The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has approved an application from Crystal Cruises for the Crystal Serenity, will call to Malta on June 5 and 6, 2015, to leave the casino open in port.

“Valletta Cruise Port welcomes this first application, following our instigation to introduce this legislation. This legislation makes Malta a more attractive proposition to cruise liners particularly those cruise liners that opt to call at Malta or Gozo for an overnight stay. This is undoubtedly an incentive to encourage cruise liners to overnight in Malta or Gozo, and include both islands in their Mediterranean itinerary. Valletta Cruise Port has been promoting these regulations, and feedback from other cruise lines has been positive", commented Stephen Xuereb, Valletta Cruise Port’s Chief Executive Officer.

"The Authority is committed to safeguard both the interests of passengers on board cruise ships, as well as those of the Maltese gaming industry. The regulations issued by the MGA mean that cruise ships will be able to operate their casinos in-line with the stipulated conditions whilst berthed within Maltese territorial waters," said the MGA's Executive Chairman, Joseph Cuschieri.

Parliamentary Secretary Hon. Dr. José Herrera said, “This is indeed very good and exciting news, which augurs well for the future. These new regulations were the result of direct consultation with the relevant stakeholders.” Dr. Herrera hailed both the MGA and Valletta Cruise Port for their commitment to increase the gaming and cruise industries.

The MGA launched its Cruise Casino Regulations in April 2015, wherein cruise liners are now able to operate their onboard casinos solely for registered passengers while berthing in Malta and/or Gozo overnight and within territorial waters. These Regulations are a result of the policy announced by Government last November during the 2015 Budget speech.

The Regulations lay down that a formal application for this purpose must be submitted to the MGA, which, in turn, issues such approval once it is satisfied that gaming on board the cruise liner casino shall take place in accordance with the fundamental principles established by the Authority. Once approval is granted, cruise liner casinos will be allowed to operate between 6.00pm and 6.00am in line with the conditions stipulated in these new Regulations.