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MGA Plans A Cryptocurrency Legalisation At Online Casinos

Malta’s government has advanced its plans for a cryptocurrency legalisation  and allow the usage of so called cryptocurrencies, as for example Bitcoins at online casinos.

To effectively regulate the digital currency in gaming, a detailed technical study was already commissioned by the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority), which is in charge of supervising the offline as well as the online casinos operations in Malta.

Joseph Cushier the Executive Chairman of MGA, is convinced that cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technologies are rising innovations. Therefore, they want to determine carefully which opportunities but also which potential risks they hold if they are adapted to the gaming industry.

Cuschieri indicates: “The shape and form of the framework governing cryptocurrencies will be announced in due course and once the risk assessment is carried out. Once the results of the study are evaluated, the MGA will make its position official on how cryptocurrencies will be adopted.”

The Maltese government is convinced by the potential and the opportunities Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies hold. Therefore, they intend to boost their development in the country aggressively. Aim is to position Malta as one of the leading users of digital currencies and Blockchain worldwide.

During the launch of the government’s Blockchain strategy, in April 2017, Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stated, that the country should be one of the first to adopt Blockchain.

During the launch Muscat said: “We must be on the frontline in embracing this crucial innovation, and we cannot just wait for others to take action and copy them. We must be the ones that others copy.”

Silvio Schembri, the Digital Economy Parliamentary Secretary, has announced that, in order to attract Blockchain companies to the current project, the Maltese government is already committed to introduce the ledger technology to the public.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

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Journey of Ikibu continues in Germany

The online casino launches its German site on September 1st. The improvement shows the iGaming world that the young casino keeps on its expansion throughout Europe. German will be the fifth language to be live on Ikibu, alongside English, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish.

“The German site has been one of our main projects for 2017”, states Ikibu’s CEO, Rafael Rios. “Our goal is to reach the maximum number of countries and to make the user experience smoother for all players. Germany is the most populated country in the European Union so it made sense to give all the German players the option to enjoy the Casino Journey in their native language”, declares Rios.
Players will not be the only ones benefitting from this feature. The other main group will be the affiliates. “Being live in German is something many affiliates have been anxiously waiting for”, says
Julian Kunimine, Head of Affiliates. “Many of them have already congratulated us for the German launch and are eager to promote us in Germany. It is one of the biggest markets you can operate in and, although we already have some presence in Germany, this dedicated launch will make us reach a higher number of potential players”, affirms Kunimine.

Less than a year after its creation, Ikibu has positioned itself strongly within the iGaming industry. Its unique gamification system has been widely praised by both players and affiliates. Ikibu is backed by an exceptionally original design, which has thousands of fans among the British and Scandinavian markets. Now that the site is going live in German, Ikibu is moving towards reaching their goal: being the reference for an online casino in Northern Europe. In Germany, as in the rest of European countries, Ikibu will be regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority. The Maltese license guarantees that the casino acts in accordance with the European authorities and that the players’ data will not be used for any other purposes than approved operating procedures for a gambling institution.

In addition to the German site launch, further improvements will be introduced the upcoming months. During 2017 Ikibu will also upgrade their Shop. The new Shop is going through a structural redesign which will make it more attractive to players by improving the UX. With the renewed face, Ikibu strongly believes that the Seed Trade System will establish itself as the ultimate form of casino currency. And that’s not all. The Ikibu Races, the unique head-to-head competitions between players, will also experience an improvement. In the next months, the online casino will launch their innovative and exciting Spark-Races, an upgrade that “will revolutionize the social casino competitions”.

These series of events only include some of the new launches that their players will get to see as Ikibu continues enhancing the Casino Journey. “Ikibu is living a great 2017, but we feel confident that we are looking forward to an even greater 2018”, concludes Rios.

Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

Are you an operator looking for top affiliates? Are you a top affiliate looking for a nice treat with like-minded affiliates playing at the same level?

Malta gearing up for blockchain revolution

The Maltese government has started revealing details of an ambitious plan to turn the island into one of the first countries in the world to embrace the blockchain technology.

iGaming, Digital Economy Junior Minister Silvio Schembri said that the plans are twofold – for blockchain to be rolled out across the board in the public sector and for Malta to become a hub for international companies that operate on the technology.

