Companies that are opening an iGaming business in Malta need to apply for a valid gaming licence, which is granted by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). In order to receive such a license, the applicant needs to go through a lengthy application process, which in some cases, can take up to 18 weeks. There are various Gaming license types in Malta and one can choose to either apply for a B2C license or a B2B license.
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Gaming Licence Types
B2C Gaming Licence – Business to Customer
This type of licence is known as a Gaming Service Licence, and operators applying for this licence can provide a gaming service. In order to carry out the or both of the following service, this type of licence is required;
- If the operator offers or operated a gaming service
- If the operator is hosting a gaming service in his own premises which is accessible by the public. This also includes physical locations that offer one or more gaming devices and/or systems
B2B Gaming Licence – Business to Business
This type of license is known as a Critical Gaming Supply Licence and is required if the operator intends to:
- Supply, provide, and manage the material elements of a game.
- Supply, provide, and manage the gaming software, with the aim to control or process important regulatory records. This may also include the supply and management of the control system, where the gaming software is kept
Gaming Types in Malta
Whether the applicant is applying for a B2C or B2B license, the MGA offers the following game types that one can operate;
Risk-based games in which a player, plays against the house. The outcome of the game does not depend on the player but is generated in a random manner. This includes;
- Poker against the house
Risk-based games in which a player, plays against the house. The outcome is not generated randomly but depends on the result of a competition, event, or game of chance. In this situation, the operator manages her or his odds that the player is betting against
Risk-based games in which a player, does not play against the house. Furthermore, the operator does not liable for any risk during the game but instead receives a commission on the stakes of the game or prize. Types of games included are;
- Player vs Player poker
- Tombola (bingo)
- Betting exchanges
This includes controlled skill games based on the Gaming Authorisations Regulations – Part 8
Operators that are providing a service and/or supply or targeting local players are required to be authorised by the MGA, in order to operate in Malta. Furthermore, if the operator wishes to opt for more than one of the game types mentioned above, the MGA will designate a type that it believes relates closest to the game. The main difference will be that the operator will be required to issue higher share capital.
Different gaming verticals require to have separate approval for each vertical. This includes the category of games that are required to have a specific safeguard, so that it is ensured that it is in line with the regulations and the objectives, promoting responsible gaming. These are to be submitted to the MGA through the LRMS. Gaming verticals include;
- A physical or online casino
- Lotteries including second lotteries
- Betting based on fixed odds
- Betting exchanges and pool betting
- Commission based games
- Player to Player games
- Lottery messenger services
- Controlled skill games
- Any other gaming vertical which doesn’t compromise with the above mentioned
If the applicant is a company, the applicant can choose to either apply for a license for him or herself, or for a corporate group. For individuals that make part of the same corporate group, a license or material supply certificate can be transferred. This, however, has to be approved by the MGA. In this case, each member of the company can be deemed as a licensee.
What type of Games are exempt from requiring a Licence in Malta?
According to the 2nd Schedule of the Gaming Authorisations Regulations, skill games are considered to be exempt from requiring a license. The law defines the skill games as those games which do not require a stake or amount of money to participate. This means that the player does not receive a prize when winning. However, there are a number of games that the MGA considers it as a controlled skill game, but a stake might be required to participate and a prize might be won.
In order to opt for this exemption, the operator has the role to prove that the game activity offered is a skill game.
Material Gaming Supplies
The gaming authority defines this as;
“Material Gaming Supply is a gaming supply of such importance that any weakness or failure in its provision could have a significant impact on the operator’s ability:
- to meet the operator’s obligations under the Act and all applicable regulatory instruments; or
- to manage the risks related to such supply; or
- to continue in business. “
Material Gaming Supply includes operators offering services such as; risk management, for a regular gaming operation, fraud management, managing player funds, customer due diligence, and co-location services.
This includes games that as the name implies, have a low risk. Instead of a license, the operator will obtain a Low-Risk Games permit. These include games that in order to participate, the stakes are no more than 5 Euro, commercial communication games which prize does not exceed 50,000 Euro, on a singular time. Apart from that, this includes limited commercial communication games, where in order to participate, the stakes do not exceed 2 Euro, and value of the prize does not exceed 250 Euro, per one game.
If an operator is offering licensable games that were not authorised in Malta, but instead, in another EU Member state or EEA, or any state, which the MGA deems acceptable and considers it in line with offering the same safeguards, as the Maltese law. In this case, operators may obtain a Recognition Notice, equivalent to the local gaming license.