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The popularity of online casino gaming has really taken off in recent years. Current research suggests that the total iGaming market in Europe is worth $47.11 billion in 2023.  

This is expected to continue increasing at a compound annual growth rate of around 11% to reach $79.42 billion by 2028. Other parts of the world have also seen similar growth, and a lot of that is due to increases availability of safe and regulated online casinos.

Casino regulation is a necessary component of the iGaming industry, with rules in place to protect players and ensure safety and trust. Malta has emerged as a world leader for online gambling regulations, with the Malta Gaming Authority responsible for licensing some of the biggest casino operators.

The best online casinos in Malta can be found at online-casinos.com/malta. But just how did Malta become a hub for iGaming and what does the Malta license offer to operators and players in terms of trust?

The rise of Malta as a hub for iGaming

The Maltese government recognised the potential of the online gambling industry early on and were proactive about introducing regulations that would help to attract the biggest operators.

Starting in the early 2000s, Malta introduced favourable tax legalisation and legalised online gambling. Operators pay a flat 5% tax rate on all gaming revenue.

Other island nations such as Curacao have adopted a similar policy of regulating iGaming operators. However, Malta was the first to do so, and has the added advantage of being in close proximity to European markets. This has meant many of the biggest casino operators have relocated to Malta, starting with Betsson in 2004.

The Malta Gaming Authority

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is an independent regulatory body which was set up in 2001 to establish a legal framework for casino operators to follow. This allowed the forward-thinking country to start regulating these sites.

All online casinos Malta are licensed by this organisation, meaning they’ve passed strict checks and controls. The MGA ensures that online gambling is fair, safe, and legal, creating trust between players and the operator.

How Malta licensing offers advantages for casino operators

Malta was the first country in the European Union to begin regulating online gambling. As such, it had a first movers’ advantage over other regulatory bodies. However, the MGA license continues to be highly sought after for several reasons.

Access to the European market

Compared to other iGaming licenses, one of the main advantages of the MGA license is that it offers direct access to European markets. For casino and betting operators that want to operate in Europe, an MGA license is essential.

Considering research has shown that market to be worth more than $47 billion, it’s easy to see why this is such a huge advantage.

Improved reputation and credibility

The MGA license is seen as highly trusted, both among players and banking institutions. To receive cooperation from major payment processors such as Visa and Mastercard, online casinos Malta need to show that they’re safe and fair.

In addition, they must comply with anti-money laundering checks and regulations. The license helps to achieve this, improving the casino’s reputation and establishing trust.

Better tax rates

Online casino Malta sites must pay a flat tax rate on all gaming revenue to the state. At only 5%, this is significantly lower than the rate imposes by other countries.

This offers an incentive for casino operators to move to the country, where they’ll also have access to a highly qualified and experienced workforce. Operators must also pay licensing fees, which depend on the type of license they hold.

Improving player trust with security and responsible gaming

The main goal of casino licensing is to ensure that players are treated fairly. When online casinos first emerged, there was no way for players to know that the games offered were based on random chance.

In addition, safety concerns of personal data and issues with responsible gambling kept players from signing up.

Over time, regulations from the MGA have helped to give players peace of mind, one of the biggest factors in the increase in popularity of iGaming.  

Fair game testing

The MGA has been responsible for ensuring all operators undergo regular tests from independent companies. These tests look at the software and verify that it uses random chance and that outcomes cannot be influenced by the operator. The regulator also makes sure that prize money is fairly distributed to winning players, offering adjudication services in case of disputes.

Data security

Players want to know that their data is secure before they sign up and play. Whether it’s payment details or personal information like contact numbers and addresses, this should be kept private and secure. The MGA ensures that all online casino in Malta follow strict data protection laws and use encryption to improve security. Malta online casino operators that fail to follow these regulations could face fines and lose their license.

Responsible gaming

While most people find gambling fun, it can be habit forming for some. It’s the responsibility of gambling operators to safeguard players and encourage responsible gaming. The MGA enforces this, making sure that licensed operators provide the necessary support to problem gamblers. This includes resources and tools that players can use to control their habits.

The future of Malta iGaming

Malta is home to a significant percentage of the world’s total iGaming companies, despite having a population of just under one million people. This shows just how effective its regulatory framework has been in encouraging iGaming growth, but will it last forever?

One of the biggest challenges that the iGaming industry in Malta faces is growing competition from other countries. Places like Curacao have established themselves as an alternative regulator, focusing on the Latin American and International markets over Europe.

In addition, the Maltese government needs to make sure its regulations are adapting to the changes that technology is having on the industry. New technology such as virtual reality and cryptocurrencies need to be considered if Malta is to continue being the gold standard of iGaming regulation.

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