The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has published its first gambling consumption survey, revealing punters in the country spent approximately €125m ($139.6m) on gambling in 2015.
The overall amount spent on gaming activities represents around 2.8% of total household consumption expenditure in Malta, with National Lottery games the most popular form of gambling.
The MGA report also found that approximately 195,300 people spent money on some form of gambling in 2015, which is almost 56% of the entire Maltese population aged 18 years and over.
Other key findings included consumers aged 45 or over, having an educational attainment up to a secondary level and not active in the labour market being the most likely to engage in paid gambling activities.
The MGA also found between 1-2% of those that participated in gaming activities reported some type of adverse effect between gambling activity and lifestyle.
However, as the MGA noted that the study suggests the problems associated with gaming activities undertaken via regular channels are “relatively contained”, this implies that “more likely than not, more extensive and serious problems associated with gambling would be emanating primarily from illegal activities”.
“NGOs involved in social issues in relation to gambling emphasise the need for further resources to be dedicated to training of professionals in the area of gambling addictions.”The MGA added
“In line with these considerations, responsible gambling remains a top priority in guiding the MGA’s regulatory ethos and policy objectives. For the first time we are publishing a scientific survey which clearly articulates the gambling behaviours of the Maltese population. This should help all stakeholders to shape policies based on scientific data rather than impressions or myths hence a more informed debate about the economic and social effects of gambling in Malta. The survey also gives size and scale of potential gambling addiction problems in Malta.”MGA executive chairman Joseph Cuschieri