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MGA rides waves of uncertainty for a better future

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The Isle of Man sees an influx of iGaming attention and MGA strategises for future prosperity.

A lot is happening in the iGaming industry including a number of regulatory changes and upgrades.

This affects both operators and players in terms of licensing, availability, and other restrictions. Gaming authorities like the Malta Gaming Authority are there to help regulate and secure the industry.

Currently, it appears the MGA is on a downward spiral with the Isle of Man quickly becoming the more popular licensing spot.

Isle of Man in the spotlight

In the last few months, the Isle of Man has seen a strong increase in enquiries and licensing applications from iGaming operators. Stats show a 30% increase in the demand for gaming licenses. For 2020 there were over 21 licenses up for approval where 2019 merely had 8.

Many of the gaming operators flock to Isle of Man for licensing and other regulatory requirements. Jade Zorab, director of compliance consultancy, Amber Gaming, praises Isle of Man for being extremely efficient especially in these times of uncertainty. According to Zorab, it is this positivity that is responsible for the influx in eGaming ventures.

The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission worked throughout lockdown and according to Chief Executive, Steve Brennan, they continue showing why they are seen as one of the more notable eGaming jurisdictions. Benefits include a stable political and economic environment, low tax, and advanced IT infrastructure.

On top of that, they have a flexible licensing regime with an efficient regulator which is extremely valuable. Isle of Man's strong reputation and innovative approach to growing the iGaming industry ensure a bright future.

New CEO = Uncertain future

For the Malta Gaming Authority on the other hand there is a lot of uncertainty especially with recent reprimands and new leadership. Leaving many with the question of whether or not the MGA is on its way out.

The Malta Gaming Authority's new CEO, Carl Brincat, is relatively green with very little experience. While many fear the lack of experience might affect Brincat's approach to growing and 'improving' the MGA, it seems there is not much to worry about.

Brincat, the previous MGA chief legal & enforcement officer, is a lawyer that stepped in at a critical time for the MGA and the industry. Brincat reveals that going forward, there will be a focus on cultivating strong partnerships with other regulators and stakeholders. The objective is to create a regulatory environment that meets legal requirements in the most effective, transparent, and proportionate way.

According to Brincat, there is no reason to fear losing its position as a top-tier regulatory authority. The CEO states that as the industry grows and expands, there is a growing need for more variety in the regulatory framework. As such, gaming authorities need to collaborate to adapt and evolve alongside the industry.

The global pandemic was a wake-up call, shining a light on all areas where improvements and changes need to be made. For the MGA, this includes changing practice that did not include or cater to digital.

While the MGA might not be the leading licensing authority at the moment, it remains respected and the main choice. Of course, in the future, the licensing preferences will change as the iGaming industry evolves and expands. Many of the changes and licensing options will rely heavily on the restrictions of each region.

The Malta Gaming Authority has plans in motion to grow alongside the industry. While there is room for more Gaming Authorities at the table, the MGA remains a leader in the field.

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