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Gambling in Malta

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Malta has opted to embrace the gaming industry and permits a broad range of activities. Important distinctions, however, are made between gaming by Maltese residents and foreigners – the latter being subject to less stringent regulation than the former. Malta invites active participation in this industry by foreign companies, offering favourable corporate and tax structures to such enterprises.

The Lotteries and Other Games Act (“LOGA”), the central piece of legislation in this area, provides for the regulation of all gaming operations other than land-based casinos which remain regulated under the Gaming Act 1998. LOGA established a new regulatory body, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, a legal entity distinct from the government, which is the gaming regulator for Malta. New Remote Gaming Regulations govern the burgeoning Internet gaming industry.

Definitions

Lottery

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2: “lottery” means any game of chance where prizes are distributed by lot or chance among participants in the game;

Casino Gaming

Gaming Act 1998, as amended by Acts XXIV of 2001 and III of 2004: “casino” means such premises in relation to which the Minister has granted a concession under article 3.

Machine Gambling Outside Casinos

Although there are numerous definitions of each of these types of machines (VLT, amusement machine, etc.) our research has revealed no comprehensive definition of this category.

Betting

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2: “bet” means a game in which the player is required t forecast any result or outcome in respect of one event or a set of events; and “betting” shall be construed as the playing of a bet;

Subsidiary definitions

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2:

  • “amusement game” means a game played by means of an amusement machine;
  • “amusement machine” means any type of machine, whether operated electrically, electronically, mechanically, manually or otherwise, used for the purpose of playing games exclusively for amusement purposes and not for gambling purposes, and which is operated by the insertion of money or any amusement machine token and where in the operation thereof a successful player neither receives nor is offered any benefit other than the opportunity, if any, afforded by the automatic action of the machine to play the game again without the insertion of other money or amusement machine tokens;
  • “amusement machine token” means a device which can be bought for insertion in amusement machines instead of money, for the operation of such machines;
  • “game” means and includes, except for the purposes of the definitions of “amusement machine” and “amusement game” in this sub-article, a game of chance and a game of chance and skill, but does not include (i) a sport event, although it includes a sport bet and any other game of chance and game of chance and skill the operation or playing of which depends on a sport event or a set of sport events or the result or outcome thereof and (ii) and amusement game;
  • “game of chance” means a game for money and, or prizes with a monetary value, the results of which are totally accidental;
  • “game of chance and skill” means a game for money and, or prizes with a monetary value, the results of which are not totally accidental but depend, to a certain extent, on the skill of the participant,
  • “gaming device” means any electrical, electronic or mechanical device, ticket or any other thing which is used or intended for use in connection with the operation, promotion or sale of a game and, or in gaming, and includes a totalisator, a VLT, a VLT central computer, a tombola scorecard and a tombola score sheet.
  • “other games” means and includes non-profit games operated by non-profit game licensees, commercial tombola games operated by tombola (bingo) hall licensees, commercial communication games operated by commercial communication game licensees, broadcasting media games operated by broadcasting media game licensees, VLT games operated by VLT licences, and racecourse bets and sweepstakes operated by racecourse betting licensees, in terms of their respective licence and under such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by virtue of regulations, or by their respective licence;
  • “racecourse bet” means a bet on a horse race or races or on a dog race or races conducted on a racecourse; and “racecourse betting” shall be construed as the playing of a racecourse bet;

Bingo

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2:

“tombola game” means a game of chance, also known as “bingo” in which the player uses a tombola scoresheet or a tombola scorecard or an electronic representation thereof bearing numbers and is played by marking or covering numbers from one (1) to ninety (90), both numbers inclusive, as are identical to numbers drawn by chance, whether manually or electronically, and won by the player who first marks or covers the “ine” which isachieved when, during one game, for the first time all five numbers on one horizontal row on one scorecard are drawn; or the “house” or “bingo” is achieved when, during one game, for the first time all the fifteen numbers on one scorecard are drawn;

Media Gambling Services

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2:

“broadcasting media game” means any game which is organised by the owner or operator of a radio or television station, or a sub-contractor thereof, where the participation of players therein takes place by or as a result of their presence during the transmission or recording of the programme during which such game is organised or by any intervention on their part by any means of distance communication during or after the transmission or recording of the programme during which such game is organised;

Subsidiary definitions

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2:

“means of distance communication” includes any means which may be used for the communication, transmission, conveyance and receipt of information (including information in the form of data, text, images, sound or speech) or for the conclusion of a contract between tow or more persons; without the simultaneous physical presence of those persons; such means may be unaddressed or addressed printed matter, a standard letter, press advertising with an order form, a catalogue, telephone with human intervention (including phone-ins during radio and television programmes) or without human intervention (such as automatic calling machine, audiotext), radio videophone (telephone with screen), videotext (microcomputer and television screen) with keyboard or touch screen, electronic mail, facsimile machine (fax), and television (teleshopping), and any other means of communication, transmission, conveyance and receipt of information by wire, radio, optical means, electromagnetic means or by any electronic means;

Charity Gambling

Lotteries and Other Games Act Cap. 438, §2

  • “non-profit game” means a game organized by a non-profit organization, the net proceeds of which are intended for a religious, sports, philanthropic, cultural, educational, social or civic purpose or for any other purpose as the Minister may by order in the Gazette prescribe;
  • “non-profit organization” means any non-profit organization domiciled in Malta [emphasis added] such as religious societies, band clubs, youth movements, cultural societies, literary societies, clubs promoting arts, sports clubs and sports associations, charitable societies, philanthropic societies, political party clubs and political parties, trades union, social clubs or any other association or body of persons or individual person pursuing objectives of a religious, philanthropic, cultural, educational, social or civic nature, and approved in writing as a non-profit organization by the Authority for the purposes of this Act, and in respect of which such approval has not been revoked.

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