Most of the time, we write about online casinos. After all, it’s important to have the best casino games easily accessible, no matter where you are. But there’s just something about grabbing a drink and feeling the Mediterranean breeze on your neck. Let’s be honest here – there’s a reason why Malta has been a gambling Mecca for the last couple of decades. The atmosphere plays a large role, but we have to address the amazing land-based casinos in Malta.
Whether it’s modern slots or a cheeky game of 21, entertainment is always available. In today’s guide, we’ll cover everything about brick-and-mortar venues. After ranking the top choices in Malta, our experts will tell you more about the licensing process and provide some valuable tips along the way. Ready to feel like you’re in a James Bond movie? Great, let’s move on then.
📌 Top List of the Best Landbased Casinos in Malta in 2023
Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to plan your trip in more detail. This, of course, involves consulting our list of the best land-based casinos in Malta. Our team visited some of these venues over a dozen times. So consider this list subjective and a result of deliberation. Take your pick:
Portomaso is one of the first things people remember about Malta. And with good reason, too. This casino welcomes tens of thousands of guests through its doors every year. Many of them come because of the cutting-edge slots section, featuring a whopping 150 machines. Both modern and old-school titles are well-represented.
Multiple poker variants can be enjoyed in the card room, while the Hilton hotel nearby is a good option for accommodation. The venue doesn’t close from Friday to Sunday, while different sections open at different times during the week. And as a cherry on top, shuttle transport is free from 16:30 to 02:00.
Some would say this is the best land-based casino in Malta, and we have a hard time disagreeing. This St. Julians-based venue has ~200 jackpots, video slots, and a spectacular card room. Horse racing enthusiasts will also love the 12-seat Royal Ascot terminal. We’re big fans of the Caribbean Stud Poker and Blackjack tables, too.
The Westin Dragonara Hotel is right next door, so there are plenty of opportunities to plan an all-inclusive trip at the resort. If you’re a beginner, this is perhaps the best way to start. Minimum bets are 1EUR on roulette and 5EUR on all card games.
📌 Casino di Venezia
Vittoriosa may be removed from the usual Maltese hustle and bustle, but it has no shortage of land-based gambling options. Casino di Venezia is the most stunning. The exterior resembles a medieval castle, whilst smart/casual wear is mandatory. Smoking and non-smoking sections are separated, which is always convenient.
Most of the game floor is centred around slots: 80 cashless and 60 traditional ones. You can find French tables here if you’re a roulette fan. Players can also enjoy Punto Banco, Texas Hold’em, or grab a bite to eat at the Venezia Restaurant. The venue also has a bar, including a free shuttle and booking services.
If you find yourself in St. Paul’s Bay, Oracle Casino deserves at least a couple of hours of your time. There’s no entrance fee, but you must register with your passport/ID when visiting for the first time. Interestingly, this is one of the only places where you can enjoy Royal Ascot racing. There are also 2 American roulette tables and one devoted to Blackjack, Three-card Poker, and Caribbean Stud Poker.
Two bars and a restaurant are right next to Oracle Casino. We should also mention that you can use a membership card from Portomaso Casino. Both venues are owned by the Tumas group, allowing you to have a combined experience.
Casino Malta is the largest venue on the entire island. It requires a smart/casual dress code for its 3000 square-meter gaming floor. There’s a total of 285 slots, 29 table games & poker tables, amongst other things to try out. You can visit 24/7, with weekends being reserved for local and world-famous artists.
Some of the available games include Punto Banco, Blackjack, Texas Hold’Em, and Casino Malta Poker, the venue’s very own twist on this legendary game.
📌 Land-Based Casinos in Malta vs. Online Casinos: What’s Better?
Nowadays, anyone can create an online gambling account and start playing on their phone and computer. But is this really a better choice than visiting land-based casinos in Malta? Let’s take a look:
|📌 Feature/ Casino Type||📌 Land-based casinos||📌 Online casinos|
|Other things to do(bars, clubs, restaurants)||Yes||No|
📌 Pros & Cons of Maltese Land-Based Casinos
- Spectacular atmosphere
- Many options to choose from
- A mix of classic and modern games
- Food and drinks can be a bit overpriced
- Hard to find tables/spots on weekends
📌 How to Apply for a Land-Based Gambling License in Malta
Some say logic dictates that players shouldn’t care about how the MGA licenses operators. However, this couldn’t be more illogical. Before entering a venue, you should always know how the casino got into this position.
Being familiar with the tests, audits, and hurdles can also reassure you about any dilemmas or questions you may have. A responsible player is always informed, right? With that in mind, let’s see what land-based casinos in Malta must do before being given the green light:
📌 Is the applicant fit and proper?
