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Malta suspends Goalgaming license, protests EU sports betting definition

TAGs: European Union, goalgaming, goalwin, Lotteries and Gaming Authority, Malta, sports betting

malta-lga-goalwin-eu-sports-bettingMalta’s Lotteries & Gaming Authority (LGA) has suspended the remote gaming license of Goalgaming Ltd. after a year of player complaints regarding unfulfilled withdrawal requests. The LGA has directed Goalgaming to suspend its operations and remove all reference to the LGA from its gambling sites, which include the Goalwin and PokerMambo poker sites. Both sites appear to have now expunged the LGA icons but have yet to indicate any new licensing jurisdiction information. Goalwin was added to Bulgaria’s blacklist of unwelcome operators in February.

The LGA reported total revenue of €52.7m last year, the same tally as in 2012. Total operating expenditure during the period came to €2.9m, making the LGA’s 2013 surplus a hefty €48.9m. LGA exec chairman Joesph Cuschieri said the figures underscored “the importance and value creation ability of the gaming industry for the Maltese economy.” Cuschieri also said the LGA was undergoing “a major restructuring, investment and capacity building program” and had set an “ambitious reformist and growth agenda” in order to ‘future proof’ the regulator’s relevance.

Meanwhile, Maltese politicians are trying to prevent the Council of Europe from changing the definition of sports betting for European Union member nations. Alarmed by “widespread” allegations of match fixing, the Council wants to pass a Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, which proposes to have online sports bets regulated by the country in which the bettor resides rather than where the online sportsbook is licensed.

The Convention defines illegal sports betting as “any sports betting activity whose type or operator is not allowed under the applicable law of the jurisdiction where the consumer is located.” Jose Herrera, Malta’s parliamentary secretary for competitiveness and economic growth, said Malta agrees with the Convention’s desire to stamp out match fixing but insists this “inappropriate encroachment” could negatively impact Malta’s online gambling industry, which provides over 6% of the country’s GDP.

Herrera told Malta Today that the government “will continue doing all that is possible to counteract the definition being proposed.” Herrera has met with Helen Grant, the UK minister responsible for gambling issues, whom Herrera says concurs with Malta’s view that the definition “goes beyond the objectives of the convention.” Malta’s previous attempt to amend the Convention’s definition of sports betting was defeated last month by a vote of 15 to 11. The Council is scheduled to meet again on June 18, at which the Convention will likely be approved.

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