cities and local governments around the benefits of esports events. Cultivating the esports ecosystem and bringing in new brands are also crucial.

Jesper Karrbrink, Mr Green, gave the operator’s perspective. He said his company understood that when approaching esports, they need to forget about old models and stereotypes and “learn to speak the new language” of the esports audience, such as video.

He said “It’s another beast. We can’t just add esports to the menu,” as it would waste money and talent, and it wouldn’t work.

The company has developed a new product and brand specifically for the esports audience with its own experts and marketing strategies, etc. It has a focus on responsible gaming baked in from the start, he said, and will launch in Q1 of 2019.

The fact that companies can’t just rock up and ‘plug in’ to esports was echoed by Marco Albregts, Lagardère Sports. He told delegates they need to focus on creating and adding unique value, as well as demonstrating authenticity and an understanding of esports players. He advised companies to build their credibility in the market.

One way to do this is through influencer marketing. Miranda Huybers, BRASH esports, called esports the “new vanguard” for influencers and said esports companies will need to understand and engage with the influencer world to thrive.


A key trend throughout the summit was around the convergence of igaming, esports and gambling. Speakers noted that there are opportunities here on both sides – but the message was clear: standards must be upheld and always improving. This includes keeping esports ‘clean’ and free of match-fixing and money laundering, and with a strong focus on responsible gaming.

Education and perception

Another important message that came across was that the industry must drive education about esports – in wider society, among stakeholders such as cities, and to younger generations and their parents. The experts highlighted the importance of the media as well as engagement with young people through schools and esports academies.

Koen Shobbers, an esports athlete and consultant, talked about the need to shift perceptions of esports players away from the image of unhealthy individuals sitting alone in their back bedrooms. He argued that it can be educational, too.

This discussion was taken up further on the closing panel, moderated by Alexander Pfieffer, Danube University Krems. The panellists were Kersten Chircop,; Justin Mifsud, World Pro Racing; Simon Theuma, Quickfire; and Alessio Crisantemi, Editor, Gioco.

Chircop noted that esports needs to raise its profile as a professional industry as well as a game. Although the jury is out in some quarters as to whether esports is officially a sport, he emphasised that players work and train hard to improve themselves. This can be motivational to younger generations, he said, and can incentivise them.

Where next?

It’s an exciting time for the sector. With esports growing so fast, it will be fascinating to see how the industry has evolved at SiGMA this time next year.

As Kristiansen noted: “A decade in normal time is like a century in esports.”

EC TV: The iGaming world is constantly changing, Malta Gaming Authority tell us how they manage to stay ahead

“‘Malta is an island of entrepreneurs’ Ivan Filletti proudly proclaims, GamingMalta’s Head of Operations and Business Development.

This week on ECTV we meet the men keeping The Malta Gaming Authority ahead of the game, Ivan Fellitti and Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri tell us just how since formation in 2004 the authority has managed to stay ahead and are always looking towards the future to evolve around new technologies and legislation.

The Gaming Industry has evolved from the static structure of brick and mortar casinos to the innovation of iGaming that relies on high-tech innovations to increase player interactivity and make it possible for gaming to be available anytime and anywhere.

These developments have led to new challenges when it comes to defining the conceptual legal parameters. Regulators are increasingly recognising the importance of having an effective and holistic, legislative framework and corporate structure that enables them to face new challenges head on.”

The Malta Gaming Authority Publishes a White Paper Proposing Major Reforms to Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has today published a White Paper proposing major reforms to Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework. The main objective behind this proposed overhaul is to repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament entitled the Gaming Act, together with subsidiary legislation covering horizontally the main areas of regulation as well as a series of directives and guidelines issued by the Malta Gaming Authority as the single regulator of this sector. The proposed regulatory framework empowers the MGA to be more agile in its decision-making, and decreasing unnecessary regulatory burdens which are not conducive to the regulatory objectives, whilst concurrently strengthening supervision and focusing the regulator’s efforts on the areas which present a higher risk profile. Furthermore, the proposed reform proposes the enhancement of best-in-class consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, a risk-based approach towards regulation and wider powers for the MGA in compliance and enforcement. It also establishes objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development.

These proposals are underpinned by a number of initiatives which have been undertaken throughout the preparatory period for this proposed legal overhaul, including various public consultations, technical studies and economic and financial impact assessments. They also reflect the experience which the MGA has garnered from years of experience regulating the sector. Concurrently, the proposals embrace a forward-looking regulatory ethos which seeks to ensure that regulation can cater for new potential sectors whilst reacting proportionately to societal risks.

