Tuesday August 21,2013 : MALTA REGULATOR UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Move to "strengthen the LGA's reputation" comes rather late
Malta's online gambling regulator, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority, has come under fire from the player community repeatedly over the past few years with allegations of bad licensee supervision, poor communications and an alleged lack of care for the consumer.
In several high profile online poker operator failures the regulator has been criticised for not ensuring that operators ring-fence player deposits, and its apparently weak application of a set of regulations that look good on paper, but do not seem to be effective from a player perspective when operators go out of business or there is a dispute involving regulations.
In recent weeks the Times of Malta newspaper has focused attention on the situation, with one group of players impacted by the failure of the recent Everleaf poker network proving particularly tenacious and damning in their public posts in the newspaper's columns.
Whether this has shamed the island's government into conducting a review and audit of the LGA is uncertain, but just such an investigation has been implemented, with a report scheduled for presentation to the government within the next few weeks.
The objective of the investigation is to study the LGA structure and operating systems and make recommendations on how these can be improved to if necessary "restore Malta's reputation" as an international online gambling regulator. That phrase in itself suggests that government has taken cognizance of the poor regard in which the regulator is held.
Such a review is long overdue, and may be particularly important to establish real credibility in a changing industry where the use of "jurisdictions of convenience" is increasingly under threat by serious national regulators in European countries, and major changes in the UK market.