Malta became a member of the EU in May 2004. This played a very important role in attracting remote gaming operators to Malta. With the present uncertainties of operating online and facing restrictions by national authorities, being established in Malta results in operators benefiting from the freedom of establishment and the freedom provide cross-border services within the EU.
During the recent years, Malta has grown a reputation of being one of the best iGaming countries in the whole world. This is due to it being the biggest and largest iGambling sector in the European Union. iGaming has already became a major contributor in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, contributing as well to the government revenue from the industry. iGaming has help generate a substantial economic growth within the country over the past few years ever since the introduction to iGaming and the improvement its Internet connection and cable links with the mainland parts of Europe.
Malta has been the first country to ever regulate online gambling in the European Union, through the adoption of the Lotteries and other Games Act. Over the past years, it has successfully established itself as the leading well-regulated European remote gaming jurisdiction. It is estimated that over 10% of the world’s leading iGaming companies are hosted in Malta. The Maltese government recently revised and consolidated the iGaming legislation. A new gaming law was enacted by the parliament in virtue of which the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) has been created.
Stability, Regulation and Responsible Gaming
The iGaming industry in Malta boasts of the following traits:
a. Stable regulatory framework
b. Proper operations when it comes to interactive games
c. Protection of players online
d. Prevention against money laundering and other criminal acts
e. Protection of public interest
To add to the stability enjoyed in Malta, is the responsible gaming it promotes among all types of players. This concept incorporates protection of minors and the vulnerable player. Every operator must have a written procedure to open a player’s account and this must include ascertainment of the player’s agenda verification checks with a credit card number matched with information from the relative bank. Vulnerable players are also checked by means of pre-set limits and cooling off periods before changes to these limits are carried out.
Establishing an iGaming Business
Any person/s or undertaking/s looking to operate in particular sectors would need to apply for and be granted a license or authorisation under the applicable laws and regulations. Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) is the government agency responsible in issuing licenses in respect of all forms of gaming activities in Malta. The regulations in Malta do not specify what type of games are licensable and any game can be presented by the operator. The important factor is that the game happens remotely and not face-to-face. Typical licensable games and activities include on-line bookmakers, betting exchanges, on-line casinos, casino-type games, lotteries, bingo operations and marketing companies and gaming platforms. The rules are not also hindered when it comes to the medium or device used. Hence, all forms of electronic devices can be used, including phones, faxes, mobile phones and the Internet.
Obtaining a Remote Gaming License
Below are the different classes of Remote Gaming Licenses that can be applied for:
Class 1 Remote Gaming License – applies for operators who offer games which are based on repetitive events and the gaming risk is managed by the operator. This type of license covers casino table style games, lotteries and slots. Since the licensee bears the full risk of the gaming activities conducted, the winnings are therefore guaranteed by it.
Class 1 on 4 Remote Gaming License – an online gaming license for all types of games of chance and games of skill operating on an existing Class 4 licensee.
Class 2 Remote Gaming License – the license covers operators who manage risk based on a singular event using markets. This license covers the traditional fixed odds betting and some forms of pool betting.
Class 3 Remote Gaming License – this license is for operators who organise player to player games but they do not partake in the risk and receive only a commission. This license is suitable for betting exchange providers, pools and poker rooms.
Class 3 on 4 Remote Gaming License -a license to promote and abet gaming from Malta. For operators who promote or abet gaming from Malta on an existing Class 4 licensee.
Class 4 Remote Gaming License – this license is for software vendors who intend to host and manage remote gaming operators having any class of the above. They cannot partake in the gaming risk and can only receive a commission.
The application process involves three separate stages and can be obtained in as little as two months from the submission of a complete application. The firm assists its clients with all licensing and compliance issues.
Note: With references from CSB Advocates, one of the leading legal practices actively involved in e-commerce and remote gaming law.
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