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Malta In For Tough Battle On Changing European Landscape

Malta is in for a tough battle when it comes to the changing European landscape for iGaming, Ulrik Bengtsson, CEO and President of Betsson Group, said at a recent regulatory conference.

Speaking at the KPMG regulatory conference in Malta, Mr Bengtsson underlined the need for Malta to toughen up and take a stronger and more visible stance about the free movement of services and goods.

The issue centres on member states creating barriers by implementing local licenses that are not compliant with fundamental EU principles and law, under the guise of protecting consumers.

“Malta has to take a very visible and strong stance about this worrying trend within EU countries enacting local regulations which clearly violate EU law”, Mr Bengtsson said.

The conference was part of the annual iGaming summit in Malta, SIGMA, where some of the biggest names in the industry meet to network and discuss issues facing them.

Mr Bengtsson was part of a panel chaired by Minister for Employment, Evarist Bartolo, and included, Joe Cuschieri, Chairman Malta Gaming Authority, Anton Cristina, CEO CSL, Olga Finkel, Senior Partner WH Partners and Kenneth Farrugia the Chief Officer Business Development, Bank of Valletta.

This particular issue has been raised by Mr Bengtsson before and in an in depth interview with The Business Observer last June, said that the Malta Gaming Authority should be worried about the situation.

“Back in the day when we first came here (Malta), the EU very much supported the idea of free movement of goods and services, one of the fundamental pillars of the EU. Now you increasingly see member states going blatantly against the idea of the EU, creating hurdles for European companies to operate within the EU. And no one does anything about it. It is very alarming for the EU, for the industry and for Malta, Mr Bengtsson added.