Karl Gonzi - Entain

As of the beginning of this year, all B2C licence-holders in the iGaming sector have to report any suspicious transactions through a new online portal launched by the Malta Gaming Authority.

Following a public consultation process with industry stakeholders – and the subsequent publication of feedback and emerging guidelines in October 2020 – 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 a new online platform, the Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism (SBRM).

The portal was established with the aim of providing an efficient system by which these iGaming companies can fulfil their legal obligations in the fight against money laundering and financial crime, while ensuring their integrity and reputation. It was made available on 23rd November last year, giving firms almost six weeks to test the mechanism before the obligation to report suspicious betting came into effect on 1st January 2021.

Commenting on the portal, Karl Gonzi, the local Managing Director for Entain, the international iGaming firm behind bwin, Ladbrokes, partypoker, partycasino and Coral, calls the new requirements “another step forward in the country’s efforts to help protect the integrity of sport and betting, following the enactment of the Prevention of Corruption in Sport Act in 2018, the establishment of the MGA’s Sports Integrity Unit in 2019 and the consultation process undertaken by the MGA last year.”

The new system is “user friendly and easily navigable”, Mr Gonzi says, adding that it is now much simpler to file a Suspicious Betting Report and to upload all required files than it has been in recent years. “Whereas before, suspicious betting reports used to be communicated by means of emails to the various authorities, it is now easier and more straight forward.”

Moreover, the recently introduced mechanism has had no impact on the company’s internal process since such suspicious betting reports used to be prepared for other jurisdictions at any rate.

Fundamentally, for the Managing Director, the new requirements, together with the SBRM, “represent another opportunity to continue to build trusted relationships with our customers and other stakeholders”, for “it is vital that both local and international sports governing bodies, regulators and operators work together and maintain constant dialogue to ensure that sport is conducted in a fair and open manner while remaining corruption-free.”

Indeed, he notes, “these new requirements are a big piece in that puzzle at a local level and indicate Malta’s willingness to do its part in this major and continuing challenge.”

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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