Category: iGaming

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Malta announces a delay in the introduction of new gambling regulations

Categories iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Malta, European Commission, The Blockchain Island, E&S Group, European Parliament, Technology, Regulation, Anti Money Laundering, Malta Gaming Authority

Malta announces a delay in the introduction of new gambling regulations

Malta is awaiting the introduction of its new gambling regulations, but news broke on the 28th that these would come a bit later than planned.

The reason for the delay is being cited as comments made by the European Commission and another EU Member State, pushing forward the implementation date to July 16th, and the start date back to August 1st.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) said in a statement:

“Government and the MGA shall be reviewing and taking into account the recommendations made by the European Commission and the Member States.”

According to reports, detailed opinions were forthcoming from Finland, Poland, and the European Lotteries Association- all of which must be duly considered by the Maltese government and the MGA.

The changes to the existing law were proposed back in May 2017 and the new legislation was drafted after an extensive public consultation period with key local and international stakeholders. The new Gaming Act will replace the current rules and it is particularly focussed on licensing and the provision of gambling services. Once it comes into force, it will drastically simplify the licensing system by using just two categories of license- a B2B one and B2C one.

This new act is the first revision of the nations gaming laws since 2004 and as well as simplifying certain areas, it also aims to implement stricter controls and regulations to ensure that the industry is immune from money laundering, terrorist financing and other various financial crimes that are associated with gaming and sports betting.

This news comes alongside the announcement that the Maltese Parliament has approved three acts designed to regulate the cryptocurrency, blockchain, and ICO industries. The Virtual Financial Assets Act, the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act, and the Innovative Technology Arrangement Act will seek to provide much sought after regulatory clarity, as well as providing support and encouragement for the burgeoning sector.

This is a world first and has put Malta on the map in the world of crypto and blockchain with the small EU state even being dubbed as the “Blockchain Island”.

With these new pieces of legislation for both the iGaming industry and the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, it places Malta at the forefront of these disruptive and progressive global industries.

E&S Group can help operators within both industries set up their operations in Malta. We can assist with opening a company, applying for applicable licenses, adhering to regulations, and providing tax planning and associated services. To find out more, contact us on +356 2010 3020 or by email on [email protected]

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Why you should open a company in Malta

Categories Residence, iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Malta, Law, Bank, The Blockchain Island, E&S Group, Regulation

Why you should open a company in Malta

Choosing a jurisdiction to operate in, or a new location for a branch of your existing company can be a difficult prospect. Each country has its own pros and cons and knowing which one is best suited to your needs can be difficult to decipher.

The small island of Malta has long been a hub for iGaming, financial services, corporate services and fintech. Recently it is making a prominent name for itself in the field of cryptocurrencies and related industries. So why should you consider setting up base in Malta? What benefits does opening a company in this small, EU Member State afford?

Efficient registration procedure

The process of opening a company in Malta is relatively quick and efficient when compared to other EU jurisdictions. By enlisting the help of a specialist advisory such as E&S Group you can have a range of different company types or structures registered correctly and with minimal fuss. Directors and shareholders do not have to reside in Malta, the share capital totals EUR1164.69 with just 20% paid up upon incorporation, and as long as all documents are in order, the company can be registered within 2-3 working days.

Great fiscal incentives

Malta offers companies a highly efficient, EU compliant fiscal regime with an extensive double-taxation network. It provides a full imputation system for applicable entities, which allows shareholders to benefit from a refund of the tax paid by the company when distributions are made to them.

Tax benefits for Maltese holding companies

A Maltese holding company can be set up to hold securities, shares and business assets such as fixed assets, real estate, investment, bank accounts, aircraft, intellectual property, and yachts. The domestic tax treatment that is afforded to the income received by such companies as well as the countries participation exemption means that those choosing to set up a Malta holding company can enjoy attractive benefits as well as an excellent conduit to and from the EU.

