Malta Controlled Skill Game regulation

As of the 24th January 2017 the Malta Controlled Skill Game regulation has been in force. The MGA has been entrusted with the governance and regulation over the skill games sector which is covered in the Lotteries and Other Games ACT, article 78.

The MGA is empowered to regulate the sector in terms of a number of public policy objectives including consumer protection, fairness of the game and the prevention of fraud.

The purpose of the Controlled Skill Game regulations is to address a range of games which vary substantially from typical games of chance with the aim of differentiating between games that require state intervention and those that do not.

The MGA is empowered to issue a “Controlled Skill Game” license which is valid for 5 years (and renewable there after). The license additionally covers Controlled Skill Game Suppliers who offer games on a B2B basis. The license is subjected to a number of requirements including vetting of the persons behind the business, financial system auditing to ensure the system is sound and secure, measures are in place to prevent fraud and money laundering, segregation of player funds and a consumer centric approach to the business.

What fees apply to Controlled Skill Games?

License holders are subjected to administrative fees and a 5% tax over gaming revenue.

What games fall under the Controlled Skill Games license?

Games which are based on a random number generator at the start of the game, such as cards or dice, but which rely on skill as the game progresses, such as is in the case of games such as belote, tarot, rummy or backgammon, should be licensed, but in such a way as to be deemed different to gambling.

How do I know my game is a game of skill?

Regulation 3 of the regulation deals with classification of a game and criteria covers:

  • the presence of random draws and their effect on the outcome;
  • whether the game is played for money and, or prizes with a monetary value;
  • whether participation in a game involves any form of monetary commitment, or commitment of a monetary value
  • the possibility of any negative social impact of the game;
  • whether the activity is closely associated with games of chance and/or gambling;
  • the duration of each event, competition or match;
  • whether, on the face of it, a skilled player is able to win more than an unskilled player;
  • whether a player’s chance of winning is significantly increased by experience in playing the game
  • whether skill can be acquired through training, experience, reading literature or other educational material;
  • whether a rule-set or format that is used further nullifies the effect of any element of chance;
  • whether the game is played against other human players, or otherwise;
  • the level of interaction between the players, the level of interaction between the operator and the players, and the level of intervention by the operator during the event, competition or match; and
  • the complexity of the game, including the amount of player choices and their potential effect on the outcome, and the strategies involved.

Provided that when the Authority determines, basing itself on any one or more of the above criteria, that an activity is more akin to a game of chance or a game of chance and skill than to a skill game as intended by the Act and any regulations made thereunder, then such an activity shall not fall within the
parameters of this Schedule

Fantasy sports, for instance, will now fall under a Controlled Skills Game license

I have a gambling license, do I need a Controlled Skill Game license as well?

According to the paper titled Digital Games of Skill with Prize (December 2015) it is not worth getting a classification for your skilled games.

An operator offering both traditional games of chance via the internet, as well as games of mixed chance and skill, such as board games, would rather have such games regulated under their gambling licence, as the burden and
expense of proving that such games are more skill-based is not worth the recategorisation.

GamblingTec.com can power your games of skill

While regulations in most jurisdictions are still green, a time will come when games of skill will need to be regulated. In cases where they do, you are free to ingerate your games into the GamblingTec.com platform which operates off a gambling license.

For more information: licensing for game developers

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