Malta is set to postpone the implementation of its new gambling law to August 1, 2018, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) said in a statement from earlier today.
The gambling regulator further pointed out that a recently issued Detailed Opinion by the European Commission (EC) as well as comments by the EC and by another EU Member State have necessitated the delay in the finalization of the new regulatory framework’s implementation process. It is understood that the Detailed Opinion has extended the standstill period during which the new law cannot take effect to July 16, 2018.
The MGA’s statement further reads that the Maltese government and the regulator itself will need time to review and address the comments and recommendations made by the EC and the Member State to ensure the smooth implementation of the nation’s new Gaming Act.
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Malta’s new gaming regulatory framework was tabled in the country’s Parliament earlier this year and was sent for review by the EC on March 14. It was previously expected that the new regime would take effect on July 1, provided that it survives the three-month standstill period.
New Licensing System
Generally speaking, the new Gaming Act aims to replace Malta’s current legislation and is particularly focused on the licensing and provision of gambling services. Once it takes effect, the new law would simplify the current gambling licensing system by introducing just two categories of licenses – a B2B one and a B2C one. Gambling companies are currently required to obtain different licenses for the different types of services and products they are providing.
Malta’s new Gaming Act represents the first revision of the nation’s gaming law in fourteen years. The amendments were initiated by former MGA Executive Chairman Joseph Cuschieri, who assumed the post of CEO of the Malta Financial Authority earlier this year. Mr.
Cuschieri’s vacated spot at the gambling regulator was later on assumed by MGA Chief Operations Officer Heathcliff Farrugia.
Aside from the new licensing system, the new gambling law also aims to extend MGA’s powers over the regulation of the nation’s rapidly growing online gambling sector. The regulatory body will thus be able to roll out stricter regulations and tools for combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes often associated with the gaming and sports betting industry.
The newly set August 1 date for the implementation of Malta’s new Gaming Act will affect remote gambling operations. It was previously announced that the portion of the new law that concerns land-based businesses would take effect on January 1, 2019. It is yet to be seen whether that date would remain unchanged.
Another important provision in the new regulatory regime would exempt B2B gambling service providers from taxes. That particular language aims to further cement Malta’s already established reputation of a major tech hub and a nation that is open to new technologies and innovation.