MGA launches Phase 2 of its Sandbox Regulatory Framework

Following the implementation of the first phase of the Sandbox Regulatory Framework as of 1 January 2019, which established the possibility for authorised persons to be allowed to accept Virtual Financial Assets (VFAs) as a means of payment, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is announcing the launch of the second phase of the Framework. During this phase, the MGA will be accepting applications for the use of Innovative Technology Arrangements (ITAs), including Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platforms and smart contracts.

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Suspension for EveryMatrix by the UK Gambling Commission

The Gambling Commission has instigated a review under s116 of the Gambling Act into EveryMatrix Software Limited (operating licence no 039383-R-319384-021). This followed compliance activity which included examining its customer interaction framework.

Pursuant to section 118(2) Gambling Act 2005 (“the Act”), the Commission has determined to suspend the above operating licence insofar as it pertains to the operator’s ability to offer remote facilities for real event betting other than pool betting or betting on virtual events, and to operate a remote casino. We have not suspended the Licensee’s activities of manufacturing, supplying, installing or adapting gambling software.

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Betway, Bet365 ink prospective Argentina online partnerships

The Argentinian province of Buenos Aires recently implemented legislation to regulate online gambling in the country and the industry has already seen a healthy response. It now appears that two more companies are entering the market, hoping to use Argentina as a springboard for further expansion across the country, as well as the rest of South America. Betway and Bet365 have both set up joint ventures with local companies in order to get their feet wet and start their expansion journeys.

Betway, Bet365 ready to launch in ArgentinaBet365 has reportedly joined forces with Pasteko, a local bingo hall operator in Buenos Aires, while Betway teamed up with Bingo King. A third company, Codere LatAm, will work with Iberargen to launch in the country, if approval is given. Codere’s CEO, Aviv Sher, expects Latin America to be the next location for massive growth after Europe and Asia.

Buenos Aires is preparing to approve as many as seven online gambling licenses in the province. Most of the licenses issued are expected to be awarded to joint projects that involve international and local operators.

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Chinese police arrest 78 for online gambling; 35 nationals deported

Police have arrested 78 suspects for organised online gambling through computer games in the eastern Anhui province, involving 128m yuan ($18.5m).

Chinese authorities received a tip-off about the organisation after an individual lost 300,000 yuan on an online game called “Zork.”

A total of 78 suspects were arrested, with 46 of them still being detained as investigations continue.

Elsewhere, 35 Chinese nationals have been deported for online gambling activities.

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Ripple effect on Gaming if BOV lose dollar transaction provider

Bank of Valletta was preparing for the possible pull-out of ING, its sole remaining provider of correspondent banking services in US dollars, an official confirmed. The official, who asked not to be named, said mitigating measures were being taken over fears that the Dutch bank could pull the plug on its correspondent banking services to Malta.

ING is the last remaining provider of correspondent banking services to BOV in US dollars. Deutsche Bank terminated its servicing of such transactions two years ago.  ING was fined €775 million in September after admitting that criminals had been able to launder money through its accounts. Ever since, it has been on a de-risking exercise and correspondent banking relationships with small jurisdictions seen as high risk are being severed.

Malta’s willingness to combat financial crime has been called into question over recent years, fuelled in part by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s refusal to dump his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi over their involvement in the Panama Papers scandal.

ING did not respond to a request for comment from the Times of Malta.

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