The gambling license is an indicator of the high-level transparency and security of an online gaming and betting website. Licenses are issued by the licensing authority of the region one wants to operate in. The regions are referred to as online gambling jurisdictions or licensing jurisdictions. They have different sets of requirements, codified by law, that allow issuing a gambling license.
The type of a gambling license you need depends on a variety of factors: the category of gaming and betting (online poker, slots, sportsbook, etc.), the jurisdiction you and/or your players are based on, operating currencies and so on. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at 5 gambling licenses, their costs, ongoing compliances and obtaining procedures.
|Jurisdictions with Gambling Licenses||Oper. Regions||Avg. Obtaining Time||Gaming and Betting Regulations||Description|
Arcades, betting, bingo, casinos,
gaming machine providers,
gambling software providers,
external lottery managers and
remote gambling (online and by phone)
- High international reputation
- Expensive operations
- Transparency of business
- Protection of vulnerable persons
Any country where gambling
is not legally prohibited.
Not applicable in Curacao, France,
The Netherlands, Australia, USA.
Casino games, sports betting, lotteries,
poker and bingo
- One licence covering all activities
- Easy licences obtaining process
- No VAT, low-profit tax rate
Casino, eSport, Poker, Sports Betting, Lotto,
Bingo, Bitcoin Casino, Fantasy Sports, Games of Skill
- Secure business environment
- Medium operation cost
- Separate licenses for various
Isle of Man
Land-based gambling operations,
online gambling activities
- Fully committed to player
protection, especially youth
- Low tax rates
- Software is inspected by trustworthy companies
Poker, bingo, betting and online casino websites,
land-based gambling operations
- High-class jurisdiction
- Law taxes
- Effective software testing
- Dispute management
UK Gambling Commission
UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is an executive body in the Government of the UK that regulates gambling and gaming in Great Britain. Online gaming and gambling businesses need to obtain a remote license from UKGC to operate, advertise or accept players from the UK.
UKGC regulates all types of gambling-related businesses remotely operating or being promoted in Great Britain, including arcades, sports betting, bingo, casinos, and lotteries.
UK Gambling Commission is one of the most trustworthy gambling license providers, highly respected both by players and operators. The clear legislation and strong regulation in the UK make this region an attractive market for operators.
Operating license applications usually take about 16 weeks to process, provided that the full information is submitted. The license is valid for 3 years and can be extended correspondingly.
Applications for an operating license are accepted online only. To submit an application online, operators need to provide the following documentation: operator identity documents, policy documents, financial documents, documents identifying key people.
In the absence of one of the listed documents, the application will be deemed incomplete and rejected.
To comply with the license conditions, your gambling business should follow the below-mentioned rules and standards:
- Hold social responsibility to promote safer gambling
- Have effective anti-money laundering procedures in place
- Comply with technical standards and requirements
- Follow reporting requirements
- Adhere to sector-specific compliance
- Meet certain standards when handling complaints and dispute
You will need to pay an application fee and an annual fee to ensure your operating license remains valid. The fee payment is submitted together with the application. Annual fee invoices are sent to the operator’s head office address by regular mail, 6 weeks before the fee’s due date.
The challenging aspect of obtaining a license from UKGC is relatively high tax rates - 15% income tax.
The application and annual fees are different for each operating license type. Learn more about the costs here.
Curaçao e-Gaming Licensing Authority
Curaçao eGaming (Netherlands Antilles) is regarded as a practical solution for starting an online gaming and gambling business due to its optimal mix of time and cost balance. The authorised bodies of Curaçao offer two types of licenses:
- Master License: Curacao basic license (White label)
- Sub-License: grants the same rights without enabling holders to extend the sub-license to third parties (Turnkey)
The jurisdiction’s single license covers all forms of interactive eGaming including Casinos, Sports Betting, Exchanges, Lottery, Games of Skill and Chance.
Owning a Curaçao license allows offering gaming and betting products nearly everywhere, except for the countries that restrict gambling by law. Note that the USA, Australia, Curaçao, France, Netherlands do not permit operating a betting or getting business with a Curaçao license.
