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Malta Gaming Authority Cruise Casino Regulations

Malta Gaming Authority Releases Cruise Casino Regulations

The Malta Gaming Authority has finally issued the Cruise Casino Regulations (the Regulations) as subsidiary legislation to the Gaming Act – Chapter 400 of the Laws of Malta.

The rationale of the Malta Gaming Authority Cruise Casino Regulations is to blend two of the most prominent industries in Malta – the maritime industry with the gaming industry.  Malta has been on the forefront of both industry, with the island being the largest maritime registry by tonnage, and the Malta Gaming Authority, having issued multiple licences to some of the largest players in the gaming industry.

Nevertheless, prior to the enactment of the Regulations, gaming activity could not be undertaken on board cruise liners berthed or in transit in Maltese ports, irrespective of the flag state of such  cruise liners.   The running of casinos within the Maltese territory was confined only to land based casinos, approved by the Malta Gaming Authority, following a concession from the Maltese government. Notwithstanding that most cruise liners have onboard casinos, these would effectively be closed down as soon as the vessel entered into Maltese territorial waters.

Following the enactment of the Regulations however, the Malta Gaming Authority has established a regulatory framework whereby cruise liners shall be allowed to operate on-board casinos within Maltese territorial waters, or even when berthed in Maltese and Gozitan ports.  This opening shall ensure that the island’s popularity as a cruise liner destination shall be bolstered, whilst allowing passengers to act within a regulated legal framework.  Cruise liners wishing to avail themselves of such possibility are required to pre-emptively inform the Malta Gaming Authority, during their stay in Malta, insofar that they abide by the parameters and restrictions of the Regulations, including but not limited to the certified payout ratios, operating hours and restricting play only to passengers.

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