New bill aiming for a singular act on gaming announced

Bill seeks to repeal all existing gaming legislation to replace it with a single act covering main aspects of gaming regulation, should lead to 4% growth in industry

A new bill proposing a singular act on gaming will soon be tabled in parliament
A new bill proposing a singular act on gaming will soon be tabled in parliament

A new bill intended to enact a singular piece of legislation on gaming, replacing all other existing gaming legislation, will soon be tabled in Parliament, digital economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri announced today.

Once it goes through, the act will, together with subsidiary legislation, cover the main thrust of gaming regulation, as well as a number of technical directives and guidelines currently being discussed by the Malta Gaming Authority.

Describing it as a major step in streamlining and comprehensively including all gaming services offered in and from Malta across all MGA channels, Schembri said the government “wants to ensure the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, in such a way that Malta provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can develop and innovate”.

He added that the aim also was to eliminate red tape and increase efficiency and flexibility for the gaming regulator, while also creating a more robust framework and focusing regulation on outcomes. The new bill should lead to a 4% growth in the gaming industry, he highlighted.

MGA executive chairman Joseph Cuschieri welcomed the bill, calling it an important milestone and major step forward by the government.

“[The bill] contains draft proposals which aim to bridge the regulatory gap between various gaming verticals and channels, including new technologies serving as a platform to future proof gaming regulation, whilst ensuring that consumers enjoy a consistent level of protection,” Cuschieri said.

The proposed regulatory framework would strengthen the MGA’s compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve its regulatory objectives, in line with current development on anti-money laundering and the funding of terrorism, the MGA said in a press release.

“It also empowers the MGA to be more agile in its decision-making, decreasing unnecessary regulatory burdens whilst strengthening supervision and focusing the regulator’s efforts on the areas which present a higher risk profile,” the Authority said.

“Other important areas of focus include consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions in the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions and objective-orientated standards to encourage innovation and development,” it emphasised, adding that the bill had come about as a result of extensive public consultation with stakeholders and the public, as well as technical studies and economic and financial impact assessments.

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