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Malta Gaming Authority Reports Strengthened Regulatory Oversight in the Past 12 Months
- July 3, 2019 By Oliver Young -
Expert online casino players know the three regulatory bodies they can trust: the UK Gambling Commission, the Gibraltar Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. The first two have been in the iGaming industry since the dawn of gambling, however, MGA is a newer one that has quickly gained players’ trust.
But MGA has established itself so quickly by being tough with online gambling operators and not allowing them to break the gambling rules as set by the Maltese law. Some online gambling operators had to leave the island following MGA’s investigation and never look back. The regulator is indeed a tough one, and this is confirmed by its 2018 Annual Report and Financial Statement.
The Annual Reports by MGA
The Malta Gaming Authority has published its 2018 Annual Report and Financial Statements two days ago, detailing that it has effectively and successfully implemented a number of directives improving and strengthening the regulatory oversight.
During spring 2018, the regulator announced its plans on increasing player safety, and it focused on strengthening the anti-money laundering supervision, establishing stricter AML procedures under the guidance of the renewed Gaming Act. Also, it had gathered forces with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and had jointly issued the Remote Gaming Implementing Procedures Part II, meant for the remote sector. Together, the two started conducting onsite AML inspections.
In its enforcement capacity in accordance with the Gaming Act, the regulator had to issue 73 notices of breach and 16 notices of reprimand. Four licenses had to be revoked due to serious breaches, and further eight incumbents had their licenses cancelled. A total of 139 administrative penalties had to be imposed on those operators who appeared to have made various regulatory breaches.
Additionally, the Authority had conducted 2,000 criminal probity screenings during 2018 and had deemed 63 companies or individuals as unfit for a license, 37 of which were deemed as not having satisfied regulator’s criteria. 8 license applicants in total were rejected.
And finally, the regulator conducted two key surveys in the course of last year, one of which analysed the area of the skills gap in the gaming industry, the other one investigated the threats and opportunities associated with gambling by Maltese residents.
Statement by MGA’s Chief Executive Officer
As Heathcliff Farrugia, MGA’s CEO, stated, predominantly because of the new law coming into force from the 1st of August, 2018, the Malta Gaming Authority saw a remarkable year.
The new framework, as Farrugia said, strengthened the regulator’s supervisory role, more precisely its capacities in areas of enforcement and compliance, enabling the MGA to focus efforts on matters which presented a higher risk profile. It has also allowed for the MGA to become more agile and effective in its decision-making processes.
2019 plans were also mentioned at the conclusion of the report, which stated that the MGA would focus on consolidating what has been achieved so far and would continue building on its overseeing powers to ensure holistic regulatory focusing on players protection and the integrity of market participants, whilst embracing tech innovation without prejudicing the things achieved with its regulatory objectives.