Following UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the government of UK extended their guidance to the Gibraltar-based business stakeholders, for almost a year. And the government of United Kingdom released a statement with regard to Gibraltar’s financial services firms’ access to local markets until 2020. The British government is very much keen on assuring that the Gibraltar entities will be able to work in the UK for two more years.
The UK government declared that it will work in association with the Government of Gibraltar to fashion a replacement framework to endure beyond 2020 similarly based on shared, high standards of regulation, and enforcement of this regulation, and underpinned by modern arrangements for information-sharing, transparency and regulatory co-operation.
The results generated during 2017 reveal that Gibraltar is operating one of the strongest gaming markets at international level. As part of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar receives bets from British players. Recently, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, revealed that according to online casino operators’ reports, “60 percent of online bets made in the UK come though Gibraltarian companies.” The gaming law is so advanced in the territory that even cryptocurrencies have been legalised for betting platforms.
Both the governments have acceded to recognise the significance of enhancing the liaison on all the implication of the Brexit that are relevant to Gibraltar. “The UK has provided assurance that gambling operators based in Gibraltar will keep on accessing the UK market after we leave the EU in the same way they do now – and we are working towards an agreement of MOU which will enable closer working and collaboration between gambling regulators in Gibraltar and the UK. The UK is committed to working closely with the Government of Gibraltar towards transport arrangements post-EU Exit that support Gibraltar’s prosperity,” read the statement released by the government.
Cambodian lawmakers pushing for a legislation that would allure foreign investors to its casino and gaming industry
With the sole intention of making Cambodia a hub of gaming in South East Asia, the lawmakers of Cambodia are currently pushing for a legislation that would allure foreign investors to its casino and gaming industry.
The proposed legislation, is anticipated to be passed post the general elections scheduled to take place later this years. It will oversee an industry that brings the government US$50 million in tax revenues. As disclosed by the officials the government has been lookingto set a new tax rate for casino games at between four and five per cent to match neighbouring rates such as those from Singapore.
Ben Reichel, the Executive Director of the Sydney-listed Donaco International, said: “There’ is a lot of unsatisfied demand in the region as a whole. If you look at the number of tables compared to somewhere like the USA, it’s actually a very low number of gaming tables available – which is why there is so much illegal competition going on.”
The local industry has been growing since the late 1990s, and it now features 65 licenced casinos. The Cambodian industry has benefited from restrictions and bans on legal casinos in Thailand and other territories where local gamblers are banned from entering casinos.
Furthermore, arrivals from Chinese tourists in 2017 elevated to over 40 per cent to 1.2 million which surpassed Vietnam as the largest source of tourists in Cambodia.
In view of this Donaco’s Reichel said: “The government has said they want to make China one of their top three – if not number one source of tourism going forward.”
Opposition parties in New South Wales dead set against new gaming law as it could sabotage the casino market
It seems the opposition parties in the Australian state of New South Wales are dead set against new gaming law. In the perspective of the opposition parties new legislation addressing slot machines could sabotage the casino market as it could escalate the number of machines in high-risk areas increasing the gaming industry profits by A$80 million (US$62.9 million) a year.
In view of this, Tim Costello, the Director of the Alliance for Gaming Reform, said the laws should be outright rejected: “This legislation is a disgrace and it looks like it was written by Clubs NSW. We need to instead look at Labor’s proposal to remove pokies from all pubs and clubs in Tasmania, the appalling industry response effectively buying the Tasmanian election and how we can start treating the gambling industry like the tobacco industry.”
“The NSW government has no specific mandate to amend 16 different pieces of legislation like this and should delay the whole process until after the 2019 NSW election, so the community can have a say on whether NSW should continue on as the most pokies-soaked jurisdiction in the world, with the exception of Las Vegas and Macau,” said Costello. “Rather than rushing through legislation which has clearly been heavily influenced by Clubs NSW, we need a parliamentary inquiry into how NSW residents have become the most gambling-harmed community in the world, and after that we need an official government apology to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been harmed over the decades by increasingly sophisticated and addictive poker machines.”
The New South Wales government commissioned a review that recommended that the mandatory probe that casino licensees must go through in order to review the activities should be abolished. The change would overturn the investigations conducted once every five years.
New Gaming Bill tabled in Maltese Parliament
Press Release – 13 March 2018 – The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, Hon. Silvio Schembri announced that a motion has been presented in Parliament for the first reading of a new Gaming Bill which will seek to repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a singular primary Act of Parliament, together with subsidiary legislation covering horizontally the main thrusts of gaming regulation as well as a series of technical directives and guidelines currently being consulted on by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for eventual publication and rollout by the regulator once the Act comes into force.
“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”, Hon. Silvio Schembri said.
Through this Bill, Government is ensuring that the MGA has the necessary latitude, resources and powers to regulate effectively the gaming industry and protect consumers, as required, focusing on evidence based methodologies. The Parliamentary Secretary added; “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”, whilst also adding that the Act elevates the excellent reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction in this sector. Honourable Schembri remarked that thanks to this New Gaming Bill, the industry will grow by another 4%.
The press conference was also addressed by Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), who stated: “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 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.
Other important areas of focus include consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions and objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development. The motion presented in Parliament is a result of an extensive period of public consultation conducted by the MGA, with various industry stakeholders and the general public, as well as numerous technical studies, economic and financial impact assessments. The consultation was launched in July 2017 and was very well received by the industry resulting into feedback from 53 different parties based both locally and abroad.
Information on these new proposals can be accessed from the draft Bill in the link provided.
Key highlights of the new Gaming Act include:
- Replacing the current multi-licence system with a system in which there will be two different types of licences – a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence – covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels;
- Moving towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach, to allow for innovation whilst ensuring that the regulatory objectives are attained;
- Broadening the regulatory scope to increase MGA oversight and allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner;
- Widening the MGA’s powers under the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations;
- Segmenting the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity, requiring approval, for direct scrutiny and targeted supervisory controls, thereby raising the bar for persons of responsibility within a gaming operation;
- Strengthening the player protection framework by formalising the mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit, enshrining segregation of player funds at law and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based delivery channels;
- Introducing new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice, including the allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal and the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences;
- Introducing the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist the winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds;
- Moving towards automated reporting, facilitating adherence to regulatory obligations and strengthening the Authority’s oversight;
- Bolstering the Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions by introducing new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets, in line with the efforts being made by the National Anti-Corruption Task Force in which the Authority also actively participates;
- Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for B2B activities.
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