Jan 4 / 2019

MGA Implements New Regulatory Regime for Land-Based Gaming

New Regulations will affect businesses, NGOs, and players

From January 1st 2019, following the new application of the Maltese Government’s Gaming Act 2018, the igaming sector has seen the implementation of a new regulatory regime being applied in the land-based sector, meaning a complete overhaul of the previous regulatory regime.

The Gaming Act 2018 elevates the jurisdictional profile of Malta from a regulatory perspective by strengthening the MGA’s supervisory role, specifically the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments relating to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.

New MGA Regulatory RegimeBusinesses, NGOs, and players themselves are affected by the changes, which include a new online permit process, new applicable fees, and other major changes ushered in by the Gaming Act legislated by the Maltese Parliament in May 2018.  While remote gaming companies have been subject to the new regulations since July 2018,  the land-based sector is subject to the revised regime from 1st January 2019.

This new framework broadens the regulatory scope to increase the MGA’s oversight and to allow intervention where necessary and will strengthen the player protection framework by formalising the role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit as a mediator between aggrieved players and operators. The new Act also envisages new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice.

At the time of the approval of the Gaming Act on 8th May 2018, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, Hon. Silvio Schembri said, “I would like to thank the MGA for moving the regulatory agenda for gaming services forward, as well as for identifying areas for further and continuous improvement. The MGA will periodically review the regulatory performance of the sector and the framework itself and will advise Government on the attainment of its objectives mainly focusing on consumer protection and integrity.”

Heathcliff Farrugia, the MGA’s Chief Executive Officer, also commented at the time, “This is a very important milestone for the MGA. The new law establishes very robust compliance and enforcement powers and structures, and lays the necessary foundation to continue to strengthen player protection.”

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