Seeking Balance: MGA Defends Operators and Protects Players
Among the most famous names in the world of gambling operations is the Malta Gaming Authority. The country has become an online gaming hub where a large number of countries have established themselves. According to LeafletCasino.com, reliable online casino operators choose Malta as their headquarters thanks to the country's focus on promoting casinos.
The Malta Gaming Authority has positioned itself as the leading licensing organization in the gambling industry. It actually cares about the operators and the players, which is why it's taking a new step to protect them. LeafletCasino experts, who rate and review top Canadian online casinos, provided their perspective on the way this situation is developing. Firmly believing that everyone interested in online gambling should be informed of the new law and legal developments, we take a look at what is going on.
Malta Gaming Authority Responsibilities
Before we dive into what's happening, let's take a look at what the MGA is. Formerly known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, the MGA is Malta's gaming control board. Its job is to authorize gambling operators in an attempt to regulate online casinos and secure players. It's a respected name regarding online casino licensing, with the best paying casinos opting to get its stamp of approval. Licensed gaming operators ensure following all the rules and regulations that relate to their services. This leads to better games, secure systems, the safety of players' funds, and much more.
MGA's licenses are usually complemented by an audit by eCOGRA or other reputable audit firms. All of these companies are independent entities that are not connected. License holders who provide games incorporating a random number generator (RNG) must ensure that the RNG is officially certified by a trustworthy audit company, potentially including eCOGRA among other eligible options. Additionally, the MGA mandates an assessment of the licensee's operations through an independent System and Compliance Audit, which can be performed by any of the approved audit firms, where eCOGRA is one of the possibilities but not the sole provider.
New Law to Protect MGA-Licensed Casino Operators
Malta's president passed a new law on June 16th of 2023. The law has ordered Maltese courts to refuse any foreign court judgments from European countries against gambling operators that hold the MGA licenses. It's been done as a result of Austrian and German legal action against certain gambling operators working in those countries.
Many Maltese-licensed companies add to the online gambling ecosystem across Europe. Caxino, Lucky Nugget, Wheelz, Ruby Fortune, Jackpot City, and Royal Vegas are among the brands that pay outlarge sums of money to players. But Austrian and German courts have ordered multiple companies to reimburse players and other entities for various reasons.
The Austrian Supreme Court, for example, ruled that PokerStars wasn't operating as per local regulations and nullified its gambling contracts. Similarly, the Frankfurt High Court penalized an unknown casino and ordered it to pay over €26,000 to a player. The reason was that the person had used the site before web-based gambling was regulated in Germany.
Bill 55: Compatibility with EU Laws
To address the concerns surrounding gambling operators and potential legal issues, the Maltese government enacted Bill 55. This legislation allows the country's courts to decline enforcement of judgments from foreign countries against Malta-licensed gaming operators. However, it's important to clarify that the law has certain limitations and does not prevent any action from being taken against a licensee. The provisions of Bill 55 only come into effect if the actions taken by either the operator or a player conflict with or undermine the legality of Malta's gambling framework and are related to lawful activity according to the Gaming Act and other regulatory instruments applicable to the Malta Gaming Authority's licensees.
The MGA has indeed taken a strong stance to defend its licensed companies against legal claims made by Austria, Germany, and other countries that seek considerable payouts for violations of European law. The court will ultimately decide if the specific criteria listed in Article 56A of the Gaming Act are met in each case before the law can be applied. The main purpose of Bill 55 is to ensure that Malta-licensed gaming companies can continue offering their services within the European Union while also adhering to legal and regulatory requirements.
Benedikt Quarch and Karim Weber are the lawyers who disagree with the MGA. They accuse the country of going against the EU's laws. Only the European Court of Justice can put the matter to rest now. The fate of many MGA-licensed operators hangs in the balance.
Players' Protection Discussions on GREF Conference
This year, the MGA attended the Gaming Regulators European Forum as a participant. The conference in Bergen was a platform for healthy discussions regarding the gaming industry. During the event, Martina Cilia, who is MGA's Senior Legal Counsel, talked about the Player Protection Directive that's been developed by the organization. This document is a clear indication of how Malta cares not only for its licensed operators but also for the players who gamble online. This is enough to kill any misunderstanding that the new bill is designed for protecting game companies alone.
The recent changes to the Player Protection Directive require operators to provide users with important information regarding responsible gambling. Casinos must also inform players of the relevant tools they can use to countermeasure problem gambling. MGA introduced various problem gambling indicators, too, that must be used by licensed platforms to recognize such a situation and handle it effectively. This is great for balancing the fun of casinos with good mental health.
With its newest law, Malta has shown its gambling licensees that it stands in their support. However, there are multiple other forces at play right now, and we don't quite know what will happen. Maybe the casinos will be forced to make one huge payout after another. Or maybe the MGA will convince the authorities that its operators indeed work within the EU law and mustn't be penalized for offering their services. At the same time the MGA also makes important steps to protect players, ensuring the gambling rules are fair and clear for all the participants. Those measures should eliminate any complaints in future and set up a peaceful gambling environment for online casino operators as well as for gamblers. Being an attorney for its licensees and a defender of casino players, the MGA remains one of the most important gambling regulators in the world.