Malta is the home of over 500 internet gambling sites. One of the factors that make this country an attractive destination for sportsbooks is that Malta is on the United Kingdom Gambling Commission’s “white list”. This means that Maltese gaming sites can advertise directly to the lucrative market that exists in the UK. This also means that this jurisdiction adheres to a strict code of conduct and companies go through some of the most rigorous licensing processes on the planet. They are closely monitored and tightly regulated which translates into a high degree of protection for punters who gamble on these sites.
Because Malta is a highly respected and reputable jurisdiction, internet gamblers can be confident that the Maltese sportsbook that they are playing at abides by rigid standards and can be more easily trusted than some sportsbooks in other less regulated jurisdictions.
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Who is the Malta Regulatory Authority and what is its Purpose?
Gambling in Malta is overseen by the Malta Lotteries and Gaming Authority. It is responsible for enforcing regulations, issuing licenses and enforcing the rules by which gambling establishments are bound. It is the Gaming Authority that carries out all screening and investigations of applicants and they are known to be quite strict. The authority is also tasked with ensuring anti-money laundering laws are being adhered to and they also conduct financial audits, ensure data protection practices are followed and enforce policies that deal with responsible gaming.
While the Lotteries and Gaming Authority is also tasked with investigating complaints, this is one area where the authority has been criticized. Punters with complaints are relieved to know that there are other avenues that can be taken to resolve disputes.
How can a Player Submit a Complaint for Malta Regulated Bookmakers?
Players may lodge complaints directly to the Gaming Authority but the authority only deals with complaints in which the bookmaker is in breach of their license. Complaints such as slow payouts, blocked accounts, or software malfunctions should take these issues up with the betting site. If the player cannot get satisfaction then there are a number of independent entities that deal with customer complaints.
If the complaint is about a license breach then the authority will thoroughly investigate. These complaints should be submitted to the authority and should contain detailed explanations of the alleged breach. These types of complaints are taken quite seriously by the authority.
How are Disputes Moderated Here?
The type of dispute will dictate how the complaint is handled. As mentioned above, if the complaint has to do with a licensing breach then the issue will be handled by the Gaming Authority. The complainant will be informed of the decision.
If the complaint is not related to a license breach then the authority will refer the complaint to the sportsbook. The licensee is then given 21 days to investigate and respond to the complaint. The authority then gives a decision letter to the complainant which outlines the decision and the reasons for it.
In non-license breach related cases, the complainant may pursue their complaint through other agencies that deal with non license related complaints. These agencies are usually listed on the sportsbook website.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Malta?
Sports betting is legal in Malta. As long as the customer is of legal age then they can bet on sports. Online sportsbooks need to be very thorough when verifying the age of its customers. The online betting sites require official government picture ID, verification of fixed address, and verification of payment information. These measures comply with the strict anti-money laundering laws as well as abiding by the Know Your Customer (KYC) program.
What are the Requirements of a Malta Sports Betting License?
To begin with, Malta issues 4 different types of gambling licenses. A Class 1 License which covers casino games and lotteries, a Class 2 License which covers fixed-odds betting, a Class 3 License which covers such things as poker and peer-to-peer betting, and a Class 4 License which is like a software vendor’s license. These licenses are good for 5-year periods.
If one wishes to operate a sportsbook then they would need to at least obtain a Class 2 Gaming License. When an application for a gaming license is submitted to the Gaming Authority, it goes through a very strict process. First, the authority scrutinizes every person involved in the company’s management and finances. These individuals need to be “squeaky clean”. This background check extends internationally. The company’s business plan is then put under review to ensure that it is strong. The prospective company is then checked to ensure that they can comply with operational and statutory requirements. If the internet betting company makes it through these phases, they are able to prepare to go live. In this phase, the systems are audited to ensure compliance. If all goes well and the authority is satisfied, the sportsbook is granted a 5-year license. Of course, the company is subject to many different ongoing audits of everything from their finances to their systems. The internet betting companies that set up in Malta must also have most of their operations physically based in Malta. The betting site must also agree to a high standard of conduct, to promote responsible gambling, and of course, pay taxes.
The first three phases of the licensing process normally takes between 12-16 weeks. Applications can be easily dismissed during any of these phases. The time it takes to implement the fourth phase depends on the speed of the company but they have 60 days to get up and running to the authority’s satisfaction. A license can also be easily revoked if a betting site is found in non-compliance with any regulations.
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