Key highlights of the changes envisaged include:

  • Replacing the current multi-licence system with a system in which there will be two different types of licences – a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence – covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels;
  • Moving towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach, to allow for innovation whilst ensuring that the regulatory objectives are attained;
  • Broadening the regulatory scope to increase MGA oversight and allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner;
  • Widening the MGA’s powers under the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations;
  • Segmenting the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity, requiring approval, for direct scrutiny and targeted supervisory controls, thereby raising the bar for persons of responsibility within a gaming operation;
  • Strengthening the player protection framework by formalising the mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit, enshrining segregation of player funds at law and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based delivery channels;
  • Introducing new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice, including the allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal and the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences;
  • Introducing the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist the winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds;
  • Moving towards automated reporting, facilitating adherence to regulatory obligations and strengthening the Authority’s oversight;
  • Bolstering the Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions by introducing new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets, in line with the efforts being made by the National Anti-Corruption Task Force in which the Authority also participates actively;
  • Streamlining taxation into one flow with two main layers; and
  • Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for these services providers.

Queries and requests for clarifications with respect to the content of the document, as well as contributions/feedback from interested parties may be sent by email to or in writing to:

Dr Edwina Licari
Chief Officer – Legal and EU/International Affairs
Malta Gaming Authority
Level 4, Building SCM02-03,
SmarCity Malta,
Kalkara SCM1001,

Closing date for feedback on the aforementioned consultation is Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017.




Julie Meyer talks with James Scicluna. James is a Malta Advocate and a Solicitor of the Senior Court of England and Wales. He has practiced law in the UK and Malta both in private practice and as in house counsel.

“This week in association with Gaming Malta, Julie Meyer talks with James Scicluna. James is a Malta Advocate and a Solicitor of the Senior Court of England and Wales. He has practiced law in the UK and Malta both in private practice and as in house counsel.

James provides advice mainly to the Gaming, Financial Services, Real Estate and Hospitality industries. His areas of expertise are: government relations, gambling regulation, devising strategic commercial solutions within a regulated environment, IPR licensing, sport sponsorship, brand development and protection, mergers and acquisitions, international corporate and tax structuring, joint ventures, crowd funding and European Union law, especially in so far as the Internal Market is concerned. He has also acted on the financing of corporate deals with underlying investments in real estate and the trade financing of businesses in the UK.

James has held the position of Chief of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs with the Betclic Group as well as having been General Counsel of Betclic and Expekt, two of the Betclic Group’s brands. Prior to that he was a foreign lawyer and then a solicitor with London firm Jeffrey Green Russell’s (now Gordon Dadds) Company and Commercial team.

James is ranked as one of the top 50 gaming & gambling lawyers globally by Chambers & Partners. He is also listed by Who’s Who Legal in the Sports & Entertainment Category and is recommended by The Legal 500 guide as a top Corporate and M&A lawyer, as well as a top Intellectual Property lawyer. The International Financial Law Review also lists James as a leading lawyer in the M&A and R&I categories.

James is a lecturer in gaming law at the University of Malta and he speaks English, Maltese, Italian and French.”

EntrepreneurCountry Global





Julie Meyer interviewing Marcus Cordes, the Chief Operating Officer at Multi Group Limited, an international gaming company recently set up in Malta.


“This week Julie Meyer is in conversation with Marcus Cordes, the Chief Operating Officer at Multi Group Limited, an international gaming company recently setup in Malta.

Multi Group, under the Multilotto brand, aggregates betting on a host of different national lotteries and provides a seamless experience across their web platform, enabling users to take part in as many lotteries as they wish, all within one account. Jackpots available include EuroMillions, EuroJackpot and America’s MegaMillions and Powerball draws.

The global industry is huge, at around €300 billion, so Multilotto is part of a much bigger ecosystem. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has provided a robust and innovative license that provides Maltese licensed companies a low friction environment in which to setup, operate and grow.

Multilotto’s headquarters are located in St Julian’s, Malta. Already home to 25 employees, the company has ambitious expansion plans and are looking to increase their numbers to 75 by the end of 2017. Recently, the MGA chairman inaugurated the new St Julian’s offices and this clearly demonstrates how and why iGaming companies grow in Malta.

The gaming sector in Malta contributes over €1.2 billion to the Maltese economy and provides employment to a large number of Maltese and international staff.”

EntrepreneurCountry Global

Entrepreneur Country has teamed up with the GamingMalta Foundation.

Entrepreneur Country has teamed up with the GamingMalta Foundation on a series of ‘Home of Gaming Excellence’ interviews with key players within the igaming eco system.

GamingMalta is a proud sponsor of the ‘Follow the Entrepreneur Investor Summit Malta’ on the 10th and 11th July at Westin Dragonara Resort.


Everyone has a story to tell and Anton’s is particularly interesting. He left IBM in 2008 and moved to Malta with his young family to take over the data centre business CSL Data Centre Services, which was at the time a traditional IBM AS400 reseller on its last legs with 4 remaining engineers and a handful of customers!

