Malta Gambling License Review

Known as the industry gold standard, a Malta gambling license is prized in the EU, is recognized throughout the world, and has a solid legitimacy reputation among players. Operators with an MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) license are highly respected, as licensees must run a secure business environment, have strong player protection, ensure the integrity of games and gaming devices, and keep gaming free from criminal activities.

Malta, an island country located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, was the first EU Member State country to introduce remote (online) gambling regulations. In 2004, the Remote Gaming Regulation was passed and the Lotteries and Gaming Authority – which later changed to the Malta Gaming Authority in 2015 – quickly gained a reputation for being a leading licensor and regulator in the iGaming industry. Moreover, the MGA has been whitelisted by the UK Gambling Commission, which allows many MGA licences holders to advertise in the UK market. The MGA also has secured bilateral agreements with several other regulators.

The iGaming industry makes up a large portion of Malta’s economy and is the third largest private sector industry in the nation. In 2019, iGaming accounted for 13% of the country’s GDP, generating more than €1.5 billion. Additionally, more than 4.5% of the country’s workforce (11,000) have jobs directly related to the iGaming industry. The country’s government is one of the most gambling-friendly in the world.

Many of the global industry’s top gambling operators hold a Malta gaming license and have businesses in the country. That said, in spite of this, there is still plenty of room for other entrepreneurs who want to base an iGaming operation out of the Mediterranean island. The country has a thriving business sector, and it welcomes not only corporate giants but also startups. In fact, the monthly Compliance Contribution is waived for a startups’ first 12 months of licensed operation as long as they meet certain criteria (e.g. a company is less than 5 years old and its revenue is under €10 million).

Malta is also home to SiGMA, the world’s largest iGaming festival and one of the most important annual events in the global iGaming industry. It is an expo that grows with each passing year. SiGMA includes industry-leading experts who speak on important topics and brings together thousands of delegates and affiliates, providing excellent opportunities to forge new partnerships.

The country’s hospitable government toward iGaming and its thriving business and technology sectors has created a winning situation for both gambling operators and authorities. That said, while Malta has done a phenomenal job at establishing itself as an international iGaming leader, navigating the bureaucratic procedures of obtaining a Malta online gaming license isn’t a streamlined process. Here, in our Malta gambling license review, we will provide you with insightful information – from MGA license costs and the license process to benefits and drawback – to help you get started on your journey to obtain one of the industry’s most sought-after licenses.

Malta License Fast Facts

  • First gambling license issued – 2004
  • Regulator – Malta Gaming Authority
  • License provider – Malta Gaming Authority
  • Number of license types – 4
  • Approximate license costs – Starts at €36,000+ (cost depends on license type)
  • Average time to obtain license – 3 – 6 months
  • License validity period – 10 Years

Types of Licenses – What Licenses Does Malta Offer?

Types of Licenses

Malta offers both B2B licenses (companies who wish to provide gambling materials to other companies) and B2C licenses (companies who wish to offer gambling activities to consumers). Since your goal as an iGaming operator is to provide activities to players, you’ll need to apply for the appropriate Malta B2C license that applies to the class of games you’ll be offering. All licenses are supplied by the Malta Gaming Authority.

Malta’s B2C licenses are divided into 4 types:

Type 1 License

The Type 1 Malta gaming license is for operators who organize games of chance where the result of the games is determined by an RNG (Random Number Generator). Examples include online casino games (slots, roulette, blackjack, etc.), live casino games, virtual sports games, bingo, etc.

  • Ideal for online casino operators
  • License validity – 10 years

Type 2 License

The Type 2 Malta gaming license is for operators who organize games of chance where the result is determined by the outcome of an event. Examples include sports betting, event betting, eSports, etc.

  • Ideal for sportsbook operators
  • Licence validity – 10 years

Type 3 License

The Type 3 Malta gaming license is for operators who organize games of chance that generate revenue through commission that is based on stakes or prizes. Examples include online poker rooms.

  • Ideal for poker site operators
  • License validity – 10 years

Type 4 License

The Type 4 Malta gaming license is for operators who organize controlled skill games that have a result that is decided by aggregated statistical performance. Examples include fantasy sports.

  • Ideal for fantasy sports operators
  • License validity – 10 years

The License Process – How Do I Get a Malta Gambling License?

The good news is that if you require more than one gambling license from Malta, you do not need to submit a new application for each one. In 2018, Malta changed its licensing and regulatory framework and introduced the Gaming Act 2018. This act not only extended the validity of an MGA license from 5 years to 10 years, but also made it easier for applicants to obtain more than one license, so you can add the types of games you offer without having to go though the licensing process repeatedly.

With that said, the following are the step-by-step requirements that must be followed during the license application process.

