Malta is widely known as a center of the casino and online betting world due to their low taxes and their well respected regulatory body, the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) or as it was firstly known, the LGA (Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta). Malta was one of the very first European territories to regulate online gambling, with the first ever Maltese licensee been awarded back in 2000.
Their main goal was to create a secure environment for both operators and players, that would transform the once inconsistent regulatory authority, into a strict but fair organisation. Through hard work they managed to achieve their target and in 2014 they changed their name, along with their logo, from LGA to MGA. It is safe to say that the Malta Gaming Authority, controls the entirety of the gambling industry in Malta, as well as dictate many decisions that have an impact on the global market.
MGA’s roles and responsibilities
First of all, the Malta Gaming Authority tries to successfully cover the legal aspects of any operator, with a full and deep understanding of the gaming legislation. It is not a coincidence that MGA is the most prestigious gaming regulator, given that they present a secure and professional environment, along with significant technical capabilities. The combination of the above characteristics, offer a world class service to every bookmaker. According to the enactment of the “Lotteries and Other Games Act” in 2001, the MGA’s role in gambling regulation is:
“To competently regulate the various sectors of the gaming industry that fall under the Authority by ensuring gaming is fair and transparent to the players, preventing crime, corruption and money laundering and by protecting minor and vulnerable players.”
– Protect minors and vulnerable groups of people
– Safeguard players’ rights
– Promote responsible gaming in a safe environment
– Ensure the integrity of games and gaming devices
– Keep gaming free from criminal activities.
– Consolidate all regulatory functions related to gaming activities
– Operate a successful and a fully integrated Authority
– Support the industry and technological innovation
– Provide authoritative and accessible information
– Provide a one-stop-shop for licensing
– Research on various aspects of gaming
– Granting licences relating to gaming
– Monitoring licensed gaming
– Collecting gaming taxes on behalf of the Maltese Government
– Supporting good causes
As any other Licensing and Gaming Authority that respects their members, there are certain aspects they focus on, in order to secure the interests of the operators and players. MGA’s main goal is to set high behavioral standards and this is why they follow an “ethical code” in their decision-making process, especially when the players’ rights and certain values are put to the test. The main aspects of this“Code Of Ethics” consist of:
- Responsibility: The decisions made by the Malta Gaming Authority, are based on the interests of the stakeholders and they ensure that proprietary or confidential information are protected.
- Respect: They try to create an environment of respect and trust, as well as try to avoid engaging in behaviors that might be considered disrespectful. Also, they don’t have an interest and discourage negative comments that may affect anyone’s reputation.
- Fairness: One of the most important parts of this code, is the duty of taking decisions objectively and away from self-interest, prejudice, and favoritism.
- Honesty: MGA strives to sustain an environment that is designed to avoid deceit from any part.
- Professional Competence and Due Care: MGA’s employees have the responsibility of maintaining a high standard of gaming knowledge and professional skill, in order to ensure that the stakeholders receive the best possible service.
The Malta Gaming Authority is the regulatory body responsible for the governance of all gaming activities in Malta, both online and land-based. But which are the gaming sectors they are involved at and where do they award licenses to?
- Advertising Lotteries
- Amusement Machines
- Commercial Bingo Halls
- Cruise Casinos
- Gaming Devices
- National Lottery
- Non-profit Games
- Racecourse Bets and Sweepstakes
- Remote Gaming
- Skill Games
Note that Horse Racing, Spread betting and Binary options are not being licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority.
A gaming operator will find that it is extremely hard to get a license in Malta. The procedure is very strict and that is the reason why operators that finally manage to get a license on this jurisdiction are well respected and considered as the most secure. The types of licenses are:
- Class 1: License for companies who are about to provide games determined by a random number generator, such as Casino, Slots, Lotteries, Bingo etc.)
- Class 2: License for sports betting
- Class 3: License for P2P (player to player) companies (Betting Exchange, Poker rooms etc.)
- Class 4: License for technology providers (software, platforms)
What is more important for companies that finally manage to get a license in Malta, is the really low taxes they are obliged to pay:
- Class 1: 4.660€ for the first 6 months and after that 7.000€ every month
- Class 2: 0.5% of the total turnover
- Class 3: 5% on net profit
- Class 4: There are no taxes for the first 6 months, 2.330€ up to the 12th month and 4.440€ per month after the first year.
The licensing procedure
Upon been granted, each license will be active for a period of 5 years, under the obligation that the company has its base in Malta. However, if a betting firm wishes to operate in Malta, they have to follow certain rules:
- The company’s gaming servers must be in Malta
- Their database must be in Malta
- The company must be established in Malta
- A senior executive of the company has to work in Malta.
The license procedure is completed in two steps. Firstly, the interested party should present their business plan in order to convince the committee about the advantages that the company’s presence will offer to the country. All the contracts and agreements for a company’s operation in Malta should also be presented, while some information about the software that will be used must be given. If the company receives the “Letter of Intent” by the Malta Gaming Authority, this will be the first indication that they are close to getting the license, since the only thing that will remain, is the verification of the gaming software.
On the second phase of the licensing process, the operator will start to offer their services, under the constant inspection of their software. This procedure typically lasts about six months and upon completion, the license is granted to the betting company. Redbet, Betsson, Interwetten, Unibet, Betfair are some of the most well known bookmakers that have a license in Malta.
Advantages of MGA
MGA is extremely strict when it comes to players’ security and protection. Every betting company is obligated to keep a separate bank account for every player’s funds. This account must contain the same amount of money with those deposited in the player’s betting account. In case a betting account is not active for 30 months or more, then the operator is obliged to transfer the balance at the company’s account and if the player requests his money, then the operator must return them within 5 days. Moreover, MGA has published the list of “Players’ right and obligations”. If there is a dispute between a player and a betting company, MGA has a customer support service, where players can make their complaints (by phone at +356 2546 9000).
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +356 2546 9191/+356 2546 9000
Fax: +356 2144 6950
Address: Malta Gaming Authority, Suite 1, Level 3, TG Complex,
Brewery Street, Mriehel, Birkirkara.
BKR 3000, Malta