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Why do I need a gaming license?

A license allows the holder to legally operate a gambling business. It is necessary for registration of a company, opening bank accounts, and workflow, as well as proving your credibility and creating the reputation of a reliable business in the eyes of B2B suppliers and players. A permit allows you to operate in regulated markets and protects you from fines and legal problems, as well as enabling the holder to enter new markets and cooperate with well-known developers.



Types of online gaming licenses

Every licensing jurisdiction has its own system. It may be uniform and issue a single permit that includes all types of games, but can also be divided into categories, depending on the type of activity the holder intends to organize. ​​The cost of a permit generally consists of a one-time fixed fee, company registration and bank account fees, and periodic renewal fees.

Documents for obtaining a gambling license

The documents and requirements for obtaining an online gaming license are different from one jurisdiction to another. In any case, the applicant must prove their transparency and reliability. 

It is recommended that those planning to obtain an online gambling license prepare a package with all the necessary documents and make sure that they are filled out correctly. It is also necessary to take into account that — depending on the jurisdiction — the strictness of the documentation review process also varies: sometimes, even a minor mistake can result in a rejection of the application.

Top online gambling jurisdictions

On the island of Curaçao, there are two types of licenses: a master license and a sub-license. The Curaçao sub-license allows gambling businesses to organize all available gaming activities with a single license (you don’t need to obtain a special betting license for running a bookmaking platform). The final license costs vary depending on a number of factors. The Curaçao Gambling Commission’s consideration period for new applications lasts about six weeks. Applicants must not be minors or citizens of the United States.

The Malta Gaming Authority offers gambling licenses for both B2C and B2B gambling activities. B2C licenses, in turn, are divided into four types, each of which allows the holder to organize different types of activities. Permits are valid for 10 years. The minimum total amount of all fees (initial application fee, license fee, system audit, and compliance audit fees) is €36,000. The annual fee is €10,000 – €25,000, though these numbers vary depending on the permit type. Once the application and all relevant information are accepted by the MGA

, the decision is made within 12 to 16 weeks.

Permits from the Isle of Man cover all types of activities (both virtual gaming and sports betting) and they can be chosen depending on the company’s purpose and business model. The cost of a permit on the Isle of Man starts from £40,000. Applicants must prove the transparency  their activities, so all individuals and entities listed in the application undergo rigorous and detailed legal and financial verification, which can take 10-12 weeks from receipt of the application. The license is issued for a period of five years, and the Gambling Commission reserves the right to cancel it at any time in case of violation of any restriction.

The Gibraltar license has the respect of players and software providers and it is valid for a period of 5 years. The License Department considers only companies in good financial condition with experience in the gambling market, other licenses issued by recognized jurisdictions, and a real business plan. In general, the prices have a simple and straightforward structure: for B2C operators of online casinos, sports betting platforms, and sites with other gambling products, the license would cost £100,000. For B2B service providers, the cost would be £85,000.

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) accepts license applications for both land-based and online casinos. Costs of obtaining a gambling permit in the UK vary depending on each case, but it starts from about £25,000. It’s not cheap, but thanks to the strict gambling regulations and close control over operators, the local license has a brilliant reputation in the international arena and inspires trust among the players.

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission has established itself as a very reliable regulator, advocating fair and responsible play and providing a welcoming environment for businesses: the jurisdiction has a 0% corporate tax rate and no additional gambling tax, as well as a relatively low license fee. Moreover, the local permit covers all markets, except the United States. The total cost of acquiring a gaming or betting license in Kahnawake is over $60,000, not including costs associated with the Commission’s evaluation of the applicant’s control system. The annual fee is $20,000 per year. In general, the cost of a gambling license in Kanawake is low relative to other jurisdictions. The application process takes approximately four to eight weeks, these terms vary depending on the specifics of each individual case. However, obtaining a Kahnawake license may discourage some operators because of the long wait for the final decision, which comes after six months.

Costa Rica has no official gambling regulation. Operators can apply for a license called a “data processing license,” issued by local authorities — not a gambling regulator.It is also necessary to note that this permit is the same for all types of gambling (casino, bingo, slots, sports betting, etc.). The license acquisition process in Costa Rica takes approximately three months, and the license expires every three months. The cost of obtaining a license starts from $15,000, and renewals start from $1500.

