Earlier this week, the Parliament of Malta has greenlighted the third and final reading of the new Gaming Act, which is aimed at making the jurisdictional profile of the country more attractive as far as gambling regulatory functions are concerned.
The implementation of the new Gaming Act will enhance the supervisory role of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), especially when it comes to compliance and enforcement functions under which regulatory objectives are achieved. In addition, the piece of legislation will ensure that all gambling operations on the territory of the country correspond to anti-money laundering procedures and fighting against terrorism funding.
As revealed by the MGA, the new framework would also broaden the scope of the Maltese regulatory body in order to both strengthen the oversight of the Authority and on the other hand, to make it possible for the regulator to intervene whenever such a move is necessary. Moreover, the Gaming Act is to create a Key Official role in a licensed authority, with the Official being entitled with major functions for close monitoring and supervision controls. The new Act is also aimed at making sure that better customer protection is provided by openly formalising the role of the Player Support Unit at the Malta Gaming Authority as a mediator between local gambling operators and customers in possible disputes.
More efficient administrative and criminal justice procedures are also set to be rolled out under the new Maltese Gaming Act. In addition, responsible gambling measures, customer protection standards and rules for reporting questionable sports betting transactions are also included in the proposed piece of legislation.
MGA CEO Says New Gaming Act Is Important Milestone
Heathcliff Farrugia, the Chief Executive Officer of the MGA described the piece of legislation as a very important milestone for the gambling regulatory body, as enhanced compliance and enforcement powers and structures are to be rolled out under the Act.
Currently, the piece of legislation needs to undergo the TRIS, an abbreviation that stands for Technical Regulation Information System process, which is held in compliance with the European Union Directive 2015/1535. In case that no issues emerge as a result of the afore-mentioned process, the Gaming Act is to be enacted on July 1st 2018 for online gambling operators. As far as land-based operators are concerned, the piece of legislation is to come into effect on January 1st 2019, following the so-called transition period.
The complementary Directives and legislation which are expected to be rolled out under the new Maltese Gaming Act are to undergo the same consideration and are also put under the TRIS process as the original piece of legislation. The Malta Gaming Authority has already started a process of communication and cooperation in order to make sure that the transition of the new legislative framework is to be carried out smoothly. The country’s regulatory body is also expected to unveil guidelines about the proper interpretation and application of the new legislative and regulatory framework.