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The European Commission has approved Malta’s new gaming law

Good news for operators in Malta: after a three-month wait at the European Commission, a new gambling law proposed in the Maltese Parliament in the spring finally comes into force July 1.

What’s in the new law?

In short, it will completely overhaul the country’s current gambling industry regulations.

As with most legislation of this magnitude, it had to be reviewed by the European Commission. Now that it’s been approved, it will only be a few weeks before it becomes law. It’s the first change in regulations for the country in 14 years, so there’s a lot for operators to get their heads around, mainly when it comes to licenses.

Current vs. new licenses

This is where the new law will make things simpler for operators. Instead of the multi-tiered system currently in place, operators now have just two categories to choose from. One for the business-to-business (B2B) market, and the other for operators that focus on the business-to-customer (B2C) arena. This will be determined by the applicant’s operations before the license is granted.

Initiated by the Malta Gaming Authority’s former executive chairman, Joseph Cuschieri, the law is intended to ensure a simpler system that will not only entice operators to Malta but also make it easier to keep on top of those who operate outside the law.

Aside from introducing a simplified licensing system, Malta’s new Gaming Act provides the MGA with extensive regulatory powers and enforcement functions. The regulatory body will thus be able to implement stricter rules and tools for countering money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial flows often associated with the gambling industry.

News could boost economy

Malta has been dogged by bad regulatory news of late, fuelled by its lack of co-operation with Italian Mafia investigations, so this could be just the boost it needs.

The new law also aims to bring Malta’s regulatory regime in line with the current iGaming landscape and demand for iGaming services, helping the nation’s gambling industry to grow quickly past its current 12% of annual GDP.

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The new regulatory regime is now set to come into effect from July 1, 2018, for remote gambling operations, and from January 1, 2019, for land-based businesses. It is also important to note that providers of B2B services will be exempt from taxes under the new regulations. That particular language in Malta’s new law aims to turn the nation into an even more attractive tech hub.

Speaking to The Times of Malta, Henrik Tajernstrom of Kindred said: “It is something that we had been acting very actively with the MGA to secure. It means that we do not have to have a dozen licenses but can have just one umbrella license. This saves a lot of administration for both the operators and the regulator.”

Speaking enthusiastically about the new measures, Mr. Tajernstrom outlined the main benefits: “For us with the multi-license system is that we can launch new products quicker than we have done before, thereby giving our customers a better and more relevant experience when they want it.”

With July just around the corner, firms like Kindred won’t have to wait much longer.

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