Why does your virtual casino need a license?
Every fair operator, who wants to launch a virtual casino legally, starts his journey in gambling bygetting a license. This document protects business owners from legal problems and increases players’ confidence. Moreover, a permit is required for entity registration, bank account opening, and establishing business relationships, as it serves as proof of your integrity and creates a reputation asa reliable enterprise in the eyes of B2B suppliers and players.
An online gambling license gives you theright to operate in regulated markets and protects you from fines, imprisonment, and legal consequences. A permit is also necessary to enter new markets, it can help when working with well-known game developers and financial organizations. Despite the high cost of the iGaming license, it will definitely pay off in the long run.
How can I get a license?
Licensing conditions vary depending on the country where you apply for the permit. Nonetheless, we can highlight the most widespread requirements for many gambling legalization locations:
- Registering a business and placing servers in the jurisdiction
- Preparing full and detailed info about an applicant, key casino employees, origin of funds, and gambling activities on the website. We do not recommend hiding some important data, since the authorities of the jurisdictions do not just check the authenticity of the documents, but can initiate serious background investigations. For example, in American New Jersey, there is a separate division for such checks — The division of gaming enforcement
- Implementing the principles of the AML policy on the platform, as well as placing there info about gambling addiction and prohibition of gaming for minors
- Collecting all required documentation
- Paying fees
What documents are needed?
The same as with the licensing conditions, the required documents pack differs from place to place. Let’s list the ones which you will need in any case:
- Proof of no criminal history
- Copies of IDs of entity owners and key employees
- Bank statements/copies of utility bills
- Game content and software description
- Business plan
Usually, before issuing a license, competent bodies initiate background investigations in order to ensure that the applicant is fair, and his business will not spoil the jurisdiction’s reputation. Those who have no problems with the law and have followed all the recommendations have nothing to fear, but you should be prepared for long bureaucratic procedures.
How to choose the jurisdiction?
There are plenty of attractive locations, which offer online gambling license acquisition for operators. When choosing, pay attention to the following factors:
- The audience you can target with the local permit
- Licensing requirements and mandatory documents
- The complexity of the application process
- The cost of a permit and taxes
- The validity term of the license
- Local iGaming legislation and control acts
- What gambling types does the license include
If you are still not confident about the choice, feel free to ask for advice. Our experts can pick up the best option for you.
Top jurisdictions for issuing casino licenses
An affordable price, a low tax rate, and feasible requirements make a Curaçao gaming license very desirable for online gambling operators. There are two types of gambling licenses on the island of Curaçao: a master license and a sublicense. Curaçao allows you to organize all types of available gambling within one license. It should be noted that the licensing requirements and the final cost of the license are determined by holders of major permits, who issue sublicenses. It takes about six weeks to obtain a Curaçao gaming license.
It is worth mentioning that in the near future, the island state’s gaming legislation will change a lot. It is expected that the new law will establish the licensing body, which will be responsible for issuing Curaçao gaming licenses. Also, the changes will affect the requirements for operators in terms of compliance with the AML policy and the cost of obtaining a permit.
The Malta Gambling Regulatory Commission offers licenses for both B2C and B2B activities. B2C licenses, in particular, are divided into 4 types, and each of them allows the holder to organize different types of business. Licenses are valid for ten years. Once the application and all relevant information are accepted by the Maltese authorities, a decision is made within a period of 12 to 16 weeks. The minimum total amount of all fees (initial application fee, license fee, system audit, and compliance audit fees) is €36,000.
The UK is another jurisdiction that issues online casino licenses. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) accepts license applications for both offline and virtual casinos. Operators with a cross-licensing agreement with the British government can apply for a permit in the UK. Obtaining a license in the UK is very expensive — the cost of it starts at about £25,000.
The Alderney Gaming Commission (AGCC) is one of the most popular regulators of the iGaming sphere. The AGCC issues Category 1 and Category 2 licenses, certificates of compliance, and a provisional permit. The application procedure consists of several steps and lasts at least 1 month. Unfortunately, there is no final-fixed cost, it depends on many factors and starts from £10,000.