The Malta Gambling License Process

Requirements for obtaining a license

Step 1 – Register an office in Malta

To obtain a B2C MGA gaming license, you must have a registered office in the country. You should also register your company with a minimum of two shareholders. Your company must have one director and a company secretary (both will be subject to MGA’s Fit and Proper Test – described in the next step). Other company positions that must be filled to meet the MGA’s requirements and obligations include:

  • CEO
  • Key Gaming Operations (as well as Key Finance, Key Risk, Key Fraud)
  • Key Compliance Officer (as well as Key Responsible Gaming, Key Player Support, Key Marketing)
  • Key Legal
  • Key Data Protection
  • Key AML & CFT
  • Key Technology (as well as Key Information Security)
  • Internal Audit

Step 2 – Fit and proper check

In this stage, the MGA will conduct a thorough investigation into the license applicant(s), the backgrounds of shareholders and other key persons for verification purposes. This includes assessing all information on the client regarding the financial and management aspects of their business. The Malta Gaming Authority’s “Fit and Proper Test” assess information pertaining to all business owners and any person who is involved in administration. This includes:

  • Probity investigation involving other national and international regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
  • Each owner/applicant must provide a police certificate of good conduct that is no more than three months old.
  • Each owner/applicant must provide bank references no older than three months together with notarized copies of passports.

Step 3 – Business plan check

After the application has passed the fit and proper check, the Malta Gaming Authority will meticulously scrutinize the applicant’s business plan. The business plan must have a detailed forecast of the operation. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Marketing and distribution
  • Human resources
  • Where the data and software will be hosted*
  • Forecast of operation/growth targets
  • Financial prospects

All hosting and servers must be in Malta and be in line with Malta online gaming license requirements.

Step 4 – Statutory requirements check

Once the MGA has determined the applicant’s credibility and the feasibility of their iGaming business plan, the regulator will analyze other aspects including (but not limited to):

  • Corporate documentation
  • Policies and procedures
  • Terms, conditions, and rules
  • Details of all gaming software that will be used/games that will be offered
  • Details of all third-party agreements

Additionally, the financial reserves of the Malta gambling license applicant will be checked by the MGA. The necessary amount of paid-up share capital differs depending on the type of license as follows:

  • €100,000 – Type 1
  • €100,000 – Type 2
  • €40,000 – Type 3
  • €40,000 – Type 4

Licensees are liable for share capital for each license they have. This is capped at €240,000.

Step 5 – Compliance and system audit

Once you reach this stage of the application process, you will be notified if your application has been approved, and you will be invited to implement your operation into a technical environment. In other words, you will be invited to “go live” in a controlled environment. From this point you will have 60 days to complete a required system audit. You must request an external System Review. This system audit will be carried out by a qualified system auditor that is pre-approved by the MGA and chosen by you.

The auditor will check whether your gambling business operates as it was proposed in your business plan you submitted in your application. Your business – casino, sportsbook, etc. – should operate exactly as you stated in your outlined business plan. If it fails to do so, you will need to re-submit your application. Once all processes have been certified, you will be granted a license valid for 10 years.

Within 90 days of your operation going live, a compliance auditor recognized by the Malta Gaming Authority will review your project. On average, the processing for registering and licencing your iGaming operation varies between 3 to 6 months. However, the entire process from start to compliance audit completion can take anywhere between 30 – 50 weeks.

Will all that said, here is an overview of what is required for the application process.

Malta Gaming License Basic Requirements

License Costs – How Much Does a Malta License Cost?

There is no one set Malta gaming license cost. The fees you pay will depend on a variety of factors, most notably which license (or the number of licenses) you apply for. However, on average, the combined cost of the initial application fee, license fee, and systems and compliance audit is €36,000.

With that being said, the following example is a general break down of B2C Malta gambling license costs*

Malta Gambling License Cost B2C

MGA license holders are responsible for making an annual compliance contribution. This is calculated based on the type of license you hold and your company’s revenues. For startups, the first year of operation is not taxed as long as the company is less than 5 years old, and its revenue is under €10 million.

The following example is a general break down of B2C Malta gambling compliance contribution fees*

Malta Gambling License Contribution Fees B2C

There is also a 5% Gaming Tax applied on Gaming Revenue that is generated from Malta based players. Whether or not tax is applied depends on if the player is established, has a permanent address and/or usually resides in Malta.

*Note: Keep in mind that the costs that have been listed are only for B2C licenses and for informational purposes only to provide you with an idea of overall expenses. Prices and fees will vary from one B2C licence to the next and there are separate costs for B2B license holders.

Licensee Regulations – What Rules Am I required to Follow?

You must follow all laws, regulations, and codes of conduct that have been put forth by the Malta Gaming Authority. This includes following all rules related to:

  • Protecting minors (preventing underage gambling)
  • Protecting vulnerable persons (those at increased risk of problem gambling)
  • Promoting responsible gaming in a safe environment
  • Ensuring the integrity of games and gaming devices
  • Keeping gaming operations free from criminal activity

Failure to comply with regulations and/or breaching rules and laws can results in fines and/or suspension and/or having your license revoked.

