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MGA Announcement: A single Gaming Act will overhaul the existing laws

MGA Announcement: A single Gaming Act will overhaul the existing laws

MGA Announcement: A single Gaming Act will overhaul the existing laws

Today a White Paper proposing major reforms to Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework is been published by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which is open for public consultation for around five weeks. Both Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Joseph Cuschier, Executive Chairman of the MGA presented the White Paper today morning.

Gaming laws are to be repealed and replaced by a single primary Act entitled the Gaming Act, together with subsidiary legislation covering horizontally the main areas of regulation as well as a series of directives and guidelines issued by the Malta Gaming Authority as the single regulator of this sector as per the MGA.

Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Digital Economy said today that a number of public consultations, and research initiatives had been conducted before the new law was drafted. “The new legal framework will create an environment where consumer protection, compliance and best practices are at heart,” “The government, he added, knew it had to act fast to enable Malta to be at the forefront of the global gaming economy.”

    Main legal changes:

  • – 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;
  • I- ntroducing 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;
  • I- ntroducing 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 participates actively;
  • – Streamlining taxation into one flow with two main layers; and
  • – Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for these services providers.

Queries and requests for clarifications with respect to the content of the document, as well as contributions/feedback from interested parties may be sent by email to legaloverhaul.mga@mga.org.mt
Closing date for feedback on the aforementioned consultation is Wednesday, 23rd August, 2017.

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