The Malta Gaming Authority is set to announce the changes it will make to the Gaming Legal Framework, after a far-reaching consultation designed to radically overhaul how the country legislates the gaming industry. The Government is proposing to ‘future proof’ the legal framework behind Malta’s gaming laws, repealing all existing legislation and replacing it with a single Gaming Act, with which it aims to modernise the system.
The decision to make changes to Malta’s gaming legislation was announced in July 2017, when it published a white paper outlining potential proposals, with a consultation that ran until August 23 2017. One of the key aims outlined in the paper was to allow the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) much more flexibility in publishing guidelines, directives, rules and policies – allowing it to keep on top of the latest developments in a fast-moving industry.
The Government aims to create a new, modern system that is better at protecting consumers, encourages responsible gaming, more effective at enforcing monitoring and licensing. Amongst other things, the white paper proposed: Implementing an objective based rather than prescriptive regulatory approach, bolstering player protection by formalising the MGA’s mediating function, strengthening the MGA’s reporting and oversight and extending the license term from five to 10 years.
The new legislation is intended to incorporate decades of information gathered from academic studies, focus groups, industry consultation and public consultation, as well as the vast amount of data now available from the gaming industry itself with regards to gaming habits. The new rules will aim to close the gap between increasingly advanced and fast-moving technology and the current legislation by making the process of implementing that legislation more mobile, allowing it to adapt to new game types and business models that would have required extensive re-writes of legislation in the past.
The licensing system is also expected to be tackled by the new law, which it was proposed in the white paper would be simplified into B2B and B2C licenses, rather than the multi-license system that exists currently. This would allow the MGA to devote more resources to managing compliance overrunning a more complex licensing system. This is part of the MGA’s general push to focus its attention on higher-risk areas of the industry and move away from basic licensing and compliance related issues which currently take up more of its time and resources. It will also be able to be more flexible with consumers and the gaming industry, with the ability to incorporate more nuance into its judgements to reflect the complexity of cases.