In order to receive a license from the Malta Gaming Authority, a gaming company has to be thoroughly checked out and must prove that it complies with a number of player protection rules. The main aims of casino licensing are to protect young and vulnerable players, as well as ensuring the casino is fair and remains fun for everyone else.
In order to be granted a Maltese MGA license, the casino must have an age verification process in check for all of their players whereby they will only accept players who are of an age where they may legally gamble in their country of residence. This is usually 18+ but some countries in Europe set this as 21. A process, usually known as ‘KYC’, must be in place which requires customers to verify their identity before they can have full access to their account. This generally consists of 3 parts:
A scanned copy of a drivers license, passport or national ID card. This is to prove that the player is over the legal gambling age and also that the account has been opened in the correct name, thus preventing people opening accounts in someone else’s name without their consent.
Again to prevent players opening accounts with someone else’s details (in other words, committing identity fraud), players usually have to provide a document showing the name and address registered to the account, for example a utility bill.
This is most important if the player is depositing via a debit or credit card. A scanned copy of the card must be provided to prove they own the card in question. This should show the front and back including the card holder name and last 4 digits of the long number.
The MGA license is a recognised license in Europe, so providing your country is not a ‘regulated market’ this license allows the casino to operate and advertise there. Different countries will have different rules however, for example, in Sweden, you can only advertise your services if you have a Swedish gaming license (which only the state run monopoly has) but you can accept Swedish players. Whereas in the UK, you can only accept UK based players if you have a UK license.
The Malta Gaming Authority is very focussed on protecting players. This means a little give and take from the players and the casino. Players are required to insert the correct details at signup and never use invalid or fraudulent details (names and addresses belonging to someone else, without their consent). The player is required to correctly enter information such as their name, date of birth, and address and the casino is required to verify this data (via the KYC process) before the player has full access to their account.
How the casino implements this is up to them, but generally a player can signup, deposit, and bet without completing KYC, but can only withdraw their winnings once the account is verified. This discourages fraud and incorrect details as players know they wont be able to receive their winnings unless their details are correct.
The MGA offers 4 different types of licenses:
A remote gaming licence (eg. – casino type games, online lotteries) whereby operators manage their own risk on repetitive games. It is also possible to have a Class 1 on 4 licence whereby the Class 1 licensee operates its games on the software and in certain cases through the equipment of a Class 4 licensee;
A remote betting licence (eg. – fixed-odds betting) whereby operators manage their own risk on events based on a matchbook;
A licence to promote and/or abet remote gaming in or from Malta (eg. – poker networks, peer-to-peer (P2P) gaming, game portals) whereby operators take a commission from promoting and/or abetting games. It is also possible to have a Class 3 on 4 licence whereby the operator uses a licensed Class 4 as its platform;
A licence to host and manage remote gaming operators, excluding the licensee itself, whereby software vendors provide management and hosting facilities on their platform. In essence, this is a business to business (B2B) gaming licence.
As a player protective body, the MGA is very interested in responsible gaming. Help for players experiencing gambling difficulties must be displayed on the homepage of all Malta Gaming Authority licensed casinos, such as links to assistance websites, contact details and so on.
There should also be protective measures in place for players to manage and control their gaming. Measures such as limits:
Which will determine how much you can deposit in a set period (e.g a €50 monthly deposit limit means the player can only deposit up to €50 at most in a month. Anything over that will be blocked).
Which limit how much a player can bet in a given timeframe.
Which only allow you to lose up to a chosen amount in your given timeframe – if you try to place a bet when you have reached that loss limit, you will not be able.
On top of limits there should be ‘exclusion’ periods available where a player can chose to not only close, but block their account, even for a determined amount of time, an undetermined amount of time, or permanently. Whilst an account is blocked in this way, the player will not be able to reopen it at will and will not be able to open any new accounts. This is a great way for players who wish to take a break, without the temptation to come back before they are really ready.
The MGA should only be contacted by players when they believe a casino is in breach of their license. If you have a dispute with a casino about a payout, a delay, broken features, a blocked account and so on, then this should first be taken up directly with the casino and if no resolution is found there are number of independent bodies you can contact, which should be listed on the casino website.
However if the complaint relates to a casino breaching their license, you can contact the MGA directly via their Player Support channel. You must include all the details of your grievance so they can investigate fully. All disputes must be recorded in writing, so although you can both email and call, it’s best that, even if you call, you remember to contact them via email as well so the complaint is correctly recorded.
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