Introduction to gaming regulation

Introduction to gaming regulation

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The gambling industry is one of the most promising and profitable spheres today. This is acknowledged not only by entrepreneurs but also by governments around the world. That is why gaming regulation is in the spotlight of lawmakers in many jurisdictions. Let’s figure out why we need gambling legislation, which options for regulating the sphere exist, and what opportunities open up for operators in each case.

Definition and importance of gaming regulation

All laws, legal acts and rules relating to gambling within a jurisdiction constitute its gaming regulation. The control of compliance with legislation is usually carried out by a specially established regulator which is often the body that issues licenses. So, why do we need regulations, and how do they protect gamblers?

Unfortunately, the gambling business is a very vulnerable industry where a lot of financial crimes are committed. In this sense, legislative regulation and control of the sphere is the best solution. Usually, the legislation implies reliable protection of personal data and deposits of players, as well as a ban on the participation in games of minors and persons with a gambling addiction. 

On the flip side, gaming legislation is also useful for operators. Thus, in jurisdictions with strict industry control, trust in the gambling business is much higher than in deregulated territories. The ability to obtain a permit and work legally not only increases the level of customer loyalty but also helps to open bank and merchant accounts, use popular payment systems and cooperate with official software providers.

The global landscape of gaming regulation

Different countries choose different ways to regulate the gambling sphere. Some governments prohibit local gaming companies from operating without a license but have no restrictions for foreign operators. Other countries allow their citizens to gamble only on the platforms with a local permit. One more option is a prohibition of gambling for residents and the blocking of local websites. At the same time, in such jurisdictions, the work of foreign platforms is often not regulated at all. Finally, there are plenty of countries where online casinos are not prohibited, and licenses are not issued.

Why is it crucial to know about regulations? Every business owner needs to understand the legislation of the markets in which he wants to operate. This information will allow you to understand whether it is legal to offer your services in a particular country, whether it is necessary to obtain a permit, and if so, what requirements must be met. Keep reading to find out about several popular jurisdictions for casino legalization, peculiarities, pros and cons of each of them.

Overview of Malta gambling regulation

Malta is considered one of the most prestigious jurisdictions. Local gaming regulation allows stimulating the development of the industry and attracting more and more new operators to the island. At the same time, the strictness of the legislation and the unswayed observance of it have created an unshakable reputation of the jurisdiction in the international market.

Malta was the first country in the European Union which considered iGaming legal. It happened in 2004, at the same time, the corresponding document Remote Gaming Regulations was adopted.

The main regulatory body in the jurisdiction is the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). Its employees are responsible for monitoring the industry in the country, as well as for licensing new operators. Let’s take a look at why local permits are so desirable and how difficult it is to obtain them.

Gambling licensing in Malta

The MGA is a strict and incorruptible censor that licenses only those operators that 100% comply with the standards of the jurisdiction. In order to get a local permit, each applicant must face plenty of challenges. The regulator initiates business and background checks and examines the company and software for compliance with local standards. The authority also wants to make sure that the applicant has no criminal record and owns sufficient funds to run the business.

Malta does not issue a universal license that covers all types of games. However, due to the provisions of the 2018 Gaming Law, an applicant is not required to go through the application process multiple times in order to obtain several documents. It is enough just to add the necessary types of games to the main application.

Benefits and pitfalls of Malta gaming regulation

So, what are the advantages of operating in Malta?

  • Gambling is an important part of the Maltese economy. This stimulates local authorities to improve the legislation of the sphere and create favorable conditions for entrepreneurs.
  • The reputation of Malta as a gambling jurisdiction cannot be overestimated. The regulator and the licenses it issues are recognizable and respected around the world. In addition, MGA is on the UK whitelist. That means Maltese licensees can operate in the British market.
  • The license of Malta is issued for 10 years. 
  • There are some incentives provided for beginners and small businesses in Malta. So, start-ups under 5 years old and with a revenue level of less than €10 million are exempted from paying the compliance fee for a year.
  • Malta is the large center of iGaming. Many important B2B events take place here.
  • As a member of the European Union, Malta boasts a stable economic and political situation.

But what about the disadvantages? The most significant of them is, of course, the cost of a license acquisition and tax rates. (In this sense, the comparison of Malta and Curaçao is not in favor of Malta). Otherwise, the Maltese permit looks like a perfect option for those who want to launch a successful and long-term online gaming project.

Gaming regulation in Curaçao

Curaçao has been issuing licenses since 1996. Until now, this jurisdiction has been considered one of the most popular locations for the legalization of the gambling business. A local license is famous thanks to its fairly affordable price, low taxes and soft requirements for applicants.

There are two types of documents in Curaçao today: the master license and the sublicense. The Ministry of Finance is responsible for issuing the main one, while sub-licenses are issued by holders of main permits. This system existed in the jurisdiction for a very long time. However, the deregulation of the sphere and the absence of a licensing authority negatively affected the reputation of the jurisdiction. This served as a catalyst for the upcoming changes in Curaçao’s gaming regulation.

The future of gambling in Curaçao

In 2023, the gambling industry of Curaçao is in for a significant shake-up. The changes that were announced in 2020 will finally come into force. 

The jurisdiction will establish a licensing body, Curaçao Gaming Authority, that will issue B2B and B2C permits. In addition, licensing fees are expected to increase to €4,000 for an application and €12,000 for an annual fee. Also, the new legislation will tighten the requirements regarding AML policy and responsible gambling.

Current licensees will have to make a choice: go through a transitional period, accept the terms of the game and get an updated document, or go to another jurisdiction.

Recently it became known that Curaçao master licenses will be extended for a year. This is necessary in order to make the transition to the new system easier and smoother. At the same time, from September 1, jurisdiction will begin issuing so-called new licenses with enhanced obligations. These permits will be issued directly to operators, without the involvement of master license holders. As you can see, the situation with licensing in the jurisdiction today is unstable and blurry.

If today the comparison of the regulation of Malta and Curaçao is clearly in favor of Malta, after the renewal of Curaçao legislation, everything can change. However, it is too early to judge the benefits of reforms and that is why operators who want to play it safe are now looking for alternatives to Curaçao.

Anjouan as a hidden gem of the gambling industry

Anjouan is part of the Comoros archipelago in the Indian Ocean. This little-known jurisdiction may become the second Curaçao in the field of licensing operators. 

The Anjouan license allows casino owners to provide all types of games. Other benefits of legalizing a business on the island include the absence of a tax on gross gaming revenue GGR, the transparency and simplicity of the permit acquisition process. 

The Anjouan gambling license is valid for one year with the possibility of an extension.

What do you need to get a license in Anjouan?

Anjouan’s gaming regulation is quite soft and friendly to the operators. The requirements for obtaining a local permit are general and understandable. Let’s list them:

  • It’s needed to provide a business plan and information about the platform;
  • Operators are required to ensure that access to the platform is prohibited for minors;
  • It’s mandatory to implement the necessary measures to comply with responsible gambling,  AML and KYC policies;
  • Those wishing to obtain a license must pass background checks and technical testing.

Contact LicensingAid to know more about licensing in Anjouan.

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