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NEWS | Wednesday, 21 May 2008

LGA introduces tougher regulations for new e-gaming licenses

Charlot Zahra

The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), which regulates the gaming sector in Malta, has tightened the belt on the release of new online gaming licenses in a bid to increase professionalism in the sector.
Philippe Warzee, the chief inspector of the LGA, was quoted by the Italian media as saying: “This is not a question of closing down licenses, but to discourage new ones and this for a very simple reason: like in the case of land-based casinos, even online gaming must be managed only by professional and honest people.
“Both requisites are fundamental to protect the player as a consumer, who has to have the certainty that he or she is gaming in a site which is real and that will not vanish the day after,” Warzee said.
“Therefore we will pay maximum attention and surveillance on the issue of new licenses. Even nowadays, we ask the licensees to respect clear rules: The company’s legal representative must be resident in Malta, and there must always be a contact person who can respond to every complaint lodged.
“Moreover, the servers on which the sites are located should be hosted in Malta. Our inspectors monitor on a daily basis that everything proceeds according to the set criteria and that there are the seals of guarantee that we put on the servers are not tampered with,” he added.
This is the first time that the LGA actually stated publicly that it wants to control the number of e-gaming licenses issued in Malta. Until now, the LGA has promoted the growth of the e-gaming sector in Malta.
According the LGA, up to the first eight months of last year the Authority had issued 40 new licenses in the remote gaming sector, bringing the total number of licenses issued in the sector to 180. This sector employed at total of 1,388 persons.
The total revenue generated by this sector from January to July in the first six months of last year was Lm2.3 million, more than half the total figure generated in the whole of 2006 from remote gaming, which totalled Lm3.6 million.
In 2005, remote gaming generated Lm2 million for the Government coffers in the form of duty, that is, Lm1.6 million less than in 2006.
Efforts in contacting LGA chairman Mario Galea for his reaction proved futile.

czahra@mediatoday.com.mt

 


21 May 2008
ISSUE NO. 536


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