Malta Discusses Social Impact of Gambling

Published Tuesday, October 06, 2009 -

Social Policy Minister John Dalli in Malta suggested recently while speaking during the debate in second reading of the Lotteries and Other Games Act Amendment Bill, that advertising promoting gambling activities should be banned outright. He said that while leaving room for the entertainment value of gambling, but that the curbing of abuse is necessary.

His approach is that of a social director when he said that there should also be strict controls on internet gambling. The Minister called for government to acquire information on Internet provider addresses to see who plays where and where the process is taking place. The main concern for the Minister was the development of the problem gambler and that all restrictive measures would be based on prevention. Also on the important list for discussion was providing security for the more vulnerable elements in Maltese society and youth.

A number of regulatory authorities have been established over the years in various sectors, the land based gambling sector remained mostly unregulated. Online betting from Malta involves billions of euros. These discussions are for the people of Malta primarily to understand the impact of gambling online or otherwise on their society.

The debate turned critical of the government's lack of insight into problems created by gambling on Malta. Many ministers pointed out that there are loopholes in gambling legislation in Malta that are giving some offshore companies an advantage over the domestic operators, without the obligation to be socially responsible financially or morally.

A single platform which applies to every gaming sector without any prejudice or discrimination, was called for during the talks. Primary goals of the new legislation were to harmonise the sectors by building a strong foundation and striking a balance among the government, the investors and the clients. Maltese sanctioned online licencees are watching this debate very closely.

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