By and large, the MGA pursued less regulatory action, issuing fewer warnings and suspending or cancelling fewer licences.
This largely continues a trend that has been ongoing since 2019. Between then and last year, licence cancellations have halved, falling from 14 to seven; five of which were online gaming licences.
Meanwhile, the MGA did not suspend a single licence in 2021, down from three in 2020 and 11 in 2019.
It also issued 64 warnings last year, a more modest decrease when compared to 2020’s 70. However, this constitutes a considerable increase when compared to 2019’s 20, while the number of administrative penalties also rose.
During 2021, the MGA issued 31 administrative penalties, up from 24 in 2019 and 28 in 2020. Furthermore, it inspected 2,215 gaming parlours and 92 commercial bingo operations, down year-on-year from 2,400 and 182 respectively.
However, a considerable increase in lotto booth inspections drove an overall rise. The MGA visited 1,537 lotto booths, up from 907 in 2020.
But the number of inspections in both 2021 and the year before pale in comparison to pre-pandemic levels.
The MGA explained: “The temporary closure of gaming premises during 2020 and 2021 resulted in a drop in the number of inspections we carried out in casinos, gaming parlours, commercial bingo halls and non-profit events.”
Looking ahead, Dr Carl Brincat, MGA Chief Executive, said: “It is a priority for us to move towards leaner and more efficient processes, to remove unnecessary bureaucracy which introduces burdens on the industry without providing added value and to become more effective in achieving our regulatory priorities.”