The Malta Gaming Authority ("MGA") has published a white paper requesting industry feedback in connection with a far-reaching overhaul of Malta's current gaming legislation. In an official statement the MGA said that, "The main objective behind this proposed overhaul is to repeal all existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament entitled the Gaming Act."
The proposed Gaming Act will replace the current legal framework governing gaming in Malta today, namely, the Public Lotto Ordinance, Chapter 70 of the Laws of Malta, Gaming Act, Chapter 400 of the Laws of Malta and the Lotteries and Others Games Act, Chapter 428 of the Laws of Malta which is somewhat fragmented and possibly outdated in some areas with the development of ever more sophisticated technologies. In addition to the proposed Gaming Act, subsidiary legislation covering specific areas of gaming regulation as well as directives and guidelines issued by the MGA will incorporate the new gaming regulation in Malta.
Notably, the most anticipated reform in the remote gaming sphere is the replacing of the current multi-licence system with a system in which there will be only two different licences – A Business-to-Consumer ("B2C"), the Gaming Service Licence, and a Business to Business ("B2B") licence, the Critical Gaming Supply Licence. This is a reform which operators seeking to establish themselves in Malta have long been waiting for particularly because of the excessive fees and regulatory burdens related to the current requirement for multiple licences for different types of games, as well a multiple licence of the same class for gameing content provided by different B2B providers.
The Gaming Service Licence is expected to cover the offering, provision, or operation of a gaming service and the hosting by a person in public premises a gaming operation, making available for use a gaming device or gaming system therein. On the other hand, the Critical Gaming Supply Licence will provide for the supply and management of material elements of a game, supply and management of software, whether as a stand-alone or as part of a system, to generate, capture, control or otherwise process any essential regulatory record, supply and management of the control system and the supply and management of a game to a person.
Another key highlight of the changes envisaged includes the exemption of B2B licensees from gaming tax. Both these measures, will continue to strengthen Malta's position as one of the most attractive gaming jurisdictions within the European Union.
In terms of the proposed changes, a licence holder must be a person established in the EEA, and such person may hold a licence in its name or for a corporate group. Therefore, if a licence is issued for a corporate group, the approved members of the corporate group shall be jointly and severally considered as the licensee. Additionally, the licence term has been extended up to 10 years, subject to certain games offered under a Government concession which could have a shorter term.
The segmentation of the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity is also being proposed, further to a consultation paper published by the Malta Gaming Authority in September 2015, entitled 'Revision of the Key Official fitness and propriety requirements as a means to achieve enhanced compliance capability of remote gaming licensees – Consultation Document.'
Non-profit games, tombolas and advertising lotteries will be classified under this new framework as Low Risk Games. Rather than requiring a licence, such games will be required to acquire a Low Risk Games Permit, and subject to the relevant parameters, will be exempt from paying gaming tax.
The consultation document which has been published with the white paper, may be viewed here.
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