The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published amended provisions of Directive 2 of 2018 – Player Protection Directive which requires online gambling providers to monitor for certain markers of harm in order to address potential problem gambling before it gets out of hand.
Trained staff, analytical tools, and behavior monitoring systems all need to be used to employ effective measures and processes to recognize potential harm. When markers are recognized the licensee must take steps to address the issue and if needed to prevent harm from occurring.
17A. (1) The criteria taken into consideration by the licensee to meet its obligations in terms of Article 17(1) shall be documented and reflected in the policies and procedures of the B2C licensee, and such criteria shall, at a minimum, include:
(a) the amount and frequency of deposits and, or wagers;
(b) the use of multiple payment methods;
(c) the reversal of withdrawals pending the processing thereof;
(d) communication-based indicators such as increased player complaints and bonus
(e) use of responsible gaming tools.
New Training Requirements for Staff
Staff training requirements have also been made more stringent so that operators know how to deal with situations where interventions might be needed to protect the player.
In part, the directive states: “B2C licensees shall ensure that employees who are responsible for dealing with responsible gaming-related matters, and for player interaction in general, are properly and routinely trained in the relevant responsible gaming procedures.”
Some of the markers staff needs to look out for include signs of “agitation, distress, intimidation, aggression, and, or any other behavior which may be the result of a gambling problem.”
Staff training and testing must be documented with verification available upon request of the regulator.
Operators also have to provide players with a facility to get a pop-up reminder at the player’s chosen time interval when playing repetitive random number generator games such as slots.
We still do not find a requirement to report RTP in order to minimize player harm.
Remind Players They Are Gambling With Real Money
Regulators also want operators to constantly remind players they are gambling with real money by always showing the balance in the relevant currency. A variety of technical features that were not enumerated, need to be integrated into the remote gaming software.
A pop-up must also be provided for players who want to set alerts or reality checks at their chosen intervals when playing games with auto-spin functionality. The player must acknowledge the message has been read. If the player opts for an alert, the alert will suspend play and remind the player to stay in control. Statistics and data will become available to the player that includes the amount of time spent playing, the amount of money wagered, as well as winnings and losses during the specified period.
Separately, players must also have “the ability to access the player’s gambling history of the immediately preceding six months, including but not limited to, data relating to the player’s total wins and losses, amounts of money deposited, and amounts withdrawn.”
“We believe that safe, sustainable, and responsible gaming is of paramount importance to the gaming sector. Following feedback received through the dedicated consultation process, the Authority is hereby publishing these amendments with the aim of strengthening and clarifying the current player protection framework,” stated the Authority.
Source: The Authority Publishes Amendments to the Player Protection Directive, MGA, January 12, 2023