23.05.2017

Licensing of online gaming in Malta commenced more than ten years ago having its first online betting businesses established under the Public Lotto Ordinance. The new Remote Gaming Regulations were then introduced in 2004 under the Lotteries and Other Games Act.

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the regulatory body in Malta which assists companies established within the European Economic Area in obtaining a Maltese License. In Malta, there are four types of class licences to which applicants can apply. As classes vary depending on the type of gaming services being offered there i are no restrictions in applying for more than one license. Being a well-regulated jurisdiction, Malta gives confidence as well as comfort to applicants and their respective players. Such key benefit reassures the involved parties that the whole process is transparent, fair and that money is secure.

Application process

Further to in-depth research and consideration of all the implications involved (e.g. costs, legal and tax implications) potential applicants may submit the application to MGA. Upon receipt of the application, the MGA will undertake a thorough process in order to assess whether the applicant is fit and proper to conduct such business and whether s/he has met all the requirements needed with respect to the particular class being applied for.

In order to achieve this, the MGA will:

  • Comprehensively analyse the business plan submitted which must include forecasts, targets and marketing strategies amongst other information
  • Undertake independent investigations on the individuals involved in finance and management roles
  • Examine the constitutional documents of the company as well as the terms and conditions being attached to the business process
  • Ensure that the minimum required issued share capital has been fully paid up.

Once the MGA clarifies all the information needed, the application will be successful. This enables the applicant to perform a technical roll-out within 60 days during which an audit of the applicant’s complete business has to be undertaken by a third party contracted by the MGA. Failure to do so within 60 days the application will be considered as suspended.

The issuance of the license is then granted for a period of five years after which the renewal has to be made for a further five years.

Types of licences

Companies which opt to apply for multiple licences are required to maintain a minimum paid up share capital of €240,000 cumulatively.

Sustaining a license

Before a license is expired a compliance review is undertaken by the MGA after the first and third year and whenever it is deemed necessary. Failure to comply with the stipulated requirements may lead to the suspension of the license. In this regard, at least one Key Official, who is approved by the MGA, has to be appointed as the director of the company. The responsibilities of the Key Official include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Assist MGA in investigations and the respective third party auditors
  • Ensures transparency and fairness in the games being offered
  • Supervise operations
  • Ensures full compliance.

More information can be obtained through the FAQs of the MGA.

Website

The MGA also provides a list of what needs to be displayed on the homepage of the license holder’s website. This includes:

  • Registered name of the company holding the license
  • Registered address of the company holding the license
  • Official license number and date of issuance
  • MGA regulated operations declaration
  • Hyperlinks to the websites of organisations, which are approved by MGA, whom aide problem gamblers
  • Hyperlinks to the terms and conditions
  • Logo of MGA which links users to the MGA website
  • Other information that MGA deems necessary.

Here at Fairwinds Management, we can provide assistance throughout the whole process starting from the company incorporation, licenses application, creating the business plan and forecasts and guide you through all the necessary steps in order to obtain a license. If you would like to discuss with us the above, do not hesitate to contact Ms Joceline Caruana, B.Com, M.Acc, Melit, AIA, Cert. Tax on jcaruana@fairwindsmanagement.net.