Mobile Gaming

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The boundaries between technological devices such as phones, computers, tablets and other such devices are becoming increasingly blurred. Increasingly, iGaming operators are diverting their attention to the use of multiple channels for player engagement. Reports show that 2012 is hailed as the year in which mobile gaming took off, putting this form of gaming at the forefront of operators' interest for 2013. Inevitably this can be attributed to the increase in use of smart phones and tablet devices, coupled with increasing accessibility to Internet via Wi-Fi and 3G.

Reports by Google suggest that 70% of Smartphone users never leave home without their mobile device. The mobility of phones has made them such popular and efficient devices which have become a staple in our everyday life. Considering that such a large majority of users always carry their phone with them, it is unsurprising that we have seen a change in player trends. Unlike in other sectors of gaming, player activity for mobile gaming is evenly spread throughout the day, thus compensating for the slow periods that are traditionally witnessed in online gaming, in particular during the day or summer. This has been particularly the case for the sportsbetting industry where ‘live play’ activity has witnessed a surge as a result of mobile gaming.

Although the technology which enables mobile gaming to come into being has been around for some time, its attractiveness as a business opportunity has only increased recently. This can be attributed not only to the increase in use of mobile phones in general, but also to the ease of development of mobile games. Prior to 2007, the development of mobile games required the addressing of different screen sizes, different operating systems and basic code, however nowadays the process has been facilitated through technological developments; today’s open standards, predominantly HTML, and few major operating systems, render mobile gaming a feasible market to explore.

The Mobile Gaming Practice in Malta and Cyprus

Malta, as a hub for the gaming industry, certainly did not shy away from this form of gaming. With access to several benefits offered to software developers, an increasing number of software development companies, including gaming companies with in-house software developers, are opting to set up shop in Malta. Aside from an effective corporate tax of 5%, Malta offers several fiscal and tax advantages to software development companies, including:

  • tax credits for expenditure incurred in acquiring or developing tangible and intangible assets
  • financing for new digital gaming start-ups and enterprises engaged in new markets, new technologies, novel products or services that demonstrate a potential for job creation and growth
  • tax credits for research and development of digital gaming projects
  • co-financing of wages of employees, leasing of equipment and amenities
  • co-financing of costs incurred for market development

The prevalence of mobile gaming means that gaming operators cannot ignore this industry development in engaging prospective and current clients for the creation of a new revenue stream.

At Chetcuti Cauchi, our fully-fledged energetic team of iGaming lawyers stand as leaders in this field, having substantial experience in providing comprehensive, seamless solutions and services to a wide spectrum of clients, including investors, telecoms operators, platform providers, content developers and payment processors on a multitude of issues. These services  include: communicating with the Maltese and Cypriot regulating authorities, attaining local and cross-border licenses, fund raising for start ups, advising on on-going compliance and any regulatory developments in the field, sponsorships, advertising, tax, employment, and if necessary litigation as well.

Mobile Gaming Regulation in Malta– an outlook on the near future

Whilst the Maltese legislator has zealously regarded the gaming industry as a niche for Malta and was one of the pioneers in promptly legislating a sound legal framework for the gaming industry, a number of field experts feel that the time has come for the Gaming Act to be revamped in order to cater for the many developments which have taken place throughout the year in this highly dynamic industry.

During the carrying out of major revisions to the Act which took place in 2004, the legislator could not have even phantom how powerful a mobilephone would become, going well above and beyond its simple communicative function, allowing users to surf the net and install apps.

Thus, a number of field experts are calling for an overhaul of mobile gaming regulations in order to bring in line the legislation with the current reality that mobile phones have secured their place as one of the most important means for remote gaming.

 



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