The Remote Gaming Compliance unit has extensive experience assisting remote gaming clients’ operating within various jurisdictions apply for a license with the relative Authorities. Such jurisdictions include: Malta, United Kingdom and Sweden.
The Gaming Act governs all forms of gaming in Malta. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) established under the Act is responsible for issuing gaming licenses, ascertaining that licensees are fit and proper persons to carry out the functions relative to gaming, ensuring that licensees comply with all of their license conditions and that games and gaming are kept free of criminal activity.
The Application process with MGA is divided in five stages that include the following:
- Fit and Proper;
- Business Planning;
- Operational and Statutory Requirements;
- System Review; and
- Compliance Review.
Fit and Proper
During the Fit and Proper stage, the MGA will carry out the due diligence and probity checks it considers necessary submitted on entities owning directly or indirectly 10% of shares in the applicant right up to the ultimate beneficial owner/s. Any non-disclosure of criminal records or misleading information could result in disqualification of the application. The MGA will also review the company documents to ascertain that these are in line with local regulations and good practice. The review is not limited to the shareholders’, however, includes all individuals involved in the financing and management of the business activity, I.E key function roles .
Upon successful completion, the MGA will inform the applicant that no further clarification is required, and the reviewer will continue to review the policies and procedures submitted.
The MGA conducts an in-depth financial analysis of the applicant’s business plan. The applicant’s business plan is expected to have a detailed three-year forecast of the operation, inclusive of marketing, distribution strategies, human resources plan and growth targets.
Operational and Statutory Requirements
This process includes examining incorporation documents, policies and procedures including but not limited to the: system and application architecture of the control system, rules and conditions of the games, terms and conditions and agreements with third party service providers. All documentation must be drafted as per the system documentation form issued by the MGA.
Upon successful completion of the first three stages, the MGA will request a system audit to be carried out on the gaming and control system. The systems audit will verify the live environment against the proposed application.
During this stage the operator is required to complete the following steps:
- Set up a test environment reflecting the live operation in preparation for the system audit;
- Complete the systems audit checklist to be reviewed by a system auditor approved by MGA; and
- Appoint a Service Provider approved by the MGA to carry out system audit.
The applicant will be allowed 60 days to complete the above phases, after which the application will be considered as cancelled and subject to re-application.
The MGA mandates that after going live, a Licensee must undergo a number of compliance audits of its operations performed by an approved Service Provider appointed by the Licensee. Such audits need to be completed by the Service Provider within 90 days from the MGA’s notice.
The MGA will require the audit to adhere to the following schedule:
- After the first year of operation after being licensed by the MGA; and;
- Any other audit depending on the compliance plan set by the MGA.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) adopt a similar approach to the MGA when it comes to the license application process. The Gambling Act along with the license conditions and codes of practice (LCCP) governs all forms of gambling in the United Kingdom.
The following main categories of documentation will be required to be submitted during the license application phase in order to the UKGC to conduct its fit and proper testing on the applicant including financial sustainability:
- Ownership Structure Diagram;
- Business Plan (including three- year financial forecast);
- Management and Group Structure;
- Statutory Documentation;
- Policy Documents;
- Financial Documents; and
- Key People Documentation (Personal Management License and Annex A Personal Declaration Forms).
Following the granting of a license, the UKGC will request the licensee to go through a Security Audit within 6 months of an operator’s commencement of trading.
The New Gambling law governed by the Ministry of Finance in Sweden came into force on the 1st January 2019. The Ministry of Finance have appointed a specific unit of individuals to process all license applications being submitted.
The gambling market is divided into the following parts:
- Online Gambling and Betting;
- Lotteries and Land-Based Bingo;
- Land-based casinos and token machines controlled by the Swedish state.
Online gaming and betting laws do currently do not consider remote gaming providers and developers, I.E the business to business remote gaming sector. For the time being such providers remain unregulated in Sweden.
The following main categories of documentation will be required to be submitted during the license application phase in order to the Authority to conduct its fit and proper testing on the applicant including financial sustainability:
- Personal Declaration Annex A Forms including but not limited to directors;
- Business Entity Annex B Forms;
- Game Description Annex C Forms;
- Business plan (including three- year financial forecast);
- Policy Documentation;
- Game Specification Documentation from providers (where applicable); and
- Terms and Conditions.
Once the license is issued, operators have a transition period till the 1st July 2019 to appoint an ISO accredited Service Provider to check, test and certify gaming activities.