The Malta Remote Gaming Council
The Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC) is a non-governmental organisation, and is made up of all stakeholders in the remote gaming industry including licensed operators, data carriers, Internet service providers, lawyers and professional services providers. The MRGC was specifically created, to discuss the main issues that the gaming operators face, with the LGA and reach solutions that are to the benefit of all stakeholders in the industry. The MRGC is a forum for discussion, to help the industry develop and to protect it. It is an industry set up and every two years an election is held to select the board. As members of the board there are five operators and two service providers. The council performs an economic survey annually. The council also carried out a salary survey, in order to keep the cost of salaries down.
By means of the survey, all the operators knew what everybody else was paying in terms of salary and industry benchmarks were created. A few years back, an IT survey was carried out, in conjunction with the Ministry for Infrastructure Transport and Communication. This survey was the main factor that brought down the cost of bandwidth to practically half of what it was before. This survey was the proof needed that the cost of bandwidth was harming the gaming industry.
Every year, the MRGC presents its annual economic survey based mostly on data from previous years. It is based on estimates but give an indication of the importance of the industry. The 2012 survey was carried out by Deloitte. It is estimated that in 2012 there are 5,000 people employed directly in the gaming industry. Around 63% of the employees are foreigners, mostly due to the languages required in customer support departments. The gaming companies in 2010, had the following collective spending: € 9.6 million were spent on technologies (which includes colocation and bandwidth), € 5 million were spent on office rental, € 4.7 million were spent on other professional fees, € 3.7 million were spent on hospitality and entertainment, € 3.2 million were spent on legal fees, € 1.8 million were spent on mobile and telephony, and € 1 million were spent on utilities.
Certain companies have become successful due to the gaming industry. Almost 90% of the rental business of one particular real estate agent in Malta is directly related to gaming. There are a number of recruitment agencies, which have become specialised in gaming. And there are the consulting companies, whose main business is directly related to the gaming industry.
The gaming industry is almost entirely foreign direct investment. Every euro spent here by the gaming companies is a euro earned from abroad. The number of Maltese online gamblers is too small for them to even be considered. The gaming companies are not earning money from local players. In the past there were cases where gaming companies were not allowed to accept players from Malta, but this situation ceased in 2007. Although players from Malta are legally allowed, come companies are still inclined to decline Maltese players.
Gaming is a money making money industry and all those who touch it, both directly and indirectly, takes a share of that money. It is a fundamental part of the economy and is directly interlinked to a number of other sectors.
Source: M. Azzopardi: A Study of Locality Choices by ICT and I-Gaming Companies in Malta, 2012.
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