European, Asian or even North American, if you're a regular at online casinos then you are bound to have had your fair share of experiences at MGA licensed sites. Over the years, Malta has become somewhat of a hub within the gaming industry. We have seen iGaming giants including the likes of LeoVegas, Casumo and even Mr Green moving their entire operations to the small island. This is just the tip of the iceberg though as the number of off-shore gaming companies in Malta continues to rise. Just what is it that fuels the demand for the Malta Gaming license though? We are about to find out. Here's our best online casinos Malta list to start you off.
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Malta is considered as the base of operations for most online casinos. It was actually the first EU country to start regulating remote gaming. Gaming operators continue to set up across the island, with the main areas being St. Julians, Portomaso and even Qawra. With so many Malta casino license holders out there, choosing the right gambling site for you can end up being a difficult task. Luckily we have come up with a list of the best online casinos Malta has to offer. These are some of the most trustworthy sites out there and they also offer some great bonuses for both new players and existing ones. We would suggest reading our casino reviews on each of them for in-depth information on their gaming experience.
As mentioned previously, the gambling industry is on the rise and with this, the demand for a remote gaming license. We are seeing new Maltese sites being launched every other day. Although some players may shy away from newcomers for obvious reasons, there is always something rather intriguing about them. New gambling sites are always looking to make an impact and most tend to start off with all guns blazing. They are looking to compete with top online casinos that have had years to build a reputation for themselves. Be it in the form of free spins or match deposit bonuses, you can expect some of the best first deposit offers for new players out there. Some of the welcome bonus offers include no deposit bonuses. If you have any experience in online gambling, then you know how hard these are becoming to find.
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The Malta Gaming Authority is the legislative body governing all gambling activities. It was first set up in 2001 as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA). They were actually one of the first organisations to devise a set of legal regulations for online sports and gambling procedures. They started off with the Lotteries and Other Games Act (2001) and chapters 400 and 438 of the Laws of Malta. This Gambling Act was the first of many. 2015, saw a rebrand from LGA to MGA, as we know them today. Perhaps this restructuring came about as a result of the move from static land-based casinos, to the dynamic world of iGaming.
Today, the Maltese Authority for Gaming is the official regulator of most forms of gambling services in the region both at brick and mortar establishments as well as the online world. Sectors include slot machines as well as all other casino-type games such as poker tournaments, betting offices and even Business-to-business and Business-to-customer services. We have come up with a list of their regulatory objectives below.
Being a regulatory body that deals with important Gambling Laws, it comes as no surprise that the organisation is split up into various boards. We have listed the various sectors below to give a better idea of the structure.
As you have probably realised by now, a Malta-licensed isn't just handed out to any online gambling site. This is an Authority that takes its licensing process seriously and there are a number of steps all applicants will need to follow. Firstly, online gambling operators will need to decide whether they are applying for a gaming service (Business-to-Consumer) or a critical gaming supply licence (Business-to-Business).
Once gambling operators have decided what class to apply for, they will need to submit all the required information. This documentation will then undergo a series of internal audits by a regulatory panel within the local authority. Here an ordered list of the criteria all applicants must live up to if they are looking at getting a gaming industry licence in the region.
One thing to point out at this stage is that if the applicant is not in line with the requirements then they may be required to start the application procedure from scratch. Once the site goes live, it can have its online gambling licence suspended or even terminated should it fail to live up to the requirements.
Our previous section should already give you an idea of the reliability of Malta-licensed casinos. There's a long list of criteria that needs to be fulfilled and all Malta casinos are subject to regular checks. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why a Maltese license is considered one of the main ones in the gambling industry. The other two big ones are the UK Gambling Commission and Curacao gambling licenses. We take a look at how Malta-based casinos compare to the others in the lists below.
If you take a look at any online gambling website with a Malta licence then you'll notice that most have a seal from a third-party organisation that deals with problem gambling. GamCare, Gambling Therapy, Gamblers Anonymous, these are a few of the responsible gambling organisations making efforts to help Maltese players by maintaining a database. Players also have the choice to become self-excluded amongst other support tools. This is proof that the Malta Gaming Authority is laying out the rules when it comes to responsible gambling. This said though, it is not enforcing these gambling laws to the same extent as the British Gambling Commission. In the United Kingdom, for instance, casinos not registered with Gamstop, risk suspension of their online gambling licence.
