Gaming license requirements vary depending on the location. For obtaining a gaming license, an application must be submitted to the appropriate authority. Licensing bodies are very careful and rigorous when deciding whether to issue permits, and it is this verification process that inspires confidence in potential customers.
Why is the license acquisition procedure so important, and why does it require painstaking preparation? In this article, we will consider the main arguments in favor of obtaining a permit, as well as what challenges (registration of an enterprise, collection of many documents, background investigations, etc.) await those operators who are going to license their gambling platforms.
A detailed algorithm: how to get a gaming license?
Getting a gaming license can be complicated. The process depends on the country where you are planning to launch your virtual casino.
Here is how it usually goes:
- Incorporating a business. You should register the company by following all the rules in the jurisdiction where you plan to open your online casino and get your license.
- Opening a bank account.
- Collecting the necessary documentation. Diligence checks can be very thorough, sometimes including background investigations by international law enforcement agencies. That’s why applicants must be ready for endless red tape and usually have to complete a long list of paperwork.
- Submitting your application.
- Paying the application fee. The license costs are dependent on the jurisdiction and the types of services you are going to offer. Some regulators issue one license for all forms of gambling, and others do so for each separately.
In some jurisdictions, multiple steps (such as incorporating a business and submitting an application) can be completed concurrently.
Who issues gambling licenses?
The Curaçao Gaming Control Board is an anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing body, and online gambling itself is regulated by the Ministry of Finance and the Financial Intelligence Unit. To date, there are two types of gambling permits on the island state: major and sub-licenses. The first type is not a regular casino license, only 4 huge companies hold such a permit. Major licenses are issued only by the Ministry of Finance. Those permit holders, in their turn, issue sub-licenses to all other operators. Interestingly, the set of licensing requirements and mandatory documents can differ in Curaçao, depending on the major permit’s owner.
In the near future, state gambling legislation and the licensing algorithm of Curaçao may change dramatically. A new authority, The Curaçao Gaming Authority, is expected to be established to issue B2C and B2B licenses and monitor the sphere. Website requirements will also be tightened in terms of AML policy and responsible gaming. Unfortunately, the new rules will also affect the licensing fees, which are currently one of the lowest on the market. However, there is no reason to change your plans if you are going to apply for a local permit: even after the new law comes into force, the licensing process in Curaçao will remain relatively simple, and the permit cost will be one of the most affordable in the industry.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is a governmental organization that is responsible for issuing gambling licenses to online companies that meet its strict standards. It regulates most forms of gambling in its territory, including both land-based (casinos, amusement and slot machines, betting offices, fantasy sports, and lotteries) and online gambling services, including B2C and B2B services. As Maltese permit is very prestigious and has an impeccable reputation, local authorities make sure that licenses are issued only to those who can meet high standards and adequately represent the jurisdiction in the global gambling arena. Due to this, each person involved in the application process must go through the background investigation and provide as much information about their identities and the origin of funds as possible.
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man’s gambling regulatory authority is the Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC), an independent regulator of land-based and online casinos. Its purpose is to protect players and support operators. The island legislation creates very favorable conditions for running a business. However, in order to obtain and maintain an Isle of Man casino license, it is necessary to fulfill a number of strict requirements, as well as provide the GSC with a set of documents, including data on the absence of criminal history of the applicant and a full description of the gambling content and all software used on the website.
Newcomers may be put off by relatively high local licensing fees. At the same time, the tax policy of the island is pleasantly surprising: the rate varies depending on the platform’s revenues and can be from 0.1% to 1.5%.
In Gibraltar, the licensing of new operators is the responsibility of the Gibraltar Licensing Department. The activity of the body is regulated by the Gambling Act Legislation, adopted in 2005. The Gibraltarian permit is considered one of the most respected in the gambling sphere. Its unquestionable reputation is backed by the authority of the UK. However, operators pay a high price for the privilege of having a local license. And it’s not only about the cost of the document but also about the strictest requirements for applicants. For example, they are obliged to have previous experience with gambling and a valid license in another jurisdiction, to register the entity and open a physical office in Gibraltar, and to provide complete info about the company owner, directors, and other key persons. The GLD usually wants to know as much as possible about the professional, criminal, and financial past of the entity and its stakeholders.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the state gambling regulator, which controls the compliance of most gambling establishments with the provisions of legislative norms. Monitoring of betting operators is carried out by the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit — a special unit established in 2010 as part of the UKGC. It is worth noting that British permits are not cheap and not every operator can afford them. Moreover, local authorities put forward very strict requirements for potential licensees. In this way, the UK is trying to maintain the brilliant reputation of the jurisdiction and the permits issued by it.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission (KGC) is the official gambling regulator of the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, Canada. Its main activities include licensing online casino games, poker rooms, and betting operators, as well as controlling and regulating the quality of their services.
