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Following the lead of their German counterparts, Dutch lawyers are raising red flags about Malta’s Bill 55 and its potential implications.

The European gambling sector has been set abuzz by the recent passing of Malta’s Bill 55.

In June, the Maltese parliament approved the Bill, incorporating it as Article 56A of the Gaming Act.

This amendment serves as a protective measure for operators licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) against claims for damages brought by players from foreign jurisdictions.

The law stipulates that legal action cannot be taken against the provision of gambling services if such actions are lawful within Malta and the providers possess a valid Maltese licence.

Furthermore, the legislation mandates Maltese courts to dismiss any foreign judgments connected to actions covered under this specific provision.

A letter to Weerwind

Dutch legal professionals have now appealed to Minister of Legal Protection Franc Weerwind to address concerns surrounding this law.

In a letter, they argue that the law contradicts fundamental EU principles and legal frameworks.

The lawyers, representing players who are currently taking legal action against MGA-licensed gambling companies in the Netherlands, contend that Bill 55 undermines key EU principles, particularly the principles of mutual recognition and cooperation.

The legal professionals emphasise that the law not only interferes with the autonomy of the judiciary but also disrupts legislative processes, extending beyond the Netherlands to impact Malta as well.

In response, the lawyers are urging the Dutch government to safeguard the interests of Dutch citizens affected by this issue.

They are calling upon Minister Weerwind to leverage the European Commission’s influence to ensure Malta’s compliance with the Rule of Law.

Revoking KSA licences

Additionally, they advocate for penalties to be imposed on gambling companies that disregard court judgments.

These attorneys propose that such companies should either forfeit their KSA licences or be disqualified from obtaining new ones.

German lawyers were the first to raise concerns about Malta’s legal amendment.

However, last week, Germany’s gambling regulator indicated that certain provisions within the law might not align with European standards for recognising and enforcing foreign judgments.

The German regulator clarified that the final decision on this matter lies outside its jurisdiction, and it’s up to the European Commission to make a ruling.

The MGA, meanwhile, asserted that the Maltese gaming framework fully adheres to EU law.

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