The Malta Gaming Authority: who they are and what they do

The Malta Gaming Authority is one of the most important gambling regulators in Europe. Read on to find out what it is and what it does.

If you have even a passing interest in igaming, you have probably heard of the Malta Gaming Authority.

Due to Malta’s presence as a hub for igaming development and operations in Europe, the body has become one of the continent’s most important regulators. 

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) regulates most forms of gambling in Malta, both land-based, including casinos, amusement arcades and slot machines, betting shops and lotteries, and B2C and B2B online gambling services.

Formerly the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, the MGA was established in 2001 to regulate gaming in the island nation, ensure fairness and transparency for players, prevent crime and money laundering and protect minors and vulnerable players.

Due to Malta’s early legalisation of online gaming, following the Lotteries and Other Games Act, 2001, the MGA was one of the first regulators to regulate online gambling operators and offer security for players. 

The igaming sector in Malta has since grown enormously, coming to generate more than 12 per cent of the country’s GDP.

Malta Gaming Authority’s remit

The MGA aims to support the gaming industry and technological innovation and sustain Malta’s position and reputation in the gaming industry. The regulator has a remit to:

  • Raise standards within the gaming sector globally to make gaming fairer and safer and to protect the interests of consumers.
  • Ensure gaming is kept free from crime through international collaboration.
  • Adapt Malta’s regulatory framework for gaming to evolving market needs.

The MGA has 11 areas of responsibility:

  • Protection of minors and vulnerable people by promoting responsible gaming.
  • Licensing and regulation of gaming operators.
  • Guidance and cooperation with gaming businesses at all stages of the application process.
  • Protection of player funds, ensuring that deposits and withdrawals are secure.
  • Ensuring the integrity of games and gaming devices through audits and independent testing.
  • Monitoring licensee activities to ensure compliance.
  • Safeguarding player rights through the investigation of complaints against licensees.
  • Monitoring to keep gaming free from criminal activities. 
  • Conducting research into gaming.
  • Collecting gaming taxes on behalf of the government.
  • Ensuring that the gaming sector contributes to Malta’s development.

See also: Malta publishes overview of suspicious transaction reports

Malta Gaming Authority’s powers

The MGA cannot force any operator to return stakes that have been voluntary placed and lost in a fair game, but it can provide advice and assistance to players and it plays a role in aiding dispute resolution between players and its licensees when necessary.

It also enforces operators’ duty of care under Malta’s gaming legislation, ensuring that licence holders monitor players’ gambling habits, look for signs of problematic behaviour and intervene when needed.

The MGA can cancel operators’ licences when it finds breaches of Malta’s gaming regulations.

See also: MGA cancels seven licences in H1 2020

The MGA also maintains the MGA Licensee Register, which allows players to check whether an operator is licensed by the authority.

Malta Gaming Authority’s structure 

Carl Brincat, CEO at the Malta Gaming Authority.

The MGA is composed of the following main entities:

  • The Non-Executive Board of Directors, headed by an independent Chairman, is responsible for overseeing strategic development, developing policy and ensuring objectives are achieved.
  • The CEO is responsible for the overall execution and performance of the MGA functions. The Malta Gaming Authority’s current CEO is Carl Brincat.
  • The Executive Management Committee is responsible for major functions and receives tasks delegated by the CEO.
  • Audit Committee: assists the board in ensuring good corporate governance, risk management and internal controls.
  • Supervisory Council: supervises and reviews regulatory objectives and provides oversight and guidance on regulatory issues.
  • Fit and Proper Committee: assesses and determines whether licence applicants are fit and proper persons to be granted an MGA gaming licence.

Collaboration with other regulatory bodies

The Malta Gaming Authority works with other gaming regulators as well as with sports regulatory bodies in order to share best practice and collaborate on issues such as tackling unlicensed gaming, money laundering and match fixing. 

It has signed memorandums of understanding with the Dutch gambling regulator the KSA and data-sharing agreements with sports bodies.

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gambling regulation Malta Gaming Authority online gambling