Daily Fantasy Sports operators have lauded Malta’s gaming regulator, the Malta Gaming Authority, for its ongoing attempts to create a bespoke ‘Skill Games’ licence for the games.
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]alta could soon become the first European jurisdiction to offer unique licences for Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operators under a dedicated set of ‘Skill Games’ regulations.
The move follows a notice from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) declaring that DFS operators would not be asked to apply for a traditional gambling licence because the games were legally defined as ‘games of skill’.
According to the MGA’s recently published ‘Fantasy Sports (Exemption) Regulations’, fantasy sports are contests where the winning outcome is “determined predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player”, and where the results are determined by the accumulation of performance-based statistical results.
The MGA has therefore been developing a specific ‘Skill Games’ licence structure for DFS operators – the first of its kind of the continent.
“The Maltese Government is committed to introduce legislation to regulate certain skill games which may present increased risks to the consumer,” the MGA said in a statement.
“In this regard, the proposed Skill Games Regulations have been notified to the European Commission as part of the process for the Authority to roll out its licensing framework to regulate such skill-based games, including fantasy sports.”
Malta being the first major European country to offer a skill game licence means it will attract the attention of the entire European DFS market and place itself firmly at the forefront of the DFS revolution
The move to create a bespoke regulatory package for Daily Fantasy Sports has been welcomed by operators, who have been lobbying for legal recognition of the difference between their services and those of online casino or sportsbook operators.
”This legal notice is the first step in a process that will see Malta become the first major European country to offer a real skill game licence. It is therefore a very exciting moment for our industry and for Malta,” said Valery Bollier, CEO of Malta-based DFS operator Oulala.com.
”Malta being the first major European country to offer a skill game licence means it will attract the attention of the entire European DFS market and place itself firmly at the forefront of the DFS revolution.”
The new skill games framework, worked on for several months by the MGA, is expected to pass by the end of 2016 – a move that Bollier predicts will lead to an influx of new licensees on the island.
”MGA’s team had foreseen the rise of a future Skill Game industry in Europe a few years ago,” he explained. ”Malta has proven to have a very competitive jurisdiction because of its pragmatism and its ability to adapt itself quickly to the sense of history.”