Maltese Regulator Outlines Distributed Ledger Policy, European Markers Of Harm Support

February 2, 2023
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The Malta Gaming Authority has said it fully supports developing standardised European markers of harm and that the publication of its distributed ledger policy indicates a “natural progression” of its position on crypto.

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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has said it fully supports developing standardised European markers of harm and that the publication of its distributed ledger (DLT) policy indicates a “natural progression” of its position on crypto.

The regulator’s move to publish its DLT policy, which governs its approach to blockchain and cryptocurrency gambling, reflects the “regulatory experience attained over the course of the previous framework’s applicability”, a spokesperson for the MGA told VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

Any changes compared with the “Sandbox Framework” phase, which comes to an end on February 28, are “not considered to constitute a major overhaul of the preceding framework”.

The Sandbox Framework was originally set to conclude on December 31, 2022, but was extended.

“Following this pilot period, the MGA was better positioned to gauge relevant risks and determine which requirements have become outdated or could otherwise be eased without prejudicing its regulatory objectives, as well as what aspects needed to be further expanded upon,” the regulator said.

This has helped shape the final policy that the MGA says is “very much built on the previous framework”, but “also introduces changes that effectively reduce the overall limitations applicable to Authorised Persons while, on the other hand, requiring additional comfort to be submitted at approval stage, largely in the form of policies and procedures”.

When questioned about whether or not the publication of the policy signals an intent to have more operators apply to be able to use DLT, the MGA said it has “no interest in introducing or maintaining barriers to its adoption which are not necessary to the safeguarding of its regulatory objectives”.

Separately, the MGA said it fully supports the creation of a European standard on markers of harm for online gambling, submitted to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

Leveraging of data to help mitigate gambling-related harm and enhance player protection and seeking a common ground between different regulatory standards are seen as key developments by the regulator, the spokesperson said.

The MGA advised the Maltese National Standardisation Body on this standardisation initiative, and Malta was an active participant in the discussions and workstreams that have led to the development of the standards, they said.

“In its recent amendments to the Player Protection Directive, the MGA considered and took into account the EGBA’s proposal to standardise markers of harm for online gambling when formulating minimum markers of harm that must be taken into consideration by its licensees when evaluating player activity and behaviour,” the MGA said.

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