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Applications boost

Malta’s continuing growth in remote egaming applications, shows no sign of decreasing, says Mario Galena, chief executive of the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority

The year 2005 has been characterized by several milestones achieved by the Lotteries and Gaming Authority’s (LGA) ongoing drive and determination to retain its position as Europe’s leading egaming jurisdiction.  The sector’s growth between January and May 2006 already equals the total for the whole of 2004 and to date more than 150 licenses have been processed for egaming companies.
      Malta was the first European Union (EU) member state to regulate remote gaming.  Over the past 12 months the LGA has continued to consolidate its position as a tier-one remote gaming jurisdiction.  It is evident that the Remote Gaming Regulations 2004 have passed the highest standards of rigorous licensing, monitoring and player protection. 

Business- Friendly amendments

Earlier this year the LGA made known its intentions of publishing amendments to the exciting remote gaming regulations.  The new amendments should, among other things, focus on the removal of specific references to betting and games in favor of more neutral terminology that will provide for the licensing of new and innovative gambling opportunities.
      Furthermore, in April 2006, the LGA agreed that subject to certain conditions, the operators using software supplied by eCOGRA  members, will not be required to submit to further review and monitoring processes required for the award of a Malta online gaming license.  In May 2006, the LGA and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that allows for the sharing of investigative findings and materials regarding existing and prospective licensees.  This permits time-critical operations, such as poker and certain peer-to-peer games to share one platform hosted in either jurisdiction.

Remote gaming council

Malta continues to lead the way with the set up of a remote gaming council, which was created in 2005.  This is an autonomous body consisting of remote gaming operators and service providers to the industry and aimed to use the collective experience of licenses to improve discussion in the industry on technology, to promote responsible gaming, and create a positive relationship between the regulator and the licensees.
      The provenance data shown in Chart 1 indicates how Malta’s appeal is increasing for both EU and non-EU applicants.  The provenance of applications illustrates the high value placed by egaming companies on Malta domiciliation.  Overall, applications from EU countries accounted for 86% of interest in Malta.  The remaining 14% illustrated the growing interest from non-EU countries. These figures demonstrate that Malta is adept at attracting and regulating a wide range of companies.  The largest portion indicates the growing appeal of Malta from an impressive breadth of EU states. The figures for different classes of remote gaming make it apparent that Class 2- sports betting, requiring a remote betting office license or remote betting exchange license – constituted 38% of Malta’s remote gaming industry.


      Casinos and lotteries (Class 1) represented nearly a third of Malta’s remote gaming companies with 32%.  Poker, betting exchanges and skills games (Class 3) formed 18% while software vendors (Class 4) took up 12%.  For the LGA the year 2005 ended with yet another smash when the Authority was awarded for ‘Excellent Services to the Online Gaming’ by the prestigious British Magazine, Business Britain after an extensive survey of a number of jurisdictions regulating remote gaming.

Domicile Overview

Location     : Mediterranean archipelago of seven islands
Population:  402668
Languages:  Maltese and English
Timezone   :  Central European Time (GMT +1 hour)

Operation issues

What AML procedures are in place?
      Local anti-money laundering laws are in place and are fully compliant with the 2nd Directive of AML European Union legislation.

Do local banks process online gaming transactions?
      Yes, there are 19 local commercial banks that handle remote gaming.  Aside from these, there are 12 payment gateways approved by the LGA to process payment of remote gaming operations.

Licensed firm include

  • Betfair (malta)
  • Expect
  • Interwetten
  • Unibet
  • Pokerchamps
  • Primebet

Telecoms
      Maltacom is the leading telecoms provider in Malta.  There are to fully digital gateways and a fibre-optic link to Sicily.  There are seven internet service providers (ISPs) approved by the LGA to co-locate servers for  remote gaming.

 

Contact details
Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (Malta)
La Concorde, Abate Rigord Street, Ta Xbiex, Malta MSD 12
Website: www.lga.org.mt
Email : infor@ilga.org.mt
Fax: +356 21 316 599
Tel : +356 21 316 590/1/3/4

Key data

When did the jurisdiction begin licensing egaming sites?
      First online betting offices regulations in 2000.  The Remote gaming Regulations came into force in April 2004.

What type of license does it award?

  • Class 1 Remote Gaming License is a remote gaming license
  • Class 2 Remote Gaming License is a remote betting office license or a remote betting exchange office licese.
  • Class 3 Remote Gaming License is a license to promote or a bet gaming from Malta.
  • Class 4 Remote Gaming License is a license to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the license himself.

What are the minimum requirements for each license type?
      A Limited Liability company (LLC) registered in Malta must:

  • Ensure applicants shall be fit and proper.
  • Demonstrate a business and technical ability to carry out the operation
  • Demonstrate the operation is covered by sufficient reserves or securities to ensure player winnings and deposit returns.

Does the domicile require software testing /licensing?
      Certification of compliance is required.

What are the start-up application fees?
      Remote Gaming License – € 2,329.

What are the recurring licensing fees?
      Upon receipt of notice that the class or classes of licenses applied for will be granted for a period of five years, a license fee for each license shall be charged by the Authority as follows:

  • All classes of Remote Gaming License – € 6,987 pa.  A renewal fee for each license shall be charged by the Authority as follows:
  • All classes of Remote Gaming License – € 1,165.

What is the tax rate?

  • € 4,659 per month during the first six months after issue of the license and subsequently € 6,987 per month for the entire duration of the license period.
  • Class 1 under Class 4: Remote Gaming licensee shall not pay any tax for the first six months after the issue of the license.  € 2,329 per month for the subsequent six months and subsequently € 4,658 per month for the entire duration of the license.
  • Licenses operating from the hosting platform pay € 1.165 per month.  Class 2(a): On the gross amount of bets accepted in operations a sum equivalent to 0.5% Class 2(b): On betting  exchanges – 0.5% on the sum of all net winnings calculated per player per betting market.  Class 2(c): on pool betting – a sum equivalent to 0.5% on the aggregate of stakes paid.
  • Class 3: Tax is a percentage of net takings in all cases the total maximum of tax payable per annum by one licensee in respect of any one license shall not exceed € 465.700.

 

 

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