A sound reputation

Malta has been a fully-fledged member of the EU since 2004 and since then, the country has cemented its reputation as a hub for business and new industries. In particular, it is renowned for its vast iGaming industry, its financial services industry, and now its burgeoning cryptocurrency sector. The country is home to international banks such as HSBC, BNF Bank, and Lombard, amongst others. Malta also transposed and enforced the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive and its financial services sector is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority.

Solid infrastructure

You can fly to any EU city within three hours from Malta International Airport and Dubai is around five hours away. The countries employee pool is fluent in English, Maltese and often Italian with languages such as French and German being spoken widely. Malta enjoys fast fibre internet, a high standard of IT infrastructure, an experienced and highly educated professional workforce, and a full range of specialist ancillary service providers.

Good quality of life

Last but not least, Malta ranks as a country with the highest quality of life within the EU. The country enjoys over 3000 hours of sunshine every year along with long, hot summers, and short, mild winters. As far as recreation goes, Malta is rich in history, culture, heritage, and many opportunities to socialise and network. Professionally, the University of Malta lectures in English and many professional and internationally recognised courses can be taken locally.

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

For more information click the link.

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Maltese Gaming companies can follow specific GDPR guidelines presented by MGA.

Categories iGaming, Regulatory, Malta, GDPR

Maltese Gaming companies can follow specific GDPR guidelines presented by MGA.

Last Friday 4th May, the MGA released a document with specific guidelines on the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) directive which will come to effect on May 25th, 2018 by the European Data Protection Board.

The EU Commission will enforce the GDPR directive for all EU states to follow. In effect, GDPR will be the catalyst to protect EU citizens from data privacy, thus guiding organisations across the region to observe data protection laws more seriously.

What will GDPR protect?

Previously, the EU has already passed a law on the data protection act across all EU countries. However, with the advancement of technology and scandals on big corporations stealing clients’ data from social media websites, the EU has come up with better and strict laws to protect its citizens.

The GDPR law has continued to build more specific laws on to the previous legislation which holds organisations accountable for the use and retention of personal data, enhancing individual’s rights to data privacy.

MGA guidance to GDPR

As an authority, the MGA acknowledges the Gaming industry concern about GDPR – compliance and how it can impact the industry. The MGA has presented a document to the gaming industry guiding them how to proceed. Before publishing the report, MGA has consulted with the Office of the Information and Data Protection Commissioner (IDPC), the supervisory authority responsible for regulating the application of data protection legislation. However, the MGA licensees are highly accountable to ensure all gaming companies are compliant with the GDPR and the gaming regulatory framework.

The authority expects that gaming companies will use these guidelines in par with the GDPR law. These guidelines will continuously be updated through a time when practical issues might arise. Gaming companies need to also take into consideration the legal requirements required to observe by the Maltese gaming laws without bypassing the current regulation. Also, the MGA guidelines and interpretations will not harm the Commissioner decision regarding complaints and other specific data protection issue.

The MGA has concluded the interpretations which are without prejudice for other guidelines or opinions which might be subjected by the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party.

Are you looking for services with regards to the gaming industry in Malta? Click this link for further information.

 

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Malta To Allow Acceptance of Crypto by Igaming Companies

Categories iGaming, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency

Malta To Allow use of Crypto by $100bln  Igaming Industry

The  Malta Gaming Authority, one of the world’s biggest authority when it comes to online gaming, has just issued a white paper to consult on the use and acceptance of Crypto by online gaming companies. This is massive news for crypto in general. Malta’s IGaming industry, an industry that has huge international companies like Betsson, is thought to generate over $100 billion in turnover. By allowing gaming companies to start accepting crypto, Malta once again has placed itself on the forefront as a crypto jurisdiction. This follows the news of major exchange, Binance, opening up in Malta as well as the imminent introduction of the new legislation regulating ICOs.

This follows a speech by Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat said that cryptocurrency will become the “future money”. Prime minister  Muscat asked his audience: “Have any of you ever thought about what gives paper money its value when it’s ultimately just pieces of paper? It is because society attributes value to it. Now some people, who in my opinion are geniuses, are arguing that value can similarly be attributed to virtual currencies.”

