Malta Gaming Authority Strips Smart Operations of Its License

  • The license cancellation took effect on April 30, 2021
  • Smart Operations didn’t discharge its financial commitments and didn’t pay money owed to MGA
  • The MGA regularly revokes licenses if operators fail to follow rules and regulations
  • The MGA also lowered the minimum RTP threshold for online and land-based casinos to 85%
Businessperson tearing up a contract
The MGA has stripped Smart Operations of its gaming license for its failure to meet its financial commitments to the gambling regulator. [Image:]

Already in effect

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has stripped Smart Operations Limited of its operating license. The MGA announced this decision on Monday, but the cancellation took effect on April 30, 2021. Smart Operations “failed to discharge financial commitments to the Authority for its operations” and did not pay necessary money to the MGA in a timely manner. Therefore, the MGA was within its rights to cancel the license.

must issue refunds to all account holders

As a result of losing its license, Smart Operations can no longer offer any games, accept deposits, or register new accounts. It still has to make sure that existing players can access their accounts and must issue refunds to all account holders.

Smart Operations violated specific terms in the Gaming Compliance and Enforcement Regulations. As part of its license, Smart Operations was able to offer fixed-odds betting and casino games.

Operators losing their licenses

The MGA is one of the most respected gambling regulators in Europe today. It makes sure that licensees are fully compliant with the necessary rules and regulations, or else the operators will face the consequences. The cancellation of the Smart Operations license was not just a one-off; the MGA has a track record of canceling licenses. In February, it was revealed that the MGA had canceled seven licenses during the first six months of last year. It also informed numerous other operators that they were in breach of certain rules and regulations.  

Last month, the MGA warned Magic Services that it would be at risk of losing its license if it did not adequately defend itself. The MGA provided Magic Services with 20 days to explain why it should be able to keep its license. This came after the company had failed to pay its annual license fee to the MGA for the period from August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021, as well as relevant compliance contribution fees. The total sum that the operator failed to pay was €71,035.54 ($86,763.16); its license was revoked.

Other recent MGA moves

In other recent changes, the MGA has streamlined the return to player (RTP) rates for land-based and online casinos, lowering the minimum RTP percentage from 92% to 85%.

This change came after a closed consultation process last month involving industry stakeholders, including B2C and B2B operators, as well as consultants. The MGA was able to better understand the views regarding optimal RTP rates and the potential implications of an adjustment to the minimum RTP threshold. The MGA also completed a comparative analysis on the matter, looking at various jurisdictions both in the EU and elsewhere.

As part of this process, the regulator reiterated that the rules of online casino games also have to be available within a single click from the page on which people can play the game.

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