One of Europe’s leading gambling jurisdictions is taking further action to combat the risk of betting abuses that threaten the integrity of major sports events.
From January 1 next year, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) will require all licensed sportsbook operators to report suspicious betting patterns. The introduction of the new mandatory regulations follow a period of consultation with betting operators that followed the publishing of the new reporting requirements back in May.
The MGA are set to make their Suspicious Betting Reporting Mechanism (SBRM) available to all licensed operators from the start of November, two months ahead of the new obligation to report unusual patterns. Operators who already have processes in place to report suspicious activity to the MGA, will be able to use the SBRM from November. The MGA will also be providing a manual on how to use the system for all operators prior to its launch.
In the case of suspicious activity, operators would be required to provide details of the markets affected, the country of origin of the account or accounts involved, and to produce other details including times, dates and information of which other bodies had been notified.
In revealing the details of the consultation, the MGA said that the betting operators, representative groups and international organisations who responded were in support of its integrity endeavours. It added that there was particularly strong support for the Sports Integrity Unit (SIU), which was set up last year and which is dedicated to protecting the integrity of sport and betting on sport.
None of the respondents objected to the Suspicious Betting Reporting Requirements directive, but some flagged up concerns about the possibility of disputes between betting companies and players who could be in the position of finding their winnings withheld in the case of an investigation.
In response, the MGA said that it would publish regular updates on the progress of ongoing cases, so that sports betting companies could keep their customers informed. They also said that customers could contact the MGA’s dedicated support department if they had any complaints about non-compliant or unfair behaviour from any MGA licensee.
In a statement outlining the changes, the MGA said that their Integrity Unit would continue to work to increase its efforts at collaboration through a number of avenues:
“Hence, the MGA’s SIU intends to continue discussing potential policy initiatives with its licensee via consultation processes, whilst also looking to start organising workshops, bi-annual round tables and a Sports Integrity forum involving all stakeholders.”
The launch of the SBRM is just the latest sports integrity development from the MGA. So far this year it has also signed a range of data-sharing arrangements to boost integrity with a variety of sports organisations, including the Swedish Football Association.