If Malta’s government will continue in this approach, the island will inevitably see more companies using blockchain technology embarking on Maltese shores.

Are you looking for ICO Legal Advice? Click this link to know more.

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Malta’s New Commercial law speeds up Gaming Business Court proceedings.

Categories iGaming, Remote Gaming, Law

Malta’s New Commercial law speeds up Gaming Business Court proceedings.

On Friday 23rd March, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici confirmed that a new addition to the commercial law is in its final stages. This law will be in force on the 9th of April, even though it still requires support by the judiciary before it is passed through Parliament. The government sought the necessity to speed the company law court. Through this process, it will maintain efficient and high-quality courts.

In addition, the courts have been waiting for the changes in the Commercial law. Initially, the significance of the law was to address issues citizens involved in business structures encountered in the commercial industry.  Moreover, through the Company’s Act, gaming businesses will obtain quicker court proceedings, in cases such as bankruptcy, insolvency proceedings, and winding-up proceedings. Hon. Silvio Schembri stated that by Commercial law, it will strengthen Malta’s competitiveness, thus reducing bureaucracy for companies.

For further information regarding our service in Malta’s Gaming Industry please visit this link.

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The MGAs New Gaming Bill to be Tabled in Parliament

Categories iGaming, Malta, Law

The MGAs New Gaming Bill to be Tabled in Parliament

The Hon. Silivio Schembri, The Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & innovation has announced that a motion has been presented in Parliament for the first reading of the new Gaming Bill. This bill will seek to repeal all the existing legislation and replace it with a single Act of Parliament, along with additional subsidiary legislation that will comprehensively cover gaming regulation as well as technical aspects. Also undergoing a regulatory overhaul are a series of technical directives and guidelines that are currently under consultation by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for eventual rollout and publication by the regulator, once the Act is finalised and enforced.

“This Bill marks a major step in streamlining and encompassing the governance of all gaming services offered in and from Malta and across all channels under the competence of the MGA. The Government wants to ensure that the gaming industry continues to be run responsibly, fairly and free from criminal activity, so that the Maltese jurisdiction provides a safe and well regulated environment where the industry can also develop and innovate”, Hon. Silvio Schembri said.

Within the Bill, the Maltese Government is laying the foundations so that the MGA has he applicable resources and powers to be able to effectively regulate the online gaming sector to protect customers through the use of evidence based methodologies. Hon. Schembri added, “we hope to remove any red tape by increasing efficiency and flexibility for the Regulator, whilst improving the robustness of the current framework and focusing regulation on outcomes” whilst adding that the proposals within the bill will not only further enhance the outstanding reputation of the Maltese jurisdiction within the iGaming world, but it will also help to grow the industry by 4%.

The proposed framework will also play a big part in the strengthening of the MGAs stance on compliance and enforcement in regards to concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations. It allows the MGA to be more proactive in its decision making whilst decreasing the unnecessary regulatory burdens and strengthening supervisory capabilities.

Other key areas that have been outlies in the bill include enhancing consumer protection standards, responsible gaming measures, reporting of suspicious sports betting transactions and objective-orientated standards to encourage further innovation and development within the sector. The bill that will be presented in parliament is the result of a significant amount of public consultation, led by the MGA and leading industry stakeholders, and of course, members of the public. They have drawn on findings from technical studies, and economic and financial impact assessments. The public consultation was launched back in July 2017 and included input from all areas of the industry including 53 different local and foreign parties.

