EC requests more information on Malta gaming bill

Maltese lawmakers approved Bill 55 last month.
Maltese lawmakers approved Bill 55 last month.

Bill 55 is controversial for the protections afforded to MGA-licensed igaming operators.

Malta.- The European Commission (EC) is to inspect Malta’s Bill 55, which proposes legal protections for gambling operators licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The bill would protect licensees from prosecution for gaming activities in unregulated markets, but it needs EC approval to enter law.

Responding to a written question submitted by German MEP Sabine Verheyen, European commissioner for justice Didier Reynders has confirmed that the European Commission will investigate whether the bill is compatible with EU law. He said the EC had requested more information from Malta.

Verheyen, who is a member of the Christian Democratic Union and European People’s Party, submitted three questions about the bill, one of which asked whether it was legal under European law. She also asked if the EC was aware of any connections between Malta’s government and the island’s gaming industry and whether there had been any known cases of corruption.

On this question, Reynders said: “The Commission has no information on possible links of individual members of the Maltese government to the Maltese gambling industry.”

Verheyen also asked if it would be possible to impose sanctions if Malta was found to have breached EU law and asked for the EC’s policy on infringement proceedings in relation to Article 258, which allows the EC to take action against member states suspected of violating EU law. Reynders did not answer.

Malta passed Bill 55 last month. It would provide legal protection for operators active in unregulated markets and prevent courts from awarding damages in cases relating to activities allowed under an MGA licence.

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