The Malta gaming license is the industry gold standard. Renowned throughout the world, a platform operating under the supervision of the Malta Gaming Authority will find many doors opened to them. They will also find it easier to open bank accounts, enter third party agreements, and offer services to international clients.
But all of these benefits come at a price. The license application process for Malta online gambling license is lengthy, costly, and complex. To acquire the license, the applicant will have to submit a lot of paperwork, be patient, and even attend in-person meetings with the regulators. But, if you are a big gaming company or a well-established brand looking for an EU home, it’s worth it.
Fast Offshore doesn’t usually recommend the Malta online gaming license to startups for entrepreneurs. The reason for this is due to the high cost, stringent requirements, and the length of time needed to complete the process. We usually assist clients who are already well established and profitable but that want to expand into more markets and benefit from additional payment options.
Benefits of the Malta Gaming License
The Malta online license comes with a whole host of benefits. Getting a gambling license there is not easy or low-cost, but it’s worth it for some operators. Here are some of the benefits of holding the iGaming industries’ gold-standard license.
The Malta gambling license is widely considered one of the most respected in the world. Holding this license is a vote of confidence that the operator is transparent, fair, honest, and operating within EU rules. If an operator has been granted the Malta gambling license, it’s assumed and understood they’ve satisfied several intensive, tough, and thorough checks and balances.
As iGaming has been such an integral part of its economy, the local workforce is highly skilled and experienced in the gambling sector. There is a large talent pool of Maltese and European English-speaking workers (with knowledge of other key European languages). Malta is also home to a vast number of ancillary gaming service providers including software, hardware, affiliate, marketing, data, and advertising.
Displaying the Malta gambling license on your platform will bring a great deal of player trust and confidence. In a competitive market, gaining and retaining the trust of customers is extremely important. Trust in the Malta gambling license is driven by high levels of player protection and rigorous control mechanisms that are enforced by the Malta Gaming Authority. Moreover, high anti-money laundering standards are maintained and it’s in full compliance with all applicable EU legislation.
The corporate tax rate in Malta is set at 35% but there is a full tax imputation system in place. This means that shareholders are entitled to a tax credit that’s equal to the tax paid on the profits that the dividends were paid for. The most common tax credit is the 6/7ths which can mean an effective tax rate of just 5% depending on the circumstances.
There is also a gaming tax that is levied against gaming revenue generated from players based within Malta. This rate is set at 5% and is determined based on whether the player is a resident of Malta.
Malta has been a fully-fledged member of the EU since 2004 and it’s also a member of the British Commonwealth. It is a highly stable society both socially and politically. Economically, Malta has emerged with a consistently strong economy driven by technology, financial services, and innovation. The Maltese government are also known for being welcoming to businesses with an adaptable regulatory environment for technology-related companies.
Double Taxation Treaties
The Maltese government is a party to more than 70 different double taxation treaties with different jurisdictions around the world. They are also actively seeking to sign more for the mutual benefit of citizens of those countries. This means that an operator with a Maltese online gambling license is not obliged to pay tax in their country of origin too.
Access to More Markets
Any operator holding a Malta online gaming license is free to offer their services in a range of jurisdictions. They are however banned from offering gambling to customers in FATF blacklisted countries and jurisdictions where online gambling is illegal or a locally issued license is required. Operators are expected to comply with these rules and they are monitored to ensure that they do.
Malta Gaming License Requirements
The process for applying for a Malta gaming license is more stringent and in-depth than in most other jurisdictions. This is because the license is considered highly prestigious, therefore proper checks and processes have to be conducted. In this section we will provide information on the Malta online gaming license requirements, but be aware, the Malta Gaming Authority may ask for more in-depth information on a case-by-case basis.
In 2018, the Malta Gaming Authority significantly streamlined the application process. This was done through doing away with the multiple license types and offering just a B2B license and a B2C license. There is now no need to apply for different licenses depending on what kind of games and services you want to offer. You have the freedom to expand your service portfolio as you go forward, without having to apply for an additional license. In addition to this, the term of the license has been extended from five to ten years. As someone wanting to offer online gambling, you will need to apply for a B2C license.
