Global Glance: Malta Law Delayed, Italy Ads to Disappear

Global Glance: Malta Law Delayed, Italy Ads to Disappear

The weekly Global Glance looks at the online poker scene around the world. What happens with online poker and gambling beyond America’s borders can and often does impact the state of online poker in the United States.

Much can change in one week. Not only did Malta have to postpone the formal effective date of its new gambling laws for one month, Italy moved forward rather expeditiously with its gambling advertising ban. Meanwhile, the UK Gambling Commission revealed an intensified focus on player protections as a result of its latest report. And along the same lines, Responsible Gambling Week 2018 has been officially set for the first week of November.

New Malta Laws Delayed One Month

The process of approving and implementing the new Malta Gaming Act had been moving along quickly, as most lawmakers were on board, and the European Commission gave its final approval. The law was set to consolidate online gambling licenses into two main categories for easier processing and tracking, while the Malta Gaming Authority was granted more power to combat money laundering through new and tighter regulations. The MGA would also be tasked with creating a player support unit to more easily mediate disputes between players and operators. And it was all to take effect on July 1, 2018.

But whoa, Nelly.

It turned out that a member of the EU submitted a detailed opinion about the law to the European Council, and it required more time to examine. The MGA was then forced to push its dates back in order to comply with tweaks necessary for its regulatory framework. The new implementation date is August 1, 2018.

Italian Gambling Ad Ban to Begin in 2019

That was quick.

It was only in mid-June that the new coalition government in Italy came forth with its new proposal to put serious restrictions on gambling advertising. As a part of the new Five Star Movement’s “Dignity Decree,” big changes were being proposed for the entire gambling industry, many of which were directed at remote gaming operators.

The final draft of the bill came quickly and could be implemented as soon as January 1, 2019.

Details emerged that the advertising sector is the primary target of this first of several bills to come. It will ban all forms of winnings-related and wager-related gambling at sporting events, on television and radio, in the press and any publications, and on billboards and the internet. Sponsorships will also be prohibited. And violations will start at €50K and could increase to 5% of sponsorship or ad values, and gambling operators would be targeted with fines from €100K to €500K.

UKGC to Focus on Players

The release of the latest enforcement report from the UK Gambling Commission brought to light some lessons that it wants to highlight. The priority is to show gambling operators the benefits of its own enforcement actions with regard to preventing money laundering and unfair advertising and marketing practices, as well as self-exclusion and better customer interactions.

Essentially, player protections are becoming even a higher priority for the UKGC, and the agency wants it to be a system of protections that integrate into the gaming culture, starting at the top with online gaming operators.

This comes in the wake of numbers from that enforcement report showing more than £18 million in fines issued to gambling companies in the period from May 2017 through April 2018. The number was £1.6 million more than the previous year, and the largest fine was the £7.8 million jab at 888 Holdings for not properly responding to vulnerable customers.

UKGC Chief Executive Neil McArthur noted, “Effective regulation requires a balance between deterrence and advice and guidance.” And that requires operators to raise their standards, effectively doing the same for the entire gambling industry.

Responsible Gambling Week Set for November

The dates are officially November 1-7, established by the Industry Group for Responsible Gambling (IGRG) for Responsible Gambling Week 2018. And for the first time, Ireland and Northern Ireland will join Great Britain in celebrating the event.

The week will be dedicated to messages and advice from gambling businesses to encourage responsible gambling for the industry and customers. With a theme of “Let’s Talk About Responsible Gambling,” information will be spread via a dedicated website, traditional media, and social media.

Participants include a plethora of companies, such as Kindred, Ladbrokes, Playtech, Stars Group, GVC, Microgaming, and William Hill.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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