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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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MGA Reports Gaming Industry Employment up by 31%

St Julians MaltaAccording to the interim performance report published by Malta Gaming Authority(MGA), employment withing the Malta’s gaming industry has increased by 31% in the first six months of 2016.

The report reviews the gaming industry’s performance such as economic value added,  the number of licensed operators and employment and tax revenue. It also went on to analyse developments in demand trends and supply capabilities of operators.
According to the report, an estimated 6,150 people were employed in the gaming sector by June 2016 with the gaming industry directly contributing 12.0% of the total economic value of the Maltese economy with employment in the gaming industry rising by 31% year on year.

MGA Reports Gaming Industry Employment up by 31%The MGA gaming interim report also went on to list the following finds:

  • 250 new jobs were generated from land-based activities compared to the second half of 2015 and new jobs in the remote gaming business increased by 8 times as much.
  • 490 gaming licences were issued and there are 250 registered gaming companies in operation compared to the first six months of 2015 where there was 414 and 271 respectively.
  • Tax revenues from the gaming sector amounted to €28 million, or 4.6 per cent of the government’s total indirect tax intake.
  • Lotteries spending rose as opposed to 2015 decline

The gaming sector is expected to continue to rise this year with a robust growth in 2017. A full report on the sector’s performance is expected to be issued on the sector’s performance throughout this year in May 2017.

Message from the MGA

This year is promising to be yet another year of satisfactory performance for the I-Gaming sector in Malta and the jurisdiction in general. [while the number of licenses issued by the MGA have increased at a higher rate than last year, revenues of companies are increasing at a healthier pace]. The numbers show encouraging signs of healthy resilience, that is exceeding our earlier expectations in view of the number of the number of challenges that Malta and the sector continue to face.

Some would argue that the iGaming sector is now saturated and that the industry is growing at a slower rate and is, or will be, dominated by a smaller number of mega-operators. Indeed, this is a development of every industry sector but, myopia and stagnation are not features of this dynamic and innovative sector. New products, channels and business models are continuously being brought in line at a fast pace in the quest of becoming more efficient and effective in providing a player experience better than their rivals on the market.

The gaming regulatory scenario in the EU and beyond is yet extending the country by country regulation, subjecting operators to national licensing regimes and thus the duplication – or rather a multiplication – of regulatory compliance mechanisms and costs by operators which, outside of their base in Malta, operates in other EU and non-EU markets. The political climate to reverse this trend or indeed use lessons learnt to develop any form of uniformity in regulation seems to lack the necessary appetite at the national level or indeed by the European institutions. This is expected to be the norm for the immediate and medium term in all markets.MGA Joseph Cuschieri

It is with this in mind that in the 3-year plan launched in 2014, the MGA set to, progressively, consolidate and reposition Malta as a center which fosters excellence, efficiency, and an intelligent and responsible gaming industry.

The regulatory overhaul is now being progressively rolled out. Prior to the white paper, the MGA has published various policy papers and, importantly, the draft regulations concerning Skill Games (notified to the Commission in August 2016) and the Legal Notice which exempts Fantasy Sports Games from the current regulatory requirements. The generally new and innovative approach, which the Government and MGA are proposing in the new legislative framework for the governance of the sector, co-existing with more traditional mechanisms of regulation, are being presented as part of wide consultation process which will precede presentation to Parliament. While the MGA has sought input from various and a wide of stakeholders, all parties are encouraged to provide any feedback they think is appropriate in order to make this new regime a winning one for all involved in the sector.

The new regulatory regime is a cornerstone of the consolidation and re-positioning strategy by Malta in the global gaming sphere. However, both Government and MGA are well aware that there are other critical contributory factors that sustain this important and economically significant industry in Malta. The focus is indeed to strengthen this position as as we move forward, in order to support its investments in innovation, diversification, operational and regulatory efficiency, skills development and long term success.

One of the challenges Malta faces, like a number of other jurisdictions, concerns direct taxation. It is no secret that Malta does not agree with EU tax harmonization or measures that will have a similar effect. The government is committed in its resolve and will continue to strive in order to ensure that Malta’s tax regime is retained.

