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MGA requires operators to monitor “markers of harm” such as deposits

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has amended the provisions of its Player Protection Directive which would require licensees to monitor specified markers of harm when creating procedures to detect and address instances of problem gambling.

Under the new rules, B2C licensees will be required to employ effective measures and processes to identify those most at risk of problem gambling. This must be achieved using analytical tools or behaviour monitoring systems, as well as with trained staff.

Once the likelihood of problem gambling has been detected by the licence holder, it must take appropriate steps to address the issue, or else prevent the situation from developing into an instance of problem gambling.

the mga requires that licensees monitor markers of harm

The MGA specify that the markers of harm must include at a minimum the amount and frequency of deposits, the use of multiple payment methods and the reversal of withdrawals pending the processing. In addition to these financial measures, licensees must also monitor other indicators such as increased user complaints, and the use of responsible gaming tools.

Staff training

As well as ensuring that MGA licence holders regularly observe player behaviour and finances, the new rules also include new standards for staff training when dealing with situations where intervention may be required.

“B2C licensees shall ensure that employees who are responsible for dealing with responsible gaming-related matters, and for player interaction in general, are properly and routinely trained in the relevant responsible gaming procedures,” states the directive.

The rules elaborate that employees should be trained to look for players demonstrating signs of agitation, distress, intimidation, aggression or other behaviour which could be the result of experiencing gambling harms.

Real-money reinforcement

The other expanded aspect of licence holder obligations concerns a variety of technical features that must be integrated into the online gambling platform to remind players that they are playing with real money.

Subsequently, the MGA state that the balance of a player’s account in the relevant currency must be visible at all times.

the mga requires real money reinforcement

The Authority also outlines that users must have “the ability to access the player’s gambling history of the immediately preceding six months, including but not limited to, data relating to the player’s total wins and losses, amounts of money deposited and amounts withdrawn”.

A pop-up message must also occur that offers players the opportunity to set an alert at certain intervals when playing games that utilise an “auto-spin” feature.

“B2C licensees that offer their gaming service by remote means shall, with respect to repetitive games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random generator, offer players the ability to set an alert at certain intervals of time by means of a pop-up message.”

Number of players with MGA operators

This month, the MGA reported that the numbers of players betting with Malta-licensed sites hit new records in H1 2022, after a decline in the previous year.

“The resilience of the Malta gaming industry during these trying times is largely attributed to its ability to remain flexible and adapt to change, while being supported by the MGA’s continued efforts to ensure that Malta remains a competitive and reputable jurisdiction of establishment,” the MGA said.

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