The Malta Independent 18 June 2019, Tuesday

Government May lower entrance age to casinos

Malta Independent Monday, 10 January 2005, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

The government is considering changing the minimum entrance age to casinos after a recommendation by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority to correct an anomaly in the present regulations.

At present, foreigners can enter casinos at 18 while Maltese

people have to be 25 to enter

a casino – even to eat in the

restaurant. Following Malta’s European Union membership, this regulation has created an anomaly and Maltese and

foreigners, including EU nationals, are not on an equal footing. It is also presenting a problem when someone Maltese has dual citizenship.

Lotteries and Gaming Authority chief executive officer Mario Galea said the authority had written to the government regarding this anomaly. Finance Ministry Parliamentary secretary Tonio Fenech confirmed that this recommendation, as well as recommendations regarding other issues, has been received, and added that it was being discussed at a technical level. He said the issue had been brought to his attention and is being considered in the context of the government’s policy on the matter.

Asked whether the minimum age limit will be raised for

foreigners, Mr Fenech this would not be a good idea as casinos, in terms of foreigners, are a good source of revenue and an important part of the tourism industry.

Reducing the entrance age for Maltese citizens to 18 is one of the options being considered, he said, adding that no decision has been taken yet. He said the final decision will be taken by Cabinet.

Mr Galea said the authority recommended that the age limit is reduced to 18. In all European Union countries, the minimum age for admittance to casinos is 18, except for Greece where you have to be 21.

He said the authority also made a recommendation regarding the minimum age for participating in lotteries. At present, no one younger than 16 can participate. The authority recommended that government change this to 18, similar to the regulations in other EU countries.

One of the main reasons why the authority made this recommendation is because the lotteries no longer have social connotations. He said that for the first time since 1837, the government is not the entity responsible for the lotteries in Malta which have passed onto Maltco Lotteries. Therefore, because of the business aspect, it might be a good idea to increase the minimum participation age to 18.

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