“We already have all the elements in place to embrace blockchain – a gaming sector and a robust gaming authority, a strong financial services sector, a reliable ICT infrastructure, an attractive taxation system, and a flexible and pro-business government,” he said in an interview with MT.

“We’ve heard enough about the opportunities posed by blockchain and it’s now time to put words into action to create new opportunities for both citizens and the economy. It’s my priority to turn this vision into a reality.”

The plan is to implement blockchain across the public sector, most notably in the Lands Registry – which will be made public – and the national health registries.

Hon. Schembri added that a project to promote blockchain in the education sector will also be announced by the education ministry in the coming days.
has said it is his priority to pioneer Malta into embracing blockchain.

silvio-schembri

Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Silvio Schembri, responsible for the Government’s new Blockchain policy

‘Blockchain is the new iGaming’ 

On a macro-level, Schembri said the government plans to turn Malta into a hub for businesses that operate on blockchain, in a similar fashion as it had attracted iGaming companies.

These will include companies that offer services in smart contracts, which use blockchain technology to verify and enforce business contracts quickly and in a manner that is non-tamperable – essentially cutting out the lawyers.

To this end, a new authority will be set up to regulate the new industry and to hand out licences to them as the Malta Gaming Authority does to gaming companies.

As with iGaming, the aim will be for these companies to boost the Maltese economy through taxes, licence fees, and economic consumption of their Malta-based employees.

“There are many of these companies out there who are itching to have a proper licence under which to operate, and we could be the first in Europe – if not the world – to provide them,” Schembri said. “Some oil companies are interested in shifting to blockchain – can you imagine how much money we can earn through taxation if they register in Malta?”

He added that Malta would have an edge in attracting these companies because the Labour government is particularly business-friendly – ministers and even the Prime Minister often agree to meet up with businesspeople only a few days after receiving an e-mail request.

“This government is very accessible and it doesn’t shy away from taking decisions, even controversial ones, if they are in the country’s best interests.”

Blockchain, Cryptocorrencies and Disruptive Tech will take centre stage this year at SiGMA, with a dedicated conference and world class speakers from all over the world. Registration for this summit is open, with a sold out floor plan and around eighty startups and VCs lined up for the Startup Pitch.

Sky Betting and Gaming applies for local licence

Sky Betting and Gaming, one of the UK’s leading online bookmakers, has applied for a sports betting licence in Malta.It is the biggest online player by customer numbers in the UK market.

Sky betting & Gaming

Headquartered in Leeds and led by chief executive Richard Flint, Sky Betting & Gaming was formed in 2001 and now has a team of 1,200 employees.

It has offices in Sheffield, London, Rome and Munich, recently expanded into Italy and has plans to do the same in Germany soon.

Sky Betting & Gaming today operates five major online products – Bet, Vegas, Casino, Poker, and Bingo – as well as leading sports affiliate Oddschecker. Sky Betting and Gaming was recently valued at £800million.

The Gaming Authority has received 59 applications from gaming companies in the first four months of the year and approved 36 of them.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had yesterday hinted at gaming application, telling journalists that a “household name” in the gaming sector was seeking to relocate to Malta.

Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

 

LCB on Maltese approach to gambling regulation

For all its advantages, gambling online can be a dangerous endeavor. In an age when our favorite casino games are only a click away, it is hard to believe that such a wide-spread phenomenon is still lacking a global legal framework to protect both operators and consumers. Instead, we find ourselves caught in a confusing whirlwind of constant changes, where we’re never really sure where we stand in legal terms. Regulations differ from country to country, from one venue to another, and often stand opposed to each other, complicating matters even further. Players quickly learn that to pass unscathed in this dynamic environment; there are safety measures to be taken first.

The first thing most of us look for in a casino is an appropriate license issued by an established authority. A valid permit should not be easy to come by nor to keep, so we take it as an indicator of a trustworthy company. There exist many licensing jurisdictions in the world today, a fact that poses another dilemma for both players and the companies seeking to operate a gaming site: which of them is of the highest merit?