All this said the past years have seen the Maltese Gaming Authority turn their focus to responsible gambling. In 2014, the Responsible Gaming Foundation was launched in collaboration with the local government. The foundation aims to create awareness on the issue of problem gambling. They also provide support to players at Maltese online casinos.
Know Your Client (KYC) checks are one of the many gaming regulations sites must live up to. Gambling laws state that all players who deposit over €150 in a rolling period of 180 days must verify their identity. The same goes for players over €2300. A KYC check is to be conducted by the online casino rather than the local authority. Players will need to show proof of identity for starters and this can be in the form of a valid passport, i.d. or driving licence. In addition to this, most gambling sites will ask customers for a recent utility bill. This ensures the country of residence also.
The main aims of these checks are to prevent minors from gambling as well as protect the online world against money laundering. Some players view these as a nuisance since they can lead to delays in transactions. The truth is that they are in fact essential to ensure a safe gaming environment.
The MGA is Malta's one-stop-shop for licensing and gaming laws. In comparison to others such as the UK Gambling Commission, who make use of IBAS, they don't outsource the customer complaints procedure. The downside to this is a time-lag in providing feedback on all the complaints they receive. Until the company starts to increase its staff in this sector, we don't expect to see much improvement. The good news is that they do realise that this is an issue and have made promised in the past to work on the area. Unfortunately, we have yet to see any actions being taken.
The good news is that all gambling-related complaints are dealt with, eventually. Lodging one is actually the easy part and we have provided a step-by-step approach below.
It may take a while to get some feedback on a complaint but once the process begins, the matter is taken extremely seriously. Complaints are handled on a case by case basis as it will all depend on what the issue is. If the authority deems that there is reason for further investigation then they will indeed take the necessary steps. In most cases, this will result in a compliance audit. Should any breaches be found, the operator will be informed immediately. Depending on the gravity of the situation, the penalty could be in the form of a fine, suspension or even termination of licence.
The MGA online gambling laws may not be as rigid as the British Gambling Commission but they still do have some gambling regulation. They are looking to find the perfect balance between a pro-gambling attitude whilst keeping players best interests at heart. What this means is that they won't hand out a casino licence to any old software provider. In fact whilst Curacao licensed sites are infamous for issues with pirated games, this is almost unheard of at Maltese licensed sites. In fact the latter works with reputable brands whose games are subject to regular RNG audits.
Players at Malta-licensed casinos can expect some of the top game providers the gambling market has to offer. NetEnt, Microgaming and Play'n GO, these are only a few of the biggest names in the industry and their games are available to play online. Choose from slots and progressive jackpots as well as table games such as blackjack and roulette. When it comes to online gaming, players at Maltese licensed websites won't be lost for choice that's for sure. Let's not forget about live dealer games, they are also available with the likes of Evolution Gaming paving the way.
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Payment options are a bit part of online gambling. Luckily when it comes to Malta registered online casinos, they work with reputable banking options. This is a step up from Curacao operators who tend to promote methods that retain anonymity such as bitcoin. All of the regular suspects can usually be found at internet gambling sites in Malta. These include e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and ecoPayz as well as all major debit and credit cards. Bank transfers have also been integrated into most sites. Some of the more innovative payment options such as eChecks have yet to be added to payment portfolios. In addition to this, PayPal is only available at UK-based casinos. All this said there is still a wide range to choose from.
For all those new customers out there looking to claim a welcome bonus, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to payment options. Most first deposit bonuses won't allow you to use e-wallets so you'll have to stick to other options. Keep that in mind and there's an abundance of promotions to choose from. Just remember to check out the full bonus terms such as minimum deposit limits and wagering requirements.
At this stage, you should have a better idea of what the legal side to iGaming in Malta. It shouldn't be hard to realise that online gambling and betting sites here are in fact the real deal. In case you still aren't convinced, we'll leave you with a table of advantages and disadvantages.
|Online Gambling Laws are constantly updated||Not accepted in the UK|
|High levels of GDPR||Advertising Rules not very rigid|
|Recognised both in and out of the EU||Less protection for vulnerable players|
|Application procedure relatively fast|
|This license is considered a vote of confidence in iGaming|