Under Growing Siege, Defiant Malta Vows To Protect Its iGaming Industry

Malta, “The George Cross Island”, which took a fearful–but unbowed–beating during the last world war, is bracing itself for a new siege: this one aiming to break its judicial independence over its key iGaming industry.

Now home to over 300 gambling companies, employing some 10,000 people, the Mediterranean archipelago of Malta, Gozo and Comino, population around 400,000, is now considered the European–if not world–capital of iGaming.

But German, Austrian and now Dutch gambling authorities, backed by their respective governments, have taken exception to Malta’s Gaming Bill 55, which affirms Maltese control over its own betting industry — in defiance of European Union legislation that seeks to stamp out the controversial activities of extra-judicial, so-called off-shore gambling sites.

Bill 55 aims to protect Malta-based businesses, licensed by the regulatory Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), from punitive enforcement action from supranational authorities and foreign governments.

But German, Austrian and Dutch authorities say that Bill 55 contravenes E.U. law.


“This law undermines Dutch jurisprudence and that of other E.U. member states,” claimed a top official from Holland’s regulatory KSA gambling authority.

“The law [prevents] consumers seeking justice in their place of residence; a right guaranteed in EU treaties.

“As a result of the law, the Dutch court would no longer be able to rule in disputes of Dutch consumers against these companies from Malta.”

Holland re-regulated its online gambling space at the end of 2021, in an attempt to bring order to the market and break the power of illegal off-shore operators.

But today–amid a major and largely successful campaign to clean-up its act, and image for corruption, following the assassination of campaigning journalist Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia in October 2017–Malta is determined to assert its sovereignty over its all-important gambling industry.

Maltese government and gambling regulators say that Bill 55 will only come into play if intended international legal action “conflicts with or undermines the provision of gaming services in Malta”.

“The freedom to provide business services is a central tenet of the European constitution,” a highly-placed source in the MGA told iGamingFuture.

“Yes. Malta is a member of the EU. But we are also a sovereign nation. Bill 55 is totally legal and transparent.”

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