Positioned in the centre of the Mediterranean, between Europe and North Africa, Malta is the smallest EU member state.
Famous for its 300 days of sunshine, The Maltese islands have developed as one of the most extraordinary success stories in the EU.
Known for its state-of-the-art infrastructure, high standard of living, pro-business approach and corresponding reasonable costs of doing business, Malta has become the go-to jurisdiction for growth-minded entrepreneurs and multinational companies.
Merely a decade ago, the Maltese Islands were famous as just being a holiday destination.
However, in recent times, the country has sought to diversify its economy beyond tourism by developing and promoting a variety of sectors and activities, including:
Today, online gaming comprises 12% of the Maltese economy, generating €700 million and employing around 6,400 people. The gaming sector is one of the largest sectors in Malta to employ expats from all corners of the world.
More than 250 gaming companies, including giants like Betsson, Tipico, Betfair, now call Malta home.
In July 2017 the Malta Gaming Authority issued a White Paper that proposes changes to be implemented to the Maltese Gaming Legal Framework.
The Booming Sector of iGaming in Malta
Maintaining a strong worldwide reputation, the MGA regulates one of Malta’s major economic contributors; the local remote and land-based gaming industry.
The MGA is responsible for approximately 513 remote gaming licensees, including online casino license and 266 companies including iGaming/betting companies (Malta), whilst also regulating all types of gaming and gambling businesses/activities including national lotteries, bingo halls, casinos, gaming parlours and remote gaming.
The MGA thrives to achieve its main aim; that of surpassing the expectations of its licensed operators, its business partners and its stakeholders at large.
Undoubtedly, Malta has long been a hub for gaming companies and suppliers. The island is the place of origin of regulated online gaming. Nowhere has the Gaming sector taken off as rapidly and been as quickly embraced as it has in Malta.
No country has welcomed gaming companies as warmly as Malta. Because of all these reasons, Malta has become a destination of preference for the world’s largest operators and start-ups.
What is iGaming / Online Gambling?
The betting of money or some other value on the outcome of an event or a game, using the internet is known as iGaming or online gaming.
The iGaming activities may include:
Poker and other Peer to Peer games;
Fantasy Sports; and
Virtual sports games.
The higher percentage of the market comprises casino games and sports betting.
Companies who wish to run online gaming operations in or from Malta must possess a valid licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). The licence can either be a B2C or a B2B licence.
What is a Gaming Licence?
The permission that is given by the MGA to the gaming companies to deal, operate, conduct or carry on any gambling activity. Also, to regulate the operation of any gaming device, slot machine and premises, including such devices.
The licence covers the types of games to be offered, along with the matters to be provided thereunder, either on a Business-to-Business (B2B) level which considers the provision of a ‘critical gaming supply’ or a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) level which is broadly referred to as a ‘gaming service’.
How to get a Gaming License in Malta?
Any conversation related to the iGaming industry is incomplete without mentioning Malta as the new hub for it.
Within the iGaming sector, the Maltese jurisdiction is looked upon as having a reputable and a well-regulated Authority which supports rather than curbs the growth of the gaming industry.
The remote gaming regulations which were published in April 2004, took Malta to the top spot by making it the first nation in the European Union to regulate remote gaming. As recently as 2018, the legislative framework was overhauled, bringing into force a comprehensive set of regulations which are serving to safeguard the public interest, generate jobs, attract foreign investment, prevent money laundering, all without any compromise on the GDP.
The B2C licence is divided into four categories, and depending on the types of games that will be offered, an operator can apply for one or more of the following:
Type 1 (games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random generator);
Type 2 (games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by the result of an event or competition extraneous to a game of chance, and whereby the operator manages his or her own risk by managing the odds offered to the player);
Type 3 (P2P games of chance which pose no risk to the operator and from which the operator generates revenue by taking a commission or other prize/stake-based charges); and
Type 4 (controlled skills games).
Whereas, a B2B licence is required solely for providers of critical gaming supplies, being supplies of such importance that any weakness or failure in its provisions could have a significant impact on the operator’s ability to manage the risk related to such supply, to meet its obligations under applicable legislation and generally to continue in business.
Why choose Malta for iGaming?
The growth of the gaming industry in Malta is an undeniable breakthrough story, one which continues to go from strength to strength.
The reputation associated together with the favourable licence fee & costs and gaming tax regime, without a doubt, continues to make Malta the jurisdiction of choice for gaming services/operations of primary establishment for most operators within the industry.
There are more than 250 igaming companies in Malta with approximately 6,400 full-time employees.
An iconic and world-renowned regulator, the MGA is considered the elite authority within the gaming industry.
Malta prides itself on being the microcosm of Europe and now one of the most trusted hubs in Gaming.
You might also be interested in knowing the 8 Reasons Why iGaming in Malta is so Attractive.
Tax Efficient System and Regulations
Malta was the first EU nation to regulate remote gaming.
Malta has offered a unique and favourable strategy to the gaming and gambling industry, by supporting and strengthening its growth rather than restricting the progression of the industry.
Being a Commonwealth member state, a member of the EU since 2004 and part of the Schengen area since 2007, Malta facilitates trade and embraces the freedom of movement within the European Union.
Whilst licence fees and compliance contributions are payable to the MGA, at a company level, operators enjoy an attractive corporate tax regime.
The beneficial tax and gaming regulatory approaches help create the ideal conditions for any company within the iGaming industry to base themselves in Malta.
Advantages of Living in Malta
Positioned in the centre of the Mediterranean, close to Sicily, North Africa, and Gibraltar, the Maltese archipelago makes just the perfect location when it comes to setting up your Gaming company.
In addition, the comfortable approachability to sources of leisure and entertainment, as well as the numerous on-going activities around the Maltese Islands offer a solid work-life balance.
Various beaches offer great sources of relaxation and enjoyment, with events taking place on a daily basis, especially during the summer months.
The 2018 edition of the World Risk Report, developed by the United Nation University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security, once again named Malta, as the world’s second safest country.
The small archipelago boasts a Mediterranean climate and a top-ranked healthcare system (consistently ranked among the top five in the world by the World Health Organization).
Owing to its time as a British colony, the majority of locals are fluent in English language, so communicating and blending in a non-issue.
Rise in Recruitment & New iGaming Job Opportunities
It is common for iGaming companies to invest significantly in the improvement and development of the skills of their employees through training and mentoring programmes across all departments.
Today, a number of job openings are available for individuals seeking a career in iGaming.
Malta’s iGaming workforce is incredibly international and diverse. The island has drawn people from all corners of the world. Today, two-thirds of those employed in the sector are expats.
People with experience and certifications in the fields mentioned below are all essential to running a successful organisation in iGaming.
Computing & Programming;
Web Design & Development;
Network, System & Data Engineering;
Graphic & Product Design;
Certainly, the iGaming industry’s growth has introduced a new global sector for employment.
Additionally, iGaming companies are known to offer promising career progressions, as well as attractive salaries, great working conditions and positive social experiences.
Conclusion: Future of iGaming in Malta
Despite all the success, Malta recognised that it would need to continue to evolve if it wants to remain relevant and consistent as a jurisdiction.
The island saw strong growth because of its regulatory framework, which was revolutionary at that time and attracted the sector’s biggest companies to the island.
The regulatory overhaul is sure to see the persistence of the growth enjoyed to date, the welcoming of more global players and technological innovation and not least, the attraction of start-ups and new entrepreneurs.
Malta recognises the present and future values of the iGaming industry and is truly espousing it to unleash the sector’s full potential.