Government plans to set up gaming academy – parliamentary secretary

Times of Malta, June 17, 2015

The government plans to set up a gaming academy to provide training and qualifications in the fast-growing sector, Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera announced earlier this evening.

Speaking during a public consultation meeting at the Auberge de Castille alongside Economy Minister Chris Cardona, Dr Herrera said that 77 per cent of iGaming companies had reported difficulties in finding skilled employees.

The proposed academy would respond to the industry’s need by providing more Maltese workers to fill the new job opportunities that were opening up, he said.

In 2014 the Gaming Authority increased its revenue by 6 million, an increase which is expected to increase over the course of the year, while the number of licenses issued increased by 19 per cent and today stands at 519 licenses.

Dr Herrera said the government also had plans to turn Malta into one of the world’s first “WiFi states”, increasing the amount of free WiFi hotspots around the island from 192 to 300 by the end of the year.

He added that fibre internet coverage in homes had increased from 2 per cent to 7 per cent over the course of last year and was expected to double by the end of this year.

Service providers will also be obliged to make available on their websites accurate details about the parameters of their internet service quality.

Dr Herrera also referred to the new Integrated Maritime Policy, which he said was expected to create 6,000 new jobs and ensure ground-up policy generation in the sector.

The policy envisions the creation of five ‘clusters’ led by industry operators and stakeholders, while the government will provide cluster managers and set up a board to provide a direct liaison with the industry.

Also speaking during the meeting, Dr Cardona said that in the first quarter of the year, eight foreign direct investment projects had been approved by Malta Enterprise, with a combined total investment of €7.3m over the next three years.

This follows the approved investment last year of €143m, which the minister said was expected to create more than 2500 new jobs over the same period.