Malta’s Lottery and Gaming Authority (LGA) has broken its silence on the controversy surrounding the German gambler who won a €167,500 progressive jackpot at CasinoClub.com in Aug. 2008, then was denied payout after the gaming company accused the German of fraud, collusion, multi-accounting, bonus abuse and causing the global financial crisis (probably).
Because the German player refused to go quietly, Malta’s gaming regulator was brought into the mix. But after weighing the arguments of both sides, the LGA issued a statement in which it appeared to be claiming that the evidence didn’t matter, because, owing to a quirk in Maltese law, gambling debts were considered unenforceable, and thus the LGA was powerless to intervene. Cue much indignation, questions of ‘so just what do you do, then’ and reams of bad publicity for the entire industry as the decision hit the news wires.
In an effort to dampen down the controversy, the LGA has released a follow-up statement in which it addresses its earlier statement on the question of enforceability. In short, the LGA is now saying it can enforce gambling debts, so long as the gaming company in question holds an LGA-issued license. However, the statement does not address the details of the Casino Club case itself.
The LGA’s release in full:
This Public Notice is being issued in order to clarify a legal issue which has been circulating various blogs and news headlines in relation to Player Winnings and Gaming Debts, thereby creating unnecessary concerns and mere speculation.
Kindly note that the provisions being invoked in relation to Gaming Debts, are extracts from the Civil Code, refer to Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta (refer to articles 1713-1717A) which are not applicable to Games which are authorised/licensed under the Gaming Act, Chapter 400 of the Laws of Malta (refer to article 34) and to Games authorised/licensed under the Lotteries and Other Games Act, Chapter 438 of the Laws of Malta (refer to articles 48 and 49) and the Regulations issued there under, which include the Remote Gaming Regulations.
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority’s interpretation is that the Civil Code articles above captioned are applicable to gaming debts arising out of unauthorised/unlicensed games, which in any case are considered as illegal and tantamount to a criminal offence.