In October 2021, the MGA made several changes to the Gaming Authorisations and Compliance Directive to simplify the gambling license application process. These amendments relate mainly to the key function roles which operators are required to appoint.
Basic Requirements for a Malta Gambling License:
Here are the standard requirements that any applicant will have to meet. Each and every officer, authorized person, shareholder, director, beneficial owner or ultimate beneficial owner must provide the following documents:
- A police good conduct certificate dated no older than three months for each company owner and applicant
- Passing a “Fit and Proper Test”
- The ability to fill various key function roles within the company. If you are unable to do so at the time of application, Fast Offshore can provide team members to carry out these duties
- Original bank references of all owners/applicants dated no older than three months
- Notarized copies of passports of all owners/applicants
- A detailed business plan
- A compliance and software audit
- Details of all gaming software used and third party agreements
- All operations and gaming servers must be within Malta.
|NOTE – All documents must be in English and dated no older than 90 days. Where documents are not in English, certified English translations are required.|
Malta Gaming License Application Process
If you are confident you can satisfy the requirements, then the next step is to start the application process. But getting a gambling license in Malta is not easy; the process has many steps and requires a lot of paperwork and expert guidance.
The entire process takes between 30-50 weeks to acquire as long as all documents are in order and all meetings are conducted on time.
The first step of the process is to pass through a pre-application process with an officer from the Malta Gaming Authority. Once this has been completed satisfactorily and all information and documents have been gathered, the authority will evaluate them and decide whether the process can continue. They will seek to establish whether the potential applicant is prepared and able to conduct an online gambling business in line with their standards and expectations.
Fit and Proper Test
Applicants are expected to demonstrate that they’re capable of operating an online gambling company and adhering to the requirements of the Malta gaming license. To satisfy this requirement, the Malta Gaming Authority has created a ‘Fit and Proper Test’ which evaluates the applicant and owners of the corporate entity. The test assesses whether they’re able to operate a business of this kind and if they have the necessary strategy in place.
Part of this process is a face-to-face interview as well as a full evaluation of each individual’s career, qualifications and experience. Enhanced due diligence is also carried out at this stage. The authorities will then ascertain whether each individual has the operational and statutory requirements as laid out in Maltese gaming law and policy. There are also various probity investigations carried out at this stage with national and international law enforcement agencies and various regulatory bodies.
Financial and Business Evaluation
The Malta Gaming Authority will also conduct an in-depth financial analysis of the business plan that was provided as a part of the application process. To gain a Malta gaming license, the Authority wants to be sure that all financials are in order and that the plan is financially viable in the short and long term. They will evaluate all aspects of the plan including marketing, HR, growth, distribution, and various other performance indicators and targets. Which games will be offered, business processes, policies, rules, and all technical documentation will also be scrutinized at this stage of the process.
The business plan must also include specifications of all gaming software and details of where data and software will be hosted. All hosting and servers must be in Malta to be in line with the Malta online gaming license requirements.
The corporate entity filing the application must have a minimum issued and paid-up share capital of between EUR 40,000 and EUR 240,000 depending on the circumstances of the applicant.
Each individual involved in the application process or who is considered an applicant must pass due diligence checks. They are required to submit documents relating to their identity, address, and source of funds. Fast Offshore will provide more information on required due diligence below.
Registered Office and Company Representatives
A company incorporated in Malta to obtain a Malta gaming license must have a registered office in the country. The entity must have one director and a company secretary, both of whom are subject to the MGA’s Fit and Proper Test. Other important positions need to be filled within the entity.
Since October 2021, The Malta Gaming Authority has changed some of the eligibility criteria and requirements for key persons to simplify the application. These are the new requirements and obligations to fulfil specific roles.
System Review and Compliance Audit
Before a Malta gaming company is allowed to ‘go live’ they must complete a system review and compliance audit in a technical environment. As a part of the application process, they will be invited to ‘go live’ in this controlled environment and will have 60 days to complete it.
During these 60 days, the applicant must request an external System Review which will conduct an audit of the live environment and compare it with what was proposed in the business plan and application. If the live version differs significantly from what was initially proposed, the entire application process must start from the beginning.
