Implications of Malta’s gaming amendment bill

Lea Hogg 3 months ago
Implications of Malta’s gaming amendment bill

The Maltese gaming industry witnessed a transformation with the introduction of Bill 55 earlier this year, aptly named the ‘Gaming Amendment Bill.’ This legislation, an amendment to the country’s Gambling Act, holds significant implications for casino operators and sparks debate in relation to EU law.

Safeguarding Malta’s iGaming industry

At the heart of Bill 55 lies the aim to shield Malta-licensed operators, who extend their gaming services beyond national borders, from potential legal battles within the European Union. The intricacies of this bill reveal a multifaceted approach to providing legal protection to gaming services while navigating the delicate balance of adhering to EU laws.

Balancing economic growth and legal scrutiny

Aiming to align with Malta’s long-standing public policy, Bill 55 not only shields operators but also seeks to boost the country’s economic growth. This legislation, reported to contribute significantly to Malta’s economy, raises questions about its potential impact on private gaming services, attracting new businesses, and the stability of Malta’s online casinos in the face of legal challenges.

Background

On 24 April, 2023, Malta took a bold step in redefining its gaming framework with the introduction of Bill 55, or the ‘Gaming Amendment Bill.’ This legislation, a crucial amendment to the existing Gambling Act, has ignited discussions and controversies within the European Union. The key elements of Bill 55 have been debated many times over – its objectives for the gaming industry and the criticisms it faces from legal observers in Germany, Austria and other EU member states.

Shift in Malta’s iGaming Sector

The Gaming Act has long been the cornerstone of Malta’s gaming sector. Bill 55 introduces Article 56A into the Gaming Act, aiming to provide legal protection to operators holding a Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licence. The bill shields licensed operators from legal actions related to their gaming services, as long as they adhere to Maltese law and the provisions of the Gaming Act. This protection extends to foreign judgments, offering a unique layer of safeguarding for Malta-licensed operators facing legal challenges outside the country.

Understanding the core of Bill 55

The objectives of Bill 55 are rooted in the significant contribution of remote gaming services to Malta’s economic growth. The legislation aligns with the country’s commitment to its private gaming sector by encouraging private gaming services and attracting new businesses. Bill 55 not only reinforces the legal framework for gaming services but also provides stability for businesses operating within the law. However, legal observers in Germany, Austria and other EU nations argue that the bill may undermine EU laws and limit citizens’ freedom to file lawsuits against Malta-licensed operators.

Bill 55’s Ripple Effect

As Malta positions itself to attract new businesses, Bill 55 becomes a focal point for debate. While the bill aims to protect operators, critics argue that it leans more towards shielding internal market players than upholding justice. The recent ruling by Austria’s Supreme Court against 888 Casino, a Malta-licensed operator, adds complexity to the debate. With lawsuits mounting against MGA-licensed casinos, the article explores the potential consequences of Bill 55 on Malta’s online casinos and its implications within the broader European Union.

At the centre of these discussions, the Malta Gaming Authority asserts that Bill 55 aligns with EU principles and confirms with the European Constitution. As legal battles unfold and the EU recognises the MGA licence, Malta’s Gaming Amendment Bill remains a contentious topic, shaping the future of the country’s online gaming industry.

Related topics:

Malta – the epicentre of gaming innovation (sigma.world)

German Regulator’s beef with Malta’ Bill 55 (sigma.world)

Article 56A is “crystallising the long-standing public policy in Malta” (sigma.world)

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