The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) issues 2 types of Licences:
- The Critical Gaming Supply Licence is a Business-to-Business (B2B) licence that is given to companies that supply gaming resources to operators
- The Gaming Service Licence - is a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) licence that is issued to businesses that provide a gaming service to their customers
B2B and B2C licences are divided into 4 classes, depending on what services the company provides:
- Online Gaming Licence class - licences issued to operators that provide online casino software, random number generators, lotteries and gambling.
- The Remote Betting Licence Class - licences that are issued to operators involved in accepting bets.
- Class Licence to Promote and Abet Gaming - the right to conduct activities for operators who take a commission for participating in games such as bingo and poker and betting.
- Class Licence to Host and Manage Online Gaming Operators Excluding Licencee - licences are issued to manufacturers of software and gambling equipment.
Companies that already have a licence of a certain class can expand their range of services by submitting an application to the regulatory body.
Malta is the largest of the three islands that make up the Maltese Archipelago and they have been issuing licences since 2000. In 2004 Malta joined the European Union (EU) and reorganised its licensing rules in line with the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) Law.
In 2014-2015, a rebranding was carried out and the name of the main regulator was changed to the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). They operate under the Games Law of 2018.
MGA is considered one of the most responsive online casino regulators. If an operator has violated the rights of the player, then the player can file a complaint with the Malta Gambling Authority. Firstly the complaint needs to be raised with the online casino and if their response is unsatisfactory then the player can contact the MGA.
In 2019 as a result of close monitoring of online casinos the Malta Gaming Authority cancelled 19 licences and suspended the work of 5 operators who had violated the rules.
Authority of the MGA
In terms of authority, the MGA licence is in second place after the UK. The island's jurisdiction controls the activities of online casinos and ensures the protection of the interests of players, considering complaints and controversial issues. The MGA is a high-level licence and if the website of an internet casino has the MGA logo it means that the operator can be trusted.
Return Rate for Players
According to the Lotteries and Other Games Act and the Return to Player Directive 2016, those online casino games that use a random number generator (RNG) to determine winning combinations must have an average return to player value of 92%.
How to Verify the Validity of an MGA Licence
To check the authenticity of an online casino you need to click on the MGA logo at the footer of the home page of the website. This will open the MGA website and show an electronic version of the licence certificate.
Alternatively you can go directly to the MGA website and search for the name of the licence holder in the Regulatory section. Click on the Gaming Licence subcategory and then the Licence Register. Here you can search for the name of the licence holder, website URL, authorisation status or type of licence.
The MGA maintains a register of licence holders and those operators whose licences are currently suspended. This helps to prevent fraud from online casinos that do not have permission and try to deceive users.
|LICENSE CLASS||LICENCED ACTIVITIES||TAX RATE PER MONTH|
|Online Gaming Licence||RNG games (lotteries, casinos, slots)||4,660 euros (starting from 6th month) |
7,000 euros (starting from 7th month)
|Remote Betting Licence||Betting||0,5% from each bet|
|Licence to Promote and Abet Gaming||Poker rooms, betting exchanges (P2P)||5% from income|
|Licence to Host and Manage Online Gaming Operators Excluding Licensee||Software suppliers||2,330 euros (starting from 7th month) |
4,660 euros (starting from 13th month)
How to Get a Malta Gaming Authority Licence
To obtain the right to operate gambling activities, the company must meet the following conditions:
- Officially register a company in the territory of the state in the form of an LLC.
- Have a paid up share capital. For the 1st and 2nd licence classes it is more than 100 thousand euros, for the 3rd and 4th classes it is over 40 thousand euros.
- Provide guarantees for tax refunds and winnings.
- Pass the audit of the regulatory body by providing a detailed business plan, information about Shareholders and Key Managers and the presence of a resident of Malta on the company's staff.
- Open a state bank account.
- Pay the licence fees to the MGA.
Process of Obtaining an MGA Licence:
1. Submit the application, business plan and accompanying documents to the Licencee Relationship Management System (LRMS). At this stage, its specialists check the financial viability of Directors and beneficiaries and conduct a detailed financial analysis of the business plan. LRMS may request additional documents to confirm the financial stability of the Directors and Shareholders.
Full List of Accompanying Documents:
- copies of passports and original birth certificates of the company's shareholders
- copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and Registration Certificate
- photos of shareholders
- certificates confirming that shareholders have no criminal record
- financial and balance sheets
- certificates confirming the opening of bank accounts
- receipts for payment of utilities or rent to confirm the presence of a working office
- business plan
- information about partners, agents, branches and contracts that have been concluded with them
- a document confirming that the site has a block for minors
- the licence application
2. Register the Company. To do this, you need to pay a registration fee, register a legal address on the island and obtain a VAT number. After that, Executive and Financial Directors and other positions within the Company are appointed.
3. Open Bank Accounts. Once these have been opened a temporary licence that is valid for six months will be issued. This can be extended for an additional three months.
After obtaining the interim gambling Licence, you will be obliged to undergo audits and inspections that are conducted by independent third parties who are contracted by the MGA. The failure of any of these could lead to licence withdrawal. If these audits are passed and verification completed, the operator will receive a licence to conduct gambling activities for 5 years. When the licence expires it must be renewed.
The total cost of obtaining an MGA licence in the first year for the 3rd and 4th classes is over 50,000 euros and for the 1st and 2nd classes is more than 110,000 euros.
|TYPE OF FEE||PRICE IN EUROS||PERIOD|
|Non-refundable licence fee (upon submission of an application with supporting documents)||5,000||2–3 weeks|
|Registration of a local company and opening bank accounts||The statutory capital for the 1st and 2nd class licences is over 100 thousand euros |
for the 3rd and 4th class is more than 40 thousand euros
|Software Checking||2,350||6 months|
|Compliance Audit||3,500||6 months|
|Annual Licence Fee||B2C 1, 2 and 3 class licences - 25,000 |
B2C class 4 licence - 10,000
B2B licence - 10,000
|Annually for 5 years|
|Application for Licence Renewal (after 5 years, non-refundable)||5,000||in 5 years|
The MGA has set up a Licencee Relationship Management System (LRMS). Applicants can apply by registering and logging into their LRMS account and track the status of their licence requests in real time.
Online casinos with an MGA licence must:
- immediately consider controversial issues from players
- inform the user of the results of their investigation into the issues raised within 10 days from the date of receipt of the complaint
- if more time is needed, the company can extend their response time for an additional 10 days