The Gibraltar online gambling license is valid for 5 years and has gained full trust among both players and software developers. The Licensing Department considers only entities that have experience in the gambling sphere, additional permits of other recognized jurisdictions, good financial condition, and a credible business plan. In general, the price has a simple and understandable structure: for B2C operators of internet casinos, sports betting platforms, and websites with other gambling products, a license will cost £100,000. For B2B service providers, the cost will be £85,000.
Antigua and Barbuda
Despite the high expenses of obtaining a license in Antigua (the cost starts from $120,000), there are numerous pros of doing it. Among them, there are the absence of taxes, the possibility to live and place servers outside the jurisdiction (only the main server should be located there), and the opportunity to engage players from the UK and to collaborate with other offshore online gambling operators. Moreover, the legislation of the country is very liberal, and the application procedure is simple and transparent.
The Isle of Man
The huge advantage of this jurisdiction is the comprehensive support for online gambling operators from the government. It includes loyal legislation, marketing consulting, issuing grants, etc. Also, The Isle of Man attracts operators due to its reputation, low taxes, and opportunity to get an all-in-one license for all gaming types. That means you should not waste money on obtaining separate licenses for gaming and sports betting. Obtaining such a permit there costs £40,000. The validity period for the document is 5 years.
Panama licensees can obtain a full license for all gambling types (both casino games and sports betting). The document allows its owner to operate legally for 7 years. One more advantage is that websites, where Panamanians don’t make bets, are tax-free. Finally, the license acquisition process in Panama is straightforward and understandable even for newcomers. The cost of a local permit is $40,000.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to quickly obtain a license for a casino and sports betting?
Obtaining a license to operate an online casino is not a quick process. The time to obtain it, as well as the cost, depends on the selected jurisdiction. In some countries, it may take a couple of weeks or a bit more than a month to get a license, but there are also stricter jurisdictions where the process can take a year or more. Before applying for a license, check your documents package, as mistakes or inaccuracies in the papers you submit can negatively affect the time period for obtaining a license for online casinos.
How much does a casino license cost?
License fees vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Typically, the total cost of obtaining a casino license on the Internet is made up of a number of factors. The main part of the total payment is the application fee. It is also necessary to pay a high price for company registration in the country where you plan to obtain a license. In some jurisdictions, you have to pay an additional fee to renew your license and update your documents. In some countries, it happens every five years, while in others, operators need to do it much more often.
Which license is the cheapest one?
It’s difficult to say what license is the most cost-effective from a long-term perspective, but currently one of the most affordable is the Curaçao permit. Obtaining it doesn’t cost a lot, in addition, there is a very attractive tax policy on the island. Nonetheless, before choosing a Curaçao license relying only on low costs, make sure that other conditions of licensing there are convenient for you and your business. The best option is to ask specialists who can analyze all factors and offer you the best variants for your unique case.
What can cause a license to be denied or revoked?
You can never be sure of getting a license. However, you can do everything possible to avoid refusal of its issuing. Let’s list why the competent authority may give a negative answer to your application or even revoke an already-issued permit.
Applicants with criminal backgrounds (particularly financial crimes, fraud, and gambling offenses) are more likely to be unable to obtain a license in any of the jurisdictions. However, if your criminal history includes only administrative offenses, you can always try your luck.
Applicants who fail to prove their financial solvency will most likely not obtain a license.
You will definitely get a denial of a permit if your platform does not comply with the gambling legislation of the licensing jurisdiction. In some locations, the control of licensees and gambling operators is the responsibility of the licensing authority, in others, special bodies have been established to monitor compliance with the law. So, the New Jersey Division of gaming enforcement checks license applicants, monitors the activities of current licensees, and initiates investigations in case of violations. The Division of gaming enforcement can not only influence the decision to issue or not to issue a new license, but also challenge the decision on the permit issued earlier.
How LicensingAid can help you?
You can contact LicensingAid to facilitate the application process. Our specialists help to prepare the necessary documentation and meet all the administrative requirements of the jurisdiction where the client receives a gaming license. We assist in the following matters:
– company registration, including trademark and design registration;
– opening of bank and trading accounts;
– creating and writing a responsible gambling policy and advertising policy;
– conducting full-fledged independent audits to comply with all anti-money laundering (AML) standards.