Since 2000, the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta has been the hub of the online iGaming market. Above everything else, the country's love for gambling is well-known because of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), which is highly respected all over Europe.

MGA is the body regulating sports betting and gambling in the country, and over the years, hundreds of casinos, software providers, and online sportsbooks have acquired a license from this authority.

Betting apps with Malta gambling license

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Malta Gaming Authority & the MGA online gambling license

The initial steps toward the legislation of online sports betting in Malta began in 2000 when the country introduced the Public Lotto Ordinance to oversee online gambling regulation. In 2001, the lawmakers implemented both the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) and the Lotteries and Other Games Act.

The Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) was later renamed the Malta Gaming Authority, as it is popularly known today. The MGA was one of the first-ever authorities to issue legislation that monitors online sports betting and gambling activities.

In 2004, when the country joined the EU, it became the first European Union nation to regulate online gambling. A year later, in 2005, the country implemented the Remote Gaming Regulations. With this implementation, online gaming operators could apply for any of the four license types in the country. Today, the country issues the following licenses.

  1. Class 1 licenses cover online lotteries, casino games, and skill games.

  2. Class 2 licenses cover spread, pool, and fixed odds betting.

  3. Class 3 licenses that cover betting exchanges and peer-to-peer gaming.

  4. Lastly, Class 4 licenses cover all software vendors.

To get a gambling license in the country, operators must pay a license fee of €25,000. The gambling operators have to pay a request to process the application costing €2,300. Every ten years, the online gambling operators must renew their licenses to continue operating.

Currently, the Maltese gaming scene has over a hundred online sports betting operators with valid Class 2 licenses. A vast majority of the well-known sportsbooks in the world, such as 888Sport and Bet365 hold this license too.

Gambling regulation in Malta

As the first EU country with a regulatory authority on interactive wagering and gaming, Malta held gambling operators accountable for their actions. Today, the MGA issues gambling licenses in the country. Before issuing licenses, gambling operators must go through a rigorous quality, anti-fraud, and security checks, and the rules and regulations that accompany every gambling license are quite strict.

With this, one of the smallest nations in the world brought credibility to the growing online betting industry marred with suspicion. The MGA enforces various regulations concerning Maltese online sports gambling licenses. Currently, hundreds of casino sites, online betting apps, software developers, and betting exchanges are under the MGA’s jurisdiction.

The regulatory body is entirely legitimate in that it is among the authorities whitelisted by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. This means that all MGA-licensed operators can advertise their services in the United Kingdom. Sportsbooks that breach the rules and regulations set by the MGA may have their licenses revoked.

Pros: Why would a sportsbook want a gambling license from Malta?

When a bookmaker acquires an MGA license, it can attract more customers. This is because the MGA ensures:

High safety standards: The Malta Gaming Authority’s logo on any sports betting operator’s site signifies safety and trust. Players that opt for bookies licensed by MGA are guaranteed that their banking details and personal information are secure.

Appropriate resolution of complaints: The MGA obliges all licensed sports betting operators to accept players’ complaints. They have to issue appropriate complaint resolution within twenty-one days, after which MGA can take up the complaints.

Solid customer protection: The rules and regulations of this regulatory body require all licensed bookies to work together with responsible gambling bodies such as GamCare. Furthermore, MGA has the Responsible Gaming Foundation that helps in promoting responsible wagering.

Latest sports betting & gambling-related updates from Malta

  • February 1, 2024: Italian police execute a court order regarding confiscating assets, believed to be linked to organized crime and money laundering operations, worth approximately $433 million (€400 million) belonging to an online gambling operator registered in Malta.

  • January 24, 2024: Esports odds provider Betby receives regulatory approval from MGA. With this, Betby can provide its esports odds feed portfolio for other gambling operators with a Maltase license.

  • January 4, 2024: MGA renews its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC). The renewal ensures the collaboration of both regulators to supervise a safe and responsible gambling scene.

  • December 20, 2023: According to the latest H1 performance report, the gambling industry benefited the Maltese economy with a total gross added value (GAV) of $887.7 million (€810.7m), representing around 9.5% of the whole economy's GVA.

  • December 15, 2023: Malta Gaming Authority's Board of Governors appoints Charles Mizzi as the regulator's new chief executive officer.

  • December 5, 2023: Up-and-coming online casino supplier ELA Games is approved for an MGA license.

  • November 30, 2023: Online casino game developer Jelly Entertainment secures MGA and UKGC licenses, providing the company access to both markets.

Most recent MGA license cancellations

  • March 22, 2024: BTM Entertainment, the operator of Roy Richie online gambling site, loses its MGA license after being suspended for several years.

  • March 11, 2024: Malta Gaming Authority cancels Rush Gaming's license, which is the operator behind OneBet and Fansbet. The license had already been suspended since January of this year.

  • January 17, 2024: Super7plus, an operator primarily focusing on the German sports betting market, has its license canceled by MGA due to "several regulatory breaches."

  • January 11, 2024: MGA confirms the full business-to-consumer license cancellation of Genesis Global, a notable online casino operator, after one year of suspension. In addition, Winners Malta Operations had it's iGaming licence revoked.

  • January 8, 2024: After failing to comply with MGA, the Maltase regulator revokes Betago's license in full force. The operator obtained a German sports betting license in February 2021 but isn't longer whitelisted on that market either.

Latest fines issued

  • February 21, 2024: Kanon Gaming, an operator equipped with Maltase, Swedish, and Danish gambling licenses, is fined $72,825,41 (€67,874) for flaws concerning anti-money laundering standards.

  • December 19, 2023: Trannel International, a subsidiary of global gambling powerhouse Kindred Group, gets fined $238,940,04 (€222,736) due to deficiencies in both customer risk assessments and record-keeping practices.

  • June 30, 2023: The Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) fines Glitnor Group, operator of Lucky Casino, €236,789 for multiple violations of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations. The penalty follows a 2019 compliance review identifying ten breaches of Malta's regulations.

Malta - Some commonly asked questions (FAQ):

Are Malta sports betting sites safe?

Yes, all sports betting sites with valid licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority are safe to bet with. This is because all of them must undergo rigorous quality, anti-fraud, and security checks before the MGA licenses them.

Who regulates gambling and sports betting in Malta?

Since it was established in 2001, the Malta Gaming Authority has been the body that regulates online gambling and sports betting. MGA is in charge of issuing the four different types of gambling licenses and thus enforcing rules and regulations.

How many betting sites are currently licensed by Malta?

Over the years, the Malta Gaming Authority has issued licenses to hundreds of online betting sites in the country and across the globe. To find out more about the licensed sportsbook apps and sites, a player can visit MGA's official website.

How to check if the Malta licenses a sports betting site?

First, all sports betting operators with valid licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority will display the same on their sites. Second, bettors can still confirm if the bookie truly has a valid license by accessing the MGA webpage.

How much does the Malta gambling license cost for a bookmaker?

Gambling license fees in Malta depend on the class the license falls under. For instance, Classes 1, 2, and 3 licenses attract a non-refundable fee of €25,000 annually. A Class 4 license requires all interested parties to pay €10,000 annually.

Why is the Malta betting license so popular among sportsbook operators?

The Malta Gaming Authority has issued licenses to several online sports betting sites over the years. This license allows sportsbooks to offer their services in all EU nations, thus earning more profit. An MGA license indicates trust and safety as well.