MGA defends Malta’s controversial gambling bill

The MGA says the bill enshrines Malta
The MGA says the bill enshrines Malta

The Malta Gaming Authority denies that Bill 55 contravenes EU law.

Malta.- The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has defended Malta’s Bill 55 after criticism of the legislation from its German counterpart. The German gambling regulator, the GGL, had suggested that the bill should be found in contravention of European Union (EU) law.

The European Commission has already confirmed that it is inspecting Malta’s controversial legislation, which seeks to protect MGA-licensed gambling operators from prosecution for targeting other EU markets under Maltese licences. However, the MGA has denied that the bill contravenes EU law.

The MGA’s argument depends on the same regulation often used by gambling operators to justify their targeting of other European countries under MGA licences. It noted that the 2013 Recast Brussels Regulation allows a member state to refuse to recognise a legal judgement that does not match the principles of its own legal system.

It argues that Bill 55 is not intended to introduce new exceptions but to “enshrine into law the long-standing public policy of Malta in relation to the gaming sector”. It argued that the bill’s scope is “highly restrictive”, imposing limited conditions under which legal action cannot be taken against MGA-licensed operators rather than ruling out all prosecutions.

These conditions mean that an operator is only protected when its gambling operations are legal under Malta’s Gaming Act. As such, the bill would only affect lawsuits that conflicted with Malta’s own gambling regulations.

However, that could well rule out many of the prosecutions that regulators in other European countries may seek. That raises the question of whether Malta’s overall gambling legislation is compatible with European law. The MGA claims that it is, citing rules on the free movement of services across the EU.

Several European regulators and governments take a different view, noting that the EC had made an exception for the gambling sector in 2017.

In this article:
gambling regulation MGA