Malta regulator warns ops about eSports betting integrity pitfalls


malta-gaming-authority-esports-betting-integrityMalta’s gambling regulator is warning its licensees to safeguard the integrity of their betting markets in these topsy-turvy pandemic times.

On Monday, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) issued a notice to sports betting licensees who have found themselves with nothing to offer their customers following the mass cancellation of sports and racing events due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Desperate times may call for desperate measures but the MGA is worried that its bookmakers will throw caution to the wind in offering “betting on events with different risk profiles to those traditionally offered,” such as eSports, which may not be run “to the same professional degree as the more traditional sporting events.”

The MGA wants operators to ensure that eSports matches aren’t pre-recorded and for bookmakers’ risk teams to know if there’s a pre-set delay between the actual match and the public broadcast. (That warning took on fresh relevance on Monday when bookmakers suspended wagering on the NBA 2K20 tournament after its results leaked online.) Operators should also verify information regarding the participants and officials and to ensure that none of these individuals are wagering on the outcome.

The MGA warned that eSports events now all happen online and therefore lack the standard integrity checks ordinarily conducted at ‘real’ sports events. As such, operators need to check a tournament’s integrity controls, including whether the participants are professional, before deciding on which betting markets to offer.

The MGA also wants operators to ensure that their customers understand the difference between eSports and virtual sports – such as last weekend’s Virtual Grand National – in which the outcome is determined by a computer algorithm.

Finally, the MGA insists that any suspicious betting activity be reported to gambling regulators, while any dodgy non-betting activity should be reported to the corresponding sports governing bodies and/or event organizers.

Even ‘real’ sports can’t be trusted in this day and age, as evidenced by last week’s pantomime football match between players masquerading as members of two real Ukrainian junior level squads.

In other MGA news, the regulator announced the cancellation of the license issued to Bimbabet Ltd for the operator’s failure to (a) provide the MGA with its key functions list, (b) submit financial statements for the past two years, and (c) pay its annual license and compliance contribution fees.

The MGA also recently denied any connection with a number of online gambling sites, including Cyprus-based, as well as a handful of lesser known sites (, and