Malta Gaming Authority proposes major reform in new white paper

  • Malta Gaming Authority published paper proposing major reforms to the sector
  • Paper is open for consultation for five weeks and is designed to simplify and streamline operations

The Malta Gaming Authority has published a white paper in which it proposes major reforms to the country’s gambling framework. One of the world’s best known and most influential regulators, MGA oversees the scores of operators and developers headquartered on the Mediterranean island.

mga reform
Malta Gaming Authority Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri

The white paper is open for consultation for the next five weeks as the MGA solicits feedback from interested parties. If the proposals contained within the paper eventually come into effect, current gambling legislation will be repealed.

Simplify and streamline

In its place will come a single Gaming Act that is intended to simplify and streamline things. As a consequence, the existing multi-license system would be retired and operators would switch to a dual system. This would comprise B2C and B2B licenses.

At present, obtaining an operating license can be a complex process due to the fact that operators are obliged to apply separately for permission to host various gambling services. In extreme cases, some operators have been forced to apply for over a dozen licenses to cover services such as sports betting, lotteries and online poker.

The new system would see companies such as online slots developers required to obtain a B2B license, since their products are acquired by entities such as online casinos. The online casinos would also require a single license, a B2C one in this case because they will be providing their services directly to players.

Study into cryptocurrencies

In addition to removing much of the red tape that hampers operators, the MGA believes the proposals would allow for increased oversight. The white paper goes beyond merely discussing operating licenses: it also touches upon ways to empower the MGA so it is better equipped to combat money laundering and other unlawful activities. Although the white paper largely addresses gambling from an operator’s perspective, players haven’t been overlooked either. There are proposals for dealing with companies that enter administration with a view to ring-fencing player funds.

Interestingly, the MGA has also commissioned a study on cryptocurrencies with a view to gaining a better understanding of how to govern their use in remote gaming. The cryptocurrency market has exploded in value this year, with a total market cap reaching over $100 billion at its peak.

This boom in cryptocurrency adoption and speculation has been helped by a flurry of Bitcoin casinos springing up on the web, while a number of online casinos now accept deposits in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Litecoin and other popular digital currencies. The MGA’s interest in crypto is likely to further reinforce the notion that digital currencies have a pivotal role to play in the future of eSports and online gambling.

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