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Malta to Abolish VAT on Event Betting

- December 11, 2017 By Oliver Young -

Casino operators will still have to pay the tax.

Malta-based bookmakers will no longer need to pay VAT.

Malta may be one of the smallest countries in the EU, but this little island nation is a true giant when it comes to online betting and gambling, as many operators and providers are based in Malta and many of those who are headquartered elsewhere have branches and offices in Malta.

Favourable tax policies and a developed and regulated market is what draws betting and gambling companies to Malta. And even though it may seem that this is something that only operators are concerned with, it also has an effect on the customers. When operators are offered fairer and more favourable conditions, they can be more generous towards their customers.

Maltese authorities do everything within their power to keep their country well-position on the gambling map of Europe. In 2014 Malta decided to form a gambling academy and this year it became one of the first nations to officially accept and regulate Bitcoin gambling.

Operators and Punters Will Benefit

Now, Malta decided to put forward a proposal that would abolish the value added tax on event betting, which includes sports betting. The measure will be introduced from the beginning of 2018. Betting exchanges and bookmakers will be among the companies that won’t have to pay the VAT in the future.

The interesting news is that actual sports events will not be the only events exempt from VAT, but also wagers on virtual sports, lotteries and even index trading, i.e. every wager that has to do with a certain event, regardless if it is an actual or a virtual one.

Malta has the right to do so and this decision is in accordance with the currently enforced VAT Act. Under the provisions accepted by the Council of Europe, each country has the right to determine whether it wishes to exempt a certain category from the VAT.

VAT accounts for about 7% of the total GDP of Malta and the VAT gains exceeded €700 in 2016, but we are yet to see how the abolition of VAT on event betting will affect the country’s finances. While it is obvious that the state will receive less funds, the decision might encourage many operators to set up offices in Malta and thus contribute towards the creation of new jobs.

Other Changes Will Be Introduced

The current decision will not apply to casino style gambling and casino operators will still be forced to pay VAT tax. Lotteries are currently not required to pay VAT and they will not have to do so in the future.

The VAT exemption isn’t the only change in Malta when it comes to gambling regulations. The Gaming Authority has been very proactive in the past period and earlier this year it published a so called white paper document, where it proposed a range of different regulatory changes.

One of the proposed changes is a simplification of the licencing system, where the current multi-licence system will be changed with a two-licence programme where the only available licences will be business-to-business and business-to-consumer. This will make things a lot easier for both business and consumers. Malta also intends on tightening its anti-money-laundering policies.

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