MGA issues Brexit guidance to UK stakeholders

14 October 2019

British-based operators will have to ensure they are “established in the European Economic Area” if they wish to hold a Maltese license after Brexit, the Malta Gaming Authority has reminded stakeholders.

The UK is currently set to leave the European Union (EU) on 31 October, and while talks are continuing over a deal, none has currently been agreed by both parties. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU on 31 October even if no deal is agreed.

In a guidance document on the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Malta Gaming Authority explained how the UK’s exit may affect regulatory matters for licensees.

Regulation 10 of the country’s Gaming Authorisation Regulations establishes that a licence-holder “must be a person established within the European Economic Area.” If the UK does not remain part of the area after leaving the EU, the document states that UK-based operators are therefore “required to take the necessary measures in order to ensure that the entity that holds the licence meets this pre-requisite.”

The MGA said options available to a licence-holder that needs to establish itself in the EU include transferring its license to another company within the same corporate group, or re-domiciliation.

A transition period of 12 months will be available for licensees to establish themselves in the European Economic Area.

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU may also affect Regulation 22, which calls for EU-licensed operators and suppliers not licensed in Malta, but providing a service in or from the country, to apply for a recognition notice with the MGA.

Recognition notice applications sent before the UK leaves the EU will be valid for the full 12 months, but after this period, the notices would not be valid. Operators must then take actions such as applying for a licence with the MGA or applying for a recognition notice based on an EU license from another nation.

The MGA added that Brexit should not affect its recognition of random number generator or game certificates issued according to UK standards; its acceptance of UK licensed and regulated payment methods or its acceptance of “essential components located in UK territory.”

Licensees may also continue to have having offices, including key function holders performing their duties, in the UK.

Last week, the British government published an eight-point checklist to help those working in the gambling industry prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit.