Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Michael Shackleford
Malta Gaming Authority, or MGA for short, is well known in the iGaming industry for providing casino licenses and regulating gambling and betting activities. This is because they have been around for a long time, being the pioneers of online gambling regulation. On top of that, they are widely known for high standards for getting their casino license.
Short history overview
The regulatory body is one of the authorities with the longest history in the industry. Their work started in the early 2000s, under the name Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA). It is a pioneer of online gambling regulation, becoming one by creating the Lotteries and Other Games Act. By that, the entity set ground for other regulators, which followed the base structure and aims of MGA.
Although it is considered quite complex and rigid, their system proved to be efficient for its purpose. Therefore, they made a rebranding in 2015 and set a Malta Gaming Authority as the official name for the regulator. Hence, the term is widely known to the gambling audience because operators provide excellent services under their regulation.
MGA is among the most respected ones in the industry. It is often compared with UKGC, although it is considered its international counterpart, right below it. The thing with it is that it can operate in most markets, except the UK one. MGA casinos are the best option for European players and must register to play in them. Although they provide licensing services internationally, the ones who decide to operate in Malta markets have to set up a base in Malta.
When it comes to types of MGA’s licenses, there are four of them. Operators have to check first which one they need based on their niche. Therefore, one operator can have different permits for different types of games or services. As they call it, classes determine the kind of service you can provide or feature on your website. Here is the basic overview of it:
- Class 1 – a must-have license for casinos. It is an online (remote) operating permit, which allows you to host casino games and lottery;
- Class 2 – this one is for those who wish to host bookmaker activities, odds bettings, and every connected action;
- Class 3 – it is a permit for online poker and any peer-to-peer gambling assemblies;
- Class 4 – a business-to-business license, where one operator can use and host the software from another vendor.
A casino must go through an audit on the first, third, and fifth years of holding an MGA casino license. After that, the entity keeps the right to make unannounced audits of the entire business to check if anything is going on that shouldn’t be.
Operators under its license
As mentioned above, MGA specializes in online gambling regulation. Unlike UKGC, whose focus is not primarily on the online part (although they regulate that), Malta’s gambling entity mainly works with online operators. The operators that provide services under their casino license can go through a whole-year process to obtain the permit to work. Their primary focus is on the player, while UKGC makes a balance between operators and players. Still, to achieve that, MGA can be rough.
Advertisement rules they have in place are strict, and casinos often struggle with that. Still, players get better options at the end of the day. MGA also insists on verification procedures, a specific type of encryption for funds processing, and so on. It is nothing unusual for a gambling regulator, but they go the extra mile for responsible gaming. Therefore, you will see options for joining self-exclusion schemes in case there is a need for it. They have a separate system from GamStop.
Status with players
They probably the favorite license issuer when it comes to online gambling for most players. The just-right balance between security limits and user satisfaction. Most software and game makers cooperate with MGA casinos, so you will have access to the latest hits in the industry. Most casino games, poker options, and lotteries have top-notch setups, and you will enjoy playing them online. Websites have great design and layouts, so there will be no trouble.
When we are talking about advertising under their license, you will be spared when it comes to terrible and intrusive ads. Of course, the operator’s profits can suffer, as mentioned, but players ultimately get a better experience on gambling websites under the MGA casino license.
Being available for players worldwide makes things so much easier. MGA licensed casinos can accept players from all corners of the world, with few exceptions. For this reason, they are recognized as the holders of 10% of the entire global online gambling market.
This gambling entity enjoys a top-notch reputation. For you as a player, it means that you will get a safe environment to play in, great casino games, and secure money processing. Of course, it should be imperative for all regulators, but some take their job more seriously than others. Protection of players and devotion to keeping a clean, fair game for all, by the same terms, is challenging. Therefore, some authorities tend to have better systems than others, and MGA is among the best.
They organize global gambling and betting events, like the Summit of iGaming, Malta, or SiGMA for short, or European Poker Tournament. Moreover, since they cooperate with big names in the industry like Jackpot Paradise, Spin Palace, and Vegas-Paradise, they often present upcoming things relevant to the players and operators in general.
Not so good stuff
Not being recognized in the UK without a UKGC license makes a bit of a twist that the players do not perceive well. Since the UK market is under the UKGC jurisdiction, MGA casinos need to make an extra step. And yes, one operator may (or must) have more than one license to work in a particular market, not just in this case. It stands for other license issuers as well.
They have high standards, therefore, sometimes rigid security procedures. The operators have to make sure that everything is done correctly. Moreover, that sometimes means that the withdrawal limits will be lower, or you need to make an extra verification step along the way.
Some people in the UK are under the illusion that MGA licenced casinos are a good choice of casino for non gamstop betting. Sadly this is not so, to the best of our knowledge casinos licensed by the MGA cannot be used as non gamstop casinos, as they do not allow players from the UK. MGA licenced casinos which do allow UK players also have a UKGC licence, therefore are blocked by Gamstop.
If you want a more open-minded casino but with similar security and service level as the ones under UKGC, this is your go-to one. Operators with MGA licenses will provide excellent games, user experience and take care of your funds. Of course, you will need to check if your local laws allow playing there, but as said above, most of the countries can play in MGA casinos.