Malta is famous for its beaches. However, from a non-resident business, this jurisdiction is a Mecca for representatives of the gambling business. Moreover, local corporate legislation is sharpened for the gambling business. Therefore online casinos, bookmakers, lottery operators, and other players of this market have firmly established themselves in this country. We will analyze how this small state became one of the capitals of gambling and how Malta controls the gambling business.
The online casino sector of the country is growing at a fast pace, accounting for a large share of the country’s GDP. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which regulates and supervises the gaming industry, is one of the first regulators to propose legislation for online gambling operators.
Malta State Gambling Law
In 2018, the Maltese Parliament approved in the third and final reading a new National Gambling Law. Under the new law, the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA) now takes on a more active oversight role, with a focus on compliance and enforcement to combat money laundering and terrorist financing issues. The MGA achieved new powers to interfere with the gambling business. Thus, the MGA Player Support Unit acts as an intermediary between the casino gamblers and operators. Besides, the law provides for new and more efficient criminal and administrative procedures in the country.
The MGA periodically reviews the regulations and legal framework within the gaming sector. Besides, it advises the government in this area, mainly focusing on consumer protection and casino integrity. According to Heathcliff Farrouge, executive director of the MGA, the new law expands the powers of this regulator, laying the necessary foundation to further strengthen player protection. This is how Malta controls the gambling business. Even some online casinos in the USA apply for their license here. Read about The Difference Between Licensed And Fake Gambling Software to make sure you play in the right place.
How Malta controls the gambling business
Effective enforcement of the rules in 2018 resulted in the cancellation of eight licenses and the suspension of four more. In its annual report, the MGA said it issued 16 warnings and 73 notices of violations during the year. A total of 139 administrative fines were issued for various violations. Most of the fines were imposed on companies that did not submit periodic reporting under the laws of Malta, as well as for breach of license terms and for failure to notify MGA about changes in their activities.
The MGA conducted a total of 33 full-scale anti-money laundering and terrorist financing investigations to establish their links to the gambling industry. Besides, the MGA’s Business and Ethics Compliance Committee found 63 gambling representatives unworthy of a license. A total of 37 of these were found to be inadequate for integrity and reputation following the MGA eligibility criteria.
Meanwhile, MGA, together with the Financial Information Analysis Group, is implementing procedures aimed at the online casino sector for the implementation of remote gaming. The MGA plans to launch a unified voluntary end-of-gambling system. This system covers all of its online licensees and collects the views of interested parties regarding this proposal. Thanks to the new regulatory regime, the Office was able to become more flexible in its decision making.
As for the plans of the MGA, Farrouge said the organization will continue to build up its regulatory powers by providing comprehensive oversight focused on market integrity and consumer protection. Also, they will embrace technological innovation without compromising the achievement of regulatory goals. Bovada Casino is a licensed platform that provides its visitors with a safe gambling experience.
The unified self-exclusion system: How Malta controls the gambling business
The MGA has launched a preliminary market consultation. They gather views on plans to create a unified self-exclusion system in the country’s regulated gambling market. This system would mean that players would be able to block access to all services of Maltese licensees if one of them was excluded. While gambling operators already have to offer players the option of self-exclusion, the databases of different companies have no connection in any way. Thus, a player blocked from the sites of one operator can play through another. The MGA said that, along with a similar system for the country’s land-based operators, the unified system will pursue the goal of implementing further controls to help prevent gambling-related harm.
The MGA explained that the chain of operation of the system will begin with a player who has expressed a desire to independently terminate the game on a specific site. The operator then transmits the relevant information to all other licensees in Malta. Meanwhile, they, in turn, can block this person from their platforms. The regulator said it may also consider expanding the system to include operators that don’t have Maltese licensing.
The MGA says the system should also include a dedicated central website. It will be an online form to collect consumer information, a self-exclusion database, data protection tools, and a record comparison process to match user information across accounts. In this regard, MGA collects information about available technologies, stating that the final system can be a combination of solutions. It can include both centralized and decentralized products, as well as use cloud storage. This is how Malta controls the gambling business.
How to get a gambling license in Malta?
To become the holder of a Malta gambling license, a company should meet several requirements:
- Firstly, it should be registered on the island, obtain a VAT number and register a legal address in the country;
- Secondly, the company should have at least two shareholders and at least one director;
- Each director and ultimate beneficiary of a company with a direct or indirect interest of at least 10% in a licensed company must pass an MGA test for professional suitability and integrity.
- The company should have a “key official”. It is an official resident in Malta, representing the company in government bodies. Moreover, for a Maltese online gambling company in the registration process, the participation of a resident of Malta is a prerequisite by law.
- Besides, the company should open a bank account. The gaming company will need at least two bank accounts. First is an operational one and second, that will hold the players’ money. Unfortunately, they cannot stay in the same account with the company’s funds. The timing of opening bank accounts depends on several factors. It includes the risk assessment carried out by the bank and the timing of receipt documentation.
- The company must pay the minimum share capital, which differs for each type of license.
- They also should pay government fees, prepare financial statements, and conduct system audits.
All in all, nowadays, it is not that easy to get this license because this is how Malta controls the gambling business. Only trust-worthy online casinos in the USA can go under the jurisdiction of this country. In our article Would you Stick to These Ridiculous Gambling Laws? you feel find some other interesting facts about the gambling laws. We suggest you get to know them before playing in the Bovada Casino. Good luck!