Amendments made to the Gaming Premises Directive

8th May 2020

Author: Michael Agius, Associate

On Monday the 27th of April, the Malta Gaming Authority (the ‘MGA’) through their website, notified stakeholders about amendments which had been made to the Gaming Premises Directive (the ‘Directive’). This Directive deals with requirements which must be followed by the licenced operators of Gaming Premises.

Gaming Premises are defined under the Gaming Act as being “any premises accessible to the public, which is used or intended to be used for players to participate in a Gaming Service”, whilst a Gaming Service is detailed as “making  a  game  available  for participation by players, whether directly or indirectly, and whether alone or with others, as an economic activity”.

The below changes should therefore be noted by anyone operating any premises in Malta under an MGA licence with the main scope of making specific games available as part of their business activities.

Junket Gaming

A Junket is defined within the Gaming Definitions Regulations as being an arrangement the purpose of which is to induce any person resident outside Malta to attend the Gaming Premises in order to partake in the Gaming Service.

Article 4(1)
Old Regulations New Regulations
Provided that, in exceptional circumstances, a casino licensee may convert a regular player into a junket player if, without prejudice to all other criteria required in order for a player to be considered a junket player, the player has converted money into chips, or has played, or otherwise gives concrete evidence that he is going to play, not less than seven thousand five hundred Euro (€7,500) in a single gaming session at the casino:

Provided further that in any such case as envisaged in the immediately preceding proviso, the Authority shall be informed forthwith and any additional information required by the Authority shall be duly provided.

Provided that, in exceptional circumstances, a casino licensee may convert a regular player into a junket player if, without prejudice to all other criteria required in order for a player to be considered a junket player, the casino must be in possession of concrete evidence that the player is going to play, within a specified timeframe, not less than seven thousand five hundred Euro (€7,500) at the casino.

Provided further that in any such case as envisaged in the immediately preceding proviso, the amount of seven thousand five hundred Euro (€7,500) shall be converted into chips by means of a single deposit and such amount must be wagered within the specified timeframe.

The above changes to Article 4(1) have clarified the position of the junket player. It is through the newly introduced Article 4 (2) that the licensee has been given a specific time frame in which to register the conversion of the junket player.

Article 4 (2) – If the casino licensee converts a regular player into a junket player in accordance with the first proviso to sub-article (1), the casino licensee shall be required to submit the application referred to in sub-article (1) forthwith and in any case not later than twenty-four (24) hours following the conversion of the regular player into a junket player.

Identification of Employees

The amendments to Article 7 have introduced a proviso which requires the licensee to keep an internal register of all employees working within the Gaming Premises.

Counting Procedures – Land based Casinos

The amendments made to Article 16 have mainly altered the procedure as described within Article 16(1)(g). Here, the MGA have introduced the requirement for the operator to make the box or stacker visible to the camera when uttering that they are empty.

Another minor change to Article 16 has also been made to sub article 5, with the time frame in which the licensee would need to transmit the results of the count of a particular business day being extended to 2pm of the following business day, instead of 8am of the following business day. A proviso has also been added which now allows the operator to extend the time frame in which they are obliged to report the results of the count in exceptional circumstances. The exceptional circumstances are not defined within the Directive.

Counting Procedures- Bingo Halls and Controlled Gaming Premises

As was done for land-based casinos, Article 19(4) has extended time frames from 8am of the following businesses day to 2pm of the following business day, and has introduced a proviso allowing the operator to request an extensions in exceptional circumstances in relation to the transmission of counting results for bingo halls and other Gaming Premises..

No Objection Procedure

Article 21 describes the requirement for the licensee to obtain a certificate from the MGA not objecting to the site becoming a Gaming Premises, which is referred to as a no objection certificate. The amendments have introduced Article 21(5) which details the period of validity of the objection certificate, being that of 3 months, with the possibility of its validity being extended by the MGA for another 3 months.

The MGA have also introduced Articles 22 and 23. Article 22 involves new requirements relating to the publication of a notice furnishing information about the no objection certificate by the licensee. The notice must include specific information about the Gaming Premises, the date when said certificate was issued, and details on how one could obtain more information about the application. The notice should also inform the public that they would have a time frame in which to object or raise any concerns.

Article 23 of the Directive, allows the applicant, following the issuance of the no objection certificate, to affix a notice on the site of the proposed controlled gaming premises containing the information listed in article 22.

Effective Date

Article 28 states that all the requirements introduced by Articles 18, 19 and 20 of the Directive shall come into effect on 1 January 2021.

Should you require any further information or assistance on the matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to us personally on

©Fenech & Fenech Advocates 2020

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F&F IP Law Forum 2020 – POSTPONED


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A Unified Self-Exclusion System for the Gaming industry in Malta – Deadline for Consultation Window now Closed

Friday the 31st May 2019 saw the preliminary consultation process in relation to a project dealing directly with a Unified Self-Exclusion System for all MGA Remote Gaming license holders come to a close. This was originally announced in May 2018 and is still widely regarded as an ambitious project being conducted by the Maltese regulatory Authority.

The main purpose behind the preliminary consultation process’ was for the MGA to understand whether possible systems could be implemented in order to continue to safeguard players through player protection tools and mechanisms – which has always been one of the priorities of the MGA.

Self-exclusion is the manner in which a player would be able to exclude themselves from any form of gaming activity for any definite or indefinite time frame. The MGA’s main aim for this project is to allow the possibility for a player to self-exclude from several gaming services and not simply from specific services or casinos falling under the MGA’s remit. This would be controlled through a centralised system and would again avoid players having to access various systems and different locations in order to self-exclude.

This new system is one which is years in the making, and it will go hand in hand with the White Paper to Future Proof Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework and the rehaul of the regulatory framework which took place in the Summer of 2018.

It will be interesting to see how this new project pans out and how it will complement the Player Protection Directive, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive, the Gaming Player Protection Regulations, and the Gaming Commercial Communications Regulations.

Malta Gaming Authority launches Sandbox Framework for the acceptance of Virtual Financial Assets and the use of Distributed Ledger Technology within the Gaming Industry

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has launched the first of two phases of its sandbox framework for the acceptance of Virtual Financial Assets (VFAs) and the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) within the Gaming industry as of the 1st of January of this year. This implies that the MGA will be accepting application that involve the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) both directly and through third-party service providers. This will apply both to current license-holders as well as from new applicants for an MGA license.

According to the MGA, this phase is planned to last for a period of ten months which may be extended further at their discretion.

Meanwhile, the MGA has also made amendments to its Licensee Relationship Management System in order to allow for this new sector. These changes will allow for: new operators to apply for approvals for the use of DLT assets as part of a new license application; existing licensees to apply for approvals for the use of DLT assets through the application type; and existing licensees participating in the sandbox environment to report VFA player liabilities through the monthly Player Funds Report. Licensees will also be required to report any failed return transactions relating to any invalid deposits.

As a prerequisite for participation in the Sandbox Framework, the MGA requires the applicant to be a holder of the relevant MGA license. Moreover, all other regulatory requirements, particularly the VFA Act and subsequent regulations, must also be adhered to.

This move by the MGA should open up the gaming sector even further, catering for an interesting and diverse overlap between the already successful industry in Malta with the country’s newfound regulatory regime catering for the introduction and legislation of VFAs and DLT.