Malta is an independent republic and a member of the British Commonwealth. It became a member state of the European Union on 1 May 2004. Malta is one of the world's largest and most respected online gaming jurisdictions and was the first EU member state to regulate remote gaming.
Malta began licensing online gambling sites in 2000 under the Public Lotto Ordinance (L.N. 34 of 2000). The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is responsible for the governance of gaming in Malta and has developed policies for their remote gambling operations.
In 2004, the Remote Gambling Regulations (L.N. 176/04) were revamped to offer four classes of Remote Gambling Licenses (RGL). Class 1 licenses are for operators providing online casino games, lotteries, slots, games of chance and games that use a random number generator. Class 2 licenses are for operators offering online sports and betting, fixed-odds betting, pool betting and spread betting. Class 3 licenses are for Malta advertisers and promotion companies including P2P, poker networks, betting exchanges and game portals. Class 4 licenses are for companies that host and manage remote gaming operations but are not themselves operators, such as software vendors who provide management and hosting facilities on their platform.
A prospective licensee establishing an online gaming operation in Malta must set up a corporate entity for its operations. Previously, this was established by registering a limited-liability company in Malta. Newer regulations under the Companies Act now qualify any Malta corporation to apply for a remote gaming license. All four RGLs are liable for tax payments. Malta's regulation cap on gaming tax is a maximum annual EUR 466,000.
Licenses are granted for five-year periods. Administrative and License Fees at present are: New License Application Fee, EUR 2,330; System Audit Fee, EUR 1,770; License Fee, EUR 8,500 annually per license; License Renewal Application Fee, EUR 1,500; License Transfer or Assignment Approval Fee, EUR 1,500; Approval of Simple Contractual Commercial Agreement, EUR 70 annually per contract; and Compliance Audit, EUR 2,750.
Class 1 License: EUR 4,600 first six months, then EUR 7,000; Class 1 License operating on a hosting platform in possession of a Class 4 RGL: EUR 1,200 monthly; Class 2 License: 0.5% of the gross amount of bets accepted in remote betting operations; Class 2 License operating on a hosting platform in possession of a Class 4 RGL: 0.5% of the gross amount of bets accepted in remote betting operations; Class 3 License: 5% of real income; Class 3 License operating on a hosting platform in possession of a Class 4 RGL: 5% of real income; Class 4 License hosting and managing remote gaming operators: EUR 0 (zero) first six months, EUR 2,330 monthly for next six months, then EUR 4,660 monthly thereafter; Class 4 License hosting and managing an operator not in possession of the relevant Class 1, 2 or 3 license needed, however, hosting an EEA-licensed business to consumer operator: EUR 1,165 monthly per operator, paid by the Class 4 licensee.
In March 2005, the first Malta Remote Gaming Council (MRGC) was elected. The Council encompasses remote gaming operators and service providers. The MRGC launched an online forum for discussion of legal, technical and administrative issues among the operators and service providers.
In September 2007, Malta made the United Kingdom's whitelist of countries that match its stringent gaming regulations, contributing to a steady rise in Malta licensees.
In June 2011, the application process was streamlined so applicants may submit all required licensing information at once. The LGA assesses whether an applicant is fit to conduct gaming business, has a sound business strategy, has the operational and statutory requirements to meet Maltese laws, and has correctly implemented its application's technical environment.
The first three stages of the process should conclude within 12-16 weeks. Low-quality applications are dropped at this point, though the applicant can reapply. Successful applicant reviews are invited to implement their technical environment. The applicant has 60 days to complete the operation or be forced to reapply. Once live, the licensee undergoes compliance audits, which occur after the first year of operation, the third year of operation, on the implementation of gross changes in the gaming system or anytime the LGA has suspicions of deviation of regulations. Failure of a compliance audit may lead to suspension or termination of a license.
In 2012, the Malta Gaming Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with the Danish Gaming Authority and the Jersey Gambling Commission to enhance cooperation by the exchange of information and investigative assistance of providers and remote gaming services among their regulatory agencies.
In 2015, the Malta Gaming Authority suspended the gaming licenses of five operators who had ties to Mafia activity in the country.
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