The beginning of iGaming businesses in Malta

Malta has truly flourished to be a major central hub of sports betting and casino games 

The iGaming industry has flourished over the past two decades and there are many companies that host casino games and sports betting content.

According to data from 2021, there are more than 500 gambling companies that are based in Malta - bearing in mind that a single company can operate dozens of online casinos. So, many of the popular gambling sites are based in Malta and are regulated by the MGA.

This license is also held in high regard by the gambling community and many consider the sites with MGA licenses to be safe. The license is especially important to online players who don’t have access to locally regulated gambling sites. If you go over the list of sites in Australia that offer great games, you’ll see that a lot of them have this license.

In a way, the MGA lead by example and inspired other countries to regulate their own online gambling markets. Here we will talk about Malta as an iGaming hub and how it all began.

MGA Safety Standards in iGaming

When you look at the state of online casinos today, it’s hard to imagine a time when they weren’t so appealing. Thanks to the development in both the tech and payments industry, it’s now possible to play online casino games in privacy.

Some operators don’t even require account verification to approve withdrawals and you can find them on this link, - but this wasn’t always the case. In fact, it’s because of user safety that operators had to verify the identity and the account and there was a time when you had to be physically present to add funds.

One of the main guarantees of the MGA license is the safety of user funds. All operators need to maintain user funds in separate accounts. This way whenever you want to make a withdrawal, you don’t have to worry whether money in your balance is really there.

However, monitoring transactions and meeting all of the KYC and regulatory requirements is expensive. As a result, it would be difficult for operators to break even.

Thankfully, Malta has some of the most favourable business operating costs and the cost of labour isn’t that high. This allowed them to become a very attractive location for aspiring gambling businesses. In other words, both users and business owners were eager to embrace the Maltese regulatory framework. Especially since users can apply for self-exclusion and limit their access to this content.   

History of Gambling in Malta 

While many countries decided to make gambling illegal during the first decades of the 20th century, Malta took a different route. Back in 1921, the lottery was made legal which led to a realisation of just how profitable gambling can be. In other words, the government was always more open to regulating this form of entertainment. Once iGaming made an appearance in 2002, the Maltese government started to work on the infrastructure to have it regulated.

Malta joined the EU in 2004 and it became the first European country that regulated remote gaming. As mentioned, this has attracted a lot of business owners who were in a hurry to beat the competition to the punch and launch their gambling websites.

The iGaming entertainment at that time consisted of the following content:

●      Online Bingo and Lotteries

●      Online luck-based games (such as slots, for example)

●      Competitive gaming (such as poker)

●      Betting with fixed odds

●      Virtual sports

Moreover, Maltese regulators issue two types of licenses:

●      B2C (Business-to-community) for the providers who hosted the content

●      B2B (Business-to-business) for suppliers of content - Software developers, bookmakers, data management tools etc.

There were three subclasses for the B2C license:

●      Class 1 - License for online casinos that host repetitive luck-based games

●      Class 2 - License for gambling businesses that host sports betting

●      Class 3 - License for businesses that host arbitrage gambling such as betting exchanges, poker rooms and bingo

Class 4 license was issued for software providers and for sites that hosted online games.

Did This Benefit Malta?

When it comes to the economics and tax revenue this was a superb move. The infrastructure that supports online gaming has attracted many foreign investors, software companies and entrepreneurs. Additionally, it has created thousands of jobs in the gaming sector. That being said, many are concerned that Malta has developed a gambling problem. There aren’t any precise statistics on problem gambling, but it seems that the helpline is now available 24/7, which wasn’t always the case.


Thanks to the tax laws, streamlined approval process and low operating cost, Malta has become the main iGaming hub in the world. Although this form of entertainment has always been controversial, leaving it unregulated can often be more dangerous. The regulatory framework also means having the necessary help tools that are always accessible. Moreover, these help centers are provided thanks to the revenue acquired from gambling.