Gaming in Malta

Malta Gaming Key Official Services

Gaming in Malta

Different jurisdictions have, since time immemorial, treated gaming in diverse ways. Gaming was either interwoven in the culture of a jurisdiction, or it was viewed as a vice that was incompatible with public policy and morality and that had to be stamped out. However, this dichotomy all changed with the advent of internet gaming. This 'upgrade' to the traditional notion of gambling increased the complexity of it all and therefore, resulted in the necessity for increased regulation. The general laws of old, most notably the Criminal Code and the Civil Code, did not, and could not, cater for internet gaming since they had been drafted during a time where gambling used to take place physically. Therefore, special laws had to be proposed by the government and passed through Parliament whose provisions kicked in whenever the general provisions of the codes could not.

Malta reacted to this phenomenon in a prudent yet pragmatic manner, by providing a legal framework for gaming operators, whilst maintaining high levels of player protection. This has turned Malta into the foremost gaming legal and operational infrastructure that is synonymous with innovation, professionalism, regulation and trust. Malta was also one of the first European Union member states to legislate in order to regulate gaming 

Overview of the Malta Gaming offering

Malta has matured into a top jurisdiction for regulated online betting and gaming worldwide. Malta offers exciting opportunities for new market entrants and established operators seeking a well-regulated and tax-friendly environment. The main features of the Maltese gaming market include:

  • Licences for casino-type games, betting, betting exchanges, gaming platforms, and lotteries which are technology neutral;
  • Competitive licence fees and attractive corporate tax regime;
  • Economic and political stability include full membership in EU;
  • Serious, credible, industry-specific regulation, ensuring players' trust in an operator licensed in Malta and reducing operators' exposure to fraud and money-laundering risks; and
  • High levels of professional services and reasonable professional fees and other costs.

Going through these one by one, one finds that the authority set up by statute is the Malta Gaming Authority, known as the MGA, for short. The MGA vets applications by gaming undertakings and then, according to its findings in relation to a set of objective criteria, issues the appropriate licence to that undertaking so that it may commence operations under that licence in terms of the law. The licence fees charged by the MGA are very competitive which are compatible with Malta's attractive corporate tax regime that offers a number of incentives in the form of tax exemptions for foreign gaming operators wishing to achieve a license to invest in Malta. Malta's tax regime continues to be approved by the European Commission.

Malta, despite being an EU member state for a little over a decade, has cemented itself as one of the top-most jurisdictions in this bloc in a number of sectors. It continues to experience one of the highest rates of economic growth, relative to its size, and public opinion and support for EU membership remains positively high. All these factors give Malta an economic and political stability that few other member states of the EU offer to gaming operators. The Maltese Parliament has passed a record of more than 100 laws from 2017 and 2018; most of these laws have been aimed to reduce the business and financial risks that both local and foreign gaming operators used to be exposed to during their operations. Among these laws are the so-called 'Three Laws' dealing with digital ledger technologies, such as blockchain, that made Malta one of the first jurisdiction in the world to regulate this phenomenon. Blockchain technology is very relevant to the gaming industry as gaming transactions can be safely but publicly encrypted in a blockchain.

Malta also offers many different streams of professional services ranging from financial experts to specialised lawyers and professional administrative service providers.

Malta: Europe's foremost regulated gaming jurisdiction.

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