The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy, Silvio Schembri, has stated that over the last year some 30 gaming companies lost their licence or were turned down because they failed the Gaming Authority’s scrutiny. The Parliamentary Secretary was reacting to reports that five Italian gaming companies with criminal allegations against them in Italy will not continue to operate from Malta. The Gaming Authority suspended the licence of one of these companies, withdrew the licence of another company, and three companies refused to be investigated by the Authority.
In light of all this, Parliamentary Secretary Schembri announced details of new legislation which will start being discussed in Patliament, adding that the aim was to strengthen the Authority’s powers against criminal activity in the industry, and at the same time providing the legislative framework for the gaming industry to expand within a regulated environment, and this also in the players’ interests.
The legislation and all rules in the gaming industry are to be grouped together in a new law which has been presented in Parliament by the Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy.
The Parliamentary Secretary announced during a media conference that this draft bill is aimed at making the country’s gaming industry more efficient through a regulated framework, also in the players’ interests, and above all to strengthen the Gaming Authority’s powers against criminal activity, including money laundering.
Questioned about media reports regarding allegations about Italian companies using the industry for money laundering, Mr Schembri replied that the Authority monitors the situation continuously, and takes all the necessary action when abuses are detected. The Parliamentary Secretary added that Malta enjoys a good reputation, and this nedw legislation will continue to tighten the rules.
Mr Schembri added that “apart from the fact that the industry is growing at the rate of about 12% per annum, and through this legislation is can grow by an additional 4%; this is an important sector, and we have to give it the importance it deserves.”
The Chairman of the Gaming Authority, Joseph Cuschieri, stated that this draft has taken into consideration the fast-paced developments within the industry. Mr Cuschieri added that the bill is aiming for the Authority to be more effective in its decisions, to reduce excessive regulatory burdens and to strengthen supervision in the sector. Mr Cuschieri further stated that the bill will improve consumer protection and introduce added measures for responsible gaming.