The MGA Now Requires Fresh Background Checks After Sanctions Imposed on Russia

Brett C. - March 13, 2022

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has sent word to all licensees, reminding them of the statutory requirements vis-a-vis sanctioning Russian players over the country's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

In late February 2022, Russia amassed some 200,000 troops on Ukraine's borders. The invasion spurred global condemnation and unprecedented sanctions against Russia. Now, the MGA – a European-licensed and regulated gambling authority – is reminding all licensees to comply with the legal requirements of those sanctions.

MGA-licensed operators must comply with the legal requirements through careful screening before entering into business partnerships. As such, new regulations require complete background checks on customers. Furthermore, if customer funds originate from Russian sources, MGA operators must prevent processing those transactions. In addition, operators must freeze all assets of Russian customers, and operators must notify the Sanctions Monitoring Board (SMB) ASAP.

According to the MGA, 'The Authority is stressing the importance that licensees ensure that any systems used to monitor sanctions are being run in an effective and efficient manner, that they are informed with any updates regarding the Russia/Ukraine situation and, as a result, calibrate their sanctions monitoring systems in order to reflect any additions made to the applicable lists being monitored. They should react swiftly in ensuring that Their customer databases are subject to the most recently updated and applicable sanctions lists.'

iGaming Operators Divest from Russia Over Ukraine Invasion

One such operator – Parimatch Tech – responded to Russia's invasion of Ukraine by withdrawing all of its services from Russia. However, many i-Gaming companies have now jumped on board with a series of fundraising initiatives designed to help Ukrainians. Millions of refugees are flocking into neighbouring European countries like Poland, Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Germany, Ireland, France, and the UK. Ironically, Russia has opened corridors for humanitarian efforts back into Russia.

The fundraising efforts are widespread and include the Gaming Industry for Ukraine, which is seeking to raise £250,000 for displaced people from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The proceeds will be donated to Choose Loves Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser. At the time of writing, some £130,000 has already been donated, with more money flooding in. The MGA is a socially responsible authority whose focus extends well beyond licensing and regulation. The unjustified attack on Ukraine has drawn a stern rebuke from the global community, and countries have slapped financial sanctions on Russia from every imaginable sector.




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