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The MGA Publishes its 2019 Annual Report and Financial Statements

George Miller

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The MGA Publishes its 2019 Annual Report and Financial Statements
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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA/Authority) is publishing its Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2019, providing an overview of the work performed throughout the year by the Authority. In addition, the report also includes a summary of the performance of the Maltese gaming industry during 2019 and an outlook for the medium-term future.

The following are the key highlights from the Annual Report covering the year 2019:

  • The Authority cancelled 14 licences and suspended 11. In addition, it issued 20 warnings, 89 Notices of Breach and 23 administrative fines imposed on operators following various regulatory breaches;
  • 89 applications for a gaming licence were received in 2019; 44 applications were either rejected or withdrawn and 53 licences were issued during the period under review, including licences the application for which had been received during the previous year;
  • 15 individuals and companies were deemed not to be up to the Authority’s probity standards by the Fit & Proper Committee, mainly on the basis of mitigating the risks of money laundering or funding of terrorism;
  • 48 audits were conducted by the Compliance and AML function;
  • 69 international cooperation requests were sent by the MGA in 2019, predominantly as part of the criminal probity assessments, with the Authority receiving 58 international co-operation requests;
  • 1,300 criminal probity screening assessments were carried out in 2019;
  • The Authority revised its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, and also signed an MOU with the Malta Police Force, aimed at strengthening the fight again corruption and money laundering;
  • As at the end of December 2019, the number of companies licensed by the MGA, including both online and land-based entities, stood at 294.

In publishing this report, Heathcliff Farrugia, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Gaming Authority, stated that: “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.”

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Lotteritilsynet Offers €3m Aid to Voluntary Groups

Niji Narayan

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Lotteritilsynet Offers €3m Aid to Voluntary Groups
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Lotteritilsynet, the Norwegian lottery and gambling regulator, has distributed NOK30million (€3million) to various voluntary groups in view of the adverse financial impact of Covid-19.

The regulator initiated a crisis fund during the virus outbreak to help government relief programs and provide direct funding to voluntary organizations to help them continue their working during Covid-19 pandemic.

The fund intents to keep the voluntary services running in the face of a slump in operating income during the pandemic.

Lotteritilsynet Director-General, Gunn Merete Paulsen, said the regulator granted funds to 379 of the 400 applications it had received.

He said: “We are planning batch payments as the applications are received so that the organisations that apply receive the money as soon as possible.”

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Sports betting leads the Spanish internet gaming industry in the first quarter of 2020

George Miller

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Sports betting leads the Spanish internet gaming industry in the first quarter of 2020
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The Direccion General de Ordenacion de Juego (DGOJ) – Spanish Directorate for Gambling Regulation – has recently published its latest quarterly report on online gambling in the country, referring to the period January to March 2020. 

According to figures from the regulator, the Spanish internet gaming sector recorded a strong performance during the three-month span, with all verticals contributing to increased revenues both on a year-on-year (12.5%) and on quarter-on-quarter (18%) basis.  

In the first quarter, Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) reached barely €218m, with sports betting leading the way. Despite the suspension of sporting events in the country from mid-March, this vertical contributed with €111m, accounting for 51% of the total while recording a yearly growth of 8.7%. 

The sports betting revenue was primarily driven by in-play betting with €61.3m up to March, as well as fixed odds betting; which accounted for €46.3m and rose 13% compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Casino, poker, and bingo… on the rise as well

The online casino segment recorded a GGR of €78m, up 16% year-on-year. The biggest rise within this vertical was Live Roulette, up 35% to contribute with €18.5m, but Slots remain the largest contributor with €43.2m – 55% of the total revenue for casino. 

Poker, a vertical that has enjoyed a worldwide boom during the sports suspension, increased its contribution to the Spanish online gambling revenue to €24.2m in the first quarter, with 13% growth in inter-annual terms. 

The remaining verticals, bingo, and contests (where players pay to participate in a prize draw) experienced likewise inter-annual growth; 15% the former and almost 50% the latter, but their contributions remain residual: just above €3m for bingo and less than €2m for online contests. 

Investment in marketing by online operators reached €118m, up 28% from the previous year, led by the 46% increase in spending on bonuses awarded as both welcome offers and prizes, which represents more than a third of the marketing investment in the quarter. However, more than 50% of the marketing spending as a whole remained focused on advertising, as it reached €59.5m on a rise of 24% year-on-year.

Half of the internet operators offer sports betting 

The primacy of sports over the rest of online gambling segments also reflects in the number of companies running sports betting websites – legally – in the country. In March, out of the eighty operators licensed by the Spanish regulatory body, half of them offer betting on sports.  

Aside from the tasks of supervision and regulation, the Direccion General is also in charge of blocking gambling websites operating in Spain without the license. The illegal online operators should be avoided as they do not offer the necessary security guarantees and, on top of that, in many cases are fraudulent companies. 

To stay away from unnecessary risks, one can always use the services of sports betting comparison sites, such as Miscasasdeapuestas. In this portal, you will find analysis and listings of the best betting bonuses and online bookmakers operating in Spain legally; that is, with licensing by the regulator.

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Baltics

Singular Wins Rising Star in Baltic Sports Betting Technology at BSG Awards

George Miller

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Singular Wins Rising Star in Baltic Sports Betting Technology at BSG Awards
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Singular has been awarded “Rising Star in Baltic Sports Betting Technology” at the Baltic and Scandinavian (BSG) Awards 2020 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Traditionally, the MARE Balticum Gaming Summit features the BSG Awards with the gala night moved online this year. Professionals from the sports betting field attending the Gaming Summit casted their vote for the companies that have made a substantial contribution to the industry in the passing year.

“We take particular pride in winning an award that highlights the technology of our Sports Betting Solution. Deep in its DNA, Singular has always been and continues to be a tech company working with gifted people and stellar technology to deliver an outstanding experience.” says Darko Gacov, Singular’s co-founder.

At the end of 2019, Singular released the 4th generation of their Sports Betting Platform that has given player personalization a new flavour. Accompanied by a pro-trading functionality and powerful risk management, the solution has positioned Singular as innovation leader within sports betting. The new upgraded solution has facilitated entry into three newly regulated markets for Singular. Details to be announced after the brands go live later this autumn.

The MARE Balticum Gaming Summit was the first live conference since lockdown measures and travel restrictions were lifted for the majority of the European countries. Adapting to the circumstances the event took a hybrid approach giving the community in the Baltic region an opportunity to meet in person, but also connect with the rest of the iGaming community online.

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