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Malta Gaming Authority to Officially Adopt Bitcoin in Online Casinos

- July 31, 2017 By Oliver Young -

Bitcoin online casinos part of the future course the Malta Gaming Authority wants to take, a new white paper reveals.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is moving closer towards adopting Bitcoin and other digital currencies in the online gambling sector. The information was revealed in a new White Paper the MGA published, which contained proposals for significant reforms to the legal framework for online and land-based gambling in the country.

According to the information, the regulatory body is planning to replace the existing Gaming Act with a new Act that will be more in line with future gambling trends. However, the official stance on how digital currencies will be introduced is yet to be revealed, following a risk assessment by the MGA.

Way of Adoption to be Revealed by Q4

Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the Authority who presented the White Paper, revealed that the MGA had already commissioned a study that will help the regulatory body define the best way in which cryptocurrencies could be legally adopted and regulated for gambling purposes.

When the study is complete and the results are evaluated, the Authority will officially reveal how they plan to adopt cryptocurrencies.  The findings of the study are reportedly expected to be released by the last quarter of 2017.

According to the White Paper, the MGA is aware that the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is “inevitable”. Considering its need to stay at the front lines of innovation in the gambling industry, but also keep pace with recent technological developments, the Authority express its commitment to permit the use of cryptocurrencies by their licensees in the “immediate future”.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies in the gambling sector has already been “hinted” by Malta’s Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who announced by the end of April that a first draft of a national strategy to promote blockchain technology had been approved.  “We must be on the frontline in embracing blockchain and Bitcoin…we must be the ones that others copy”, Muscat reportedly said during the press conference.

Other Changes to Come

The new Act would also change the licensing system for Maltese operators, which until now had to have multiple licenses to provide different types of gambling products like online poker, bingo, sportsbetting, and so on. However, per the new changes, the multi-license system will be replaced by a system with only two types of licenses: a B2B (business to business) license and a B2C (business to consumer) license. Businesses with B2B licenses will reportedly be exempt from tax with the new Act.

Another important change outlined in the White Paper is the broadening of the MGA’s oversight and powers when it comes to enforcement and compliance with the gambling legislation, so that its regulatory objectives could be better achieved.  The Authority also states that they will also be able to better fight sport competition manipulations with the new law, which will introduce new obligations to online operators to monitor sports bets and report any suspicious betting activities.

According to Cuschieri, the MGA has conducted numerous studies and consultations with the industry’s stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming legislation could stand the test of time, but also that it tackles the challenges the industry is facing.

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