The online gaming industry thrives on innovation and thus it is only natural that this industry is most receptive towards the novelties of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is leading by example in establishing Malta as a frontrunner in this regard, and, in the White Paper published in July 2017 setting out a first draft for a new gaming regulatory framework, paved the way for acceptance of cryptocurrencies for the placement of bets.
Deeming cryptocurrencies as ‘money’s worth’ is a significant statement of intent. However, outside of the world of cryptocurrencies, there is a wide spectrum of other Blockchain uses for the online gaming industry. Blockchain may increase transparency by enabling players to verify the fairness of the random number generator (the software that randomly draws the winning number/combination) thereby effectively replacing the current third party certification system.
Likewise, transparency may be increased in respect of payment transactions, as every transaction on the Blockchain is recorded and may be verified by peers.
Costs may be decreased as ‘smart-contracts’ could be embedded within the Blockchain in order to settle payments to and from players without the need of involvement of intermediaries, possibly also providing alternative solutions to banking-related challenges.
The MGA clearly indicated that it is receptive to this new technology and will be amenable towards its uptake by licensed operators. What remains to be seen, however, is how the MGA will reconcile its current server-oversight practices with the decentralised ecosystem implicit in Blockchain.
Anticipation of next steps in this area is rife, and position papers on Blockchain and cryptocurrencies due to be published by the MGA in the coming year are eagerly awaited.
This article forms part of a weekly series called ‘Unravelling Blockchain’, contributed by Camilleri Preziosi Advocates, which explores Blockchain’s unique features and expands upon the technology’s legal implications across various commercial and corporate sectors. For a more detailed commentary, please visit http://www.camilleripreziosi.com/