As a first step towards the much anticipated legal reform governing Malta's gaming industry, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, Hon. Silvio Schembri has announced that a motion will be presented in Parliament for the first reading of a new Gaming Bill (the "Bill") which will repeal all existing legislation regulating gambling in Malta and replace it with a single Act of Parliament covering the entire gaming spectrum. The Bill which will be complemented by sector-specific subsidiary legislation, technical directives and guidelines aims to harmonise regulatory principles and create more efficient governance, further galvanising Malta's current position as the jurisdiction of choice for remote gaming operators.
Through the proposed regulatory framework the scope of competence of the MGA is expected to be widened and licensing structures will become more streamlined by replacing the current multi-licence structure. Licenses are expected to be classified into B2B and B2C licenses, a development that has been widely welcomed by industry operators and advisers alike. The proposed legislation will also exempt B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta's competitiveness as a hub for B2B activities.
The Parliamentary Secretary stated that '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.'
Today, Malta has established itself as a regulatory hub having issued licences to a wide spectrum of operators, both large and small, making it one of the leading and most highly regarded European jurisdictions for the regulation of gaming. In fact, the European Court of Justice has even referred to Malta's gaming law framework as being "sophisticated" (Case C-347/09 (Preliminary Ruling from the Bezirksgericht Linz)  980). To this end, it is expected that through this proposed overhaul of legislation, Malta will continue to develop its competitive edge amongst other EU Jurisdictions for the regulation of gaming activities.
For further information on the proposed legislation, the draft Bill may be viewed here.
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