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Malta Set To Strengthen Online Gaming Regulation

By: Joe Valentino, Saturday July 15th 2017
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The Malta Gaming Authority is one of the oldest online gaming regulatory bodies in the world. It has under its jurisdiction some of the leading online casinos. These include brands like Royal Vegas of the Fortune Lounge group and Golden Riviera of the Vegas Partner Lounge group. The Malta Gaming Authority has published a White Paper proposing major changes to the country’s gaming legal framework.

Apparently Malta has many different gambling laws, which perhaps make implementation more difficult. The white paper has proposed to repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament entitled the Gaming Act. Then a series of directives and guidelines would be issued by the Malta Gaming Authority as the single regulator of this sector.

On a more detailed level, the proposed framework will bring agility to the regulator’s decision-making by decreases unnecessary requirements. One important concept is to focus the regulator's efforts on the areas that present a higher risk profile. The advantages from a player’s perspective will be the enhancement of best-in-class consumer protection standards and responsible gaming measures. Finally, there will be an attempt to encourage innovation and development in the process of regulation. A lot of preparatory work has gone into the Malta online gambling white paper. These include public consultations, technical studies and economic and financial impact assessments. The experience that the Malta Gaming Authority has garnered over the years has also been a major input.

Some of the key specific suggestions are as follows. Replacing the current multi-license system with only two types of licenses — a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) license and a Business-to-Business (B2B) license. The regulator would be given more powers so as to ensure better compliance and enforcement. Player interests would be strengthened by mandating segregation of player funds and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based casinos. Steps will be taken to create systems for automated reporting. There are steps included for the benefits of online casinos as well. The taxation process from online gambling earnings would be streamlined. The proposals envisage exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta's competitiveness as a hub for these services providers.

Malta Gaming Authority has put up the white paper at its website. Interested parties, like input providers, online casino operators and players can request for clarifications with respect to the content of the document. They can also send their contributions and feedback by email.

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