Manuel Mallia, Malta’s Competitiveness Minister said that the the opposition should not jeopardise Malta’s gaming industry.
Malta.- Competitiveness Minister Manuel Mallia urged the Nationalist Party to lobby for the definition of illegal gambling in a new EU convention to be amended, as eventual changes could have a negative impact on local industry.
According to Dr Mallia, the new definition of “illegal sports betting” the Council of Europe would like to adopt in its Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, could mean Malta’s industry would have to change significantly.
“Illegal sports betting” means any sports betting activity whose type or operator is not allowed under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the consumer is located,” reads the definition.
“Will Dr Busuttil instruct his MEPs to lobby for this definition to be changed?” asked Mallia, adding that the government was in favour of the convention in principle as it tackled many illegalities. “We simply want to protect an industry that has been so beneficial for the island,” he added.
In response, the Nationalist Party said that the government was playing a “high-risk game” in seeking to create a partisan issue out of gaming sector politics. Outlining that the industry had been set up under successive PN administrations, the party insisted that “PN MEPs…will continue to defend the sector against the interests of other larger economies threatening it.” PN MEPs had no problem going against the majority when national interests were at stake, the party added.
“What is certain is that PN MEPs will never hide behind a Group whip to defend an administration being brought to its knees by institutionalised corruption and a minister exposed in the Panama Papers scandal,” they added, in an allusion to Leo Brincat’s claim that he “had no choice” but to vote against a no confidence motion in minister Konrad Mizzi.