The government of Malta may reportedly soon give in to external pressure and ratify the Council of Europe’s anti-match-fixing Macolin Convention initiative despite a long-standing disagreement regarding what should actually constitute ‘illegal sportsbetting.’
According to a Sunday report from the Malta Today newspaper, the small island nation looks set to finally withdraw its veto regarding the rules brought in to hinder illicit gaming activities some seven years ago. The government of Prime Minister Robert Abela is purportedly worried that any failure to come into line with the tenets of the Macolin Convention could see his country officially placed on a ‘grey list’ of risky jurisdictions.
The newspaper reported that the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force (FATF) organization could hit Malta with this unwanted designation as early as tomorrow after the nation failed a 2019 probe of its anti-money laundering rules conducted by this international body’s expert Moneyval committee. This move could purportedly have a detrimental impact on the country’s economy and prompt foreign companies to look for safer environments elsewhere.
Malta Today reported that the protocols behind the Macolin Convention were first introduced in 2014 and have since been ratified by seven Council of Europe member states. However, the 28-nation body has purportedly been prevented from implementing the anti-match-fixing scheme bloc-wide due to a long-standing veto from Malta.
The newspaper reported that Malta is concerned that the Macolin Convention defines sportsbetting as ‘illegal’ if it takes place in a jurisdiction where such activities are prohibited. The nation previously purportedly expressed concerns that implementing the proposed legislation could prevent operators legitimately licensed by its own Malta Gaming Authority regulator from being able to extend or maintain operations abroad.
Nevertheless, the threat of being placed on a list of potentially dodgy financial jurisdictions has reportedly prompted Malta to change its stance and begin considering the real possibility of removing its long-standing veto to the implementation of the Macolin Convention. One unnamed senior source purportedly told the newspaper that ‘we will probably have to bow our head and just get on with it’ while a second disclosed that the government is still seeking clarification on the issue.
Malta is reportedly home to a raft of licensed big-name iGaming operators, developers and suppliers providing their products and services to players and associated companies around the globe. These enterprises purportedly furthermore serve as a major source of tax revenues for the nation’s coffers although the implementation of the Macolin Convention could now endanger this success by prohibiting such firms from operating in jurisdictions where their wares are ‘not allowed.’