The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is now considering signing the Macolin Convention, a document the islands’ regulator has avoided since 2014.
If this move were to go ahead, the Macolin Convention would redefine illegal sports betting.
This would make these activities which operate from Malta considered illicit in all territories when offering these products to other jurisdictions that deem them illegal.
This consideration would mark a critical change in government stance, which was previously highly conducive to these activities, allowing players from any country classifying sports betting operated in Malta as illegal, responsible for opting out.
So far the MGA has sought legal expertise from law firm, Van Bael & Bellis, to understand the consequences of signing and ratifying the Macolin Convention.
A long time coming?
In 2021, numerous international advisors recommended that Malta adopt the convention as a sign of good faith.
Fulfilling this task would have seen Malta avoid being grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Malta did not sign the convention then and was then subsequently placed on the grey list by the FATF in June of 2021. They were, however, removed from the increased monitoring program just a year later.
The change in stance has coincided with the introduction of a new gaming bill that was introduced in June.
The Gaming Amendment Act aims to codify Malta’s policy of encouraging gaming operators in the country.
This law also sees Maltese law defend the archipelago’s gaming licensees and their officials from legal action related to online gaming services under the MGA.
Most notably this also limits the recognition of foreign court decisions.
This bill has drawn heavy scrutiny from the EU with the European Parliament and European Commission seeking more information due to concerns of anti-competitive elements.
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