The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has announced that it will streamline all return-to-player % (RTP %) across online and land-based games offered by licensed operators.
The decision will see the MGA lower its existing RTP percentage from 92% to 85% – the regulator’s established threshold for land-based gambling premises.
The MGA stated that its new RTP ratio requirement had been undertaken following a ‘closed consultation’ with industry B2C and B2B stakeholders.
The regulator has published its consultation response in which it outlined that it aimed to establish consistencies in governing online and land-based operators.
Examining its new policy, the MGA undertook a cross-jurisdictional analysis against other regulated European markets, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Gibraltar.
The MGA noted that all regulated European regimes did not specify RTP thresholds with regards to technical standards operating slot games and poker verticals.
Meanwhile, stakeholders responded that operators should have the ability to set their own RTP within ‘prescribed ranges’ – “in order to remain profitable in view of the various changes in national tax regimes and rising compliance costs”.
“Respondents generally commented that the proposed change to the minimum RTP would positively impact their operations as it would allow companies to operate in jurisdictions where the current a 92% RTP is not commercially viable.” – the MGA detailed in its stakeholder response.
With regards to streamlining the RTP percentage, the majority of game suppliers responded that changes would have no impact on how a product functions as long as the ‘essential aspects of randomness and fairness are kept intact’.
However, a number of B2C stakeholders warned that a lowering of RTP ratios may carry negative consequences on a customer’s gaming experience, should operators offer a lower ‘competitive point’ against the wider market.
Countering perceived disadvantages, some B2C respondents backed lower RTP thresholds as beneficial to their game portfolios, which would be strengthened by “not having significantly less games available than other competitors who do not need to abide by the minimum RTP levels”.
Recognising B2C concerns, the MGA stated that its RTP streamline would be initially monitored to see if impacts arose from its game threshold changes.