Gaming

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What is Gaming? 

Different jurisdictions around the globe have, since time immemorial, treated gaming in diverse ways. Some shun it, some regulate it, some embrace it, others monopolize it. Gaming refers to the playing of electronic games, whether through consoles, computers, mobile phones or another medium altogether. With technological progress on the rise, new forms of gaming have been spurred.  With the advent of internet gaming, increased complexity brought forward the need for increased and specialized legislation. Still, it is universally accepted that life is a gamble and humans are perpetual players. 

Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates, apart from its operations in Malta, ventures into various foreign gaming industry jurisdictions, namely those of the United Kingdom and Curacao. Our experts make sure to provide professional and effective services, to suit various client needs. 

The Gaming Industry in Malta and United Kingdom

With regards to the ambit of Maltese gaming law, the legislator has opted to direct his energies towards the gaming industry in a way which promotes transparency, alongside the intention to generate a clean, safe and a properly regulated market. Malta is known to have matured into the number one jurisdiction for regulating online betting and gaming worldwide. Indeed, it reacted to this phenomenon in a prudent, yet practical, manner by providing a legal framework for gaming operators, whilst maintaining high levels of player protection. 

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is the single regulatory body that is responsible for the governance of all forms of gaming in Malta. In remote gaming, the MGA’s regulatory regime aims to be both technologically and game neutral. Hence, this encompasses any form of gaming using any means of distance communication, including internet, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, digital TV, mobile phone technology, telephone and fax. 

The development of the gaming industry, moreover, has also grown due to the development of related ancillary services, including ICT, telephony, co-location and back-office services. Additionally, while Malta presents a stable history in financial, banking and commercial services, the country also offers a strong gaming legal regime, which renders the Maltese license as the best solution to any serious operator.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom, much like Malta, has also grown into a successful location for businesses venturing into the gaming industry. It offers exciting opportunities for new market entrants and established operators looking for a well-regulated and tax-friendly environment. Indeed, the United Kingdom has become one of the leading gaming legal and operational infrastructure that is synonymous with the concepts of innovation, professionalism, regulation and trust. 

The two countries’ success is attributable to several factors. As members of the European Union, Malta and the United Kingdom benefit from the application of common market principles, enjoying free movement of goods and services. Therefore, the islands have aligned their position and perspective to EU directives and regulations, including corporate rules and money laundering safeguards.

The Maltese and UK Gaming Industry, therefore, benefit from low official fees and gaming taxes which, when coupled with their advantageous European onshore business environment, provide ideal conditions for setting up. 

The Gaming Industry in Curacao 

Curacao was one of the first jurisdictions to regulate remote gaming. The country has an e-gaming regime dating back to 1993 and, offers several consistent gaming-type certification systems which regulate games of skill, chance and wagering. The key feature of the Curacao gaming industry is that it offers one license which covers all type of iGaming services. This one-license approach has gained immense popularity, due to the fact that most operators diversify into different types of games. 

Additionally, operators have the possibility to opt for a full-license or sub-license, both of which cover software providers, network operators, service providers, common platform operators, affiliates, marketers and white-label operators. The distinction mainly lies in the fact that a full licensee can sub-license to third parties, while a sub-licensee cannot further sub-license. Nevertheless, a sub-license still offers the same rights as a full license with regards to the legitimate running of an iGaming business. 

Both modalities nonetheless require that a company is registered in Curacao and that it has a local administrator. Indeed, it is essential that an operator sets up a Curacao company (offshore or onshore), which is normally registered as an e-Zone company. The key reason for opting to register for an e-Zone permit is to benefit from 2% corporate income tax through 2026, provided the company remains in annual compliance. 

Our Services

Whilst appreciating the complexity of the gaming industry market, our iGaming lawyers and consultants are also aware of the need for fast, yet high quality, legal advice across the industry. Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates' typical clients would include software companies setting up gaming platforms, traditional bookmakers expanding online, casino machine producers expanding into online casino services, online poker room managers and, mathematicians or finance specialists applying their expertise to the creation of new, complex and hybrid games. Indeed, the firm is often regarded as the leading gaming advisor for operators seeking a one-stop-solution provider in any of the aforementioned jurisdictions.

 



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Dr Maria Chetcuti Cauchi

Senior Partner & Founder, Global Property Investment

+356 22056875

Dr Silvana Zammit

Partner, Global Property, Yachts & Aircraft

+356 22056423

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