Is the Malta Gaming Authority Softening Up? Here’s Some Data.
For the longest time, the Malta Gaming Authority (aka MGA for short) has been known as one of the strictest and most authoritative gambling licensors in the world of online casino gaming.
In the past, the MGA has not really shied away from taking punitive action against casino companies that have breached its rules in any shape or form. For example, as per this Independent article, the leading European gambling authority issued €2.43 million in fines between January and June 2020 alone. It bares without repeating that this is quite a lot of money in the span of just 6 months.
Fast-forward to 2022 and the MGA’s annual report for 2021 seems to reveal that the Malta Gaming Authority has somewhat softened its stance—or that the gambling operators have finally learned to deal with the so-called law of the land.
In 2021, the MGA cancelled a total of seven licenses from casino companies operating under the Malta license. This is down from 12 cancelled licenses in 2020 and 14 cancelled licenses in 2019. Furthermore, there were also fewer crackdowns in terms of suspensions. In 2019, there were 11 suspensions, followed by 3 in 2020 and none at all in 2021.
However, it is not as if the MGA has become completely dormant. Instead, it seems that they have now made a stronger than usual use of their administrative penalties. The data shows that the MGA only issued 24 penalties in 2020 and 28 penalties in 2019, whereas in 2021 there were a total of 31 penalties issued.
In their report, the Malta Gaming Authority had this to say:
”Enforcement is crucial for the authority; it helps us fulfil our mandate as a regulator. It is not only a necessary tool in our arsenal to achieve the mandate set out by law, but also essential as a measure of fairness towards licensees that are compliant.”Malta Gaming Authority
We do not know if all of the numbers here are exactly comparable with one another. In the past couple of years, there has been a lot happening on the global online casino front. Namely, the worldwide pandemic made the popularity of online casino gaming shoot up, which, in turn, probably led some of the more opportunistic online casino companies to exploit the situation a little more than necessary. This could be one explanation for why there were fewer major penalties last year than, say, in 2020.
Then again, the MGA might also be somewhat softening up to its partners. After all, it would make business sense to give operators hefty penalties rather than just driving them away completely. Many casinos over the years have already decided that they do not want to pay for the expensive Malta license anyway and would rather just go with cheaper and less restrictive alternatives.
It remains to be seen what the data for 2022 will look like and whether these new trends will indeed continue.