Malta to continue fighting changes to definition of illegal sports betting
A draft Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions may see Malta losing on the remote gaming industry
The Maltese government will continue to push for changes to a new definition of illegal sports betting which is being drafted by the Council of Europe, and pushed by France.
According to the Parliamentary Assembly, illegal betting and match-fixing are “alarming, widespread practices” which jeopardise both sporting ethics and rule of law, as they are closely interconnected with money laundering and international organised crime.
The Council of Europe is thus pushing for a Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, open to all States.
The gaming industry provides 12% of Malta’s total GDP. Remote gaming on its own, with some 360 licensees, contributes to over 6% of the gross domestic product.
Parliamentary secretary for competitiveness and economic growth Jose Herrera said a new definition could negatively impact the gaming industry in Malta – more specifically the remote gaming.
“Betting is currently regulated by the country that is operating it. This convention is however proposing that sports betting is regulated by the country of origin and not by the country that is providing the betting service,” Herrera said.
Agreeing that gaming should remain regulated, counter-balanced by entities who promote and enforce responsible gaming, Herrera insisted that it remained a legitimate industry.
“This government has the obligation to protect this industry and we will continue doing all that is possible to counteract the definition being proposed,” he said.
If approved, the remote gaming industry – which is the biggest growing industry – would suffer the brunt of this decision. The new definition given to illegal betting is being considered as “an inappropriate encroachment” into the Maltese betting industry.
Herrera welcomed the support the Opposition is showing: “The collaboration between our political forces makes our position stronger.”
Oracle Casino introduces sports lounges in Malta
Herrera’s comments to MaltaToday were made during the launch of Malta’s first sports lounges at the Oracle Casino.
The refurbished Oracle Casino, costing in excess of €500,000, was inaugurated by Economy Minister Chris Cardona and the parliamentary secretary.
The Oracle Casino is owned and operated by Tumas Gaming, a fully owned subsidiary of the Tumas Group. Their casino, which first opened its doors in September 1998, attracts around 250,000 visitors every year.
the new sports lounge boast 13 screens all showing live sports from around the world including the popular UK horse and greyhound races.