Malta seeks to consolidate gambling legislation

16 March 2018

The Maltese Parliament has this week announced a motion that could unite all existing gambling legislation in the country under a single bill.

This singular primary Act of Parliament would be accompanied by subsidiary legislation, as well as series of technical directives and guidelines that are being consulted on by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Should the Act come into force, national regulator the MGA would publish and roll out the new guidelines.

Key points from the bill include replacing the current multi-licence system with a new setup whereby two different types of licences – B2C and B2B – would cover various activities across multiple distribution channels.

B2B licensees would be exempt from gaming tax in an effort to make Malta more attractive as a hub for B2B activities

The MGA would also have greater oversight and take on more powers under the compliance and enforcement functions in order to “better achieve regulatory objectives”.

As such, the Act would move Malta towards a more objective-based regulatory approach as opposed to an excessively prescriptive system.

Other changes would include introducing new processes for criminal and administrative justice and new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets in order to clamp down on match-fixing.

Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, who presented the motion this week, said: “This Bill marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA.

“The Government wants to ensure that the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, so that the Maltese jurisdiction provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can also develop and innovate.”

Joseph Cuschieri, executive chairman of the MGA, who has recently been linked with a move away from the regulator, added: “This is an important milestone and we welcome this major step forward by the Maltese Government.

“This Bill contains draft proposals that aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection.”

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