iGaming licensing sees moves abroad

Despite the successes of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), an increasing number of operators are choosing to license their products elsewhere. We examine this trend, and what it could mean for the future of the MGA

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has become a hub for gambling brands since its launch in 2001. The primary mission of the commission has been to regulate compliance and ensure fair standards for online gambling companies, in order to protect existing and future players from being exploitative business practises.

When consulting the latest statistics regarding the number of online casinos which have applied for a license from this authority, however, an analysis of the data reveals a sharp decrease compared to the previous years.

The same report also reveals that an increasing number of online casinos in other European countries are choosing to operate solely under licenses granted by their own jurisdictions in 2022, when compared to previous years.


Despite the Norwegian iGaming market's compliance with guidelines imposed by the Maltese gambling authority in the past, in recent years this has progressively changed, with 2022 seeing several Norwegian online casino brand owners choosing to have their products regulated exclusively by the Norwegian Gambling Authority.


This year is significant for the launch of the online gambling industry in Ontario on the 4th of April. Since its release, however, gamblers from Ontario have reported significantly fewer promotions available in their province compared to the overall number of bonuses accessible to users from other Canadian regions.

Representatives of Ontario's gambling commission vouch for the efficacy of the strict measures adopted when reviewing online casinos and promotions. According to public statements, officials carefully test all promotions available in Ontario casinos before these are accepted for licensing.

As such, due to the strict regulations imposed by the gambling authority of Ontario, it should come as little surprise that the best casino sites in Canada operating under this local jurisdiction need not apply for regulation by any other international licensing authority.


A similar move may occur in Germany after the country's national gambling authority — the Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder — becomes fully operational from 1 January 2023. Until this date, the gambling supervisory commission of the state of Hesse will remain responsible for granting gambling licenses.

Until now, German online casinos have shown little interest in applying to receive a gambling license from the MGA, so it seems likely that we may soon include Germany in the list of countries choosing to operate solely under local gambling jurisdictions.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands is another country that has chosen to legalise iGaming, following the cessation of a two year "cooling-off period" allowing unlicensed operators to apply for a license with the proviso they not target Dutch players. Since April 2022, online casinos that have had their applications reviewed, and the country's gaming authority — the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) — has started granting licenses.

In light of these recent developments, the number of Dutch online casinos applying an MGA license is relatively low.

What does the future hold for the MGA?

Following these trends, the future of the MGA as an international hub for gambling operators appears increasingly uncertain, with an increasing number of countries adopting new legislation for licensing online casinos.

At this point, it is too early to state with certainty the exact factors contributing to the decrease in licensing applications, though one explanation for this trend may be the strict requirements imposed by the MGA. French casinos, for example, have been sanctioned by the commission in the past, with such decisions possibly serving as motivation for online casino owners to seek licensing outside of Maltese gambling guidelines.

Another possible cause could be the high prices imposed by licensing authorities, discouraging online casino operators from applying to other authorities outside of their own country.

In conclusion, it seems increasingly unlikely that iGaming remote businesses — such as those based in Ontario or Norway — will apply for a license from the MGA, especially when taking into account the strict regulations and high taxes in place in their own countries.

Disclaimer: Play responsibly. For help, visit www.rgf.org.mt. Players must be over 18