GAMING LICENCE IN MALTA
Remote Gaming in Malta
Malta has recent and successfully established itself as a leading, well-regulated European remote gaming jurisdiction and is estimated to host around 10% of the world’s on line gaming companies. The Government of Malta had revised and consolidated its gaming legislation by enacting a new comprehensive gaming law and setting up the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA).
The Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority has revised the regulations so that gaming activities including online casinos, casino-style games, online poker, betting exchanges and lotteries could be allowed after an application is submitted and a licence is granted.
Jurisdictions such as Gibraltar, Alderney and the Isle of Man are other popular jurisdictions that offer licensing for remote gaming operations, however, Malta is the only jurisdiction that is an EU member state and therefore offers the possibility of “free movement of goods and services” within the EU market.
Our Firm offers a “one-stop-shop” service to Online Gaming Operators by assisting Clients in setting up or re-locating their Gaming Operations to Malta. We assist clients in submitting and pursuing a Gaming License application to the Malta LGA.
We realise that clients have individual requirements and it is our policy to provide a service that is tailor made to each Client.
The Malta Remote Gaming Regulations came into force on the 20th April 2004. The new Regulations are established under the main Act as Other Games by Means of Distance Communication.
• Technology Neutral – Apply to all types of technologies (internet, mobile, telephone, fax and game devices). • Game Neutral – Apply to all types of games (Betting, P2P, Online Casino, Community Games, Leagues, etc.) • Future Proof (as much as practicable). • Shift from regulating games to regulating the means of carrying out gaming. • Establishes a safe environment for players. • Gives operators a competitive edge.
Gambling Licence in Malta
In order to get a gambling license in Malta, you will need to do the following: 1. Set up a company and apply for a licence 2. Pass the inspection by the Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) 3. Deploy the system 4. Maintain your licence
Incorporation of a Maltese Company and Application for a Gambling Licence
The initial cost of setting up a Maltese company in order to apply for an online gaming licence will amount to around Euro 31,890.00, which includes:
Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) registration fee Drafting of Memorandum & Article, Obtaining of Stamp Duty Exemption, Combined register and share certificates Obtaining of VAT registration Company secretary Nominee shareholders Registered office in Malta
MALTA – COMPANY FORMATION AND LICENSING SERVICES INCORPORATION AND REGISTRATION FEES
Incorporation in Cyprus – Euros 1,750.00
Provision of registered office as legally required – Euros 1,200.00/annual
Annual maintenance fees – Euros 1,800.00/annual
VAT compliance – Euros 225.00 (per VAT return)
Government Registration fees – Euros 420.00
Provision of Fiduciary Shareholder - Euros 900.00/annual
Provision of a Local Company Secretary – recommended – Euros 750.00/annual (min. Per year for a passive appointment)
Assistance in the licence application process (Package) – Euros 15,000.00 (a onetime charge)
EGaming Application License Fee – Euros 2,330.00
Provision of Corporate Bank Account – General Disbursements – Euros 870.00
2nd set of certified documents for bank account opening purposes – Euros 325.00 Accountancy Services – Euros 1,500.00/annual
Annual Company Return Filing Fee – Euros 200.00/annual
Audit services – Euros 3,580.00/annual
General disbursements – Euros 200.00
Hand Plier Company Seal – Euros 75.00
DHL delivery of documents – Euros 90.00
Company Director and Key Official Provision of Director/Key Official – Euros 3,000.00/month Payable monthly in advance 1st invoice covering initial Quarter
A Maltese company must be set up with an amount of share capital, minimum of which is EUR 1,165 of which at least 20% of the nominal value must be paid up on subscription. However, prior to going live and following the review of the business plan, the LGA usually requests remote gaming operations to increase the issued capital to:
Class 1 - EUR 100,000
Class 2 - EUR 100,000
Class 3 - EUR 40,000
Class 4 - EUR 40,000
Class 1 on 4 - EUR 100,000
EGaming Application License Fee
The application for the gambling license will cost an initial Euro 2,330. This application fee is not refundable should the application fail to be accepted.
