The island of Malta is known as a center of the online gambling industry due to its well-respected regulatory body, the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority). The first ever MGA license was awarded back in 2000. Since then, hundreds of online bookies, casinos, betting exchanges and software providers have acquired licenses issued by one of the most reliable gambling regulators in the entire world. MGA licensees are known for their reputation when it comes to protecting players’ personal information and payment details. Furthermore, MGA betting sites abide by high safety standards, provide bettors with a fair complaints resolution policy and offer a wide variety of payment options, including cryptos. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that these betting sites are trusted by millions of players worldwide.
Best MGA bookmakers
The list below consists of the most trusted bookies that operate under an MGA license. We have evaluated them in several categories, such as odds, betting markets, bonuses, promotions, payment options and withdrawal times; to help you choose the one that suits you best.
Pros of Malta Gaming Authority licensees
Deciding to place your bets on MGA bet sites comes with some big advantages. Therefore, let’s cut to the chase, as right below we mention the top benefits you’ll get to enjoy when wagering on MGA licensees:
✔ High standards of safety: MGA’s logo at the footer of a bookie’s website has become synonymous with trust and safety. Bettors who opt for MGA licensed bookmakers can rest assured that their personal data remain safe and the same applies to their payment details; since MGA’s licensees operate in full compliance with EU GDPR protocol. Plus, every bookie is obligated to keep a separate bank account for each player’s funds.
✔ Proper complaints resolution: When you wish to submit a complaint to an MGA gambling site, you should not worry about it at all; since all of MGA’s licensees are obliged by the Authority to accept players’ complaints. On top of that, they must provide you with a proper resolution within a 21-day period, otherwise you can escalate your complaint to MGA’s official webpage.
✔ Player protection taken seriously: This is yet another aspect taken very seriously by MGA bookies. All of them are required to operate in association with responsible gambling authorities such as GamCare, Gamblers Anonymous, Gambling Therapy and BeGambleAware. Plus, the MGA has established the Responsible Gaming Foundation in order to promote responsible gaming.
✔ Accepting crypto payments: Malta has lately become the EU center for Blockchain technology and as a consequence, MGA licensed betting sites support crypto transactions. Therefore, if you are keen on using cryptocurrencies for depositing to bookmakers; you’ll be glad to find out that there are several MGA bookies that allow you to fund your account with crypto coins, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Cons of MGA sportsbooks
All online sportsbooks come with some disadvantages; even those licensed by the reputable Malta Gaming Authority. Thus, let’s get straight to business and see which are the most significant drawbacks that MGA bookies have:
Spread betting not offered: If you are into spread betting, as well as greyhound racing betting, you might have a hard time finding an MGA sportsbook that will be featuring markets on them. This will happen due to the fact that there are no spread betting and greyhound licenses issued by the MGA.
Complaints not resolved fast: When submitting a complaint to an MGA bookie, you should wait several days in order to get a proper response and it is not always guaranteed that you’ll be given a proper resolution. Luckily, you can always lodge a complaint at the official website of the Malta Gaming Authority which will gladly assist you on this matter.
No specific self-exclusion scheme: Although the MGA has launched the Responsible Gaming Foundation back in 2014 and all its licensees are obliged to cooperate with services that offer support to those affected by gambling; it hasn’t introduced yet a self-exclusion program, like Gamstop, which can be found on all UKGC licensees.
Strict verification policy: MGA betting websites aim at fighting underage gambling and this means that when choosing to place your bets on such websites; you should go through a rigorous KYC registration process. So, get ready to provide all the necessary documents when signing up, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy a smooth betting experience.
MGA's role and responsibilities
Since we have analyzed all the pros & cons of MGA betting sites, it is now time to take a closer look at the authority’s duties. 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 one of the most prestigious gaming regulators; 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.”
The MGA, among others, strives to protect minors & vulnerable groups of people, safeguard players’ rights, promote responsible gaming in a safe environment, ensure the integrity of games & gaming devices and keep gambling free from criminal activities. It is mainly tasked with the issuance of licenses for gambling operators and with the constant supervision of all licensees.
Malta Gaming Authority: Types of licenses
Before referring to the different types of licenses issued by the MGA, let’s see which gaming sectors are eligible for licensing: advertising lotteries, amusement machines, casinos, commercial bingo halls, cruise casinos, gaming devices, national lottery, non-profit games, racecourse bets and sweepstakes, remote gaming, skill games.
Operators will realize that it is hard to get an MGA license. The procedure is very strict and that is the reason why operators that finally manage to get licensed are well-respected and considered very secure. The types of licenses are:
Class 1: License for companies who provide games determined by a random number generator (i.e. casino games, slots, lotteries, bingo)
Class 2: License for sports betting
Class 3: License for P2P (player to player) companies (i.e. betting exchange, poker rooms)
Class 4: License for technology providers (i.e. software providers, platforms)
What is more important for companies that finally manage to get a license, is the really low taxes they have 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
MGA betting license requirements
Upon being granted, each license will be active for a period of 5 years, under the obligation that a gambling company has its base in Malta. However, if a betting firm wishes to operate from there, it has to meet certain requirements. Particularly, the firm’s gaming servers and its database must be located in the island country. Also, the firm must be established in Malta and a senior executive of it has to work there.
The licensing procedure will be completed in two steps:
Firstly, the interested firm should present its business plan in order to convince the committee about the benefits that its presence will bring to the country. If the firm receives the “Letter of Intent” by the MGA, this will be the first indication that it is close to getting the license; since the only thing that will remain is the verification of its gaming software.
In the second phase of the licensing procedure, the betting firm will start to offer its services under the constant inspection of its software. This procedure typically lasts about six months and upon completion, the license is granted to the firm.
Is it worth betting on MGA bookies?
The Malta Gaming Authority aims at creating a safe gambling environment for bettors via its licensed bookmakers. It is worth noting that on October 1, 2021 the Authority updated its measure for sports betting integrity; with the aim of dealing with the threats deriving from malicious sports betting, as well as match-fixing. All MGA licensees take players’ safety seriously and make sure to provide them with proper solutions when it comes to dispute resolution.
On the other hand, complaints resolution might take several days and you need to be patient. Furthermore, bettors who wish to self-exclude will not be able to find a proper way to do so, since MGA betting sites are not connected to any gambling self-exclusion scheme similar to Gamstop. Plus, if you consider registering with an MGA sportsbook get ready to go through an exhaustive KYC process. Nevertheless, this measure aims at keeping players’ personal information secure. Thus, if safety is what you’re looking for at a bookmaker; MGA has plenty of decent bookies to offer you.