The Malta Gaming Authority CEO pledges to reduce unnecessary Bureaucracy to be more flexible while strengthening the licence’s reputation.
The Maltese authority has published its annual report for 2021 with interesting findings. The report goes on to prove that the MGA has issued fewer warnings, sought less regulatory action and has suspended or cancelled fewer licences than previously.
This follows the same trend that has been going on since 2019. All licence cancellations have been halved between that time and last year, falling from 14 to 7. Five of these cancelled licences were for online gambling licences.
In 2021, the MGA did not suspend a single licence, which is considerably down from three in 2020 and 11 in 2019. It has proceeded to issue a total of 64 warnings in 2021, which is a slight decrease from 70 in 2020.
That said, while the figures may appear to have decreased, these numbers are a considerable increase compared to the 20 warnings issued in 2019. There has also been a substantial rise in administrative penalties.
During the period of 2021, the MGA has gone on to issue a total of 31 administrative penalties, which is slightly higher than 28 in the year 2020 and 24 in 2019.
More Inspections Carried Out
It has inspected a total of 2,215 gaming parlours and 92 commercial bingo operations. This is significantly lower than the 2,400 gaming parlours, and 182 commercial bingo operations visited in 2020.
There has also been a rise in lotto booth inspections, with the MGA paying a visit to a total of 1,537 lotto booths, which is remarkably higher than the 907 lotto booth visits paid in 2020. The number of inspections in both 2021 and 2020 is still much lower overall than the numbers presented before the pandemic hit.
Dr Carl Brincat, the Chief Executive for the Malta Gaming Authority commented: “The temporary closure of gaming premises during 2020 and 2021 resulted in a drop in the number of inspections we carried out in casinos, gaming parlours, commercial bingo halls and non-profit events.
“It is a priority for us to move towards leaner and more efficient processes, to remove unnecessary bureaucracy which introduces burdens on the industry without providing added value and to become more effective in achieving our regulatory priorities”.
MGA board of directors chairperson Dr Ryan Pace has also said the pandemic was only one of the many challenges that the MGA has had to overcome in recent years. Malta’s inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list created a whirlwind of problems for the country’s reputation and competitiveness.
Swift reforms against money laundering as well as terror financing, have helped Malta leave the grey list early in 2020.
The MGA has also added that it is looking into streamlining the gaming licence application process by upgrading its technical systems and reducing bureaucracy. The Authority is aiming to aid its licensees by reducing the overall costs and regulatory framework challenges in a bid to boost the overall gambling industry’s post-pandemic recovery.
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