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Compliance Updates

New Gaming Bill tabled in Maltese Parliament

Zoltan Tundik

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Photo credits: mga.org.mt
Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

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

DC Council member introduces sports betting bill

Niji Ng

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DC Council member introduces sports betting bill
Photo Credit: John Locher/AP
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

In a significant development in the US state of District of Columbia (DC), a council member Jack Evans has introduced the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 in the council. The bill is aimed at legalising sports betting in the state. Evans presented the bill during the Council of the District of Columbia’s regularly scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting.

The US Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting on May, when it struck down the PASPA Act that prohibited states from regulation the gambling modality. Since then a number of states have decided to take a step forward and act on the growing industry, and as close states such as Delaware, West Virginia and New Jersey have already legalised sports betting, the country’s capital does not want to be left behind.

The Council member’s office said that it has worked closely with the District’s Lottery in order to craft the legislation that would regulate and maximise the revenue made in the state. The bill establishes that residents and visitors would be able to bet both online and in person, and the Lottery would have more authority to ensure the integrity of the system.

“Today, we take the first steps towards capturing this exciting new stream of revenue, instead of watching District resident dollars fill the coffers of other jurisdictions,” said Councilmember Evans. “The District of Columbia will be the leader in a fast-growing industry. The city should take advantage of our ability to act before the Maryland or Virginia legislatures to create a thriving sports betting market, which will attract consumers to the District and generate revenue for District residents.”

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Compliance Updates

GiG offers PAY N PLAY option to operators to enhance UX and compliance

George Miller

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GiG offers PAY N PLAY option to operators to enhance UX and compliance
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Gaming Innovation Group Inc. (GiG) now offers an instant registration and payment option for its operators using Trustly’s Pay N Play system. The system allows players to optionally register and pay through their online banking accounts in Sweden and Finland, with Germany soon to be offered. The simple system will allow GiG’s customers to further boost acquisition, build loyalty and stay compliant.

The technology is offered to operators on the GiG Core platform, with GiG’s in-house brand Kaboo live from today, alongside external brands Omnia and the newly launched Dreamz. GiG plans to offer this to other external and internal operators in the near future. GiG’s in-house brand Thrills is to become a purely Pay N Play operator in Finland, Sweden and Germany.

The new system enables instant customer sign-ups without the significant registration churn that the iGaming sector has historically experienced as a symptom of the more drawn out registration processes currently in place. New customers can register and deposit funds quickly and safely with no cumbersome account registration process necessary. Login is also made simpler, with players having the option to use Bank ID as a quick way to log in.

Both deposits and withdrawals will become instant transactions with Pay N Play, giving players more control and simplifying their experience, while retaining the strongest registration and security protocols through KYC requirements which are fulfilled with data direct from a player’s bank. The need to scan any documents for upload as part of the registration process will become a thing of the past.

CEO of GiG, Robin Reed comments:

“Pay N Play will revolutionise the registration experience for players and enable higher conversion and retention while reducing churn. With instant deposits and withdrawals, this new system makes our promise “to provide fair and fun gaming for all” stronger.

 

For further information please contact:

Natasha Gowans

Head of Communications

natasha.gowans@gig.com

+356 79699763

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Asia

Gambling legislation passed in Myanmar

Niji Ng

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Gambling legislation passed in Myanmar
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Myanmar has gone one more inch closer to welcome casino industry to the country. The lower house of the Legislature has passed a bill that would allow foreigner-casinos in the country. The bill, titled the Gambling Bill 2018, was introduced a couple of months ago. It will add amendments to the existing Gambling Act of 1986.

Though the new piece of legislation could mean progress for the segment, legislator Nay Myo Tun asserted that “it is not a casino law” as “the casino law has many sections.” He further explained that the detailed rules and regulations for a casino industry to be installed would be determined after proper framework legislation was passed.

Even though it is still unclear when the segment might arrive in Myanmar, legislators agree that it won’t be developed for locals. “Only foreigners would be allowed into the casinos,” a member of the parliament said. Lawmaker Aung Hlaing Win also explained that the government would “target areas with the most foreigners, such as near the border” to develop gambling venues.

According to director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration Aung Naing Oo, there has already been interest from a number of casino operators (including some that operate in Macau) to invest in the country should the segment be cleared.

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