Malta Gaming Authority
Several regulatory bodies exist with the aim of making the online gaming industry a safe and secure place for players to enjoy the wide range of games that are currently on offer. One such regulatory authority, and perhaps the most highly respected in the entire industry, is the Malta Gaming Authority.
Read on for full details of this world-renowned regulator, including their history, the types of licences they issue, how difficult it is to obtain a licence and a list of the top online casinos licensed by the MGA.
Online Casinos Licensed By the MGA
Malta Gaming Authority Story
The Malta Gaming Authority, or MGA, as it is more commonly referred to, was created in 2001 to manage and regulate the growing gaming industry, which includes offline activities such as lotteries and betting shops, and online activities such as online casinos and sportsbooks.
The organisation's mission statement details its overarching aim:
"To regulate competently the various sectors of the gaming industry that fall under the Authority by ensuring gaming is fair and transparent to the players, preventing crime, corruption and money laundering and by protecting minor and vulnerable players."
The MGA thus has five aims that help them achieve their mission:
- Protect minors and vulnerable persons
- Safeguard players' rights
- Promote responsible gaming in a safe environment
- Ensure the integrity of games and gaming devices
- Keep gaming free from criminal activity
The MGA was one of the first to extend its coverage to the online gaming industry and is today regarded as one of the most effective, efficient and trustworthy authorities in the world. The organisation is also considered a success from an economic perspective, being responsible for drawing in some 12% of Malta's GDP.
- Gaming Service Licence: Defined by the MGA as "a business to consumer licence to offer or carry out a gaming service", this licence covers companies that offer online gambling directly to customers via a website or mobile gaming app. Examples of such organisations that would require this type of licence would be an operator of an online casino or sports betting site.
- Critical Gaming Supply Licence Type A: Described by the MGA as "a business-to-business licence to provide or carry out a critical gaming supply and management of software, to generate, capture, control or process essential regulatory record and/or supply and management of the control system itself on which the software resides". This is basically any organisation that services an online gambling company with software in order for them to operate. Examples of such organisations would be software developers that provide online gambling platforms that can be adapted and tailored to specific needs.
- Critical Gaming Supply Licence Type B: Defined by the MGA as "a business-to-business licence to provide or carry out a critical gaming supply and management of material elements of a game", this licence covers companies who develop and market their games to the above licence-holders on a B2B basis. Examples include the many casino games developers that are currently serving the industry, such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Evolution and Pragmatic Play.
MGA Casino Licence Process
The Malta Gaming Authority allows prospective licensees to apply for a licence via a specialised application system called the Licensee Relationship Management System (LRMS) on the MGA website. This system allows applicants to submit the requested information and documentation, which is then evaluated by various departments within the MGA to assess whether the application for a licence will be approved.
The MGA uses five measures during its application evaluation process:
- Fit and Proper: Everyone involved in the finance and management of the applying company is investigated and assessed in conjunction with national and international regulators and law enforcement agencies to ensure good standing. The MGA will also assess the viability of the business.
- Business Planning: An in-depth analysis of the applicant company's business plan is then carried out. Here the MGA wants to see detailed financial forecasts that include cash flow and profit and loss metrics, a balance sheet, and plans for HR, growth and marketing and distribution.
- Operational and Statutory Requirements: The MGA then takes a detailed look at what is required for the business to operate, namely, the games themselves, associated software and related business processes, terms and conditions, rules and technical documentation for gaming systems.
- At this stage the applicant is also required to pay the licence fee, which varies depending on the licence applied for and the types of games they plan to offer as follows:
- Gaming Service Licence Type 1/2: Min. €100,000
- Gaming Service Licence Type 3/4: Min. €40,000
- Critical Gaming Supply Licence: Min. €40,000
If the applicant offers more than one of the above, the fees are cumulative but capped at €240,000. It's common for inconsistent and low-quality applications to be dropped at this stage.
- System Review: If the applicant reaches this stage, they have provisionally been approved for their licence. However, they will then have 60 days to launch their proposed business into a technical environment and appoint an MGA-approved auditor to verify the operation against that described in the application. If there is anything more than minimal deviation, the applicant will have to restart the application process. If the audit is approved, the applicant will receive a 10-year MGA-issued licence.
- Compliance Review: After the first year of live operation and at any other point as determined by the authority, the MGA requires an approved audit for maintenance of the licensee's status. These audits must be completed within 90 days of the MGA request or the licence could be suspended or terminated.
As you can see, the Malta Gaming Authority uses a rigorous application system to ensure that only solid, viable and responsible businesses can offer their services to players, which is why the licensor is so highly regarded in the industry.
New MGA Casinos 2022
Keen on joining the very latest online casinos that have been launched under a Malta Gaming Authority licence? Here's a list of the newest MGA casinos on the scene:
Looking for the best games, with the best bonuses around? Skol Casino was licensed by the MGA, and since then it has been offering stellar games and great bonuses to players. Pick from 2500+ games, with more added all the time! Take part in live casino games, or play their progressive slots and perhaps you’ll be the winner of their next jackpot!
Check out the full Skol Casino review.
Jackpot Village is one of the most popular casinos online, and for good reason! It’s got a huge welcome offer, as well as plenty of the best slots, a great VIP program, and live dealer games for those who want that real-life casino experience. With a huge jackpot on offer for players if they’re the lucky ones to get it, why not join up and experience all they have to offer!
