Online Casinos Licensed in Malta

Lucas Costa
September 17, 2023
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Online casinos licensed in Malta are renowned for their stringent security measures, making them immensely popular. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) license, outlining its pros and cons. We will also introduce you to some of the top online casinos in Malta.

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The Malta License

The Malta casino license has not only made a lasting impact on online gambling in the USA but has also significantly influenced the economy of the small Mediterranean island. Presently, the revenues generated by this industry make up to 10% of Malta’s gross domestic product.

The Malta license has garnered a strong reputation among both casino operators and players. The licensing regulations were introduced in 2004, and they swiftly attracted numerous providers from the UK and offshore locations. In addition to the robust Malta license, the allure of online casino providers is also attributed to their favorable tax obligations.

What licenses are there in Malta

Malta offers various licenses for different aspects of the gambling industry. Besides the casino license, there are licenses available for sports betting and poker. We will explore the different types of licenses that casinos can obtain.

The primary license is the traditional B2C license, which directly governs the relationship between the provider and the end customer. However, this type of license has become less common due to the increasing popularity of white-label solutions. Even major casinos are now assembling their licenses more frequently. How do they achieve this? With the assistance of B2B licenses. Companies like NetEnt or Microgaming, which develop gaming software, typically acquire B2B licenses rather than B2C licenses. However, a casino can use these B2B licenses to streamline the process of obtaining an overarching license. This explains the varying license types you may encounter:

Here’s an explanation of what’s displayed in the screenshot: The B2C license is the general license that a casino obtains and governs their dealings with the end customers. Acquiring this license is made easier because the casino can utilize all B2B licenses from the listed software providers you see under Type 1. The Type 2 B2B license, on the other hand, pertains to B2B licenses for sports betting solutions, providing a comprehensive offering.

The list of domains below illustrates what is meant by “white label.” These casinos share identical infrastructure and operate under the same company, holding a single license.

Advantages

  • ✅ Very reliable EU license
  • ✅ MGA has a high reputation
  • ✅ Player funds must be kept separate
  • ✅ Arbitration by the MGA authority
  • ✅ High requirement for cyber security

Disadvantages

  • 🛑 Long response times for the player
  • 🛑 No cryptocurrencies

The gambling authority MGA

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has consistently prioritized a commitment to integrity and security. It grants secure licenses to trusted operators and enforces rigorous oversight over their activities. Simultaneously, it places significant emphasis on preventing the infiltration of organized crime funds into the casino and betting provider industry. Despite past instances of corruption in Malta, the MGA is widely acknowledged as one of the most effective regulatory authorities in combatting illicit financial transactions.

The authority’s primary objectives include:

  • Setting clear requirements for license issuance
  • Implementation of training courses for license holders
  • Measures against money laundering
  • Measures against fraud attempts

Here, I’ll outline the process of obtaining a license from a regulatory authority, detailing what is typically assessed, what holds significance, and what factors can lead to a license application being denied:

Obtaining a license from the MGA – requirements

  • 🤵 Examination of Individuals: This marks the initial phase of the comprehensive examination process. The directors or partners of the company seeking a license undergo thorough scrutiny. This assessment encompasses self-disclosure, as well as inquiries made to international gambling and law enforcement authorities. The paramount objective is to guarantee that individuals with a criminal record or a history of license-related problems are not eligible for license approval. This meticulous examination helps uphold the integrity and trustworthiness of license holders in the gambling industry.
  • 📈 Key Business Plan: While it may seem unusual, the business plan holds an absolutely crucial role in the authority’s evaluation process. The aim is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business, minimizing the risk of sudden bankruptcy. A financially healthy company is less likely to engage in risky practices that could jeopardize customer funds. It’s important to note that this type of audit is conducted similarly even in well-established gambling hubs like Las Vegas.
  • 🤔 Compliance issues: This term is frequently used in various contexts, including banking and corporate governance. In the context of obtaining a license, it refers to the evaluation of planned internal processes in day-to-day operations and troubleshooting. This involves an examination of the technical architecture of the casino software and its capability to ensure adherence to all legal requirements. It’s essential to ensure that the software and processes in place comply with the regulatory framework, maintaining transparency and legality in the operations of the gambling platform.
  • 💻 System audit: This phase may seem unconventional to those not familiar with the process. Once the applicant has successfully navigated the initial steps, they are granted a 60-day window to put their plans into action, essentially building the platform as previously outlined. In addition, there is the option to have the audit conducted again by external third-party experts. It’s worth noting that if the applicant surpasses the stipulated 60-day timeframe, the application process must commence anew. Extensions to the deadline are typically not granted. Any substantial alterations to the platform necessitate initiating a new licensing process. If all requirements are met, the company is granted a license that is valid for a duration of five years.

