Malta is “home to a dynamic and thriving gaming industry” according to the president of the International Association of Gaming Advisors. Malta is in the process of reviewing and taking forward its legal framework for gaming following the success of fantasy sports games and skill games over the last ten years. “Skill games” differ from “chance games” in that, generally speaking, skill games offer the participants a chance to compete based upon ability rather than random chance, although any particular game may be on a continuum between the two extremes of pure chance (e.g. traditional slot machines) and pure skill (e.g. chess). Whether a skill game offering a prize is considered gambling varies by jurisdiction. See, for example, U.S. developments in the Fox News article Gambling first in US, regulators approve skill-based slot machines.
The intent of the Maltese gaming regulators is to ensure that gaming operators in Malta have a legislative framework that caters to the innovative and fast-paced nature of the industry, while keeping the industry free from crime and ensuring the fairness of games and the protection of players. Malta has already taken positive steps to regulate “skill games with prize” commencing with the introduction of an exemption for fantasy sports operators, by which any person who oﬀers a fantasy sports may legally do so in and from Malta without the requirement of a license. Further, the soon-to-be-enacted Maltese Skill Games Regulations (SGR) are drafted on a risk-based approach to licensing compatible with the nature of skill games with prize (including fantasy sports) oﬀered by means of distance communication. A license under the SGR enables a business to oﬀer skill games with prize in and from Malta, in a regulated manner giving players peace of mind that they are playing with a regulated and serious entity.
It is also anticipated that the SGR will have a positive impact on innovation such that operators will be able to dedicate their resources to creating new, licensable skill games giving players a varied gaming experience. Innovation is not only a driving factor for gaming legislation in Malta but is also promoted by means of various incentives and schemes oﬀered by Malta Enterprise to assist businesses in financing new ideas. If you are a gaming operator or interested in entering the industry, speak with your Ally Law member firm to determine which jurisdiction may be most beneficial for your business and how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information about Ally Law member firm services and outstanding lawyers, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.