Online Gambling License in Malta
Malta has one of the more popular licensing authorities for online gambling in Europe. The island is located in the Mediterranean and is a full member of the EU. The country first started regulating online gaming in 2000 via the Public Lotto Ordinance. Malta then joined the EU in 2004 and thereby became the first EU member state to regulate online gambling.
Today, all forms of gaming in Malta are regulated by the Lottery and Gaming Authorities (LGA) under the Remote Gaming Regulations, 2004. Malta appears to be one of the safer licensing authorities in the world due to its strict standards for gambling sites and status as a full member of the EU. However, that hasn't always proven to be the case in reality.
Is This a Legitimate Licensing Authority?
A license from Malta doesn't mean much from the player's point of view. The LGA does appear to have strict licensing standards, but only in theory. In practice, the LGA awards licenses to operators fairly easily, and it doesn't follow up on many of the published safety standards required by the LGA.
Experienced gamblers look at a license from Malta as no big deal. There have been numerous cases in which companies licensed by Malta have confiscated player funds and refused to work with players to have those funds returned.
Malta doesn't involve itself in casino-player disputes. It maintains the right to revoke licenses, but it does not seem to follow through with much action when things go poorly.
On the other hand, a license from Malta isn't a stamp of death. PokerStars is the safest and most respected poker site on the planet and it does have a license from Malta. The catch is that PokerStars lives up to high standards of its own accord, and not because of anything Malta does.
If you're considering playing at a site licensed in Malta, your best bet would be to continue to do your research. There are both good and bad gambling sites registered under this authority. You'll have to let each site's reputation speak for itself. A license from Malta isn't in itself a guarantee of quality or lack thereof.
Licensing Process and Fees
There are four different types of licenses a gambling company can apply for in Malta. The initial application fees aren't terribly expensive, but Malta does charge ongoing fees that add up. With upwards of 500 sites licensed by Malta, these fees add up to a significant source of income for Malta. The most recent reports we could dig up indicate Malta earns roughly €50 million per year from its licensing activities.
Below are the four types of licenses and their associated fees. Note that all licenses incur an initial application fee of €2,330, a system audit fee of €1,770 and an annual license fee of €8,500 in addition to the following fees for each type of license.
There's also a cap of €466,000 per year in total taxes and fees for any one license.
Class 1 License
A Class 1 license is issued to sites that have casino-style games such as blackjack, roulette, and slots.
- €4,660 for the first six months
- €7,000 per month after that
Class 2 License
A Class 2 license is given to operators who manage sports betting types of wagers that include a vigorish/juice.
- 0.5% tax on total gross amount of bets placed
Class 3 License
A Class 3 license is issued to operators who take a commission on peer-to-peer bets such as poker, bingo, betting exchanges, and lotteries.
- 5% of total real income
Class 4 License
A Class 4 license is issued to those who manage and host gaming operations. For example, software providers who manage the games/bets but aren't actually involved in taking bets for their own profit.
- No fee for the first six months
- €2,330 for the next six months
- €4,660 per month thereafter
If you have more questions or concerns about the different types of licenses or fees you can always visit thie website or contact them by phone or email. Below is all the contact information for the Lottery and Gaming Authorities in Malta:
Phone: +356 2546 9000
Author: Wesley Burns
Updated: March 2015