UKGC Makes Bitcoin Payments Available to Online Licensees

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has given online licensees the green light for digital currencies such as Bitcoin to be accepted payment methods.

Following a series of consultations with licensees and industry stakeholders, the UKGC released its updated License Conditions and Codes or Practice (LCCP); regulations which are set to take effect on October 31st 2016.

In the LCCP, Section 5.1 addresses “cash and cash equivalents, payment methods and services.” Licensees are told that they are to “implement appropriate policies and procedures concerning the usage of cash and cash equivalents by customers.” These cash and cash equivalents include bankers, drafts, cheques and debit cards, as well as digital currencies.

The intention behind this is to reduce the risk of money laundering activity and to “provide assurance that gambling activities are being conducted in a manner which promotes licensing objectives.”

Licensees were advised that they need to take into account any applicable learning or guidelines issued by the UKGC from time to time.

Quoting CEO Sarah Harrison, the UKGC’s annual report last month said that digital currencies were among the regulator’s areas of “continuing future focus”, but Harrison gave no specifics on what that might entail.

The acceptance of Bitcoin by UKGC, a high-profile body, could help to stimulate public acceptance of alternative currencies. The only jurisdiction to date that has allowed online gambling licensees free reign to accept the Bitcoin as payment is that of Curacao.

Momentum seems to be increasing, however, as in May, Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission proposed allowance of its online licensees to accept deposits made in “convertible virtual currencies.” The Malta Gaming Authority also reportedly held a meeting recently on this very subject.

A year ago, the UKGC wrote to emphasise that any Bitcoin gambling operators wishing to serve the UK market will still require a UK license. It also hinted at its upcoming policy adjustments by saying that the form of currency is “almost irrelevant”, as long as licensed operators could demonstrate that “crime is kept out of gambling and consumers are protected.”

SBTech Secures Software Licence in Malta

SBTech, a world-leading provider of online Sportsbetting solutions, management services and iGaming platforms, has been awarded a full Class 4 Remote Gaming License by the Maltese Gaming Authority.

The Maltese licence adds to SBTech’s ever-increasing portfolio of European permits, as the company continues to expand its operations across the continent and beyond.

SBTech’s expertise in equipping international operators with intelligent, localised sportsbook offerings is based on unrivalled industry knowledge, and is at the core of its exponential growth in recent years.

Richard CarterRichard Carter, CEO of SBTech, explains: “Our ongoing strategy is to increase the number of markets we are licenced to operate in, in order to offer our tailor-made services to the new generation of Sportbetting platforms.  Thanks to the efficiency and professionalism of both the Maltese Gaming Authority and our in-house legal team, I am delighted to confirm that we have fulfilled all the requirements and have secured this much sought-after licence.”

SBTech now aims to cement its position as a market-leading provider of bespoke sportsbooks to operators in regulated markets, using the MGA Remote Gaming Licence as a springboard to even greater success. As well as existing Malta-based clients including ComeOn and NetBet, SBTech expects to be signing additional deals with a range of other Maltese licenced operators in the near future.

Joseph CuschieriJoseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the MGA, comments: “It was our pleasure to work with the SBTech team during the process of granting the company’s Class IV Remote Gaming Licence. We are proud of the fact that our regulatory and technical standards are some of the most demanding in the global gaming industry, and we were satisfied with the company’s diligence and thoroughness in providing us with all the information we required at every stage of the license process”.


SiGMA15 SBTech

Join Games Acquires New MGA License

Join Games at SiGMA15

Join Games at SiGMA15

Join Games Malta Ltd., a Software Casino Provider, has acquired a new license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

The license acquired is of Class 4, which allows the company to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee itself, whereby software vendors provide management and hosting facilities on their platform, essentially making it a business to business (B2B) gaming license.

The MGA is the single, independent and regulatory body that is responsible for the governance of all gaming activities in Malta, both land-based as well as online.

Join games was founded in 2014 through a partnership between two professional business managers with ample experience in the gaming industry. Both having the same vision of creating an innovative Slot Concept, they chose the name “Join” to symbolise the union between the different ideas of the team working to reach the goal of becoming a renowned Casino Slot Provider.

Join Games Malta Ltd. will be showcasing at SiGMA16, Malta’s biggest gaming event in November. If you would like to come and see Join Games and other exhibitors, click to register. The early bird offer is available until the end of May.


