A Malta daily fantasy sports revolution is taking place, thanks to a recent decision from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).
On August 10th, after 6 months of deliberation, the MGA announced their decision to introduce a specific Malta daily fantasy sports license to their shores.
The Malta Daily Fantasy Sports license will classify DFS as a game of skill. This is unlike traditional sports books and online casinos.
The MGA stated:
“[DFS] should be differentiated from games of chance in terms of licensing and regulation […] This relates specifically to fantasy sports where players choose virtual representations of real-life athletes […] and where the outcome is determined predominantly by skill and knowledge rather than by chance.”
At the moment daily fantasy operators can obtain a gambling license exemption using Legal Notice 271 of 2016. The MGA will operate a grace period, where interested parties will be able to voice their concerns. When this finishes, the MGA will hopefully create the skill-based license for DFS.
Malta Daily Fantasy Sports
Worries about Brexit aside, Malta is a great place for daily fantasy sports operators. A welcoming base in the igaming capital will make it easier for DFS companies to operate across the UK and Europe.
The island country has truly been a haven for the online gaming industry. Malta became the first EU member state to regulate online gaming, back in 2004. Now they’re welcoming daily fantasy sports on a new license, which does not classify it as gambling.
Malta-based DFS operator Oulala helped develop the new license.
The UK Gambling Commission currently license Oulala; the same goes for Malta daily fantasy sports operators Fanaments, FanTeam and FantasyBet. This works because Malta is part of the British Commonwealth, and is therefore on the UK Gambling Commission’s white list.
Skill vs. Chance
United States DFS operators strongly desire to be classified as games of skill. Operators like FanDuel and DraftKings can’t function in a state which sees DFS as a game of chance, because online gambling is illegal in the States.
Fortunately, daily fantasy companies have been making some headway; for instance New York has now legalised DFS. On the other hand, some States – such as Delaware – have banned DFS. Plus in Nevada operators are up against a committee who want them to get an online gambling license instead of a specific fantasy sports one.
Online gambling is perfectly legal in the UK, so it’s not a huge concern to us. However, any acknowledgement of DFS’s skill-based nature supports operators’ efforts in the USA. Additionally, the huge number of U.S. players are helping keep these companies afloat. So it’s in the interest of all DFS players for authorities to make game’s skill-based nature clear!