MGA Publishes its 2017 Annual Report and Financial Statements
The Malta Gaming Authority generated a total revenue of €66.3m in licence fees, gaming tax and other administrative fees and fines in 2017, the MGA’s annual report has revealed.
The direct contribution of the gaming industry to the Maltese economy was valued at €1.1 billion in 2017, with approximately 9,800 full time jobs created within operators directly in the sector and other associated businesses. The sector’s share in economic value-added standing at 11.3%.
During 2017, the authority received 220 applications and issued 165 remote gaming licences to 112 operators. There are almost 290 companies engaged in remote gaming operations at the end of 2017.
45 given administrative fines, 5 licences suspended, 3 cancelled
Throughout the year, the MGA conducted a number of investigations on reported or identified gaming operations that were considered to be suspicious or in breach of the applicable legislation. Most commonly, these were related to unlicensed remote gaming operations.
In 2017, the authority performed a total of 2,052 criminal probity assessments, focusing on individuals and companies in remote gaming and land-based activities, and also conducted enhanced due diligence reports in particular instances.
Following a number of thorough investigations, during 2017, the MGA issued 45 administrative fines, suspended five licences and cancelled another three. These followed regulatory breaches by various gaming operators.
During the year under review, the team conducted 14,826 inspections, an increase of 27% when compared with the number of inspections carried out in 2016.
During 2017, The Inspectorate team completed 16 inspections related to illegal gambling in various bars and clubs as well as in areas where illegal bingo was organised. Some of these operations were carried out in conjunction with the Malta Police Force.
MGA’s operations in 2017
The report states that last year the MGA mainly focused on the finalisation of the new Gaming Act, which is coming into force in 2018, and on the enhancement of its compliance systems, including the implementation of the requirements of the EU 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
The MGA also focused on enhancing its IT systems, introducing the Licensee Relationship Management System (LRMS), a secure and dedicated portal featuring a one-stop shop for licensing and reporting and a new communication channel.
In January of the same year, the MGA launched a licensing and regulatory regime based on the Skill Games Regulations for the online skill games sector, including the creation of a specific B2C and B2B licences for ‘controlled skill games’.
It also conducted a thorough study to assess the application of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the use of cryptocurrencies in a sandbox environment, with the objective of issuing a consultation paper and subsequently, guidelines, in 2018;
Looking towards 2018 and beyond, the MGA said it would be focusing on the implementation of the new regulatory framework, the transition towards a risk-based approach to regulation, the continued implementation of onerous AML (Anti-Money Laundering)/ CFT (Combating the Financing of Terrorism) obligations, and the application of the General Data Protection Regulation, and its impact on operators and the MGA alike.
Results of surveys undertaken by the MGA indicate an expected growth in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) and employment, averaging around 15% in terms of GGR and 10% in terms of employment. At the same time, existing operators expect to increase their expenditure in Malta, in a range of around 8% to 13% per annum over the next two years.