The Malta Gaming Authority will be actively reevaluating its licensing conditions in light of the war Russia waged on its democratic neighbor last week. The regulator has said that license holders would need to comply with the sanctions imposed on Russia for declaring war on Ukraine.
MGA Warns Licensees to Adhere to Sanctions on Russian Individuals, Entities
The world responded by sending Ukraine volunteers, weapons, and humanitarian relief as close to 180,000 Russian troops are now advancing in the country and trying to eliminate President Volodymyr Zelensky at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Three efforts in his life have been foiled in just seven days.
Moving forward licensees should carry out detailed screening before entering into any business relationship which could end up tying them to a sanctioned entity or individual. This would require the licensees to conduct thorough AML and KYC screening to ensure that businesses are not involved with sanction entities or parties.
If a sanctioned entity or business has been established, MGA operators would be obligated to immediately block any transactions to and from them, and immediately freeze any assets. Next, the licensees would be required to inform the Sanctions Monitoring Board that their customers’ funds may be originating in Russia.
The MGA went into detail to outline why it was important for license holders to not work with sanctioned entities and to ensure that effective and efficient monitoring is put in place. Should there be any information about adjustments to the current sanctions over the Russian war in Ukraine, those would be reflected in the regulator’s guidance as well:
“They should react swiftly in ensuring that their customer databases are subject to the most recently updated and applicable sanctions lists.”
The Gambling Industry Responds to Russian War in Ukraine
The gaming industry has been openly outraged at the illegitimate actions that the Russian government took in Ukraine at the expense of their own people at home who will suffer through one of the worst economic downturns imaginable. Many gambling entities have already cut ties with Russian and Belarusian companies.
Clarion Events took a stand and said it would no longer work with companies and individuals from the two country aggressors until after the war stopped. The decision was met with criticism but it’s the right thing to do. Meanwhile, bet365 and Parimatch also withdrew from the country.