The MGA’s Annual Report Reflects on a Troubled Year

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) released its regular yearly report. The regulator oversees most forms of gambling on the territory of Malta. The country is one of the world’s largest online gambling hubs, so the MGA’s report can provide insight into global industry trends. The 112-page document also contains information on the Authority’s structure, achievements, and financial status.

Malta Endured Significant Challenges

The MGA’s 2021 report provides valuable metrics to track the health of the island nation’s gambling industry. MGA board of directors chairperson Dr. Ryan Pace stated that the pandemic was just one of the numerous challenges the regulator had to overcome. 

The island nation’s inclusion in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list severely threatened the country’s reputation and competitiveness. Fortunately, swift reforms against money laundering and terror financing helped Malta leave the ignominious list.

I believe that… the changes that have been implemented in the past months will continue to strengthen our jurisdiction.

Dr. Ryan Pace, MGA board of directors chairperson

Malta’s regulator also noted that it focused on streamlining the gaming license application process, modernizing its technical systems, and reducing bureaucracy. The Authority plans to aid licensees by reducing costs and regulatory framework challenges to licensees, boosting the gambling industry’s post-pandemic recovery.

Important Metrics Declined Compared to 2020

2021’s annual report contains valuable information on the state of the gaming industry. Malta currently hosts around 300 licenses, providing an impressive sample size of data. The gambling sector generated approximately €1,019 million in Gross Value Added (GVA), constituting 7.7% of the Maltese economy. Year-to-year growth stands at 14.1%, which is lower than 2020’s 15.3% but still represents continued recovery.

Online gaming metrics are of particular interest. The MGA issued 46 new iGaming licenses, representing a noticeable drop compared to 68 in 2020. Operator compliance contribution reached just over €52 million, marking a €2 million year-on-year increase. In total, the regulator is responsible for over 35 million player accounts. 

Slots and table games maintained dominance in the iGaming space with a 70.1% market share, with online sports betting coming second at 22.3%. Online poker and similar games represented just 7.1% of the market, dropping from 9.0% in 2020.

MGA’s CEO Expressed Confidence in the Future

The 2021 fiscal year was very eventful for the Authority, but its efforts helped the Maltese gambling sector to achieve substantial growth. MGA CEO Dr. Carl Brincat stated that the organization successfully navigated the year’s numerous challenges, emerging more robust in the process.

We used 2021 to start laying the groundwork for improvements that we will see in the months and years to come.

Dr Carl Brincat, MGA CEO

Brincat added that the MGA maintained its desired regulatory ceiling and would always strive to ensure compliance by holding all licensees under the same standard. The CEO likely refers to the country’s recent FATF troubles. The incident and the lingering impact of COVID-19 appear to have hampered the growth of the Maltese gambling industry. Next year’s report will show whether the slowdown is just an anomaly or the start of a worrying trend.

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