The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has announced that it will soon implement a new project that adds self-exclusion to any remote gaming licensees registered in the territory.
‘Flaw in the system’
As it stands, regulations require all MGA licensees to offer self-exclusion to their clients. However, the system is not completely standardized. This means that some operators can allow previously excluded players to use each other’s licensees’ services. The MGA has confirmed they have identified this as a flaw in the current way of doing things and hope that the system they are working toward will successfully address the issue.
Heathcliff Farrugia, CEO of the MGA, said: “The protection of players is at the heart of the MGA’s regulatory agenda, and this project further underlines our resolve to ensure that players have the necessary tools to engage in gaming services responsibly. Over the years we have witnessed efforts from gaming operators to implement various responsible gaming measures, and thus we strongly believe that the unified self-exclusion system will be well received by the industry and consumers alike.”
Access offered to other licensees
At the heart of the policy, the MGA aims to offer access to the current self-exclusion register for companies who hold licenses in other territories. In a statement, the authority said it is conscious that this is a gap in the protection offered within its regulated environment and it is committed to working toward a system that will give players the ability to self-exclude across all licensed gaming channels, land-based or remote.
It is thought that this could be the first step toward a unified self-exclusion register. Issues over individuals’ data and new European privacy laws would need to be considered if this were to go ahead. The MGA appears to have already taken this possible problem into consideration, ensuring that privileged data would need to be appropriately safeguarded in line with the directive.
Users would probably have to agree to their data being made available in a broader register when lodging their self-exclusion request, which could raise questions over whether or not it would be useful in safeguarding consumers as intended.
A plan being developed
The MGA has announced that over the coming weeks and months it will seek to develop the plan further before presenting it to industry experts and the territory’s licensees. It is understood that the initial investigation into the policy will be of a technical nature, with developers assessing the viability of such a system and looking into ways that it could be implemented in practical terms. They have suggested they may leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT), which has the potential to be suitable for such a task thanks to its decentralized nature.
Once a workable technical solution has been established, the MGA will proceed to carry out a public consultation to assess responses to proposed features and to determine how the proposed plan could be improved.
The authority will then consult with licensees to establish the practicalities of implementing the program within their products, both in iGaming and land-based gambling. The final part of the implementation process will be for the MGA to present its plans to other authorities to establish the viability of a centralized database or a subscription service allowing for licensees in other territories to access the data, with the owners’ consent.