Malta is today also endowed with a fully developed and sophisticated eco-system of infrastructure and services that support the i-gaming industry along with its dynamic development. While Malta may not provide the lowest cost of total operation, it offers one of the most reliable, cost-efficient, transparent and business-friendly environments for the industry, which is valued by hundreds of operators. This dynamic environment provides a advantage over other potential jurisdictions for both start-ups and bigger established businesses to relocate as the numbers continue to show, year on year.

We will continue to support the existing ecosystem and take the necessary measures to address any shortages or new needs that growth has brought or may bring about. The MGA conducted a multitude of studies, and have listened to various individual stakeholders highlighting the need of certain skills and competencies. In 2017 the Government will be revising its measures in order to make it even more attractive to secure and retain the right skills and competencies in Malta. The Gaming Institute will also be launched and commence its operations to provide the professional development of industry specific competences necessary.

There will be other initiatives and projects during the coming year, which will continue to cement our resolve and commitment towards this sector. These may be peripheral to the regulatory structure and processes. Simplifying establishment and operation by gaming companies, this will create equally, if not more exciting and innovative projects.

Author: Joseph Cuschieri

Golden Race First to be Awarded Class 4 Licence by the MGA

Betting industry supplier Golden Race has become the first ever virtual sports developer to receive a Class 4 licence in Malta.

The innovative company received recognition from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) earlier this month following an extensive application process.

The award of this license is the latest development in Golden Race’s push to be the largest virtual sports provider for the regulated markets in the industry.

Golden Race CEO Martin Wachter commented: “We are extremely proud to be the first virtual company to receive a Maltese Class 4 licence, which allows all companies who work under the Maltese Gaming Regulations to take advantage of our product there.”

He went on to say that: “The process takes a lot of time and effort to ensure all of the stringent guidelines are adhered to, but at Golden Race we strive to provide exactly what customers need to be successful, regardless of their location and regulations. Now those operators who love our products can use them fully licensed – it’s win-win all around.”

The supplier’s games suite is used all across Europe, Africa, CIS countries, Latina America and Asia. Golden Race is the creator of the new revolutionary Real Fighting game – a global pioneer in pre-recorded video virtuals, and its 3D Virtual League product is one of the most commonly played in the world.

The MGA license is one of three recently obtained by the heavy-hitting company as it continues to expand across the globe.

Golden Race will also be showcasing at SiGMA16 – Malta’s biggest upcoming gaming event of the year. If you’re interested in coming to watch Golden Race along with our many other exhibitors this month between the 16th and 19th November, click here to register.

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Delegation from Malta Gaming Authority visits Melita Data Centre

mga-visit-1
A delegation from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), led by Executive Chairman Mr Joseph Cuschieri, has recently visited Melita’s state-of-the-art data centre in Madliena. The MGA Chairman and delegation were welcomed by Melita Chief Executive Officer Harald Roesch, CTO Simon Montanaro and Director of Business Services Malcolm Briffa.

Mr Roesch reported that Melita Business is registering exponential growth in the number of clients choosing Melita Data Centre for hosting and co-location services. When compared to June 2015, the number of client data racks hosted at the purpose built, fully-fenced facility has increased by 100%. Similar growth is expected to continue until the end of the year, especially from companies operating in financial services, banking, remote gaming and ICT industries.

Furthermore, Mr Roesch updated the visiting MGA delegation on Melita’s plans to further strengthen its connectivity to mainland Europe through additional investment in its network capabilities.

Since completing the tenfold expansion of its data centre footprint in 2015, Melita has witnessed unprecedented demand for data centre services from international companies working in Malta as well as home-grown companies seeking reliable connectivity and security. The Melita Data Centre is Malta’s largest data centre facility spread over 10,000m2 and upon completion of its extension in 2015, Melita contributed to doubling Malta’s existing data centre capacity.

MGA Executive Chairman Mr Joseph Cuschieri said, “It is very encouraging to see service providers like Melita investing millions in the country’s ICT infrastructure to service the growing demand for reliable and super-fast connectivity. Through these investments, Melita and other operators ensure that the country’s ecosystem continues to develop sustainably and in a sophisticated fashion, creating a competitive edge over other jurisdictions. Robust ICT infrastructures, together with proper regulated environments, provide the backbone for mga-visit-2Malta’s economic development in the digital economy and other economic sectors of the Maltese economy.”

