To unlock the gates to the iGaming world, in this article we will tell you about the most reputable market regulators that grant online gambling licenses, giving honest and secure practices for your players.
The gambling industry continues to shatter profit records annually, unaffected by stricter cash flow regulations from state regulators, and the implementation of anti–money laundering arrangements. Moreover, this year we could see new emerging trends related to crypto casinos. But to fully utilize and benefit from these trends in iGaming, operators will have to acquire an online gambling license.
Briefly, the iGaming license is a root point for the prosperous foundation of a casino project. Whether you are promoting a multiplayer title, an online casino, or a betting system, obtaining a license should be your top priority. Based on the casino’s aims and resources, today a huge variety of reputable and trustworthy licensing options exist to explore. To save your priceless time and energy on researching jurisdictions and choosing your license regulator, you can just get acquainted with our article, which will bring to the table all the essential data with core points concerning top gambling licenses.
What is an online gambling license?
Given by a regulating body, an iGaming license is a permission to function as a gambling company, such as a casino, which means that the casino can start offering products and the players will be able to register and start having fun. The granted license may have limitations and only apply to specific regions, in many cases, it may not allow operating within the jurisdiction’s territory.
Regulating authorities issue gambling licenses to owners of iGaming projects, who meet already determined requirements, which involve the presentation of a business plan, providing information about the company’s activities and financial performance, maintaining proper accounting and undergoing regular audits, disclosing information about ultimate beneficiaries, and more. Additionally, games that will go live, and the software that should be utilized must also be presented in the documentation.
Main types of gambling licenses
New operators entering the iGaming world should choose the appropriate license. Nowadays, with so many available options for obtaining a gambling license, each with its own set of specifications such as varying prices, tax conditions, and gaming services authorized, the decision-making process can be daunting. Here’s a closer look at the main classification of licenses to know as an operator:
Fixed–cost and gross–based gambling licenses
Licensees are obligated to transact the fees, usually collected annually. Chief types of those commissions are fixed and profit–based, which are determined by the gross earnings per year of the licensee. The amount for a gross–dependent license may vary, determined by the company’s inaugural scheduled gross profit, which is determined in the registration stage according to the presented budget planning. Additionally, applicants should also pay a fixed fee for the licensing evaluation. Take into account that the fee and duration for evaluation are not fixed and depend on the license jurisdiction and type.
B2B and B2C licenses
These formats of licenses are for those providers who offer their gambling products and solutions to casinos. These B2Bs are committed to providing their partners with iGaming software, casino, and wagering platforms, game varieties, and Application Programming Interface solutions. Those companies that offer iGaming content to betters or users who should obtain B2C licenses come in traditional and virtual casinos.
iGaming licenses by solutions permitted to provide
While several B2C and B2B licenses permit all gambling formats, others may only permit specific iGaming products. Sometimes, just one license is enough, while in many different cases, operators should apply for licenses for each service offered. These services may include real–time games, bingos, sports wagering, live casinos, slots, jackpots, and even virtual sports, among others.
Licenses by jurisdiction
Gaming Jurisdiction refers to any jurisdiction, whether it be at the federal, state, or local level, where the Company or any entity connected to the Company, either directly or indirectly, holds a beneficial, legal, or voting interest and engages in casino gaming activities, both presently and potentially in the future. Nowadays, there are about 54 jurisdictions.
Undoubtedly, it is obvious that licenses have different juridical support with regard to their ability to function in various markets. Determining the appropriate authorisation for your casino is a critical coefficient to have in mind after identifying potential markets. Below will see today’s most reputable, credible, and fair jurisdictions regulating from different world corners, and are being chosen from many operators.
Who should obtain an online gambling license?
Obtaining an online gambling license is a legal necessity for every operator. Such a license serves as a vital asset throughout all facets of the iGaming world: it affirms the company’s credibility in the eyes of audiences and possible partners. But for whom is it mandatory to acquire an online gambling license?
