Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) recently announced that daily fantasy sports is exempt from the requirement of a gambling licence. The first step towards the skill-based licensing framework will likely take Malta to the centre stage of DFS action in Europe, and will attract an influx of new operators to this tiny Mediterranean island.
In its press release, MGA stated that in view of the element of skill and knowledge involved in fantasy sports, such an activity should be differentiated from games of chance in terms of licensing and regulation.
According to the recent notice Fantasy Sports (Exemption) Regulations, 2016, ''Fantasy Sports'' and, or ''Fantasy Sports Game'' is a contest played for money or money’s worth whereby the winning outcome is determined predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player, and where the results are determined by the accumulation of statistical results of the performance of a number of individuals in sporting events, but shall not include the forecast of the score, point spread or any other future occurrence of one or multiple events, and for the avoidance of doubt, the definition of a 'bet' ’ as defined in the Act shall not be applicable''.
The legal notice, similar to the notorious US Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), follows in the footsteps of several US federal states where regulatory bills have already been introduced.
''MGA's team had foreseen the rise of a future Skill Game industry in Europe a few years ago,'' said Valery Bollier, CEO of Malta-based operator Oulala.com. ''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.''
The Maltese gaming regulator, whose main goal is to protect customers, has been working several months now on the licensing framework to regulate skill-based games, including fantasy sports, which will also set the rules for determining whether a game is a ''Skill Game'' or a ''Controlled Skill Game''. The framework is expected to be passed by the end of this year.
''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,'' revealed Bollier. ''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.''