The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has released its 2022 Annual Report and Financial Statements. The move and similar moves by government entities are widely seen as efforts to provide clarity of mission and transparency of operations.
In that light, Malta has been mostly successful throughout the years, at least in as far as the information provided is somewhat useful to potential license holders and consumers. However, the type of information and the depth to which activities are reported can leave a lot to be desired.
5,280 players requested assistance
While the number of player complaints is reported, the type and severity of potential violations are not reported in context nor are the results of any decisions related to specific disputes. Further, alternate dispute resolution is mandatory so it is assumed that only complaints that fail arbitration and that ADR service providers consider worthy to escalate are ever considered by the gaming authority.
As well, plans to change the law or even bills introduced to mdo so are rarely ever reported either on the website news section or in the periodic or annual reports until policy or law has changed such as when operators may have been aware of a comment period but players had no clue that the minimum theoretical return to player percentage (RTP) for MGA-regulated online slots would drop from 92% to 85%, ostensibly to bring it “into line” with the land-based sector.
More recently we had to learn from news outlets that follow such disputes that a bill had been introduced to the legislature which would modify the gambling act yet apply to all other European Union trade disputes absolving any Malta-registered company from responsibility to conform to EU trade law by escaping enforcement of judgments when a Maltese licensed online casino is sanctioned or fined by another EU member state.
While the previously mentioned and other information may be available in official government gazettes or press releases, in the spirit of transparency and consumer confidence it should at a minimum be linked to from the MGA website if not included in periodic and annual reports.
The topline numbers and a link to the financials and report can be found here (here).
A brief summary follows:
- 5,280 players requested assistance
- 28 compliance audits were conducted and 228 desktop reviews
- 25 licensees were subject to remediation and/or administrative measures
- 6 individuals and companies were deemed by the Fit & Proper Committee to not be up to the Authority’s probity standards due to various factors
- 41 gaming license applications were received during 2022. Thirty-one (31) licenses were issued
- 1,500+ criminal probity screening checks were undertaken
- 48 interviews with prospective Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLRO) and key persons carrying out the AML/CFT function
- 9 Letters of Breach were issued following breaches of the Commercial Communications Regulations
- 85 responsible gaming-themed website checks were performed with 38 URLs found to have misleading information
In publishing the report, MGA CEO, Dr Carl Brincat said: “This report is testament to our collective efforts in promoting a fair and sustainable gaming ecosystem. Through proactive measures and leaner regulation processes, we strive to ensure a level playing field that nurtures innovation while safeguarding against any potential risks.
“As the global gaming landscape evolves, our role becomes even more critical. We embrace this responsibility with utmost determination, working tirelessly to stay ahead of emerging trends, technologies, and challenges. We remain steadfast in our pursuit of robust frameworks that inspire confidence, protect vulnerable individuals and render Malta the home for gaming operators of goodwill.”
Source: The MGA publishes its 2022 Annual Report and Financial Statements, Malta Gaming Authority News, June 2, 2023