What is the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)?
The MGA is quite simply one of the best gambling regulators around. They are based on a tiny island out in the middle of the Mediterranean sea with big plans to bring all the best casino and betting fun together under one roof.
You’re spoilt for choice when looking for casino brands that fall under this regulator’s jurisdiction. Just take a look around at the top sites you see featured on this page and you’ll get a good idea of the type of quality that’s out there.
So what do they do exactly?
- Protect the young and vulnerable
- Promote responsible gambling
- Ensure your player rights
- Make sure that games are fair
- Eliminate criminal activity
In 2001, Malta saw the need to bring together land-based gambling entertainment and online action together under one set of common laws. Online casinos and other forms of gambling took all countries by surprise. But not everyone decided to tackle the issue head-on as Malta did.
They created the MGA and drew up a set of rules and regs that all casinos not on Gamstop must abide by. But this soon spread beyond the Maltese borders and they began to assist other countries by providing a central regulator that everyone could rely on.
There still remain loads of countries that have no clearly defined gambling laws. So it’s great that there is a place that will protect players regardless of where they live. In fact, within some of these countries, the government has made it mandatory to only play at offshore sites with a licence such as the one presented by the Malta Gaming Authority.
International casinos can apply for a licence from the MGA to show that they meet their tough standards. It proves that they are a serious outfit and that they have the player’s best interests at heart. It’s not a simple process for the gambling brand. They must meet lots of criteria and face harsh penalties if their service falls below par.
The MGA is one of the leading gambling regulators
There are several different zones like Malta that offer an international solution to the lack of gambling laws in some areas. But few are as reputable. The MGA’s reputation has spread across the world and players on the international stage now seek out sites that fall under their control. And this makes choosing a place to play a lot easier for everybody.
You’ll find plenty of UK sites that crossover into the international market. Some of the best-known operators have a licence from the UKGC and the MGA equivalent too. This makes it easier for them to expand their offering and appeal to a much wider area.
And it’s not just the gambling sites that register their businesses with the MGA. The casino game producers are also bound by the same laws. If they want the casinos to pick up their software and use it while providing services under the MGA’s jurisdiction, then they need a licence too. The MGA certifies the fairness of all games and regularly checks the software being used. This ensures that the random outcomes remain true across the board. As a result, players are always offered a fair chance of winning any game.
Gamstop and Malta casinos
Gamstop is a UK-based scheme. As such, you’ll only find UK gambling sites included in this service. Gamstop creates an exclusion for a player and restricts their access to all sites based in the UK. However, they don’t have any control over other gambling zones like the MGA, for example.
Gamstop is a scheme funded by UK casinos. And they must all contribute pretty hefty sums of money each year to maintain the organisation. It took some time to get everybody on board. But after a couple of years, the UK can now proudly boast that all sites in that area are signed up.
As we mentioned before, some brands will hold licences with the UKGC and others. But their Gamstop obligations only apply to the UK players and that side of the business. Players from other areas will have to seek local self-exclusion programs if they require them.
You’ll find many casinos not on Gamstop. And all of the sites shown here fall into that category.
I’ve self-excluded via Gamstop – Can I play at Malta casinos?
If you’ve registered with Gamstop, then you have done so for a reason. Any responsible game promoter would recommend that you stick with your period of self-exclusion and see it through. However, there is a range of exclusion from 6 months to 5 years. And this can present a problem if a player has got their gambling use under control and wants to have a bet. Before 5 years is up, for example.
In this case, you would be unable to access any UK sites for the entire period as there is no way to cancel your Gamstop account. Once it’s created, that’s it.
So what about playing offshore at an MGA licensed site instead?
The UK law makes it clear that a player based in the UK cannot access overseas casinos. And this includes those regulated by the MGA.
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If your quest for Malta casinos not on Gamstop falls within the regulations for your home country, then you have more than one option. Even though the MGA sites are exceptional, you can find sites hosted by other governing bodies.
This little Caribbean island provides a service similar to the MGA. Casinos can obtain a licence in this area and present their service to a worldwide audience. Furthermore, there is the added benefit of some pretty decent tax breaks which helps make it a popular choice for many brands. Curacao has plenty of casinos not on Gamstop, check out the list on our homepage!
Between Columbia and Costa Rica, you’ll find another small licensing area. Again, it isn’t as big as the MGA but it does play host to many decent brands. Sites in this area still have to conform to some tough regulations. So you should feel confident that you have some protection when playing there.
Here are a couple of FAQs regarding MGA casinos.