Gaming and online internet trading companies in Malta – the gaming industry in Malta
For the past 15 years, the Maltese archipelago has attracted international gaming and online internet trading companies in Malta after passing legislation making these activities legal.
The Malta Income Tax Act was also adjusted to make specific provisions for these types of businesses, and it’s this robust structure which has made it such a popular place for international companies.
This guide takes a closer look at the gaming and online trading companies and the Maltese law which allows casinos and sports book activities.
Legislation about gaming and online internet trading companies in Malta
Following the introduction of these activities in the autumn of 2000, Malta became the first country in the EU to regulate online gaming with the creation of the Remote Gaming Regulations which formed part of the Lotteries and Other Games Act 2001.
The whole industry in Malta is subject to tight monitoring and compliance by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), a body which was set up in 2002. A whole host of activities fall within its remit including commercial bingo games, casino gaming, sports betting, remote gaming, the National Lottery, commercial communication games and even non-profit games.
This background of compliance and regulation alongside receptive legislation made Malta an extremely attractive prospect for many gaming and online firms, some of whom were amongst the biggest names in the industry in the world.
Gaming and online internet trading companies in Malta: some of the companies who expressed an early interest in entering the Maltese gaming market included Ladbrokes, Paddy Power, William Hill, Unibet, Stanley Leisure, International Allsports, Eurofootball and GC Sports. Pokerstars obtained a new Maltese licence in 2012 and launched .
The creation of the Lotteries and Other Games Act 2001 put Malta on the map for online gaming companies and as a result, there’s now more than 400 licences held. More than 5000 people are directly employed in Malta in the gaming industry with a further 300 employed in ancillary industries such as telecoms, auditing, banking and payment institutions.
By the end of 2014 the industry comprised 12% of Malta’s GDP.
Categories of licence
Gaming and online internet trading companies in Malta operating in the country require a licence which falls into four different categories.
Suitable for casino type operators and online lotteries, a class 1 licence is for remote gaming where the operators are responsible for managing their own risk applicable to repetitive games. In certain cases, a combination of class 1 and class 4 are used; this is where class 1 operators run their games and potentially their software on top of the equipment of a class 4 licence holder.
Operators holding a class 2 licence can offer fixed odds betting; it’s suitable for companies that are responsible for managing their own risk based on a matchbook.
A class 3 licence is more extensive incorporating a range of different operators including poker networks, peer to peer games, betting exchanges and online lotteries. Operators in this category take a commission from the promotion of or the assistance with betting games. In some cases a class 3 operator combines with a class 4 operator, using their platform.
A class four category is specifically for software vendors who intend to provide hosting facilities or management on their own gaming platform.
Anyone wishing to hold any of the above licence classes must have at least part of their operations physically present in Malta. Licences are typically granted for a period of five years.
Gaming and online internet trading companies have become a very important part of the Maltese economy, and the legislation and structure means that it’s one which is expected to continue to grow.