The Antigua and Barbuda gambling permit has a sterling reputation, backed up by a place on the UK’s White List. In this jurisdiction, operators can apply for virtual gaming or betting licenses. The application procedure is pretty straightforward, but the price of a permit is not cheap. Including all mandatory payments, applicants pay $125,000 to obtain the document. Also, there is an annual fee of $100,000. One huge advantage is that international operators in Antigua and Barbuda don’t pay any gaming taxes.

How to apply for a gaming license?

Our experts help in preparing all the necessary documentation and carrying out all the administrative tasks of the jurisdiction in which the client applies for gambling licensing. We help with the following issues:

Frequently Asked Questions

A gaming license is a permit issued by the commission or association controlled by a government or state that enables the holder to organize or conduct any gambling activity, gaming device, slot machine, or sports betting pool. Obtaining an online gambling or betting license is a necessary step when starting any gambling business. Some people think it’s complicated and expensive, but in the long run, it’s worth the money and time.

Every licensing authority has its own gambling regulations and application process. Generally, you can count on paying fees, filling out lots of paperwork, and waiting for at least two or three months. Often, licensing authorities enforce certain standards that the platform software must adhere to, so it can help your chances of a successful application to cooperate with a licensed, reputable software provider. A minor mistake in an application form can spoil the whole process and send the applicant back to square one. To avoid wasting time and money, it’s a very common practice for gambling business operators to seek jurisdictional advice and services from a legal team with experience in the field of iGaming licensing.

There are a lot of points in which if you make a mistake, you would prevent yourself from getting an internet gaming license, such as failing a background check, submitting a substandard business plan, or failing to prove sufficient funds.

Also, every operator needs to remember that it’s possible to lose an already-issued permit. It can happen in the case of non-payment of gaming taxes and other mandatory payments, as well as in the case of any violations of the law or rules of the jurisdiction. Be careful and learn the legislation of your licensing country.

Each jurisdiction establishes its own licensing process, which is quite complicated and bureaucratic in many cases. Time frames also vary. On the island of Curaçao, the process takes up to 6 weeks, but in Malta, it can take up to 6 months, and the document verification process alone can take up to 10-12 weeks on the Isle of Man.

Each jurisdiction has its own official regulator, which controls the quality of services and gaming control in the iGaming sector, as well as the licensing of online casinos, poker rooms, sports betting platforms, lotteries, etc. For example, in the ​​United Kingdom, gambling regulation is the responsibility of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), while in Malta it’s the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), and Antigua and Barbuda has the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s (FSRC’s) Division of Gambling.

The choice of jurisdiction can itself be a difficult one. All the factors that operators have to consider, including the business model, products, license acquisition cost and annual fee, gaming taxes and regional restrictions, make the choice even more complex. 

First of all, your license depends on the markets you want to operate in. For example, a lot of licenses don’t cover the United States market. The choice of operating regions is entirely up to you. We advise you to pay attention to the local gambling regulations and legal requirements that apply in your jurisdiction(s) of operation. It is recommended that first-time operators obtain a license in those jurisdictions that offer a simple licensing process and more favorable financial terms. Experienced operators should pay attention to the status of the license in the global iGaming market.

The licensing requirements and terms vary depending on the jurisdiction that you choose. A Curaçao license is relatively easy to obtain, while licenses in Malta, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Alderney, and the UK are more expensive and come with more complicated compliance regulations. The level of paperwork and bureaucracy can be intimidating, and sometimes a simple mistake in documentation can result in serious consequences and the denial of a license. We advise you to be very careful with the process of obtaining a license and avoid making any costly mistakes.

You should research which jurisdictions regulate gambling in order to obtain a license. Find out the criteria and requirements in the jurisdiction you are interested in, then analyze the cost of obtaining it to determine its cost-effectiveness. Look at the rate of gaming taxes in that country, as well as the deadlines for processing and extending the license.

First of all, it is risky: unlicensed activities are usually illegal and can potentially lead to negative consequences. Penalties depend on the laws of each jurisdiction and can range from fines to imprisonment. Belgium, as an example, is one of the strictest jurisdictions: offering gambling without a license can be punished by a fine of up to €800,000. Even if you have a license, you may run into fines — for example, for allowing self-excluded users to gamble, or for failing to combat money laundering.

No, there are no such licenses. No gaming license covers the full range of iGaming regions. Look into the territorial specifics of licenses beforehand to make sure there are no legal barriers between your online casino and your target audience.

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