The Malta Gaming Authority has reiterated its ruling that British-based operators must be “established in the European Economic Area” following Brexit, in order to retain or qualify for a Maltese gaming licence.
A guidance document published by the authority in October advises stakeholders intending to maintain their licence to consider either transferring permits to another company within the same corporate group, or “re-domiciliation.”
“Regulation 10 of the Gaming Authorisations Regulations prescribes a prerequisite that a person that holds a licence must be a person established within the European Economic Area,” stated the MGA guidance.
“The United Kingdom’s exit from the EU shall mean that persons and entities established in the United Kingdom will no longer meet this criterion, and thus are required to take the necessary measures in order to ensure that the entity that holds the licence meets this prerequisite.”
The ruling pertains to Article 49 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which places prohibitions on restrictions to the freedom of establishment, as well as prohibition on restrictions to the freedom to provide services enshrined in Article 56.
Though the precise date of the UK’s exit from the EU is still a matter of intense debate in the Houses of Parliament, operators licensed in Malta will be granted a transition period of 12 months from the date of leaving to establish themselves in the EEA.
The document also outlines Brexit’s potential impact on Regulation 22, which requires EU-licensed operators and suppliers not licensed with the MGA but providing services to the archipelago apply for a recognition notice with the Authority.
“The purpose of the recognition notice procedure is for the Authority to recognise and rely on the licence issued to the operator by the EU/EEA Member State, to ensure that by operating from Malta, there would be no regulatory gaps.”
However, the MGA noted Brexit will not impact a number of regulatory causes, including the authority’s recognition of UK-standardised RNG and game certificates, approval of UK licensed and regulated credit involved in holding player funds, and the acceptance of essential components located in UK territory.