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This month in iGaming: August 2023

Maria Zamkina
September 5, 2023
3 min

Malta protects licensees from international claims, Ukraine brings back turnover tax, and another state bans gambling in India.

Malta regulation protects licensees from international courts

Last June, Maltese President George Vella signed Bill 55 into law.

The measure empowered Maltese courts to reject decisions by overseas courts, creating a shield around Malta-based iGaming companies. The law was incorporated into Malta’s Gambling Act as article 56A of the Gambling Act.

This month has seen the bill come under fire — and seen the MGA defend the action.

Bill 55 has been criticized by German regulator GGL as being “incompatible” with EU law. The GGL argues that the law contravenes the Brussels Recast Regulation, which governs how EU members settle legal judgements.

However, the MGA’s response highlights a section of the Recast Regulation which allows member states to refuse to adhere to a legal judgment if it’s at odds with the principles of its legal system. As such, the MGA’s stated aim with the law is simply to “enshrine into law the long-standing public policy of Malta in relation to the gaming sector.”

The MGA also specified that Bill 55 would only be used in cases where the Malta-based casino had been offering services which are explicitly allowed by law.

The passing of the law seems inspired by the increasing rates of players claiming that Malta licensees should repay their losses, as gambling is considered illegal in their home country.

Ukraine continues calibrating gambling regulations

The black market that flourished under Ukraine’s ten-year gambling ban has left lingering challenges for the newly re-regulated market, and the country continues to finesse its gambling regulations to protect players and combat the tradition of non-compliance.

As one example, Ukraine has re-introduced an 18% turnover tax for online casinos. Turnover taxes are deeply unpopular with operators, who view a GGR tax as more appropriate (turnover taxes require operators to pay a percentage of player stakes, whereas GGR taxes require operators to pay a percentage of their actual revenue).

The tax is apparently inspired by issues with noncompliance. Yaroslav Zheleznyak, People’s Deputy of Ukraine, commented on Telegram that the tax “settled the taxation of online casinos that had brazenly ‘forgot’ to pay the 18% tax on online casino gross gaming revenue.”

Danylo Hetmantsev, chairman of Ukraine’s finance committee, claimed that the new turnover tax would bring in UAH 1.5 billion (€37.1 million/$40.8 million) in revenues for the government, a welcome boon given the ongoing war.

Last month, the country passed a law that would allow for increased oversight for companies at higher risk of AML/CTF failures, and is also exploring the idea of blocking banks from lending money to self-excluded gamblers.

India faces increased pushback to online gambling

The rising popularity of gambling in India has spurred liberalization in some corners and resistance in others.

While several states have regulated gambling and the country has introduced “self-governing bodies” to oversee the online gambling industry, some states have moved in the other direction, banning online gambling or repealing established laws.

The state of Maharashtra has joined several others in banning gambling by repealing the Maharashtra Casinos (Control and Tax) Act 1976, which prohibited unlicensed gambling and laid out licensing requirements.

Also, a controversial 28% tax on GGR, announced by the Good and Services Tax Council of India, has been passed into law after being announced last month. This was despite the circulation of an open letter, boasting over 100 signatories, which asked for the tax to be reversed.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has published a paper requesting that all gambling advertising, across all channels, be banned.

Maria Zamkina
Maria Zamkina
Senior Editor
Maria started at Slotegrator in 2020. These years of experience in the iGaming content creation taught her to devote time to thorough research and analysis, especially when it comes to regulatory frameworks, business processes, and gambling industry insights. She spends every day creating high-quality content for Slotegrator and doing her best to share the most interesting information with our audience.

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