Bet365, BetConstruct win Malta licenses; German taxman targets Malta firms

malta-gaming-authority-bet365-betconstruct-germanyThe Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has awarded online sports betting licenses to Bet365 and Betconstruct.

On Monday, the MGA announced it had awarded a Class 2 remote gaming license to the Maltese subsidiary of the Stoke-based Bet365. A Bet365 spokesman said the company decided to add a MGA license to its existing Gibraltar license “in order to obtain and maintain certain regulatory approvals as well as support its operations in the evolving global regulatory environment.”

At the same time, the MGA announced that gambling tech provider BetConstruct had been issued a Class 4 remote gaming license covering sports betting services and provisions. BetConstruct CEO Vahe Baloulian said the new diploma would ‘further enhance our ability to serve existing and future partners, including those wishing to operate under the white label arrangement.”

Meanwhile, Malta-licensed online gambling sites are increasingly coming under the microscope of Germany’s tax authorities. Late last month, German attorney Joerg Hofmann told attendees at a local gaming seminar that a number of Malta-based iGaming firms had received letters from the German taxman seeking details about their German-facing operations.

According to Hofmann, German tax authorities believe Malta-licensed sportsbooks are required to pay value added tax as well as 5% sports betting turnover tax on their German-market revenue, regardless of whether or not they were among the 20 recipients of a German federal sports betting license. Germany’s muddled online gambling laws may be headed for a European Commission smackdown, but Hofmann says that “if [operators] are active in the German market, they should try to be as compliant as possible.”

Hofmann urged operators with undeclared taxes “to solve this matter very quickly” via a “so-called self-denunciation” to Germany’s taxman. Failure to reveal the full extent of their German operations exposes these operators’ top execs to potential criminal prosecution, which carries the threat of serious fines that can be enforced across the European Union.

Hofmann had no explanation as to why Germany appeared to be singling Malta out for special scrutiny, but warned that other online licensing jurisdictions could be next to face the taxman’s wrath.

This past January, a Munich court convicted a local gambler for playing blackjack with an unidentified Malta-licensed online casino site. Since that ruling, several Malta-licensed operators have withdrawn services from the German market, including Mansion and