Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November, 2021 at 12:48 pm by Andre Camilleri
Christian Farrugia, senior Corporate administrator at Fenlex Corporate Services
In October, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) published several updates to the Gaming Authorisations and Compliance Directive, which was originally implemented in 2018 (Directive 3). Said changes primarily relate to key function roles and requirements, with an increased focus on academic qualifications and continuous professional development for key function holders. To complement this, a new Policy on the Eligibility and Ongoing Competency Criteria for Key Persons, was also published.
Other changes include financial auditors’ declarations and assurances during the submission of operators’ audited financial statements and suspicious betting reporting requirements.
The publication has now led to the absorption of several key roles, specifically removing:
- Financial Affairs Representative
- Information Security Representative
- Risk Management Representative
- Marketing and Advertising Representative
- Player Support Representative
- Responsible Gaming Representative
- Prevention of Fraud Representative
The Gaming Operations role is now responsible for management of financial obligations of licence (including tax and fees), the management of the risk strategies for the operation of the licensee and the prevention of fraud. Furthermore, the Compliance role is now also responsible for Responsible Gaming, obligations relating to player support, marketing, promotional schemes and sports integrity. In addition, the Technological Affairs role is now also responsible for network and information security.
This now creates a more concise list of key functions, namely:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Gaming Operations Representative
- Legal Affairs Representative
- Data Protection Officer
- Technological Affairs Representative
- Compliance Representative
- AML & CFT
- Internal Auditor
While the obligation for operators to inform the MGA of a key function holder resignation remains three working days, there is now a new obligation to determine a replacement within no more than 15 working days. During vacancies, the responsibilities will fall under the remit of the legal representatives of the operator, namely the directors.
Key function holders must be academically qualified to hold a role; however, the MGA is aware of situations in which professional experience is a more determining factor and can approve an individual on this basis. Applicants may also be subjected to an interview as part of the MGA’s assessment for suitability.
Approved key function holders are expected to undergo ongoing training to remain up to date on developments in their respective fields and show that they have attained a minimum number of Continuous Professional Development hours during each calendar year.
New Key Function Timelines
With immediate effect, new Key Function applications shall be made in line with the above updates.
By the end of May 2022, any existing Key Function holders are to notify the MGA should they wish to retain their key function certificate for the MGA to issue a fresh certificate in line with the amendments and the eligibility criteria. By the end of September 2022, the MGA shall either approve or reject such applications.
By the end of December 2022, licencees are to provide the MGA with the new list of Key Function holders in accordance with the amended directive. By the end of March 2023, the MGA shall either approve or reject same.
Auditor Declarations and Assurances
In addition to the existing submission requirements for management accounts and audited financial statements, the operator’s auditor is now required to provide separate letters of comfort, distinct from the auditor’s report submitted in terms of International Financial Reporting Standards, confirming the following:
- that the licensee is compliant with its obligations in terms of the Gaming Tax Regulations and the Gaming Licence Fees Regulations; and
- for B2C licensees, the player funds, the jackpot funds, as well as the portion of Player Funds Account balance which fall under the MGA licence.
Suspicious Betting Reporting Requirements
With retroactive effect from 1 January for B2C providers (and from 20 October for B2B providers), licencees must notify the MGA of any instance of suspicious betting. This also applies to situations which may lead to one or more bets being voided owing to a suspicion of the manipulation of the sport and, or sporting event to which they relate.
Should you require any further information or assistance on the matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to us personally on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The information provided on this Update does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. All information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. This update may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information and you are advised to seek updated advice.
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