MGA releases operator integrity guidance during COVID-19 lockdown

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has confirmed that it will be ‘increasing industry outreach’ to ensure that all licensees are compliant with regulatory expectations during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The regulator has suggested that the widespread cancellation of sporting events across the globe will encourage operators to bet on products offering ‘different risk profiles to those traditionally offered’.

The MGA highlighted that many operators may consider offering markets on esports during the period of sporting shutdown.

“Just like other sports, esports has varying levels of professional, semi-professional and amateur tournaments, and whilst many esports events are organised in a highly professional manner, others may not. And in a new sector such as esports, this distinction may not be easy to make,” said the MGA.

Outlining a number of recommendations, the MGA has urged operators to consider that ‘all esports events are now being run online’ with the regulator underlining that such events are ‘lacking the standard integrity checks done at events’.

Tournament organisers, broadcasters and sports governing bodies (SGBs) have also been encouraged to revise any policies regarding misuse of inside information, ensuring that such policies include any participants or officials involved in their esports events.

According to the MGA, operators should also ensure that matches are not pre-recorded, and risk teams should be aware that esports matches are not always broadcast in real-time, and there is often a pre-set delay between the actual match, and the public broadcast.

Customers should also be made aware of the distinction between esports and virtual sports, while the MGA emphasised that operators should look into whether events benefit from integrity controls.

Checks should also be carried out to make sure that participants are professional when deciding on what markets to offer, it added.

All suspicious betting activity should be reported to the MGA, while operators should continue to report any other suspicious activity not related to betting to the relevant sports governing bodies or the event organiser.

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