Malta Reports Cancellation of Seven Licences

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) cancelled seven licences in the first half of 2020 and suspended a further two.

Among the operators that had their licences cancelled were bSupporter, Pick Mater, Dorobet, The Daily Fantasy Football Company and Maltese watch retailer Watch World Luxury.

According to the regulator’s Interim Performance Report for the six months to 30 June 2020, it issued 20 notices of regulation breaches in the first half of 2020, along with 11 warnings. It also doled out nine administrative fines.

Blackrock Media, for example, agreed to pay a penalty of €2.3m (£2.0m/$2.8m) for operating a gaming service without authorisation.

The report also confirmed that 303 licences were issued over the period, 196 of which were B2C gaming licences, while 111 were B2B critical supply licences.

The regulator reported that online active player accounts rose by 11.8% year-on-year to 17.2m, while new active player accounts also increased 12.3% to 7.6m.

Slots were the most popular form of online gambling for games of chance played against the house and with the results generated randomly (type 1). The regulator recorded that slots made up 77.4% of gaming revenue in the first half of the year, compared to 18.4% from table game and 4.2% other games.

Peer-to-peer poker accounted for 90.8% of revenue from games of chance not played against the house (type 3). While 74.8% of online sports betting revenue came from wagers placed on football.

Land-based gambling was impacted by the pandemic, with player attendance down 54.6% year-on-year to 192,351, and new player registrations down 64.1% to 26,176.

Land-based casinos paid €3.9m in tax, which was less than half the €8m contributed over the same period in 2019.

Commercial bingo attendance fell by 54.1% to 38,190, with the corresponding tax revenue down 52.3% to €118,344.

Malta’s National Lottery saw sales fall 36.5% year-on-year to €30.7m over the first half of 2020. A total of €4m was collected in gaming tax, a decline of 34.4% on 2019.

The MGA received €24.6m in online gambling tax during the period, which was the highest six-monthly total since the second half of 2018, when it collected €24.9m.

In summarising the first half of 2020, the MGA reported that 313 companies were active by the end of the period, operating via 318 licences.

There were 8,009 people employed across the industry, of which 7,196 were in online businesses and 813 in land-based gaming. Total tax income was €33.7m, a 16.3% fall year-on-year.

The MGA will publish a full-year industry performance report in May 2021 when it publishes its Annual Report for the financial year ending 31 December 2020.


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