Malta Online Gambling Legislation

5 November 2011

Applying for Internet Gambling in Malta

Malta was the first EU member state to introduce Remote Betting regulations.

The only legislative entity managing all gambling activities in Malta is the Lotteries & Gambling Authority (LGA). It is responsible for regulating commercial bingo, casino gambling, & communication games, remote gambling, sports betting, the National & other lotteries, nonprofit games.

The authority's main target is being neutral in terms of know-how & game of any type of betting by means of distant communication providing first rate Online Betting Jurisdiction in Malta. It means that any remote game which can be monitored under Malta LGA is thought about for licensing. The most dynamic Net betting sector in Malta is regulated by the Remote Gambling Regulations 2004.

To provide Internet betting/gaming services in Malta one should apply for a license of the relevant class :

  • Class 1 covers casino-type games, skill games and online lotteries and is for operators responsible for the risk on repetitive games;
  • Class 2 comprises fixed odds betting, pool betting and spread betting and is for operators responsible for the risk on events based on a matchbook;
  • Class 3 includes P2P, poker network, betting exchange and game portals and is for operators taking a commission from promoting and/or betting games;
  • Class 4 permits to host and manage remote gaming operators excluding the licensee himself and is for software vendors.

According to Malta Internet Gambling laws, license of any class is issued for five years and could be renewed thereafter for the same periods. The obligatory requirements in Malta Online Gambling Regulation is to locate physically in the country the significant part of the online betting or gaming operations.

Maintenance of the License

In granting a license the Authority may subject it to such conditions as it may deem appropriate, and after the grant of such licence the Authority may from time to time vary or revoke any condition so imposed, or impose new conditions.

A license granted by the Authority may impose conditions relating to, inter alia:

  • (a) the proper operation of interactive games
  • (b)
  • the protection of players
  • (c)
  • the prevention of money laundering
  • (d)
  • exigencies of public interest.

The granting of a license is a revocable privilege, and no holder thereof shall be deemed to have acquired any vested rights therein or hereunder. The burden of proving the licensee's qualifications to hold a license shall rest at all times on the licensee.

As a further guide to interpretation LGA specifies a number of services that are deemed (or not deemed) as strictly required, related or essential for a licensee to provide to meet the requirements of acquiring a licence in Malta.

The list of strictly required services covers the issues related to: fraud prevention, game functionality, risk management, player support, intermediaries commission, payments solutions.

At the same time the following services are not considered to be strictly required: marketing, technical and hardware supply services, telecommunications, professional fees, staff costs, administration and other costs.

It shall also be the duty of the licensee to obtain the prior approval in writing of the Authority before taking any of the following actions: assignment or transfer of a license, changes in the Board of Directors, resolution or application to the Court for dissolution, transfer a qualifying shareholding in the licensee, increase an existing holding, reduce an existing qualifying shareholding, the sale or other disposition by the licensee of its business, the merger of the licensee with another company, the reconstruction, division of a company, the reduction of the nominal or issued share capital of the licensee or the increase or reduction of its voting share capital or any material change in voting rights in such licensee, entering into any contractual arrangements with any supplier or entity providing services, if such supplier or entity will receive a percentage of the profits of the remote gaming operation, pursuant to such an agreement, the surrender of the licence by the licensee during the licence term.

In all its actions, Licensee is also bound to maintain financial records, an updated control and gaming system, serious anti-money laundering (AML) policies & procedures, data protection procedures, responsible gaming and advertising policies. All this needs to be maintained in order to ensure the financial and personal protection of the player.

5 November 2011

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