Malta has been one of the top centers for online gambling for years. Now, Malta’s gambling regulatory agency has created a special unit to collect information and gather intelligence on betting patterns. Betting patterns, especially suspicious ones, are one way that watchdogs spot cheating. In sports betting, manipulation and cheating regulations are especially important. One gambler cheating at a casino affects only the casino and the gambler. However, cheating on sportsbooks can affect thousands of people, as well as the sport itself. The new Sports Integrity Unit’s powers will be wide-ranging. It will have the power to look into any aspect of gambling. The country wants to make sure that the businesses that call it home are above board.
Malta is a small island off the coast of Italy. It is home to more than 450,000 people. Malta began as an agricultural economy under British rule. Its residents grew cotton and tobacco. With the opening of the Suez Canal and an increase in the shipping industry, Malta’s economy grew. When the shipping routes changed in the mid-20th century, Malta began looking around for new opportunities. The country has seen an increase in film production because of its location.
One industry that sprung up in Malta is online gambling. The online gambling industry started with one iGaming operator. Since then, the island’s iGaming business has exploded. Online gaming services account for 12 percent of Malta’s economy. The industry employs more than 9,000 people, and $865 million flows into the Maltese economy each year. More than 330 iGaming businesses make their home in Malta.
Laws Governing Gaming
The Malta Gaming Authority has very specific guidelines governing iGaming in the country. Malta’s rise in the iGaming industry happened because of its favorable tax structure for gambling. The country began issuing laws to regulate iGaming in 2004. Gambling companies can operate iGaming sites once they have licenses. The companies can offer sportsbooks, lotteries, slots, and casino games. To successfully apply for a license, a company must meet certain conditions. Companies that want to apply for a license must have their software tested for six months before licensing. Once the government has approved a company’s license, the company has it for five years, with an option to renew. The favorable tax structure means, on average, gambling companies pay only .5 percent tax on their revenue. Licensing fees have a yearly cost and renewal cost.
The New Regulations
The new unit, called the Sports Integrity Unit, will oversee the integrity of gambling businesses. One of the first things the unit will do is form relationships with other departments within the Gaming Authority. The unit will also be working with other units to draft policies about gambling integrity. In addition, the unit will be overseeing iGaming integrity policy. It will regulate iGaming to make sure operators, sports clubs, law enforcement agencies, and monitoring systems are in sync. The hope is that there will be an integrity network put into place.
Many countries already have integrity networks for their sports betting franchises. However, Malta is attempting to do something different. Malta is going to put a countrywide integrity network into action, which no country has done before. Malta hopes to use integrity software to connect sportsbooks and other gambling interests to a system for reporting suspicious betting. Suspicious betting is more obvious in sportsbooks than other forms of gambling. For example, integrity software was able to spot suspicious betting in a tennis tournament in England two years ago. There was a rush to bet on a particular match. The integrity company immediately shut down betting on the match, and authorities launched an investigation immediately. Malta is hoping to have the same kind of success between all its gambling companies.
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