Maltese Prime Minister inaugurates the new MGA offices at Smartcity Malta


From Left to Right – MGA’s Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri, Hon. Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat and Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Jose’ Herrera

The Malta Gaming Authority’s (MGA) new offices, at SmartCity Malta were officially inaugurated on 16 February, 2016 by the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, the MGA’s Senior Leadership Team and other distinguished guests.

With a floor area spanning over 2,562 square metres spread on two floors, the new MGA offices meet the latest environmental standards, technological infrastructure, corporate environment and modern facilities which have substantially improved the working environment for the 150 employees. Furthermore, the new offices incorporate all the facilities needed for the Authority to carry out its functions and activities in-house being press events, networking events, seminars and training for staff. The open plan and “hot desking” environment also caters for future growth.

In his opening address, Joseph Cuschieri, the MGA’s Executive Chairman, highlighted the milestones that have contributed to the success of the gaming authority since its inception in 2004. Mr Cuschieri mentioned the fact that Malta was the first EU Member State to enact comprehensive legislation on remote gaming.

He added that industry stakeholders consider Malta as a thought leader and one of the foremost tried and tested jurisdictions in the world.  He then extended his heartfelt thanks to the MGA’s employees and all those who lent their support to the success story of the Malta Gaming Authority.


From Left to Right – MGA’s Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri and Hon. Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat

Mr Cuschieri mentioned that the most important project of the MGA this year is the new Gaming Act which is expected to be presented in Parliament before the summer recess.  The Executive Chairman announced that the new legislation will be a game changer for Malta and will future proof Malta’s status as a jurisdiction of excellence. Some of the changes include new consumer protection measures as well as the simplification in the licensing structure from the current model to a Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) framework. This will eliminate duplication of checks and speed up time to market for the operators.

Speaking at the inauguration, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, Dr Jose’ Herrera, praised the MGA for another milestone in its success story. “The new offices are equipped with the latest technology so that the Authority will be able to continue to deliver positive results as reflected in the interim performance report published just a few weeks ago. The gaming industry contributes substantially to Malta’s GDP and it is in our interest to sustain this sector.”

In his closing address, the Hon. Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat, praised the MGA for having put in place a strategy that emphasises innovation and diversity in order to continue attracting investors to Malta. Dr Muscat concluded by applauding the role of a transparent and business friendly Authority which is continually reviewing its processes in order to be better equipped to deal with the ever-changing environment that surrounds this dynamic sector.

The opening ceremony ended with a guided tour of the premises.

Interview with Joseph Cuschieri (MGA) by

Joseph Cuschieri

MGA Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri

At SiGMA15, Malta Gaming Authority Chairman Joseph Cuschieri was interviewed by CalvinAyre’s Rebecca Liggero on the changes introduced by the regulatory body in 2015. And it was a busy, yet very successful year.

“Throughout this year we’ve undergone massive changes internally, so that the regulator becomes more efficient, more robust. We have invested a lot more in technology and facilities and business intelligence, information, people and I would say that at the end of this year, I think people can start feeling the difference,” Cuschieri said.

In the interview Cuschieri also comments on the new legislation being on MGA’s agenda: “Hopefully… we’ll be presenting a new bill in parliament, which will see Malta having a new legislation which is more modern and more adjourned to the changes in consumer needs and the technology and in the systems that the operators use. And I think the businesses will be quite happy with the changes that we are proposing,”

Cuschieri also talks about a fruitful cooperation with operators concerning player protection, which is highly important for MGA.

As he said, MGA is “learning a lot from most of the operators and the way they manage consumer protection and player protection.”

“Within the authority as well, we invested a lot in our player protection units so customers and players who are playing on sites regulated by the MGA can come to us if they have any complaints and we’ll see to it in the shortest time possible. We believe that customer protection is key to build trust, trust in the jurisdiction, trust in the operator, and enlightened businesses can grow in a very safe environment, and that’s what we are going to do” – Cuschieri further comments.


Malta Gaming Authority grants licence for Casino Malta

downloadOlympic Entertainment Group (OEG) has been licensed by Malta Gaming Authority on behalf of owners Eden Leisure Group meaning that Casino Malta is ready to make waves on the island.

Newly opened Casino Malta with its staff of 175 full timers is the largest casino on the island. The full compliment of the €12 million worth investment is expected to grow, with ambitious plans to set even higher standard within the market.

