MGA ‘embracing innovation’ with Sandbox Framework

5 October 2018

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its new ‘Sandbox Framework’ as part of an effort to place the regulator at the “forefront of gaming regulation” by exploring new technologies.

The new framework covers the acceptance of virtual financial assets and virtual tokens, as well as the use of Innovative Technology Arrangements (ITAs) within the gaming sector.

The MGA intends to split the framework into two phases, the first of which will commence on January 1 with the regulator accepting applications for the use of VFAs and virtual tokens as a method of payment.

During the second phase, the framework will be extended to cover applications to use ITAs within the key technical equipment of licensees, coinciding with other related developments from the Malta Digital Innovation Authority.

The regulator expects the framework to run until October 2019, but this could be partially or wholly extended. The framework is also open to changes, based on feedback and updates.

MGA chief executive Heathcliff Farrugia (pictured) said: “The MGA’s strategic mission is to be at the forefront of gaming regulation whilst embracing innovation.

“This, coupled with the rapid rise in interest from gaming operators to incorporate VFAs and DLT into their operations, were the main drivers behind the proactive approach taken by the Authority to issue a Sandbox Framework for the use of these technologies within a controlled regulatory environment.

“This Framework is intended as a live document and will therefore be subject to feedback and potential updates during its duration, whilst also keeping in consideration any technological or regulatory developments which may occur.”

The move comes as the MGA prepares to take on more regulatory powers, as set out under new gaming law that was approved by the Maltese Parliament earlier this year.

The MGA’s powers to intervene will be strengthened, while the act will formalise the role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit as a mediator between aggrieved players and operators. In addition, the act envisages new processes for criminal and administrative justice in the country.