Gaming Authority of Malta governs some of the bingo sites that we feature but to most of us, Malta is a sun drenched island in the south Mediterranean – a favoured destination thanks to an all year-round warm climate, three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and vibrant cuisine.
It is thought that the name Malta comes from the Greek word for honey – the island has its own species of bee. The island is also known as Land of Honey, but it's now a modern day 'Land of Money', thanks to an organisation called the Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta.
This association was set up in 2000, and restructured in 2004 to take into account new remote gaming regulations. Malta was a trailblazer with the European Union, as it was the first jurisdiction to regulate remote gaming.
By 2005, the Malta Remote Gaming Council had been set up, and this now governs all forms of gaming, including online bingo, lottery, remote gaming, media games, and casinos. The LGA does this by ensuring transparent and fair gaming and preventing criminal activities and money-laundering.
Remote gaming operators find the LGA welcoming thanks to low taxation, easy-to-understand legislation, and also, because Malta is in the European Union, it means members can advertise their product across Europe, and the UK.
There are four different categories of licensing available, and, and for a bingo operator to receive a Class 1 license, they must provide technical and business-related evidence that they are fit to comply to the regulations. Licenses are granted for a fixed term of five years. Also, licensees must have a physical address on Malta.
One of the main tasks carried out by the LGA is ensuring the safety of players' funds. All operators must ensure winnings are cashed out to players within five working days. There is only one exception to this rule – when identification documents are required.
Player deposits are also protected from the closure of a company, as deposits are kept in separate accounts. Under no circumstances is an operator allowed to use the deposit money to cover their operating fees. What this means for you is that your funds are always safe and protected, even if a company goes belly up.
Now then – let's imagine a little scenario. I'm sure we've all been in this situation – you bought defective goods from a shop, and the shop assistant/manager refused to refund you. It seems that policies vary from shop to shop, and it seems to depend on the mood of your assistant as to whether you get your cash back or not.
Well thankfully, the complaint procedure framework put in place by the LGA is far more consistent and reliable – they operate a formal dispute service, and investigate complaints thoroughly. If you do need to make a complaint, you can visit a website called playresponsibly.org, and fill in a questionnaire.
If you want to know where a bingo site is registered, then look at the bottom of the homepage for a seal of approval from the relevant regulatory authority. Any site which is registered in Malta is a fairly safe place to play. Of course, rogue operators still lurk out there, but thanks to the LGA's stringent regulations, things like this are becoming increasingly rare.