How is remote gaming regulated in Malta?
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a single regulatory body that is responsible for the governance of all gaming activities in Malta including Amusement Machines, Broadcasting Media games, Casinos, Commercial Bingo Halls, Commercial Communication games, Gaming Devices, the National lottery, Non-Profit games and Remote Gaming.
In April 2004, the Remote Gaming Regulations (S.L. 438.04) were published, making Malta the first EU member state to regulate remote gaming. The Regulations are divided into four classes depending on which type of operation companies fall under and include licences for Business to Consumers (B2C) operators as well as Business to Business (B2B) operators.
The MGA regulatory regime aims to be both technology neutral and game neutral – encompassing any type of gaming using a means of distance communication (including internet, digital TV, mobile phone technology, telephone and fax). Any remote game which can be securely managed under MGA regulations will be considered for licensing.
What type of licence do I need to establish a remote gaming operation in Malta?
The correct class of licence will depend on the nature of the operator’s proposed activities. The Remote Gaming Regulations provide for four (4) classes under which an operator may be licensed, which break down as follows:
- A Class 1 Licence is generally required for operators managing their own risk on repetitive games, such as casino-type games.
- A Class 2 Licence is required for operators managing their own risk on events based on a matchbook. Under this class operators can offer fixed odds betting.
- A Class 3 Licence is generally required where players on the network play against each other, and the operator takes a percentage of the rake for organising and promoting the game.
- A Class 4 Licence is the licence required in order to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee himself. Gaming software and platform providers normally fall within this class.
Licences are granted for a period of Five (5) years and may be renewed thereafter for further periods of five (5) years each.
What are the general licence conditions to undertake remote gaming activities in or from Malta?
The core part of the online gaming operation must be located in Malta. Malta gaming companies must have a Key Official, who must also be a director of the licensed company and be a resident of Malta. His or her role is to supervise the day-to-day operations of the Malta gaming company and to ensure that the operator is at all times compliant with Maltese law and regulations.
Class 1 and Class 2 licence holders are required to retain a minimum share capital of €100,000 whilst Class 3 and Class 4 licensees are required to retain a minimum share capital of €40,000. Companies with multiple licences are required to meet the above share capital requirements cumulatively up to a minimum capping of €240,000.
How can I obtain a remote gaming licence in Malta?
The licensing process comprises a critical assessment by the MGA so as to assess whether the applicant:
- is fit and proper to conduct gaming business;
- is correctly prepared for a business strategy perspective;
- has the operational and statutory requirements to meet the legal obligations expected by Maltese Law; and
- has correctly implemented what has been applied for on a technical environment before going live.
If the MGA’s evaluation is completed successfully, the applicant will be asked to go ahead and execute the documented system onto a closed system, in order that an external systems audit may be performed by an independent third party contracted by the MGA.
On successful completion of the certification process, the MGA will issue a five (5) year licence in favour of the applicant.
How long can I expect the licensing process to take?
The MGA will typically determine an application for an iGaming licence within 4 to 6 months of submission of a complete application, which timeframe is dependent on the quality of the information provided to the Authority and the timeliness of the applicant’s response to any queries or requests for further information/ documentation from the MGA.
What tax obligations apply to Malta-licensed remote gaming companies?
Gaming tax is applied in accordance with the applicable class of licence as detailed hereunder:
|Fee Basis||EUR / %|
|per month for the first six (6) months||4,660|
|per subsequent month following the sixth month||7,000|
|Class 1 on 4|
|Class 2 (fixed-odds betting)|
|A sum equivalent to half of one per centum (0.5%) on the gross amount of bets accepted||0.5% on gross amount of bets|
|Class 3 and Class 3 on 4|
|5% of real income||5% of real income|
|The gaming tax payable by a hosting platform is nil for the first six (6) months of operation||0|
|Per month for the subsequent six (6) months (month 7 to month 12)||2,330|
|Per subsequent month (month 13 onwards) for the entire duration of the licence.||4,660|
The maximum gaming tax payable annually by one licensee in respect of any one licence is capped at €466,000.
A Class 4 platform providing services from Malta to operators licensed elsewhere in the European Economic Area, pays a monthly gaming tax of €1,165 for each such operator.