European Gaming Lawyer magazine EGL_Spring2017_opt - Page 18

Skin Gambling – a Maltese perspective Malta ’ s Remote Gaming Regulations , ( the ‘ Regulations ’), define ‘ gaming ’ as an “ agreement , scheme , or arrangement between two or more parties to play together at a game of chance in which a prize or reward consisting of money or some other item of value , worth , advantage , or opportunity is offered or can be won and become the property of the winner under defined conditions established for the purpose of the game ”. 5
The Lotteries and other Games Act , ( the “ Act ”), defines ‘ game ’ as being a game of chance and / or a game of chance and skill . 6 A ‘ game of chance ’ is defined by the Act as “ a game for money and , or prizes with a monetary value , the results of which are totally accidental ”. 7 A ‘ game of chance and skill ’ is defined as “ a game for money and , or prizes with a monetary value , the results of which are not totally accidental but depend , to a certain extent , on the skill of the participant ”. 8 Both the Act and the Regulations prescribe that a licence is required in respect of these two scenarios .
In view of the fact that skins such as those used in CS : GO can be traded or converted into cash by means of virtual marketplaces and platforms , there exists a strong argument in favour of them attaining the status of an ‘ item of value or worth ’ for the purposes of the Regulations . Furthermore , in light of the fact that some , if not all , of these skins may be converted into cash ,
5 Regulation 2 , ‘ Remote Gaming Regulations ’, SL 438.04 of the Laws of Malta . 6 Article 2 , ‘ Lotteries and other Games Act ’, Chapter 438 of the Laws of Malta . 7 ibid . 8 ibid . 9 ( no . 2 ). 10 ibid . one may also argue that these skins attain a monetary value . Consequently , it follows that websites offering skin gambling should require a license to operate as such .
Cases such as that of FUTgalaxy , which is mentioned above , demonstrate that in-game items are particularly attractive to minors who are especially drawn to video games such as CS : GO , FIFA and other similar games . The UKGC commented in respect of FUTgalaxy that “ the defendants knew that the site was used by children and that their conduct was illegal ” 9 and how the defendants “ turned a blind eye in order to achieve substantial profits ”. 10 The court , in this case , described the effect of gambling on children as ‘ horrific ’ and ‘ serious ’ leading the UKGC to conclude that licensing websites offering skin gambling such as FUTgalaxy was the only way to protect minors and other vulnerable persons .
As has been demonstrated in this article , several jurisdictions are taking official positions and issuing decisions in respect of skin gambling . The Malta Gaming Authority has not taken a position yet . There is therefore a strong case to be made for the Malta Gaming Authority to give due attention to the topic of skin gambling , particularly after taking into consideration the effects it has on minors and other groups of vulnerable persons . Awareness should be raised and controls put in place to protect minors and vulnerable persons from the risks brought about by skin gambling .
The Malta Gaming Authority should take the opportunity to place Malta , as a gambling jurisdiction and as one of the leading industry innovators of the past fifteen years , back to the forefront of consumer protection and regulation , whilst clarifying the boundaries within which skin gambling providers are to operate .
Alistair Facciol is an Associate at Fenech & Fenech Advocates and has been practicing in the gaming and betting industry since 2011 . He holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Malta and is currently reading for a Master in Laws ( Computer and Communications Law ) degree from the Queen Mary University of London . Alistair is also �����i�nc�d in di����nt a��as of Intellectual Property and ICT law , especially within the gaming sector and takes keen interest in new and upcoming trends and technologies . He can be reached by email : Alistair . facciol @ fenlex . com
�� | European Gaming Lawyer | Spring Issue | 2017
Skin Gambling – a Maltese perspective Malta’s Remote Gaming Regulations, (the ‘Regulations’), define ‘gaming’ as an “agreement, scheme, or arrangement between two or more parties to play together at a game of chance in which a prize or reward consisting of money or some other item of value, worth, advantage, or opportunity is offered or can be won and become the property of the winner under defined conditions established for the purpose of the game”. 5 The Lotteries and other Games Act, (the “Act”), defines ‘game’ as being a game of chance and/or a game of chance and skill. 6 A ‘game of chance’ is defined by the Act as “a game for money and, or prizes with a monetary value, the results of which are totally accidental”. 7 A ‘game of chance and skill’ is defined as “a game for money and, or prizes with a monetary value, the results of which are not totally accidental but depend, to a certain extent, on the skill of the participant”. 8 Both the Act and the Regulations prescribe that a licence is required in respect of these two scenarios. In view of the fact that skins such as those used in CS:GO can be traded or converted into cash by means of virtual marketplaces and platforms, there exists a strong argument in favour of them attaining the status of an ‘item of value or worth’ for the purposes of the Regulations. Furthermore, in light of the fact that some, if not all, of these skins may be converted into cash, one may also argue that these skins attain a monetary value. Consequently, it follows that websites offering skin gambling should require a license to operate as such. Cases such as that of FUTgalaxy, which is mentioned above, demonstrate that in-game items are particularly attractive to minors who are especially drawn to video games such as CS:GO, FIFA and other similar games. The UKGC commented in respect of FUTgalaxy that “the defendants knew that the site was used by children and that their conduct was illegal” 9 and how the defendants “turned a blind eye in order to achieve substantial profits”. 10 The court, in this case, described the effect of gambling on children as ‘horrific’ and ‘serious’ leading the UKGC to conclude that licensing websites offering skin gambling such as FUTgalaxy was the only way to protect minors and other vulnerable persons. As has been demonstrated in this article, several jurisdictions are taking official positions and issuing decisions in respect of skin gambling. The Malta Gaming Authority has not taken a position yet. There is therefore a strong case to be made for the Malta Gaming Authority to give due attention to the topic of skin gambling, particularly after taking into consideration the effects it has on minors and other groups of vulnerable persons. Awareness should be raised and controls put in place to protect minors and vulnerable persons from the risks brought about by skin gambling. 5 Regulation 2, ‘Remote Gaming Regulations’, SL 438.04 of the Laws of Malta. 6 Article 2, ‘Lotteries and other Games Act’, Chapter 438 of the Laws of Malta. 7 ibid. 8 ibid. 9 (no. 2). 10 ibid. | European Gaming Lawyer | Spring Issue | 2017 The Malta Gaming Authority should take the opportunity to place Malta, as a gambling jurisdiction and as one of the leading industry innovators of the past fifteen years, back to the forefront of consumer protection and regulation, whilst clarifying the boundaries within which skin gambling providers are to operate. Alistair Facciol is an Associate at Fenech & Fenech Advocates and has been practicing in the gaming and betting industry since 2011. He holds a Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Malta and is currently reading for a Master in Laws (Computer and Communications Law) degree from the Queen Mary University وۙۋ[\Z\\[šH[BH\›و[[XX[\H[P]\XX[H][B[Z[X܈[Z\Y[[\\[][\Z[[[XY\˂H[HXXYH[XZ[[\Z\X[[^