Following the approval by Parliament of the third and final reading of the Gaming Act, the new legislative framework regulating gaming shall come into force on the 1st July 2018. This is also accompanied with a clarification of the policy direction embraced by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) which shall underpin the implementation of the overhaul and the strengthening of the MGA’s supervisory role.
As part of this approach, it has been determined that the practice whereby games, and/or their providers, which are not licensed by the MGA or a competent authority within the EU/EEA, but licensed and offered under the purview of other jurisdictions outside the EU/EEA, on the same website as the MGA-licensed operations, or linked therefrom, will not be permissible in view of the critical regulatory risks associated therewith. Similarly, shared wallet setups with such non-EU/EEA licensed games, whether offered on the same or different domain or sub-domain name, shall also be prohibited.
You are kindly advised that henceforth, only games supplied by holders of a critical gaming supply licence issued by the MGA, or an equivalent authorisation issued by the competent authority in another EU/EEA jurisdiction, may be offered as part of the MGA-licensed gaming service. Moreover, implementation of such a setup must in no manner prejudice other MGA requirements, inter alia the requirements relating to protection of player funds.
Secondly, where the website of the MGA-licensed operation is also used in connection with a foreign licence, this shall be notified to the MGA forthwith, and such setup shall be allowed only in exceptional circumstances, where the MGA is satisfied that the regulatory objectives are not prejudiced thereby.
The Authority appreciates that this may require a level of adjustment for existing licensees. In this light, the approach to this policy clarification shall be staggered as follows:
- With immediate effect, MGA licensees shall be prohibited from introducing new games which are not licensed in an EU/EEA jurisdiction on websites used in connection with the MGA-licensed gaming service. This also extends to contractual arrangements submitted for the MGA’s review which refer to the supply of such unlicensed games.
- Licensees have until the 31st December 2018 to make the necessary adjustments to ensure that games which are not licensed in an EU/EEA jurisdiction are removed from MGA-licensed gaming services and their websites, and to dismantle shared wallet arrangements accordingly where these are present. As of 1st January 2019, this requirement shall be enforced with full effect and shall be one of the enforcement priorities of the MGA.
The above shall be reflected in guidelines relating to the new regulatory framework which shall be published in due course; however, it is being referred to existing licensees such as your good selves for early attention so that you may be guided accordingly.
Should you require any assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on [email protected] or +356 2557 2557.