MGA: Player Protection Directive change of paramount importance

The Malta Gaming Authority has changed its Player Protection Directive, stating that safe, sustainable and responsible gaming is of “paramount importance”.

Made following feedback received through its dedicated consultation process, the amendments made by the authority will require licensees to monitor selected markers of harm when creating procedures to detect and address instances of problem gambling.

The Authority also noted the changes are intended to strengthen and clarify the current player protection framework.

Under the new changes, B2C licensees will be required to employ effective measures and processes to identify those most at risk of problem gambling, which must be achieved using analytic tools or behaviour monitoring systems, alongside trained staff.

Once identified, the licensee is required to take “effective steps” to address problem gambling and, or, prevent players from developing such problems.

Moreover, licensees who offer online services must display an array of information “prominently” on its homepage, including the B2C licensee details, which identify the licensee and ensure that the licensee can be contacted; a sign which indicates that underage gaming is not permissible amd a ‘responsible gaming’ message which provides: information explaining that gaming can be harmful if it is not controlled.

Furthermore, the homepage must include information about the player support measures on the website – provided that this is without prejudice to any disclosure requirements laid down in other regulatory instruments and other applicable requirements.

Licensees offering its gaming services online should also ensure that it offers players the option to exclude themselves from gaming, and that it be no more than “one click away” from the responsible gaming information page.

Once excluded, B2C licensees may only remove exclusions upon request of the relevant player or upon expiry of the set duration. The request must be accompanied by an explanation from the player to further explain circumstance changes that have led to the request. It will then be up to the licensees whether to accept or reject.

In the retail space, B2C licensees offering gaming services in gaming premises must display its licence status at the entrance of the property.

This framework will support the Authority’s initiatives moving forward and facilitate the MGA’s plans to continuously improve the player protection framework, including the eventual publication of detailed player protection guidelines for licensees.

Moving forward, the MGA is in the process of conducting detailed research and gathering “expert experience” to serve as the foundation for the eventual publication of such guidelines.

Provisions relating to real-money reinforcement and staff training have also been addressed via the amendments.