International edition
June 23, 2021

By Ron Mendelson, Fast Offshore Founding Partner

Malta's gambling license, at the top of its game

Malta's gambling license, at the top of its game
"Acquiring a Maltese gambling license is an opportunity worth considering as it can take your business to the next level," Ron Mendelson says.
Malta | 02/08/2021

The igaming industry specialist outlines the most recent Malta developments and responses to the pandemic, benefits of a Maltese gaming license, who are suitable for acquiring one and how to obtain it.

Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With ... (+ Info)


he small island of Malta was one of the first in Europe to regulate the online gambling sector. Under the supervision of the Malta Gambling Authority, it issued its first licenses in 2001. Since then, the gambling sector has swelled considerably contributing to more than 10% of the country’s GDP. 

The Maltese license is considered one of the most respected in the gambling world. Below you will find the most recent Malta developments, benefits of a Maltese gaming license, and how to get one.

New developments 

In 2019, the MGA announced a Sandbox Regulatory Framework which would allow authorized entities to accept cryptocurrency as payment. This announcement paved the way for bitcoin casinos and crypto gambling sites to apply for specific licensing, under the supervision of the MGA. The initiative is set to run until the end of 2021 and is open to prospective and existing license holders.

This was a follow on from Malta’s three crypto bills that made it the first jurisdiction to legislate in support of cryptocurrency, and thus saw it dubbed “The Blockchain Island.”

2020 was the year that the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was required to be transposed into national laws. This meant amendments to Maltese law relating to due diligence, customer acceptance policies, payout management processes, and the role of various MGA required officials.

Also, at the end of 2020, the MGA launched its suspicious betting portal. Set up following an extensive consultation process, the portal allows operators to report suspicious betting via a specific portal, making it considerably easier.

Although these new developments may be a little heavy on bureaucracy and a headache for some operators, in practice, they have a purpose. Malta’s dedication to ensuring the online gambling industry is well regulated and supervised, increases the reputation of the sector across the board. For those that opt for a Malta gaming license, it’s a testament to their dedication to doing things by the book.

COVID-19 response

Shortly after the COVID-9 pandemic was declared, the MGA issued a notice on socially responsible advertising for licensees. Operators must ensure that their advertising remains responsible and not seek to gain from the pandemic. For example, suggesting that solitary gaming was an alternative to socializing or that gambling could replace employment would violate the regulations. Additionally, anything that could be construed as positioning gambling as an investment, or a resolution to social, educational, or professional problems would also be against the rules.

This notice was a reiteration of their existing rules, that place a big emphasis on responsible gaming and look out for those who may develop a problem. The MGA not only implements frameworks like the Player Protection Directive, but they also set up the Responsible Gaming Foundation in 2014 striving to raise awareness and prevent problem gambling.  

Like the Kahnawake Gambling Commission, the MGA believes that operators should focus on cultivating a quality client base. Targeting those who are vulnerable or at risk, or encouraging potentially harmful behaviour is not something they want to be associated with. This attitude towards responsible gaming has been a big part of what has positioned them as one of the leading online gambling licensing jurisdictions.

Who is this license for?

The Malta gaming license is suitable for startups with capital, or operators established in other jurisdictions looking for an additional gambling license. Malta is home to some of the world’s leading gambling platforms that have decades of experience. The license cost is high compared to some other jurisdictions and the process is complex, but this comes with benefits.

Holders of a Maltese online gambling license can enjoy the prestige and enhanced reputation that it brings. It can be easier to open a bank account, negotiate good deals with third parties, and reach new markets previously unavailable. 

Additionally, license holders can enjoy "onshore status" in the EU, full compliance with EU laws, and an effective full imputation taxation system. This system can bring the effective tax rate down considerably, while still being in line with international best practices.

Asides from that, Malta is a stable, European economy that has historically weathered economic downturns. It is easily accessible by air, has a highly educated, multi-lingual, and multinational workforce, and a dynamic iGaming infrastructure sector. These facts make establishing and running an online gambling company from Malta, an excellent choice.

What are the requirements?

Acquisition of a Malta gaming license is not as straightforward as some other jurisdictions. That said, for many, it is worth it. You must submit all the usual due diligence, company, and license-related documents. Additionally, you’ll need to:

  • Attend an in-person meeting
  • Present your business plans
  • Offer RNGs information
  • Submit your software provider information
  • Demonstrate that you are fit, proper, and able enough to run an online gambling platform.

Of course, there are more requirements than this, but it’s best to consult your corporate service provider for full requirement rundown and how to go about it.

Acquiring a Maltese gambling license is an opportunity worth considering as it can take your business to the next level. It gives you a world-recognized stamp of approval, can open new doors, and help grow your client base beyond your current expectations. 

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