Malta Licensee Regulations

In what regions does this license allow me to operate?

A B2C Malta iGaming license can be used in all countries that have not imposed their own local prohibitions or conditions on remote gambling. Moreover, the EU Freedom of Establishment law and subsequent Court of Justice ruling makes it impossible for EU member sates to restrict gaming from Malta in any way.

Example of regions covered/ not blocked by gaming sites with a Malta gaming license**:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • India
  • Russia
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Norway
  • UK

**Note: For any country that has local gambling regulations (e.g the UK), a separate local license may be required to advertise to players in these regions. Depending on the region, certain payment service providers may also block funds from these countries.

While an MGA license is acceptable in many regions, there are certain jurisdictions where gambling is restricted or where an MGA license cannot legally be used. Examples include:

  • Curacao
  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • USA
  • Statia
  • Saba
  • St. Maarten
  • Singapore

License Pros and Cons – Is a Malta License Right for Me?

Malta License Pros and Cons

It’s important to know what the benefits and drawbacks are for each gambling license you’re considering applying for. For the Malta gambling license some of the more notable pros and cons to think about are:

Malta gaming license advantages

  • Secure business environment – iGaming is an important part of the Maltese economy. The nation has a highly skilled and experienced iGaming workforce. It is also home to a large number of ancillary gaming service providers, such as software, hardware, data, marketing, advertising, and affiliate companies.
  • The MGA has agreements with other regulators – The Malta Gaming Authority has built up a solid international reputation. It is on the UK Gambling Commission’s whitelist. As such, many licensees are greenlighted to advertise in the UK market. It also has bilateral agreements with other regulators, cooperating in areas like information sharing.
  • Tax benefits – Malta’s corporate tax rate is 35%. However, there is a full tax imputation system in place. Shareholders are entitled to a tax credit equal to the tax that was paid on the profits that the dividends were paid for. Additionally, the 5% gaming tax is only levied against iGaming revenue generated from players based in Malta.
  • Gaming friendly with player trust – Malta is known for providing a secure business environment for online gambling operators and for its adherence to responsible gaming and anti-money laundering standards. It has a highly-developed legal framework and strong player protection. It has built a reputation of trust among industry organizations and players alike.

Malta gaming license drawbacks

  • Application process is lengthy and complex – The application procedure is highly complex and requires various checks which can take time. The entire process can take anywhere from 3 months up to a year, depending on the application, number of applicants, etc.
  • One of the most expensive iGaming licenses – Compared to other regulators, the Malta gaming license is one of the costliest. For instance, compared to a Curacao license, which costs between €20,000 – €25,000 and covers all forms of gambling activities, the Type 1 iGaming license (covering only online casino activity) from Malta starts at €36,000. That being said,, it’s not uncommon to pay more for a license that comes with a highly-respected reputation and additional industry perks.

Malta Gambling License FAQ

Malta Gambling License FAQ
How much does a license cost?

The Malta gaming license starts at €36,000 (including initial application fee, license fee, and systems and compliance audit). Other fees to consider include the annual compliance contribution.

How long does it take to get a gambling license with Malta?

On average it takes between 12 to 16 weeks but may be longer. It all depends on how smooth the application process runs, and how quickly necessary checks are conducted and approved.

What type of license do I need?

There are four different B2C license types. The type of license you require depends on what type of online gambling activity you intend to offer, such as RNG-based casino and other games (type 1), sports betting (type 2), poker room and peer-to-peer games (type 3) or fantasy sports and controlled skill games (type 4). If you need more than one type of license, you only need to apply for one license and then apply for approval for the other type(s) of license(s) you may need.

Why is Malta a good license to get?

It is a growing industry that is the perfect environment for an iGaming business – big or small – as it is home to many experts, industry professionals, and events. It is held in high esteem around the world, regulation is fair, and players typically trust MGA licensees.

Is an online gambling license really necessary?

It definitely is! Having a legitimate license shows that you are trustworthy to players. Moreover, many payment service provides and software companies will not cooperate with you if you do not have a valid license from a respected gaming control board. Additionally, if you choose to operate without a license, you could face steep fines, have your site blacklisted and even shut down.

How Can Casinnovate Help Me Get a Malta License?

Obtaining a Malta gaming license is no easy feat without the right knowledge and support to guide you along the way. Casinnovate can help you find the optimal partner who can help you obtain the license you need, whether your goal is to run a white label operation, you wish to find a turnkey solution, or you want to build your brand from scratch.

Using their expertise, the right partner can help guide you through the complex licensing procedure, put you in touch with a qualified Malta gaming lawyer, and assist you in understanding what you require to meet all current licensing obligations.

Some of the software providers we recommend who offer MGA compliant products/services and who may be able to provide you with a white label license or help you obtain a license include:


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Got other questions about an MGA gaming license? Don’t hesitate to get in touch!