What advantages does the Kahnawake permit offer? No taxation on gambling incomes, a quite affordable cost of a permit acquisition, support of the government, and a transparent licensing process. In addition, the license covers all jurisdictions except the USA (and countries, where gambling is banned).
In addition to the standard requirements like registering a company and placing servers on the territory of the settlement, the KGC requests detailed information about the applicant and all persons involved in the process. Among the mandatory documents are evidence of financial solvency, education and experience in the field of gambling, as well as confirmation of the absence of a criminal history.
Costa Rica does not actually have a state gambling regulator that would monitor the activities of gambling operators or issue licenses. However, there are ways to establish a fully legal virtual gaming company in this country. The government does not restrict the operation of online gambling businesses based in the country, but transactions should not be processed by local banks, and they must not offer games to Costa Rican residents.
How to obtain a gaming license? Requirements for the owners of gaming companies
Gaming license requirements and documents are different from one location to another. In any case, applicants must prove their transparency and reliability. Each jurisdiction determines its own set of requirements applicants must satisfy. Usually, the list of required documents includes (but is not limited to):
- Company registration
- Corporate documents
- Bank account registration
- Documents from all employees, including passport copies and evidence of no criminal history
- Business plan, financial plan, and marketing plans
- Technical documentation, including software and hardware certifications
Depending on the jurisdiction, the following items may also have to be included:
- Expert letter of recommendation
- Second identification document
- Original letter of recommendation from the bank
- Description of the target market
- Description of the software and a report on technical testing of the systems
- Details of the business plan
It is recommended that those planning to obtain an online gaming 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.
Requirements for the gaming employment data
There are three different gaming employee license types — key gaming employee, gaming employee, and gaming service employee. The very first and minimum requirement for an employee in the gambling industry is age; the employee must be over 18 or 21 years old, depending on the country. Before getting a gaming license you should initially be offered a job in a casino or gambling establishment of another format. Then you’ll have to pass a lot of inspections, such as a criminal history check, as well as completing the licensing requirements, which vary depending on the jurisdiction. Small delicts will naturally be disregarded, but you probably won’t pass a background investigation if you’ve been convicted of criminal and financial offenses such as fraud, tax evasion, or money laundering. The gaming authority will also determine your integrity and evaluate your previous experience, especially if you stated that you have worked in a gaming environment. In the last step, they will check your level of education, because some positions require you to have a certain level of education.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there any requirements for companies’ owners?
Gaming license requirements for owners exist in most jurisdictions. In Curaçao, for example, business owners must provide these documents to prove their credibility:
– Original Utility Bill (not older than 3 months)
– Copy of passport
– Resume (CV)
– Evidence of no criminal history
– Original bank reference letter
– Professional reference letter
– Second ID
Are there any specific requirements for employees?
As we mentioned above, there are many requirements for employees. Some jurisdictions have more specific requirements. The New South Wales regulator in Australia requires applicants to provide credit history and even tax returns to make sure they are not in a financial predicament that could cause them to commit fraud and embezzle casino funds.
Is it hard to comply with gaming license requirements?
Each jurisdiction determines its own set of requirements for obtaining a casino or lottery license or any other type of gambling license. Some licenses are comparatively easy to get, while others are harder to obtain. You and your entity must be prepared for criminal and financial audits and even key person background investigations, as well as months of collecting all the required documents. We recommend contacting specialists to avoid costly mistakes associated with complex bureaucratic procedures. As a rule, such support includes a range of services from business consultations to the preparation and verification of the full documentary part of the process.
How to get an online gambling license?
A lot of people are asking questions about licensing. The most popular question is probably “How do I get a gaming license”. That’s quite a simple question, but in this article, we tried to cover the topic of obtaining licenses as much as possible. If you still have any questions, you can try to read other materials on our website or reach out to our experts on the contacts page.