The process for obtaining a gaming license differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The application process and requirements may have both similarities and differences from region to region. For example, in Belize, the application process takes 3-6 months, while in Curaçao you will receive the final response in a month and a half. Also, the start-up capital, cost of application, and so on may differ.
In this article, we’ll figure out why gaming companies must not operate without a license, and what challenges operators can face on their way to obtaining a permit. Continue reading to know more about the licensing process and its potential pitfalls.
What is a gaming license and why do you need one?
A gambling license is a significant document for all gaming businesses. It is permission to legally operate and attract players from many countries. Running a casino without a license can result in huge fines and even jail time. The severity of the punishment varies depending on the laws of each country.
What are other reasons why you need to obtain a permit?
- License strengthens your reputation in the eyes of your potential clients. Experienced players usually prefer to gamble only on legal platforms.
- With a permit, you can buy official software and gaming content for your website.
- The license allows you to integrate widespread payment systems into your website and accept transactions from your customers’ credit cards and electronic wallets.
- A permit is your ticket to the gambling universe. With this document, you will be able to work with other operators from your or other countries.
To recap all the above, we do not recommend skipping the license acquisition. Owning it is the key to building a successful, respectable, and profitable gambling business.
Choosing a jurisdiction for licensing
It can be quite difficult to decide which country to choose for licensing. Each jurisdiction has its own list of advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to take your time and consider all the important factors.
There are several crucial criteria to consider when choosing the most suitable jurisdiction for your business. Let’s list them.
- Application fee
- Renewal fee and other regular payments
- Licensing requirements for gaming companies. In some jurisdictions, licensing conditions are very strict, which means you must be ready for detailed examinations of your business and personal background checks
- Set of required documents
- Types of gambling activities (casino / sportsbook / other) you are going to offer
- Type of license you need to get. Some jurisdictions have all-in-one permits for all gaming types, others oblige operators to obtain separate licenses for each gambling service
- Reputation of the jurisdiction
We can help gaming businesses with applications for the following licenses:
- Isle of Man
- Costa Rica
Don’t worry if you can’t manage the choice of licensing jurisdiction by yourself. Our specialists can facilitate this complicated process. We are truly experts with years of experience and exhaustive knowledge about each country’s gambling legislation. Feel free to contact us and get any help that you need.
How to apply for a gaming license?
In every jurisdiction, the applicant must prove the transparency and reliability of his business. Before applying for a gaming license, the operator must complete a series of steps:
- Registration of the company.
- Collection of all supporting documents. For example, in some jurisdictions, you have to submit documents about all founders and directors, while in others you also have to provide complete business and financial plans.
- Opening a trade or bank account.
Many jurisdictions require gaming businesses to provide the entire promotion strategy, as well as a software description and a report on technical testing of the systems. Moreover, gambling regulators may appoint background checks and ask to provide evidence of non-conviction of all key persons of the company.
Gaming license application form
You can find the gaming license application form of the jurisdiction you are interested in on the website of the gaming authority or from the agents who deal with the licensing process assistance.
- In almost all application forms, representatives should fill in the following:
- Name and surname
- Then you should choose the license type, which you are going to apply for and enter the license holder.
- Also, it would be necessary to put contact details, such as:
- Office telephone number
- ID card number
- Mobile number
- Email address
- After that, you should provide information about:
- High-level managers
- Finally, all required documentation must be submitted for further processing.
Our company consults in all aspects of obtaining a license in any jurisdiction you are interested in. You can contact our specialists for help in filling out the application for obtaining a license and advice on collecting all the necessary documents.
Gaming license application fees
The license fees depend on the jurisdiction. Understanding the cost of a license includes factors such as the application fee, the annual license fee, and the annual renewal fee, as well as taxes and a variety of fees, depending on the jurisdiction chosen.
How much does a gaming license cost?
The cost of getting a sub-license in Curaçao depends on the holder of the master license. Each master license holder sets his own application fee. However, in the near future, Curaçao will adopt new gambling legislation that will establish a gambling authority responsible for issuing permits. At the same time, the price of obtaining a license will increase, but specific figures are not known to date.
The fee to apply for an online gambling license in Malta is €5,000. The renewal fee on the island state is also €5,000.
Isle of Man
The cost of the application fee in the jurisdiction of the Isle of Man is £5,000 (approx. €5,600). After obtaining a document, operators are required to pay £35,000 (€39,000) annually.
The application fee depends on the type of license as well as the GGY of the business. There are three types of gaming businesses and, accordingly, three license options: online casino, general betting virtual events, and bingo; online general betting, standard real events; and online pool betting. For the first category, the application fee starts from £4,224 and the maximum is £91,686. For the second one, it starts from £4,693, but the maximum for initial fee is £41,243. The final category costs from £938 to £7,030 per application.
Application processing and getting a temporary license
Application processing differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In some regions, you would fill out an online form, while in others you would download a PDF containing the application form.
This process depends heavily on the gambling authority which issues a license. After submitting your application, you usually need to have a meeting with a representative of your licensor. He will make sure that your platform complies with all the rules of the regulator. In some cases, you will be issued a temporary license to operate an online casino or other gambling business. After some time, this document can be replaced with a permanent one, but only if all background checks are passed and local gambling laws are strictly observed.
Reviewing the hosting
An internet server (hosting) for the casino is remote technical equipment on which your gambling resource is physically based. Secure hosting and 24-hour support from the technical team of engineers ensures that the business will always be safe and run without interruption.
Some jurisdictions strictly monitor the location of servers and require them to be based in their territory. However, if you have not yet decided on the location of your casino servers, some licensors can help with that. The Malta Gambling Association, for example, can provide free sim cards, internet connection, and hosting, and you can also rent backup and recovery services and other equipment.
High-risk merchant accounts
A merchant account is a financial instrument that allows vendors to process and receive payments from customers’ credit cards. As a rule, gambling enterprises are considered as high-risk businesses. That means that to accept payments from credit cards, such companies need to open a high-risk merchant account. It is quite a complicated procedure because you need to prove the seriousness of your business intentions, the availability of sufficient funds, as well as the transparency, reliability, and honesty of the gambling platform. LicensingAid can help you to prepare the required documents and open a high-risk merchant account as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to apply for an online gambling license?
There are many jurisdictions that offer the possibility of acquiring a gaming license. Each of them has its own specifics of the licensing process and its own requirements. The process of applying for a gambling license will not be the same. Owners of gaming companies in any case are obliged to prove the transparency of their intentions and honesty in doing business. The process of obtaining a license is quite complicated with many ambiguous bureaucratic issues and close background checks.
We strongly recommend that operators who are interested in getting a gambling license prepare the entire package of documents that will be required to apply for a license, and make sure that they are correctly completed. This part of the process is usually the most difficult for applicants. If you make even a small mistake, you may be rejected.