There is no absolute answer to this question – all governing institutions have certain advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the kind of assurance they provide. One of the oldest and best known legislative establishments is the Malta Gaming Authority.

Malta was the first of the EU member states to regulate gambling on the Internet. Looking for ways to boost its economic growth, the country recognized the potential of the increasingly popular remote gaming and chose to cultivate this entertainment branch by giving the sector a set of necessary control measures. The framework implemented when the industry as a whole lacked coherent regulations, and as such, it’s considered a standard today. Malta is among the world’s largest and most popular jurisdictions, having issued licenses to more than 200 operators since its conception.

Simplified Application Procedures

The MGA used to grant multiple types of licenses relating to different gaming categories and platforms. Operators who wanted to run casino games, betting on sports and poker all within the same website, as well as on desktop and mobile, had to acquire a permission for each of these, making the procedures overly long and complicated. It was improved upon in 2004 when the legislation was corrected to simplify the application processes. In this respect, the license classes that the MGA now awards are closer in type to most other jurisdictions.

Low cost

International companies are attracted to Malta due to the affordable corporate and income taxes. Annual fees vary depending on the type and number of licenses granted, but a maximum gaming tax does not exceed €460,000. While some others, like Curacao, charge nothing whatsoever, the MGA fees can still be considered competitive.

Fair Conditions

The requirements and protocols that the MGA imposes on applicants and license holders are quite rigorous but fair. Regarding the difficulty of obtaining approval, they can be considered middle ground between the strictest and the most lenient that exist today. Companies must be, at least in part, physically located in Malta. Solid reputation and the outline of a business plan are expected of all applicants. To run a proper business, ensure player protection and prevent money laundering, casinos must maintain financial records and monthly reports of player balances, follow data security protocols and endorse responsible gaming. One notable condition, not all jurisdictions require is the certification of fairness obtained six months prior – this ensures the software is using random number generators to produce the outcomes of the games. Furthermore, in a case of any changes to the already certified software, the company must be audited again.

Malta is also the only governing body to keep track of online casinos that falsely claim to hold their licenses – the list is published and updated accordingly on the official website.

Effective Support Functions are in the Works

In recent times, the MGA has been focusing on improving the laws relating to player support and protection. This segment criticized in the past as inadequate has the jurisdiction promising higher quality services to match those offered to operators. A particular emphasis is given to support options directly with authority itself, and to this end, they have recently implemented a live chat function on the website.

In addition to monthly audits of player funds, licensed casinos ensure all customers are of legal age and have the options of self-limitation, self-exclusion and access to the Responsible Gaming Foundation to promote responsible gambling and helping risk players.

Due to the experience, longevity, stringency and the fact that many established casinos operate under its supervision, Malta has earned a reputable status in the industry. Holding a strong position as one of the most attractive European-based regulators, it remains committed to enhancing fraud prevention, as well as consumer support.

Have you attended SiGMA last year? Relive the highlights from our last show and stay tuned for this year’s SiGMA. Watch out for what we’re branding as the ‘iGaming Village’ this year.

MGA grants first ever B2B Skill Games Licence to Oulala

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has granted their very first official controlled B2B skill games licence to the Malta-based daily fantasy football operator Oulala Games Ltd.

 CEO Valery Bollier and Managing Director Benjamin Carlotti of Oulala

CEO Valery Bollier and Managing Director Benjamin Carlotti of Oulala

Oulala, the award-winning fantasy football platform for API integration and a complete turnkey solution, has updated stakeholders announcing that they have reached their founder’s goal of being ‘regulated separately from other iGaming activities’, a goal they had set out to attain four years ago.

The B2B-focused company has stated that this MGA B2B approval represents an important corporate milestone.

Due to the lack of strategic regulation for fantasy sports, Oulala was unable to operate legally within the UK market and thus needed to acquire a remote gambling licence in order to operate there.

