New Gaming Bill presented to Maltese Parliament

14 March 2018

The Government yesterday presented to Parliament a new Gaming Bill which will replace all existing legislation with a singular primary Act. This Act, together with subsidiary legislation will cover the main thrusts of the gaming regulation and will be accompanied by a set of technical directives and guidelines which are currently being consulted on and will be rolled out by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) once the Act comes into force.

This Bill will safeguard the MGA and ensure that it has the right resources and powers to continue to run the industry in an effective manner whilst also protecting the consumers. It marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA.

The Government estimates the new Gaming Bill will grow the industry by another 4%.

Key highlights of the new Gaming Act include:

  • Replacing the current multi-licence system with a system in which there will be two different types of licences – a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence – covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels;
  • Moving towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach, to allow for innovation whilst ensuring that the regulatory objectives are attained;
  • Broadening the regulatory scope to increase MGA oversight and allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner;
  • Widening the MGA’s powers under the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations;
  • Segmenting the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity, requiring approval, for direct scrutiny and targeted supervisory controls, thereby raising the bar for persons of responsibility within a gaming operation;
  • Strengthening the player protection framework by formalising the mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit, enshrining segregation of player funds at law and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based delivery channels;
  • Introducing new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice, including the allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal and the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences;
  • Introducing the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist the winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds;
  • Moving towards automated reporting, facilitating adherence to regulatory obligations and strengthening the Authority’s oversight;
  • Bolstering the Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions by introducing new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets, in line with the efforts being made by the National Anti-Corruption Task Force in which the Authority also actively participates;
  • Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for B2B activities.

 

Click here to download the draft Gaming Act.