Important Maltese gambling survey reveals the statistics behind the country’s spending

  • The Malta Gaming Authority has released the findings a first-of-its-kind gambling survey
  • Over half of Maltese citizens engaged in real-money gambling in 2015

Earlier this week, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) released the results of its yearlong survey, which documented the responses of approximately 1,000 people, into Malta residents’ gambling behaviors.

According to these findings – announced at a press conference in the Prime Minister’s Office – in 2015, the country’s residents spent nearly 3% of their total household spending on products and services relating to gambling.

Joseph Cuscieri
Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman of the MGA has stressed the importance of the first-of-its-kind survey for Malta

Based on the figures collected in the survey, around 195,300 Maltese people took part in some form of ‘real-money gambling’ in 2015, which accounts for roughly 56% of the country’s adult population. Gross Maltese spending on gambling totaled €125 million, which was estimated to represent around 25% of all creational spending.

The largest portion of this spending (41%) was claimed by the National Lottery, with gaming outlets taking the second largest chunk (28%). Next in line were casinos (16%), Tombola (13%), then online gambling and “games with friends” type betting (1% each).

Although scraping the lowest portion of gambling revenue, online gaming proved to popular among both 18- to 24-year-olds and 43- to 59-year-olds. Meanwhile, those of at least 45 years old are reported to favor paid gaming activities.

Weekly, throughout 2015 Maltese residents are estimated to have spent €12.30 and around 30 minutes on average while gambling, but at land-based casinos this rose to almost €27 and 61 minutes (despite the fact that under 5% of survey respondents reported frequenting land-based casinos that year).

Nearly half (46%) of survey respondents said that they partook in free-play games, of which online social casino-type games were the “most popular.”

Although these rates seem high, only 1 to 2% of the survey respondents reported “lifestyle sustainability problems” as a result of their gambling habits. This was to be expected, since it is known that problems such as these are much more likely to arise from people participating in illegal gambling behaviors.

And, while just under 10% of the Maltese respondents said that they spent more than 10% of their total income on their gambling activities, most reported spending under 2%.

Our survey says…

Joseph Cuschieri, Chairman of the MGA, stressed the importance of the survey for Malta itself and for its citizens; this is a first-of-its-kind survey for the country.

He also explained the value of the survey results for stakeholders, who, as a result of the findings being published, should now be able to base their laws and policies on proven statistics instead of unverified data.

Like Cuschieri, Mr. Hon Schembri – the parliamentary secretary for financial services – noted the necessity of the survey for Maltese authorities; it can now help them to understand the citizens’ gambling and its affect on their social lives.

He also commented on the more positive effects of the online casino sector, stating that Malta’s economy depends upon the revenue that it generates.

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