Malta introduced its new Remote Gaming
Regulations in April 2004. These regulations were a much awaited
mile-stone superseding the previous law regulating offshore betting
Operation of Betting Offices Regulations, 2000 - Legal Notice 34).
Under the old law, licensing of a betting office setting up shop in Malta required a presence in Malta
in the form of a premises from which the betting office's operations were carried out.
These regulations covered only betting operations and did not cater for computer-generated
games. In fact the internet was merely sanctioned as a communication medium
to the call centre.
Other factors also hit the Maltese offshore
betting regime badly: the UK responded to the
exodus of UK operators by changing its betting tax to 0%, hence
resulting in 16 operators closing down shop in Malta; the Maltese offshore
regime was being phased out and the need was being felt that new
Regulations were necessary. These had to reflect the needs of a changing
market and to cater for other emerging forms of gaming, besides betting.
Malta's Remote Gaming Regulations,
presented a completely new solution to all types of operators and
activities. Activities range from betting, online casinos, casino-style
games, betting exchanges, lotteries and bingo to gaming software houses
and marketing companies.
The aim of the new regulatory regime is to
provide a Cyber-Space
Gaming License that is both technology neutral and game neutral – encompassing any type of gaming
using any means of distance communication, including internet, digital TV,
mobile phone technology, telephone and fax.
Raison d'Etre behind the Regulations
proper operation on interactive games
protection of players
prevention of money laundering
of public interest
The regulatory authority in charge of issuing
remote gaming licenses is the
Lotteries & Gaming Authority.
The Licensing Process
The licensing process is regulated by the
Remote Gaming Regulations 2004 issued under the Lotteries and Other Games
Act. To provide remote betting/gaming services from Malta, an operator
needs to obtain a licence of the class appropriate to its operations. The
framework requires licensees in accordance to
policies, laws and
regulations , as well as anti-money laundering laws, e-commerce
legislation and any other applicable legislation. See 'The Licensing
Process' for more detail.
& Operational Requirements
The license requires the operator to conform
to a set of technical and operational rules & requirements that ensure
that the operation runs smoothly and successfully and at the same time,
that players and Malta's reputation as a serious financial services and
gaming centre, are protected. See 'Technical
& Operations Requirements' for more detail.
The new licensing laws give particular focus
to player protection. In fact, the operator has to follow particular
Players funds to
be kept separate from Licensee’s own funds
instruct and authorize the credit financial institution by which a
players’ account is held to disclose any information as may be requested
by the Authority to the LGA
Funds in the
player’s account, including funds in transit or in the process of being
cleared through the banking system must be at all times at least equal to
the aggregate of the amount standing to the credit of players’ account
held by the licensee
Four classes of licenses
operators managing their
own risk on repetitive games (casino-type games, skill games and online
2 – operators managing their own risk on events based on a matchbook
betting, pool betting and spread betting)
- operators promoting and abet gaming from Malta & taking
a commission from
promoting and/or abetting games (P2P, poker networks, betting exchange
and game portals)
– operators hosting and managing online remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee
vendors developing platforms from which gaming operators can operate).
The license is valid for a period of 5 years
and may be renewed for further periods of 5 years.
Malta's introduction of this new remote
gaming licensing regime has resulted in an inflow of operators seeking to
regularise their position by obtaining a licensed that is reputable,
trustworthy and sanctioned by the EU. This, coupled to the fact that the
license is not expensive and the favourable taxation, justifies why
serious operators have chosen Malta as the ideal location for their
Chetcuti Cauchi exhibits at ICE Totally
Gaming Expo, London 2012 | 21/11/2011
The Malta issues new Gaming Devices Regulations, 2011 [15/04/2011]
Chetcuti Cauchi at ICE Totally Gaming, Earls Court, London 2011
Silvana Zammit interviewed by James Swift
of "The Lawyer" on recent ECJ rulings and Malta's positioning as
leader in the regulated gaming internet gambling industry