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The MGA Publishes its 2020 Annual Report & Financial Statements

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The MGA Publishes its 2020 Annual Report & Financial Statements
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The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA/Authority) is publishing its Annual Report and audited Financial Statements for the financial year ending 31 December 2020. The report provides an overview of the work performed throughout the year and highlights major projects undertaken by the Authority throughout the same period. In addition, the report also outlines the performance of the Maltese gaming industry during 2020 as well as a medium-term outlook into the future, followed by a detailed report explaining key statistics for the land-based and online gaming sectors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The full report may be accessed on this link.

The following are the key highlights from the Annual Report covering the year 2020:

  • Between January and December 2020, following information which emerged from compliance audits, compliance reviews, and formal investigations, the Authority issued 69 warnings, suspended 3 licences, and cancelled another 12. In addition, the MGA issued a total of 24 administrative penalties.
  • In 2020, 30 compliance audits were conducted by the Compliance and AML function, one of which related to a live studio, and 324 desktop reviews were carried out, of which 98 identified deficiencies which were accordingly escalated to the Compliance and Enforcement Committee.
  • In 2020, 8 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.
  • During the twelve-month period of 2020, a total of 1,475 criminal probity screening checks were undertaken, an increase of 13.5% when compared to the year 2019.
  • In terms of AML/CFT, during the twelve-month period of 2020, a total of 27 supervisory examinations on online gaming licensees were conducted by the MGA, of which 10 were full scope examinations, 3 were targeted examinations, 8 were thematic examinations, and 6 were supervisory meetings.
  • In 2020, the MGA conducted a total of 65 interviews with prospective MLROs and key persons carrying out the AML/CFT function to determine the knowledge and suitability of each candidate, out of which 40 were approved, 17 were conditionally approved and 8 were rejected.
  • The Commercial Communication Committee of the MGA took action against 10 adverts or promotions that, in the opinion of the Committee, inappropriately exploited the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During 2020 the Player Support Unit received a total of 5,625 requests for assistance, a 58% increase over 2019, potentially stemming at least partly from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on player behaviour.
  • In its efforts to boost knowledge sharing and cooperation with international counterparts, the MGA hosted a delegation of members of the Lotteries and Gaming Board and the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
  • The Authority received 67 international cooperation requests from other regulators and sent 47 such requests, with the majority referring to requests for background checks as part of an authorisation process.
  • During the year 2020, a total of 168 requests for information specifically relating to the manipulation of sports competitions or breaches in sports rules were submitted by enforcement agencies, sport governing bodies, integrity units, and other regulatory bodies. Additionally, a total of 288 suspicious betting reports from licensees and other concerned parties were received.
  • During the period under review, the Authority was a direct participant in 20 different investigations across the globe relating to manipulation of sports competitions or breaches in sports rules.
  • Recognising the importance of establishing data sharing agreements with relevant stakeholders, including sport governing bodies and other platforms whose function includes the detection of suspicious betting activities, the MGA signed a total of five agreements, namely a data sharing agreement with the International Cricket Council, the Swedish Football Association, the Darts Regulation Authority, the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association, and the Slovak Football Association.
  • During 2020, the MGA and the FIAU signed an updated version of the MoU which brought forth better cooperative instruments for the supervision of AML/CFT in the gaming sector.
  • The Authority entered into an MoU with the Malta Business Registry with the aim of facilitating the ongoing close communication between authorities and the effective sharing of information.
  • With the aim of increasing cooperation with our international counterparts, an MoU was agreed to by the MGA and the Dutch Kansspelautoriteit (the Dutch Gambling Authority) on the basis that the two authorities will support each other by sharing best practices and information in support of their responsibilities at law, whilst also engaging in discussions on policy matters of interest.
  • The MGA also enhanced its collaboration with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations by creating a process whereby any entity that applies for a non-profit game is only issued with a permit if such an entity is a registered and compliant voluntary organisation.
  • Recognising the importance of regular dialogue with stakeholders, throughout 2020, over 55 external communications were sent, providing a synopsis of various updates and developments within the Authority and industry.

