MGA survey reveals investment postponements as COVID-19 biggest rupture 

Conducting a survey among its licence holders, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published first insights of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Malta’s online gambling sector.

The study, carried out in April by the MGA’s ‘Information & Researchunit, detailed pandemic impacts on each individual licensee segment including B2C operators, technology providers, marketing services and operations.

“The survey covered a number of different areas, including impact of COVID-19 pandemic on Gaming Revenue (GR) or revenue, operating costs and investments. It also focused on the industry concerns and actions taken by operators during this pandemic,” the MGA explained.

Securing feedback from 151 B2C licensed operators, the MGA forecasted a 12% aggregated drop in gross gaming revenues (GGR) for 2020.

The MGA stated that its ‘Type 2’ (sports betting) B2C licensees have been the ‘most exposed’ to COVID-19 impacts, factoring the postponement of the global sports’ calendar, as Malta sports betting incumbents track on 40% lower GR than previous 2020 projections.

The majority of B2C licensees also confirmed that they will ‘postpone investment’ plans for  2020.

Forced to absorb operator shocks, B2B technology providers have forecasted around a 20% lower GR performance than anticipated in their annual budget statements.

Mirroring B2C movements, the MGA stated that between 33-38% B2B incumbents said they have frozen their investment plans during the course of 2020.

The report added: “The results show that the worst-hit sector is projected to be the B2C sector, in particular the operators exposed to Type 2 game types. Indeed, the GR for this sector is projected to be 40% lower than that projected in earlier budgets for the same full year 2020. 

“Most of the operators are considering postponing investment plans for a later date, subject to a notable degree of uncertainty. The key highlights from this survey are presented below.”

The MGA added that it will continue to research licensees and market impacts related to COVID-19, in which its research department will publish further information in light of likely changing circumstances.  

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