Published on The Malta Independent¸ issue Sunday 21st August 2011
Not many appreciate the economic contribution yielded by the nascent egaming industry in Malta. The island prides itself as a microcosm of Europe and as such is a good test bed for products/concepts with an infrastructure which is generally good¸ cost effective and is constantly improving particularly in the ICT sector. They say that the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the taste is first-class ….. Malta prides itself of over 300 active licensees. It is a proven fact that the igaming industry is encouraged by government initiative and the state-of-the-art telecoms infrastructure¸ which the island offers as one of the most progressive environments in the world for IT¸ remote gaming and e-Business activities.
Investment in ICT is increasing at a rapid pace. In terms of data links¸ in 2003 Vodafone Malta took a strategic decision that it must own the links from Malta right up to a central point in Europe and therefore decided to have its own submarine data cable between Malta and Sicily. Commissioned in 2004¸ this doubled the number of inter-national data links connecting Malta to the rest of the world. With hindsight one recalls how data traffic at the start of igaming community in 2001¸ was rather small¸ in the order of a few tens of megabits but has grown exponentially since then. Three operators are competing to provide quality and reliable bandwidth via a submarine cable to the Italian mainland. In terms of technology¸ the fibre-optic submarine data cable remains an important link between Malta and the rest of the world¸ an extremely sensitive link. Quoting Mr Charles Mangion Opposition spokesman on the economy he stated that this sector has been a successful base operating out of Malta leaving some €50 million annually in revenue without the burden of new taxes (a low carbon footprint) .
Furthermore he reaffirms that the sector also provided quality employment for a good number of people mostly with excellent salaries .These include a mix of foreigners¸ but in the process a good number of Maltese having achieved a quality education were also recruited. In igaming sector Malta has registering a gross added-value per hour of almost €36¸ the second highest in the EU. This element made the sector competitive with other elements¸ for a potential for further development. All this thanks to the hard working team at LGA which managed to excel in monitoring a quality regulation. As a result over the years one notices an upward trend in the number of active licenses that have graced our shores since 2041. All this has been confirmed in a recent study by Prof. Joseph Falzon of the Department of Banking and Finance at the University who has produced an analysis of the productive sectors of the Maltese economy in comparison with EU member states. In the study Malta ranks fifth in the group in terms of gross value added per hour worked in 2007. In all the other sectors (including financial intermediation) Malta ranks sixth. Where Malta excels is in the Personal services where we ranked first compliments to the high gross value added per hour of the e-gaming sector. Obviously one may stop and ponder is this too good to be true? There must be a catch in the story of unbridled success? The answer to this question is really and truly that Malta needs to be vigilant in its continual effort to overcome competition. It can do this in a number of ways but surely by keeping abreast in a dynamic r