An article by Robert Zammit has recently been published in the Spring Issue of the European Gaming Lawyer.  Robert talks about the Gaming Regulations in Malta on the 10th Anniversary since implementation and modifications that may be necessary to accommodate the changes in the industry.

While various European jurisdictions are moving towards regulating remote gaming for the first time, the Malta Remote Gaming Regulations (SL 438.04) (“Regulations”) have reached the 10 year milestone. The Regulations underwent very few changes through the years.
In fact some players in the industry have been wondering whether it is time for an overhaul to take place to accommodate changes in the business, both from a commercial and technological perspective. The new Executive Chairman of the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta has been reported in the Maltese press as emphasising the need to improve the Regulations in order to keep up with the continuous developments in the industry.
Although a complete overhaul may not be required the need to update the Regulations clearly exists if Malta is to continue being a leading jurisdiction in the industry.
From a technology perspective, operators face new opportunities which could help improve their offer, starting from virtualised computing.
Although it is somewhat understandable for a regulator to take a cautious approach towards cloud or virtualised computing due to the shared element, and the perceived higher security risk, there are various ways that such concern can be reduced to the satisfaction of all parties involved. As a start, rather than outright prohibiting cloud computing, the LGA could focus on creating a standard for the use of this technology with the help of the operators and the service providers.
As a result of permitting the use of cloud computing and embracing a more modern and practical approach, the LGA would consequently move away from physical inspection of hardware, which does not provide any additional safeguards. The paper trail currently in place for hardware inventories creates unnecessary red-tape and time-wasting. To really achieve this, the LGA should focus on creating an online reporting system both for hardware inventory and for reporting of key events, whereby licensed operators will be required to submit necessary information with regards to their technical setup, and also report any changes and incidents occurring on their system.
Another area which could do with a regulatory revamp is mobile. In 2004, a mobile was merely a mobile telephone – nowadays a mobile is much more than that. Very few imagined back then that we would be browsing the internet and installing apps on our mobiles in 10 years’ time, but this is today’s reality and mobiles have become one of the most important channels for remote gaming.
The Regulations, are technology neutral and therefore do not distinguish between channels of distribution of the remote gaming activity – being mobile, phone betting or through any other remote means. To a certain extent this was one of the perks of the Regulations. On the other hand due to the fact that there is no distinction between the channels of distribution, the Regulations do not adequately cater for the technological advancements in these channels of distribution and apply across the border without exception. In this sense they are inflexible.
There is no actual need to amend the law to cater for mobile, . The publication of guidelines in the form of a “directive” by the LGA vis-à-vis mobile gambling would suffice.
In fact directives should be utilised more often by the LGA as these can be a means of clarifying, in a transparent and unequivocal way, its interpretation and implementation of the Regulations and also as a means of providing answers to common concerns, without the need to seek an amendment to the law.
A more time-consuming exercise the LGA could undertake involves the redefinition of the license categories and consequently the licensing process. Currently the Regulations provide for 4 categories of licenses for remote gaming: 3 licenses are for business-to-consumers and 1 license for business-to-business operations. However, the current licensing process and categorisation of licenses is creating a situation where an already licensed operator who would like to add new products is required to go through the whole licensing process, which is unnecessary time consuming, considering the repetitive nature of the current process. The system could move towards 2 categories of licenses; a B2B license and a B2C license, with a more flexible and product specific approach.  Considering the current approach of operators in opting to provide multi-product offerings, this is the natural next step and the LGA should ensure that the licensing process reflects this approach by providing a quick and product-specific process.
 With so much change in the remote gaming world and in the realm of technology it is important that laws and regulations, including those which have been greatly successful such as the Regulations, are looked at and updated.