The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA/Authority) is publishing its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2019, providing an overview of the work performed throughout the year by the Authority. In addition, the report also includes a summary of the performance of the Maltese gaming industry during 2019 and an outlook for the medium-term future.
The following are the key highlights from the Annual Report covering the year 2019:
- The Authority cancelled 14 licences and suspended 11. In addition, it issued 20 warnings, 89 Notices of Breach and 23 administrative fines imposed on operators following various regulatory breaches;
- 89 applications for a gaming licence were received in 2019; 44 applications were either rejected or withdrawn and 53 licences were issued during the period under review, including licences the application for which had been received during the previous year;
- 15 individuals and companies were deemed not to be up to the Authority’s probity standards by the Fit & Proper Committee, mainly on the basis of mitigating the risks of money laundering or funding of terrorism;
- 48 audits were conducted by the Compliance and AML function;
- 69 international cooperation requests were sent by the MGA in 2019, predominantly as part of the criminal probity assessments, with the Authority receiving 58 international co-operation requests;
- 1,300 criminal probity screening assessments were carried out in 2019;
- The Authority revised its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, and also signed an MOU with the Malta Police Force, aimed at strengthening the fight again corruption and money laundering;
- As at the end of December 2019, the number of companies licensed by the MGA, including both online and land-based entities, stood at 294.
In publishing this report, Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Gaming Authority, stated that: “Overall, 2019 was a very challenging but at the same time rewarding year for the MGA. The increased focus on compliance and enforcement which was prevalent throughout the year has yielded tangible results for the Authority.
This focus led to internal restructuring for the better achievement of the MGA’s objectives, and was also pivotal in the Authority’s drive towards the setting up of the Sports Integrity Unit, tasked with increasing the commitment towards the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions. In its first months, this unit has already signed important collaboration agreements with international sport bodies in order to tackle betting-related corruption and ensure the integrity of sports.
Such collaboration, both at a local and international level was high on the agenda in 2019, and will continue being crucial in 2020, as a key determining factor in the ongoing fight against crime, corruption and money laundering.”