Maltese parliament approves gaming jurisdiction’s regulatory overhaul

Copyright: catalinlazar / 123RF Stock Photo

The Maltese parliament has approved the third and final reading of the jurisdiction’s Gaming Act, which will bolster the supervisory role of the regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority.

The legislation will boost the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions, notably in relation to anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism.

The new framework also increases the MGA’s powers of intervention and formalises the role of the authority’s Player Support Unit as a mediator between aggrieved players and operators.

Among other measures, the Gaming Act also includes a focus on consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, the reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions and objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development.

Subject to a green light from the EU Commission, the new framework will come into force on July 1 for remote gaming operators and January 1, 2019, for land-based operators.

The parliamentary secretary for financial services, digital economy and innovation, Silvio Schembri, said: “I would like to thank the MGA for moving the regulatory agenda for gaming services forward, as well as for identifying areas for further and continuous improvement.

“The MGA will periodically review the regulatory performance of the sector and the framework itself and will advise government on the attainment of its objectives mainly focusing on consumer protection and integrity.“

Heathcliff Farrugia, MGA CEO, added: “This is a very important milestone for the MGA.

“The new law establishes very robust compliance and enforcement powers and structures, and lays the necessary foundation to continue to strengthen player protection.”