Casino License: Malta Gaming Authority

Malta is one of the largest online gambling jurisdictions, and many new online casinos favour it when securing a licence. One of the key benefits of being licensed in Malta historically was that the jurisdiction has been part of the UK Gambling Commission’s “white-list” – so Maltese operators were able to advertise to UK audiences. Since 2014, operators based outside the UK now have to hold a UK licence and pay tax on their UK profits due to changes in legislation.

Some say the Casino Veteran has tasted every meal on every menu on every continent and has never tasted the same dish twice, except for the traditional Maltese Lampuki Pie. The Casino Veteran has spent much time travelling the world and has a particular love of Malta with its year-round sunshine and famous beaches. There are few places in the world in which he has not placed a wager of one kind or another, and Malta is certainly no exception.

The Malta Gaming Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the sole regulatory body responsible for the oversight and governance of all gaming or gambling activities in Malta. It has a favourable reputation on the international scene as a remote gaming regulator with competitive licensing fees and appealing tax rates. It offers a world-class service with a mission to provide a one-of-a-kind and highly efficient platform. It looks to make sure that gaming is fair and transparent to players, protecting those who are under age or particularly vulnerable while also preventing crime.

The MGA governs all gaming activities, both online and land-based, including lotteries, traditional and online casinos, racecourses, amusement machines and remote gaming. It is worth noting that spread betting and binary options are not governed by the MGA – these are regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority instead.

The MGA established three key initiatives in 2014. The Responsible Gaming Foundation focuses on raising awareness of the extent, causes and consequences of excessive gambling. GamingMalta works to promote Malta as the leading jurisdiction and centre of excellence in the gaming industry both locally and globally. Finally, the European Gaming Institute of Malta (EGIM) is tasked with developing a variety of training and educational programmes for existing game-related knowledge and skills and also future technology and trends.

Types and conditions of Maltese licences

There are four types of licences available to operators, which between them cover all manner of gaming. Operators can hold multiple licences and each lasts for five years before needing to be renewed. There are requirements and conditions to cover proper operations, player protection and the prevention of money laundering, and a significant part of operations must also be physically located in Malta itself.

Having secured a licence, operators must adhere to a number of conditions, such as having data protection procedures, policies for promoting responsible gambling and maintenance of proper financial records.

Gambling restrictions in Malta

The minimum gambling age in Malta is 18, but there are some quirks to the rules. For example, you must be at least 25 to enter a casino, and anyone appearing to be under the influence of drugs (including alcohol) or acting in a disorderly manner will not be allowed to enter a casino, bingo hall or even buy a lottery ticket. 

Remote gaming in Malta

The first online gambling site in Malta was launched back in 2000, and in 2004 Malta was the first EU member state to regulate remote gaming. In 2018, new laws and legislation came into force, which increased the MGA’s remit and adherence to regulations while encouraging innovation. The regulations are both game and technology neutral, meaning that they apply to all types of games and almost any type of technology. The MGA website offers a search function so that users can check the status of licensees, including all those operators who have had their licence suspended or cancelled in the last three years.

Future changes

One thing that the Casino Veteran suggests to keep in mind is that much of the popularity of Malta as a base for online gaming operators has been based on its low corporate tax rates. The EU has been actively seeking to crack down on international giants making use of tax havens with its digital taxation scheme – and while online gambling companies may not be the primary target, they may well find themselves caught up in the resulting legislation. Always check whether the operator that you are looking at still has a valid licence so that you’re not left exposed.

Some say the Casino Veteran knows the words “gamble” and “winner” in over 600 languages but can’t spell the word “loser” in a single one.