It may be one of world’s smallest countries, both in size and population, but don’t underestimate this small rock in the middle of the Mediterranean when it comes to online gambling. Over the past decade Malta’s iGaming industry has grown exponentially from just a few iGaming licensees in 2004 to over 400 casino licensees in 2014. These licensees are together operating around 1,000 websites in more than 20 languages.
Although a former British colony, this archipelago of seven islands, including Malta, Comino and Gozo, is now an independent republic. Malta achieved its independence on 21 September 1964 after intense negotiations with the United Kingdom, led by Maltese Prime Minister George Borġ Olivier. Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta, but it was on 13 December 1974 Malta declared itself a republic. Malta gained full accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004, a historic date for the country as it was on this exact same date Malta became the first EU member state to adopt standalone online gaming regulations.
Gambling regulations Malta
The Lotteries and Other Games Act 2001 is responsible for the gambling industry taking place on the island. The Remote Gaming Regulations 2004 forms the base of Malta’s iGaming industry. Prior the date Malta introduced its revamped iGaming regulations on 1 May 2004, online gaming was regulated in Malta under accreditations issued under the Public Lotto Ordinance.
Remote Gambling Regulations 2004
Since its introduction in 2004, online gambling operators can apply for a license. The following four classes of online gambling licences are issued by Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA):
Class 1 is for operators providing online casino games, games of chance, and games that use a random number generator.
Class 2 is for online sports and betting operators.
Class 3 is for advertisers and promotion companies that operate from Malta.
Class 4 is for companies that host and manage remote gaming operations, but are not themselves operators. Each licence is valid for a period of five years. Class 4 licensees have been given broader powers by 2011 amendments to the Remote Gaming regulations to allow them to operate as platform providers for client-facing operators holding a European licence, or any country approved by the LGA. Prior to those amendments, Class 4 holders could only act as providers for operators holding a Maltese licence (Class 1, 2, 3).
Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA)
The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) is responsible for all gambling activities in Malta, including online gambling. Its mission is to regulate the iGaming industry, and its various sectors falling under the authority, competently by ensuring gaming is fair and transparent to the players, preventing crime, corruption and money laundering while it also aims to protect minor and vulnerable players.
Malta iGaming activities
Thanks to the Remote Gaming Regulations 2004, Malta is able to issue online gambling licenses to operators which meet the requirements needed to operate an online casino. There are four types of online gambling licenses available for the iGaming industry concerning online casino games, games of chance, games using a Random Number Generator (RNG) and online sports betting.
Respected iGaming jurisdiction
Malta pioneered online gambling licensing, even before the revamped iGaming regulations were introduced on 1 May 2004, when it began to approve gambling websites in 2000, conducted under the Public Lotto Ordinance. Old or new regulations, it all started with just a few licenses issued, but it has been in the past decade Malta managed to grow into one of the world’s largest and most respected iGaming jurisdictions. With over 400 licensees operating around 1,000 websites in more than 20 languages, Malta can be called a home for iGaming companies including online casinos, poker rooms and sports betting, but also software providers like Net Entertainment.
Memorandum of Understanding
It’s on the 9th of October 2013 Malta’s Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) and the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) signed a bilateral cooperation, entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This MoU will provide a formal basis for cooperation between the two respected jurisdictions regarding the exchange of information and investigative assistance of providers and iGaming services. By entering the MoU both jurisdictions aim to improve consumer protection and the protection of society and public order as well as they will make extra efforts to ensure fair, responsible and secure provision of gaming services. The MoU is seen as an important step in the development and sharing of common regulatory best practices which should benefit operators in both jurisdictions.