MGA: 1.6m Players Request Self Exclusion In 2019

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has revealed that according to data collected during 2019, around 1.6 million players have requested to self-exclude themselves for a definite or indefinite period.

The MGA 2019 Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2019, reveals 31 percent of players requested to be excluded indefinitely, with 27 percent requesting a one-month option for exclusion. Player exclusion imposed by operators for an indefinite period stood at 82 percent.

Self-exclusion requests can be made by the players themselves and exclusions can be enforced by the gaming operators, especially in cases where there are reasonable reasons which indicate that a player might have gambling problems. Operators have enforced out of the total figure 400,000 which imposed self-exclusion.

Although more than one-third of online players opted for an unspecified period of time to self-exclude themselves, players at local gaming outlets chose to self-exclude themselves for either six months (49 percent) or 12 months (51 percent).

Of all the requests for exclusion, 42 percent were in the 25–34 age group , followed by 34 percent in the 35–54 age category and 18–24 age group , respectively. The other six percent of requests for exclusion are individuals aged 55 and over.

In terms of gender distribution, demands for self-exclusion from both the land-based and the online gambling sectors were made primarily by males. Men submitted 75 percent of requests for both sectors over the duration under study.

Heathcliff Farrugia, chief executive of the Malta Gaming Authority, stated in publishing this report: “Overall, 2019 was a very challenging but at the same time rewarding year for the MGA. The increased focus on compliance and enforcement which was prevalent throughout the year has yielded tangible results for the Authority.

“This focus led to internal restructuring for the better achievement of the MGA’s objectives, and was also pivotal in the Authority’s drive towards the setting up of the Sports Integrity Unit, tasked with increasing the commitment towards the fight against the manipulation of sports competitions.

“In its first months, this unit has already signed important collaboration agreements with international sport bodies in order to tackle betting-related corruption and ensure the integrity of sports.

“Such collaboration, both at a local and international level was high on the agenda in 2019, and will continue being crucial in 2020, as a key determining factor in the ongoing fight against crime, corruption and money laundering.”

The MGA 2019 Annual Report also includes a review of the Maltese gaming industry’s success over 2019 and a medium-term forecast for the future.

It emphasised that the Authority had cancelled 12 licences and suspended an additional 11 while issuing 20 warnings, with 89 infringement notices and 23 administrative fines imposed on operators following various regulatory infringements.

In total, in 2019, 89 gaming licence applications were received with 44 applications either rejected or withdrawn and 53 licences were issued during the review period.

The number of companies licenced by the MGA at the end of December 2019 stood at 294, including both online and land based.