Rickard Vikström: Meeting MGA rules for hosting in Malta

Hosting services provider Internet Vikings is going through a landmark phase in its corporate history, having recently established its latest data centre in Malta.

In an interview with Luke Massey, Head of Media at SBC, Founder of Internet Vikings Rickard Vikström discussed the dynamics of providing hosting services for igaming operators licensed in Malta, before eyeing new opportunities in the US.

“If we take Malta, for example, you need to have a physical database replica,” he noted. “But the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) made the change four years ago which means you don’t need to have your production environment there. 

“So you could have the main production environment elsewhere, but a replication back to Malta that is MGA approved. The customer benefits from hosting which complies with MGA regulation, but they don’t need it all to be based there if you consider problems over the years with DDos, bandwidth and other issues associated with Malta as an island.”

Moving on to discuss Internet Vikings’ operations in the US market, Vikström explained some of the challenges associated with the country’s federal system.

“You have the Wire Act and there are no talks about this getting removed, so you can’t do federal gaming or igaming and gambling,” he said. 

“You can’t transfer data or wallet money between state lines. So, if there is a player playing in New Jersey, you need to have the servers in Atlantic City. If you’re in Illinois, then you need to have the servers in Illinois to be able to provide the gambling services to the player.

“That is an issue for our customers because they need to have servers setup in every different state. It’s not like in Europe where you have one server setup for the entire European Union.”

He also addressed last year’s ruling by the The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which invalidated the legal basis on which companies relied to transfer personal data from Europe to the US.

The ruling, he added, makes it more difficult to transfer company sensitive data to the US. Organisations relying on it will need to make new arrangements to remain compliant with the high European standards for data protection. 

Offering a timeline of sorts to Internet Vikings’ on-the-ground presence in the US, Vikström concluded: “We are looking at how we can fast track this, in terms of how we enter the US quickly in the next nine months to help our customers who want to go there because we are having enquiries every week about what we can help them with in the US.”