While some countries view gambling as a bad practice and ban it, other countries see the positive potential in the industry and rather regulate it well. The objective is to eliminate the negative risks and ensure that it remains a great revenue stream and an optimum entertainment environment. For this reason, many jurisdictions around Europe and the Americas have installed gambling regulatory oversights in place to ensure that fairness and fun are the order of the day.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) was formed in 2001, as a part of Malta’s ‘Lotteries and Other Games’ Act.
Its legislation was put in place with the express purpose of: Ensuring a fair and transparent player experience, protecting vulnerable players and preventing crime associated with gambling, such as money laundering.
Since its inception, MGA has built a brand of rigid strength that boasts premium regulatory practices. The MGA has become an industry benchmark, providing a structure and ethos that many other jurisdictional regulators aspire to replicate. Currently, the MGA jurisdiction includes more than 180 countries worldwide.
Unlike the UK Gaming Commission, MGA licences do not distinguish between games played, nor the different technologies used to play the games at casinos and betting institutions. This means that one application and purchase cover online casinos for the full array of online betting options.
Receiving your MGA approved licence is no walk in the park though and involves a heavy cost and a rigorous vetting process. Quality is never cheap, so we cannot expect that receiving this type of certification could ever be so menial.
The fixed annual licence fee of €25,000 is charged on full B2C (business to consumer) licences, whereas operators are offering the only Type 4 controlled skill games will need to pay €10,000 annually.
The requirements involved for the application can be summarised into the several points below:
- The operator must supply all financial records and personal background for information processing. This will involve audited financial statements and bank records.
- Any criminal history must be submitted, if applicable.
- If an individual is involved in commercial or other legal dealings, these must be presented to the board.
- The software platform must be presented to the MGA up to 6 months before going live on the Malta network so that all software can be thoroughly tested before launch.
After approval is done, all gambling vendors must sign a contract, binding them to uphold every regulation stipulated in the legislation of the regulator. The criteria outlined in the agreement are summarised as follows:
- All software must continuously conform to internationally accepted standards.
- Casino platforms cannot be used for criminal activities of any nature.
- Players must be treated fairly, and responsible gambling practices must be observed on sites.
- Winnings must be paid out in accordance with interactive gaming and wagering laws.
- All licence holders, their staff, associates and other partners must meet corporate and personal standards of integrity.
The dreaded word is sometimes enough to bring a cold shiver to businesses in every industry, everywhere, unless you’re in Malta.
Gambling operators are less influenced by international capital markets because of Malta’s position within the Eurozone. This is one of the primary reasons why the little country that is smaller than London, Paris, or Rome is such a prominent iGaming hub, holding 10% of the world’s online gambling operations.
The tax rate for business in Malta works on a scale, where no operator will pay more than 5% of their total revenues in a year.
Benefits for MGA Operators
When reading through the above content, certain things start to stick out as real advantages for operators owning MGA licenses. Together with some other fine points, here is a list of the advantages as we see them:
- One license application allows the operator to offer any form of online gambling to its clients. It provides more business freedom and allows for sites to offer far more versatile entertainment, which is, of course, far better for business.
- The lower tax tariffs are a huge advantage for operators who will often be bringing in multiple millions of dollars in revenues on a monthly basis.
- The MGA is not only a public protector but also a tight platform that gives operators a sense of security and protection from public abuse, etc. The MGA is a big advocator of resolution within the casino environment, before bringing any issues to them.
Benefits of MGA Casinos for Players
Playing at an MGA licensed casino comes with perks. These include:
Fair Gaming and Recourse: Should an operator mistreat you and you have exhausted all options with the management involved, then you can contact the MGA to take the matter further. This provides players with real peace of mind when playing, knowing that they should not be defrauded at a casino carrying the Malta Gaming Authority mark.
Responsible Gambling Protection: Maltese licensed casinos are obligated to adhere to certain forms of vulnerable player protection. They have certain legislation in place obligating casinos to prevent under-aged gambling and to identify and aid problem gambling on their sites.
First-rate software: Because of the strict vetting process of casino platforms, players can be assured of smooth sailing from a software perspective. MGA games also boast some of the best provision of all jurisdictions, with giants in the industry, such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Play’n GO and others holding licences here.
Games Selection: Because MGA casinos are not restricted to game platforms nor games titles under their licensing, gamblers can expect a rich selection of games of all genres, playable on both mobile and desktop/laptop devices.
Best Operators in this Jurisdiction
Though there are more than just a hand full of MGA licensed casino operators, players could always benefit from a helping hand in choosing where to start. Below is a helpful list of 5 sterling MGA licensed casino operators who are guaranteed to be top providers in the business.
Betsafe: This casino has catered to the gambling industry since 2006. Operated by the Betsson group, Betsafe has grown to become one of the biggest and most user-friendly online casinos in the world.
Casumo: Started in 2012, Casumo has become one of the most recognizable casino brands around. Always leading the way when it comes to bonuses, you can enjoy thrilling entertainment from over 400 game titles.
PlayFrank: Under the umbrella of EveryMatrix, PlayFrank provides a fun and colourful casino environment that offers software from Betsoft Gaming, Evolution Gaming, IGT, Microgaming, and Net Entertainment, to name a few.
PlayOJO: This casino is touted as being the fairest online casino. In PlayOJO, there are no wagering requirements, no maximum win, no minimum withdrawal, and all wins are paid in cash. The lucrative site interface just uses ‘happy gaming’.
SlotsMagic: SlotsMagic offers a great game spread and is licensed in both Malta and the UK. Play more than 700 games in over 20 languages and 10 currencies, for premium entertainment.
Malta is surely the capital of all things regarding online betting. The MGA licence ensures that the casino operator that you are visiting conforms to optimal international standards. The level of entertainment at such casinos is usually out of the top draw, offering the player the best time possible, with decent protection to go with it.
The MGA is not a passive regulating body but tends to be pioneers in the gambling industry. As such, they are the forerunners towards offering fully regulated cryptocurrency casinos under their banner. This is most certainly an exciting prospect for the igaming industry.