Melita Chief Executive Officer Mr Harald Roesch thanked the MGA Chairman and delegation for visiting Melita’s data centre and said, “More companies are choosing Melita Business Data Centre for its unique, purpose-built facility that meets the very demanding security specifications of multinational companies and time-sensitive transactions. We are concluding plans to prepare ourselves for even bigger demand in the near future as more and more international big names request Melita’s connectivity and infrastructure during the course of doing business out of Malta.”  

Melita is Malta’s leading provider of next generation broadband, fixed and wireless connectivity services, and owns and operates Malta’s largest data centre facility built to Tier III specifications. To learn more about Melita Data Centre, customers are invited to visit www.melitadatacentre.com

MGA to Simplify Regulatory Regimes for Gambling-Related Businesses

When investing in a certain country, one of the factors that businessmen consider is the time needed to process business permits and licenses. Joseph Cuschieri of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is working on improving the business environment for Malta-based operators and future investors.

Businessmen do not have the time to go back and forth submitting necessary documents and other requirements needed to open a business. Due to the legendary bureaucratic red tape that they must cut through, many businessmen have no choice but to sometimes forego their investment plans in other countries.

For this reason, the MGA is planning on simplifying regulatory regimes in order to give operators some elbow room to move in order for the country’s gambling industry to keep flourishing.

Joseph Cuschieri said that the regulatory regime needs to be simplified and must focus on objectives rather than prescriptive and expired kind of processes and regimes.

He said: “It’s about simplifying because the industry has been through major changes in the last 12 years and the cost of compliance have increased significantly, particularly in Europe. I think that will give regulators more flexibility to focus on outcomes and objectives, and the industry will have an environment which enables it to innovate and grow sustainably.”

He also pointed out that the government is trying its best to provide a conductive environment for the industry to develop, in order for consumers and players to have a better overall experience.

With regards to providing opportunities for gambling operators, Cuschieri believes that Malta continues to be an attractive jurisdiction. He also believes that gambling operators that are considering to move out of the UK following the country’s historic Brexit vote will find Malta to be a viable location due to its size and reputation within the industry.

He also revealed that the MGA is already in touch with other regulators in South America and Asia, adding that they have established some very good contacts. “Nothing has materialized but I believe that Malta can help,” he said.

Daily Fantasy Sports to be regulated in Malta

Malta has intentions of regulating Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) which will make them the first European country to specially regulate DFS.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has recently announced that daily fantasy sports will no longer require a gambling license. This decision towards the skill based licensing framework is expected to attract an extensive arrival of new operators to this small Mediterranean island as well as propelling Malta into the very center stage of DFS action in Europe.

MGA stated in their press release that considering the element of knowledge and skill engaged in fantasy sports, there should be some differentiation in place for these activities compared to game of chance when licensing and regulation comes into play.

The recent Fantasy Sports (Exemption) Regulations 2016 states that “Fantasy Sports” and/or “Fantasy Sports Game” is defined as a contest that is played for money or money’s worth by which the winning results is decided solely on the knowledge or skill of the player. Also where the outcome is decided by the buildup of statistical results of the achievement of a sum of persons in the sporting event, but shall not include the projections of the score, point spread or any other prospective occurrence of one or more events, and to avoid any doubts, the definition of a ‘bet’ as explained in the Act will not be applicable.

Several US federated states have already introduced the regulatory bill and this legal notice which is similar to the the notorious UK Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement of 2006 (UIGEA) follows in these US federated states footsteps.

Valery Bollier, CEO of Malta based operator Oulala.com states that MGA’s team has foreseen a few years ago the rise of a future Skills Game industry in Europe. He went on to say that Malta proves themselves to be a hugely competitive jurisdiction due to their ability to adapt themselves quickly to the sense of history and also because of their pragmatism.

The main goal of the Maltese gaming regulator is to protect customers and they have recently been working for several months now on the licensing framework which aims to regulate skill based games including fantasy sports. The intention of this framework which is expected to be passed by the end of this year will also set the rules in determining whether a game is a “Controlled Skill Game” or a “Skilled Game”

”This legal notice is the first step in a process that will see Malta become the first major European country to offer a real skill game licence. It is therefore a very exciting moment for our industry and for Malta,” revealed Bollier. ”Malta being the first major European country to offer a skill game licence means it will attract the attention of the entire European DFS market and place itself firmly at the forefront of the DFS revolution.”