The next few years will see Malta opening several hotels and experiences that cater to the MICE clients. The Malta Marriott Hotel and Spa will open in 2020, a year that will see the launch of the Hard Rock Café; a MICE ‘epicenter’ complete with 3,437sqm of planned function space and the largest convention centre on the island. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Malta’s flagship conference venue, the Mediterranean Conference Centre. This 16th century building in Valletta is the former hospital of the Knights of St John, its historic architecture offers a unique backdrop while the latest technology guarantees unparalleled events.
This autumn sees an unprecedented highlight as the venue will host VITORI performed by the legendary Cirque du Soleil. More exciting times are on the horizon for MCC. Expansion is on the boards; currently almost one third of the space is unutilised and not accessible to the public. Now management is to develop the unused space.
As a result, in coming months, the public and conference business will benefit from two new venues inside as well as a major roof terrace offering a commanding view of the Grand Harbour. One stand-out example of Malta’s vision is the new National Museum of Art, MUŻA, opened towards the end of Valletta’s glittering year as European Capital of Culture in 2018. Housed in a former auberge of the Italian speaking Knights of St John, MUŻA is a fine example of retro-fitting where the multi-century layers of the building’s history blend seamlessly into an up-to-date interpretation of Maltese culture through the ages.
Within days of its inauguration, MUŻA revealed itself as more than just a museum, showing off its credentials as Malta’s latest meetings and multi-purpose with a capacity of 130 delegates.
The Malta Convention Bureau continues to be active and most recently attended the IMEX show in Las Vegas in September 2019 and is at IBTM World in Barcelona, 19-21 November 2019.
- Malta is easily accessible within Europe, with good access by air plus short transfer times within Malta that do not eat into your programme
- The Maltese Islands are a year-round destination – warm climate / 300 days of sunshine / outdoor venues can be used from April to November
- English and Maltese spoken as first languages
- Purpose built facilities alongside historical buildings, beach fronts and unique venues
- 7,000 years of unique history adding a measure of culture / beautiful venues / adding value to incentives
Malta leading in the iGame
The last decade has seen Malta emerge as the undisputed front-runner in the regulation of the online gaming industry. The foresight and determination of the Maltese authorities to develop the iGaming industry, together with the Malta Gaming Authority’s (MGA) pro-active approach to the inevitable changes in the sector, have created a stable and attractive regulatory environment for this sector to flourish. In 2004, Malta became the first EU Member State to enact comprehensive legislation on remote gaming, and industry stakeholders consider Malta as one of the foremost tried and tested jurisdictions in the world. The gaming regulatory framework developed by the Maltese authorities provides for several innovative incentives.
The number of licensees, both local and overseas, operating under a Maltese gaming legislation continues to increase consistently as does the influx in gaming operators setting up shop locally. They are all able to benefit from the advanced technical capability and relatively low labour costs of the local workforce.
A consistent approach to regulation, together with the launch of Gaming Malta and the Gaming Academy, will ensure that Malta will continue to be considered by the gaming industry as a centre of excellence – both as a gaming jurisdiction as well as a dynamic economic hub for iGaming and its ancillary services.
Increasing in size, scope, and success over the last five years, SiGMA’19 is set to be the busiest show yet, offering 12,500 delegates the chance to network with leaders in the iGaming industry, strike deals with the biggest brands, engage the leading suppliers, and secure support from the affiliates that matter.
This 2019 edition of SiGMA is set up to have visitors from more than 80 countries shaping the global iGaming sector for 2020 and beyond.
The line-up of speakers for conferences and workshops will be looking at a range of topics including regulation and compliance, AI & Blockchain in iGaming, payments and fintech, as well as disruptive innovation shaping the future of the industry.
The organiser said that getting to this point has not been without its challenges, but now Malta has become the main point of reference for the gaming industry in general. Considered as one of the leading jurisdictions for the industry, Malta has developed an outstanding reputation as an important regulator, with a finger firmly on the pulse of this ever-growing sector.
Of course, lifestyle and great all-year round weather are also incredibly attractive for companies coming to the island. The government has made it easy for foreign companies to set up shop in Malta, and the island is welcoming many newcomers every year.
Last year, a new gaming law was introduced, which effectively makes the sector easier to operate within, by considerably reducing unnecessary bureaucratic procedures for operators, limiting licences to two, – B2B and B2C, while strengthening the role of the MGA with regard to its fight against money laundering, illicit abuse and funding of terrorism. It further enhanced the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve its regulatory objectives, making the system more transparent.
Other important areas of focus include compliance, consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions, and standards to encourage innovation and development.
As iGaming becomes more mainstream, the sector is bringing many new products to market – Blockchain based casinos, hyper casual betting games, fantasy sports at a new level and eSports all colliding to bring new ways of playing to an evolving millennial audience. Hyper casual games in particular are an area to keep an eye on – TronBet’s Moon is such an example, with a simple game mechanic integrated with crypto, and this game is absolutely smashing it at the moment. Beyond these experiential innovations, massive strides have also been made in logistical areas, such as player protection and KYC procedures, both examples of the many benefits that the sector is seeing from integration of blockchain and AI processes to the iGaming ecosystem.