How to get online casino license
A gambling license is necessary to operate online gambling businesses and offline casinos properly. This is essentially the guarantee of financial stability, security, and legality of the website functioning (if we talk about online games of chance).
Why a gaming license is essential
Here are the reasons why such a document is essential for the owner of online gambling:
- It makes your business legal; the regulatory authority issued the license, which proceeds with a multistage check-up of the candidate. If you have been given a permit, you are legally allowed to work within the jurisdiction which provided you with the document.
- It proves the legal origin of the funds on your account; you can confirm the source of income at any time.
- The license lets you buy software from the suppliers and run your online business – bingo games, lotteries, betting shops, poker rooms, casinos, and betting and gambling entertainment activities.
- It makes it possible to include fiat processing on your website (including payments via Visa and Mastercard) without any risk of being blocked by a bank or another financial institution.
- Finally, you get the opportunity to cooperate with top providers.
License is the quality guarantee and the sign that the players can trust your company as all the rules are observed, and the prizes are paid.
License obligations for online casinos
Is it possible to work in this sphere without a gambling license? E.g., Costa Rica has no such thing; betting and gambling services operate based on local business registration. However, in other jurisdictions where such businesses are subject to licensing, it is legally required to have one. Otherwise, such business activity shall be considered “gray,” which means illegal. The licenses are issued by special regulatory authorities or companies authorized to do so. The licenser compiles the list of requirements for the candidates and controls their activities in the future. The requirements concern the areas of fiscal accounting, auditing, and the games – their list, detailed description, and functionality. It is essential for the company seeking a license to comply with AML/KYC policy. It requires the company to implement specific internal procedures and mechanisms that prevent money laundering, terrorism financing, drug and human trafficking, prevent the spread of mass destruction weapons, corruption and bribery, and enable timely action in any suspicious activity.
The most prestigious gambling jurisdictions
Some countries have special state authorities that ensure fair and secure gambling. The most popular ones are:
- Curacao. The primary regulatory authority here is the Curacao Gaming Commission which issues the licenses for all the types of online gambling games of chance and provides audits and control of companies doing this business.
- Malta. The central authority is Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). It issues B2C and B2B licenses and proceeds with verification and control of the games of chance and the security of the players.
- The Isle of Man and its Gambling Supervision Commission. Their sphere of responsibility covers the licensing and control of online and offline casinos; they also control the security of the gamers and the guarantees of prize payments.
- Kahnawake is a First Nations reserve in the state of Quebec, Canada. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission regulates gambling and betting licensing (online casinos, poker rooms, betting shops, etc.) and live games. They also control and regulate the quality of approved services.
- Costa Rica. This region issues non-gambling licenses. In this jurisdiction, you need to register a company with the type of activity as an online gambling business.
We need to point out that there are international and local gambling licenses. The former is suitable for companies in several countries, whereas the latter would be advisable for businesses targeted at a single regional market.
How to get a Curacao gambling license
Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island, and it was the first region in the world that made online gambling legal. More than 450 international companies operate on the licenses issued by this constituent country.
Advantages of getting a Curacao license
The advantages of this jurisdiction are:
- Low-income tax;
- Low license maintenance costs;
- It takes only about two months to get a license;
- No categorization of gambling – a single assignment for all types;
- The license can be obtained without your presence;
- Possibility of remote licensing;
- A Curacao license boosts your reputation and your company’s authority as an operator.
How to get the license
As there is no categorization of online games in Curacao, you are issued a single license. There is no requirement of any authorized capital, i.e., there is no need to open a local bank account.
A candidate needs to collect the documents and file them to one of the master license holders (this can be done remotely), which will consider your application for about two weeks. The main requirements of the authorities are:
- The founders, shareholders, and directors cannot be enlisted in any sanction lists or have previous convictions or debts; their income must be legally verified.
- The IPs of the countries prohibited by the regulator have to be blocked.
- It is obligatory to have RNG certification or an agreement with game providers.
