MGA Gives Operators Covid-19 Sports Betting Recommendations

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MGA Gives Operators Covid-19 Sports Betting Recommendations ( Click to Enlarge )

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected daily operations in nearly every business sector. Because there have been so many changes to the way that sporting events are being handled, the Malta Gaming Authority has issued a statement to set regulatory expectations for the foreseeable future. These recommendations are intended to help maintain the integrity of sports betting and protect players as the world navigates this global crisis.

The MGA Outlines Expectations and Cautions Operators

In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, almost all major sporting events have been canceled or modified in order to maximize the safety of athletes and spectators. Because so many events have been canceled outright, the corresponding sports betting markets have taken a serious hit, and many operators are looking for any creative avenue they can find in an effort to keep their businesses running.

The lack of traditional sporting events to place bets on has led many players and operators to turn to various types of esports instead. However, the MGA cautions operators and players alike when it comes to placing bets on these events in the same way that they would bet on conventional sports matches.

This is because these events, especially the lesser-known or amateur ones, are not all held to the same types of stringent organizational and ethical standards that the more widely viewed professional sporting events are. The MGA is not saying that these events are unsafe to bet on or badly run; they are simply giving a warning that operators and players must be wary of which events they choose to place money on.

Potential Problems With Nontraditional Sports Bets

One of the main problems that the MGA is attempting to highlight with this press release is that amateur, semi-professional and minor league sporting matches are not required to follow the same rigorous rules and levels of organization that professional leagues follow. While some sports leagues may attempt to compensate for this now because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still something that any online sportsbook websites will have to carefully consider moving forward.

Another issue with the sudden interest in esports is that there is a huge amount of variance in how these events are coordinated and broadcast, and this can pose problems for betting operators as well. Many professional leagues have now entered the esports arena also, and the varying methods of broadcasting digital versions of their events could leave some betting operators scrambling. For example, some leagues are showing spectator-free games, and others are looking for more inventive ways to host simulated versions of the games instead.

It is also important to note that the world of esports is relatively new in itself, so the sudden influx of traditional sporting leagues trying to air as many of their events online as possible can create additional layers of complication and potentially make things more difficult for sports betting operators.

The Malta Gaming Authority’s Recommendations

The Malta Gaming Authority has issued a comprehensive list of recommendations that are intended to help operators make the best and safest choices when it comes to opening up nontraditional betting markets to their players.

A few of the most important guidelines are listed below:

  • Operators should ensure that the matches are not prerecorded, and they should take precautions to compensate for the fact that matches are often on a time delay.
  • Sportsbooks should make a clear distinction to players between esports and virtual sports to mitigate any confusion.
  • All tournaments should be vetted for integrity controls, and there should be increased vigilance in betting and fraud checks to ensure there is no misuse of information occurring.
  • Sports governing bodies, broadcasters and tournament organizers should include esports events in their insider betting policies for clarity.

They also recommend that any suspicious behavior be immediately reported to the appropriate governing bodies or gambling regulators.