As of the beginning of this year, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) introduced new compliance regulations requiring business-to-consumer iGaming operators in the field of sports betting to report instances of suspicious bets to the authority through an online platform, the Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism (SBRM).
The portal was established with the aim of providing an efficient system by which iGaming companies can fulfil their legal obligations in the fight against money laundering and financial crime, while ensuring their integrity and reputation.
IZIBET, a well-known name in the sports betting sector, was one of the 10 firms actively involved in the consultation process which framed the launch of the MGA’s requirements and SBRM.
Sergio Cappitta, the Head of Retail Operations for the iGaming company, insists the system will place “Malta at the forefront against fraudulent betting operations”, keenly supported by the firm which, he says, is “adamant to continue encouraging the implementation of stringent requirements by the authority, which will regulate proficiently various sectors of the gaming industry.”
However, Mr Cappitta does see a potential challenge ahead. “A possible difficulty that could stem from close surveillance of sports betting, though, remains how potential conflicts would be settled between operators and affected consumers. Operators might be faced with potential disputes by genuine consumers who may find their winnings being withheld due to the launch of a sporting investigation. That said, the Sports Integrity Unit within MGA has committed to providing operators updates in real-time, making it possible for them to advise affected consumers with progress of their disputes,” he asserts.
The possibility of such disputes is a delicate matter and, for this reason, as well as due to the scepticism surrounding betting in Malta and to ensure a complete separation from any potential conflict of interest, the firm “took a bold decision” not to offer betting on events organised locally, or which feature a Maltese athlete or team.
“We look forward to an environment in which local sports associations and the gaming regulator collaborate in such a way so as to provide operators and players alike with the peace of mind that betting on local sports activities is legitimate. We are encouraged by initiatives that have already taken place – namely the set-up of the Anti-Corruption Task Force within the MFA and the Sports Integrity Unit at MGA – which bodes well for football competitions in Malta,” he explains.
Within this context, Mr Cappitta praises the action taken by the local regulator in protecting the sector, as well as the professionalism of iGaming firms. “The efforts undertaken by all the stakeholders in the industry, including sports associations, gaming operators and the gaming regulators, augur well for the future of the sports betting industry, globally. The drive to ensure that integrity in sports betting prevails is the cornerstone of the future of the industry.
Despite the fact that some initiatives are still in their infancy, the entire movement towards a fair and transparent sports betting industry gives confidence and trust that legitimate practices will succeed.”
This interview originally appeared as part of a larger article discussing the MGA’s Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism in iGaming Capital magazine.
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