Win-win Situation for Malta Gaming and Cruise Lining: MGA to Allow On-board Gambling in Cruise Liner Casinos


The Malta Gaming Authority will be allowing cruise liners to operate their on-board casinos whilst crossing Maltese territorial waters as well as while berthed in a Maltese or Gozitan port. This is welcome news for both the gaming industry in Malta and cruise lining industries in Malta. The new regulations will come into effect following the MGA’s publication of the Cruise Casino Regulations. This policy had initially been introduced last November during the government’s 2015 Budget speech.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon. Dr. Jose Herrera outlined how this initiative is highly beneficial for both the gaming and the cruise lining industries in Malta and that the government was right in incentivising both. Against this scenario, Malta will benefit in terms of increased investment attracted towards the island as well as more high quality jobs.

On behalf of the MGA, Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri stated that the new regulations will help safeguard the interest of cruise ship passengers and those of the gaming industry alike. Complementing this statement, Valletta Cruise Port CEO Stephen Xuereb expressed his satisfaction about the new regulations. He mentioned that this initiative had been desired by the Port along recent years.

Mr Xuereb recognises that implementing these new regulations holds the power to attract more cruise liners to include Malta and Gozo in their itinerary – and not without reason. Valletta Cruise Port has already received positive feedback from the industry after promoting the new regulations. Mr Xuereb’s attention was directed mainly towards those cruise ships that berth in Malta for an overnight stay, wherein their passengers have the tendency to remain on board.

For these cruise ships to be able to operate their on-board casino whilst present within Maltese territory, a formal application needs to be submitted to the MGA. After the approval has been issued, the cruise ships may operate their on-board casinos for the whole duration of their stay in Malta or Maltese territorial waters, as long as this is done within the stipulated paramaters of the same regulations.

As an example, only passengers who are registered as such for that particular voyage would be able to gamble at the ship’s casino within the time window listed down in the regulations. The Cruise Casino Regulations (S.L. 400.03) are being issued under the Gaming Act (Chapter 400 of the Laws of Malta).