When deciding which operators are fit for their online gambling license, Malta Gaming Authority is extremely thorough and demanding. All applicants must go through a very stringent and comprehensive process to prove that they meet the rigorous licensing criteria. During this process, the operators trying to obtain the license are required to provide extensive and in-depth information on the operations they wish to conduct in Malta. The Malta Gaming Authority then carefully and thoroughly analyzes and reviews the submitted documentation to decide whether the applicant qualifies for the license. Below is a more detailed overview of the whole process.
The time needed to get the Malta Gaming license depends a great deal on the applicant’s ability to provide all the necessary information and documentation to the MGA in a timely manner. After the operator submits the application and requested information, it usually takes 12-16 weeks to get full approval. But the whole process, including company formation, preparations, application submission and review takes on average 7-9 months.
Malta Gaming License is valid in all countries that don’t have their own regulations prohibiting gambling or provide their own local gaming license.
Malta Gaming License and Licensing Process
The process of applying for the Malta gaming license is streamlined, allowing the applicants to submit all the required documentation and information at once. When the necessary documentation is submitted, the MGA starts the evaluation process. It includes several steps to decide if the applicant is prepared and capable of conducting their operations in line with MGA’s norms and requirements.
The application moves through four stages where MGA decides if the applicant:
Is fit and proper to operate an online gaming company in Malta;
Has a sustainable business strategy in place;
Can fulfill the prescribed requirements from an operational and statutory perspective;
Has performed necessary tests and implementation to confirm that it operates, in a technical environment, as described in the application.
Malta Gaming License
In the process of evaluating the operator’s application, MGA assesses the information on the persons involved in administering the corporate entity applying for the license. This includes investigating and verifying the background of all shareholders, key personnel in charge of management and finance, and Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs). The Fit and Proper Test also involves the evaluation of the organization’s ability to conduct business. During the investigation, MGA cooperates with regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
When the applicant clears the Fit and Proper test, MGA moves on to exhaustive and meticulous evaluation of the organization’s business plan. The applicant is expected to submit a detailed three-year business plan laying out the proposed operation. The business plan should outline the comprehensive forecast of the future operation. It includes the information on company structure, the operation’s objectives, proposed marketing and distribution strategy, financial projection, growth goals, HR plans, and other performance targets and indicators.
In this stage, the Malta Gaming Authority will conduct a study of necessary business instruments. The objects of this analysis are corporate documentation, policies and procedures, tech system and setup, terms and conditions, rules and game procedures, and any other document MGA may ask for.
These three stages complete the desk-based portion of the evaluation of application requirements. The desk-based audit normally takes around 12-16 weeks, provided that all the submitted documentation and information is valid and correct. Those operators deemed to have submitted inconsistent and low-quality applications are rejected and will have to reapply.
The applicants who have successfully gone through the first three stages will be notified by the MGA that their application was a success. Then, they’re invited to perform the implementation of their operation onto the technical environment.
The MGA permits applicants 60 days to set up a trial implementation. Failing to complete the operation within that time frame will result in suspension and the operators will have to reapply. During these 60 days, MGA may, at any time, request a system review. The system audit is carried out by an independent third party which is contracted by the MGA at the applicant’s expense at a fixed market price. During the review, the auditor will check the operation in a live environment to see if it’s in line with what was proposed in the application.
To be successful, the operation should perform nearly identical to what was laid out in the business plan. If there are any significant deviations between the actual gaming system and the plan, the operator will have to reapply. If the certification process was completed successfully, the MGA will grant the operator a five-year license.
Once the operation goes live, the online gambling platform and entity providing it will be subject to a number of compliance audits. The compliance review will be conducted by an independent third party contracted by the MGA at the applicant’s expense at a fixed market price. The compliance will be observed periodically upon the request of the Malta Gaming Authority, according to the following schedule: after the operation has been running for a year since obtaining the MGA license; at any other time in accordance with the compliance audit plan determined by the MGA.
Unsuccessful compliance review will result in suspension or termination of the license.
The applicant’s financial reserves are also subject to the MGA’s inspection. A potential operator needs to adhere to minimum demands regarding the issued and paid-up share capital. The minimum required amount depends on the license type.
Malta Gaming License – Type 1
operators are those managing their own risk by offering repetitive games whose outcome depends on a random number generation. These games include casino and skill games and online lotteries.
minimum 100,000 EUR
Malta Gaming License – Type 2
operators manage their own risk by offering betting on matchbook-based events. Fixed odds, pool, and spread betting all fall in this type.
minimum 100,000 EUR
Malta Gaming License – Type 3
operators are not exposed to the gaming risk but earn revenue by taking a commission from promotion and/or betting. This category includes P2P games, game portals, betting exchanges, and poker networks.
minimum 40,000 EUR
Malta Gaming License – Type 1
operators can offer a B2B or B2C supply of controlled skill games such as fantasy sports.
minimum 40,000 EUR
In case that operators are applying for multiple licenses, they’re liable for cumulative shared capital per license, up to a maximum of EUR 240,000.
