Bank of Valletta has admitted that its recent warning to some gaming companies that their bank accounts will be terminated was the result of a “misunderstanding”, according to a report by Times of Malta.
BOV is the only major Maltese bank which accepts gaming companies as clients but, following de-risking instructions by the European Central Bank, it warned several of them last week that their accounts will be shut down.
And while the bank will still terminate banking relationships which do not fit its revised risk appetite, it has admitted that some clients which it had originally placed in this category shouldn’t have been placed there.
“Whilst we are doing our utmost to limit inconveniences, we do not rule out that there would be some misunderstandings, which are regretted,” a BOV spokesman told Times of Malta.
Indeed, the newspaper reported that some gaming companies have already been informed by BOV to ignore the original email that their accounts are set to be shut down.
The bank’s decision caused shockwaves within the gaming industry, with YoBetIt owner Nikolai Livori warning it will eventually force the entire gaming industry out of Malta.
“We need to remember that iGaming makes a large part of the country’s GDP, so shutting more doors for gaming companies is suicidal because it will lead to mass redundancies consequently affecting the property market as well, mainly the rental one,” he said.
Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia said that, while de-risking will ultimately benefit the economy, BOV’s announcement was hasty and poorly communicated.
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