An update to Malta’s gambling legislation will focus on safeguards for customers of online gambling by gaming regulators in the southern European island country.

According to a Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) representative, existing laws have been under review since 2013 and proposals that would “innovate and extend” the authority’s reach were to be submitted this fall. The spokesperson denied the revision was a result of Italy’s crackdown on Malta-licensed online operators Betuniq and Betsolution4U Ltd.+, allegedly controlled by the Ndrangheta crime organization. Threatening to sue the gaming authority if investigations don’t lead to criminal convictions, licenses associated with these and other Italian firms were suspended by the MGA in cooperation with authorities.

The previous gaming authority was criticized for its 2012 closing of the Purple Lounge and Everleaf Gaming, and in an effort to distance itself from its predecessor the MGA has undergone a formal rebranding and significant change to its executive personnel.

A request for opinion seeking the Council of Europe’s definition of illegal sports gambling was withdrawn by Malta in July 2014 after the Councils proposal to redefine the legality of online sports betting being based on use rather than operator location. Part of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions, the redefinition was supported by Malta but believed it would affect licensed online sports betting operators in Malta negatively.

The request for opinion withdrawal does not diminish Malta’s concerns regarding the scope of the Convention’s authority. Instead legislators determined that an acceptable state of affairs being achieved through discussions would be more appropriate.

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