Socially Responsible Commercial Communications with Respect to COVID-19

Author: Michael Agius, Associate

27th March 2020

Through a notice issued on their official website, the Malta Gaming Authority (the ‘MGA’) yesterday afternoon reminded all licensed entities providing services to or out of Malta of their obligations under the Commercial Communications Regulations[1] (the ‘Regulations’). These Regulations are applicable to all authorised persons offering a licensable game, and any person or entity providing any service to an authorised person in order to provide said licensable game.

Commercial Communications are defined within Article 2 of the Gaming Definitions Regulations[2] as being any; “text, images, sound or any other medium transmitting information, designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services, image or brand of a person pursuing a licensable gaming activity”. The definition utilised by the law is very broad, with Article 2 also confirming that any product placement or promotion would also fall within the definition of Commercial Communications.

Based off Article 5 of the Regulations, which states that all Commercial Communications made by the licence holder or their provider must be socially responsible, the MGA has stated that there cannot be any direct or indirect reference to Covid-19 or any related circumstance as this would amount to a breach of the Regulations. The MGA stated that it was taking the opportunity to highlight the fact that the current climate could be upsetting to players.

The MGA closed off its notice by listing some of the limitations as stated in Article 6 of the Regulations, mainly that Commercial Communications can never;

  • Portray, condone or encourage behaviour which is socially irresponsible or could lead to anti-social behaviour;
  • Suggest that gaming can be a resolution to social or personal problems;
  • Suggest that gaming can be an alternative to employment, or a solution to financial concerns, or a form of financial investment;
  • Portray gaming as being socially attractive;
  • Suggest that solitary gaming is preferable to social gaming;

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

Disclaimer │ The information provided on this Update does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only.  This Update may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and you are advised to seek updated advice.

[1] Gaming Commercial Communications Regulations – Subsidiary Legislation 583.09 of the Laws of Malta

[2] Gaming Definitions Regulations – Subsidiary Legislation 583.04 of the Laws of Malta