His job was to save the business or close it down. Foresight plays a role in the direction one takes however no one has a crystal ball. In 2010 he developed and launched a Cloud Services Model similar to AWS which was a first in Malta for customers, the regulators and my competition. Today CSL owns and operates 3 Data Centres in Malta with a total capacity of 2000 square meters of rack space, which are ISO27001 certified & employ 32 people.

The company gained a lot of experience the last 7 years building Private Cloud & Shared Cloud Platforms serving 100+ customers in the iGaming & Financial Services sector. This experience helped Anton understand the pain as well as the excitement startups go through and that is something he believes everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime!

EntrepreneurCountry Global



Identity Malta to service the gaming sector at our Smart City offices

In collaboration with Identity Malta we invited HR personnel and employees from the gaming sector to our Smart City offices Friday, 17th February 2017 from 9am to 2.30pm.

This initiative will focus on providing the gaming sector with a personalised service from  Identity Malta, to process individual requests on a one-to-one basis.

The GamingMalta Interview | US-fantasy Sports Giant Sets Up European Operational Base in Malta

DraftKings Inc., today announced that its subsidiary, DK Malta OpCo Ltd., has been granted a Controlled Skill Games License from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) following Malta’s recent introduction of a new regulatory regime for certain games of skill.

GamingMalta spoke exclusively with Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer of DraftKings on why they chose Malta and their future plans.


DraftKings is a well-known US name in the fantasy sports sector. For those who may not be so familiar with the company in Europe, can you give us a bit of background to the company? 

Daily Fantasy Sports started out primarily in the US about seven years ago. DraftKings itself was founded in Boston Massachusetts in the USA in 2012. We started the business with solid aspirations to grow and be a real competitor to the market leader at the time, and in the last five years we have focused on creating the best experience possible for our players and are now the market leader internationally. We have a substantial presence in the US, Canada and the UK, which are the three markets we operate in today.


 What is the history and background of the fantasy sports industry?

Season-long fantasy sports football started off about 30 years ago as an industry in the UK, Europe and North America. When it first started, it was primarily broadsheet newspapers that published the names of all the players, with their prospective salaries and allowed people to select line-ups, draft teams and enter into competitions. People would tear out the back page of the newspaper, fill it in with a pen, mail it in to the newspaper and they would manually tally and keep a score. This was something that was increasable engaging even 30 years ago. That’s where it all started off.

The internet, as with many other sectors, disrupted the traditional print industry around fantasy sports, and around 20 years ago people started working on season-long online sites, with Yahoo being the industry leader.

About six years ago some people started looking at the product and noticed that the disengagement rate for season-long fantasy sports was 75 per cent after just four or five weeks. While the product was incredibly popular, people quickly lost interest because it took too much work to keep up with changing players through the season. The people looking at this at the time were saying how do we solve this problem, what if we ran our contests for a shorter duration either for one week or one day and the concept of Daily Fantasy Sports was invented.


What does the current licensing landscape for daily fantasy sports look like?

In the US we are regulated as a game of skill in ten states and we expect many other states will pass legislation and regulation for our category in the near to medium term. While in the UK we are classified as pool betting, if we were to go into the Danish market, we could get what is called a manager games licence, which is the fantasy sports licence for operating in Denmark. We can also get a skill game licence in Italy, so there are a number of jurisdictions that have a licence for games of skill, but nothing is as intentionally designed as the Maltese legislation has been crafted to be.


The award of a Maltese licence represents a new milestone in Draftkings history. What are your thoughts on Malta’s initiative to regulate skill-based games?

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a proactive regulator which is very much in touch with emerging consumer trends and technology and it is refreshing to see that the Maltese government, which is responsible for regulating in terms of Malta’s laws, followed advice put to it by the MGA on regulation of skill-based games. What I mean by this is that when we looked at legislation in other markets across Europe, we found that nobody had considered our category at the time laws in those markets were being drafted, whereas Malta has crafted something that safeguards consumers, which is obviously critical. Nobody wants a black eye in our industry, but apart from safeguarding consumers, the Maltese licence ensures that any business operating in and from Malta has a certain level of integrity. I think the Maltese regulation is exceptional because it was designed intentionally with the prospect of creating a framework for operators to be successful and for consumers to be well protected.


What are your plans for Europe and how will Malta feature in those plans? 

We are going to test the waters in a lot of different European markets and understand how our products fit in those markets. We want to see how daily fantasy sports resonates with perspective players in different jurisdictions, what sports they like to play and what they do and don’t like about our product. The fact is we are going to be the first significant operator in many of these markets, and there is no way for us to really understand the market potential, so it’s going to involve a lot of market testing. We are definitely taking a long-term view on the opportunity in Malta and the markets we intend to serve under the MGA licence.


