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The Malta Gaming Authority laws reform

12th July 2017 – The Malta Gaming Authority (‘MGA’) has today published a White Paper which proposes the introduction of new gaming laws thereby eliminating the former legislation. This major reform will also be accompanied by subsidiary legislation that covers horizontal fields of regulation, together with an array of guidelines and directives, which would be issued by the MGA.

The new gaming laws vest the MGA with the ability to act in a more efficient manner as it proposes to decrease the unnecessary regulatory burdens that are currently found within Malta’s current legal framework and shifts the focus towards strengthening the supervision over areas within the industry that are considered to have a higher risk profile, and enhance consumer protection standards and responsible gaming measures.

These proposed laws are therefore formed upon a series of regulatory principles and objectives that aim to provide clear guidance to any person that may be linked to the gaming industry, from the operators to the Courts in their application of these new gaming laws.

The Proposed White Paper:

  • eliminates the multi-licence system currently found and replace it with two types of gaming licences:
    • Business-to-Consumer (B2C) Licence; and
    • Business-to-Business (B2B) Licence;
  • aims to promote technological, channel and game neutrality in order to enhance growth in the areas of innovation and development within the industry;
  • acknowledges the expansion of the technology convergence found between land-based and online gaming;
  • widens the MGA’s powers in view of having better compliance within the industry to achieve regulatory objectives, in order to be consistent with the current developments in the area of anti-money laundering and the funding of terrorism obligations, a topic which was discussed in depth during the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU 2017; and
  • exempts B2B licenses from gaming tax which therefore increase Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for gaming service providers.

The draft gaming laws also propose an increase in the licensing period from 5 to 10 years. Certain activities that were not licensable are now being given recognition, and would be considered as licensable activities. This provides the MGA with a better view of the gaming industry, while businesses that supply gaming operators will need to be cautious as to whether their activities would be licensable due to such reform. The draft gaming laws have also proposed new licensing and annual fees.

The new legislation also gives the MGA more leeway to operate and regulate the industry, which therefore allows the Authority to monitor and enforce its powers more freely, whilst at the same time making sure that the players in this highly competitive market operate within the parameters of the law.