The casino offers the latest slots and table games as well as modern designed large lounge bar area and weekly live music events.

Ian and Kevin De Cesare, owners of Eden Leisure Group said: “We are delighted to finally open our doors after several years in the process. We are lucky to have great operator partners in our businesses from Olympic Entertainment to our hotel operators InterContinental Hotel Group to together will ensure that the industry is grown rather than cannibalised from other operators. The synergies of significant hotel accommodation, an existing entertainment business and great partners is, what we hope is a tremendous winning formula.”

MGA to propose new regulations on digital games of skill with prize

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is planning to propose new regulations governing digital games of skill with prize.


Joseph Cuschieri – Executive Chairman at Malta Gaming Authority

The Maltese regulatory body conducted public consultations, that shown the need of creating new regulatory framework concerning games that “are very predominantly and/or totally influenced by the skill of the player (and a negligible element of chance)”. The Authority learned, that such games should be regulated in a different way and distinguished from some of the types of games of chance.

Amongst others, the most relevant provisions will include subjects such as extending the scope of regulated games with prize including “pure skill games”, clarifying the definitions of different games, adopting various monitoring instruments and extending some of the functions and responsibilities of the Authority.

Detailed information, as well as the received feedback, can be found in the position paper posted on the MGA’s website here.

The official proposal is expected to be introduced to the Government in a few months.



SiGMA speaks at gaming conference in Tel Aviv

Israel’s digital gaming, fx and affiliation industries are rapidly growing and showing an annuaDSC_5781l turnover estimated at $3.5 bn. In the space of a decade, these industries have shown a growth from a few hundreds to tens of thousands of employees, and have become one of the most sought-after areas of employment in Israel. Global gaming industry has long been considered one of the major industries that managed to leave behind many industries, such as the film industry, with a turnover higher than 400 billion dollars a year!


Following an opening note by top gaming lawyer Tal Itzhak Ron and a welcome speech by IMGL chair Dr. Joerg Hoffman, Eman Pulis took part in the igaming panel entitled: future trends in the igaming calendar, social networks and events, sharing the seat with Clarion chairman Julian Graves, iGaming Forum partner Anastasia Lodhi as well as Ilan Yaron, CEO of Meda Conferences.

This was the third year that the show is being held – the only summit of its kind in Israel that brings together online DSC_5261financial trading, affiliates and gaming executives from across the globe directly to the one of the cores of the industry, a vibrant city where business meets pleasure.

Similar to the Summit of igaming in Malta, this show put under the spotlight the three foundations of the industry: B2B, operators: binary, gaming & fx brokers, and affiliates; together with the service providers working with them. Many affiliates are now seeking to open their own operations and the show offers plenty of content for this purpose as well.

The event was supported by IMGL, the MGA, Bit8, WH Partners and others. The conference in its entirety can be found here. SiGMA would like to thank, in particular Tal Itzhak Ron as well as Ilan Yaron for the hospitality all throughout the oconference.



SiGMA sponsors the CHOGM Business Forum

SiGMA is one of the proud sponsors of the CHOGM Business Forum, taking place in St. Julian’s between the 24th and 27th November, 2015. The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) took place for the first time at the Edinburgh CHOGM of 1997; since then it has featured prominently as part of the CHOGM programme.

Other prominent sponsors include the Malta Gaming Authority, BOV, Air Malta, Go, Volvo, HSBS, Malta International Airport, and EY.

The Forum is the major business event in the Commonwealth calendar, bringing together Heads of Government, Ministers and top business leaders from around the world. More than a thousand delegates attend.

CBF 2015 is being co-organised by the Commonwealth Economic and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Government of Malta and is designed to provide a space for high level dialogue between business and Government leaders from the Commonwealth and beyond. An important aim is to develop stronger partnerships between Governments and business to ensure that the Commonwealth plays its part in promoting sustainable growth across the world.

The CBF also serves as a platform for Commonwealth nations to showcase investment opportunities to the global business community. The Forum provides an opportunity to influence the debate on global trade and investment issues.

Theme for the Business Forum

Reflecting the overarching CHOGM theme of “The Commonwealth – Adding Global Value”, the Business Forum will reassess how the Commonwealth can provide practical and tangible support to help Governments and the private sector work together to create prosperity and sustainable economic development across all member countries.