The license is issued for the term of 1 year with the possibility of prolonging it. The permit is issued within 2-3 months.
A company running an online gambling business has to pay 2% of the tax from the net profits of the online gambling businesses as well as 0% corporate income tax.
Read more in our article “How to get a Curacao gambling license”
How to get a gambling license in Malta
The country has a well-functioning system of gambling business management. The state has done everything to ensure good conditions for online casinos and similar enterprises.
Advantages of getting a gambling license in Malta
The benefits of this jurisdiction:
- Tax exemptions – the same as for other Maltese companies.
- Malta is a European Union country.
- Good reputation.
- Gambling industry clients highly value Maltese licenses.
- Political and economic stability.
- A gambling license by a European country.
- Vast opportunities in the spheres of banking, payment systems, and processing.
- Malta is not an offshore zone.
Malta issues gambling B2C and B2B licenses for online games of chance and casinos of four classes:
- Class 1 – for casinos with forecasted outcomes and lotteries. Required authorized capital – 100,000 EUR.
- Class 2 – games with fixed odds, pool, and spread betting. Required official capital – 100,000 EUR.
- Class 3 – the so-called “betting” license: P2P (peer-to-peer), poker rooms, betting exchange, and gaming portals. Required authorized capital – 40,000 EUR.
- Class 4 – B2B license, required authorized capital – 40,000 EUR.
How to get the license
The requirements for a Maltese gaming license are as follows:
- One shareholder – a physical or legal body;
- At least one resident director – a physical body;
- Two banking accounts – operational expenses account and account for holding client funds.
The procedure has five stages:
- Registration of a legal entity in Malta and opening a bank account in one of the local banks for contributing the authorized capital. Next, you need to pass MGA verification which checks whether the candidate complies with the requirements and can run an online gambling business. After the verification, you can apply for the license.
- MGA verification of all the issues concerning the management and funding of the company. Particular attention is paid to the problems of money laundering and possible terrorism financing and whether anyone in the company has ever been connected to those. They also check the reputation and file requests to various law enforcement authorities.
- Detailed analysis of the applicant’s business plan. It must include a complex operations forecast and its description, specifically, the operations on marketing, strategy distribution, and expected company growth. The business plan must be drawn up for three years.
- Detailed analysis of statutory documents. The authorities check business processes dealing with remote iGaming, rules, terms, conditions, procedures, and the architecture of the applications, iGaming systems, and management systems. At this stage, you need to contribute the authorized capital, which depends on the license class.
- Informing the candidate about the successful application; a system audit occurs. If there are any discrepancies, the candidate has 60 days to solve the issue.
Maltese gambling licenses are issued for 5-10 years, and the term can be extended. The regulator usually takes 3-6 months to consider the application and the approximate period for issuing is 12 months.
Fees, duties, and taxes
What you need to pay to obtain a gambling license in Malta:
- MGA application fee;
- Inspection fee;
- System audit fee;
- License duty (paid annually).
How to get a gambling license on the Isle of Man
The Isle of Man is the self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea. It is an offshore territory and one of the most prestigious regions to obtain a gambling license.
Advantages of getting a gambling license on the Isle of Man
The advantages are:
- Stable jurisdiction;
- Low-income tax rate – 1.5 %;
- No categorization of games of chance – a single license for all the types, including betting;
- Customer-loyal regulator.
Types of gambling licenses
A company can apply for the primary license or a sub-license. The former are issued to large corporations, the latter – to smaller casinos that can function on behalf of a larger independent organization. The second option is convenient for beginners. The sublicense also has an additional feature, known as a network services license. This document allows its holder to conclude agreements with other operators and offer gambling on their websites to users outside the Isle of Man. This does not require any reregistration of such users.
How to get the license
First, you need to register a company on the Isle of Man to operate a gambling business. Next, you need to open a physical office and an account in one of the local banks where you will pay your authorized capital. A compulsory requirement here is to have at least two local directors with proper education. The servers of the online platform for the online casino also need to be located on the island.
