The Skill Games Regulations (the “Regulations”) were recently enacted and are applicable to skill games organised in Malta, provided from Malta or promoted or offered to persons in Malta. The Regulations establish certain objectives pursuant to which the Malta Gaming Authority (the “Authority”) is empowered to regulate this sector. Indeed, protection of consumers and vulnerable persons, fairness and transparency of the game as well as prevention of criminality fall within the fundamental objectives of the Regulations.
A skill game is defined as a game for money or money’s worth and offered through means of distance communication, the result of which is determined by means of skill alone or predominantly by the use of skill and is operated as an economic activity, but does not include a sport event.
It is important to note that not all skill games require a licence, however the burden of proving that an activity is a skill game falls on the party operating such an activity. In addition, skill games which fall within the criteria listed in the Schedule 1 of the Regulations may, by means of a public ruling issued by the Authority, be declared as ‘controlled skill games’ and thus fall within the terms of the Regulations. The criteria taken into consideration include the following;
• Whether at face value, the skilled player is able to win more than an unskilled player;
• Whether the player’s chance of winning is significantly increased by his experience in playing the game;
• Whether the skill can be acquired through certain media;
• The level of interaction between the players themselves and in relation to the operator; and
• The possibility of a negative social impact of the game.
Indeed, after taking into account the foregoing criteria, the Authority has already issued a ruling stating that Fantasy Sport Games shall be considered as controlled skill games and thus require a licence to operate.