MGA to allow Casinos on cruise liners to operate while visiting Malta

Following the publication of the Cruise Casino Regulations by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), wherein cruise liners are to obtain prior approval from the MGA, cruise liners will now be able to operate their onboard casinos while berthing in Malta and its territorial waters. These Regulations are a result of the policy announced by Government last November during the 2015 Budget speech. The Regulations aim to regulate casino operations on board cruise ships, which are either berthed in Malta, Gozo or within Maltese territorial waters.

Cruise Casino Regulation Launch

From Left to Right: Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon. Dr José Herrera, MGA’s Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri and Chief Executive Officer of Valletta Cruise Port, Stephen Xuereb at the launch of the Cruise Casino Regulations

The MGA’s Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri said that the MGA introduced the Cruise Liner Casino Regulations to ensure that fair play and player protection processes on board cruise ships are in place.

“Through the Cruise Liner Casino Regulations, we will be able to safeguard both the interests of passengers on board cruise ships, as well as those of the Maltese gaming industry. Cruise ships that are issued with the necessary approval by the MGA will be able to operate their casinos in line with the stipulated conditions whilst berthed here,” added Mr Cuschieri.

“Valletta Cruise Port welcomes the publication of the new casino regulations, following our instigation of the process in recent years. These regulations make Malta a more attractive proposition for cruise liners particularly those who do opt to call at Malta for an overnight stay. This is undoubtedly an incentive to encourage cruise liners to include both Malta and Gozo in their Mediterranean itinerary.  Valletta Cruise Port has already starting promoting these regulations, and feedback from the cruise liner industry has been positive,” commented Stephen Xuereb, Chief Executive Officer of Valletta Cruise Port.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth Hon. Dr. José Herrera stated that through the introduction of these regulations the Government has taken into consideration the private sector to incentivise these two industries: gaming and the cruise liners. This measure being implemented by the Government was announced during the last budget. As such this secretariat has already accomplished three important propositions from their announcement in the budget: the Authority’s branding, the launch of GamingMalta and the new regulations for the cruise casinos, said Jose’ Herrera.

José Herrera praised the Malta Gaming Authority’s commitment that is increasing being pro-active in its efforts to promote job opportunities and investment on our shores.

“Through the implementation of these new regulations, cruise liner operators can apply for approval to operate their onboard casinos. The Authority will be assuring the best principles of fair play and player protection. Therefore the need to regulate arises, to ensure that we build upon the good reputation that our jurisdiction holds,” said the Parliamentary Secretary.

The government reiterates its commitment to improve these industries to create more quality job opportunities for our country.

The Regulations lay down that a formal application for this purpose must be submitted to the MGA, which, in turn, issues such approval once it is satisfied that gaming on board the cruise liner casino shall take place in accordance with the fundamental principles established by the Authority. Once approval is granted, cruise liner casinos will be allowed to operate for the duration of their stay, in line with the conditions stipulated in these new regulations. The conditions attached to the approval, stipulate, for instance, that only those persons listed on the passenger manifest of that particular voyage can gamble at the vessel’s casino, and that the casino is only operated during the time window specified in the MGA approval.

The Cruise Casino Regulations (S.L. 400.03) are being issued under the Gaming Act (Chapter 400 of the Laws of Malta) and are available online through this link.

For more information on these regulations, one can contact the Authority by calling +356 25469000 or sending an email to info@mga.com.mt.

A brochure about these regulations has also been issued for guidance purposes, and may be accessed here.

The Authority has also set up a dedicated page on the website providing all the necessary information and forms related to obtaining the MGA’s approval which can be accessed here.

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Press Release (EN) - MGA to allow Casinos on cruise liners to operate while visiting Malta
Stqarrija (MT) - L-Awtorità Maltija dwar il-Logħob tirregola l-operat ta' casinos fuq cruise liners irmiġġati f'Malta