In addition to this, a compliance audit must be carried out on the online gambling platform and entity. The criteria for this audit is specified by the MGA and local law. Compliance will be observed at the time of the audit, periodically, and upon the request of the MGA for the duration of the licensing period.
Issuance of License
Once all of these steps have been completed satisfactorily, the Malta Gaming Authority can issue the Malta gaming license. Before issuance, all fees and costs must be paid in full to the MGA and the entity that assisted with the application process. Going forward, the continuation of the license is also dependent on the payment of renewal fees and the satisfaction of ongoing obligations.
Malta Gaming License Cost
Like other EU gambling licenses, the Malta gambling license cost is higher than other offshore licenses. In general, the license is more suited to large, established operators who have the experience and the funds to go through the application process. There are however some startups with a larger budget and specific EU target markets that do opt for the license and feel that it is the best option for them. Fast Offshore will be able to advise you whether the Malta gaming license is the best option for you, or whether it’s better to go for a different license for the time being.
You should be prepared to budget more than this to get the license, set up your company, and take care of other corporate services matters. Other costs include incorporation fees, compiling documents, opening bank accounts, setting up payment providers, paying professional service fees, and costs associated with audits.
Each company has different needs, obligations, structures, and visions. As such, we are highly flexible and can create a tailor-made solution that provides you with exactly what you need, within your budget. We will never give you advice that won’t benefit you and we will always search for the most cost-effective and comprehensive way to meet your needs. No matter what kind of online gambling company you want to set up, or where you want to operate from, we can help.
Not only do we offer assistance in the application and licensing process, but we can also incorporate a company and open a corporate account for you. Beyond that, we can assist with all other stages of the set-up process including planning, software, and negotiations with third-party providers. Contact us today to discuss your vision and requirements, and let Fast Offshore help you go live.
Malta Gaming License Turnkey Package
For over 23 years, Fast Offshore has been assisting businesses operating in online gambling. We have also been working with clients to obtain the Malta gaming license since the beginning. This means we have a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience and know what to expect throughout the whole setup process. Based on this, Fast Offshore has created a Complete Turnkey Malta Gaming License Package for business operators includes everything you need to get your business up and running. It covers administration, applications, licensing, compliance, corporate, and fiscal matters.
The process of applying for a Malta online gambling license is a complex one and can take six weeks or more. Remember, the Malta Gaming Authority requires face-to-face meetings with applications and may request additional documentation that can further protract the process.
If you feel that the Malta gaming license is for you, why not schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Fast Offshore to discuss your plans? We will be able to advise if the Malta license is for you as well as helping you to better understand the process. Together, we will be able to find the perfect plan for your business.
What does the Malta Gaming License Turnkey Package Include?
Fast Offshore’s Turn-key Malta Gaming License Package includes:
- Maltese Company
- Registered Office, Agent and Secretary.
- Business Plan preparation and submission
- Collecting, collating application requirements
- Documentation preparation and submission (Gaming & Control system based on MGA requirements)
- Application for B2C or B2B Malta Online Gaming License
- Assistance establishing a corporate account for the business
- Support establishing payment processing account(s) for acceptance of Visa & Master Card for the online gaming business
- Personalized Advice: Enjoy peace of mind knowing you have our experienced assistance for the coming 12 months.
Ongoing Maintenance for your Malta Gambling License
But getting the Malta online gambling license is not the end of the process. Ongoing maintenance and ensuring continual compliance is essential to keeping your standing in good shape with the MGA. You also need to consider your corporate and fiscal responsibilities, alongside general accounting and operational matters. Maintenance is both necessary and time-consuming, so why not hand it over to Fast Offshore?
We focus on forging strong relationships with our clients- ones that are built on trust, transparency, and responsiveness. Because of this, they entrust us with the ongoing running and maintenance of their corporate, business, and licensing matters.
Fast Offshore offers a cost-efficient and comprehensive maintenance package for clients, based on all of the obligations and requirements that need to be considered on an ongoing basis.
Any Malta-based company is subject to a 35% corporate tax rate. Malta operates a full imputation system which means that the effective rate of tax can be as low as 5%, depending on the situation.
