The Malta Independent 19 August 2019, Monday

Fantasy Sports operator chooses Malta as its base of operations in Europe

Monday, 30 January 2017, 11:03 Last update: about 4 years ago

Draft Kings, a fantasy sports operator originating from the USA, has chosen Malta as its base of operations for Europe.

A legal notice published recently split games of chance from skills based games, such as fantasy football, and the company acquired their new license through this split.

Draft Kings CEO Jason Robins, said during a press conference today, that Malta published a White Paper around a year ago, with the intent to pursue a legal framework for controlled skills game.  "This fit what they were looking for," he said. "As we explored the idea of Malta as our base of operations, it became apparent that it is a very good fit."

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"The goal, is to have an office here and we would like to staff up and grow our European operations. We launched in the UK last year and the results were encouraging. We believe that as we expand to other parts of Europe, we will see similar results to what we saw in the UK, and this will allow us to expand our presence here."

Draft Kings focusses on fantasy manager games, such as fantasy football.

The new legal notice was issued with a view of ensuring that skill  games  are  subject  to  risk-based  regulatory intervention, where this is necessary in the public interest, and that  such  regulatory  intervention  is  proportionate,  consistent and non-discriminatory. The notice also aims to ensure that skill games are conducted in a fair and transparent manner and that the sector is kept free from crime, while also ensuring that the  interests  of  all  consumers  are  adequately safeguarded and proper controls are in place to protect minors and other vulnerable persons.

The Skill Games License will enable DraftKings to operate in Malta and other select European countries. DraftKings intends to begin offering FS contests in some markets later in the first quarter of 2017, with additional countries to follow.

 

"Malta’s intention to regulate digital skill games with a prize was first announced in December 2014 when the MGA published a consultation document. From then onwards, the MGA sought the input of various industry stakeholders and experts in order to develop a framework which facilitates the development of the sector, while ensuring adequate protection for players and fairness of the games”, said Joseph Cuschieri, Executive Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority.

Minister for Competitiveness and Digital services Manuel Mallia also addressed the press conference, and said that government's "pioneering legal framework" offers protection to consumers and legal clarity. He added that Malta will be a safe and reputable base for local and international business.

Currently, legislation regarding the whole gaming spectrum is also being drafted and will later be discussed in Parliament.

"As Minister for competitiveness, my vision is that the digital industry be nurtured to become a cornerstone of the Maltese economy. First, he said, we must establish a regulatory regime to ensure that through these games, consumers are not misled, that player personal and financial data remain secure, and that the industry remain clean from criminal activity," Minister Mallia said.

The supervisory role for the framework will be undertaken by the Malta Gaming Authority.

The minister described Draft kings as a leading provider in fantasy sports games in the USA.  "They chose Malta as their European base of operations, and their new acquired license in terms of skills gaming will offer a product base through fairness and consumer protection."

Government, he said, is committed to attracting industry leaders as well as start-ups. 


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