In his new column for Yogonet, industry consultant iGaming analyzes and reflects on new compliance protections recently announced by the Malta Gaming Authority and changes to the legal framework for gambling.
Malta, one of the world’s most popular online gambling licensing jurisdictions, has announced changes to the legal framework for gambling. It appears that regulators are simultaneously strengthening compliance protections while recognizing the burden on operators.
So what do the new rules cover and what do they mean for existing or potential licensees?
Malta gaming license
On October 20, 2021, the Malta Gaming Authority, which is responsible for issuing licenses and overseeing operators, released several amendments to the gaming rules. These include the Directive on Licensing and Gaming Compliance and a new policy on ongoing competency criteria for key individuals.
In short, the roles of key functions for licensees have been changed and somewhat streamlined. Operators offering to play to customers will now have to fulfill eight key functions: CEO, Head of Key Game Operations, Key Compliance Officer, Key Legal Officer, Key Data Protection Officer, Key AML / CFT Officer, Head of key technology and head of internal audit.
For B2B companies, the number of roles has been reduced from nine to seven. These include CEO, Key Game Operations Manager, Key Compliance Officer, Key Legal Officer, Protection Officer Key Data, Head of Key Technology and Head of Internal Audit.
Some of the previous roles and responsibilities have been consolidated into one position, making it easier for companies to fulfill them. In addition, the amendments set out specific requirements for qualifications, experience and continuing professional development to be met.
Previously, it was only required to meet specific âfit and properâ standards. Yet now, key office holders will need to engage in continuous development, including training, public speaking and article writing.
Changes have also been made to another area of ââthe licensing process. Suspicious bets on sports integrity previously only applied to B2Cs, but now also applies to B2Bs that offer sports betting supplies or services.
What does this mean for the licensees?
This means that any new key function certification must align with the new requirements. By the end of May 2022, existing key individuals must apply to the MGA to receive approval under the new rules. Then, by the end of September, the MGA will approve or reject the request. By December, licensees must confirm who will fill the new roles. Final confirmation by the MGA will be given by the end of March 2023.
As for the professional development requirements, they must be met by the second renewal of the key function certificate, after the entry into force of the new policy.
Malta has been sailing in troubled waters lately. Earlier this year, it was graylisted by the FATF earlier this year following growing concerns about money laundering and financial crime. After two years of assessments and appeals to improve the situation, the decision is made. Malta will now have to work hard and demonstrate continued crackdown on perceived inefficiencies if it is to return to the white list. It won’t happen overnight, so what impact is this having on its gaming industry?
Having built its economic backbone on online gambling, Malta now finds itself in a difficult position. Some payment processors no longer want to work there, and other companies and businesses have decided to look elsewhere for a European base. While gaming licensing is still considered to be reputable, we have noted an influx of operators looking to license in other jurisdictions.
These are mainly Kahnawake, CuraÃ§ao and the Isle of Man. Kahnawake, in particular, has a great reputation coupled with a cost-effective licensing process and zero gaming tax. It is a very popular license for start-ups and established gambling companies.
Whether you are already licensed in Malta or looking for jurisdiction for your gambling company, Fast Offshore can help. We are aware of recent changes and can advise you on how to ensure compliance. In addition, we can meet all of your corporate service needs, including incorporation, structuring, payments and ongoing maintenance. Schedule a call with us today.