Malta Warned for Its Cryptocurrency Gambling Industry

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The small island nation of Malta may be known by some for its long history and affordable vacation packages, but in the casino sector it’s known as one of the biggest gambling hubs in Europe. The country has played home for many fiat money and cryptocurrency online casinos, thanks to the establishment of one of the most respected global regulatory agencies – the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

However, Malta has also found itself in the crosshair of the European Union quite often for its alleged corruption and money-laundering problems. And according to a recent report by the European Commission, there are now worries about the crypto gambling industry in the country.

Commission Warns Rising Crypto Sector

As reported by local media outlet Malta Today, the European Commission (EC) has recently sent warnings to the Maltese government. In a recommendation to the EU member states, the Commission asked Maltese officials to tighten up their AML (Anti-money laundering) efforts in the gaming and financial sectors, specifically in the crypto-casino industry that the country has been trying to establish.

As the Commission warned, the “shortcomings” of the local government, especially in tackling corruption, could negatively affect business and investments. There are concerns that conflicts of interest are present at a number of levels inside the government, as has been reported by local news agencies frequently. And it isn’t only AML efforts that worry the EC, but also the local tax laws which allow for business to be “creative” in filing their taxes.

Although this is a warning, it is not a threat by the Commission who only wants the government to become more effective in regulating the financial and gambling sector. With the size of Malta’s online gambling industry rapidly growing in the past years, and the recent efforts by the MGA to introduce cryptocurrency gambling, it’s important to the EC that everything should be set up right.

Bigger Problems Exist

The cryptocurrency and gambling sectors are likely the least of worries for the country, which has been put in the spotlight of the member states more than a few times due to its alleged corruption problems. As CBS News reports, the small Mediterranean island has earned quite the reputation for its flourishing corruption and suspicious dealings. Apart from trying to establish itself as a leader in fostering new technologies like Blockchain and online gambling, since 2013 Malta has also become a hotbed for oligarchs and super-rich people from abroad who want to acquire a EU passport.

Through its new citizenship program, Malta allows for rich people to buy a citizenship for a million by registering businesses and residences in the country. Some local reporters are calling the program a “scheme”” and a “fraud” , according to CBS, one which allows tycoons from Russia, Nigeria, China, Saudi Arabia and more to acquire the freedom and  benefits of a visa-free EU citizenship. One reporter found that the registered one-year residence of a Russian tycoon, as required by the law, was located in a shabby basement apartment with no sign of the businessman living in it.

June 26, 2019: • No Comments

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