Earlier this week, a motion was presented in Parliament for the first reading of a bill to repeal all existing gaming legislation, replacing same with a new gaming framework consolidated in a singular primary Act (“Bill”). The aim of the Bill is to future-proof Malta as a jurisdiction of excellence for gaming and betting services.
The Bill is the result of a public consultation carried out by the MGA in the summer of 2017, along with a number of technical studies and economic impact assessments commissioned by the authority. Aside from seeking to reinforce the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions and enabling it to exercise its functions in a more efficient manner, the proposed regulatory framework (including subsidiary legislation and guidance supplementing the main act) shall also address need in areas such as consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious betting transactions, and the fostering of innovation and development. Key changes to be introduced by the Bill include:
- permitting licensees to accept cryptocurrencies for the placement of bets;
- replacing the current multi-licencing framework with a B2B and a B2C license framework;
- exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax;
- removal of the Key Office role, segmenting this role into various key functions;
- broadening the MGA’s regulatory scope, powers and enforcement functions;
- introduction of appeals from MGA decisions to the Administrative Review Tribunal; and
- introduction of the concept of administration to protect licensees in distress and to assist in their winding down.
The TRIS process to be undertaken at a European level for the passing of national legislation in the field of information society services and technical regulations related to products has also been initiated. Here, Member States notify their legislative projects regarding information society services and technical regulations related to products to the European Commission, for examination in light of EU legislation. The TRIS process triggers a standstill period of three months, during which the legislation cannot be adopted by the respective Member State.
The announcement of the tabling of the Bill can be viewed by clicking here.