Gambling in Malta
Gambling in Malta is legal. The Republic of Malta is small island nation located in the Mediterranean and is one of the most developed centres of the gambling industry in Europe. Gambling operations are strictly regulated by the legislation. Online casino licensing in Malta provides stringent rules and regulations for casinos. was the first member of the EU to outline the procedure of online operations. Today gambling industry in Malta comprises about 11% of the State's GDP. According to the MGA report, which is the state regulator of gambling, taxes from gambling bring about 80 million Euros into the country's budget.
Casino Games in Malta
According to the statistics, about 10% of all online casinos worldwide are operating based on the Maltese licenses. The online sector of the gambling industry is one of the most rapidly growing trends in this nation. While land-based casinos are only represented by four establishments, the list of online portals is much more substantial. Each of the online casinos has a number of significant advantages:
- A vast collection of games. Among other types of entertainment, the websites feature video slots of various formats, roulette games, card games and scratch cards. Some online platforms provide an opportunity to play with live dealers and bet on sporting events
- Variety of payment options
- Worthy bonus awarding policies
Multi-platform websites have been translated into several dozens of different languages and feature software products by various major developers.
Popular slot machines
The players' preferences as far as video slots go, are not much different. Prototypes by major developers are the ones that are traditionally in highest demand. These are the models that you can come across in the Popular Slots sections of the websites: Gonzo's Quest by NetEnt, Zeus 1000 by WMS, Ramses Book by Merkur, Spirit of Aztecs by Playson and Wild Sevens by Playson.
Malta was one of the very first states to legalise gambling entertainment. This is where lotteries were played as far back as the 17th century. The very first official decree on public lottery that delegated the authority to conduct drawings to the monopoly of the state was adopted in 1922. Licensing requirements for horse racing and dog racing were introduced in 1934. Casino operations became regulated in 1958. At the end of the 20th century the Decrees listed above were replaced by modern legislative acts including, in 1998 the Law On Gambling was passed, which defined how to organise the business and oversee online casinos and in 2001 the Law on Lotteries was endorsed This new legislative act unified the norms for most of the acts that had previously been in force. The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) was set up at the same time, to monitor the gambling industry in the country. Regulating of online activities was conducted in two stages. In 2000, the Decree on Public Lottery was supplemented by a number of amendments. The new rules served as the basis for regulating the online gambling industry until 2004. Or rather, until the Remote Gaming Regulations came into force.
Today the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which was known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) prior to re-branding, is the only independent regulator of the country's gambling industry. This office oversee´s all gambling in both land-based establishments and in the online segment. The structure of MGA unites several subdivisions:
- The board of directors, which is responsible for the strategic development of the office
- The auditing committee, which provides high-quality corporate management, oversees financial transactions and monitors the books internally
- The executive committee
- The overseeing committee
This multi-stage structure provides the efficiency of the regulator's activities. Maltese gaming service regulates the activities of all types of gambling: land-based casinos, online gambling, cruiseship casinos, bingo halls, advertising and national lotteries, not-for-profit games and other trends. Binary options are the exception. This type of activity is carried out under the supervision of the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) in compliance with the Law on Investment Services. MGA's main functions are issuing gambling incenses and monitoring of the operators' compliance with the legislative provisions. The department's functions also include preventing and combating any criminal activities. MGA also provides the delivery of advisory documents and the analysis of feedback and proposals made by the players on the gambling market. No limits on the number of licenses issued have been imposed for the land-based establishments. And yet, one has to obtain the permission from the Minister of Finance in order to have the documents filed.
There are no limitations issued for online resources either. The operators also claim that the process of filing the documents in Malta is much easier compared to other jurisdictions. Today there are 4 types of licenses that representatives of the gaming industry in Malta can count on:
- The First Class License. Authorises the operations of online casinos with video slots based on RNG (Random Number Generator), including slot machines and table games. The license is issued for the period of 5 years. The taxes amount to 4,660 EUR each month for the first six months of operation, and 7,000 EUR each consecutive month
- The Second Class License. Authorises the operations of sportsbook businesses and other resources that accept online bets on specific events. Tax deductions will amount to 0.5% of the overall bets
- The Third Class License. Authorises to set up and run poker rooms, lotteries, bingo and other resources that provide an opportunity for the players to interact with one another. Operators will pay 5% of the tax from the overall profit of the online portal
- The Fourth Class License. Granted to the companies that are specialised in hosting, gaming operations and supplying gaming equipment. Both the developers and the providers are exempt from taxation for the first six months. A monthly payment of 2,330 EUR will be collected from the companies in the next 6 to 12 months. Then the tax will go up to 4,600 EUR.
Prerequisites for obtaining the license
The key requirement to qualify for a license is having a legal address in Malta. The company must have at least two shareholders. State fee is charged for the registration. Then a tax identification number is assigned and legal address filed. Directors and other company officials are appointed. The mandatory prerequisite is presenting a business plan of the company's operations to MGA. Companies that apply for their permits for the first time will be issued a temporary semi-annual license. Then a thorough check on the operator will be run. If the results come out positive, the owner will be issued a permanent license that will be valid for 5 years. Permits can be extended. Gaming Service reserves the right to suspend or revoke the license in case of any failure to comply with the legislative requirements. Initial fees are not that astronomical. Tax rate for registering any type of license is 2,300 EUR. Surcharge commission is deducted for a system audit in the amount of 1,770 EUR and annual fee of 8,500 EUR. Corporate tax for gambling businesses is 35%. Once the dividends have been paid to the shareholders, about 30% of the tax is returned. The real rate is 5%.
Development of the Gambling Market in Malta
Licensing of a gambling business in Malta has a number of substantial advantages. An opportunity to gain the status of an international company, relatively low taxes, fast registration procedure and absence of any restrictions on any types of operations is only a fraction of the list of the advantages that are available. Gambling industry in Malta has been expanding rapidly. According to MGA reports, the gross revenue has been increasing on the average of 4% each year. Players on the nation's gambling market have constantly been researching new trends for the development. Simplification of regulatory network, holding international themed exhibitions, licensing of new developers and online casinos and establishing partnerships with regulators from other countries — Malta's world of gambling has been developing quite dynamically. Considering the active involvement of special agencies and owners of gambling businesses in Malta in the development of the industry, one can predict that the development will be successful and efficient.
Maltese developers of slot machines
Interestingly enough, the developers of many video slots featured in online casinos happen to be Maltese. Among the ones that are worth noting, these are the most popular developers of gambling products that have occupied their own niche on the market: World Match, Playson and GameArt. World Match was founded in 2003. The list of the company's products includes over 100 different slots. The slots come in several versions and can be launched both through a browser or on mobile devices that run on either iOS or Android. The list of table games includes: Several models of roulette games, various card games and over ten versions of video poker. Players are also invited to join the games with live dealers. Broadcast is conducted from the halls of Venice Casino. World Match also provides an opportunity to purchase some websites of multi-platform online casinos. Playson started operating in 2001. The company mainly specialised in the development of slots for online casinos. The developer's portfolio contains several dozen slots of various themes. 3D slots are available among Playson's models. The company is currently developing the prototypes for mobile devices. Users can download high-quality apps or launch the slots online. GameArt was founded in 2013. The company has its representatives in several countries worldwide, but the corporate headquarters are located in Malta. Despite the developer's young age, its collection contains over seventy different slots for online casinos. The company is also designing and supplying the terminals for selling lottery tickets.