Regulatory conference: some SiGMA speakers to watch out for

The World Regulatory Brief conference at SiGMA 2015 will take place on 6 November at the InterContinental Conference Area. This conferences consists of four presentation held on Day 3 of the event.

CalvinAyre asked Eman Pulis and Dennis Dyhr-Hansen, organisers of SiGMA15, to explain the new format for the conferences. In their words, “We realized that many of the delegates don’t like sitting down for two straight days. Most are eager to network and do business. So unlike SiGMA14, this year, each of the four conferences will only last half a day, giving delegates the chance to dedicate the rest of their time to networking on the expo floor, where most of the buzz lies.”

Several speakers will give a detailed overview of the most significant regulatory issues affecting iGaming worldwide in a number of panels moderated by Justin Franssen (bio) . The topics which will be discussed during this conference track include:

  • A holistic view for the iGaming industry in Malta
  • A detailed overview of newly regulated markets across Europe
  • Match fixing
  • Data protection

(See the full schedule here)

Executives looking for a bird’s-eye view of the latest regulatory shifts in the industry need to look no further than this conference dedicated to discussing the political, social, economic and legal factors making headlines in the iGaming world.

In this article, we list four speakers which you cannot afford to miss during this conference.

Justin Franssen, Partner, Kalff Katz & Franssen (Bio)

Justin Franssen and his highly specialised gaming team joined Kalff Katz & Franssen attorneys at law early 2013. Throughout his career he received six consecutive band 1 rankings in Chambers Global Guide and positions him amongst the top 20 gaming industry lawyers in the world. Franssen spoke at 70+ gaming industry events in the last 15 years, including ICE, the IMGL, GIGSE, Legal Gaming in Europe, Gaming in Holland, EIG, Power50, Gaming Executive Summit and several others.

Robin Reed, Managing Director, Guts (Bio)

An entrepreneur at heart, Robin Reed founded Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) together with Frode Fagerli in 2008. These days, GIG invests heavilyboth in startups and people within the iGaming industry, with the aim ofcreating and acquiring the more high-level expertise in this arena. He currently holds the post of Managing Director in GIG and subsidiaries, which include the affiliate marketing company Innovation Labs, and the award-winning operator Guts Gaming. At SiGMA 2015, Reed will speak about his journey from being a player, to managing a company grossing eight digits annually, and the challenges of venturing from affiliation to the operator side of the business.

Simon Planzer, Partner,Planzer Law (Bio)

Simon Planzer is founding partner at Planzer Law, a Zurich-based boutiquelaw firmwhich provides specialised services on all matters relating to Swiss and international gaming law, and advises on general commercial issues.Planzer wrote his PhD on gaming matters and is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law. He is the author of the book: Empirical Views on European Gambling Law and Addiction (2014), published by Springer International Publishing and endorsed by leading gaming practitioners and scholars.

Simon Planzer will join Justin Franssen and Olga Finkel in giving a detailed overview of newly regulatory markets across Europe and how operators can make sure to stay within the limits set by the law in the countries they have a presence in.

Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, Malta Gaming Authority (Bio)

Joseph Cuschieri is a certified public accountant and a fellow member of the Malta Institute of Accountants of Malta. Throughout his professional career, he held various senior executive positions within the private sector mainly in the construction, services and hospitality sectors amongst others.In his role at the MGA, Cuschieri will befocusing on reforming the Authority to make it more efficient and agile, strengthening the relationships with all stakeholders, strategically grow the on-line gaming sector and promote Malta as a globally respected gaming jurisdiction.

Joseph Cuschieri will take the floor alongside Parliamentary Secretary Jose Herrera to talk about the increased emphasis being placed by the Maltese government in addressing new challenges and opportunities in the iGaming industry in a holistic manner through innovative measures.

“In a crowded calendar SiGMA was a personal choice for me to attend. Love the island, love the guys doing it. EveryMatrix is proud to be part of the inaugural SiGMA.”

Ebbe Groes, CEO, EveryMatrix

“SiGMA is an excellent networking and knowledge sharing opportunity for local gaming operators, service providers and other industry players seeking to operate in or from Malta. I believe that events like SiGMA can showcase Malta’s unique attributes and strengthen our position as a world class gaming jurisdiction”.

Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman, MGA                  

This is your chance to listen to these industry-leading speakers at the World Regulatory Brief conference during SiGMA 2015. Book your tickets to Malta’s largest iGaming event here. Affiliates enter free!