The Malta Gaming Authority has issued a licence to allow National Lottery PLC to take over the running of the country’s lottery.
Malta.- The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has issued a new ten-year licence for Malta’s National Lottery. The regulator granted the licence to IZI Group’s National Lottery PLC, which replaces Maltco Lotteries Limited as the operator of the lottery.
The new operator was granted exclusive rights after the government’s Privatisation Unit issued a Request for Proposals in July last year. A concession agreement was signed by the Ministry for the Economy, European Funds and Lands in March.
It’s the first time in 18 years that a fully Maltese-owned company has operated the lottery. It was the second attempt by IZI Group to win the licence after it participated in the last bid in 2012 but lost against Maltco Lotteries. Owned by Intralot, Associated Supplies Limited and The Players Group (24%), Maltco Lotteries has run the Malta National Lottery since its privatisation in 2003 but did not participate in the latest tender.
MGA chief executive Carl Brincat said: “The Authority is confident that the concessionaire shall dedicate all resources necessary to maintain the very highest level of operational and compliance standards, and as has already been made clear, will invest in taking care of its players and doing its utmost to avoid gaming-related harm.”
National Lottery PLC chief executive Johann Schembri said: “Today marks a new era for the National Lottery of Malta. The licence attained from the Malta Gaming Authority affirms the hard work that we have been undertaking and our commitment to deliver an innovative, forward-looking and above all, fair and transparent, national lottery service.”
Malta’s minister for the economy, European funds and lands Silvio Schembri said: “I’m sure that the new National Lottery licensee shall continue to enhance the popular National Lottery Games, such as the Lotto and Super 5, among others, as well as introduce other games which will further enrich the games portfolio.
“Together, we have ensured that National Lottery PLC will be committed to promoting, designing and putting into practice the principles of actively responsible gaming, while protecting the personal well-being of players. The national economic profit that translates from gambling should be given importance, but not at the expense of the player.”
Malta National Lottery rebranding
All existing lottery outlets displaying the Maltco brand are being rebranded as National Lottery while IZIBET will be the sports betting brand and product.
IZI Group chief commercial officer Franco De Gabriele said in May: “We are proud that after 18 years since the privatisation of the national lottery of Malta in 2004, the lottery will be operated for the first time by a wholly-owned Maltese company, whose mission is to provide the market with a service that is local, innovative and of the highest levels of quality.
“Our first decision was to re-establish ‘National Lottery’ as the corporate brand, restoring the name after a very long absence. This is the first step towards bringing back the national identity of this national concession, a service provided by the Maltese to the Maltese.”
National Lottery PLC has entered into deals with EveryMatrix and International Game Technology (IGT) for online games and technology.
Last month, the G7’s anti-money laundering (AML) watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Malta from its “greylist” of untrustworthy jurisdictions. The decision was taken months after the FATF visited Malta to inspect reforms, including the country’s implementation of an AML action plan.
Meanwhile, the Malta Gaming Authority has banned former compliance officer Iosif Galea from acting as a director for any of the gaming businesses that it licences. He has been stripped of one current directorship.
It said it had notified Galea of the cancellation of any approvals for him to act as director for Maltese gaming licensees. He only held one such position at the time.