Among internet gaming regulatory jurisdictions, Malta is a well-known name. All gambling activities, which include casinos, the national lottery, remote games, non-profit games, commercial bingo halls, broadcasting media games, amusement machines and commercial communication games, are governed by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority also known as LGA. The authority’s mission is to ensure transparent and fair gaming and prevent money laundering, corruption and any kind of crime by competently regulating all the sectors of gaming and lotteries industry. LGA governance is based on the Lotteries and Other Games Act that was enacted in 2001.
Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority considers all remote gaming operations that can be fully monitored be it for licensing. The Remote Gaming Regulations 2004 govern the country’s dynamic online gaming sector. Various tax benefits, which include many double taxation agreements, a low tax offshore regime and a tax of just 0.5% of the turnover, make LGA licenses highly desirable among gaming operators. Other advantages of acquiring gaming license from Malta include good ICT infrastructure, fair financial and legal system, inexpensive transactions, economical business accommodation, low cost labour, clear legislation on e-commerce and betting, sound telecommunications and strong regulatory bodies.
Because Malta is part of the European Union, LGA Licenced operators may advertise their games and services within the UK. Additionally, UK and European players may register and take part in games offered by LGA bingo sites.
Applying for a Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority License
The licenses issued by LGA are categorized under four classes. Class I includes online lotteries, skill games and casino games. It is meant for operators willing to take chance on repetitive games. Class II license is meant for operators willing to take risk on matchbook events. It covers spread betting, fixed odds betting and pool betting. Operators charging a commission for betting games and promoting games require a Class III license. It includes game portals, P2P, betting exchange and poker network. Class IV license is meant for software vendors. Remote gaming operators can be hosted and managed by Class IV license holders.
Gaming operators need to apply for a license of a class relevant to them. The approval process includes an assessment of technical and business abilities, and compliance systems. Licenses belonging to any class have 5 year validity and can be renewed for the same duration. The gaming operators are required to physically base a major portion of their internet gaming or betting business in Malta as per Malta Online Gambling Regulation.
The Cost of Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority License
Gaming operators seeking LGA license of any class need to pay an application fee of 2,330 Euro while submitting the application form. Annual fee for the maintenance of a license is 7,000 Euro. The cost of renewing the license for further five year duration is 1,165 Euro. For a license of any class, the highest yearly tax for an operator is 466,000 Euro.
Based on the type of license, the operators are also required to pay a differential tax. For Class I, differential tax is 4,660 Euro for initial 6 months and 7,000 Euro per month thereafter. For Class II, it is 0.5% on fixed-odds betting. The tax is 5% on real income for class III. Class IV license holders need not pay tax for the first 6 months. Thereafter, the monthly tax is 2,330 Euro for 6 months and then 4,660 Euro for complete duration.
The two types of classes for licencing of bingo operators and network operators is the Class 1 & Class 4 licences. A Class 1 licence from LGA covers casino type games such as bingo, where the bingo room covers their own “risk.” A Class 4 remote gaming licence from the LGA applies to software vendors and networks who allow other bingo rooms to host on their network. Additionally, bingo sites may hold multiple classes of licencing. For example, a bingo room might be a Class 1 operator in that they directly offer gaming to the public, but they also allow other white label bingo sites to run on their network, which the original bingo site maintains. Thus the original bingo site would hold a Class 1 licence on a Class 4 licence because they both offer games to the public and administer the network that other skinned bingo sites run on.
Additional Requirements by LGA
The LGA has some additional requirements of its operators. On top of the above, the LGA requires that operators make payments to their players in no less than five working days after the cashout request has been submitted. This means that players must receive their funds no later than five days after asking for a withdrawal. In the event that age or identity needs to be confirmed, the operator may take additional time to do so.
In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the LGA requires (makes it mandatory) that all operational funds remain separate from player’s funds. This means that if you deposit to your player account, this money may not be co-mingled with the funds used to pay for daily operations. This is a high level of protection for players, thus players who take part in games offered by LGA Approved bingo operators can be quite certain that their money is safe and available when requesting a cashout of their remaining/available balances.
Internet Bingo Sites Holding a Licence issued by LGA
Below are Internet bingo operators, networks, and sites that we recommend who are properly licenced under the Malta LGA licence for remote gambling.
Chelbis Company Limited
35 Zachary Street
type of LGA licence: class 1 (letter of intent)
Bingo sites covered under the letter of intent: iBingo.
Villa Seminia 8,
Sir Temi Zammit Avenue, Malta
Types of LGA Licences for remote gaming: Class 1 & Class 3
Bingo sites owned: JackpotCity Bingo
Betsson Malta Ltd.
telephone: +356 22603000
LGA Remote Gaming Licences: Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, Class 4
Bingo Sites Covered under said licences: Betsson Bingo
Villa Seminia, 8
Sir Temi Zammit Avenue
Ta’ Xbiex XBX1011
LGA Malta Remote Licenses for Gaming: Class 1, Class 3
Licenced bingo site: Bingo on the Box
UK Approved Licencing for Online Bingo
The LGA is an approved licencing agency to regulate online games offered to UK bingo players. In addition to Malta’s LGA, the following governing agencies are trusted and approved to regulate bingo operators and games geared towards most European bingo players and are white listed by the UK Gambling Commission: