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Malta's Gambling Plans

October 8, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — As one of Europe’s hubs for company headquarters, Malta has a large, perhaps even outsized role in the online gambling industry.

So when a major political figure there calls for new laws regarding gambling, it tends to catch the attention of many in the industry.

Earlier this week, the country’s Social Policy Minister John Dalli unveiled what the Times of Malta is calling a “wish-list for drafting gambling regulations”.

Delivered during a debate over the Lotteries and Other Games Act (Amendment) Bill, “he said that, while leaving scope for the entertainment value of gambling, one must curb abuse and prevent players' addiction to betting,” according to the article.

Perhaps most alarmingly, Mr. Dalli is suggesting that the advertising and promoting of Internet gambling activities “should be banned outright”. He also wants to implement strict controls on Internet gambling, with the government reserving “the right to see who played on what”.

“Audits should be carried out to get information about from which IP addresses gambling was being conducted and where gamblers were playing.”

If this all seems a bit too invasive for a nominally democratic government, it’s because these are the types of oversights that most governments tend to shy away from. Most privacy advocates attack such idea passionately, stating that public officials don’t have the right to interfere in its citizens’ private lives in this way.

Still, many in the nation feel that such strict ideas are necessary, since, in the past, the government did very little to curb online gambling.

What effects will this have on the many online gambling companies headquartered in the small island nation (normally considered a haven for such business)? It’s too early to tell, and it’s also too early to worry, since most of these laws would not interfere in the business itself. Still, it is a story worth following, especially as the EU continues to create new laws and precedents concerning online gambling and whether or not it’s allowed to cross European borders.

Click here to read the original story at the Times of Malta.