The development of the gambling industry in Malta is closely monitored by international gambling regulators and it was recently announced that the European Union is planning to introduce a new and more strict tax regime for digital companies in an attempt to provide more reliable regulation to the field. This decision has the potential to change the landscape of the country which provides good conditions for the development of many gambling operators.
As it is known, Malta is famous for its low taxes and this is one of the main reasons why gambling businesses have always been interested in locating their operation there. This is one of the locations in Europe which has on offer a wide variety of gambling offerings across a relatively small physical territory. Maintaining the taxes rates on the lower side has been a common practice on the Mediterranean island, but this beneficial regulation could soon be changed. It was reported by Politico, that there is a new digital taxation scheme on the way, which is going to cover the European Union in its entirety.
According to the discussed regulation, all digital companies would be taxed on their turnover or profits and the amount of taxes they pay in Europe will be inspected. This is a decision which is going to affect giants in the field, to the likings of Apple, Facebook, and Google, but it is also going to have its impact on the online gambling entities which are currently proliferating across the island of Malta and other small countries across Europe. It is a known fact, that online gambling makes for as much as an eighth of the economy of the island and any hit on it could prove to have negative consequences to the gambling field. The European Commission is considered to issue the proposal in the spring of 2018.
Potential Impact on Malta’s Economy
Because of its high dependency on corporate tax revenues, Malta is expected to be seriously affected by any changes related to international taxation regulations, as confirmed in a statement coming from the International Monetary Fund. The leading supporters of the change are France and Germany and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development demands that the companies pay more on their local sales. The proposal was strongly rejected by Luxembourg and Ireland as well, and this is a way to postpone the final decision since it has to be taken unanimously among all EU members.
Markus Ferber, Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, stated that money laundering and tax evasion have been an issue in Malta for quite some time now and the government should prove that it is working towards improving the way the industry works. It could be recalled that Malta was among the pioneers in creating clear regulation for the gambling sector after it became a member of the EU back in 2004.
This resulted in bigger interest towards it and at the moment gambling operators pay some 5 percent corporate tax. In order to maintain its position as a place where online businesses thrive, the authorities have begun a campaign which aims to convince the EU that Malta has a law-abiding online gaming industry.