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New gambling law in Malta from July 1

Niji Ng

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After a three-month standstill period in the European Commission, the new gambling law will come into force in Malta on July 1.

The act was proposed in the Maltese Parliament this spring and introduced to the EC for an obligatory review. It aims to dismantle the country’s current gambling regulatory system. The existing system grants licenses in several classes, but the proposed system will only have two categories of licenses: a business-to-business (B2B) one and a business-to-consumer (B2C) one, depending on the focus of applicants’ operations.

The new Gaming Act comes as the first revision of Malta’s gambling legislation in fourteen years and was initiated by the Malta Gaming Authority’s former Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri.

Mr. Cuschieri assumed office at the island nation’s gambling regulator in the fall of 2013. Earlier this year, he was appointed CEO of the Malta Financial Authority, which required him to leave his post at the MGA. He was replaced by former MGA Chief Operations Officer Heathcliff Farrugia.

Aside from introducing a simplified licensing system, Malta’s new Gaming Act provides the MGA with extended regulatory powers and enforcement functions. The regulatory body will thus be able and expected to implement stricter rules and tools for countering money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illicit financial flows often associated with the gambling industry.

What’s Next for Malta’s Gaming Industry?

Malta has become an important gambling hub in the years since its gaming law was last revised. The nation’s gambling industry currently represents 12 per cent of its annual GDP and is poised to grow in the coming years.

The new Gaming Act is expected to facilitate the process of providing gaming services from Malta by introducing a simplified licensing process and thus boost the growth of the nation’s gaming industry even further. The new law also aims to bring Malta’s regulatory regime in line with the current iGaming landscape and demand for iGaming services.

The new regulatory regime is now set to come into effect from July 1, 2018 for remote gambling operations, and from January 1, 2019 for land-based businesses. It is also important to note that providers of B2B services will be exempt from taxes under the new regulations. That particular language in Malta’s new law aims to turn the nation into an even more attractive tech hub.

While the island nation is already home to some of the world’s largest online gambling companies, it is expected that Gibraltar’s uncertain post-Brexit future could result in industry stakeholders reducing their presence in the British Overseas Territory or leaving it altogether in favour of opening or extending their Malta operations.

Reports emerged last month that bet365 might be gearing up to leave Gibraltar and relocate its operations to Malta where it already runs business. The company denied those reports by confirming plans to expand its business in Malta but not at the expense of its Gibraltar operations.

 

Source: CasinoNewsDaily

Niji has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. Besides reporting industry headlines from all around the globe, Niji is also head of the content management team at Impressions Content Management, based in Kerala, India, which offers writing and editing services to clients around the world.

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Compliance Updates

Gambling companies in Belarus raise concern against $ 1 Million Security Deposit

Niji Ng

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Gambling companies in Belarus
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The government of Belarus has recently proposed a mandatory $1 Million security deposit for online gambling companies. The online gambling operators fear that this will adversely affect their business.

While this is not a new thing – Italy requires a guarantee of € 1.5 million and Czech Republic requires € 1.1 million – this obligation could be problematic in Belarus, feel industry insiders.

Yulia Leshkova, Deputy Director of the Pari-Match betting network, said:  “Not all bookmakers in Belarus can afford to create a similar security deposit. Tightening the requirements will lead to a narrowing of the market and will deprive it of healthy competition.”

The governments insist on a security deposit for the simple reason that the gambling operators must be able to, regardless of financial circumstances, to pay the winnings, taxes, fees and duties, penalties and other mandatory payments. The guarantee is required to ensure such mandatory payments.

However, the hefty sum required as guarantee in Belarus, according to representatives of the industry, will negatively affect the country’s bookmaking market.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC: Rank Group to pay penalty package for failing to protect a problem gambler

George Miller

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UKGC: Rank Group to pay penalty package for failing to protect a problem gambler
Photo Source: andoveradvertiser.co.uk
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An online operator is to pay £500,000 for failing to follow Gambling Commission rules which protect problem gamblers.

A Commission investigation revealed that Rank Group failed to interact with a customer who was displaying problematic behaviour, contacted him during a self-exclusion period (1) and did not follow rules for the provision of credit.

The failures relate to a customer who gambled substantial amounts with Rank’s land-based Grosvenor Casino and online at www.grosvenorcasinos.com. In one 24-hour period the customer lost £1m that had been credited to his account.

Richard Watson, Gambling Commission executive director, said: “We expect all operators to protect any consumer who maybe experiencing problems with their gambling, and operators shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that VIP customers don’t experience difficulties.

“No matter how wealthy customers are, operators still need to monitor them effectively to ensure they aren’t showing signs of problem gambling. It is certainly not appropriate to visit customers during a period when they are self-excluded.

“This penalty package would have been a lot higher were it not for the positive action Rank took in terms of self-reporting their failures and being open and transparent during our investigation.”

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Compliance Updates

MGA issues warning to unauthorised operators

Niji Ng

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MGA issues warning to unauthorised operators
Photo Source: mga.org.mt
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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has issued a warning to operators and providers of gaming services and gaming supplies, including those offered by remote means, that only licensed operators will be allowed in the country. MGA reiterated that according to article 13 of the Gaming Act, the companies can function in and from Malta, only if they have obtained relevant authorisation issued by the authority.

 “Operating in and from Malta includes, amongst other things, offering games to persons in Malta, having technical equipment located in Malta, having the natural person offering the gaming services located in Malta, and having the legal person offering the gaming services and critical gaming supplies registered and, or established in Malta,” said MGA in a release published on its website.

Any person found to be in breach of the above may be subject to administrative sanctions or criminal prosecution, as envisaged in the same law, and penalties include fines up to €500k for first-time offenders and up to €1 million for recidivists, as well as imprisonment.

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