The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) published its preliminary performance report for the first half of 2023 on Tuesday 19 December.

The report examines the MGA’s achievements in the first half of the year as well as the performance of the Maltese gaming industry as a whole.

The MGA conducted 14 compliance audits and 85 desktop reviews in the first half of the year. The regulator imposed nine administrative penalties with a total fine of €124,400 (£107,697/$136,345).

In addition, the MGA conducted 11 compliance audits on behalf of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU). During the same period, the FIAU imposed administrative penalties on three licensees for violations identified during investigations in previous years. In total these amounted to €599,420.

The MGA assisted 2,216 players who requested assistance while conducting 40 reviews of responsible gambling sites. Sixteen observation letters were issued to highlight possible areas for improvement.

The MGA granted seven of the 16 gambling license applications received. Eight applications were either rejected or withdrawn.

International cooperation

The MGA noted its cooperation with other regulators who made 12 requests for information. This collaboration resulted in 17 data exchanges resulting in 166 allegations of suspicious activity.

The MGA sent 23 requests for international cooperation and simultaneously received 37 requests for international cooperation from other regulators. The MGA issued 53 official responses in the first half of the year.

It also worked with local authorities and received 45 requests for information from other local government authorities.

Performance of the Maltese gaming industry

The MGA’s report outlined the positive impact of the gaming industry on the Maltese economy.

The total gross value added (GAV) of the gaming industry to the Maltese economy was €810.7 million in the first half of the year, representing approximately 9.5% of the economy’s GVA. When the indirect effects are taken into account, this number increases to 12.2%.

The growth of the GVA of the gaming industry was 1.1% compared to the first half of 2022, showing the stabilization of its contribution. The MGA expects that gambling “will continue to play a fundamental role in the Maltese economy”.

Mizzi named new MGA CEO

The MGA’s report was published following the appointment of Charles Mizzi as the new chief executive on Friday.

Mizzi will take up his new role on January 26, succeeding Charles Brincat, who is stepping down after two years at the helm.

One of Mizzi’s potential first tasks will be to defend Europe’s opposition to Malta’s Bill 55. The bill protects operators licensed in Malta from legal liability in relation to their gambling activities.

This has proven controversial among other European stakeholders who believe it is incompatible with European law. The controversy came after it was revealed in August that Germany’s gambling regulator said the bill was contrary to the law Brussels recast regulation. The regulation regulates how EU members make court judgments.