Known around the world for its amazing turquoise waters and beaches, diverse culture and also for their stunning resistance in World War II, Malta is incredibly unique for such a small nation. Even though from a sporting perspective, the Maltese don’t have much to show for, their ingenuity and flexibility were adequately demonstrated when they became the first country in the European Union to regulate online gambling and offer licenses to operators. Malta betting sites had the advantage to enjoy low taxes and being able to offer their services all across Europe (before several countries adopted their own gambling laws). Even if today there are more jurisdictions that grant licenses to iGaming operators, the Malta betting companies list keeps getting bigger and bigger since the MGA is seen as one of the most trustworthy regulators in the industry. What exactly does that mean to Maltese punters? It’s not all good news. Keep reading to discover more about the betting laws in Malta and how the citizens view it.
Betting and gambling in Malta date back centuries, as it’s the case with many of the countries that hosted ancient civilizations. According to historical evidence, the first game that involved wagers was Ic-Cippitatu. Of course, being a maritime country, other games of chance were played by sailors from all parts of the world. However, none of them really caught on. The first big thing to happen in Malta from a gambling point of view was the lottery. Despite lotteries being active in Europe starting with the 17th century, it took some time for the phenomenon to reach Malta. However, when it did, it grew so popular that a Lotto Act was issued in 1922. As far as Malta gambling laws go, the Lotto Act remained in place for a long period of time, until online gambling started to become a thing.
In 2001, the Lotteries and Other Games Act was passed and it prepared the ground for the revolution that was about to follow, making Malta ground zero for the biggest online betting and gambling operators in the world. Through the 2011 act, the Malta Gaming Authority is established as the unique regulatory body in the country. In 2005, the Remote Gaming Regulations were implemented, updating Malta’s online gambling laws to the form they are known today. This act defines four types of licenses that operators can apply for:
There are countless Maltese betting sites to choose from, however, things are not that straightforward for punters. Despite all the big operators queuing to get a license from the MGA drawn by the 5% Malta betting tax applied on Gaming Revenue, a great number of them do not accept players from Malta. So, Maltese punters need to get creative when it comes to enjoying some of the big international bookmakers that are licensed by their government.
Ideally, every site with a Malta betting license should accept Maltese players. However, that’s not a condition in obtaining the license and there’s no way the local government can force bookmakers to do so. However, it’s not all bad for Maltese punters as some bookies caught up on this situation and went out of their way to make themselves as welcoming as possible. Things, like translating the website in Maltese or offering customer support in the local language, are nice touches even though English is also the official language on the island. Also, the betting sites in Malta that want to appeal to local punters need to fully cover the Maltese Premier League, as well as all the other domestic competitions in water polo.
Since we’ve explored how the betting sites based in Malta are not always keen on accepting Maltese punters, it’s time for some good news. The current betting laws do not prevent Maltese punters to choose bookmakers licensed in any other country. So, as long as these bookmakers accept Maltese players, punters are free to choose any of the betting sites available in Malta. There are no ISP blocks either so there’s absolutely nothing preventing punters to enjoy top-quality betting services offered by foreign bookies.
Since when talking about Maltese betting companies we’re referring to operators from all around the world that came to Malta for the low taxes and the advantageous licensing systems, there are all sort of payment options that can be accessed. Cards, ewallets, bank transfers, vouchers, you name it. Any online betting site in Malta is going to deliver a handful of payment options for punters to top up their accounts and withdraw their winnings. Most popular are ewallets – Skrill, Neteller, PayPal – thanks to their improved withdrawal processing speed, however, credit cards and bank transfer tools like Trustly are also popular in the region while the Malta Gaming Authority has made encouraging efforts to regulate player to operator cryptocurrency transactions.
With the Malta betting companies list including some of the best betting exchanges in Malta, it goes without saying that punters are able to enjoy their services. Betfair, the first betting exchange to be established, is active in the country and welcomes Maltese punters. Also, since there are no restrictions about using foreign websites, other betting exchanges like Smarkets of Betdaq are easily reachable by local punters that want to engage in some peer to peer betting.
If you’re playing at an MGA-licensed bookmaker, contacting the local authority should be the first point of contact. Malta Gaming Authority is known as a regulatory body that maintains great communication with punters and you can get in touch with them here. Otherwise, if you’re playing at a bookmaker licensed by another authority, locate the contact details and get in touch with them directly. Don’t forget that we are here to help you out so let us know about your issue and we will try to reach out to the bookmaker on your behalf.
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