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Malta Business Review

Malta Business Review ONLINE SHOPPING Parliament votes to end barriers to cross-border online shopping By Isabel Teixeira • Buyers will be able to shop online in the EU without being blocked or automatically re-routed • Traders will have to treat cross-border shoppers in the same way as local ones, granting them access to the same prices • 63% of websites assessed in a survey do not let shoppers buy from another EU country Online buyers will have wider and easier crossborder access to products, hotel bookings, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets in the EU. The new rules will ban the “geo-blocking” of buyers browsing websites in another EU country, so as to enable them to choose from which website they buy goods or services, without being blocked or automatically re-routed to another website due to their nationality, place of residence or even their temporary location. This new EU law on geoblocking is an important step towards an even more competitive and integrated Digital Single Market, for both consumers and traders. It also represents another milestone in the fight against the discrimination of consumers based on their nationality or place of residence, which should never be taking place in our united Europe. Traders will have to treat online shoppers from another EU country in the same way as local ones, i.e. grant them access to the same prices or sales conditions, when they: • buy goods (e.g. household appliances, electronics, clothes) which are delivered to a member state to which the trader offers delivery in his general conditions, or are collected at a location agreed by both parties in an EU country in which the trader offers such option (traders would not have to deliver in all EU countries, but buyers should have the option to pick up the package in a place agreed with the trader), • receive electronically supplied services not protected by copyright, such as cloud services, firewalls, data warehousing, website hosting, or • buy a service which is supplied in the premises of the trader or in a physical location where the trader operates, e.g. hotel stays, sports events, car rentals, music festivals or leisure park tickets Treating shoppers differently based on the place of issuance of a credit or debit card will also be forbidden. While traders remain free to accept whatever payment means they want, they may not discriminate within a specific payment brand based on nationality. Copyrighted content excluded for now Digital copyrighted content, such as e-books, downloadable music or online games, will not be covered by the new rules for the time being. However, the EU Commission must assess within two years after the entry into force of the regulation whether the ban on geo-blocking should be widened to include such content, as well as audio-visual and transport services, which are also currently excluded. Quote Róża Thun (EPP, PL), rapporteur, said: "This new EU law on geo-blocking is an important step towards an even more competitive and integrated Digital Single Market, for both consumers and traders. It also represents another milestone in the fight against the discrimination of consumers based on their nationality or place of residence, which should never be taking place in our united Europe. We have proven that the European Union can deliver concrete results for the citizens all over Europe, bringing positive changes in their daily lives." The new rules were approved by 557 votes to 89, with 33 abstentions. Next steps The agreement on the geo-blocking regulation stills needs to be formally approved by Council. The new rules will be applicable nine months from the day of its publication in the EU Official Journal, i.e. before the end of this year (2018). Background 63% of websites do not let shoppers buy from another EU country, according to findings of a “mystery shopping” study carried out by the Commission. For tangible goods, geoblocking was highest for electrical household appliances (86%), while for services it was for online reservations of offline leisure sector, such as sports event tickets (40%). EU consumers show growing demand for cross-border online shopping. In the last ten years the share of Europeans buying online has almost doubled. Presented as part of the Digital Single Market, the regulation to end unjustified geo-blocking was included in the e-commerce package, together with legislation on cross-border parcel delivery services, to be voted in plenary in March 2018, and a law to strengthen enforcement of consumers' rights, which was already approved by Parliament in November 2017. MBR Courtesy: EU/EP IMCO Press Unit 50

EC GDP FORECAST Malta Business Review EU REVISES ITS GROWTH FORECAST FOR MALTA Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna welcomes the European Commission’s 2018 Winter Forecast wherein Malta’s growth rates have been revised upwards for the years 2018 and 2019. Minister Scicluna stated that, “this upward revision on behalf of the EU is a confirmation that Malta’s high rates of economic growth are here to stay.” The European Commission acknowledges the strong growth recorded by the Maltese economy last year, adding that growth continued to surprise positively, with growing services exports continuing to be the main drivers of growth. The report further notes that growing exports are also serving to boost the current account surplus. In 2018 and 2019, the European Commission expects private consumption to become the main driver of growth on the back of strong employment growth, improved consumer confidence and growing disposable income. Investment is forecast to recover, led by the residential construction sector. On external trade, the report expects exports to continue rising in line with the growing demand by Malta’s main trading partners. The report notes that inflation was lower than the euro area average last year as relatively moderate increases in regulated fuel prices contained overall inflation. It further expects inflation to increase modestly but remain below the 2% threshold in the coming years. MBR Credit: Ministry for Finance ICE 2018 - ASTONISHING DAYS FOR BTOBET AT S1/320 BTOBET dancers- ice2018 BTOBET's combination of technology, trust, flexibility and human ability - metaphorically performed by the professional acroduo dancers - left operators and bookmakers totally impressed. The multinational iGaming and Sports betting technology provider BtoBet successfully concluded its second day exhibiting at ICE Totally Gaming 2018, where operators and bookmakers from Europe, Africa and Latin America came to discover its comprehensive suite of products including a full sportsbook platform called Neuron Sports for bookmakers and its iGaming platform called Neuron Gaming. BtoBet’s stand this year shows a fullbody humanoid, with real human eyes, representing how BtoBet transforms technological skills into human ability, how functionality becomes competence, helpfulness becomes benevolence, and reliability becomes integrity. At ICE, BtoBet is highlighting how its technology is the perfect combination of computer science and human ability, that ensures clients enjoy a substantial brand impact on the market. To illustrate the technological transformation that BtoBet offers, the professional acroduo dancers performed at the stand and around the pavilions, expressing the perfect metaphor for what BtoBet can do for its partners in the sports betting and iGaming industry. Commenting on the first day at the show in London, BtoBet’s CEO Kostandina Zafirovska stated: “Neuron Sports and Neuron Gaming, both deploy a flexible technology, ensuring that our clients can change with the circumstances and evolve with our product. BtoBet’s chairman Alessandro Fried also highlighted: “BtoBet is a partner, not a supplier, and as partners we provide constant support to our clients; our support department is working closely with our client’s operations team – as colleagues – helping them during the everyday operational job, identifying their needs and working side by side. All bookmakers and operators that wish to see their brand evolve and become unique in the market will have the chance to meet us at ICE 2018, stand S1-320 till 8 February.” MBR All rights reserved - Copyright 2018 ABOUT BTOBET BtoBet is a multinational company and is part of a group with 20 years of experience in software development in IT, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce and banking, strongly committed to technology and widely investing in technology research and development. The experience gained in these advanced environments, allows BtoBet to be visionary in the iGaming and Sports betting industry with a deep understanding of the requirements of the market, catching changing trends and anticipating bookmakers’ and operators’ needs. BtoBet is a true partner in technology, offering a standalone platform and services for the iGaming and Sports Betting industry. It counts on a very talented, continuously trained development team and day to day management support to clients. BtoBet allows licensees to be unique in the market, by giving them the opportunity to completely personalise their offers for Sports betting and iGaming business, online mobile and retail. BtoBet has technical branches with large ever-growing teams of developers in Skopje, Ohrid, Bitola, Belgrade, Nish, Tirana, and Rome. Malta hosts the commercial and marketing centre. Visit our site on: www.btobet.com www.maltabusinessreview.net 51

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