As the first EU member-state to regulate remote gaming, Malta has fast become one of the preferred jurisdictions for the establishment of remote gaming operations. Since the promulgation of the Remote Gaming Regulations made under the Lotteries and Other Games Act, Malta has earned itself a solid reputation as Europe’s remote gaming hub with some of world’s leading operators choosing to set up in Malta.
During 2009, a period that is widely regarded as the peak of the world’s deepest recession since the 1930s, gaming tax and licence fees generated up to €41.9 million, an increase of 10 per cent over 2008. Over the course of the first six months of 2014, the number of companies licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) increased by 17%, when compared to 2013. Between January and June, the number of issued licences increased by 25%.
Malta’s popularity as a leading remote gaming jurisdiction is based on several considerations:
- an efficient licensing process;
- a trusted and well-regulated jurisdiction safeguarding the interests of both operators and players;
- Implementation of robust and comprehensive systems and mechanisms by the regulator and continuous interventional monitoring;
- An accessible and forward-looking regulator having a pragmatic and pro-business approach;
- an attractive fiscal regime;
- a stable political climate;
- a highly qualified and highly skilled workforce;
- fluency in various languages.
All forms of interactive gaming (including online casinos, casino-style games, betting exchanges and lotteries) through the use of any means of distance communication (such as internet, mobile, telephone and fax) can be carried on from Malta. Applicants may apply for either or all of the following licences:
- Class 1 Remote Gaming Licence– a remote gaming licence whereby operators manage their own risk on repetitive games. This class covers casino-type games, skill games and lotteries.
- Class 2 Remote Gaming Licence– a remote betting office licence or an online betting exchange office licence – For operators managing their own risk on events based on a matchbook. This class covers fixed odds betting, pool betting and spread betting.
- Class 3 Remote Gaming Licence– a licence to promote and/or abet remote gaming from Malta. Operators do not partake in the risk and receive a commission – For operators taking a commission from promoting and/or abetting games. This class includes P2P, poker networks, betting exchange and game portals.
- Class 4 Remote Gaming Licence– a licence to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee itself – This is intended for software vendors who want to provide management and hosting facilities on their platform.
Once issued, a Malta remote gaming licence is valid for a period of five years and can be renewed for further five year periods.
A capped gaming tax (depending on the type of gaming/betting operations carried on) coupled with the refundable tax credit system available under Maltese law provide for a very attractive fiscal regime for Maltese licensees.
Gaming tax payable to the MGA is calculated as follows:
- Class 1 – Eur4,660 per month for the first six (6) months, and Eur7,000 per month thereafter.
- Class 1 licensee operating on a class 4 platform – Eur1,200 per month.
- Class 2 – fixed-odds betting – 0.5% on the gross amount of bets accepted.
- Class 3 – 5% on real income.
- Class 4 – No gaming tax is payable by a hosting platform for the first six (6) months of operation. Eur2,330 per month is payable for the subsequent six (6) months and Eur4,660 per subsequent month thereafter.
The maximum gaming tax payable annually by one licensee in respect of any one licence is Eur466,000.
The Firm provides comprehensive and ongoing advisory and support services in relation to the entire application process, the preparation and coordination of the application and relative supporting documentation as well as drafting and reviewing all agreements, advice relating to ongoing compliance and liaising with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) for all regulatory matters.