PL calls for PN sup­port in dis­pute with EU over on­line gam­ing

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Gabriel Schem­bri

The Labour Party has called on the PN Leader Si­mon Busut­til to give di­rec­tion to the PN MEPs to sup­port the gov­ern­ment in its stance against a Coun­cil of Europe Con­ven­tion on the Ma­nip­u­la­tion of Sports Com­pe­ti­tions.

The Malta In­de­pen­dent on Sun­day pub­lished a story say­ing that Malta is stand­ing its ground in the face of pres­sure from the rest of the Euro­pean Union to pro­tect its cov­eted on­line gam­ing sec­tor, which ac­counts for 11 per cent of the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

The is­sue cen­tres on a new def­i­ni­tion of ‘il­le­gal sports bet­ting’ be­ing pushed for­ward by the Coun­cil of Europe in its Con­ven­tion on the Ma­nip­u­la­tion of Sports Com­pe­ti­tions.

In a press con­fer­ence held at the Labour Party Head­quar­ters, Min­is­ter for Gam­ing Manuel Mal­lia said that the gam­ing and on­line bet­ting in­dus­try em­ploys more than 8,000 in Malta. It also in­jects more than €700 mil­lion into Malta’s econ­omy each year.

He said that Si­mon Busut­til should use his in­flu­ence on the PN MEPs and push for­ward Malta’s stance against the res­o­lu­tion. Dr Mal­lia ex­plained that the Mal­tese gov­ern­ment is not against the prin­ci­ple be­hind the res­o­lu­tion, which aims at pro­tect­ing the in­dus­try from fraud and money laun­der­ing, but does not agree on the def­i­ni­tion of ‘il­le­gal sports bet­ting’.

The def­i­ni­tion in ques­tion reads: “‘Il­le­gal sports bet­ting’ means any sports bet­ting ac­tiv­ity whose type or op­er­a­tor is not al­lowed un­der the ap­pli­ca­ble law of the ju­ris­dic­tion where the con­sumer is lo­cated.”

Min­is­ter Mal­lia ex­plained that the Euro­pean Peo­ple’s Party, which is the party which the PN is part of, is in favour of the con­ven­tion.

“We ex­pect all of the six MEPs to work to­gether in favour of Malta’s in­ter­est. Oth­er­wise, we will be putting 8,000 jobs in danger, apart from all the money gen­er­ated in rent­ing and other spend­ing.

“We are cel­e­brat­ing Malta’s In­de­pen­dence, a feast which should unite us all, even po­lit­i­cally. Is Si­mon Busut­til will­ing to give a clear di­rec­tion to his MEPs and push Malta’s po­si­tion at an EU level? Is he go­ing to use his in­flu­ence in the EPP to help safe­guard this im­por­tant sec­tor in Malta?”

Manuel Mal­lia said that the Malta Gam­ing Author­ity al­ready cor­re­sponded with the six MEPs but some have not even replied.

Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Ian Borg, who was also present at the press con­fer­ence said that Si­mon Busut­til should not only use his po­lit­i­cal di­rec­tion on MEPs to put spokes in the wheels, but should use that in­flu­ence to help Malta.

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