MGA: Maltese Bill 55 Successfully Aligns with EU Standards

The Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) has taken a position on the changes to the country’s Gambling Law, also known as Bill 55, in response to recent comments, stating that the changes are “in full conformity with EU law”.

The June amendments to Bill 55 now ensure that MGA-licensed operators will be protected from possible enforcement actions in two specific situations:

  • If an action conflicts with or undermines the provision of gaming services in Malta it cannot be undertaken.
  • If the action made by the operator relates to an authorised activity lawful under the Gaming Act.

In essence, the courts in Malta have the power to refuse recognition and application of the enforcement measures imposed by foreign regulators.

The amendments have been carefully reviewed in light of their changes. This week, the German gambling regulator Gemeinsame Glücksspielbehörde der Länder criticised the amendments, saying they do not comply with European law.

However, in a statement on its website, the Malta Gambling Authority stressed that Bill 55 “in full conformity with EU law and is based on the freedoms afforded to an entity established within the internal market”.

The authority said section 56A is intended to “enshrine into law the long-standing public policy of Malta in relation to the gaming sector.”

The MGA remarked that the Maltese law “does not create additional or separate grounds for refusing to recognise or enforce judgments to those already established under EU regulations” and that “it is simply an interpretation of the ordre public grounds for refusal envisaged in said EU regulation”.

The department noted that the scope of the amendments made is “significantly limited”, and the law “does not exclude the possibility of taking action against the licensee.”

Referring to the need to comply with the “cumulative elements”

prior to the activation of section 56A, the Gambling Authority added: “The provisions shall only be applicable when the action taken by an operator against a player, or a player against an operator – conflicts with or undermines the legality of the Maltese framework, and is related to the activity which is lawful in terms of the Gaming Act and the other regulatory instruments applicable to the Malta Gaming Authority’s licensees.

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