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UKGC Critical of Maltese Standards

by Glenn Baird - October 30, 2019

Neil McArthur, CEO of the UK Gambling Commission has openly criticised Maltese based operators and stated that standards need to be raised when targeting UK consumers.

This comes on the back of a Commission led report into operators on the Mediterranean island which found that 45 of the 123 online operators needed action plans in order to raise the standard of their compliance to a level deemed suitable by the UKGC.

Add to this an additional 14 operators who were the subject of investigations and a further 7 who have made to pay out a combined total of over 18 million pounds in fines and you have a situation that Neil McArthur has described as “not good enough”.

He went on to say:

“The Commission is clear that although progress has been made in the regulation of the online market since 2014, far more needs to be done to raise standards.

“So let today be the start of a fresh commitment: a commitment to raise standards and to collaborate with us to make more progress more quickly.

“In return, the Commission commits that we stand ready to help in these efforts. But, rest assured, we also remain ready when needed to take enforcement action.”

This all comes as the number of operators based in Malta targeting UK consumers has risen to 30% of the overall UK market, an increase of 10% since 2014.

The first call from the UKGC was for a code of conduct to be written up and enacted “to ensure a level playing field for all” mobile and online game designers.

This code would have to include the following:

“The techniques that the industry plans to use when designing apps and online games.

The risk associated with each product and how they can be mitigated.

A clear explanation of what is not acceptable.”

There were also concerns raised over gambling enticements, particularly with VIP customers and advertisements that could be accessed by minors and at-risk gamblers.

McArthur had this to say on the matter:

“Whilst I am not suggesting that children, young people or vulnerable adults are being actively targeted – the research found very little evidence of ad tech being used to proactively target ads away from them either,” he says.

“I want you to explore how you can make better use of technology to minimise the risk of exposure of gambling advertising content to children, young people and vulnerable adults.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland sits to the north-west of mainland Europe. The United Kingdom shares a border with The Republic of Ireland and has coasts on the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea, North Sea, Irish Sea and English Channel. The population of the UK is approaching the 67.6 million mark leading to a fairly densely populated land mass. The gambling sector in the United Kingdom is entirely regulated and licensed by the UKGC – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Should players resident In the UK wish to gamble with foreign based operators there is no history of this being treated as a criminal offence, but high levels of protection exist for UK residents playing with UK licensed operators.


The above information is what we believe to be the the legal status of online gambling, however information on this topic is limited and hard to find. We accept no liability for any errors or ommissions. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure that they know the legality of online gambling in their country before engaging with any online gambling service.