Malta getting set for new legislation to ensure global relevance

Malta getting set for new legislation to ensure global relevance

Friday, June 24, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
The MGA's Joseph Cuschieri said Italy's arrest warrant for licensees was an eye-opener

Joseph Cuschieri, the executive chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), has said that last year’s run in with the Italian authorities over the activity of some of its licensees has helped the regulator improve its processes.

Writing in the MGA’s annual report, Cuschieri cited the warrants which saw the MGA co-operating with the Italian regulators and suspending the licences of Uniq Group Ltd and Betsolutions4U Ltd.

He explained: “The incidents of July 2015 concerning the European arrest warrants issued by the Italian authorities for six individuals involved in Malta-based companies and licensees, tested our agility and responsiveness to take the necessary actions in order to protect the integrity of Malta’s financial and gaming systems from the alleged criminal actions, jurisdictional reputation, and above all, the public interest.

“These incidents were an eye-opener for us but also strengthened our resolve and commitment to continue with our plans to enhance our checks and controls, and supervision at both pre- and post-licensing stages; and the general overhaul of our regulatory regime.”

Cuschieri said that the overhaul of the regulatory framework is now ‘mission critical’ to the successful implementation of Malta’s gaming repositioning strategy (2014-2017) to render Malta as a centre of excellence of global relevance in the future.

In the past year the regulatory oversight function was also strengthened through the setting up of a Supervisory Council with the responsibility for the integrity, consistency and ongoing development of the Authority’s regulatory performance.

Cuschieri added: “Suffice to say that Malta’s second generation of gaming regulation remains founded in the key objectives of prevention of crime and fraud, fairness of games, consumer protection and protection of minors and other vulnerable consumers without compromise.

“However the legislative structure and regulatory approaches proposed for adoption in 2016 and implemented shortly thereafter are innovative in the gaming field, although widely used in other policy areas.”

During the year under review, the MGA generated a total revenue of €60.9m compared to €58.4m in 2014. This represents an increase of €2.5m or a 4.3% increase year on year. Furthermore, contributions in gaming taxes made to Government in 2015 amounted to €55.8m compared to €53.2m in 2014. This represents an increase of €2.6m or a 4.9% increase year on year. The sector also made a direct contribution of 8.2% to Malta’s Gross Value Added in the economy.

Totally Gaming Says: “What’s frequently referred to as the online industry’s Wild West period is long gone, so it is little surprise that Malta is among the many jurisdictions demanding higher standards from its licensees. With a phased roll-out of the new gaming regulatory regime, starting with the Bill for a new ‘Gaming Act’ in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how the industry takes to the new standards.”

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