The Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2021, covering the 12-month period that ended on December 31, 2021. The report focuses on the Maltese gaming industry, its mid-to-long-term outlook and other key statistics that will allow stakeholders to better understand the thriving iGaming and betting verticals that are emanating from the country.
MGA had a busy year in terms of supervisory activities. The regulator conducted 54 on-site compliance audits along with 230 desktop reviews. The regulator ended up issuing 64 warnings and canceling seven licenses while 31 entities received administrative penalties.
A total of 13 individuals and companies fell short of MGA’s standards relating to money laundering and funding of terrorism prerequisites. The MGA was also able to offer assistance to 6,170 players who sought help in 2021, with the cases last year being some of the highest on record and indicative of the increase in gambling activity during and post-pandemic months.
The MGA has also undertaken other changes that pertain to its overall regulatory process and licensing. The authority adjusted its Gaming License Application Process. Meanwhile, the regulator also undertook other important changes to the way it operates locally and internationally by introducing a new knowledge-sharing process about suspicious events with counterparts abroad.
A total of 72 such alerts were sent to the industry. The regulator also received 131 requests for further information into potential sports betting manipulation. Meanwhile, the MGA also received 89 other cooperation notices from partners from abroad for cooperation and sent 75 requests of its own. These mostly had to do with background checks on individuals.
MGA CEO Dr. Carl Brincat was pleased with the report and the developments of the past year. Brincat noted: "As an organization, beyond continuing to ensure that we meet our day-to-day objectives, we used 2021 to start laying the groundwork for improvements that we will see in the months and years to come."
Brincat added that to make sure that the MGA works to the best of its abilities, it needs to dispense with certain red tape and streamline its regulatory and monitoring process which would translate into better benefits for everyone. The MGA continues to work hard on ensuring it maintains global standards for AML/KYC and CTF, pain points that until recently threatened to put Malta on FATF’s grey list.
The MGA continues to keep a close eye on the industry and monitor whether all licensed stakeholders meet the regulator’s global standards for strong regulation in the iGaming and sports wagering industries.
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