Dear Authorised Person,
The Authority is cognizant of the challenges that are being faced by operators due to the current international climate resulting from the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this light, the MGA is monitoring the situation closely and is committed to taking decisions that are commensurate with the difficulties being faced by licensees.
It is already apparent that the suspension, or cancellation as the case may be, of several sporting events and competitions has affected, and will continue to affect, the revenue streams of licensees that offer betting on the result of such events. In this light, the Authority is announcing the following measures, consonant with wider measures which Government has already announced in relation to businesses in general:
(i) Payment of compliance contribution and gaming tax owed to the Authority for revenue generated from activities classified as Type 2 in terms of the Gaming Licence Fees Regulations (S.L. 583.03) for the months of March, April and May 2020 is deferred. These dues are being deferred by 3 months, hence whilst the month of March would have previously become due by April, this will now be due in July, April contributions will be due in August, and May will be due in September 2020;
(ii) For licensees that offer solely and exclusively Type 2 gaming services and for whom the payment of the fixed annual licence fee falls due in March, April or May 2020, the payment of such licence fee is equally deferred and is to be paid in line with the deferral of the contributions highlighted in (i).
In instances where activity generated from a gaming vertical has ceased entirely or dwindled to amounts that do not justify the continued operation of such vertical, licensees are also being reminded that in terms of regulation 27 of the Gaming Authorisations Regulations (S.L. 583.05), the authorisation to operate that vertical may be voluntarily suspended by the licensee due to the extenuating circumstances brought about by the current pandemic, and then reactivated again when the suspension of major sports leagues is lifted.
Licensees that are facing difficulties due to a sudden, acute liquidity shortage may wish to explore the possibility of accessing financing for their working capital requirements from their bank in line with the guarantees provided by the Malta Development Bank’s COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme (class=”uk-article-lead”>Link).
Moreover, licensees are also reminded that any company that has seen a significant downturn in turnover, which would certainly be satisfied if it has seen a drop in sales of circa or exceeding 25%, may apply for a deferral of payment of Provisional Tax, VAT, and National Insurance contribution on salaries as announced by Government over the past weeks (class=”uk-article-lead”>Link).
We trust that these measures provide some relief to licensees that are facing considerable difficulty, but we are aware that they may or may not be sufficient depending on how the situation continues to develop. Similarly, the Authority understands that other licensees may also be affected. The situation is being monitored constantly and other steps will be taken should the need be identified.
Malta Gaming Authority Heathcliff Farrugia – Chief Executive Officer