We’re sure you already know that it’s best to only play at licensed casinos, but you may not know why. Or you might be a bit confused with all the different licences around. We’ve put together a handy guide to the Maltese gambling licence so you’ll have all the facts before you decide to play at an online casino.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the main regulatory body for all gaming and gambling activities in Malta, but it is also considered by many to be the preferred global regulator for remote gaming. This means that in many ways it sets the standards for gammbling practices all across the globe.
The primary role of the MGA is to set the standards that online gambling companies must adhere to, to protect players from being exploited by any gambling operators. Like the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority and the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority is a not-for-profit organisation and is responsible for issuing gambling licences to online companies. They will only approve a casino that meets its strict standards.
Though the jurisdictional area of the MGA is relatively small, many countries which do not have their own governing bodies rely on the high level of regulation provided by the Maltese Authority to protect their citizens, using the organisation’s licences and gambling guidelines for its citizens.
Obtaining a gambling licence from the MGA is tough though, with companies applying for a Maltese licence having to meet a number of criteria before being approved. The companies must prove that they have sufficient funds, that there is a clear ownership structure, there are no criminal connections/they work with integrity, and that they are competent enough to genuinely provide the services they offer.
While the Malta Gambling Licence is highly respected, and used as a guideline in many countries, players from the UK should still only play at UK regulated casinos. It is only by playing at a UK Gambling Commission approved casino that you can be afforded the full benefits and protection of the law.
The main objectives of the MGA are to give players a fair and safe gaming experience and to ensure their data and money are protected. The strict standards set out by the MGA make it possible for players to have peace of mind when they play at an MGA approved casino. The risk of dealing with a scam casino is significantly reduced when playing at an MGA regulated casino but any UK players should still only head to a casino which holds a UK Gambling Licence. The fact that a casino holds a Maltese licence too should merely be an added layer of assurance that you are dealing with a reputable company.
The MGA only approves casinos which can guarantee the safety of player funds and data. Any approved casino must ensure that they are compliant with the data protection act, and that player data is kept secure and cannot be misused.
The MGA also ensures that the online casino being evaluated is capable of protecting player data from cyber attacks. If an online casino is found to have inadequate measures in place safeguarding player data, they will not be approved and won’t be granted a licence.
Another key area that the MGA has strict measures for is the fair gaming experience. Players must be given a realistic chance of winning and all games must be transparent to the player in terms of their chances of winning.
The main way that online casinos can be fair to the player is by using Random Number Generators (RNGs) on roulette, blackjack, and slots in order to produce the result of their games, with all casinos specifying the RTP rate of all virtual games.
The RTP is a percentage that presents how much of the funds put into a game are returned to the player. For example, a slot with a 95% RTP would return £95 for every £100 spent to the players. For more information on how RTPs work, check out our guide on what RTPs mean.
A crucial consideration in obtaining a Malta Gambling licence is the separation of player funds from operating cash.
This means, should a casino go bankrupt, player funds will still be safe. This can give a player peace of mind, knowing that no matter what happens to the casino, their money will not be lost without their knowledge.
The Malta Gambling Authority was set up with the aim of providing players with a safe and transparent gaming experience. The rules set by the MGA ensure that all its online casinos are legally accountable for their actions.
With an organisation such as the MGA overseeing the actions of casinos, the player is afforded a lot of power should they be mistreated. If they are unable to resolve any issue they may encounter directly with the casino, they can escalate the issue to the authority.
To find out whether a company or a casino has a licence awarded by the MGA you can search on the Malta Gaming Authority website. Using the search function, you can easily find whether or not a specific casino or company is approved and has been awarded a licence by the MGA. If you are within the jurisdiction of the MGA, or in a country that looks to the MGA for its approved casinos, and the casino you are looking to play at is not listed on the official MGA website, then you should opt for a different casino, as there is no way to know if you are dealing with a scam site.
Should you encounter an issue while playing at an online casino that holds a Maltese licence you have several options when it comes to proceeding with a dispute. Typical issues that may arise with online casinos can include ID verification issues, bonus offers being mis-sold, issues with payment terms, or a dispute over a payout.
If any of these issues occur, you should take up the dispute with the casino as the first port of call, but if this is not resolved you can escalate the matter with the Malta Gaming Authority. If you wish to make a complaint regarding an online casino operator that is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority, you can submit an official complaint to the MGA via their online gaming support form online. This can however be a lengthy process, which is why it is always best to speak directly with the casino in question first.
So, even though a casino holding a Malta licence is a good sign that you are playing at a fair casino, it should only be taken as a first positive signal. If the casino does not hold a UK licence it should not be operating within the UK, so if this is where you’re playing from you should instead choose a UK Gambling Commission approved casino in order to be afforded a full level of protection.
Here at Online Bingo we only work with UKGC approved casinos though some of these may also be MGA approved. This means you can spin the reels with peace of mind that you are protected and represented by a governing body whenever you play at a casino that we promote.
Hannah has written news articles and lifestyle blogs for three years. Venturing into the gambling industry Hannah is writing gambling content for Online Bingo and has written content for Lodgis Paris.
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