After you gather all necessary documentation and information, our law firm can file the application within two weeks. The application will take around 1 1/2 months to be processed, and then you will be given a six-month period to establish the business in Malta, conclude all necessary agreements and carry out the necessary testing of the set-up. After this six-month period, LGA will issue a formal licence after the compliance certificate is obtained, which normally takes two weeks.
Classes of Remote Gaming Licences
Remote Gaming Regulations are based on a principle that any concept using a means of electronic communication in which, one or more players pay to participate to win a prize, is licensable. The Remote Gaming Regulations categorises these concepts under four different types of Classes of Licenses, which are:
Class 1: Casino Style Games, Lotteries and Slots This licence applies for operators who offer games which are based on repetitive events and the gaming risk is managed by the operator. This type of licence covers casino table style games, lotteries and slots.
Class 2: Sports Betting This licence covers operators who manage risk based on a singular event using markets. This licence covers the traditional fixed odds betting and some forms of pool betting.
Class 3: P2P, Betting Exchanges, Skins, Tournaments, Bingo This licence applies to operators who organise player to player games but do not partake in the risk and receive only a commission. A class-3-licence is suitable for betting exchange providers, pools and poker rooms.
Class 4: Software vendors who take commission on wagers This licence covers software vendors and platform operators who intend to host and manage remote gaming operators having any class of the above. They cannot partake in the gaming risk and can only receive a commission. Once an application is submitted and the LGA find the application to be in order, a Malta Company is incorporated and a temporary gaming license is issued in the name of the Maltese Company. This process takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. At this stage, applicant may commence their operations and would then have 6 months to obtain a certification of compliance, to then be issued with the official gaming license.
Malta Gaming Licence
Prior to granting a remote gaming licence, the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority applies an application process that is made up of 3 Stages.
Stage 1 - The LGA will examines all the information provided and conducts a due diligence on the Applicant, including the analyses of all information related to persons involved in managing and financing the business, and financial analysis of the business plan. Applicants must demonstrate a business and technical ability to perform the operation and that the operation is covered by sufficient reserves or securities to ensure player winnings and deposit returns. The business plan should outline the following:
• The objectives of the operation;
• Structure of the company: business functions and human resources including risk managers, odds compiler, financial officers, etc.;
• The nature of games to be offered: betting, pool betting, betting exchange, casino, poker, leagues, etc.;
• The technologies to be used for remote gaming: Internet, telephone, fax, mobile, etc.; • An overview of the software to be used as gaming and control systems;
• A three-year business plan including: marketing and sales plan; forecast balance sheets; financing plan showing sources of finance.
The following information and documents relating to each shareholder and key management personnel need to be submitted to the LGA:
• Passport copy • Birth certificate
• Passport size photo
• Certificate of Good Character, issued by a law enforcing authority in the country of origin of the applicant
• Statement of Affairs • Financial references including a professional recommendation. • Resume / CV
• Existing Gaming Licence (if applicable).
The copies of the documents must be certified by a Lawyer or Public Notary. Under normal circumstances, the first stage is completed within 3 to 4 weeks.
Stage 2 - After successfully completing Stage 1, the LGA will inform the Applicant to proceed to Stage 2. At this stage, the following documents are to be submitted to the LGA:
• Incorporation Documents – A Maltese Company Registration Certificate, Memorandum and Articles of Association and the LGA’s Business Entity Information Form. • Operational Manual outlining the application & system structural design of the gaming and control systems, the software developer, security and control procedures, back-up and disaster recovery procedures, and the rules, terms, conditions and procedures of the games, including online text.
• The Payment methods, payment system/s and its provider/s.
• Agreements with business partners, affiliates and/or agents.
• The second stage is generally completed within 3 to 4 weeks, provided that correct and complete information is submitted to the LGA.
Stage 3 – After successfully completing Stage 2, a temporary licence to operate remote gaming is granted to the Malta Company with the intent of obtaining certification of compliance for the operation based on the standard ISO / IEC17799:2000 within six months. In additional to the necessary certification, the applicant must appoint a Key Official within 21 days of issuance of the Letter of Intent, conclude necessary testing and all the required agreements in respect of the hosting of servers, associated equipment as well as the office lease agreement. Once completed, the Applicant is issued with the official gaming license.
