Amid increased speculation regarding amendments on its tax and iGaming regulation, Malta is once again justifying its reputation as the most operator-friendly environment within Europe. According to The Times of Malta, the Maltese government is planning to exempt sports betting operators, bet exchanges and "equivalent entities" from their VAT obligations, starting in January 1st 2018. Although these news have been welcomed by sportsbook operators, online casino & bingo websites may have reason to feel disheartened given that the new tax regime has not included bets on casino games & tables. Additionally, the government has announced that any gambling services provided through the use of remote technology will still be required to pay the VAT.
The Value Added Tax Act was enacted as a means of keeping up with the European Council directive on the common system of VAT. According to this, an EU State can exempt betting, lotteries and other forms of gambling although such measures are still subject “to the conditions and limitations laid down by each Member State.” The tax reform is set to have an immediate impact on the government's coffers, given that iGaming VAT income amounted for 7% of last year's revenue, a figure standing at nearly €700 million. Regardless, Maltese lawmakers remain positive that the short term tax losses will be offset by an increase in the number of regulated operators.