Online gaming is a thriving industry in Malta offering huge opportunities and attracting several major iGaming companies across the globe. The island country has made a mark in the global gaming sector following the enactment of its remote gaming regulations in 2004. Malta has since been on the lookout for ways and innovation to further strengthen its online gaming market.
Malta is currently holding talks on the prospect of integrating blockchain technology into iGaming.  As virtual currencies (VCs) and digital ledger technology (DLT) have increasingly become popular with tech-savvy gaming operators, a smooth shift to cryptocurrencies could be likely.
Benefits of Blockchain to Operators and Players
Blockchain technology operates in a transparent manner, with DLTs creating inflexible transaction records for every game and bet placed by the player. This will significantly address claims that some online operators resort to dirty tricks which put players at a disadvantage.
Blockchain makes use of identity verification mechanisms and validates each transaction via proof of stake, reducing the risk of money laundering and fraud. This would also enhance data protection and make sure operators comply with relevant rules.
Players could benefit from blockchain as well. The technology adopts additional mechanisms to determine and verify the correct amount of winnings. The hassle-free smart contracts would efficiently facilitate negotiations, instantly record winnings and trigger payments for the right players. This way, all parties involved would know how their pay-outs are carried out and how the results are determined.
Players’ transactions are verified via a proof of work executed by several nodes. This would make it impossible for anyone to alter values or information, avoiding manipulation of data in all transactions.
The new technology would enable the deployment of cryptocurrencies in carrying out bets which has proven to be way cheaper than dealing with banks and making international and credit card transactions. Add to that its capability to provide real-time results to players and operators.
iGaming Operators Must Address Numerous Challenges
High volatility driven by constant price swings is inherent in cryptocurrencies and this would be one of the major issues that would likely face the online gaming industry. There may be conflict and disagreements between players and operators regarding exchange rates during deposits, placing of bets or winning.
The scalability of transactions on a blockchain is also significantly slower than conventional methods – only 2 transactions per second (tps) on Bitcoin Blockchain amd 20tps on Ethereum, lagging behind PayPal’s 450tps and 56,000tps for Visa. High-traffic gaming operators would likely consider this as a major drawback, considering their need for swift deposits and withdrawals.
Changes to Regulations
As blockchain is a relatively new platform for iGaming, regulations need to be stretched. Regulatory authorities should review the new technology’s ledger system and observer nodes to ensure proper adherence to regulations. A consultation document on the introduction of VCs and DLTs in online gaming was published by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) in March. There are no specific regulations in place yet as discussions are still ongoing among stakeholders.
Blockchain’s Role in the Future of Gaming
Malta recognizes the strong potential of blockchain in future generations. It is currently involved in efforts to create a pioneer European blockchain hub. The MGA is also working on a regulatory framework in partnership with the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. New legislation will center on protecting players and investors, as well as providing an opportunity for operators to grow and develop in a dynamic environment.
The blockchain industry continues to evolve as a variety of different businesses begin to embrace the new platform. For now, iGaming operators have not yet declared their support for blockchain, but the current state of online gaming may require them to fully adopt this rising technology for the next generation.
Online gamblers have shown a preference in recent times for scrapping fiat money and choosing popular crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin for online gambling transactions. iGaming operators have noticed this trend amongst their players and have been forced to embrace cryptocurrencies or run the risk of neglecting a market segment.
With Malta focusing on improving crypto currency regulations and giving crypto operators a robust environment to operate in, it will rub off on the iGaming industry in Malta and cause more online casinos to start offering crypto currency payments to their players.

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