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Major iGaming Licenser Malta Tables Bill to Streamline and Consolidate Regulatory Policies

The government of Malta, one of the world’s leading online gambling licensing agencies, recently tabled a bill which would transform the country’s approach to iGaming regulation.

If approved by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Malta Gaming Act would repeal all existing legislation with an updated set of regulatory policies.

In a press release issued on March 13, the MGA outlined several components of the new Malta Gaming Act, including a provision which would replace the current multi-license system with two primary iGaming certifications: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B). Other proposed improvements would expand the MGA’s jurisdiction to include additional compliance and enforcement, and formalizing the authority granted to the MGA’s Player Support Unit.

The release included comments from Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation Silvio Schembri, who praised the MGA for embracing productive reforms:

“This Bill marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA.

The Government wants to ensure that the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, so that the Maltese jurisdiction provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can also develop and innovate.”

We hope to remove any red tape by increasing efficiency and flexibility for the Regulator, whilst improving the robustness of the current framework and focusing regulation on outcomes.”

According to Joseph Cuschieri – who serves as Executive Chairman of the MGA – the updated gaming codes are necessary if Malta is to keep pace with iGaming’s ongoing evolution:

“This is an important milestone and we welcome this major step forward by the Maltese Government.

This Bill contains draft proposals which aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection.”

The MGA counts hundreds of iGaming operators among its worldwide network of licensees, with Betsson, Casumo, Greentube, and Paddy Power among the most well-known.

The new legislation was introduced following an extensive governmental review of gaming policy, which was launched in July of 2017 and included testimony from 53 stakeholders.

Per the MGA press release, the Malta Gaming Act was designed to remove regulatory red tape currently hindering its ability to protect consumers and hold operators accountable:

“The proposed regulatory framework will strengthen the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve its regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations.

It also empowers the MGA to be more agile in its decision-making, decreasing unnecessary regulatory burdens whilst strengthening supervision and focusing the regulator’s efforts on the areas which present a higher risk profile.”

Schembri echoed those sentiments while providing his own justificiation for the Act, which he says will produce 4 percent growth across Malta’s iGaming industry:

“We hope to remove any red tape by increasing efficiency and flexibility for the Regulator, whilst improving the robustness of the current framework and focusing regulation on outcomes.”

The Maltese Parliament is currently studying the Act, but it is widely expected to pass before Cuschieri leaves the MGA to become chief executive officer of the Malta Financial Services Authority.