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September 25, 2021

Unlicensed allegations

Malta: court says not all coin-op games are for gambling

Malta: court says not all coin-op games are for gambling
The operators of a band club have been cleared of allowing unlicensed gambling on slot machines on their premises, after a court noted that the games offered were recreational and not games of chance.
Malta | 10/13/2016

The operators of a band club have been cleared of allowing unlicensed gambling on slot machines on their premises, after a court noted that the games offered were recreational and not games of chance.

I

n 2011, Josef Zammit, Dione Degabriele and Eric Charles Camilleri had been accused of operating slot machines at the Luqa Union Band Club without a licence, permitting them to be used in breach of the premises' operating licence.

An inspection carried out by the police and the Malta Gaming Authority had found a “five in line” game slot machine at the band club bar. The machine was not operational at the time of the inspection, but was carted away as evidence nonetheless.

Magistrate Aaron Bugeja had been told how the electronic machine would take €2 coins, deducting from this credit for every game played dispensing money or other prizes to winning players.

The court concluded that the machine offered recreational games, observing that no evidence had been brought to show the machine could be used for gambling activities

The court held that the prosecution had charged the defendants with the wrong offence, as the actions of the men accused did not constitute the criminal act contemplated under that section of the law.

The definition of “gambling machines” at law did not include “coin-operated games” or “recreational games” in its parameters, the court held, declaring the men not guilty.

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