In publishing this report, the CEO, Dr Carl Brincat said: “The year 2020 will undoubtedly be remembered for the challenges the pandemic presented us with, and I am proud of the Authority’s employees who worked tirelessly to ensure that we continued to perform the functions required of us at law. Keeping the ship steady during a challenging year serves as a strong foundation for us to look ahead with renewed commitment to keep building on the positives and improve on our shortcomings, to reach new heights in our regulatory approach.”

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“Cheer for those who cheer for us”: FAVBET calls on Ukrainian football fans to support Ukraine’s allies at the 2022 World Cup

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November 20 marked the kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. An event long anticipated by football fans and quite unique in several respects. This year, for the first time ever, the World Cup takes place in the Middle East, in winter, and… against the backdrop of the largest military confrontation in Europe since World War II.

While the stands of Qatari stadiums explode with applause, Ukrainian fans hear explosions in the streets of their cities, and the Ukrainian army bravely resists unprovoked Russian aggression on the several thousand kilometers of frontlines.

However, even in such circumstances, FAVBET and Kyiv-based creative agency Taktika found a way to engage Ukrainian fans and remind the world that football is not only about fighting, but also about unity and support that goes beyond the borders.

“The world will not see our team on Qatar’s football pitches, but for almost a year it has been watching our fight on a pitch of a different kind – the battlefield. And not only watching, but tirelessly supporting. England, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, the USA, France and many other countries have been supplying and training the Ukrainian military, providing shelter to our citizens and defending our interests on the diplomatic front. We decided that the World Cup is a great opportunity to say thank you to Ukraine’s allies for this unwavering support,” says FAVBET’s creative copywriter Mykola Bezkrovnyi.

The campaign is based on short videos shot on the streets of Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv. The centerpiece of the story are the Ukrainian fans with vintage scarves, which, many years ago, they waved during the matches of Ukraine’s team against our current allies. “We once held these scarves because we fiercely wanted to defeat you. We hold them now because we sincerely want you to win. Just like you want us to win too,” says the voiceover of the campaign’s manifesto.

This campaign was Favbet’s idea, and our task was to find the best form and style for it. We realized that we once used to be opponents on the football pitch with almost all of our current allies. Now, the scarves from these matches are turning from symbols of our rivalry into those of unity. Many fans still have them at home as a memory. We decided to use thescarves as a powerful visual symbol and built a campaign around them,” says Roman Gurbanov, Taktika co-founder and creative director.

In addition to the manifesto, the campaign also includes videos dedicated to supporting particular Ukrainian allies like Poland and England. The videos were shot by Ukraine-based studio Digital Religion known for their advertising work for the world’s leading brands like Samsung, Visa, Pepsi, Uber, and others. Check out the videos on FAVBET’s YouTube:

Support those who support us

FAVBET’s new campaign is not only a token of gratitude to the allies, but also a reminder that the war, unlike a football match, does not end with the referee’s whistle. While the World Cup will wrap up in a few weeks, Ukraine will continue its fight against the aggressor that seeks to destroy Ukrainian identity and its need for support will remain as high as ever. That is why FAVBET Foundation is now accepting international donations so that football fans from all over the world can also contribute to Ukraine’s victory. Make your donation on the Foundation’s official page

As an international company with Ukrainian roots, FAVBET has been supporting Ukraine since the first days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, implementing numerous humanitarian initiatives and providing the Ukrainian military with the necessary equipment. Today, 95% of FAVBET Foundation’s projects are focused on helping the country’s citizens and the army, i. e. evacuating residents of frontline cities, purchasing ambulances and vehicles for the needs of the Armed Forces, as well as supplying high-tech communications equipment and drones.

Credentials

FAVBET

Head of Brand – Alexander Tarasov

Brand Manager – Anna Lytvynchuk

Marketing Project Manager – Yanina Baranetska

Creative Producer – Oleksii Marakhovskyi

Digital Content Producer – Iryna Kondratyeva

Creative Lead – Anatoly Simachynskyi

Creative Copywriter – Mykola Bezkrovnyi

Digital Religion

Director – Gleb Feldman

Taktika

Creative Director – Roman Gurbanov

Art Director – Illia Pochkun

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World Esports Championships Finals Begin with Spectacular Opening Ceremony

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IESF welcomes World Esports Family to Bali for the largest edition of its flagship event

The International Esports Federation (IESF) officially opened the 14th World Esports Championships Finals today in Bali, Indonesia. The Opening Ceremony kicked off IESF’s historic WE Championships with an athlete parade, special performances, and speeches from IESF President Vlad Marinescu and Esports Federation of Indonesia (PBESI) President Budi Gunawan at the Merusaka Nusa Dua Hotel. 

