In terms of Legal Notice 271 of 2016, the Malta Gaming Authority
(MGA) has exempted fantasy sports games operators from the
requirement to obtain a license. The new LN was issued on the
1st August 2016, by means of which fantasy sports games operators
can now provide their services online through a simple notification
to the MGA, without the need to go through a licensing process.
This follows the position paper on Digital Games of Skill and
Prize issued by the MGA in December 2015. In this paper, the
MGA highlighted the distinction between games of skill and games of
chance, the latter of which require a licence until the applicable
Act and Regulations due to the high risk presented to the consumer.
Games of skill still warrant appropriate regulatory intervention,
despite having a negligible element of risk for players as opposed
to games of chance.
Fantasy sports games come in two main forms: games where the
player chooses virtual athletes representing real-life athletes,
and games where the player chooses made-up athletes. In the former
case, the player's performance in the game is normally directly
dependent on the real-world performance of the athletes chosen as
part of the player's virtual team. In the latter case, the
player 'trains' the athletes within the game, in one form
or another, and the player's performance in the game is
dependent on the team's performance in the virtual league or
other competition. In both cases the element of skill is heavily
reliant on the game structure and the number of variables that the
game uses to subvert the elements of chance.
The new Regulations define 'fantasy sports' and
'fantasy sports games' as 'a contest played for money
or money's worth whereby the winning outcome is determined
predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player, and
where the results are determined by the accumulation of statistical
results of the performance of a number of individuals in sporting
The definition also specifically excludes the 'forecast of
the score, point spread or any other future occurrence of one or
multiple events' and any reference to 'bet' as
stipulated in the Act shall not be applicable in the context of
fantasy sports. This ensures that the focus remains on the
players' skills rather than chance.
In terms of Maltese legislation, a licence from the MGA is
required for games of chance and games of chance and skill that may
result in a prize. Therefore, a game is considered licensable
depending on how the outcome of the game is determined. For games
of chance, the results are accidental since they are based on
chance whilst for games of skill and chance, results are also
somewhat dependent on the skill of the player.
A game of skill, on the other hand, depends predominantly on the
skills of the player as opposed to a game of chance or a game of
chance and skill. As underlined in its position paper, the MGA has
examined the determining element in producing the game's result
to ascertain whether a game is licensable or not.
This article contains general information only and is not
intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual
or entity. ACT, by means of this article is not rendering any
accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other
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The Betting Law of 2012 constitutes a technical rule under the Laws on the Procedure for the Provision of Information in Relation to Certain Technical Rules 2003 and 2004.
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