Malta’s Licensing of Skill Games

As all the major participants in the gaming world are gearing up to meet at ExCel, London, the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) announced its regulation for Skill Games, including a Skill Games Licence for Fantasy Sports Operators. This licence is applicable for both B2C and B2B. This is different from the other class licences offered by the same Authority, which specifically distinguish between B2C (Classes 1, 2 and 3) and the B2B (Class 4). In respect of skill games, the MGA, has the authority to classify a game / activity as a skill game at its own discretion based on specific criteria for classification, as issued in the Skill Games Regulations, 2017. A ruling in respect of such classification may be sought from the MGA.

The process for application of a Skill Games Licence is in line with the current process for other remote gaming licences, that is, probity checks will be conducted in respect of the operator’s directors and shareholders, and a business plan would also need to be submitted for MGA review together with relevant statutory and operational documentation. On successful completion of this stage, a system review will be conducted and following any clarifications or enhancements deemed necessary having been fulfilled, then a five year licence is issued.

A skill game operator will also need to appoint a key official, who must be an individual and who must personally supervise the operations of the licensee and must also be readily available to the MGA, amongst other requirements. A licensed operator must ensure that all players’ funds are maintained segregated from any other operational funds. From a responsible gaming perspective the MGA imposes on licensees to include various player protection mechanisms. These are mainly in line with the requirements imposed on operators of other Maltese remote gaming licences.

The non-refundable Skill Games licence application fee is €2,300, while the system audit fee is €2,500. The annual licence fee is payable one year in advance and is identical to the licence fee of all other MGA issued remote gaming licences, that is, €8,500. The gaming tax payable monthly in arrears is 5% of the real income, where real income is equal to total wagers less total wins paid to players.