By Matthew Vella
Tomorrow the Lotteries and Gaming Authority will convene its first meeting to publish the regulations for Video Lottery Terminals, according to the fifth schedule of the Lotteries and Other Games Act.
The meeting will invite all major stakeholders, from the gaming arena as well as gambling support groups such as Sedqa, to discuss the enactment of the law.
CEO Mario Galea told The Malta Financial and Business Times that the authority is seeking to address an anomaly with respect to the definition of amusement games and VLTs.
According to Galea, amusement machines which give out cash prizes, such as fruit machines, are not being correctly termed, and in fact constitute VLTs, which are not as yet regulated by the authority and so cannot be imported. Given this scenario, amusement machines which give out cash prizes are in a grey area – they are bound to be licensed but the law enforcing such regulation has not yet been enacted.
Galea said the authority wants to address the anomaly as soon as possible in order to enact the fifth schedule to allow the importation and regulation of VLTs.
A VLT is a gambling machine which delivers winnings in the form of VLT payout vouchers.
Galea said the authority wants to start enforcing the provisions of the fifth schedule later on in the year. “At present nobody can import a VLT. However, there are amusement machines which should be classified as VLTs but are today the domain of the police, and can still be imported.
“Games such as roulette machines or fruit machines which give out money are not exactly amusement machines and we want to see them classified as VLTs in order to regulate them. They are not illegal. It is an ambiguous definition and the authority wants to address this ambiguity,” Galea said.