MGA Reports Gaming Growth but Less Contribution to Malta’s Economy

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has recorded one of its highest growth rates in value, compared to other sectors, but it reports less contribution to the island’s economy.

MGA Sees 2020 as an Exceptional Year

In its detailed Annual Report and audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year, which ended on December 31, 2020, MGA has reported that the island’s gambling industry had a growth rate of 15.3% (over $1 billion) in total valuation. However, it is no longer one of the top three contributors to the economy.

MGA has acknowledged that 2020 was “an exceptional year,” as the total economic value added 4.3%. The gambling sector of the economy reported remarkable growth, still contributing 8% of the total economic value.

MGA CEO Dr. Carl Brincat said, “The year 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for the challenges the pandemic presented us with, and I am proud of the Authority’s employees who worked tirelessly to ensure that we continued to perform the functions required of us at law.”

He stated that keeping the industry steady during this year has laid out a strong foundation for the MGA, which will continue to build on the positives and reach new regulatory heights.

MGA Crunching the Numbers from its Annual Report

At the end of the year, the MGA reported 323 online and land-based companies licensed by the association, with a total of 328 gaming licenses and 357 game type approvals, offering different types of games with B2C licenses.

Furthermore, the authority issued 69 warnings, canceled twelve licenses due to policy breach, and suspended another three. According to the report, in 2020, MGA received 58 applications for gaming licenses, while 68 licenses were issued. However, 20 licenses were either withdrawn by the applicants or rejected by the association.

During the fiscal year, the association received almost $87 million in compliance contribution fees and consumption tax. In 2020, the gaming industry in Malta offered 8,300 jobs, as 91.1% of these jobs were in the online gaming sector.

Over the year, the industry saw 15.5% growth in new players, with 15.9 million new active accounts. The number of players registered on Malta-licensed sites saw growth by 18.1% (36 million active player accounts) as the Malta-registered companies providing online gaming increased from 284 to 314 during the year.

Malta Noted the Impact of the Pandemic

In its report, MGA also acknowledged the impact of the pandemic, as all land-based casinos temporarily closed in March 2020 under the terms of the Legal Notice 76. On June 5, 2020, the casinos were allowed to open again. Nevertheless, the closure impacted player registrations.

The MGA’s report shows 55,676 new registrations in four land-based venues: Casino Malta, Portomaso Casino, Oracle Casino and Dragonara Casino. For reference, the new player registrations in 2019 were 175,433.

Malta recently became the first EU country to be added to the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) greylist, reflecting on the island’s framework deficiencies regarding anti-money laundering and funding terrorism practices.

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