Malta has intentions of becoming the first European country regulating Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has announced that daily fantasy sports will no longer require gambling licence.
This decision towards the skill-based licensing framework is expected to take Malta to the very centre stage of DFS action in Europe and to attract an extensive arrival of new operators.
As stated by MGA in their press release, considering the element of skill and knowledge involved in fantasy sports, such an activity should be differentiated from games of chance in terms of licensing and regulation.
According to the recent notice Fantasy Sports (Exemption) Regulations, 2016, “Fantasy Sports and/or Fantasy Sports Game is a contest played for money or money’s worth whereby the winning outcome is determined predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player, and where the results are determined by the accumulation of statistical results of the performance of a number of individuals in sporting events, but shall not include the forecast of the score, point spread or any other future occurrence of one or multiple events, and for the avoidance of doubt, the definition of a ‘bet’ as defined in the Act shall not be applicable.”
Valery Bollier, CEO of Malta-based operator Oulala.com stated that MGA’s team had foreseen the rise of a future Skill Game industry in Europe a few years ago: “Malta has proven to have a very competitive jurisdiction because of its pragmatism and its ability to adapt itself quickly to the sense of history.”
The Maltese gaming regulator, having the main goal to protect customers, has been working on the licensing framework to regulate skill-based games, including fantasy sports, for several months now. They will also set the rules to determine whether a game is a ‘Skill Game’ or a ‘Controlled Skill Game’. The MGA has handed the proposed Skill Game Regulations to the European Commission (EC) and the framework is expected to be passed by the end of this year.
“This legal notice is the first step in a process that will see Malta become the first major European country to offer a real skill game licence. It is therefore a very exciting moment for our industry and for Malta,” revealed Bollier. “Malta being the first major European country to offer a skill game licence means it will attract the attention of the entire European DFS market and place itself firmly at the forefront of the DFS revolution.”