Malta MGA launches new mandatory ADR player dispute scheme

Continuing to overhaul its online gambling licensing frameworks, The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has this week announced the launch of its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme directive.

In place from 3 December 2018, the ADR scheme seeks to support online gambling consumers with reliable and consistent procedures and processes for challenging MGA licensed operators on matters relating to disputes, transactions and promotional offerings.

Moving forward the MGA enforces that all its licensed operators, must ‘clearly offer’ the ADR procedures to customers, who believe that their dispute or services complaint has not been resolved to a satisfactory level.

The ADR scheme forms a key directive of the MGA’s ‘Gaming Act’ revamp, outlined by MGA Chief Executive Heathcliff Farrugia last May, in which the Malta government seeks to improve consumer protections for online, improve AML standards, whilst adhering to EU standards on data and digital transactions.

The directive sees the MGA reformat the responsibilities of its ‘Player Support Unit – PSU’ which will no longer mediate B2C level disputes between players and licensees.

Instead, from 2019 the PSU will focus its operations on handling complaints/charges made against MGA licensees which can be deemed to be unlawful/criminal and in breach of operator licensing arrangements.

Keeping stakeholders informed with the schemes resolutions and progress, the MGA’s office will publish monthly ADR reports outlining dispute categories, transaction dates, subject matters, case notes and conclusions.