The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has sought to convey ‘clarity, accuracy and transparency’ regarding recent criticism of amendments to the Maltese Gaming Act, known as Bill 55.
A statement from the regulator addressed ‘recent remarks shared by sections of the media’ about Bill 55, which would add a new article to the Gaming Act. In particular, the MGA stressed that the bill fully conforms to EU law.
Specifically, Bill 55 seeks to adopt the Maltese government’s long-standing public policy on gambling into national law, and would prevent enforcement action against MGA-licensed operators under two sets of circumstances.
The first of these is if an enforcement action ‘conflicts with or undermines the provision of gaming services in Malta’, whilst the second is if the operator in question has acted lawfully under the terms of Malta’s Gambling Act.
The media reports of criticism referred to by the MGA largely came from the German Gluecksspiel (GGL), the country’s federal gambling authority, which accused the Bill of being incompatible with EU law.
In response, the MGA stated: “It is important to note that the Maltese law does not create additional or separate grounds for refusing to recognise or enforce judgments to those already established under EU regulations (Regulation (EU) 1215/2012).
“It is simply an interpretation of the order public grounds for refusal envisaged in said EU regulation. Moreover, the scope of the amendments enacted into law is highly restricted, ast a licensee.
“Therefore, not every judgement relating to the operations of gaming operators with a Maltese licence would be in violation of Maltese public policy, and the law does not preclude any action whatsoever from being taken again.”
The MGA further emphasised that the legal changes are “based on the freedoms afforded to an entity established within the internal market”.