Gaming laws overhaul proposed

The Government has launched a consultation period for an overhaul of Malta’s gaming regulatory framework.

The consultation period will end on 23 August 2017 and allows the public to submit its input on the proposal to repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament entitled the Gaming Act together with subsidiary legislation and a series of directives and guidelines to be issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

The proposed legislation will: (i) empower the MGA to be more agile in its decision-making; (ii) decrease unnecessary regulatory burdens; (iii) strengthen supervision; and (iv) focus the regulator’s efforts on the areas which present a higher risk profile.

It is also proposed that the regulatory framework will enhance best-in-class consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, a risk-based approach towards regulation and wider powers for the MGA in compliance and enforcement, whilst also establishing objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development.

The gaming sector is a vital part of Malta’s economic structure, contributing €1.2 billion to Malta’s economy, which represents 12% of the GDP (gross domestic product) with just over 6,000 people employed across 257 gaming companies in operation by the end of 2016, figures that have been constantly on the rise in 2017. This is one of the main driving forces, together with others such like the experience which the MGA has garnered from years of experience regulating the sector, behind the proposal of this Act and subsidiary legislation. The proposals are such that they look to the future, seeking to ensure that the regulation can cater for new potential sectors whilst reacting proportionately to societal risks. Indeed, they are a result of various public consultations and economic and financial impact assessments.