Malta gambling license still considered top tier in markets without country level regulation

There are numerous jurisdictions around the world which are not moving towards country level regulation and in these places, an MGA license still maintains a high level of respect

There has been considerable discussion as of late about gaming licenses from the Malta Gaming Authority, and whether the time for these licenses has passed.

The possibility of multiple European markets following the UK’s lead and becoming regulated has many believing the MGA license will soon become unnecessary, and unhelpful.

However, while there is some truth in these arguments, MGA licenses are still considered of the highest tier by markets that are not regulated on a country level, and that doesn’t show any signs of changing.

The Impact of Country Level Regulation

In the UK, the country level regulation of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) means that any gambling company offering online services in the UK must be regulated and taxed by the UKGC.

At this point, that doesn’t do a huge amount of damage to the importance of an MGA license, but if more countries follow suit, many speculate that all the MGA will be good for is operated casino services in Malta.

Norway, for example, has been tightening its regulations as of late, in mid-2019, sending out warnings to Malta licensed operator L&L Europe Players Ltd demanding they cease activity in the country.

Regulation against operators without Norwegian Gaming Authority licenses has existed in Norway since 2011, but major banks had been seeking clarification on the ban on payments to and from unlicensed operators, with these clarification being given, an MGA license now carries little weight in the Norwegian market.

The Upsides of an MGA License

While many European countries may be making moves towards country level regulation, there are still numerous jurisdictions around the world which are not, and in these places, an MGA license still maintains a high level of respect.

When compared to alternative licenses, such as Curacao and Kahnawake, the Malta Gaming Authority license stands head and shoulders above.

For operators, it may not be preferable, due to higher taxes and standards of player protection than is offered by the competitors mentioned above.

However, that focus on player protection and safety, as well as anti-money laundering practices, and a stable regulatory framework, have resulted in the MGA license being one of the most reputable and trusted available.

Any casino which carries an MGA license, is considered by players to have a stamp of approval validating its legitimacy and showing the operator has gone through extensive due diligence.

For their part, the MGA are working hard to maintain this reputation, and they are certainly not loosening their regulatory practices to try and tempt in operators due to the risk of the effects of country level regulation.

In January 2020, Blackrock Media Limited was hit with a €2.34 million penalty by the MGA, the highest the regulator has ever dished out.

The fine was handed down the Blackrock for “operating a gaming service through a Maltese legal entity without being in possession of the necessary authorization” as the operator had been offering egaming services without a license.

It’s clear that MGA will need be backing down from its regulatory practices, and that should go a long way to maintaining the popularity of the license in lesser regulated markets.

The Position of MGA Licenses in Canada

Gambling is an old favourite when it comes to activities in Canada, with brick and mortar casinos and land-based gambling services having been strictly regulated throughout the country for a long time.

However, online gambling in the country has not undergone the same strict regulatory changes, and there are many loopholes to be taken advantage of.

The main factor in Canadian gambling market is the lack of regulation for overseas operators. 

While Canadian based operators are banned from running gambling sites, either websites or mobile casinos, without express permission from the government, there is no law governing overseas operators from providing services in the country.

As a result, there is zero regulation in Canada for international operators, meaning the reputation and trustworthiness of an online casino leans a great deal on the licenses it carries.

While the Kahnawake Gaming Commission (based on an Indian reserve that is considers a sovereign nations, and therefore is not subject to Canadian laws) is the ‘local’ option for an overseas operator, it is the Malta Gaming Authority that is the most respected regulator for Canadian players.

There are also literally thousands of Curacao licensed sites that target players in Canada, but based on some of the things you can read on industry review sites, these sites are generally pretty sketchy outfits.

Any license can allow an operator to provide services in Canada, due to the lack of regulation, but players are careful when it comes to who they trust.

The MGA license is by far the most trusted in the country, and while many operators carry licensed from both Curacao and Malta, simply having a license from the MGA is considered enough for most.

The Future

When it comes to the future of the iGaming industry, all one can ever do is take an educated guess. With the industry moving so quickly, thanks to law changes around the world, not to mention the rapid technological evolutions that change the industry beyond recognition on a seemingly annual bases, nobody knows for sure what comes next.

What is for sure, is that many countries in Europe are starting to look towards country level regulation, and this could have an impact on the MGA.

However, while even Canada may one day choose to introduce regulation on overseas operators (although there is little to suggest that will happen soon), it is unlikely that regulation on this level will ever become a global movement.

As a result, there will always be jurisdictions that do not have specific regulation to cover overseas operators, and for many countries, the existence of trusted regulators to give out well reputed licenses, is part of the reason this is a viable choice.

As a result, the MGA, for as long as it maintains its position as a stamp of approval, a sign of trustworthiness and decency, and of an online casino having been put through the ringer in terms of due diligence, will always be in high demand from operators who are looking to expand their reach across the globe.

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