The Council of Europe in its Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions has pushed forward a new definition of ‘illegal sports betting’ which could threaten Malta’s booming gaming industry.
The definition proposed defines ‘illegal sports betting’ as “any sports betting activity whose type or operator is not allowed under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the consumer is located.”
Malta Gaming Authority Executive Chairman Joe Cuschieri said that if the definition was ratified, it could deal a powerful blow to Malta’s remote gaming industry, which accounts for 11 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, employs 8,000 people and sees gaming companies taking bets from clients from all over the world
“This definition will effectively render illegal all operators who offer their services via their Malta Gaming Authority licence in other European states,” Dr Cuschieri said.
Dr Cuschieri said that Malta could not support the definition of the Convention as it stood, and its proposals for amendments during negotiations had been ignored.
The Convention was penned by the Council of Europe, which is seeking to ratify the Convention as an entire bloc, requiring consent from every member state.
Within the European Parliament, Malta is the only country which has raised opposition to the ratification of the convention, which has led to criticism across the board, particularly from the European People’s Party (EPP).