The Gaming Commission of Malta is one of the most well-known jurisdictions that deal with online casinos.
Under the Public Lotto Ordinance, Malta started to issue online gambling licenses in 2000. Then the Lotteries and Gaming Authority was established to regulate and license online/remote gambling, among other things. As online gambling grew in popularity, four classes of licenses started to be provided in 2004. Class 1 is for operators of online casinos, Class 2 is for operators of sports betting, Class 3 is for advertisers, and Class 4 is for hosts and managers of online casinos who are not operators. In 2005 the Malta Remote Gaming Council got elected, so that the licensees have a say regarding decision-making.
The licenses are valid for five years. The initial fee is MTL 1,000. There are also annual fees and a 0.5% gaming tax on the turnover. It’s explicitly stated that online gambling is forbidden for the citizens of Malta. There are three steps that new applicants need to go through – Fit and Proper, Business and Technical Ability Assessment, and Compliance Audit.
In 2007 the Gaming Commission of Malta got on the UK „white list”, which means that the jurisdiction’s members can advertise in British media. That means that the casinos are safe and trustworthy. Another association, the European Gaming and Betting Operators (EGBA), also confirms the reliability – their requirements are much stricter than what is legal.
Loyalty Rewards Programs in Online Casinos
Bonuses and promotional events are some of online casinos’ ways of attracting players and keeping them interested. The most beneficial method for players are loyalty rewards programs because they’re transparent and guarantee to be continuous.
In loyalty programs players earn 1 comp point per each $X they wager. Y comp points can be redeemed for $1 of playing credit. „Comp points” can be called differently in different casinos, and obviously the X and Y values vary between casinos too. The credits received from loyalty programs are subject to wagering requirements, just like bonuses.
Games with a higher house edge, such as slots, will usually offer faster accumulation of comp points than those with a lower house edge, such as blackjack. High rollers get even more, because in addition to accumulated comp points there are usually other extra benefits for wagering more than a specified amount. Sometimes more comp points also means increased bonuses, for example reload ones.
Casinos also offer multiple VIP levels. To reach a specific level and receive the benefits of it, you need to wager the amount it requires. Everything is automatically checked and provided by the software, so there’s no way someone is going to be forgotten.
Different Variations of Blackjack
Online casinos offer multiple variations of blackjack. It’s not much of a difference until you perfect the basic strategy, because until then you lose more because of how you play than because of the house edge. But when you’re a serious online gambler and want to pick the game that has the lowest house edge, it’s important to know the differences.
The number of decks in blackjack can be anything between 1 and 8. The house edge increases together with the number of decks increasing. The fewer decks the better. A single deck game even has the possibility of having a negative house edge, which lets very good players actually make money.
Some versions of blackjack force the dealer to stand on a total of soft 17 and others will let the dealer hit. In the latter case, the dealer can put ace as 1 and stay in the game. Therefore the former version is more beneficial for players.
In some blackjack games the dealer gets a second card, called the hole card, face down. If the dealer has an ace or a 10, they can peek. The game can end without the player making any move if the dealer has blackjack. If the player also has blackjack, it’s a tie. The no hole games, in which the dealer is not dealt the second card, are better for players.
There are also some blackjack versions with restrictions such as not letting players double after a split, limits on re-splitting and not letting players surrender.
The choice between blackjack variations is hard because there are a lot of pros and cons for each. Websites that analyze house edges can help.
Table Games and Card Games Online
Before you join an online casino, you need to know the basics about the games. Otherwise the confusion will prevent you from having fun.
Games in online casinos are sorted into several groups to make it easier to pick one. The classification may vary, but the most popular one is: table games, slot games and video poker games. In land-based casinos the first one is played at a table while the other two are played on screens. Table games are usually divided into card games and regular table games (not using cards).
Blackjack and baccarat are some of the most popular card games. They’re good for beginners because of their low house edge. Baccarat doesn’t require skills in order to play, while blackjack does. It’s worth it to familiarize yourself with this game before playing it for money, either through free play in the same casino, other free online games, or in real life. There are also poker-based table games, such as Caribbean Stud Poker, Tri Card Poker, and Let It Ride. The difference between them and poker is that you play against the dealer and not against other players. Those are not very beginner-friendly.
Craps and roulette are among the most common table games. Roulette might even be more popular than blackjack, even though it has a higher house edge. It’s the best choice for beginners because it doesn’t require skills at all. The most beneficial for players is French roulette, then European one, and then American one. Craps is not very good for beginners before they can tell apart good bets from sucker bets. Another well-known table game is Keno, but it’s often classified as a specialty game or put in the „other games” category.