The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has released its Interim Performance Report for the period between January and June 2023. The report provides a review of the Authority’s accomplishments for the first half of 2023, together with a description of the Maltese gaming industry’s performance over the same period. The latter provides a medium-term outlook towards the future, as well as an analysis outlining important statistics for the land-based and online gaming industries.
- Between January and June 2023, the Authority conducted 14 compliance audits and 85 desktop reviews. The Commercial Communications Committee also issued a total of three Letters of Breach, whereby operators were found to be in breach of the Gaming Commercial Communications Regulations (S.L. 583.09). The Authority issued 23 warnings, cancelled four licences and suspended another five, following information which emerged from supervisory activities. Furthermore, the MGA issued a total of nine administrative penalties as well as one regulatory settlement, with a collective total financial penalty of €124,400.
- The MGA also carried out 11 Compliance Examinations on behalf of the FIAU. During the same period, the FIAU imposed administrative penalties on three licensees based on violations discovered during examinations carried out in previous years. In total, these amounted to €599,420.
- A total of 545 criminal probity screening checks were undertaken on personnel, shareholders, ultimate beneficial owners, key individuals, employees, and businesses from the land-based and online gaming sectors. A number of these were escalated to the Fit & Proper Committee, which during the period in review determined that four individuals and entities did not meet the Authority’s fit and properness criteria. The Supervisory Council also rejected one licence application on the same basis.
- In the first half of the year, 19 interviews with prospective MLROs and key persons carrying out the AML/CFT function were carried out with the aim of determining the knowledge and suitability of each candidate.
- In its efforts to safeguard players and promote responsible gaming, the Authority assisted a total of 2216 players who requested assistance, covering the majority of the cases received during 2023 and the spillover from 2022. Furthermore, 40 responsible gambling website checks were conducted to ensure that licensees are duly protecting their players as required by law, and 16 observation letters were issued identifying areas of improvement.
- A total of 11 cases of websites having misleading references to the Authority were investigated, while a total of six notices were published on the MGA’s website with the aim of preventing the public from falling victim to such scams.
National and International Cooperation
- Enforcement agencies, sports governing bodies, integrity units and other regulatory authorities made a total of 12 requests for information, specifically in relation to the manipulation of sporting events or violations of sporting regulations. Subsequently, these requests resulted in 17 data exchanges. In addition, 166 allegations of suspicious betting from licensees and other interested parties were received.
- Between January and June 2023, a total of 118 alerts on suspicious betting were sent to the industry. Following further correspondence of these alerts to the industry, the Authority received a total of 12 new suspicious betting reports through the Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism.
- The Authority participated directly in six separate investigations into sports rules violations or manipulation of sporting competitions during the time under review. A direct investigation implies that the report came from MGA licensed operators, and thus betting data was shared. In addition, the Authority also participated indirectly in another five investigations, where the events reported formed part of another jurisdiction, but concerned Maltese players.
- The Authority sent 23 requests for international cooperation, relating to requests for background checks as part of an authorisation process. Furthermore, the Authority received a total of 37 requests for international collaboration from other regulators.
- By the end of June 2023, a further 53 official replies were issued, providing feedback on the regulatory good standing of our licensed operators to the relevant authorities asking for this information.
- In total, during the first six months of the year, the MGA received 45 requests for information from other local regulating authorities and governing bodies.
The MGA will publish a full-year industry performance report during the second half of 2024, when it publishes its Annual Report for the financial year ending 31 December 2023.