As previously mentioned, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is widely regarded as a highly modern and efficient regulatory body. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the licensing process is designed with mechanisms aimed at ensuring continued integrity.

For instance, third-party audits occur at specific intervals, including one year, the third year, and just before the five-year license period expires. Even more noteworthy is the authority’s ability to order additional audits at any time, especially when there is a suspicion of discrepancies or potential fraud.

The cost associated with obtaining an MGA gambling license is estimated to be around $30,000 per year, and the entire process typically takes approximately 15 weeks. It’s important to note that this timeline applies to obtaining an independently owned gambling license, rather than a white label casino operation.

Why is an MGA casino better than a US casino?

The preference for an MGA-licensed casino over a US-based casino depends on various factors and individual preferences. Here are some reasons why someone might consider an MGA casino as a better choice:

  1. Stringent Regulation: The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is known for its strict regulatory framework. MGA-licensed casinos are held to high standards of fairness, security, and player protection. This can provide a sense of trust and assurance for players.
  2. International Reputation: MGA-licensed casinos have an established international reputation for maintaining integrity in the online gambling industry. Many players worldwide recognize and trust this licensing authority.
  3. High Standards of Responsible Gaming: MGA casinos often have comprehensive responsible gaming measures in place, including self-exclusion options and deposit limits, which can help players manage their gambling habits.
  4. Game Fairness: MGA casinos typically require their games to be independently tested for fairness and randomness. This ensures that players have a fair chance of winning.
  5. Strong Security Measures: MGA-licensed casinos often have robust security protocols, including data encryption and anti-fraud measures, to protect player information and financial transactions.
  6. Dispute Resolution: MGA provides a mechanism for dispute resolution between players and operators, offering players an avenue for addressing concerns or issues.
  7. Variety of Games: MGA-licensed casinos often offer a wide variety of games from different software providers, providing a diverse gaming experience.

However, it’s important to note that the United States is continually evolving in its approach to online gambling. Several US states have legalized and regulated online gambling, and there are reputable US-based online casinos as well. The choice between an MGA casino and a US casino can depend on the specific casino, its licensing, and the player’s preferences for game selection, payment methods, and other factors. Ultimately, the “better” choice varies from person to person and depends on individual priorities and requirements.

What to do in case of a problem with an MGA casino?

In the event of a problem with an MGA-licensed casino, here are the steps you can take:

  1. Check Casino Details: You can access information about the casino’s license, history, and more through the MGA’s website. This can help you understand the casino’s regulatory standing and any past issues.
  2. Contact the Casino Directly: The preferred approach is to address your concerns directly with the casino’s customer support. Casino providers are encouraged to resolve issues with their customers, and many issues can be resolved efficiently through direct communication.
  3. File an Official Complaint with MGA: If your issue remains unresolved or if you believe the casino has not acted in compliance with regulations, you can file an official complaint with the Malta Gaming Authority. The MGA takes these complaints seriously and will investigate the matter.
  4. Provide Documentation and Evidence: When you file a complaint with the MGA, be prepared to submit all relevant documents and evidence related to your case. This can help the authority assess the situation thoroughly.
  5. Legal Consequences: It’s important to note that any attempt to deceive or manipulate the process will be taken seriously by the MGA, and players attempting to defraud the system can face consequences.

The MGA plays a significant role in ensuring the fair and responsible operation of online casinos under its jurisdiction. Their commitment to addressing player concerns and enforcing regulations helps maintain the integrity of the industry and protects players’ interests.

How does the MGA ensure player safety?

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) takes several measures to ensure player safety and maintain the integrity of the casinos it regulates:

  1. Stringent Regulation: The MGA has established a robust regulatory framework that imposes strict requirements on casino operators. This framework covers various aspects of online gambling, including game fairness, responsible gaming, and player protection.
  2. Background Checks: The MGA conducts thorough background checks on casino operators, their key personnel, and shareholders to ensure that individuals with criminal records or associations with negative influences are not granted licenses.
  3. Responsible Gaming Measures: MGA-licensed casinos are required to implement responsible gaming measures, such as self-exclusion options, deposit limits, and problem gambling assistance, to help players manage their gambling habits.
  4. Data Protection: Stringent data protection and privacy measures are in place to safeguard player information from unauthorized access and misuse.
  5. Game Fairness: The MGA requires that games offered by licensed casinos are independently tested for fairness and randomness. This ensures that players have a fair chance of winning.
  6. Audits and Inspections: Regular audits and inspections are conducted by the MGA to monitor compliance with regulations and to address any issues that may arise.
  7. Dispute Resolution: The MGA provides a mechanism for dispute resolution between players and operators, ensuring that players have a means to address concerns and complaints.
  8. Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) Procedures: MGA casinos are required to have stringent AML and KYC procedures in place to prevent money laundering and fraud.
  9. Periodic Audits: The MGA conducts third-party audits of casinos at regular intervals to assess their adherence to regulations and ensure ongoing compliance.
  10. Preventing Negative Influences: The MGA takes measures to prevent the use of casino operations for negative influences, such as organized crime or illegal financial transactions.
  11. ⚔️ Fight against money laundering ⚔️ – One of the most important tasks is to implement the EU requirements to combat money laundering. This doesn’t always have to do with classic mafia money. It is crucial for the authorities to understand how an applicant acquired their wealth. Was it obtained illegally? Has it been properly taxed? Can the origin of the earnings be traced? Increasingly, the same requirements also apply to a regular real estate purchase, so this should be examined more closely.
  12. 🚫 No tolerance for the mafia 🚫 – Why this is a separate issue is also due to geography and, of course, gambling itself. Gambling has a long history, in which criminals, in particular, have had a hand in it, and on top of that, Sicily is really on Malta’s doorstep. The authority has failed to issue licenses on several occasions and even revoked them retrospectively when it became clear that the mafia was using straw men to get into the online casino business.
  13. 💰 Protection of player funds 💰 – Player funds are protected in the first instance because the Malta authority looks closely at who gets a casino license in the first place. However, it is equally important that player funds are always kept separate from the company’s normal funds. This way, even in the event of bankruptcy, these are still to be saved so that all players can receive their money.

Additionally, there are clear guidelines on how to precisely verify the identity of players, ensuring that no one can commit credit card fraud or other fraudulent activities without being detected in the end.

Are Malta casinos legal in the USA?

The legality of Malta-licensed casinos in the USA is not a straightforward matter. In principle, the Maltese license is an EU license, and the freedom of services concept should apply, allowing these casinos to offer services in the USA. However, US authorities and courts have increasingly sought to recognize only US licenses as valid. It’s important to note that there is no consistent stance on this issue, and different courts may interpret it differently. The legality of Malta-licensed casinos in the USA can be subject to ongoing legal debates and varying perspectives. Players and operators should be aware of the specific regulations and restrictions in their state or jurisdiction.

Can players recover lost funds?

Yes, in certain situations, players may be able to recover lost funds from casinos, particularly when there are legitimate grievances or issues related to the casino’s conduct. However, it’s important to note that this approach can be debated and raises ethical questions, as players are generally responsible for their gambling decisions, and any winnings are retained.

It’s worth mentioning that the internet has seen a rise in advertisements from individuals or entities promising to recover lost funds in exchange for a fee. Many of these claims can be associated with scams, and caution is advised when encountering such offers.

In general, the Maltese gambling license is often considered to be more mature and stringent than certain US gambling licenses. This maturity also extends to the regulatory authority’s approach to issues like player protection and dispute resolution. Players may have better avenues for addressing concerns and seeking restitution in cases of genuine grievances when playing at casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA).

Conclusion about the Malta MGA Casinos

In conclusion, Malta MGA casinos are widely regarded as a highly reputable alternative to US-licensed casinos. They offer the security and regulation of a top European authority without the many restrictions imposed by US licenses.

One potential drawback, in my opinion, is the absence of support for cryptocurrencies. Nevertheless, aside from this, Malta MGA casinos come highly recommended for players seeking a trustworthy and regulated gaming experience.

FAQs about Malta MGA Casinos

Are Malta MGA casinos safe to play at?

Yes, Malta MGA casinos are known for their high safety and security standards, making them a trusted choice for players.

How do I file a complaint with the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)?

You can file a complaint directly with the MGA if you encounter issues at an MGA-licensed casino. They take these matters seriously and have mechanisms in place for dispute resolution.

Can I recover lost funds from MGA casinos?

In certain cases, players may be able to recover lost funds, especially if they have legitimate grievances against the casino.

Do Malta MGA casinos support cryptocurrencies?

No, Malta MGA casinos typically do not support cryptocurrencies for transactions.

How long does it take to obtain an MGA gambling license?

The process usually takes around 15 weeks to obtain an MGA gambling license.

Is the MGA license recognized in the United States?

The recognition of an MGA license in the United States can vary, as US authorities may prioritize US licenses. It’s subject to interpretation and may not be consistent across all states.

What measures does the MGA take to ensure player safety?

The MGA enforces stringent regulations, conducts background checks, promotes responsible gaming, and regularly audits casinos to ensure player safety and integrity in the industry.

Why are Malta MGA casinos recommended?

Malta MGA casinos are recommended for their strong reputation, regulatory standards, and commitment to player protection, making them a trustworthy choice.

Author Lucas Costa