CHALLENGES FOR MGA LICENSED COMPANIES AND NEW ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR KEY FUNCTIONS.
We want to update you on relevant changes in legislation and their effects. This time the update is about a new Malta policy restructuring the key function roles and adding eligibility criteria for each role. This was published back in October 2021 by the Malta Gaming Authority (‘MGA’). This update elevated the requirements needed for such individuals, making it more complex to find suitable individuals to fulfill these positions.
In the article below, we look back at the consequences this update had on both new and existing companies a little over six months after it was first introduced. If we can help you with these changes get in touch with us, or keep reading this update.
First, let’s start with the basics: a key function is an important position for which only individuals can be appointed. In other words, they are the main responsible person(s) for a specific aspect of the gaming business in a licensed company. They are also the contact persons the MGA will go to on specific matters, depending on the topic (legal matters to Legal Affairs key function holder, players complaints to Compliance Officer, etc.). In order to provide key function services to a licensed MGA entity, such prospective key function holders must be vetted by the MGA and obtain a certificate of approval.
REDUCED NUMBER OF KEY FUNCTIONS
One of the changes was the number of key functions, which was reduced, from fifteen to eight for B2C licensed entities and from nine to seven for B2B licensed entities. For existing licensed entities, the question that was raised was whether they needed to change their appointed key functions holders to find people that could be suited in roles that were now merging. Fortunately, this was not the case as several individuals can conjunctively be appointed for one key function, as long as the expertise criteria are met. On the other hand, this did mean that the current key function holders needed to get re-approved by the MGA under the new requirements by the end of May 2022.
For recent MGA applicants, these new requirements also meant one would need to find individuals who would be versatile in terms of their experience and qualifications, to satisfy the vetting process.
OBLIGATORY MINIMAL AMOUNT OF HOURS
Another change introduced was the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) minimum number of hours that key function holders would need to take part in on a yearly basis. The MGA has published an extensive list explaining how this can be attained, through online courses, conferences, trainings, and various other means. Evidence of these CPD hours must be submitted to the MGA for the renewal of the Key Function holder’s certificate, and trainings must be deemed relevant to the key function in question by the MGA for them to approve the CPD hours.
The MGA has also published a table showing what roles are incompatible or conflicting. For example, compliance-oriented roles usually conflict with business-based roles. For more information, you can review the full policy from the MGA website.
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KEY FUNCTION SERVICES
At EM Group, we can help you navigate these conditions to maintain your compliance with the key functions requirements. We assist with the appointment to these roles and provide the support in meeting the ongoing requirements and responsibilities of key function holders. EM Group will also organize training sessions and events which will count for the CPD hours required for key function holders (more info to follow shortly).
Thank you for your attention and please send me or your account manager an email should you wish to learn more about how we can help.