 

Benjamin Carlotti on the right speaking at one of the SiGMA16 conferences

Benjamin Carlotti on the right speaking at one of the SiGMA16 conferences

The MGA has been the first in Europe to recognise the impact of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) and a need for a special licence. Benjamin Carlotti, one of the co-founders and Managing Director at Oulala explains: “The authorities in Malta were the first in foretelling the impact of DFS’s potential in Europe, and the MGA was, in fact, the first regulator to acknowledge our needs”

The MGA has in fact spent over two years examining and working on a new licence category for controlled skill games which will allow a better European-wide regulation of DFS operators and industry needs, defining it as a game of skill as opposed to gambling.

Joseph Cuschieri

Joseph Cuschieri

Executive Chairman of MGA, Joseph Cuschieri commented: “The Malta Gaming Authority is pleased to be issuing a B2B licence for fantasy sports to OulalaGames Ltd under the new skill games regulations.”

Mr Cuschieri continued: “Malta’s regulatory framework ensures a high standard of player protection and game fairness whilst allowing operators space for growth and innovation. It is for this reason that operators such as Oulala have chosen Malta as their primary place of establishment.”

The controlled skilled licence is valid for five years and can be used for either B2C and/or B2B purposes and subject to a number of requirements, including segregation of operational and players.

Further to the update, Carlotti concluded: “We are incredibly proud to be participating in the development of a licensing framework that regulates skill-based games, fantasy sports included. This was a highly significant step in the right direction, and our hope is that other European regulators will soon follow suit.”

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

MGA grant first ever B2B lottery betting license to Lotto Warehouse

Malta-based lottery betting igaming platform provider Lotto Warehouse Ltd has been granted the first ever B2B Class 4 platform license to host and manage betting on the outcome of lotteries by the Malta Gaming Authority.

An industry first in terms of jackpot coverage, the MGA licence will allow Lotto Warehouse the opportunity to offer other operators a chance to add a portfolio of lottery betting products to their platforms which also include the world’s biggest jackpots.

With its headquarters in St Julian’s Malta, Lotto Warehouse was set up in Q4 of 2016. It is already home to 25 employees and the company’s recruitment drive is expected to increase to 75 by the end of 2017. Their prime goal is of allowing B2C operators to add secondary lottery products to their portfolio of games with ease and integration flexibility.

Operators who sign up to Lotto Warehouse will have two options between running the standard betting platform or running a design customised portfolio of secondary lottery games.

CEO of Lotto Warehouse Thomas Biro stated: “We are very excited to be able to offer licensed B2C operators the chance to add an exciting new lottery betting vertical to their platforms.”

“Following an extensive jurisdictional search, we decided to establish ourselves in Malta, Europe’s true gaming business capital.

“The MGA is a rigorous, yet flexible regulatory body of international repute providing an all-encompassing gaming eco-system which will allow us to plan ahead.”

Biro continued to say: “I am grateful to the MGA staff and their Chairman, Mr Joseph Cuschieri, for their understanding, professionalism and full cooperation throughout this process. I would also like to thank Mr Reuben Portanier of Avviza Advisory who assisted us throughout the licensing process.”

Malta regulatory update Joseph Cuschieri

Joseph Cuschieri

MGA Chairman Mr Joseph Cuschieri commented on the issuance of the first B2B secondary lottery licence: “The Malta Gaming Authority is pleased to be issuing its first B2B licence to offer secondary lotteries to Lotto Warehouse, following the completion of a rigorous licensing process. Throughout this process, Lotto Warehouse proved to be a very serious operator, with extensive industry knowledge.”

Lotto Warehouse currently offers its lottery betting platform in 18 different languages and shall initially kick-off with 11 different international lottery products.

More information about the Lotto Warehouse offering is available on their website Lottowarehouse.com or email them at info@lottowarehouse.com.

Further information can also be obtained by contacting Andrew Clarke, Communications and PR Manager at andrew@themultigroup.com.

Are you a startup? Then apply for the SiGMA Startup Pitch 2017 and meet hungry investors. View Startup Pitch 2016 gallery here.

Daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings secures MGA gaming licence

One of the two biggest companies in daily fantasy sports (DFS) DraftKings has been granted a controlled skill games licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). This will allow them to operate in not only Malta but as well as expanding their reach to many other European Union states.

