Obtaining an Online Gambling License in Malta

Securing an online gambling license from the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a coveted achievement for operators, yet the process is often more challenging than imagined. This prestigious license grants online gambling platforms unparalleled legitimacy, but navigating through bureaucratic hurdles is rarely straightforward. 

Online Gambling Licensing and Regulation in Malta 

In 2004, Malta became the first EU member state to fully embrace online gambling with the passage of the Remote Gaming Regulations. The Lotteries and Gaming Authority, rebranded as the Malta Gaming Authority in 2015, swiftly earned a reputation as a premier licensor and regulator in the online gambling sector. With a supportive government and flourishing technology and business sectors, Malta has emerged as a global hub for iGaming. 

The MGA offers both B2C licenses for organizing gambling activities and B2B licenses for providing gambling services. The B2C licenses are classified into four classes based on the type of gambling the operator intends to offer: 

  • Class 1: Allows operators to organize games of chance determined by a random number generator (RNG). 
  • Class 2: Allows operators to organize games of chance based on the outcome of an event (e.g., sportsbook). 
  • Class 3: Permits operators to organize games of chance generating revenue through commissions or prizes (e.g., poker). 
  • Class 4: Enables operators to organize controlled skill games with results determined by aggregated statistical performance (e.g., fantasy sports). 

In 2018, Malta revised its licensing and regulatory framework with the Gaming Act 2018, streamlining the licensing process and extending license validity from five to ten years. 

Why Obtain a License in Malta in 2024? 

If iGaming has a home, it’s Malta. The iGaming industry contributes significantly to the Maltese economy, representing a substantial portion of its Gross Value Added (GVA). The government’s pro-gambling stance is evident in regulatory reforms that simplify licensing and taxation. Despite hosting industry giants, Malta remains welcoming to startups, offering incentives such as waived compliance contributions for the first year of operation. 

Additionally, Malta hosts SiGMA, a premier annual event in the iGaming industry, attracting thousands of delegates and affiliates worldwide. The country boasts a skilled workforce, with over 11,000 jobs directly or indirectly related to the iGaming sector in 2019. 

The MGA’s international recognition, including being on the UK Gambling Commission’s “Whitelist,” further enhances the appeal of Malta’s licenses. 

How to Obtain a License in Malta 

The MGA conducts a thorough vetting process, including fit and proper checks, business planning assessments, and operational and statutory requirements evaluations. Upon approval, licensees undergo system and compliance reviews. License fees vary depending on license type and revenue, with compliance contributions based on revenue. 

Risks of Operating Without a License 

Operating without a license carries numerous risks, including limited partnerships, loss of player trust, hefty fines, business closure, and legal consequences. In conclusion, while obtaining a Maltese license incurs expenses, the benefits of legitimacy and market access outweigh the costs.