|The Lotteries and Gaming Authority is expected to publish remote gaming regulations in the coming days. They have been drawn up following consultations with the e-gaming sector, informed sources have said. The first licences are expected to be awarded shortly after.|
Malta already has regulations on internet betting and some companies do offer such services from here, but this is the first time that Malta is to host e-gaming operators.
Although the regulations are not expected to exclude residents of Malta from e-gaming, the sources said such an exclusion will be one of the conditions laid down when the licences are issued, meaning that anybody with an e-mail address in Malta will not be able to participate in internet gaming originating from Malta. Players under the age of 18, whatever their home address, will also not be allowed to play.
Applicants for a licence must be a limited liability company registered in Malta and having a physical presence here. The authority shall not issue a licence unless it is reasonably satisfied that all persons involved in the applicant company are fit and proper. That definition includes the character and record of persons vested with executive powers as well as the financial position and background of the company.
It also needs to be ensured that the applicant has followed policies and will take steps to prevent money laundering and other suspicious transactions.
In grantng a licence, the authority may impose conditions on the operation of interactive games, the protection of players, the prevention of money laundering and exigencies of public interest.
Applicants and eventual licensees may be required to submit their games control systems for an audit by the authority for certificaton.
A warning on the addiction possibilities of gaming and information on websites assisting compulsive gamblers is to be prominently displayed by the licencsee on the entry screen. Players may also set prior limits with the licensee on the amounts they may wager or the losses they may incur within a period of time.
George M. Mangion, whose company, PKF Fiduciaries has been promoting Malta as an e-betting and e-gaming investment destination, said government attitudes to online gambling varied significantly between countries.
Malta so far prohibited its residents from accessing locally licensed gaming sites, he said. The Gaming Authority also took an active interest in regulating license holders to ensure that problems did not escalate, in the best interest of player protection. Another innovation to help players control their total exposure to the amount risked on games was the setting up of reality checks. Setting one's own limits prior to starting any game of chance could do this.
He said the issue of e-gaming licences could be a tool to stimulate the economy and generate sustainable employment.
With careful marketing at international fora Malta potentially qualifies as a low-cost, high-tech domicile for online casinos and e-gaming operations. In the three years since the first betting licenses were issued, Malta has built itself a reputation as a first class regulatory destination.
It created the world's most comprehensive set of technical standards. Furthermore, Malta understands the commercial realities facing the e-gaming industry and therefore has adopted a commercially realistic approach towards regulating the industry.
The island can serve as a comparatively low-cost springboard to the global e-gaming market boosted by the success of the mobile gaming platform.
Certainly it combines a stable political and communications structure with a competitive tax structure.
He said the timing of the new licences was perfect given that operators were investing into mobile games technology.
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