Malta Gaming Authority Publishes Post-Brexit Operator Guidelines

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has issued guidance on the action that operators need to take in readiness for the United Kingdom leaving the European Union. Current rules state that Maltese e-gaming licenses to be established in the European Economic Area, the UK would not be part of that block if the current Brexit deal is implemented.

Maltese coast

MGA addresses Brexit issues © Pixabay.

The MGA urged operators to take all “necessary measures” to ensure they are compliant with the rules. The Authority has advised that the bookmakers transfer their Malta licenses to another company in the same corporate group, an action that is allowed under article 17 of the regulations which governs the transfer of licences between license holders.

These regulations state that an operator has 30 days to inform the Malta Gaming Authority that they intend to transfer their licence with the MGA having the power to accept or deny the request. To give operators time to prepare for these changes the authority has set a deadline of 12months Operators without a license are required under regulation 22 to apply for notices of their other licences to be recognised bu the MGA. The authority confirmed that all existing recognition notices held by UK licensed bookmakers will no longer be valid once Brexit has taken place.

To help in the transition, the MGA has said they will honour all existing accepted applications that have been submitted before Brexit for a period of 12 months. After that time it will cease to be valid, and the operator will need to apply directly to the MGA for a licence or transfer a licence obtained from a country within the European Economic Area. The authority warned that failure to do so could be subject to criminal charges for breaching MGA regulations.

The MGA stated that they wanted to ensure “minimal impact” to the ongoing business of operators who operate in and from Malta and they wanted to maintain regulatory efficiency. The MGA also confirmed that all current UK financial institutions and licensed payment methods would remain valid for use.

And even though the UK would be outside the European Economic Area, the MGA said they acknowledged that some operators are based in the UK and it would have no objections to operators maintaining databases that are located in the UK.

Yesterday the likelihood of Brexit took a step closer to reality after the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill passed through the commons. Ministers approved Boris Johnson’s amended EU deal by 329 votes to 299 but minutes later rejected the PM’s timescale to have the agreement completed by 31st October. It is now widely expected that Johnson will have to ask the European Union for an extension to the Brexit deadline to avoid a no-deal scenario.

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