The ceremony welcomed athletes, referees, fans, event organizers, government officials, and others from the World Esports Family. The ceremony began with the Indonesia Raya, the national anthem of Indonesia, and the official PBESI march. IESF then did an official raising of its flag to mark the start of the event. Inspired by Indonesian and Balinese culture, the ceremony featured traditional dances as well as extraordinary performances by Indonesian artists Alffy Rev, Wizzy, and Ecko.

The WE Championships remain the sole international esports competition where athletes compete to represent their countries. Over 600 players representing 106 countries will compete across six games: CS:GO, Dota 2, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, eFootball ™  2023, Tekken 7, and PUBG Mobile, making this the largest and most geographically diverse edition of the event since its inception in 2008 with a record prize pool of $500,000. 

An athlete representative from each country joined in the athlete parade of the Opening Ceremony to carry their country’s flag to celebrate the event’s largest and most inclusive edition. Additionally, IESF showcased its commitment to responsible gaming and providing referees with the highest level of certification to ensure fair and safe competition. This year’s referees took an oath on stage during the Opening Ceremony, alongside an athlete representative, to safeguard responsible gaming. 

IESF President Vlad Marinescu spoke at the ceremony and said: “Welcome to Bali for the 2022 World Esports Championships Finals. We are elated to see a historic 106 countries, more than double from last year’s edition, competing in the 14th edition of this event right here in the Land of Gods.  All of you here in this beautiful country and those watching are proof and reflection of the growth and progress of the World Esports Family.”

In his speech, PBESI President Budi Gunawan said: “The Indonesia Esports Summit and the 14th IESF World Esports Championships, wil declare our commitment to set new standards for organizing world class esports event. We sincerely hope that the 14th IESF World Esports Championships Bali 2022 will be a new momentum for all these great talents from around the world to build friendship and peace” 

The competition will conclude with the Closing Ceremony and a special announcement on December 11, where one nation will be crowned the World Esports champion. 

The Finals will be live-streamed across seven IESF Twitch channels, one dedicated for each game. The full lineup of competing nations and all other information related to WEC can be found on the official website

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SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator Announced New Campaign with Spinago

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Online jackpot campaigns are becoming extremely popular in the iGaming community as a powerful tool to attract and retain players and improve overall brand performance. This trend is all the more reinforced by the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator’s new cooperation with Spinago, as the two partners launch a worldwide jackpot campaign.

Spinago has been operating under a Curacao license since 2020, managing a varied game and sports betting portfolio. The operator accepts deposits in fiat and cryptocurrencies and provides 24/7 player support.  

In partnership with the Jackpot Aggregator, Spinago has launched its first jackpot campaign with three independent levels: Standart, Mega, and Grand. Each level offers unique progressive money prizes, with a maximum reward of 80,000 AUD to a lucky player. The jackpot campaign has no wager. Players might bet in slots and live games with a minimum bet of 1.5 AUD. There are no restrictions on the number of bets, same as there are no limits on raffled hits. 

Besides setting up the promotional campaign, the SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator provides end-to-end support to ensure a smooth and seamless user experience. 

Reflecting on the collaboration, the Spinago team notes: “We appreciate working with the software provider who offers not only a flexibly configurable product but also reliable support. The team behind the Jackpot Aggregator managed to quickly set up the campaign and settle all the details with us, taking into account our goals and requirements.”

Aliaskei Douhin, Head of SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator, shares his thoughts about the partnership: “We are proud to see an increasing number of iGaming operators who elect to use our product as a driver of growth and scaling. The Jackpot Aggregator team is grateful to Spinago for the trust and opportunity to show how this jackpot campaign will attract new players and reactivate existing ones.”

The SOFTSWISS Jackpot Aggregator offers a unique, multi-purpose Jackpot as a Service (JaaS) business model to strengthen brand performance and boost player acquisition and retention. 

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