Gambling Legislation

The European Commission wants Malta to explain its gambling legislation

The online gaming hub is coming under increased scrutiny over its policies

The European Commission (EC) has asked the Maltese government for more information about the proposed changes to Malta’s Gambling Act, which have raised concerns about their compatibility with EU law. The European Commission has announced that it will examine Malta’s controversial Bill 55, which seeks to provide legal safeguards for Malta-based iGaming businesses from litigation in other EU member states.

The Shift News reports that Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, stated that the Commission is currently reviewing the draft legislation and will determine whether it complies with EU regulations. Reynders responded to a written inquiry from German MEP Sabine Verheyen, highlighting the need for more details from Maltese authorities before any follow-up actions are taken.

The Member of the European Parliament (MEP) asked the EC several questions, including whether the proposed bill aligns with European law and what steps the Commission will take if it finds any violations. Reynders reiterated that the Commission has no information regarding potential connections between the local gambling industry and the Maltese government.

Bill 55, also known as the Gaming Amendment Act, was approved by the Maltese Parliament in June. It intends to formalize the country’s long-standing practice of supporting gambling businesses within its borders. The amendments have a limited scope and don’t control any legitimate legal action against licensees. However, some foreign judgments against licensees won’t be recognized in Malta, as they are deemed to be against the country’s public policy.

Offshore online casinos offering their services in regions where they lack proper licensing have been in a grey area in the online gambling industry for many years. If Bill 55 is passed, it could potentially protect operators in the European grey market from lawsuits related to their gaming activities, further complicating the already contentious issue of European freedom of services.

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