The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) released its Interim Performance Report for H1 2023 on Tuesday 19 December.
The report studies the MGA’s achievements over the first half of the year, as well as the performance of the Maltese gaming industry as a whole.
The MGA conducted 14 compliance audits over H1, as well as 85 desktop reviews. The regulator handed out nine administrative penalties, with a total financial penalty of €124,400 (£107,697/$136,345).
The MGA also carried out 11 Compliance Examinations on behalf of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). During the same period, the FIAU imposed administrative penalties on three licensees based on violations discovered during examinations carried out in previous years. In total, these amounted to €599,420.
The MGA gave their assistance to 2,216 players who requested help, while 40 responsible gambling website checks were carried out. It issued 16 observation letters to highlight potential areas for improvement.
The MGA issued seven of the 16 applications received for gaming licences. Eight applications were either rejected or withdrawn.
The MGA noted its work with other regulatory authorities, who made 12 requests for information. From this, 17 data exchanges occurred as a result of that cooperation, with 166 allegations of suspicious activity received.
The MGA sent 23 requests for international cooperation, while also receiving 37 requests for international collaboration from other regulatory bodies. The MGA issued 53 official replies over H1.
It also worked with local authorities, receiving 45 requests for information from other local governing bodies.
Maltese gaming industry performance
The MGA’s report outlined the positive impact the gaming industry is having on the Maltese economy.
The total gross added value (GAV) of the gaming industry to the Maltese economy was €810.7m for H1, which is around 9.5% of the economy’s GVA. With indirect effects included, that number jumps to 12.2%.
The growth in GVA of the gaming industry was 1.1% over H1 2022, showing the stabilisation of its contribution. The MGA expects gaming to “continue playing a fundamental role in the Maltese economy”.
Mizzi appointed new MGA CEO
The MGA’s report was published in the wake of Charles Mizzi being appointed as its new chief executive on Friday.
Mizzi will assume his new role on 26 January, taking over from Charles Brincat, who is stepping down after two years in charge.
One of Mizzi’s potential first tasks will be to defend Europe’s opposition to Malta’s Bill 55. The bill protects Malta-licensed operators from legal liability regarding their gambling activity.
This has proved contentious with other European stakeholders, who feel it is incompatible with European law. The controversy came after news in August that the German gambling regulator said the law conflicts with the Brussels Recast Regulation. The regulation governs how EU members resolved legal judgements.