Once the operator expresses a desire to start the process, the MGA does a general review of the submitted paperwork. This can include various aspects of running an establishment, such as financing, management, and the overall suitability of the casino. In addition, the regulator will contact law enforcement in Malta and abroad to run a background check.
📌 Submitting a business plan
Malta wants its land-based casinos to be able to operate for long periods of time. As a result, any applicant with an unfeasible plan is automatically rejected. The application includes plans for the premises, resources, and a detailed forecast for the next two years.
📌 Statutory and operational review
At this point, the applicant has submitted things such as rules, internal procedures, and everything else related to running a land-based casino in Malta. The MGA wants to see if the operator can comply with the rules and put forth a feasible outline. This step also includes paying
📌 Preparing the facilities
After the previous step, the operator finds out if they’re rejected or not. If they get the green light, they must give MGA representatives a peek into the new venue. Generally, new applicants would much rather use an existing building than build a new one. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also more immersive for the players.
📌 Scheduled & unscheduled audits
If the MGA is happy, then the casino can schedule its launch to the public. However, they must also agree on an auditing plan. The first third-party review occurs after 90 days, while other instances depend on the Gaming Authority’s subjective assessment.
📌 Applying for a Job at Maltese Gambling Venues
It’s not uncommon to see players moving to Malta after visiting just once. The island’s beauty aside – everyone wants a piece of the land-based gambling pie. Therefore, people aim for jobs at Maltese land-based casinos. But is this a realistic career prospect? Can you really get hired?
The answer is yes. New operators are vying for applications while existing ones often expand their operations. If you want to work at any of our recommended land-based casinos in Malta, you’ll need:
- Working knowledge of English. You don’t have to speak Maltese or Italian in 90% of cases. Since Malta is a popular tourist destination, English is a must. Other widespread languages, such as French and German, are a big plus.
- Communication skills. Most open positions are for dealers and other floor staff. This is how most people start working in the gambling industry, too. Regardless of where you are, you’ll be doing a lot of talking with both players and colleagues. Think about whether you feel comfortable or not.
- Adaptability. New games, services, and features are introduced all the time at Maltese casinos. If you prefer slow-paced, relaxed environments, this isn’t the place for you. It may be challenging, but it’s never boring or monotonous.
- (As a bonus) Experience in the service industry. It’s not a must, but sites love seeing applicants that know how to work under stressful conditions. If you haven’t worked in a restaurant or cafe, don’t worry. The biggest venues have bespoke training programs for all new employees.
📌 Who Regulates Land-Based Casinos in Malta?
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is tasked with regulating and overseeing the work of all land-based casinos in the country. Even though it’s estimated that online operators comprise 12% of Malta’s GDP, this Mediterranean paradise is still faithful to its roots. After legalizing online gambling, the government felt it had to improve how it regulates games of chance.
As a result, the MGA was formed in 2001. In addition to licensing online and brick-and-mortar operators, the organization also watches over lotteries, fantasy sports, and bookmakers. However, we believe the Gaming Authority’s land-based duties can be best summed up as:
- Monitoring establishments to ensure there are no criminal acts being committed
- Making sure licensees follow the rules and fulfil the necessary requirements
- Ensuring all games are fair and random beyond reasonable doubt
- Protecting players and helping resolve complaints between players and operators
- Guaranteeing that land-based venues always have enough liquid funds on hand
- Providing advice and guidance to new applicants
- Preventing minors and other individuals at risk from engaging in gambling
One of the best things about the MGA is its transparency. If you are recommended a new casino, you can find it in the Public Registry. This tool lets you learn more about the establishment and whether it’s compliant or not.
But is that hard for land-based casinos in Malta to get a license? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Instead, it’d be better to look at the application process before explaining.
There are different rules for Maltese citizens and foreigners. If you have a Maltese passport, you must be 25 in order to gamble. The minimum gambling age for everyone else is 18. All casino employees are legally entitled to ask for ID, so you must comply with their requests at all times. If you refuse, they can kick you out.
Yes. Most places, like Portomaso or Dragonara, have a smart/casual dress code. This can change depending on the occasion. If the venue has a pool/restaurant/beach bar, swimwear and shorts may be allowed at certain times.
Certainly. Many of the top land-based casinos can have up to several restaurants. They often have different themes and are even open at different points during the day. Make sure you’re familiar with the dress code, as well as any other requirements before you book a table.
Malta has plenty of famous land-based casinos. However, most would say Portomaso Casino or Dragonara Casino if someone asked them what’s their favourite. Combining a vintage atmosphere with the latest in brick-and-mortar gambling, celebrities, and pros also frequent these venues. Casino di Venezia and Oracle are also solid choices.
The best way to prepare is to learn the rules of the games you want to play. Look them up online and then find the best online casinos with demo play in Malta. They’ll let you practice against the computer, all while not having to spend your own money. Brush up on your knowledge before the trip, just to be 100% ready.