MGA lifts one licence suspension so far after flurry of regulatory action

The Malta Gaming Authority has lifted one of the two gaming licences it suspended this month, along with one cancellation, after what was seen as a cosmetic flurry of regulatory action as the European Commission is asking questions about the recently-revised Gaming Act.

Just days after flexing its regulatory muscle by suspending the licence of Green Feather – which owns and operates,,,, and – the MGA has said the suspension “has been lifted following prompt action and cooperation from the operator.

“The authorisation is, thus, no longer suspended and the authorised person is authorised to carry out gaming operations.”

The suspension notice listed relatively minor infractions related to its submission of financial information, with the MGA saying management accounts and financial statements were not submitted within the required timeframe.

The European Parliament and European Commission are asking the government for more information on a new law passed just before parliament went into summer recess that could be deemed anti-competitive on an EU level.

In what industry sources say is a move aimed at bolstering credibility after new legislation passed in June effectively barred foreign claims against Maltese betting companies, the MGA took three regulatory actions in the first week of August alone when it took only six other similar moves over the first seven months of the year (one licence cancellation in February, two in April, one in May, one in June when the controversial amendments to the Gaming Act were passed and one in July).

So far this month, the MGA also suspended the licences of SFJL Holding Limited following gaming regulation breaches. According to the MGA statement, the SFJL failed to notify about changes within the company.

On 2 August, the MGA also announced the cancellation of EGMIT Elite Limited’s gaming service licence. Again, the identified included failing to submit financial information on time, failing to pay due taxes and fees and failing to meet commitments to players in a timely manner. The MGA said filed a police report and initiated liquidation proceedings against the company.

‘Put an end to illegal gambling and the protection thereof’

The regulatory activity comes as the European Commission is asking the Maltese government for more information on its new and supposedly improved Gaming Act aimed at shielding Malta-based iGaming companies from litigation in other Member States.

The Commission recently said in reply to a European parliamentary question it was aware of Malta’s draft legislation and that it “is in the process of assessing the compatibility of the draft Bill with EU law and requested the Maltese authorities to provide further information”.

Once it receives and analyses its feedback from the government, the Commission will then “decide on the appropriate follow-up steps” to be taken.

Bill No. 55, known as The Gaming Act amendment, introduces a number of changes to “codify in law the longstanding public policy of Malta encouraging the establishment of gaming operators in Malta.”

The bill provides that legal action cannot be brought against a Maltese licensee company, or officials working for a licensee company about the provision of online gaming services as licensed by the MGA. The bill also stipulates that the Maltese courts should refuse recognition or enforcement of any sentence or decision taken by a foreign court in this regard.

German MEP Markus Buchheit also has answers to a parliamentary question pending from the Commission. Buchheit is pressing for answers about the Gaming Act, saying, “Malta is known for being the centre of online gambling, which is illegal in most EU countries.

“It has meanwhile just adopted a law that prevents other Member States from having judgments enforced in Malta to recover players’ losses.

“The question is, therefore, what will the Commission do to put an end to illegal gambling and the protection thereof, which is incompatible with the internal market?”

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