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Malta Gaming Authority: a look back over 2020

Posted:: Feb 16, 2021 09:11 Category: Regulatory , Casino , Posted by Maria

The MGA published its performance report for January – June 2020 highlighting major projects and regulatory works

The Malta Gaming Authority has published its Interim Performance Report for the period between January to June 2020. The report looks at the performance of the MGA, highlighting major projects undertaken throughout the same period. During this period, the MGA issued 9 fines for a collective value of €2.43 million.

Apart from the 2.43m in fines, the authority acted against 10 adverts and promotions.

According to the committee, these promotions were deemed as inappropriately exploiting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The authority soon after issued 11 warnings, cancelled seven licenses as well as suspended two others.

The report clearly shows the authority stepping up its enforcement measures as well as further enhancing its operations.

 

SiGMA iGAMING Conference 2019 Malta- silvio schembri - Minister for Economy, Investment and Small Businesses (6)

Minister of the Economy, Investment and Small Business, Silvio Schembri said “The regulatory work being done by the Malta Gaming Authority is in line with the government’s efforts to strengthen Malta amongst the best jurisdictions in the world for gaming companies and to continue protecting business in this sector. As a government, we shall pursue our work in implementing the recommendations, enhancing existing ones, which are demonstrating concretely the work done by our institutions.”

 

The Malta Gaming Authority asked licensed companies to answer a set of questions pertaining to the Maltese licensed activity. With a response rate of 96%, the authority estimated the rest of the data to provide a clear picture of the Maltese gaming industry. This aims to provide an accurate snapshot of the activity carried out during that period.

COVID and the land-based industry in Malta:

The entire land-based industry was at a standstill for the very first time. As from 18th March 2020 all land based casinos in Malta (Dragonara Casino, Portomaso Casino, Casino Malta – located in the central part of the country and Oracle Casino- located in the north), had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to “Closure of Places Open to the Public Order, 2020”.

The total player’s visits to gambling outlets declined by 48%. The land-based casinos and commercial bingo sector registered a decline in visits of 54.6% and 54.1% respectively. Although there was a decline in the number of visits, the average GR per visit rose from €55.7 to €61.8 from the first half of 2019 when compared to that of 2020.

CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority Carl Brincat, said that regeneration was inevitable for the gaming industry worldwide, especially when faced with a multitude of challenges in the first half of 2020.

SiGMA Conference 2019 Malta- Carl Brincat- MGA“To reduce the impact of the pandemic, new markets were introduced, and the authority ensured these were swiftly and effectively regulated. Furthermore, by regulating, enforcing, and educating the industry, the authority continues to reduce the risk of gaming-related money-laundering and the financing of terrorism. Adapting to new circumstances is not new for the authority but this pandemic not only strengthened us as a regulator, but the industry as a whole”, said Mr Brincat.

The player Support Unit received 2,431 requests and resolved 2,433 some of which were pending from 2019. 38% year-on-year increase in registered requests from players asking for assistance was received during the COVID-19 period. During this interim period, 833 criminal screening test were carried out for both land-based and online gaming activities.

As of the end of June 2020, there were 8,009 persons working with MGA-licensed companies on the activities covered by the Authority’s licence, with 90% of these employees engaged in the online sector. Despite the challenges experienced during 2020, the sustained growth in employment further attests to the sector’s significant contribution to the Maltese economy.

The MGA will publish a full-year industry performance report in May 2021 when it publishes its Annual Report for the financial year ending 31 December 2020.

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