The Malta Gaming Authority has recently published a White Paper proposing several major changes to the current legal gaming framework, and adding new subsidiary legislation with the intention to provide guidance to entities linked to the gaming industry. The new act, known as the Gaming Act, will also include several guidelines and directives to be issued by the MGA.
Possibly one of the most anticipated changes to the system is the elimination of the multi-license system which included excessive fees related to multiple licenses for different types of games. Licensing and annual fees are thus being revised and the licence system will now be replaced by two types of gaming licenses:
- Business-to-Consumer (B2C) License (Gaming Service License); and
- Business-to-Business (B2B) License (Critical Gaming Supply License).
The increased convergence between the land-based and online sectors was a catalyst to update certain outdated processes in regulatory logic aimed at achieving a balanced regulatory framework.
Most prominently, the changes are intended to decrease extraneous regulatory burdens, thus focusing more on supervision over areas with a higher risk factor. Consumer protection standards and responsible gaming measures will also be enhanced.
The White Paper also refers to the introduction of an exemption of gaming tax for B2B licences thus enhancing Malta’s competitiveness for potential investors and gaming service providers. It is also proposed to increase the licensing period from 5 to 10 years.
Furthermore, a number of activities which were previously not licensable are now being recognised as licensable, allowing the MGA to better monitor the gaming industry. In turn, gaming operators will need to verify whether their activities are licensable following the reform.
Tombolas, advertising lotteries and other non-profit games now have a category of their own. Under the new framework, these are proposed to be listed as Low Risk Games. Operators are required to acquire a permit, referred to as the Low Risk Games permit. In addition to being categorized under a new heading, subject to the relevant parameters, such games will be exempt from gaming tax.
Overall, the aim of the new Gaming Act is to promote technological, channel and game neutrality while enhancing growth within the industry. The MGA’s widened powers will not only allow it to better achieve its regulatory objectives and monitor the industry in line with the evolution of AMLFT, but also to ensure that the market remains highly competitive and advantageous.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to impart advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.