Malta may be forced to end sports betting veto


Malta may be forced to withdraw its EU veto on a sports betting convention if it wishes to receive the green light from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on its Moneyval test.

The FATF is currently deciding whether Malta should be placed on an untrustworthy list of jurisdictions, but there remains a deadlock over Malta’s adherence to the Macolin Convention, a Council of Europe treaty aimed at tackling the manipulation of sport.

The FATF is scheduled to take its first decision on 15 June 2021 following a report from Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering expert committee. 

Malta is reportedly still seeking clarification over the definition of illegal sports betting. Two years ago, the jurisdiction’s anti-money laundering regime failed a Moneyval review, with the assessors then giving the country a to-do list for the FATF to review, including a number of reforms.

For the last seven years, Malta has contested the definition of illegal sports betting, as the article in question would make any sports betting activity in one state illegal, if the applicable law of the jurisdiction of the consumer of the betting service considers it to be so. If ratified, it would mean that licensed gaming operators in the country would be prevented from extending their operations abroad unless they follow the laws of the other member states.

The country believes both its national laws and the Malta Gaming Authority’s sports integrity unit are capable of tackling illegal betting activity together with sporting bodies and law enforcement agencies.