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Carl Brincat: How regulators can help operators innovate

TAGs: CAI, Carl Brincat, Malta, malta gaming authority

Regulators must strike an important balance between keeping customers and their citizenry’s safe, while also allowing operators to innovate and thrive. Few regulators have the experience and knowledge to do that as well as the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and Deputy General Counsel Carl Brincat joined our Becky Liggero Fontana to discuss how they hit that balance.

The MGA have released guidelines to help operators know the best approach to innovating in the industry, while not going too far. “The intention behind them was to be more transparent to the industry and to make it easier for operators to understand where we’re coming from when you take certain enforcement decisions, and why we take them and why we take them in the manner that we take those decisions,” Brincat explained. “This is part of our approach of being open with the industry. We listen, but we also want to explain our intentions.”

If an operator is ever unsure about something they want to try, the MGA makes it easy for them. “There are senior executives within the regulatory department that are assigned to each particular operator,” he said. “That’s for two reasons, one of them is for ease of access, and the second one is for that they develop expertise on the particular license.”

One area operators often complain about is that they fall behind those who face less strict regulations. But Brincat noted that it’s for their benefit. “Enforcement is important for two reasons,” he said. “First of all it’s not only a deterrent to non-compliant operators. What it is, also a means of being fair to the compliant ones. So I heard a number of panelists today saying that compliance is costly, and the compliant operators have it rough to compete. So it’s also a matter of fairness to the compliant operations when you enforce the rules. And secondly the way don’t stifle innovation is not through enforcement, rather through the development of proportionate obligations. So we try to make sure that our law is structured in a way to achieve our objectives without being overly prescriptive, so that the industry and still innovate and be the dynamic industry that it is.”

Liggero Fontana asked Brincat if he had any advice for regulators in emerging territories, like the U.S. “It’s always awkward for a regulator to give advice to other regulators, but what I will always say is to remain open to feedback from the industry and also feedback from other regulators,” he responded. “So for example, have a number of emerging regulator is coming to Malta and listening to us in creating a dialogue so that we explain what we do and they explain their objectives, and we learn from each other. so that kind of discourse I think can be very productive to everyone.”

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