The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) handed out 64 warnings, cancelled seven gaming licenses and issued a total of €176,016 in fines last year, according to the authority's annual report published on Thursday.

Thirteen other individuals and companies were deemed not up to standard in mitigating the risks of money laundering or funding of terrorism and 13 other operators were found to be in breach of the commercial communications regulations law.

Moreover, "in its efforts to protect players and encourage responsible gambling, the authority assisted 6,170 players that requested assistance, covering most of the cases received during 2021 and the spill-over from 2020".

On Thursday, the MGA published its annual report and audited financial statements, outlining the performance of the Maltese gaming industry last year.

The authority watches over Malta's gambling and online gaming sector and assists players who struggle with gambling addiction.

It is empowered to hand out warnings, fines, and even revoke gaming licenses, and to force gaming outlets to refuse clients who suffer from gaming addiction.

Last year, the MGA conducted compliance audits and reviews covering more than 65% of licensees and helped the Financial Investigation Analysis Unit (FIAU) in its compliance examinations. The warnings, fines and revoked licenses were a result of these audits.

The FIAU alone reprimanded and fined 10 other license holders "based on breaches identified during examinations carried out in previous years".

"In total, these amounted to just over €863,000."

The MGA also conducted more than 1,150 "criminal probity screening checks on individuals, shareholders and ultimate beneficial owners, key persons and other employees, and companies from both land-based and online gaming sectors".

It also investigated 79 cases of websites having misleading references to the Authority and published 61 notices on its website to help the public avoid such scams.

The authority also introduced a new alerting process, whereby knowledge of suspicious events is received and shared with the industry. In the last quarter of 2021, the MGA sent 72 alerts to the industry.

Additionally, the MGA received 131 requests for information relating to the manipulation of sports competitions or breaches of sports rules and received 329 suspicious betting reports from licensees and "other concerned parties". 

The MGA was also directly involved in 20 international investigations related to manipulation of sports competitions of breaches of sports rules and received 89 international cooperation requests from other regulators.

The authority also conducted a risk assessment on money laundering and funding of terrorism-related risks and reviewed the gaming license application process to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for applicants.

MGA CEO Carl Brincat said the authority is looking to "move towards leaner and more efficient processes, to remove unnecessary bureaucracy which introduces burdens on industry without providing added value, and to become more effective in achieving regulatory priorities".

The MGA also published amendments to several directives and policies.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us