The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2016. The report provides an overview of the activities and work performed throughout the year by the MGA which was focused on the achievement of its vision, mainly driven by the repositioning strategy and the general overhaul of the regulatory regime which will be published for consultation this year. Furthermore, the MGA carried on its continuous improvement programme which is aimed at the strengthening of its internal functions, knowledge management and the efficiency of its core business processes.
The Report also glances at 2017 and beyond, being a year of transition for the Authority and for the Maltese gaming sector, whereby all the work done in the strategic repositioning exercise will come to fruition through the publication of the upcoming new gaming legislative framework.
The following are the key highlights from the Annual Report:
- During the year under review, the MGA generated a total revenue of €62.5m compared to €60.9m in 2015. This represents an increase of €1.6m or a 2.6% year-on-year increase. Furthermore, contributions in gaming taxes made to Government in 2016 amounted to €56.2m compared to €55.8m in 2015. This represents an increase of €0.4m or a 0.7% increase year-on-year,
- The gaming industry is estimated to have generated just over €1 billion in terms of gross value added in 2016. This represented a 12% growth over 2015, when the industry had already increased its gross value added by a similar amount. As a result of these developments, the gaming industry increased its share in economic activity to around 11.6% in 2016,
- The number of remote gaming licenses has increased to 513, representing a 5% year on year increase,
- The industry directly accounts for almost 6,200 jobs in full time equivalent terms by the end of 2016, an increase of almost 1,500 jobs over 2015. When one factors in indirect employment through associated businesses, the number increases to around 9,000 jobs in 2016.
- In 2016, the Authority proceeded with the work on the overhaul of its regulatory framework which was started in early 2015 and which will come into force in 2018. The new licensing framework will target more effectively the development of business-to-business activities, enhance the efficiency of regulatory processes across all areas of activity and introduce the flexibility needed to meet current and future dynamics with respect to technological developments, consumer protection standards and market demands (current and future),
- The Authority also enhanced its focus on key success factors for Malta as a jurisdiction by undertaking relevant studies in line with its vision to become an increasingly knowledge-driven organisation. Among the areas analysed by the MGA during 2016 included the availability of human resources and skills to sustain the operations of the industry, the threats and opportunities associated with the consumption of gaming services by Maltese residents, and the role of cryptocurrencies in gaming activities,
- During the year under review, the MGA further enhanced its compliance methodologies in view of the increased global focus on the gaming industry. This involved stepping up collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit with respect to anti-money laundering initiatives and the implementation of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive,
- In 2016, the MGA continued with its technology and information systems programme development which included the implementation of a Customer Relationship Management system which will enable the organisation to handle operator requests more effectively, whilst allowing more efficient interactions to take place between the industry and the Authority,
- During 2016 the Authority placed a strong emphasis on effective enforcement, including a substantial rise in inspections on land-based operators and a marked increase in cancellations of remote gaming licenses,
- The Authority’s focus for the years ahead shall be focused on enhancing consumer protection mechanisms; raising quality standards across all gaming sectors; improve the overall governance and supervision of the sector; engage and build partnerships with other jurisdictions, stakeholders and regulators; and explore new growth areas including niche gaming sectors and innovations.
In publishing this report, Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman of the Malta Gaming Authority, said, “I feel proud of the Authority’s achievements during the year under review. These achievements engender a strong sense of responsibility for the Authority to ensure a continued, safe and sustainable growth of the industry, in a challenging global environment. It also drives us to reach new heights in our regulatory ethos, thought leadership, standards of regulation and innovation in our approach as a regulator”.
Whoever wishes to receive hard copies of the Annual Report may send an email to [email protected]