Malta's Shift in Gaming Policy: A Possible Sign of the Macolin Convention

OCR Editor. - October 18, 2023
Malta flag

In a surprising shift, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is weighing the decision to sign the Macolin Convention, potentially redefining global sports betting norms.

In a significant policy revision, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) ponders over endorsing the Macolin Convention, potentially transforming global sports betting standards, as reported a few days ago by IGB News.

Malta Changes Gaming Stance

The MGA, known for its flexible stance towards global sports betting since 2014, is now contemplating a drastic turn by considering the adoption of the Macolin Convention. This potential pivot could reshape the landscape of illegal sports betting.

The Implications of the Macolin Convention

Should Malta embrace the convention, sports betting activities operating out of the island would be deemed illegal in jurisdictions that classify them as such. This shift would significantly alter Malta's prior stance, which permitted players in countries where Maltese-operated sports betting was unlawful to opt out at their discretion.

In recognizing the possible ramifications of this decision, the MGA has sought legal counsel from the reputable law firm Van Bael & Bellis.

Historical Context: A Decision Delayed

The push for Malta to sign the Macolin Convention has been around for a while. In 2021, various international advisors urged the island nation to adopt the convention in good faith. By doing so, Malta could have avoided the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) greylisting. Despite the advice, Malta resisted, leading to its greylisting by the FATF in June 2021. Fortunately, by June 2022, Malta was delisted from the increased monitoring program.

Recent Developments: The Gaming Amendment Act

The reconsideration of the Macolin Convention coincides with the introducing of a pivotal new gaming bill in June. The Gaming Amendment Act seeks to enshrine Malta's policy of promoting gaming operators within its borders. It not only bolsters the rights of Malta's gaming licensees and their officials against legal actions related to services under the MGA but also restricts the acknowledgment of foreign court verdicts.

However, the new bill has yet to be without its critics. The EU Parliament and the EU Commission have raised concerns about potential anti-competitive elements within the Act.

SiGMA Europe 2023: Malta's Gaming Showcase

As the world watches Malta's evolving gaming landscape, industry experts are preparing to converge at SiGMA Europe's Malta Week festival from the 13th to the 17th of November. This anticipated event, to be hosted at the expansive Mediterranean Maritime Hub (MMH), promises an unprecedented blend of exhibitions, conferences, and networking opportunities. The MMH venue, known for its raw and industrial ambiance, is expected to provide a backdrop for this monumental event unlike any other.


Malta's potential signing of the Macolin Convention represents a significant turning point in global sports betting dynamics. While the implications for operators and stakeholders remain to be seen, the MGA's shift, coupled with the introduction of the Gaming Amendment Act, signifies Malta's commitment to evolving with the changing demands of the international gaming community.

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