Malta Moves To Legislate On Cruise Ship Casinos

Posted: August 19, 2014

Updated: June 4, 2017

As gambling aboard becomes an ever bigger revenue stream for cruise line operators the Maltese LGA is considering legislation to allow wagers in their waters.

Ahoy! Malta Reconsiders Gambling Ban Onboard

• Operators worry about costs implied in legislation
• LGA moving slowly on process
Maltese gambling laws need change

A cruise around the Med can sound awfully appealing at times. The sea breeze on your face, a helpful staff with a well stocked bar, the glassy sun-dappled wave tops stretching off between Europe and Africa restfully twinkling as you watch. Ah yes, oh so appealing. Especially if the cruise ship you’re on is a floating mobile casino, and one can have a little flutter as the gulls glide by the windows. Of course not all of them are, and those that do provide this wonderful seaborne recreation face issues in some of their ports.

Malta, for instance, is still attempting to pass legislation that will prevent these maritime palaces from having to shut their casinos just as soon as they enter Maltese waters. This has proved problematic as it significantly limits the profitability available to ship owners, and there is much pressure upon the LGA (Lotteries and Gaming Authority) to speed up the process and pass a law that would make Malta similar to Gibraltar that allows casinos on cruise ships to open after 6pm.

Finding Floating Flutter Freedom

Of course this is not merely a matter of a governmental authority dragging its feet on the implementation of legislation in face of the sea going gambling market expanding. Operators aren’t in any great rush to see this particular form of the legislation pushed through as it charges them 30,000 EUR for a licence, then 100 EUR a year for each gambling machine and 150 EUR for each gambling table they possess.

“We have repeatedly encouraged the LGA to rethink.” says VCP chief executive, Stephen Xuereb, “The best model is Gibraltar which exempted them from license requirements.” adding that Malta itself stood much to gain from cruise lines being able to offer night tours, rather than having to rush day time tours so they can be back out in international waters before passengers want to gamble at night. It remains to be seen if the two sides can find a way to make some good Maltese gambling news soon.

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