Unified Self-exclusion System Negotiations Started by the MGA

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Unified Self-exclusion System Negotiations Started by the MGA ( Click to Enlarge )

The Malta Gaming Authority is working towards a unified self-exclusion system, and they have now begun the process of negotiating for what that would look like. The idea is to make it easier for players to block their own access to all of the Malta-licensed properties, which is a major step that not necessarily everyone involved in the situation is happy about.

Expanding the Scope of Self-exclusion

Self-exclusion is one of the most important tools that online casino players have to distance themselves from the games if they believe that they need to force themselves to stop for some period of time. It’s required to be an option for players to get a license from the Malta Gaming Authority, but now they are looking to take it a step further.

The new proposed unified self-exclusion system would have players excluded from all online casinos and other types of online gambling properties when they request self-exclusion from just one.

The idea here is to offer another layer of protection for the very small percentage of players who exhibit problem gambling behavior. However, it’s a bit more complicated than simply rolling it out and forcing it onto operators with no warning.

Consultations and Polling Opinions

Right now, it’s been almost a year since the idea of a unified system for self-exclusion first appeared on the MGA’s agenda. The basic idea is that there is no database that combines the self-exclusion requests for all of the operators that have a license from Malta. Such a database and its subsequent implementation would allow players to request exclusion from all of the names on their list.

Right now, they are in the process of getting opinions and ideas from operators about whether this should be done and how they should go about it.

The Issue of Forced Self-exclusion

One issue that some people have with this type of issue is that it would force players who self-exclude from one site to be excluded from all others. Some fear that this will create an incentive to avoid the self-exclusion option completely with the idea that this would hurt players more than it helps. This is one of the many issues being researched and discussed at this point in time, but it definitely looks like they are going to move forward with the idea regardless of these contrary opinions from a variety of operators and industry officials.

Expanding the Scope of the Self-exclusion Database

Another idea that has been floated around has been to eventually expand the database to be used by operators with licenses in other jurisdictions. When paired with the concept of a central database for this type of self-exclusion, the issue of overreach has definitely come up, but it’s unlikely to sway the MGA on this issue.

The larger issue at hand is that the bigger the scope of such a database, the bigger the chance of abuse or privacy issues.

This is why the Malta Gaming Authority is seeking out opinions on how to go about things from a technological standpoint because privacy and preventing abuse are two key points when collecting a large database of sensitive information about a group of people, especially if that information could be used against them.

The MGA Player Protection Directive

The Player Protection Directive is something the MGA has released that is their overall plan and goal to protect players in every way, shape and form when it comes to their participation in online gambling. The idea of the unified self-exclusion database is just one leg of that overall set of goals.

However, when it comes to the privacy issues and the potential for abuse that such a database could provide opportunities for, it shines a light on the fact that players need to be protected from more than just themselves.