Regulator in Malta cancelled seven gaming licences in the first half of 2020

Posted on February 16, 2021

The Malta Gaming Authority has announced that they cancelled seven licences in the first half of 2020 as well as contacted other gambling operators due to their breaches of its rules and regulations.

The actions of the MGA

This information was published in an Interim Performance Report. This report covers the six months to the 30th of June 2020. In the report, they list the actions taken against gambling operators that use a licence from Malta. The Malta Gaming Authority issued a total of 20 notices of regulation breaches in H1, as well as 11 warnings. In addition to the warnings and notices, the MGA also handed down nine administrative fines to gambling operators and suspended two licences.

One of the biggest fines handed down by the MGA was a €2.3 million penalty fine given to Blackrock Media for operating a gaming service without any proper authorisation. Along with the seven cancelled licences, it looks like the MGA is taking the issue of security and safety of the consumers seriously.

Some of the operators that have had their licences cancelled in the first half of 2020 include, bSupporter, Pick Mater, Dorobet, The Daily Fantasy Football Company and Watch World Luxury, a Malta-based watch retailer.

Some of these gambling operators work on a business to business model but most operate directly with consumers and offer services like virtual sports betting. Most have had their licences cancelled because of refusals to pay licence fees but others like Watch World Luxury had theirs cancelled for a far more serious reason. According to the Malta Gaming Authority, Watch World Luxury had their licence cancelled because they failed to “ensure the integrity and availability of essential regulatory data”.

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Other figures included in the report

Despite the seven cancelled licences in the first half of 2020, the report also included online gambling figures for the period that tended to provide a more positive outlook on the state of online gambling in Malta.

Besides the seven cancelled licences, Malta issued 303 licences, 196 were B2C gaming licences, while 111 were B2B critical supply licences. The number of online active player accounts climbed 11.8% year-on-year to 17.2 million, while new online active player accounts also increased by 12.3% to 7.6 million.

Online sports betting was one of the most popular wagers, with football being the most wagered upon sport 74.8% of online sports betting revenue came through football wagering. Other sports, like esports made up the remaining 25.2% of the revenue.

Unsurprisingly, land-based gambling faced a major blow to their earning due to the initial lockdown in the early part of the year for COVID-19. Player visits to casinos dropped significantly, down 54.6% year-on-year to 192,351, while new player registrations fell 64.1% to 26,176.

The Malta Gaming Authority said a total of 313 companies were active by the end of H1, operating under 318 licences. This huge breadth of online gaming companies that use Maltese licences, contributed to the employment of 8009 people, 7196 online and 813 in land-based gaming as well as earning the government €33.7m in tax revenue.

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Andrew Boggs

Andrew is a Northern Ireland based journalist with a background in esports and VR reporting. He grew up in County Down, Northern Ireland, and graduated from Ulster University with a Masters's degree in Journalism.

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