The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is one of the most established and respected regulators in the world, licensing the most prestigious online gambling operators and suppliers in the industry.
When it comes to ensuring businesses are meeting the highest possible standards for responsible gambling and protecting players, the Malta Gaming Authority is unrivalled.
Not only that, the MGA’s regulatory framework is considered the best of the best.
This is why the regulator often works with lawmakers and watchdogs in other countries to help them establish their own rules and licensing structures based on its successful blueprint.
The good news for the MGA is that as the global online gambling industry continues to embrace regulation and licensing, it will continue to be seen to set that standard for others to follow.
So why is the Malta Gaming Authority so well respected and why do so many operators and suppliers wish to be vetted and licensed by the regulator?
The key reason is that the MGA is one of the most established regulators. Founded in 2001, it has grown alongside the iGaming industry for the past 18 years.
This makes the MGA one of the most experienced licensing jurisdictions for the global online gambling sector with a framework that has been fine-tuned over time to ensure it is fit for purpose.
The online gambling sector is fast-moving and regulators must be able to adapt their frameworks to ensure that players remain protected when new products and innovative technologies are launched.
For example, over the past five years there has been a surge in the number of people playing online casino games from their smartphone and tablet devices.
This has created unique and additional challenges, from mobile banking to player ID verification via security – that the MGA has had to work into its rules and requirements.
Only established and experienced regulators can do this in such a way that operators and suppliers are not negatively impacted but while ensuring players are fully protected.
This has much to do with the hundreds of experts the MGA employs across a wide range of roles from legal to finance via testing and technology.
These specialists work hand-in-hand with operators and suppliers to help them meet the rules set out by the MGA and to ensure they are working to the highest possible standards.
This gives operators and suppliers great confidence in the MGA, which is why so many organisations seek a licence from the regulator.
It must be remembered that this is often in addition to the licence they must hold from the regulator of the country they are accepting players from. So in the UK, it is the Gambling Commission.
Why do they do this? Because in some cases the MGA has been licensing online gambling companies for longer than the regulator in that specific market.
Take Sweden, for example. The market only opened to legal and regulated online gambling in January 2019 which means the Swedish Gaming Authority has much less experience than the MGA.
Operators that wish to enter Sweden must hold a licence from the SGA, but by also being licensed by the MGA they can be certain they are properly protecting players.
Of course, an MGA licence also allows operators and suppliers to enter markets where regulations that currently don’t exist or are in the process of being written into law.
Again, this allows them to run their organisations to the highest possible standards when it comes to things like AML, KYC, fraud and responsible gambling.
For many, the culture surrounding the MGA is also one of the reasons why it is so respected and trusted by members of the global online gambling industry.
The regulator communicates openly with all industry stakeholders and is open to putting forward senior members of the team for interviews and comments for online gambling articles.
This is even true for online gambling affiliates seeking to educate players about the industry and how regulation and licensing works – affiliates are a key marketing channel for online gambling brands.
All of this comes together to create a regulatory body that the global online gambling industry trusts and admires and looks to for advice and assistance as the sector continues to grow.
In the US, for instance, regulated online gambling is still very new – Nevada was the first state to offer legal online poker in 2013 – but is now rolling out quickly after PASPA was repealed in 2018.
A similar situation is occurring all around the world with new markets regulating and licensing online gambling in Europe, Africa and even Asia.
The MGA will undoubtedly continue to play a central role in this, not only licensing operators and suppliers but also advising lawmakers about creating their own rules.
In the US, for example, we will likely see US online sports betting brands look to expand into Europe in the same way that European brands have expanded their reach into America.
Those that do will almost certainly seek a licence from the MGA as it will provide access to a huge number of EU markets while also ensuring they meet the necessary standards.
This is good news for the MGA but also Malta as a country. Online gambling contributes around 12 per cent of the country’s GDP with that number set to increase as demand for the MGA’s services rise.
The MGA has spent the last 18 years fine-tuning its framework and building its team of experts, becoming one of the most trusted regulators in the world.
Over the next 18 years, I would expect the MGA to continue to do what it does best and remain at the cutting edge of the industry.