• June 2015
    Written by Dr Mark Bencini B.A., M.A. (Fin. Serv.), LL.D., Dip. Tax.

    John Dawson may very well be a fictional character, but the benefits enjoyed in Malta are nothing other than real.

    • It is three o’clock in the afternoon. John Dawson is strolling down the Departure Lounge of the Malta International Airport. He is excited to get back at his office and embark on his new project. He had heard that Malta is a popular jurisdiction with respect to online gaming but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that this little island is the leading European jurisdiction in this industry. 

      It was by pure coincidence that John ended up attending ‘MIGS’, the country’s yearly online gaming expo and conference. He had walked into the lobby of his hotel which was buzzing with all sorts of entrepreneurs involved in the online gaming business. Indeed, the hotel in which he was staying was hosting the Conference and was choc-a-block with the most influential persons in Europe’s online gaming industry. 

  • Whilst doing his last minute window shopping before boarding his plane, John fondly recollects meeting the owners of some of these global online gaming companies, all of which have their operations based in Malta for a multitude of reasons that make Malta, without a doubt, the best jurisdiction in which to set up business. Many of these companies have in the matter of a decade grown from fledgling companies into world leaders in the industry. Together they have trained thousands of programmers, web designers and other specialised staff. They have opened customer care centres with representatives communicating with their clients in a multitude of languages, developed the highest levels of due diligence and anti-money laundering practices and all of this locally. John recalls having left the seminar overwhelmed by the sheer concentration of highly trained specialists present on the island and knowing, that should his investors be willing to embark on this project, he would not be short of staff. 

    After a weekend of intensive training about the online gaming industry, John now knows that Malta was the first European Country to regulate online gaming and that since its inception in 2004, like a modern version of David vs Goliath, Malta has battled the largest European jurisdictions. The latter have waged wars in the European Courts of Justice to retain their monopolies in their respective countries and postpone the introduction of free movement of online gaming. Despite this, Malta is committed to remain the leading jurisdiction in the industry. Both the Government and the industry have invested heavily in bringing the IT infrastructure to the highest international standard. Indeed, be it a small island, Malta is extensively connected to the international internet grid through a number of submarine cables and satellite systems. Coupled with the presence of a number of excellent data centres, such IT infrastructure assures the entire gaming industry about the bandwidth stability and relatively inexpensive setup and maintenance cost. 

    ‘What an interesting weekend!’ John thinks whilst calling his legal advisor to thank him for all the introductions made over the weekend. Although he was not so surprised to see him moderate a discussion on the legal benefits enjoyed by Maltese gaming companies, John was impressed when his advocate explained the spectacular low gaming tax and license fees applicable to such companies. Combined with Europe’s best net effective tax rate applicable to non-resident shareholders of companies established in Malta, there is no doubt in John’s mind that Malta is the place to be if someone wants to succeed in the online gaming industry. After a friendly chat with his advocate and assuring him that John will soon be back in Malta to discuss all the legal matters involved in establishing an online gaming company, it is time to switch off his phone and head back home. On his next visit he shall definitely bring Anna and the kids and maybe do some house hunting. 

    The above is a fictional story that includes true facts about the benefits that foreigners and expats can enjoy by setting up gaming companies in Malta.
  • This Article was first published in Il-Bizzilla, AirMalta's in-flight magazine.