The Maltese Gambling Authority (MGA) has just published its annual report for 2019 and put the Maltese gaming sector up by 9.6% on the previous year &#8211; contributing an incredible €1.56 Billion to the Mediterranean island state’s economy. This goes hand in hand with the predicted growth announced for the iGaming industry by 2022.
These figures put iGaming as the third-largest private-sector contributor to the Maltese economy in 2019 &#8211; only being beaten by retail, hospitality, and professional services.
This is all the more impressive when you consider the drastically tighter regulations that have been imposed by the MGA &#8211; 14 licenses were revoked but, at the same time, the number of licensed companies rose 3.9% to 294. However, this number is still below the 2017’s number of 296.
The total number of used licenses rose from 286 to 298 and only 53 license applications were approved out 89 &#8211; this has been attributed to new license terms that were active from August 2018.
Further, 7,417 jobs were created in 2019 &#8211; 9.2% more than in 2018. Of these, 6,593 were in the online gaming industry, which is being driven by new technologies such as the PayNPlay feature by Trustly.
This report is the first to follow MGA’s review into the effectiveness of its player protection guidelines. Making sure that players are protected, the provisions provided will be continuously updated in the future.
The MGA’s CEO Heathcliff Faruggia gave an update on the measures introduced as well as the internal restructuring that has been occurring at the firm:
Overall, 2019 was 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.
The MGA’s report, while not disclosing the total revenue amount, broke down the amount of revenue generated by each type of game:
Type 1 games (where players play against the casino) were far-and-away the most popular, generating a whopping 56% of all revenue. Slot machines made up the majority of this figure (74.4%), while table games contributed 21.5%.
Type 2 games (i.e: sports betting) went down to 36.3% compared to 2018’s 39.0%. Football betting is still the favorite, making up 76.4%, while tennis and baseball made 7.7% and 5.9% respectively.
Type 3 games (player vs player games) contributed 7.7% of 2019’s revenue. The vast majority of this (81.9%) was made through poker and 10.3% through betting exchanges.
Type 4 game licenses are set to be issued for controlled skill games &#8211; as announced by the MGA in this report. However, the income from this is less relevant to the gaming sector.