Malta Gaming Operators Ordered to Tighten Responsible Gambling Oversight

Posted on: January 17, 2023, 07:32h. 

Last updated on: January 17, 2023, 03:31h.

The Mediterranean island country of Malta has been the hub for online gaming operators for years, the result of a relatively flexible approach toward licensing obligations. That’s changing, and operators are going to have to start complying with stricter regulations, including with their approach to gambling harm.

A partial view of the Valletta, Malta, skyline at dusk. The hub for online gaming operators is adding new regulations for gaming companies to follow. (Image: Shutterstock)

As a result of the amendments made by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) to its Player Protection Directive, the gaming regulator now requires that operators adopt greater responsible gaming oversight. It also expects them to establish policies to detect and resolve cases of gambling addiction, along with the monitoring and resolution thereof.

This means that operators will need to implement effective measures and processes, such as behavioral monitoring systems and analytical tools, in order to identify those most prone to become addicted to gambling. They will have to accomplish this through the addition of trained employees and analytical tools.

Responsible Gaming a Priority Everywhere

Under the new guidelines, once an operator notices that there’s a possibility of gambling problems, it must take the necessary action to prevent the case from escalating. Not doing so could result in the licensee becoming liable for any gambling problems.

The MGA’s metrics include, among other criteria, the amount and frequency of all deposits users make, the use of more than one payment method, and the reversal of withdrawals under processing. It’s also important for operators to keep an eye on other indicators, such as increased complaints from users and the use of existing responsible gaming solutions.

The regulator explained that this new policy will ensure that MGA licensees will closely monitor the behavior of players and their finances. In addition, it will force them to follow new team-building standards for dealing with situations where intervention becomes necessary to prevent gambling harm.

The B2C licensee should ensure that all employees involved in the day-to-day operations of the company receive the appropriate training in safe gaming procedures. As stated in the rules, officials should also receive training to determine how to identify players who may seem agitated, distressed, intimidated, aggressive, or exhibiting other behavior that may be indicative of gambling harm.

Additional Guidelines

A number of technical requirements must also be integrated into the online platform for players to be aware that they are playing for real money. In addition, according to MGA guidelines, operators must ensure players can see their account balance at all times while engaged with the platform.

Furthermore, the regulator states that users have to be able to access six months’ worth of their gaming history. This includes their total wins and losses, and their deposits and withdrawals.

When playing games such as online slots that offer an “auto-spin” feature, there should also be an alert that appears on the screen that gives the user the option to create an alert at certain intervals. This alert is a reminder of the feature and the amount the player has spent.

The MGA reported in an update this month that in the first half of 2022, the number of players from gambling sites licensed in Malta reached a new record. It recognized that the strength of its industry is because it remains “flexible” and can “adapt to change.” The regulator added that it has to ensure Malta continues as a “competitive and reputable jurisdiction” for the industry.