The 35% tax rate is paid on all corporate revenue. After this, the dividends that are distributed to shareholders are entitled to a tax credit which is equal to the tax on the profits that the dividends are paid out of. The most common tax credit rate is 6/7ths which can make the amount paid, around 5%. At this rate, Malta is one of the jurisdictions with the lowest rate of corporate tax in the European Union.
Each case is different and an exact figure can only be given after a careful evaluation of the business. Fast Offshore can provide you with the information you need plus estimates on the effective rate of tax you could pay on revenue from your Malta online gaming company.
Also, the Maltese government imposes a gaming tax on revenue derived from players based in Malta. This rate is set at 5% and is paid by B2C licensees only. Revenue generated by players outside of Malta is not subject to this tax. Contact Fast Offshore for a no-fuss explanation and tailor-made advice for your situation.
The Malta Gaming Authority
The Malta Gaming Authority is the regulatory body that oversees online gaming in Malta. It also issues, renews, and cancels licenses. They were established in 2001 and regulate online gambling including B2C and B2B operations and land-based gambling such as casinos, amusements, lotteries, and slot machines.
The MGA was one of the first legislators in the world to create a legal framework to regulate gambling. They created an environment of security and surety for stakeholders. Since their formation in 2001, the industry has grown exponentially and the MGA now supervises a market that accounts for 12% of the Maltese GDP.
Over the years, they have worked hard to adapt to the changes and developments in the industry. They have also adapted their rules and processes to support new technologies including mobiles, live gaming, eSports, and most recently, cryptocurrency and blockchain.
Malta recently became the first jurisdiction in the world to legislate in support of crypto and blockchain. The MGA is now accepting crypto casino applications for consideration. Furthermore, the MGA has created a Sandbox Framework Initiative which will explore how cryptocurrency and crypto-assets can be used on MGA licensed platforms.
They have been leading figures in enforcing fair play, the protection of minors and vulnerable people, responsible gaming policies, and protection to players. They were one of the first regulators to legislate for a duty of care for operators meaning license holders must monitor gamers habits, look for signs of problematic behaviour, and intervene.
The Malta Gaming Authority has cracked down on money laundering and the evolving threat of terrorist financing. As members of the EU, they are bound by the EU Directives on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing and are obliged to enforce each directive.
Known for their no-nonsense approach, the MGA have suspended licenses and even removed them completely in some cases. In terms of the application process, they do not hesitate to refuse applications at any stage. This could be the Fit and Proper Test, or later on if the applicants do not meet their criteria. The Authority collaborates with other regulators and law enforcement abroad to ensure that those applying and in possession of a Malta gaming license are worthy.
With their license enjoying such a solid reputation, it’s obvious why their rules are so stringent. Having a Malta online gambling license gives the operator proof that they operate fairly, transparently and legally. It also means that players have a level of protection from the MGA, should something go wrong.
Why is Malta Great for Well Established Operators?
The Malta gaming license provides the operator with far more options for payment providers, merchants, and bank accounts. This, combined with access to more markets and more potential clients makes the investment in a Malta online gambling license a smart, business savvy move.
As we have said before, the Malta gaming license is costly, complex, and takes a lot of time, paperwork, and effort. But for big names and well-established businesses, it’s the ultimate license.
Once a gambling company has established itself elsewhere under a different license, a Malta gaming license is a smart move. It provides better protection for players and operators, more partnership opportunities, and the chance to expand into new markets. It also allows the company to enjoy more payment methods, open different payment and settlement accounts, and benefit from better advertising possibilities.
A Malta online gambling license enables the holder to offer online casino, online poker, eSport, bingo, lottery, raffle, sports betting, and potentially crypto gambling in many EU and international markets.
Switching jurisdictions is less hassle than you think, especially if you partner with an experienced and dedicated corporate service provider. We’ve helped many clients acquire a Malta gaming license and transfer their operations just a couple of years after starting. Contact Fast Offshore today take your business to the next level.
Contact Fast Offshore to Get Your Malta Gaming License
Fast Offshore is well-established in Malta and has a vast network of trusted partners and contacts. We have a good working relationship with the Malta Gaming Authority and can take you through the process, overcoming any obstacles along the way. To get your company licensed in Malta, let us help you in meeting all the requirements and criteria. Contact us today to find out how.
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