Overhaul in the Malta Gaming Sector

Despite already being Europe’s central hub for online gaming, Malta continues to push forward and innovate, ensuring that it stays at the forefront of its competitors in providing the ideal home for gaming startups and established firms.

A motion has been presented in Parliament for the first reading of a new Gaming Bill which will seek to repeal all existing rules, directives and legislation currently in operation in Malta, and replace them with the rollout of a single, primary Act of Parliament that will encompass the entire regulatory framework on Maltese gaming law.

The prime aim of the bill is to streamline the governance of gaming service under the competence of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), ensuring that there is clear and strict accountability within the sector and that the industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity.

The MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions are to be strengthened in line with current anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations, allowing the MGA to be more flexible and agile in its decision-making. This will decreased unnecessary regulatory burdens while strengthening supervision.

Thus, not only will gaming operators be able to enjoy minimum bureaucratic requirements with reduced red tape, but may also benefit from the additional peace of mind that comes from knowing that the MGA is constantly supervising the sector and ensuring that fair competition is maintained throughout the market.

The following are a few highlights of the incoming MGA legislative overhaul:

  • The current multi-license system with four different classes will be replaced by two different types of licenses: a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) license and a Business-to-Business (B2B) license;
  • B2B licensees will be exempt from gaming tax;
  • The mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit will be formalised and strengthened;
  • Introduction of concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and possibly assist in the winding-up process, protecting jobs and player funds;
  • An automated reporting system will be introduce to facilitate the oversight of the MGA and strengthen adherence to regulatory obligations;

News of this overhaul is highly welcome, and is a very positive indicator that the Maltese government is not resting on its laurels but is rather using this period of unbridled economic boom to fortify its economic pillars and ensure long-term prosperity and stability.