THE FIRST READING OF DRAFT GAMING BILL UNDERWAY IN MALTESE PARLIAMENT
After the eight-month long public consultation with more than 50 interested parties directly involved, the Draft Bill designed to tie up, uniform and facilitate the gaming legislation has been presented in Maltese Parliament on March 13th. Along with subsidiary legislation, the aim of the latest legal reforms is covering all the aspects of governing the gaming framework by simultaneously providing the most proper technical directives and guidelines. As designed, the entire process will be closely monitored by the Malta Gaming Authority, to ensure gambling is conducted in an environment which is free, safe and innovations-friendly.
The proposed regulatory framework intends to strengthen the compliance dimension, especially in view of more in-depth risk analysis as regards anti-money laundering and terrorism funding.
Consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions in light of tackling the manipulation of sports competitions and innovation and development-oriented standards are also in special focus of the pending legislation.
Here are the key changes to be introduced by the pending Bill:
LICENCING SYSTEM: Current multi-license system is to be replaced by a dual licencing regime, one covering the Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) activities.
ENHANCED POWERS OF MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY: The regulatory scope will be widened in order to increase the oversight and enforcement role of this institution, with emphasis on the compliance with strict AML and CTF standards.
INNOVATION: Change towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach which will foster the innovation approaches and growth of public revenues.
SCRUTINY CHECK-UPS FOR THE OFFICIALS: The Key Official role will be segmented into various key functions within a licensed activity. There will be approval requirements, direct scrutiny check-ups and targeted supervisory controls as prerequisites for a person to be assigned with the responsibility to conduct a role within gaming business.
STRENGTHENED PLAYER PROTECTION: The mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit is to be formalised, unified self-exclusion database is expected to move across both remote and land-based delivery channels. The allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal will also take place, as well as the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences.
AUTOMATIZATION: The Authority will function within an automated reporting framework, thus facilitating adherence to obligations and strengthening the Authority’s role in the oversight process.
SPORTS INTEGRITY: The Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions will be more proactive, given the Draft Law will introduce new obligations on operators to monitor betting patterns and report suspicious bets, and to actively cooperate with the National Anti-Corruption Task Force.
TAX RELIEFS: The B2B licensees will be exempt from gaming tax, which will result in increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a global hub for B2B activities.