The Maltese parliament will soon decide on the fate of a new gaming bill that will replace and unify all existing gambling-related legislations in the country.
Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation Silvio Schembri proposed the bill that aims to effectively regulate the gaming industry, ensuring a safe, fun, transparent environment. He said:
“This Bill marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA. The Government wants to ensure that the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, so that the Maltese jurisdiction provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can also develop and innovate. We hope to remove any red tape by increasing efficiency and flexibility for the Regulator, whilst improving the robustness of the current framework and focusing regulation on outcomes”
What changes will be introduced to Malta’s regulation standards with the new bill? How will the bill affect MGA license holders in the region? Here are the key highlights of what the new Gambling Act will include.
Streamlined License Structure
Instead of having numerous licenses, there will now be only two types of licenses under this bill: Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C). The Class 4 Licensees fee for B2B operators will increase from €8,500 to a fixed fee that ranges from €25,000 to €35,000 payable each year. The fee amount will depend on the license holder’s yearly revenue.
Despite the fee increase, B2B license holders will no longer have to pay the monthly Compliance Contribution tax. This tax exemption for license holders will help Malta attract more B2B companies to its region.
Efficient Anti-Money Laundering Prevention
Recent infiltration of Italian crime groups jeopardized Malta’s public image. To address this issue, MGA launched the Anti-Money Laundering Supervisory Unit.
The new bill aims to strengthen MGA’s efficiency in the prevention of criminal activities. By removing the red tape that is holding back the MGA, the regulatory board can make faster decisions.
Joseph Cuschieri, executive chairman of MGA, adds:
“This bill contains draft proposals which aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future-proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection”
The bill will also widen MGA’s powers in terms of enforcement and compliance. This new legislation will broaden the MGA’s regulation scope for the organization to better achieve its goals.
Better Player Protection
The new bill also formalizes MGA’s Player Support Unit, thus boosting player protection and the organization’s mediatory role. Other changes include the segregation of players’ funds as required by the law. Player’s funds will also be protected from distressed companies by the administration winding down its operation.
The MGA will also monitor licensed brands for any irregular betting transactions. This will be in line with the organization’s cooperation with the National Anti-Corruption Task Force. This ensures players that they will not be manipulated by gaming organizations/casinos.
Room for Innovation
The new bill proposes an objective-based yet innovative approach in terms of regulation. This new approach will apply while still upholding current regulation standards.
This part of the bill is based on Malta’s interest to adopt the use of cryptocurrency. In the current legislation, MGA could not risk its license holders and players by adopting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In the new bill, Malta can achieve its plan to be Europe’s blockchain capital while still upholding regulation standards.