When applying to the Gambling Supervision Commission, you must file a business plan. They will check your technical facilities; the hearing on a new company follows the process. The final stage is the issuance of the license.
Your application is going to be under consideration for a few months. It is issued for five years and can be renewed.
How to get a Kahnawake gambling license
Kahnawake reserve is one of the self-governing Mohawk territories within the Canadian border and is one of the most respectable gambling jurisdictions.
Advantages of getting a gambling license in Kahnawake
Advantages of this jurisdiction are as follows:
- Political and economic stability;
- Favorable gambling legislation;
- No gambling tax;
- Single support for all online gambling games;
- Full license directly from the regulator;
- No need to open a Kahnawake office;
- A permit can be obtained by any company registered in another country.
Kahnawake offers the following license types:
- Interactive Gaming License – a license approving the hosting in the Kahnawake domain. Necessary to launch an online casino.
- Client Provider Authorisation – license for all types of online games (casino, bingo, poker, etc.);
- Live Dealer Studio Authorization – license for studios to broadcast live dealer games and the organization of their operation;
- Secondary CPA – for those aiming to expand and enter new markets;
- Key Person License – necessary for the company’s management that has been issued a Client Provider Authorization.
How to get the license
- At least one shareholder, one director, and one key person;
- Equipment and software in compliance with the regulator’s requirements;
- A website and its activity plan;
- RNG/RTP gaming certification or an agreement on the use of software with the developers;
- Servers are located in Kahnawake.
Those wishing to obtain a license need to apply to Kahnawake Gaming Commission with an initial payment of 40,000 USD (20,000 of the annual licensing fee, 15,000 – regulator’s expenses on the consideration of your application and 5,000 for Key Person License).
This money is proof of the seriousness of the candidate’s intentions. In the event of refusal to issue the license, only the license fee is refundable. The application is going to be considered for 2-4 months. The initial permit is issued for six months, then the Commission assesses the operator’s work and decides on the extension. In the case of a positive outcome, the document’s term is extended to 5 years.
Expenses on the issuance and maintenance of the license
You need to be ready to cover the following costs:
- Application fee, which covers the price of the Due Diligence Commission and the first annual fee;
- Assessment of the candidate’s control system by the Commission, which is determined by the regulator individually;
- Application fee for the Key Person License;
- Annual fee;
- The annual fee for the Key Person License;
- License extension.
In terms of taxes – they are not imposed on gambling businesses.
How to get a gambling license in Costa Rica
More than 400 operators work in Costa Rica – online casinos, betting shops, poker rooms, etc. However, there is no legislation governing their activities.
Advantages of getting a gambling license in Costa Rica
The advantages of this jurisdiction are:
- No legislation, which means no inspections and strict control;
- No income tax;
- No prohibitions on online casinos and similar activity outside Costa Rica;
- Suitable for those who only want to accept payments in cryptocurrency;
- No requirements on local offices, local employees, and server locations;
- Inexpensive start and maintenance of gambling business.
How to start online gambling activity
To start your online gambling activity, you need to register a company in Costa Rica, which takes from 3 to 4 weeks. You will need to provide:
- Three variants of the company name;
- Description of its organizational structure;
- The size of the authorized capital and share denomination.
Please note that the citizens of Costa Rica cannot take part in online games, which is why you will need to block local IPs.
How to get help in obtaining a gambling license
SBSB FinTech Lawyers offers you their services which will assist you in obtaining a gambling license in the most prestigious jurisdictions, including all the above-mentioned – Curacao, Malta, Kahnawake, the Isle of Man (the primary support), Costa Rica, and others. We operate on a turnkey basis, i.e., help you choose the jurisdiction, hold consultations, collect and file documents to the regulatory authorities, and contribute to a quick issuing of your gambling license. You can apply for our services on this website. We guarantee a personal approach and quick solutions to bureaucratic issues.
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