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Compliance Updates

New Gaming Licence Fees Regulations coming into force on 1 January 2018

Zoltan Tundik

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New Gaming Licence Fees Regulations in Malta starting from 2018
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Government has revised the Gaming Licence Fees Regulations (“New Licence Fees Regulations”) contained in the White Paper to Future Proof Malta’s Gaming Legal Framework(“Whitepaper”), whereby the fees for Type 1* games have been substantially reduced. Furthermore, start-ups will be entitled to a 1-year exemption on compliance contributions. The New Licence Fees Regulations were published in the Government Gazette. They will come into force, at very short notice, on 1 January 2018 for remote gaming operators. Subject to parliamentary time being allocated as expected and parliamentary approval, it looks likely that the Gaming Act (including regulations made under it) will come into force on 1 July 2018.

The New Licence Fees Regulations include a transitory period, until 30 June 2018, during which existing licensees will continue to pay dues in accordance with the current legal framework (Remote Gaming Regulation S.L. 438.04) (“Transitory Period”).  New licensees will be subject to the requirements of the New Licence Fees Regulations even during the Transitory Period.  As of 1 July 2018, all licensees will have to comply with the New Licence Fees Regulations.

Following the end of the Transitory Period, dues paid by current licensees in between January-June 2018 will be reconciled with the provisions of the New Licence Fees Regulations (a ‘true-up’) as follows:

(I)           Licensees that have paid more than is required under the New Licence Fees Regulations will be able to set off such amounts against future dues incurred;

(II)          Licensees that have paid less than is required under the New Licence Fee Regulations will need to pay the difference accrued by reference month September 2018 meaning that the payment must arrive not later than 20 October 2018.

In addition, under the New Licence Fees Regulations, Class 4 licensees (B2B operators) will no longer be required to pay a monthly gaming tax for every operator they supply licensed in an EEA jurisdiction (other than Malta) or another jurisdiction approved by the Malta Gaming Authority. Class 4 licensees will receive a credit for the grand total of dues they incur in excess of the provisions of the New Licence Fees Regulations during the Transitory Period.

Please do not hesitate to contact WH Partners on gaming@whpartners.eu should you require any clarification, or should you wish to discuss how these changes will affect your business.

*Type 1 gaming services means:

  1. During the transitory period, gaming services provided in terms of a Class 1 remote gaming licence; and
  2. After the transitory period, the games defined as such in the First Schedule to the Gaming Authorisations Regulations. These shall include games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random generator, and shall include casino type games, including roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker played against the house, lotteries, secondary lotteries and virtual sports games.

 

European Gaming Media and Events will include special reports and briefings about the outcome of the new regulation during education sessions of our conferences.

WH Partners experts are regularly sharing compliance update at the event we organize.

After starting out as an affiliate in 2009 and developing some recognized review portals, I have moved deeper into journalism and media. My experience has lead me to move into the B2B sector and write about compliance updates and report around the happenings of the online and land based gaming sector.

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Compliance Updates

Voting differed on Remote Gaming Bill in the Netherlands

Niji Ng

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Voting differed on Remote Gaming Bill in the Netherlands
Image Source: slate.com
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The voting on the Remote Gaming Bill in the Dutch parliament has been postponed. It will now take place on February 19.

The bill has been under development since 2015. MPs debated the Bill and the Casino Reform Bill in the Senate this week also, but the all-important vote has been postponed to February 19.

At present, judging from the tone and content of the debate on parliament, the Bill is likely to be passed.

Sander Dekker, Minister Justice, said about the concern of MPs was whether operators who had operated illegally in the Dutch market would be allowed to gain a license:: “A license applicant who has actively offered online gambling services in the past will be able to remove doubt regarding its future reliability by showing good behavior during a consecutive period prior to the license application. During the debate on February 5, I have called this a “cooling down period.”

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Compliance Updates

Bacta meet with the Minister and explore industry road map

George Miller

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Bacta meet with the Minister and explore industry road map
Bacta meet with the Minister - (L-R): Bacta President elect James Miller, Gambling Minister Mims Davies and Bacta’s National President Gabi Stergides
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A senior Bacta delegation, comprising National President Gabi Stergides, President elect James Miller and CEO John White met last week with the Gambling Minister Mims Davies and her Civil Service advisers. The meeting, which took place on Wednesday 6 February, was held at Portcullis House and followed the Minister’s attendance at November’s Bacta Parliamentary Reception.

Gabi Stergides said: “When we met in November, the Minister had only recently taken charge of the gambling and amusements portfolio following the resignation of Tracey Crouch, over the proposed delay in implementing the £2 FOBT stake that was subsequently rescinded.

“Last week we took the opportunity to provide a more detailed perspective of the amusement industry and what it contributes to national, regional and local economies, set out our plans for developing a road map of the changes we wished to see alongside appropriate player protection measures and to demonstrate the reasons why player tracking is not appropriate for our sector.

“Discussions surrounding social responsibility featured prominently and we explained the ways in which we are working with and advising the pub sector on age verification as well as expanding on the success of Bacta’s first Social Responsibility Exchange and how we want to extend its scope and influence moving forward. We also took the opportunity to express our views more generally about the importance of keeping the industry competitive in what is a fast moving world of digital entertainment, the role of the Gambling Commission as both regulator and facilitator and potential mergers which may take place among UK trade bodies and associations.”

“It was a very positive exchange and I look forward to the Bacta leadership team developing a progressive and open relationship with the Minister.”

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Compliance Updates

Ireland moves closer to banning loot boxes in video games

Niji Ng

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Ireland moves closer to banning loot boxes in video games
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Ireland could become the next country to ban lootboxes in video games, following the footsteps of countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands. The Dáil, the lower house of parliament in the Republic of Ireland, is discussing the legality of loot boxes.

Loot boxes are popular among the players. They are also a major source of revenue for game manufacturers, as loot boxes are often sold for real money.

However, it has also forced many governments look critically at the practice.

David Stanton, the current Minister of State responded that if any video game was offering a product that was considered gambling under Irish law, they must obtain a license for it. According to Stanton, no video game manufacturer has sought out a license in Ireland or another EU member state for loot boxes.

Minister Stanton repeated the concerns of the Gaming Regulators European Forum that certain video games were offering products that could be considered gambling under some national laws in the EU. Heydon used examples to outline how loot boxes worked and why they were viewed as gambling products.

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