Malta is an attractive and reliable leading destination for opening and operating iGaming companies. The island has been gaining popularity since 2004 when it became the first nation in the European Union to legislate online gaming.
iGaming companies in Malta are regulated by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and over the years, the Government had revised the legislation, providing an enhanced gaming law, in line with the MGA’s primary aim, to regulate the sector, in a responsible, effective and thorough manner.
Apart from attractive and flexible legislation, iGaming companies may also benefit from favorable tax models and a dynamic business environment. Over the years, this drove, some of the most reputable iGaming companies to the island and substantial investments in the sector.
The high influx of iGaming companies brought many opportunities for Malta, both in terms of business and working opportunities for the local workforce. Apart from that, Malta’s Gaming industry contributes significantly to the Maltese economy. Back in 2017, 1.1 Billion Euro was contributed.
In this article, you can find a detailed overview of the iGaming industry and the steps required to open an iGaming company in Malta.
What does the iGaming Industry consist of?
In general, iGaming is related to the betting of an online game or event. This is becoming increasingly popular all over the world, and some of the most popular games in the industry are;
- Sports betting and virtual sports
- Online casinos
- Peer to peer games
Reasons why many investors choose Malta to open an iGaming company
There are many reasons why many choose Malta to start an iGaming business, including;
- Malta is a member state of the European Union and is located in the heart of the Mediterranean, making it highly and easily accessible from most EU major airports.
- The competitive and professional fiscal regime and regulatory board, which was primarily known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) and had rebranded to the current name, MGA. This strives to promote consistent responsible gaming.
- Modern Infrastructure and Technology.
- Attractive lifestyle
Licenses Types Available to Open an iGaming Company in Malta
When in the process to open an iGaming company in Malta, one of the lengthiest procedures is to apply for the license that allows you to operate. The Remote Gaming Regulations in Malta offers two types of different licenses: Business to Customer (B2C) or Business to Business (B2B).
Additionally, an operator applying for the license can offer one or more, of the four different classes. The Class type required depends on the type of gaming activity carried out by the company.
Class 1 – iGaming companies offering games that occur in a repetitive manner and involve gaming risks. These consist of operators offering, Bingo, Lotteries, Casinos, and Slots.
Class 2 – Gaming risk based on individual events such as sports betting or fixed odds betting. The outcome of the bet is determined by the results of the event occurring.
Class 3 – Games not played against the house, but instead against other players. This means that the operator has no risk and usually involves multiplayer games such as poker tournaments. The operator earns commissions from the players’ transactions.
Class 4 – This usually involves controlled skilled games and the operators do not take part in the player’s management functions. Instead, they act as a platform to host other licenses.
The licenses are granted to the iGaming company for 10 years. Read a detailed guide for Gaming Licence Types in Malta.
Full Process to Open an iGaming Company in Malta
The process of establishing an online gaming presence in Malta consists of a number of stages, depending on how extensive the iGaming company’s structure is and how many game classes adopted. With that being said, the most complex part of the process is to obtain the license required. Prior to applying, it is often recommended to set an appointment with the MGA to discuss in detail the project you will propose.
Stage 1 – Set up a company
A regular set up of a limited liability company is required. This process can be quite an efficient process. Main requirements to open a company include;
- Registered office space. A company in Malta is required to have a registered address. Applicants can choose between a managed office space or virtual office.
- A minimum of 2 shareholders.
- Memorandum and Articles and Articles of Association.
- business bank account.
View the full guide on how to register a company in Malta.
Stage 2 - License Application Process
The Malta Gaming Licence Application process is a lengthy one. At this stage, the MGA carries out an in-depth procedure with the aim to decide whether the applicant will be granted a license. The authority with carefully analyse, all the information related to what the gaming company will consist of; its management, directors, financing, and substance.
Additionally, the MGA will request;
- Fit & Proper Review. An evaluation will be done on the applicant, in order to assess whether she or he is ‘fit and proper’, to be granted with a remote gaming license. Many factors will be taken into consideration to ensure safety for consumers, such as financial history and experience in the field. Additionally, a number of documents must be submitted together with the application.
- Business Plan. A detailed business proposal has to be submitted containing specific information on the objectives of the business, nature of games, and forecasted financial sheets.
- Operational & Statutory Requirements. This part of the process is possibly the lengthiest. All the instruments required to conduct business and memoranda, such as incorporation and operational procedures, games offered on the platform, technical set up, terms, and conditions, are examined. Additionally, in order to obtain the licenses, a minimum share capital has to be authorised and issued. This ranges between 40,000 Euro and 100,000 Euro depending on which class, the applicant requires. This dramatically increases up to 240,000 Euro, for iGaming companies wishing to receive multiple classes.
Stage 3 - Technical and System Audit
Once the above is submitted, the MGA will recommend any improvements to be done to the project’s business model. Before going online, the MGA might request the applicant to provide a technical and system audit of the company.
Stage 4 – Compliance Review
Upon completion of the steps above, the MGA grants a provisional license for 6 months. This is in the form of a ‘Letter of Intent’ and during this period the applicant is granted permission to start operating. During this time, a compliance review and a number of audits will be done.
Stage 5 – Official Gaming Licence
Once the company is set up and the gaming license is approved, the applicant will receive the Official Gaming Licence.
Open an iGaming Company in Malta – Frequently Asked Questions
How are iGaming Companies taxed in Malta?
An iGaming Company has to abide by a number of tax regulations. A gaming company is subject to one of the following tax models;
- Corporate Tax – 35% tax rate on the profits is charged to the company. Very frequently, shareholders can receive refunds, resulting in an effective tax rate of 5%.
- Gaming Tax – In this case, the iGaming company would have to pay the MGA on the behalf of the Government, tax rates depending on which one of the 4 classes held.
See our full guide on iGaming Companies Tax
What are the iGaming Licence Fees?
- Application fee, payable to the MGA.
- Annual license fees
- Renewal fees
- Approval fees
- Administrative fees
How long does it take to get an iGaming license by the MGA?
A duration ranging between 12 to 18 weeks is usually required if all of the documents are received and accepted.