Providing insights from the heart of Malta’s iGaming industry regarding the desired next steps after Malta’s greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last week, iGaming NEXT Co-Founder and self-described facilitator of industry conversation Pierre Lindh, has insisted that “no-one cares about finger-pointing, everyone just wants to get on with things”.
Speaking to iGamingCapital.mt in the wake of local media reportage of a statement by him which has since been acknowledged as erroneous, Mr Lindh called out “finger-pointing and tribalism” by political parties, which is “not in the interest of anyone”.
“It is essential that the politicians work together, rather against each other for the sake of all individuals and businesses here in Malta to continue to flourish”, he added.
Speaking after Nationalist Party media outlets attributed a quote to him – mistakenly, as they have since acknowledged – saying: “the numerous mistakes made by Labour bring Malta to the situation it is in today”, Mr Lindh clarified his point of view and explained what was actually said as the dust continues to settle on Malta’s classification as a ‘Jurisdiction Under Increased Monitoring’.
Rather than prescribing such sweeping doses of blame, he stated: “I’m not educated enough in local politics to make any assumptions as to what mistakes lead to Malta’s greylisting, other than the fact that it is”.
Instead, he wants to “raise a healthy discussion in order to better understand the implications of the greylisting on the local iGaming industry”.
Addressing the political outlook in Malta, Mr Lindh encouraged the key political parties to “use this worrisome situation to find ways to work across party lines in order to get Malta out of the grey list, to the benefit of the Maltese population and its business community.
“That, if anything would be a sign of progress rather than stalemate”.
Clarifying what was said in the fateful iGaming Next panel, Mr Lindh identified a number of key takeaways:
Through the discussion, he said, “it was clear that the industry is absolutely taking the greylisting seriously. It is also important to note as well that there have been ongoing discussions amongst the organisations for the last two or so years about the possible implications of a prospective greylisting.
“The general tone of the conversation itself was quite mixed. Mikael Pawlo, angel investor and Founder of Mr Green said that [the greylisting] could spell a potential disaster for Malta if they don’t act, whereas other industry experts were less pessimistic”.
The good news, however, reflected Mr Lindh, “is that the government has taken a proactive approach with the industry throughout this two year period”.
Discussing how the dust has settled since the original announcement of the greylisting last Wednesday, which sent a signal to the international banking and commerce community that there are heightened risks surrounding doing business in Malta, and which some predicted would disproportionately affect the local iGaming industry, Mr Lindh identified that sentiment has calmed somewhat since the “negative and slightly panicked” first response.
A friend of his, for example, was in the process of buying a house in Malta, and paused the process on the news of the greylisting.
Since the announcement, however, Mr Lindh has found that things are seeming much less alarming.
“Now as the dust is somewhat starting to settle, I think it’s becoming clear that we probably won’t see any major changes or knee jerk reaction in the near term.
“The major iGaming organisations are well rooted in Malta and the infrastructure around the industry is great, with an entire industry dedicated to alleviating the iGaming industry organisations operations here in Malta in a major advantage against other jurisdictions”.
He is joined in this sentiment by compliance expert Charles Cassar, who has predicted that much of the damage to the local iGaming industry dealt by the greylisting will be mitigated by the “deep roots” of many companies in the country.
Additionally, Carl Brincat, CEO of Malta Gaming Authority has insisted that “not much has to change” in light of Malta’s greylisting.
Indeed, concludes Mr Lindh, “my friend has now decide to go ahead and sign for his new house”.
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