Malta Gaming Framework
Land Based Casinos
The gaming industry in Malta contributes substantially to the country’s GDP. Annual revenues from both the remote gaming and land based casino sectors amount to billions of euros, and leave behind a source of wealth on the island which cannot be underestimated.
ARQ Group has, over the last years, gained substantial experience in assisting clients who own and operate land-based casinos on the island. Our services in this specialised industry do not only cover our clients’ regulatory requirements but also their accounting and tax advisory needs.
Remote Gaming Jurisdiction
Malta was the first jurisdiction to provide a regulatory framework for remote gaming operators and enjoys the status of leading i-gaming jurisdiction worldwide – having over 500 active licences awarded to operators. Through serious and effective regulation championed by the Malta Gaming Authority – MGA, coupled with a stable political environment, skilled English-speaking workforce and advantageous fiscal measures, Malta has positioned itself as a the most desirable i-gaming jurisdiction.
The legislative framework in place provides for four different categories of licences which can be acquired from the MGA and which cater for distinct gaming verticals spanning from online casinos to lotteries, to poker rooms and sportsbooks. Game providers that provide platform solutions are also eligible to acquire the MGA’s seal of approval through the acquisition of a category 4 licence.
License Type, Class and Gaming Tax
The First Schedule of the Remote Gaming Regulations stipulates the licenses that can be applied for and the Fourth Schedule provides for the gaming tax for each type of licence. The below table illustrates the detailed interpretation of the provisions.
||Gaming Tax Applicable
||Traditional Casino Style Games, Slots, Bingo, Live Casino Games, Scratch Cards and Lotteries.
||The first six months attract a fixed gaming tax of €4,660. Thereafter a fixed gaming tax of €7,000 applies.
|1 on 4
||Traditional Casino Style Games, Slots, Bingo, Live Casino Games, Scratch Cards and Lotteries hosted by a platform licenced in Malta as a Class 4
||A fixed gaming tax of €1,200 per month applies.
2 on 4
|Fixed Odds Betting and Binary Betting.
Betting Exchanges partaking in the gaming risk.
|0.5% on the gross bets accepted.
0.5% on the aggregate of stakes paid.
0.5% on the sum of net winnings calculated per player and market.
3 on 4
|Player to Player Poker, Live Poker, Bingo or Skill Games. Betting Exchanges not partaking in the gaming risk.
||A 5% gaming tax on Real income applies. Real Income is defined as total commission less bonuses played, intermediary commissions and deposits processing fees.
||Platforms hosting and managing Operators of Sports Book, Betting Exchange, Casino, Live Casino, Poker, Live Poker, Bingo or Skill Games.
||The first six months do not attract any gaming tax.
The subsequent six months attract €2,300 gaming tax per month.
Subsequent months attract €4,600 per month.
The current regulatory framework regulates games of change with prize, or games of chance and skill for prize. Games which are entirely based on the skill of players and do not contemplate an accidental element in achieving a result are currently outside the scope of regulation. A consultation paper has been launched by the MGA and regulation of skill games for prize is expected to be enacted throughout the year, thereby clarifying the legal status for operators of skill games and providing to them an opportunity to operate within a regulated and trusted environment.
As of the 1st of August 2016 fantasy sports game operators are exempted from the requirement of obtaining a remote gaming license in order to be able to operate. The MGA recognised that the current licence categories are aimed at games of chance and it would be unwarranted for these regulations to be applied to skill games, including fantasy sports. This position has been adopted by the Malta Gaming Authority in anticipation of the overhaul expected to be presented to Parliament towards the end of Q1 2017 whereby it is being proposed that skill games be specifically regulated and it can therefore be expected that fantasy sports games be considered to be skill games.
The Legal Notice covers ‘Fantasy Sports’ or ‘Fantasy Sports Game’ defined within the regulation as games played for money or money’s worth whereby the winning outcome is determined predominantly through the skill or knowledge of the player, and where the results are determined by the accumulation of statistical results of the performance of a number of individuals in sporting events. It is important to note that games which provide for players betting on the forecast of the score, point spread or any other future occurrence of one or multiple events are not be considered as fantasy sports games.
Notwithstanding the exemption from any licencing obligation of Fantasy Sports operators, the Malta Gaming Authority grants operators the possibility to apply for a dynamic seal which can be placed on the website. This seal provides trust and confidence to players in the operator. No gaming taxes become applicable when one acquires this recognition throughout the period the exemption remains in force.
- Reputable, flexible and approachable Regulator
- Sound history in iGaming
- Player recognition
- Talent in iGaming is available
- Various state of the art data centres on the island
- EU Member state offering political stability
- Malta upholds principles of freedom of services even in iGaming
- Malta became part of the Schengen zone in 2007
- English and Maltese are the official languages of the Islands and all Maltese; speak English fluently. Other languages also commonly spoken
- Excellent national and private hospital and medical services
- Lower cost of living than other competing gaming jurisdictions
- Daily flights to all major European and North African airports
- Excellent residency conditions with low taxation
- Various fiscal incentives, both corporate incentives as well as personal
For further information contact
Member of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (USA), Fellow of the Associatio... More
Claudio Caruana began his legal career when he joined Fenech Farrugia Fiott Legal in 2011. He a... More