German gambling regulator raises concerns over Maltese gambling bill

Germany has raised the issue with the EC.
Germany has raised the issue with the EC.

The GGL has provided its verdict on the controversial Bill 55.

Germany.- The new German federal gambling regulator, Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL), has provided feedback on Malta’s Bill 55, which protects MGA-licensed operators from legal actions.

The GGL said the bill, signed by Maltese president George Vella in June, “should not be compatible” with European law. It says the legislation goes against the 2013 Recast Brussels Regulation on the jurisdiction and recognition of legal judgements among EU members. Germany’s Ministry of Justice has reportedly raised the issue with the European Commission (EC).

The EC has already said it will inspect Bill 55 to check if it is compatible with EU law and has asked Malta for more information. The GGL said it “assumes proceedings will be initiated accordingly” and does not see any reason to take further action.

The act instructs Maltese courts to refuse to accept or enforce foreign judgements against Malta-licensed gambling companies that operate in the European market. That means it will prevent other European countries from taking legal action in Malta against operators that target their markets when operating under their Maltese licence.

Operators targeting other European markets often claim to be covered by their Maltese licence due to the European treaty permitting the free movement of services across the bloc. However, some European countries argue that they can prevent Maltese licensed operators from targeting customers in their markets, noting a 2017 European Commission decision.

Some operators are still refusing to pay for judgements against them in countries such as Germany and Austria, leading international lawyers to start legal proceedings against them in Malta.

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