Malta Gaming License and its Benefits
One of the main reasons why Malta is a perfect iGaming environment is the availability of a highly-skilled workforce. The attractive employment prospects have attracted numerous quality professionals to Malta. The iGaming industry in this country currently employs over 10,000 people with that number increasing every year. The contribution these expertly trained candidates can bring to an organization is invaluable.
Attractive Fiscal Regime
The favorable tax regime in Malta benefits both the gambling operators and the country’s economy. Low taxes accelerate the growth of businesses as they’re able to obtain financial security and reinvest the profits back into their operations.
Economic and Political Stability
Malta’s economy has been steadily growing for years. The unemployment numbers are decreasing, GDP is rising, and inflation is under control. All of this creates a stable and secure environment where businesses can flourish.
Malta is an EU Member State
EU membership has helped Malta thrive in numerous economic sectors. They’re budding iGAming jurisdiction, host a FINTECH hub, and have proven themselves as one of the leaders in E-sports industry and P2P gaming. Malta Gaming License allows operators to offer their services across the EU and reach the market of more than half a billion people.
The MGA license has the reputation of being one of the most prestigious across the globe. Since Maltese Government brought forward the new set of regulations on iGaming in 2004, the reputation of the Malta license has been constantly growing. The countrywide implementation of best industry practices and pro-active approach by the local regulatory bodies have created a transparent and fair climate for gaming businesses to operate in.
Trusted by the Players
Having a Malta gaming license for the platform brings a great deal of trust from the players. The confidence players have in the MGA license is a result of strict control mechanisms and rigorous policies. All operators deemed worthy of the license are regularly monitored and audited to ensure that the player protection is on a high level. The integrity of the offered games is ensured and controlled by independent and licensed 3rd party supervision, which make Malta gaming license reputable.
Strict Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
Being a member of the European Union, Malta strictly follows all EU directives regarding the prevention of money laundering and maintains high standards in this field. The licensed gaming operators in Malta are subject to regular and rigorous FIAU and MGA inspections which allow businesses and the government to cooperate on anti-money laundering procedures.
Unlike in some other popular gaming jurisdictions, gaming operators registered in Malta can enjoy the benefits of its onshore status. As an EU member, Malta ensures that companies licensed on its territory can freely conduct international business. Malta’s onshore status is a guarantee of a stable, regulated, and welcoming environment for gaming businesses.
Malta Gaming License and Registrations Fee
Applicants and licensed operators face several non-refundable administrative fees prescribed by the Malta Gaming Authority. These include fees for applying for a new license, application for license renewal, key function certificate, transfer of a qualifying interest in a licensee, and maintenance fee for a material supply certificate. The operators also have to pay annual license fees and compliance contributions. The cost of annual fees depends on the class of license and whether the operator works on a B2B or B2C basis. Compliance contributions are calculated based on the yearly revenue generated.
Malta Gaming License and Reports
When the license application process is finished, the MGA grants the Licensee a 10-year gaming license. Upon obtaining the license, the Licensee is to submit a “Go Live Date” which can’t be later than 60 days since receiving the license. Before that date, the MGA representatives will tag the gaming equipment. From that moment, any eventual change to the gaming system, rules, technical setup, or any other modification to what has been submitted in the license application has to be in advance reported to MGA for authorization.
Below are the major reports that MGA requires the holder of Malta gaming license to submit in order to oversee the gaming activities.
Yearly Audited Accounts. Yearly Audited Accounts are comprehensive reports which MGA requires to review and analyze the overall financial and operational performance of the Licensee. Their preparation is conducted in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. The Licensee is obligated to submit these to the MGA no later than 180 days from the end of the fiscal year.
Half-Yearly Reports. The MGA requires the operators to provide the Management Accounts covering the first half of the financial year. These reports should be submitted before the end of the 8th month of the company’s fiscal year.
Monthly Reports. Every month the holder of Malta gaming license is required to submit Gaming Tax report and Player Funds report.
This list doesn’t cover all the reports that may be required, as others could be requested occasionally.
The new law, passed in 2018 recognizes only two types of licenses – B2B and B2C. The CEO of Malta Gaming Authority stated that this should simplify the current application procedures and help the further development of Malta’s iGaming industry.
At the moment, there are two MGA licenses available – B2B Malta Gaming License (Business to Business) and B2C Malta Gaming License (Business to Consumer). Depending on a specific product, games, and services the operator offers, there are different types of licenses available within these two main categories.
We, at Private Financial Services have experience in setting up gambling structures all around the world. Our portfolio of licensing includes the following countries: Malta gaming license, UK gaming license, Guernsey gaming license, Alderney, Estonia, Lithuania, Sweden, Curacao, Isle of Man and even Russia.
We will take care of all matters: analysis of your business model and country selection, formation of the legal entity, assistance with third party providers and banks, preparation of all internal policies and procedures, assistance with business plan and program of operations, compliance, assistance with application, and documents preparation to apply for gambling licenses, communication with regulators.