Check out the full Jackpot Village Casino review.
As one of the biggest names in online casinos, it’s no wonder we have to give this one a shoutout. With the latest and newest slot games, as well as top casino games like blackjack, roulette, and even games like Bingo, LeoVegas has it all. Getting your game on with a huge welcome bonus has never been easier – play at LeoVegas to see if it’s got everything you want!
Check out the full LeoVegas Casino review.
Reasons to Get the MGA License
The application process for obtaining a Malta Gaming Authority issued licence is known for being stringent, costly and time-consuming, so why would any online casino go through that? The reason the MGA has such an excellent reputation is that they are world-renowned for their scrupulous attention to detail when it comes to regulatory compliance. Their dedication to protecting the safety and security of players by ensuring that applicants are genuine and trustworthy and that the games they plan to offer are verifiably fair means their licence is valued far more highly than perhaps those from other issuing authorities. Players these days are smart and if they have the choice between an online casino with a highly regarded licence and one without, they'll opt for the former. Online casinos who want to be successful know this and will therefore endure the meticulous application process and pricey fees for the unmatched appeal that holding an MGA-issued licence will grant them.
MGA and Online Gamblers Protection
One of the reasons the Malta Gaming Authority is the gold standard in the online gambling industry is because they are primarily there to protect players. There are three main ways the MGA protects online gamblers, as referred to in their mission statement: ensuring gaming is fair and transparent; preventing crime, corruption and money laundering; and protecting minor and vulnerable players.
Fairness and Transparency of Games
The MGA requires all licence-holders to verify the fairness of the games they plan to offer players. As such, they regularly carry out testing of the games to ensure that RNGs are operating properly and that game outcomes are indeed fair.
Preventing Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering
Along with the growth of the internet came an increase in online crime such as fraud and money laundering, which is another aspect of player protection that the Malta Gaming Authority takes very seriously. As such, the MGA requires all licence-holders to carry out Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) checks on all players in an effort to prevent such malicious activity. It's for this reason that MGA-licensed online casinos will ask you for documents verifying your name, address, payment methods and source of funds. These checks can be triggered by simply opening an account, starting to play with real money, reaching a certain threshold amount of played funds or generated winnings, or requesting a withdrawal.
Protecting Minor and Vulnerable Players
Part of protecting players is ensuring that those who are underage or are likely to develop problem gambling behaviour are prevented from accessing online casinos or given help to address their issues. Minors are not permitted to gamble at online casinos and MGA-licensed sites are required to actively prevent underage gambling by carrying out the above-mentioned KYC checks to verify the age of their players. The MGA also places special emphasis on responsible gambling, requiring their licence-holders to offer tools such as maximum deposit limits, time-outs, self-exclusion options and links to supportive third parties.
Pros & Cons of MGA Licensed Casinos
How do you decide if an MGA-licensed online casino is for you? Take a look at our pros and cons table below and see for yourself if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks:
- Players must be able to play in a safe and secure environment
- Games must be verifiably fair
- Responsible gaming resources and tools must be offered
- Online casino operating funds and player funds must be kept separate
- MGA-licensed online casinos aren't accessible in all countries
How Can I Contact MGA If I Have a Complaint?
If you run into difficulties at a Malta Gaming Authority licensed online casino, your first port of call should be to contact the online casino's own support service in order to remedy the issue. However, if this doesn't address the issue and you feel it is serious, you also have the option to lodge a formal complaint with the MGA via their Online Gaming Support page. This page explains the process and encourages players to fill in a short form giving details of the issue, which the MGA will then investigate and try to resolve for you.
Should I Play at Casinos with an MGA Licence?
Now you know more about the detailed application process that online casinos must go through if they want to be issued with a Malta Gaming Authority licence, you probably have a much better understanding of why the MGA's licence is so highly regarded. The authority carries out a very in-depth analysis of every aspect of the applicant company's background, plans and finances to ensure that players are safeguarded against shady practices and criminal activities. Even once the licence has been issued, licensees are subject to regular checks of their operations to ensure they remain safe and fair.
The Malta Gaming Authority licence is therefore one of the best online casino licences to look out for if you want a top-notch fair and secure online gaming experience.
MGA Casinos FAQs
Have additional questions? Find out more in our FAQs.
How can I check if an online casino has an MGA licence?
You have two ways of checking if an online casino has an MGA-issued licence. Firstly, you can check the online casino's website. Licence information is usually detailed at the bottom of every page, in the T&Cs and on the site's About page. You may also find the MGA logo appearing in the site's footer with a link to the MGA website, specifically the document listing the online casino's licence status and details. Secondly, you can check the MGA website's Licensee Register for the licence status of the online casino. Simply use the provided drop-down menus to find the online casino you're looking for and you'll be taken to the registered details.
What if an online casino loses its MGA licence?
Online casinos that don't comply with the MGA's regulations may have their licence suspended or terminated, which means the site is no longer allowed to operate. They are legally obligated to inform their members in such a case. You can keep up to date with such changes in licence status via the MGA Enforcement Register, available on their website.
Which are the best MGA-licensed online casinos?
Check out our top list at the top of this page for the highest-ranking MGA-licensed online casinos based on our detailed reviews.