The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is now exploring the possibility of signing the Macolin Convention, a document that they have avoided since 2014. If this decision is made, the Macolin Convention would redefine illegal sports betting.

This means that any sports betting activities operated from Malta would be considered illicit in all jurisdictions that deem them illegal. This represents a major shift in the government’s position, as they previously allowed players from any country where sports betting operated in Malta was considered illegal to participate.

The MGA has sought legal advice from Van Bael & Bellis law firm to fully understand the implications of signing and ratifying the Macolin Convention. In 2021, Malta received multiple recommendations from international advisors to adopt a convention as a gesture of good faith. By doing so, Malta could have avoided being grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Unfortunately, Malta chose not to sign the convention at that time and as a result, they were placed on the FATF’s grey list in June 2021. However, Malta was later removed from the increased monitoring program within a year.

The recent shift in position aligns with the implementation of the Gaming Amendment Act, which was proposed in June. This act seeks to formalize Malta’s commitment to promoting gaming operators within the country. Additionally, it protects Maltese license holders and their representatives from legal repercussions regarding online gaming services regulated by the MGA. Notably, this legislation also restricts the acknowledgement of foreign court judgments. However, the bill has faced significant scrutiny from the EU, with the European Parliament and European Commission requesting further clarification due to concerns of potential anti-competitive aspects.

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