Gaming Licensing Malta
The regulation of online gambling, which Malta enacted in 2004, is still one of the most recognized regulatory frameworks in the world. Today, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA for short) regulates the entire remote gaming sector, i.e. the platforms on which distance gaming is offered. There have been several reforms here in recent years, most recently in 2018. One thing has become clearly evident: a license from Malta is highly regarded by banks, payment service providers, money launderers, software partners, governments, other regulators, and, of course – what is likely most important – players. The Maltese gambling regulation framework has an excellent reputation.
Of course, it has to be noted that Malta is no longer the only country with solid gambling regulations. Other countries try to outstrip Malta with their own ideas for regulation or bans, also for commercial reasons (fees, income tax). This is possible because gambling law is still not unified at the EU level—in fact, this is what engendered the use of the Maltese license.
Nevertheless, it must be stated very clearly: From a certain focal point or at a certain scale/presence in a certain country, you should consider applying for your license there, if possible. This does not mean that Malta is obsolete—far from it: Malta can still be utilized within a group for tax reasons, for reasons of reputation, and of course also in an international or global context. Similar to financial services, it is not advisable to start in Malta and then, depending on performance, apply for additional licenses as necessary.
It should be mentioned at this point that the Internet is still not censored. Accordingly, players cannot be restricted in the way that certain regulators and countries might wish.
Malta essentially offers four different licenses:
License Class 1 – Casino, Lotto, Virtual Sports
Type 1 – Games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random number generator. This includes casino-type games such as roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker, lotteries, secondary lotteries, and virtual sports games;
License Class 2 – Betting etc.
Type 2 – Games of chance played against the hourse, the outcome of which is determined not by a random number but by the outcome of an event or competition outside of a game of chance and where the operator manages his own risk by offering the player quotas;
License Class 3 – Poker, Pool Betting, Players-to-Players
Type 3 – Games of chance that not played against the house and in which the operator is not at risk from the game directly but earns income by taking a commission or other fee based on the stakes or price. This includes player-to-player games such as poker, bingo, betting exchanges, and other commission-based games;
License Class 3 – Fantasy Games
Type 4 – Controlled games of skill in accordance with regulation 8 of the „Gaming authorizations regulations“.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM OUR SERVICES
This service is aimed at entrepreneurs and companies considering offering gaming services internationally in a regulated and reputable setting. The service is particularly suitable for those who do not shy away from the effort demanded by proper regulation, but actively seek it out.
All the obligatory requirements of local authorities may not be known to foreigners willing to relocate to Malta. Our service makes the whole process more transparent and can guarantee all the mandatory registrations are in place. You will not have to be worried about eventual changes, as we are taking care also for updating the authorities accordingly.
Working with us - the process
Please note that the licensing process will take approximately 12 months from the submission of the appilcation, which, for its part, takes place relatively soon after the mandate has been given.
From a big-picture perspective, the process consists of two large blocks: A theoretical piece and a practical part.
The theoretical piece involves all information about the parties involved, the business case, the type of operation, capital management, the owners, process and procedures, the applicant (limited company) and the system, meaning the application and server infrastructure. This section involves all application forms, declarations, and certifications and can take one to three months, depending on complexity. Don’t be put off by the sheer amount of requested information; regulation in Malta is particularly rigorous and well respected because full transparency is required. This can seem pedantic and excessively bureaucratic, but the process and its streamlining actually demands it.
The requirements of the technical platform should be in place at the start of document compilation (see previous paragraph), at least in rudimentary form. This is because, in the technical part, you’ll have to demonstrate precisely this platform, including the backend functions and cyber security infrastructure. This is difficult to implement in the form of a theoretical construct. The corresponding system must be complete in at least a beta version—design and marketing are irrelevant. It’s all about how the platform works.
Important for the time line: If you have not yet started a platform or internal development, this process alone can take 6-12 months and lengthen the process accordingly.
In any case, after submitting the application, the MGA will contact us with requests for improvement and suggestions for the submitted documents. It is completely normal for certain things to be criticized and edits requested. This is the regulator’s essential task; it underpins its due care and diligence. The application will be taken on by a designated person at the MGA. Individual employees there have different interpretations and working methods; these differences unfortunately become evident in the process. The requirements given must simply be followed, even if they may sometimes seem very petty.
By the time of application, the corporation‘s capital must be meet the required amount, either €100,000, €200,000 or €40,000, depending on the desired license.
In the practical part of the process, the so-called system audit can be started after the application has been accepted by the authority or even shortly before acceptance. The system and the platform are put through their paces by external and independent auditors.
The system itself can be hosted in the cloud, but it requires live replication of the transaction server to a server hosted in Malta. If the client wishes to select their own data center or server location outside of Malta, this is of course up to them. An ongoing requirement necessary for licensing is that the examiners and the authority have access at all times and any on-site inspections of the data center will be paid for by the applicant or licensee. In Malta there are of course service providers with whom you can host the entire system.
Once the theoretical and practical parts have been successfully completed, the authority will presumably issue an “Approval in principle”. The authority hereby confirms that the application is fundamentally approved. However, there are usually additional requirements for the final issue of the license depending on the said “Approval in principle.” After this preliminary acceptance, you usually have 3-6 months to implement these requirements. You then stand to receive the full license and start operating accordingly.
As DWP Dr Werner & Partner we can offer you representation during the entire licensing process as well as the necessary company service. We stand behind our „A-Z service“ that consists of both regulatory, legal, tax, operational, and management consultation.
Our network also includes contacts to excellent real estate agents here in Malta, which we can recommend when looking for an apartment or house.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US FOR Gaming Licensing Malta
A key part of our project management of the entire process is involving external, experienced consultants at an early stage so that your application is prepared independently and long-term effectively. It should be particularly emphasized that applications, forms and the various declarations and certifications that are involved in the initial process are completely in our purview—we take of them, internally. We endeavor to hand over documents essentially ready for signature.
We do recommend that you contact a system auditor to check the technical documentation and comment on them before the MGA evaluation. Our legal department meanwhile provides the “policies and procedures” as a template that can then be adapted to your case. DWP Dr. Werner & Partner also takes on all communication with the MGA, both direct and indirect. We want to be the central point of contact for the project.
For the roles required by the regulator for a gaming operation, we advise you on staffing and can, if necessary, recommend partners or service providers who can fill certain roles. Please note that these third-party service providers will be charged separately.
Assisting in the design of the business plan is also one of our services. We can always find accomplished external service providers, such as software developers, marketing or payment service providers or banks, you wish.
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