A new Malta Gaming Act coupled with complimentary subsidiary legislation and regulations specifically catered for the gaming sector, have officially been implemented on the 1st of August 2018.
This newly refurbished framework is to implement a stricter and less bureaucratic regulatory regime, under the supervision of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The MGA, being an official regulator, aims to simplify procedures and effectively combat illegal activities, such as money laundering and terrorist financing. The MGA's powers of intervention have been broadened through the formalisation of the role of the Player Support Unit, as well as the reinforcement of the existing consumer protection standards. Notwithstanding, a new reporting system will also help analyse and overcome suspicious sports betting transactions.
At the launch, MGA Chief Executive Officer Heathcliff Farrugia expressed that, apart from being a very important day for the MGA, 'years of hard work finally [came] into fruition' and that 'this is the beginning of a new chapter in Maltese gaming regulation. One which builds on the foundations of previous laws, and which empowers the Authority to further strengthen the way it regulates the industry, and to continue being a thought leader for the years to come.'
Dr Silvana Zammit, an active member of the Malta Remote Gaming Council and partner at Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, believes that 'it is innovative and forward-thinking initiatives like these, which put Malta at the forefront of the every-changing technological advancements overwhelming the traditional financial sector. Malta's apt gaming regulatory system has sprung the island into a very bright and progressive future.' Being a gaming law specialist at the firm, she says that 'the Act may also open up the possibility of further developing virtual currency and distribution ledger technology regulations in the future.'
The Act is theme-oriented, rather than product or sector oriented, thus Dr Zammit also stresses on the fact that 'a remote gaming operator of games of chance, for example, under the new law is not able to refer to a particular text such as the Remote Gaming Regulations today, wherein the major rules that affect it are provided for it.'
This framework, subject to the new transitory provisions, now applies to remote gaming operators. It shall become applicable to land-based operators, however, on 1st January 2019.
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