Posting date: 25 May 2023, 7:58 a.m.
Last updated: May 25, 2023 at 11:29h
Malta has been embroiled in controversy for many years over a battle that rages on the EU gaming market. The small island nation now wants to provide its gaming operators with an additional layer of protection from any negative blowback. The lawmakers are considering a bill to give operators more protection from foreign legal actions. (Image: Malta Parliament via Twitter)
Malta has positioned itself as a major hub for gaming operations worldwide, attracting plenty of companies that needed a place to establish roots. Gaming regulators from Austria and other countries have refuted this assertion. Recently, there have been efforts to hold Malta accountable. As a result, Malta’s lawmakers are considering a bill that would put up, in some instances, a shield between operators and EU countries.
Bill 55, the Gaming (Amendment) Bill, has already survived two readings by Malta’s Parliament. The bill was first introduced on April 24, and again on May 23, 2010. The courts will not be able to take action if an operator is sued in Malta for its activities in an EU country in which it does not hold a licence. This includes consumer lawsuits in Malta seeking to recover losses. In Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, courts have already ordered that companies without licenses must reimburse users who have suffered losses. The bill allows courts to refuse recognition
and enforcement in Malta for any foreign judgment
related to conditions of a Malta gaming license. It asserts that this provision is already embedded in the country’s constitution.
The Malta Gaming Authority has repeatedly said that its licensed operators, in accordance with EU laws, have the freedom to serve consumers across Europe. Austria, Germany and others do not agree with the legal opinion it cites to back up its claim. Lawyers balk at Malta’s Attempt
When the Bill 55 was first introduced, gaming lawyers were quick to voice their concerns. According to the
earlier this month, lawyers Karim weber and Benedikt quarch were trying to get in front of the European Commission. The lawyers sent a letter claiming that Malta was violating European law through this bill. There is no sign that the EC has discussed this issue.