Some key points from the proposed Gaming Act include:
  • Replacing the current multi-licence system with a system in which there will be two different types of licences – a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence and a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence – covering different types of activities across multiple distribution channels;
  • Moving towards an objective-based rather than excessively prescriptive regulatory approach, to allow for innovation whilst ensuring that the regulatory objectives are attained;
  • Broadening the regulatory scope to increase MGA oversight and allow for intervention where necessary and in a proportionate manner;
  • Widening the MGA’s powers under the compliance and enforcement functions to better achieve the regulatory objectives, in line with concurrent developments on anti-money laundering and funding of terrorism obligations;
  • Segmenting the Key Official role into various key functions within a licensed activity, requiring approval, for direct scrutiny and targeted supervisory controls, thereby raising the bar for persons of responsibility within a gaming operation;
  • Strengthening the player protection framework by formalising the mediatory role of the MGA’s Player Support Unit, enshrining segregation of player funds at law and moving towards a unified self-exclusion database across both remote and land-based delivery channels;
  • Introducing new and more effective processes for criminal and administrative justice, including the allocation of appeals from decisions of the Authority to the Administrative Review Tribunal and the introduction of a distinction between administrative and criminal offences;
  • Introducing the concept of administration to protect an operation in distress and, if necessary, to assist the winding down of an operation, thereby protecting jobs and player funds;
  • Moving towards automated reporting, facilitating adherence to regulatory obligations and strengthening the Authority’s oversight;
  • Bolstering the Authority’s role in the fight against manipulation of sports competitions by introducing new obligations on operators to monitor sports betting and report suspicious bets, in line with the efforts being made by the National Anti-Corruption Task Force in which the Authority also actively participates;
  • Exempting B2B licensees from gaming tax, thus increasing Malta’s competitiveness as a hub for B2B activities.

For further information regarding our service in Malta’s Gaming Industry please visit this link.

 

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Malta Gaming Authority together with MCAST launching European Gaming Institute of Malta.

Categories Business, Employment, Economy, iGaming, Remote Gaming, Regulatory, MaltaTags , ,

The (EGIM) European Gaming Institute of Malta was officially launched yesterday at the offices of the MGA.

The Gaming Institute was launched together with the MCAST and the MGA and will officially set up a course at MCAST which will equip students with necessary skillset and knowledge for working in the gaming industry.

Junior Minister for Financial Services, Digital Econ. & Innovation Silvio Schembri stressed out that one of his first priorities when he took over the office was launching of the Gaming Institute which will bring professionalism and skills of gaming workforce to another level. Malta has been one of the most proactive jurisdictions in the gaming industry, and the launch of the Gaming Institute is another way to illustrate its determination to remain in the leading position within the gaming industry.

Besides transparent, effective and efficient regulatory framework, professional, educated and skilled workforce will help Malta operators to achieve even higher standard of providing gaming related services in products.

The gaming industry already provides more than 12% of the local GDP growth, Schembri said, with an equivalent sum of €560 million. It has recently become the third biggest economy pillar in Malta.

Joseph Cuschieri, the Malta Gaming Authority Chairman said that EGIM was first announced in the 2015 budget, and commented as follows:

“We know MCAST has the necessary resources and the know-how to give such a course.”

 

www.ellulschranz.com

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E&S Consultancy nominated as ‘Legal Firm of the Year’

Categories Business, iGaming, Remote Gaming, MaltaTags , , , , , ,

E&S Consultancy, the Corporate and advisory arm of E&S Group, has been shortlisted as a finalist for the  ‘Legal Firm of the Year’ award, at this year’s Malta IGaming Awards. These will be held on the 22nd November 2017 during the Malta Gaming Week , which is organized by SiGMA. The Malta Gaming Week is an annual appointment where all major International stakeholders within the iGaming industry meet up to discuss all the latest developments and trends in the industry, as well as to discuss what to expect in the year ahead. They have an award process that recognises correct industry practise, innovation and positive contribution to the growth of the industry. This is very motivation for our team to ensure we maintain the highest level of service and constant improvement of our practices.