To be able to obtain a Curaçao e-gaming license, the applicant must seek pre-approval through a Corporate Service Provider to apply for an e-gaming and IP License. The Pre-approval is normally granted within 24 hours.
The gambling license of Curaçao is one of the easiest to get. It is a perfect choice for sports betting and gaming operators, since the application procedure is quick and inexpensive.
The entire process of obtaining a license takes up to 20 days. Here are the necessary steps to obtain a Curaçao license:
- Complete IP application form
- Provide the required supporting documents
- Attach a detailed report related to Point 7 of the eGaming IP license
- Make the application payment
- If something does not correspond to requirements, the gambling commission will provide a checklist of necessary amendments.
One of the greatest advantages of Curaçao’s online gambling license is the highly favorable tax rate: 2% of net profit. This deal will last until 2026.
The one-time pre-application fee starting from €750 is needed to initiate the process of issuing Curaçao license. All-inclusive basic combined packages start at €1,150/mo. or €10,500/yr.
The major drawback of getting an online gambling license from Curaçao e–Gaming Licensing Authority is that it does not get involved in the online disputes between gambling businesses and customers.
Malta Gaming Authority
Malta Gaming Authority (Malta) imposes following a set of strict regulations, guidelines, and legislations that allow promoting online sportsbooks or casinos in the EU.
Generally, MGA falls under the hard-to-get category of licenses. Still, with all the operating possibilities (across the EU), favourable costs/taxes, and high safety features, it is an attractive choice for many gambling operators.
The MGA issues licenses of the following categories:
- Gaming Service license: business-to-consumer license to offer or carry out a gaming service; (B2C)
- Critical Gaming Supply license: business-to-business license to provide or carry out a critical gaming supply. (B2B)
Additionally, Maltese licenses are sub-categorized into 4 types, each necessary for conducting a particular type of gambling activities:
Games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is determined by a random number generator. This type includes casino-type games (roulette, blackjack, baccarat, poker) played against the house, lotteries, secondary lotteries and virtual sports games.
Games of chance played against the house, the outcome of which is not generated randomly. Alternatively, it is determined by the result of an event or a competition irrelevant to a game of chance. The operator manages its own risk by managing the odds offered to the player.
Games of chance not played against the house. In these games, operators are not exposed to gaming risks. Instead, they generate revenue by taking a commission or another charge based on the stakes or the prize. It includes player-vs-player games such as poker, bingo, betting exchange, and other commission based games.
Controlled skill games.
The application process of MGA starts with submitting an application with all the required information. After you’ve paid the invoice and submitted the requested documentation (notarised passport copies, notarised utility bills for the last 2 months, a resume, a bank reference), the evaluation process begins.
During the evaluation period, MGA checks if the applicant
- is fit and competent for conducting a gambling business;
- is well prepared from the business strategy perspective;
- meets all the operational and statutory requirements and performs obligations prescribed by the law and policy;
- has correctly implemented and tested everything on the technical level, before going live.
The processing time for registering and licensing your online gambling business varies from 3 to 6 months.
The application and annual costs of MGA license depend on a license category and type you choose.
A license fee is €25,000; a request to process the application costs €5000. License renewal costs €5000.
The yearly fixed license fee for the B2C Gaming Service license is normally €25,000. The exception is the controlled skill games that are subject to €10,000 annual fixed licence fee.
The licence fee for B2B Critical Gaming Supply licensees depends on annual revenue, varying from €25,000 to €35,000.
5% Gaming Tax is applied to Gaming Revenue generated from Malta-based players. A 35% corporate tax rate applies to the profits generated by remote gaming operators.
Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission
The Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC) is popular for its strict requirements and fair monitoring system. The key principles the Commission upholds are:
- To keep the gambling industry crime-free
- To protect the young and those at risk
- To ensure that the services offered by licence holders are fair and that players receive their actual winnings
The main legislation that governs online gambling in the Isle of Man is the Online Gambling Regulation Act (OGRA). To comply with the OGRA, operators must meet the following criteria:
- They must establish a Manx company
- They must have at least 2 local directors (individuals)
- They must appoint at least one resident Designated Official (DO), or Operations Manager (OM) if the DO cannot reside in the Isle of Man
- They must either register players on Isle of Man servers or operate under a network services license which allows them to establish network services in the Isle of Man
- Gambling and trading bank accounts should be located in the Isle of Man unless otherwise agreed
To apply for a GSC license, a complete application form and statutory application fee must be submitted to the Inspectorate. You can get the application package from here.
If the Inspectorate approves the application and receives the application fee, it will typically process the license within 10-12 weeks.
A license can be cancelled or suspended by the authorities if a holder:
- Is convicted of an offence under the GBLA or any other indictable offence.
- Fails to pay fees due.
- For any other reason, ceases to be eligible.
The application fee payable at the beginning of the application process is £5,000.
The current annual cost for a five-year OGRA licence is:
- £50,000 for a network services licence or token-based software supplier licence,
- £35,000 for a standard licence;
- £5,000 for a sub-licence.
The standard rate of corporate income tax in the Isle of Man is 0%. The current VAT rate is 20%.
Gibraltar Gambling License
Gibraltar Gambling license has a reputation of a high-quality and reliable one in the gambling industry. Committed to such a reputation, Gibraltar issues licenses only for the gambling companies that have previously received licenses from other authoritative bodies and proved to be reliable. Also, the companies must demonstrate a proven positive experience as gambling operation providers, along with stable financial conditions and a realistic business plan.
Types of licenses available under Gibraltar jurisdiction are for:
- online gaming B2C operations;
- online betting B2C operations;
- other online B2C gambling products;
- land-based B2C gaming operations;
- land-based B2C betting operations.
All gambling operations executed in Gibraltar must comply with licensing under the Gambling Act 2005 ("the Act"). The license is issued for 5 years.
The application process for the Gibraltar gambling license starts with a 2-3 page presentation, outlining the proposal, background, experience of the company in the gambling industry and the reasons the company wishes to be established in Gibraltar. If the Government approves the outline, detailed documentation will be requested.
The future licensee must also provide:
- Identification documents and details of beneficial owners and key personnel,
- Confirmation of the authenticity of all these persons (letters of recommendation from banking, financial or other institutions that regulate the gambling business),
- A copy of the gambling business license and financial reports,
- Confirmation of financial solvency (founders, beneficiaries, sufficiency of the company's funds),
- Documents confirming the ability to pay out any possible winnings (copies of the payments made to the winners).
The consideration of applications can take up to 6 months as a result of the extensive due diligence.
A license a fee of about £100.000 will be required by the Giblartar licencing authority upon granting B2C gambling license and £85.000 for B2B gambling license.
Additionally, B2B gambling license holders must pay £100,000 as an annual license fee, regardless of their income. For B2C license holders, the amount is £85,000, regardless of their income.
For gambling companies, the most tempting factor about Gibraltar Gambling license is the low taxation system. Remote gambling license holders are subject to a 0.15% revenue tax per annum. As for the corporate tax rate, companies operating a gambling business in Gibraltar are subject to a 10% corporate tax. No sales tax, no VAT.
If you want to be considered a trustworthy and responsible gambling operator, your online and land-based gambling operations must be carried out on a legal basis. This means you need to obtain a gambling license from the jurisdiction you plan to set up your online gambling business in.
Depending on the jurisdiction, online gambling licenses may have different requirements and opportunities. Here we have put together the 5 most popular and reputable jurisdiction that offer a high level of security and large coverage of gambling categories.
Yet, issuing a gambling license from a reputable jurisdiction is not easy. It can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially for igaming start-ups. Alternatively, you can always try another trustworthy B2B supplier for a license to initiate your gambling operations.
BetConstruct offers a bunch of licenses and certificates for its partners to operate with. The White Label offering includes betting and gaming products under our licenses of Curaçao, Malta, UK, ONJN, France, etc.
Author: Ani Baghdasaryan