The licence is issued for a period of five years. Each year, you will have to pay:
• A 5% income tax • An Euro 83,844 Gaming Tax (Euro 8,987 monthly)
• A server hosting fee (in Malta) of Euro 4,200 (approximately)
• A key official, office and annual license fees, as mentioned in this page
Requirements for Certification
• Server protocols, communication protocols and specifications which are part of the gaming system structure;
• Gaming risk management procedures;
• IT security risk management procedures and internal control of the system;
• Modules that affect processes, rules and parameters of the game if the source code is changed;
• Detailed description of the set-up and functionality of the application structure and system architecture.
• System of internal controls, administrative and accounting procedures for the conduct of a remote gaming office;
• Technically this includes all the subcomponents of the system where the player is in the “secure area” and login module.
• The RNG is part of the control system.
• The applicant is required to submit a written document outlining the control system functionality and specifications for the approval by the LGA including updates if any changes have been carried out. The control system must be located in Malta and a Gaming Licence is granted once the control system has been issued the certification of compliance.
• A system by which remote gaming is conducted, and shall include all its associated components, its operating systems and application software;
• Technically this includes all the sub components of the system that provide the games, including gaming devices where applicable. The gaming system must also be certified for compliance and requires further approval if critical components of the system are subsequently changed.
Gaming Tax & Licence Fees
Licensing fee applicable by the Malta Gaming Commission (Lotteries and Gaming Authority):
• Processing fee (non-refundable) in respect of an application – Euro 2,330
• Annual licence fee in respect of class 1, class 2 and class 3 – Euro 7,000 per class / licence. The annual licence fee for class 4 is nil for the first 6 months, Euro 2,300 per month for the next 6 months (month 7 to 12) and Euro 4,600 from month 13 onwards. • The annual licence fee is to be paid within fifteen days from the formal granting of licence and repeated annually accordingly.
Gaming tax applicable by the Malta Lotteries & Gaming Authority:
• Gaming Tax for Class 1 (online gaming) - Standalone is Euro 7,000 per month. Gaming Tax for Class 1 on 4 is Euro 1,200 per month.
• Gaming Tax for Class 2 (online betting) - A sum equivalent to half of 1% (0.5%) on the gross amount of bets accepted in online betting operations.
• Gaming Tax for Class 3 is 5% on net income which is defined as the net revenue less direct costs: bonuses, commissions and payment processing fees (ecommerce fees)
• The Gaming Tax for Class 4 – no gaming tax (inherits tax of its sub-licensees).
• In the case of Classes 2, 3 and 4 licences, the total maximum amount of tax payable per annum by one licensee in respect of any one licence shall not exceed Euro 466,000. In the case of Class 3 on 4, tax will be paid proportionately depending on the number of licensees operating on the Class 4 gaming platform.
Key Official Requirement and Support
A Key Official would need to be appointed within 21 days from issue of the Letter of Intent. Following find a list of responsibilities that need to be adhered to by the Companies' Key Official:
• System review / Certification of compliance.
• Sealing of Servers and also responsible to make sure seals are not broken, and if broken, must be reported to the LGA and re-sealed. • Incident reports - the LGA is to be advised in respect of any changes made to either the hardware or software of the company, by signing and submitting the Incident reports.
• Keeping the LGA updated in respect of any changes to be made, to the set- up approved by LGA.
• Submission of monthly gaming tax and annual gaming licence fee. • Submission of the Company's Accounts / Audit.
• Ensuring players' funds are adequately held by the Company at all times.
• Data Protection.
• NSO - National Statistics.
• Key Official is to have access to the back-end system.
Further, the Key Official together with the Management of the Company needs to ensure that the Company is operating in line with the following Malta regulations:
• Companies Act, 1995 • Data Protection Act, 2001
• Electronic Commerce Act, 2001
• Electronic Communications (Regulation) Act, 1997
• Income Tax Act, 1948
• Income Tax Management Act, 1994
• Lotteries and other games Act, 2001 as amended (Remote Gaming Regulations) • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 1994
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