In 2004, the Mediterranean island nation of Malta began its transformation from sleeping Mediterranean isle, to international gambling hub. As the first European Union member state to regulate online betting, proponents of the legislation saw Malta as a trailblazer. It would generate billions of dollars in tax revenue—as companies could offer on-shore betting to customers across the European Union’s 27 member states. By placing bets through an EU registered sports book, customers received reassurance. Companies, meanwhile, benefited from tax breaks that can often only be secured offshore.