Remote gambling

Types

Is remote gambling permitted and, if so, what types?

All types of gaming by means of distance communications, including online and mobile, are permitted.

As explained with respect to land-based gaming, the revised licensing system distinguishes exclusively between whether the gaming offering is a gaming service (B2C) or a gaming supply (B2B), irrespective of whether the offering is land-based or remote. The same game types (see question 9) apply to games of a remote nature.

Prior to the reform in 2018, Malta operated a multi-class licence system, and the type of permitted remote gaming depended on which licence is held. B2C were licensed as:

  • Class 1: Remote Gaming Licence - covered games in which operators manage their own risk on repetitive games (eg, casino and lotteries);
  • Class 2: Remote Betting Office Licence - covered games in which operators manage their own risk on events that are external to the game itself (eg, sports betting); and
  • Class 3: Licence to Promote or Abet Remote Gaming - covered games in which the operator promotes or abets gaming in or from Malta (eg, peer-to-peer and poker).

It was also possible to obtain a B2B licence for hosting and managing other operators (with the exclusion of the licensee him or herself), and such B2B services required a Class 4 licence.

Eliminating the abovementioned categories has streamlined the Maltese gaming licence system, reducing the possibility of duplication of requirements, and widening the ambit of types of remote-based gaming that could fall within the Maltese gaming regulations.

Licensing

What are the criteria for obtaining a licence to operate remote gambling?

The same criteria that apply to land-based gaming apply to remote gaming since the criteria for obtaining a licence is based on the classification of whether the operation requires a B2C or B2B licence, irrespective of the medium or technology applied (see question 10).

How do the licensing criteria for remote gambling operators differ from those applicable to land-based operators?

The licensing criteria in Malta apply horizontally and generally do not distinguish between land-based or remote gaming services. By comparison, under the old regime, the main difference was that the licensing criteria for remote gaming were set out by law, MGA policy and directives, whereas land-based casinos and the National Lottery required a ministerial concession, and therefore relevant criteria primarily depend on the tendering process for the award of that concession. While the distinction between land-based and remote gaming is minimal under the existing gaming laws, the concession system in regard to land-based casinos has been retained.

Cross-border gambling

May operators located in other countries offer internet gambling to consumers in your jurisdiction without obtaining a licence there?

Yes, if such operators hold a licence issued by another EU or EEA member state, or by any other state that is deemed by the MGA to offer safeguards largely equivalent to those offered by Maltese law. The operator would be required to apply to the MGA for a recognition notice, for the purpose of providing a gaming service, gaming supply, key function or any other authorisation in or from Malta. A recognition notice is deemed to have the same effect as an authorisation issued by the MGA. The MGA may revoke any such recognition notice, and may subject an applicant of a recognition notice to administrative fees were reasonable.

May operators licensed in your jurisdiction offer internet gambling to consumers in other countries?

Whether a Maltese licensee can offer its services to consumers in other countries primarily depends on the legislation and policy in that country. From a Maltese perspective, the Gaming Act and other regulatory instruments do not prevent licensees from offering their services to consumers in other countries.

Taxes

What tax rate applies to each form of remote gambling?

The same tax rates applicable to land-based gaming apply (see question 15).