6 November, 2023

Fast Offshore: Licence to game in Malta

Ron Mendelson, Founder and Managing Partner of Fast OffShore, discusses iGaming licences in Malta, Anjouan and exploring bigger markets.

Malta, a Mediterranean island nation, has long been a thriving hub for the online gambling industry, with its favourable legal framework and proactive regulatory approach. In 2023, it was home to 10% of the world’s online gaming companies, boasting over 26.2m gaming accounts, making it a secure and well-regulated environment for online gambling.

Today, it is a leading choice for operators, along with the Anjouan licence, which together provide unparalleled access to the world’s gaming markets, not just in Europe, but beyond. 

iGaming in Malta 

Malta was among the first EU member states to regulate online gambling in 2004, attracting gaming companies with its favourable tax policies, modern infrastructure and skilled workforce. Over the years, Malta has continuously updated its gambling legislation to enhance consumer protection, combat money laundering and align with evolving EU regulations.

One notable reform was the proposed Gaming Act of 2018, aiming to modernise the legal framework and strengthen player protection. Earlier this year, Bill 55 introduced significant provisions that shield MGA-licensed casinos and operators from legal actions that conflict with the legality of gaming services, question their legitimacy or pertain to lawful and licensed activities under the Gaming Act.

This means Maltese courts can refuse to recognise or enforce foreign judgments related to these actions, effectively creating a protective shield around Malta’s gambling operators. 

While Malta’s approval of Bill 55 has stirred up the online gambling industry, with ongoing debates about its implications, Malta continues to be a significant player in the online gambling market, and other EU jurisdictions must adapt quickly to remain competitive. Players and stakeholders can find reassurance in the increased security and legal protection offered by MGA-licensed casinos in Malta.  

Leading licence 

Obtaining a Malta gambling licence is a coveted achievement in online gaming, often regarded as the gold standard for many compelling reasons. 

Reputation: Malta’s regulatory authority, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has built an impeccable reputation for stringent oversight and player protection. Holding a Malta licence immediately lends credibility to an online gambling operator, reassuring players of fair play and financial security.  

Robust regulatory regime: Malta’s regulatory framework strikes a harmonious balance between firm and flexible. It provides clear guidelines and regulations to ensure the integrity of the gaming industry while allowing operators the flexibility to innovate and adapt to evolving market trends. 

Tax benefits: Malta offers an attractive tax environment for online gambling companies. The country operates a full tax imputation system, meaning the corporate tax rate is 35%, but shareholders can receive refunds on dividends paid out by the company, potentially reducing the effective tax rate to as low as 5% or even less. This tax incentive can significantly boost the profitability of gambling operators. 

Talented local workforce: Malta boasts a highly skilled and multilingual workforce, making it easier for operators to find and employ talented professionals in various aspects of the online gaming business.  

Infrastructure and ancillary services: Malta offers a robust infrastructure that caters to the diverse needs of gambling operators. This includes state-of-the-art data centres, reliable hosting services and a well-connected telecommunications network.  

Access to EU markets 

Acquiring a Malta gambling licence opens the doors to one of the world’s most lucrative and expansive markets – the European Union (EU) and the broader European gambling sector. With its 27 member states, the EU represents a population of over 445 million people, making it one of the largest consumer markets globally. This immense population provides a substantial player base for online gambling operators.

Several EU countries, including Germany, France and Spain, are prime markets for online gambling, each contributing significantly to the industry’s growth. 

A Malta gambling licence is highly respected across the EU and globally, offering operators the credibility and legitimacy needed to enter, and thrive, in these markets. The MGA’s rigorous standards and reputation for ensuring a fair and transparent gaming environment make it easier for licensees to build trust with European players.  

“Malta continues to be a significant player in the online gambling market, and other EU jurisdictions must adapt quickly to remain competitive”

Ron Mendelson

Anjouan and Malta licensing 

Combining a Malta gambling licence with an Anjouan licence can be a strategic move for iGaming operators, offering a powerful combination that opens doors to a wide range of global markets. This dual licensing approach leverages the strengths of each jurisdiction to maximize market access and business benefits. 

Malta licence’s reputation: Malta is renowned for its impeccable reputation in the iGaming industry. Holding a Malta licence immediately instills trust and credibility among players and partners alike. The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) enforces rigorous standards for compliance, ensuring fair play and player protection. This reputation is especially valuable in mature and highly regulated markets. 

Anjouan’s emerging appeal: Anjouan, a small island in the Comoros archipelago, is emerging as a leading licence of choice for its low cost and quick setup time. An Anjouan licence offers several advantages, including affordability and efficient licensing processes, making it an attractive option for operators looking to expand rapidly. 

Tax benefits: Malta offers a competitive tax regime, with the potential for a reduced corporate tax rate through the full tax imputation system. Anjouan complements this by providing a cost-effective regulatory framework, allowing operators to optimise their financial performance. 

Global market access: Combining these licences creates a dynamic blend of credibility and efficiency. Malta’s licence opens doors to the highly regulated European markets, while Anjouan’s agility and affordability make it an excellent choice for expanding into emerging markets across Asia, Africa, Latin America and beyond. 

Diverse business benefits: The dual licence strategy allows operators to cater to a diverse global audience while enjoying cost savings and operational flexibility. It also enables operators to tap into various market segments, from established markets in Europe to emerging ones in Asia and Africa, all under a single operational umbrella. 

Fast Offshore has been working in iGaming for over two decades and has an established track record in both Malta and Anjouan. We can assist with all licensing, incorporation, structuring, payments, and compliance matters.  

In addition, our team goes beyond just setup, and we offer ongoing maintenance services and advice to all our clients. Contact us today to learn more about licensing in Malta and Anjouan and the benefits of holding multiple licences.