Lotto Booths to Reopen in Malta After Covid-19 ShutdownMay 28, 2020 Jessica Whitehouse
Reports from Malta on Monday the 4th of May 2020 had it that the Maltese government permitted the reopening of lottery booths. The announcement comes as a result of the country’s decision to relax the social distancing measures that have been in place due to the COVID 19 global pandemic. Legal notice 76 of 2020 that was announced on 17th March had ordered a host of venues and facilities across Malta to temporarily close in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Bingo halls, casinos, betting shops, controlled gaming premises and lotto booths are just but some of the facilities that were affected by the shutdown order.
Safety MeasuresThe situation regarding the outbreak in the country has been noted to improving significantly hence the easing of certain restrictions. Despite the improvements, the government reports that it will still proceed with caution and that business will not resume as it was prior to the pandemic. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) advises anyone who enters a lotto booth or shop, be it a client or an employee, to don a face mask. The authority also affirmed that only one person per 10sq m of store space will be allowed entry into booths at any point in time. Markers will be placed on the ground to indicate the minimum distance for people queuing outside the booths. The authority also mentioned that hand sanitizers must be placed at the shops’ and lotto booths’ entry points. It added that signs and banners with information about the requirements will be posted around the venues to remind clients about the restrictions. Games that were previously transmitted from televisions inside booths and points of sale will remain halted until further notice.
Other Gambling Venues to Remain Closed
The restrictions have only been lifted for lottery booths and shops. Other gambling and gaming venues are to remain closed until the Maltese government announces further changes to the measures to curb the virus. During the break, online gambling has been the norm and it has been able to continue without any interference. In April, the MGA published guidance for gambling operators to help safeguard their integrity during the viral pandemic. In addition, it also reminded licensees to exercise social responsibility as they made commercial communications.
Marketing Communications During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The MGA was quick to acknowledge that the situation is likely to be highly distressing to many players and thus any marketing communications that makes reference to the disease should be considered in breach of its regulations. Commercial communications must also discourage antisocial behaviour or any other behaviour that suggests that gaming can be a resolution to social, educational, personal or professional problems. According to the authority, communications in regard to gambling activities should portray gaming as a socially attractive venture. Gambling operators were instructed to remind their affiliates of these rules to ensure that they were marketing their products responsibly. A host of European countries have also started easing their earlier regulation measures that were meant to curb the spread of the virus. The easing comes at a much-needed time especially to the gambling sector following the negative impact the virus has had on the sector.