The US sports betting giant has already expanded beyond their core US market where they launched in the UK almost a year ago and now expanding to Europe being granted a licence for Malta and a host of other EU states.

Jeffrey Haas speaking at SiGMA16 (on the left)

Jeffrey Haas, Chief International Officer at DraftKings who was a speaker at one of the SiGMA conferences last year in November 2016 entitled “Fantasy sports and its growing popularity across continents”, spoke to Wall Street Journal (WSJ). He announced the company’s intentions to expand to Germany by the end of March seeing that the country is very involved with fantasy sports activities.

Haas added: “We looked at what allowed us to become successful in the U.S., and one of the key factors was that we came into a marketplace where there was already a strong culture of fantasy sports.”

Joseph Cuschieri at MGA stand during SiGMA16 (first from the left)

DraftKings co-founder and CEO Jason Robins said:  “We are pleased that Malta has recognised the need for special licensing of daily fantasy sports and other skilled based games. The Malta Gaming Authority is an innovative organisation and it is clear that they have put a lot of thought and rigor into this process.”

DraftKings allows its users to place bets on fantasy sports-related activities. The ability to win or lose money depends on the competence to predict professional sports results due to some knowledge of the game. This is why it is considered a game of skill rather than a game of chance.

Following the introduction of specific regulations for skill games licences late last year from the MGA, DraftKings has become one of the first to secure such licence.

MGA executive chairman Joseph Cuschieri explained: “Malta’s intention to regulate digital skill games with a prize was first announced in December 2014 when the MGA published a consultation document.”

“From then onwards, the MGA sought the input of various industry stakeholders and experts in order to develop a framework which facilitates the development of the sector, while ensuring adequate protection for players and fairness of the games.”

GIG secures full Gaming Licence from MGA

The fast growing gaming technology and software service provider Gaming Innovative Group Inc.(GIG) has recently secured a Class 4 Remote Gaming Licence from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for their subsidiary company BettingCloud Ltd.

The licence will enable the company to provide to other licenced operators their sports betting products. Wetten.com, the German facing operator will be their first operator client to be launched on this new BettingCloud licence having signed a platform agreement earlier this year with GIG’s subsidiary iGamingCloud.
Wetten is expected this week to conduct a soft launch and the full commercial launch is anticipated in the early part of Q1 2017.

GIG CEO Robin Reed commented: “We have reached a major milestone as we are now a fully licensed B2B gaming service provider for the Sportsbetting vertical. GIG is continuing to branch out in the iGaming value chain and is now a fully-fledged gaming service provider”

Currently, GIG is also developing technology to produce proprietary odds through its subsidiary OddsModel AS. This new technology will be integrated on BettingCloud who is expected to provide a range of services covering content services, odds feeds, risk management, betting engine and trading tools. This is scheduled to be marketed in 2017.

These solutions will all be sold independently with them being able to be bundled seamlessly with GIG’s iGamingCloud platform. Reed offered a glimpse into GIG’s plans for the new year with this statement: “Within next year, these efforts will fully come to fruition and it will greatly benefit the Company and our clients”

BetConstruct Secures Class II Romanian Gaming Licence

Award-winning developer and gaming solutions provider BetConstruct has secured a Class II gaming licence from the Romanian National Gambling Office (ONJN). The company will now be able to supply its platform to all online gaming operators within the Romanian regulated market.

Commenting on the news, BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian said: “BetConstruct views Romania as a significant and forward-looking jurisdiction. With the ONJN license, we are bringing our powerful betting technology to local operators enabling them to stand-out in this important market.”

This licence adds on to the company’s licences granted by Malta Gambling Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, as well as other jurisdictions, which allows BetConstruct to help its partners meet any necessary requirements for operating in different regions.

After having been given the title of Best Sports Betting Product Award at the SBC Awards just two weeks ago, Baloulian commented: “Being recognized as the Best Sports Betting Product supplier by the only awards dedicated to betting, speaks for itself. BetConstruct cherishes the industry’s acknowledgement and the responsibility that comes with it.”

He went on to say: “We will continue building on our success and providing the best products the operators and players expect and enjoy.”

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