Malta is an independent republic and a member of the British Commonwealth. It became a member state of the European Union on May 1, 2004. Since then, Malta has received more than 450 remote gaming applications and has a labor force of 2,085 directly employed in the remote gaming industry. Malta is one of the world’s largest 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) to regulate offshore betting offices. The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) 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 are for operators providing online casino games, lotteries, slots, games of chance, and games that use a random number generator. Class 2 are for operators offering online sports and betting, fixed-odds betting, pool betting and spread betting. Class 3 are for Malta advertisers and promotion companies including P2P, poker networks, betting exchanges, and game portals. Class 4 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 RGL’s are liable for tax payments. Malta’s regulation cap on gaming tax is a maximum annual €466,000.
Licenses are granted for five-year periods. Administrative and License Fees at present are:
New License Application Fee, €2,330;
System Audit Fee, €1,770;
License Fee, €8,500 annually per license;
License Renewal Application Fee, €1,500;
License Transfer or Assignment Approval Fee, €1,500;
Approval of Simple Contractual Commercial Agreement, €70 annually per contract;
Compliance Audit, €2,750.
The current Tax Rates are as follows:
Class 1 License: €4,600 first six months then €7,000;
Class 1 License operating on a hosting platform in possession of a Class 4 RGL: €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: €0 (zero) first six months; €2,330 monthly for next six months; then €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: €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 amongst the operators and service providers.
As of January 2007, establishing an International Trading Company (ITC ) was no longer possible. Companies established post-2006 is a regular Maltese company with restrictions of an ITC; therefore, a remote gaming operation using such a company no longer needs to exclude Maltese players from its offering. Previously registered ITCs had to convert to a regular company before January 2011.
In September 2007, Malta made the United Kingdom’s White List of countries that match their stringent gaming regulations, contributing to a steady rise in Malta licensees.
In June 2011, the application process was streamlined whereby applicants may submit 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 their 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 and the applicant is subject to re-apply. Successful applicant reviews are invited to implement their technical environment. The applicant has 60 days to complete the operation or be suspended and subject to re-apply. 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, Malta’s Lotteries and 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 amongst their regulatory agencies.
Malta is developing a Responsible Gaming Fund for responsible gaming advertising campaigns. It is suggested that gaming operators be required to contribute to the fund. As of early 2012, there were 60 gaming license applications awaiting approval.
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