NEW SKILL GAMING LICENSING PLANNED BY MALTA REGULATOR
Draft proposals currently with European Commission.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has followed up on its skill games consultation last year by drafting new regulations permitting the licensing of such games, which have been submitted to the European Commission.
In essence, and subject to operators meeting the defined parameters of the regulations, the new licensing initiative will create a fresh category of licensing, enabling daily fantasy sports operators to apply for "light touch" regulation in Malta.
The MGA is awaiting EC approval, but hopes this will be forthcoming, making it possible to issue the new licenses some time next year.
In the interim, the MGA has issued a legal notice that exempts DFS from the Lotteries and Other Games Act with effect from August 1, 2016.
The MGA definition of DFS reads thus:
”Fantasy Sports” and, or “Fantasy Sports Game” means a contest played for money or money’s worth whereby the winning outcome is determined predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player, and where the results are determined by the accumulation of statistical results of the performance of a number of individuals in sporting events, but shall not include the forecast of the score, point spread or any other future occurrence of one or multiple events, and for the avoidance of doubt, the definition of a “bet” as defined in the Act shall not be applicable.”
The MGA has warned that operators aspiring to obtain the new licensing, which will be recognised throughout the EU, will have to show that they are responsible and honest.
Whilst rummy is included in the present skill games definition, poker is not, but the corollary is clear, and operators stand a good chance of convincing the regulator that the vertical should be classed as a skill game, or at the very least a mixed skill game.
For example, one of the tests for skill games that the regulator has suggested in its position paper may be appropriate posits that games where "a skilled player is able to win more than 56 percent of matches," are games of skill rather than chance.
Operators could also point to a precedent in the Supreme Court in India, which has defined rummy and poker equally as games of skill.