What would you highlight as the key trends that are most influencing the fantasy sports sector?

The major trend is the conversion of season-long fantasy sports to daily, but we are seeing media companies and sports organisations taking a greater interest in the sector. DraftKings exists at the intersection of technology entertainment and sports. We create a fantastic experience to bring sports fans closer to the games they love. This suddenly puts a flag in the ground for business that is interested sports, media or technology.

One of our biggest investors in the US is Fox Sports. They are a global player and understand the synergies of working with us. We are attracting a tremendous number of eyeballs, who are massively involved in our product, who love sports and digital products, and we invite any other media company to contact us and discuss how we can work together. That is also true for sports organisation and leagues. We can help them create a better relationship with their fans and attract new ones.


What initially attracted DraftKings to set up in Malta?

Malta is an extraordinary base for our business to grow upon. Sensible regulation from a professional and mature regulator was important. The Malta licence allows us to operate in and from Malta across the EU in any market that does not locally regulate fantasy sports. We were also attracted by the ability to find experienced, multilingual and educated staff from across Europe. Another very important thing was technical infrastructure and connectivity. It is also easy to travel from Malta to the places and markets we are going to want to do business.


What was you experience in dealing with the Malta Gaming Authority?

In short, the MGA was tough but fair.


Looking to the future, what are your plans for the Malta operation?  

We will locate our European operations base in Malta, from where we can scale in a number of other jurisdictions around the world. We are putting our regulatory and compliance function in Malta just now, and the intention is to grow from there as the business develops with customer service, fraud, payments, and localisation functions coming online as the business grows. At the moment, we are just getting started and in the process of staffing up. We are taking our initial steps, but our expectation is to be investing a lot in Malta over the years to come


What personal message would you like to convey to the international iGaming community about Malta?

Malta is a wonderful island with very good infrastructure and great opportunities for growth, and I hope many other people will join us in establishing operation there.


Interview: CountryProfiler in cooperation with GamingMalta.

2016 Round Up


Here at GamingMalta, we’re saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to a gaming 2017, ensuring Malta remains the Home of Gaming Excellence. We are sharing some of our milestones. There were a lot – including the setting up of our operational structures, the brand launch, a new website and taking our promotional vehicle on the road, exhibiting at EiG in Berlin, MiGS & SiGMA in Malta to Go Gaming Live in Tel Aviv, Israel.


The Valletta city bastions served as the backdrop for the official GamingMalta brand launch, which was held at the Chophouse, Tigne Point, Sliema. It was a great networking event attended by many of the industry’s stakeholders and the Hon. Dr. Emmanuel Mallia, Minister for Competitiveness and Digital, Maritime and Services Economy.


October saw the launch of our new website, highlighting our mission. Malta offers a great environment for business to prosper and the best ambassadors are those who have come to Malta and grown their businesses. The testimonials on the website are centre stage in communicating this success story.

2017 will see the website continue to be a central information hub for the sector.



GamingMalta | Home of Gaming Excellence

It’s true that this Mediterranean island is something special. The sun shines in the sky. And the sun also shines through in the ingenuity and the will to succeed that you witness everywhere in Malta. Our new video embraces all this and brings to light the factors which make Malta the Home of Gaming Excellence.


We exist to attract new business so we went on the road to exhibit at some of the major igaming events, both in Malta and overseas.

EiG in Berlin was our first official overseas stop where we shared a co-branded exhibit stand with the Malta Gaming Authority. This was an opportunity to engage with players in the industry and promote the advantages of Malta’s gaming ecosystem.

We are poised to give start-ups a helping hand. So, it was exciting to sponsor the Pitch Theatre at EiG which gave us the chance to hear about the latest business launches and vote for the innovations that are transforming the sector. Various presentations took place at the GamingMalta sponsored Pitch Theatre on the EiG showfloor during the three day event.

In early December, we popped over to Tel Aviv in Israel for GO Gaming Live and it was a pleasure to host the Gala event for c-suite executives at the Azraeli Tower while also exhibiting at the one day expo.

On the local front, we were pleased to be part of MiGS and SiGMA which have grown in stature over the years to become two of the most reputable and sought after events in the global eGaming calendar.



Success breeds success. Thank you for being part of this success. We look forward to intensifying our efforts and connecting with you again in 2017.

GamingMalta is an independent non-profit foundation set up by the Government of Malta and the Maltese Gaming Authority (MGA). Tasked with promoting Malta as a Centre of excellence in the remote gaming sector globally, it is also responsible for liaising with the local relevant authorities to improve Malta’s attractiveness as a jurisdiction and enhance the ecosystem of the gaming industry.