In the early 2000s, when this licensing jurisdiction embarked on its journey, there was immense excitement among all parties involved in iGaming—players, affiliate webmasters, and operators alike. Finally, a legitimate EU country emerged as a licensing authority for online casinos. Prior to the establishment of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), formerly known as the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA), online casino licenses were only granted by unstable governments in the Caribbean, an inefficient Kahnawake jurisdiction, and a few British-controlled islands such as the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Alderney, and Jersey. No EU member state had taken the initiative to pave the way.
During their initial phase, I had the opportunity to meet with the top administrators and was pleasantly surprised to discover that they were all avid subscribers of the Casinomeister newsletter. In fact, it was a company policy. They demonstrated a remarkable understanding of the industry, and I was genuinely impressed by their potential.
Unfortunately, the LGA became entangled in bureaucratic hurdles. Most of the original staff departed, and by the early 2010s, it had transformed into a rubber-stamp jurisdiction, lacking effectiveness. During this period, the MGA received several undesirable accolades from Casinomeister, including the “Biggest Disappointment of 2008” and the “Sitting on One’s Hands” awards for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.
However, after a series of meetings and informal discussions, we managed to identify the root cause of the problem. It was primarily a bureaucratic issue. Historically, staff turnover occurred with each change in government, and while they were proficient in the technical aspects of server management, they lacked experience in handling player complaints. In 2015, they appointed a new Player Support Officer who has since been remarkably responsive and open to suggestions or concerns raised by their licensees. In recognition of their remarkable revival, the MGA was honored with the Phoenix Award in 2015.