Even more importantly, The Awards’ Dinner  is a Charity event organized by SiGMA and hosted by BiG Foundation to support those in need. E&S Group is proud to be able to contribute to such a good cause. While wishing the best of luck to all nominees, we look forward to meeting you at the Awards’ Dinner.

www.ellulschranz.com

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MFSA Consults on Investments in Virtual Currencies

Categories Business, Modern, Economy, iGaming, Remote Gaming, Financial Services, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, RegulatoryTags , , , , , , ,

With the fast pace of technological development in the world, Malta aims to become the first country in Europe to regulate virtual currencies. Changes are inevitable, and constant development needs to be embraced and adapted to. Especially for Malta being an iGaming and financial services hub, virtual currency can’t be ignored, therefore authorities representing the industries which are directly effected by technological development, and virtual currencies in particular, had to take this matter seriously, especially considering possible involved risks.

Malta Financial Services Authority has launched a consultation paper on the regulatory framework for regulation of virtual currencies. The paper proposes rules and policies to be introduced to ensure market integrity and investor’s protection.

Guidelines are being  developed to regulate PIFs (Professional Investor Funds), which objective is to invest in virtual currencies. Furthermore, the Authority is considering a possibility of AIFs (Alternative Investment Funds) to be able to invest into virtual currencies.

Considering the risks associated with the collective investment schemes including virtual currencies in their portfolios, the Authority decides that structures for PIFs opting for such investments should be limited to SICAV and INVCO structures. Reason for such decision being that such structures are required to have a board of Directors caring the responsibility for the overall conduct of business of these collective investment schemes.

The consultation paper is primarily developed on the existing background of rules applicable to PIFs, adding further rules which are designed specifically to limit and mitigate the risks associated with virtual currencies and investment in such. The proposed framework primarily aims at protecting the investors’ interests through imposing specific requirements on governing authorities of the collective investment schemes, as well as collective investment schemes’  service providers in relation to risk warnings, quality assessment, risk management and required competence level, besides others.

Proposals are still subject to revision based on the feedback to be received from the stakeholders of the industry. Stakeholders are to submit their feedback for further consideration by the Malta Financial Services Authority by no later than 10th November, 2017.

Contact us to find out more about virtual currencies and blockchain on [email protected], by calling us on +356 20 10 30 20 or  via our live chat!

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Proposed Regulatory Changes for a Class-4 MGA licence

Categories iGaming, Remote Gaming, RegulatoryTags , , , , , , ,

Some regulatory changes of a Malta Gaming Act are just around the corner, and the consultation is currently open to the industry players. On the 12th July 2017, the Malta Gaming Authority (“MGA”) has published a white paper which aims to overhaul the regulatory regime for gaming in Malta.

We prepared for you a short summary of what changes are proposed in the current working paper. If you currently hold an MGA Class 4 licence or are in the application process for one, the below is designed specially for you!

Class 4 license will be replaced with the MGA B2B license automatically for those operators who already hold the license. Here is the comparison of the current situation and proposed changes in terms of costs and fees payable to the Regulator for a B2B license.

 

APPLICATION FEE

 

 

Current Proposed
Application Fee € 2,330 € 5,000
License validity 5 years 10 years
License renewal € 1,500 (payable before the lapse of the 5th year) € 5,000 (payable before the lapse of the 10th year)

 

 

ANNUAL LICENSE COST

 

Current Proposed
Annual Fee € 8,500 No annual fee
Gaming Tax [€ 4,600 per month]

€55,200 TOTAL PER YEAR

Depends on revenue bracket

Annual revenue up to €5,000,000 – € 25,000

Annual revenue between €5,000,001 and € 10,000,000 – €30,000

Annual Revenue over €10,000,000 – € 35,000

TOTAL ANNUAL LICENSE COST € 63,500 Maximum – € 35,000

 

As the White Paper is still in the stage of a consultation, the changes brought to your attention are not final, and not all of them might be enforced. Nevertheless we work hard to keep you updated and aware of how the overhaul might influence your business activity in the future. Contact us today on +356 20103020 or by mail at [email protected] to discuss possible opportunities which may arise after the changes are enforced. Our team is well-equipped and experienced and will be happy to advise you on legal, gaming, corporate and tax matters to ensure efficiency and optimization of your business activity!

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