he Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its interim performance report for the period between January to June 2019. The document shows the gaming industry contributed around 13.6% of the total value added of the Maltese economy during the first half of 2019, making it the third-largest private sector.
The report reviews the performance of the MGA, highlighting major projects undertaken and key achievements throughout the same period. It also includes a section highlighting the key performance indicators for the first half of 2019 as well as a medium-term outlook into the future, followed by a detailed report explaining key statistics for land-based and online gaming sectors.
The MGA collected €39.9 million (USD 44.2M) in taxes within the first six months, which is an increase of 8.6% from the same period last year.
The following are other key highlights from the Interim Report:
- The number of companies licensed by the MGA, including both online and land-based entities, stood at 283 as at the end of June 2019;
- By June 2019, the gaming industry was directly generating 7,011 full-time equivalent jobs (6,794 as at the end of December 2018) with 6,142 employees working in the online gaming industry (5,950 as at the end of December 2018) and additional 869 in the land-based sector (844 as at the end of December 2018).
- During the period under review, the MGA deepened its anti-money laundering and combating the funding of terrorism efforts through intelligence gathering and knowledge-sharing with relevant authorities;
- The MGA’s Fit & Proper Committee held 19 meetings throughout the first six months of 2019 with a total of 107 decisions taken. The Committee issued a total of 13 refusals, six at onboarding and seven through ongoing monitoring, on the basis that either the company itself or the individuals connected to it were not deemed fit and proper. Furthermore, the Committee issued 48 conditional verdicts whereby further information and/or documentation was required to proceed with the final decision;
- Following information which emerged from compliance audits, compliance reviews, and formal investigations, the Authority issued 11 Notices of Reprimand, suspended 11 licences and cancelled another seven. In addition, the MGA issued a total of eight administrative fines;
- The Authority entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Malta Police Force to further increase and improve the efficacy of their co-operation and exchange of information;
- In order to strengthen its relationship with its international counterparts, the MGA has hosted several delegations from Ireland, Lagos and Ghana, with the aim of sharing information and increasing co-operation with such authorities;
- The MGA signed an MoU with the Swedish Gambling Authority in order to facilitate on-going communications between the authorities, and to support the effective sharing of information on matters of mutual interest and policy areas;
- The Authority has received 23 international co-operation requests and has sent 33 of such requests. These covered various areas, including sports integrity, criminal activity by players, adverse media reports, locally licensed operators and entities not holding a licence as well as the Authority’s authorisation process and the regulatory regime;
- During the period under review, a total of 597 criminal probity screening tests were carried out covering both land-based and remote gaming activities;
- The Player Support Unit received a total of 1,753 requests for assistance and resolved 1,915 queries (with the latter covering some requests which were still pending at the end of 2018). Furthermore, the Unit took on an additional role in examining the monthly Alternative Dispute Resolution reports submitted by the operators.
In publishing this report, Peter Spiteri, Chief Officer Finance & Programme Management at the MGA, stated: “During the first six months of 2019, the MGA continued with the implementation of the Gaming Act for the land-based industry that became subject to the new law from 1 January 2019. A lot has been done by the Authority to ensure that the implementation was completed effectively and all systems and procedures cater to the new requirements.”
“During the past months, the MGA has increased the co-operation efforts with the international counterparts, relevant authorities and other regulatory bodies to further improve the efficacy of co-operation and exchange of information for better regulation. Despite various challenges facing the sector over the past years, the gaming sector continues to consolidate its standing within the Maltese economy. The MGA strives to ensure that the industry in Malta remains compliant with an evolving set of regulations that cater for newly emerging risks and maintains a strong reputation,” Spiteri concluded.
The MGA will publish a full-year industry performance report in June 2020 when it publishes its Annual Report for the financial year ending 31 December 2019.