Here are the main companies that should obtain gaming licenses:
- Online Casino Operators: Those who manage and benefit from websites offering a variety of different casino activities. This category may also encompass the operation of online casinos and the conduct of live-streamed games.
- Sportsbook Operators: Companies actively accepting bets on sport events, including traditional sports and live event betting.
- iGaming Software Developers: Companies specializing in iGaming platform creation may need a license to demonstrate compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Payment Gateway Providers: Companies involved in processing payments for casino establishments may also require licenses to establish their trustworthiness and safeguard their clients.
- Other iGaming establishments: Companies engaged in the gaming sector or interacting with its clientele, such as service providers, consultants, and entrepreneurs involved in the organization of various other forms of gambling.
Please note that the specific licensing requirements and categories may vary by jurisdiction, so it’s crucial to adhere to the regulations of the respective governing bodies.
Top gambling licenses
Serious and respected online casinos have one thing in common – they all hold licenses issued by reputable commissions. Many of them grant a license, but operators may wonder which license they should opt for. We have chosen license issuers that have a huge experience in this industry, are extremely trustworthy, and have strict terms.
Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ)
The Isle of Man debuted to legalize iGaming starting from the late 2000s, placing itself among the pioneers in the EU to initiate this step. The region’s licensing system is valued for its rigor, responsiveness, and faithfulness to the industry’s strict ethical criteria.
An independent British Crown connection has a regulatory body, the Isle of Man Commission, that formed giving licenses for iGaming and wagering operations back in 2009.
Regulatory issues are associated with B2C or B2B licenses, which are retained in almost all variants of iGaming solutions. The Government of the island awards a solo license for B2C operations, and the payment is £5000 and takes 2–3 months to process.
Concerning the Curacao license, we can confidently say that this is one of the most demanded and sought–after iGaming licenses in the world. The simplified process of acquiring it and the really affordable price make it very popular among operators.
Meanwhile, casinos with Curacao licenses have already a credible name in the market and can partner with both B2B and B2C companies. This license has been in force since 1996, which makes it the inaugural one in the field to grant iGaming and online wagering authorizations.
If you have decided on the Curacao license, have in mind to present a few important documents including the complete project structure, banking statements and account details, KYC processes, and also information about the business owners. The application process will take operators not more than 2 months, and the application fee will be in between €10.000–13.000.
A long–standing regulatory body, which started functioning later in 2001 and until now manages the online gambling industry around the globe. Malta is the heart of iGaming, and many operators strive to get its issued authorization. Additionally, Malta is a credible and respected regulating body, which gives operators the ability to deliver iGaming solutions in more than 180 markets.
Malta Gaming Authority grants licenses to both B2Bs and B2Cs, supporting a huge diversity of operational formats. The B2C area requires an annual fee, comprising a fixed commission, which is non-refundable, and a payment that is revealed after the profit calculations.
To get the Malta Gaming Authority license, operators should showcase a range of records showing banking activity, ID documents, and policies. It will typically take around 6–12 months, and pay €5,000. The authorization will be in force for a 10 years time frame, and to renew it after expiration, you have to pay another €5,000 if the licensing terms and status has been modified.
Established in 2007, the Commission serves as a regulatory and oversight jurisdiction for managing casino activity in the United Kingdom. It grants licenses to various iGaming companies, including B2B and B2C businesses, as well as personnel such as croupiers, dealers, and inspectors.
After a time frame of five years, the holder must undergo another confirmation process, which is an essential part, to approve the license following the actual terms and conditions.
With an eye to getting a license from the UK, licit documentation will be requested to present, including ID, company policies, banking statements, the project plan, and proprietary formation. The application for an operational license may take up to 4 months, and the fees will be between the range of £10,000 to £24,000.
This license is immensely reputable and appropriate and will enable you to start operating in many lawful markets. Moreover, it does not require an additional domestic license for functioning.
This Canada–based licensing body, headquartered in Quebec, gives casinos operating internationally iGaming licenses. Recently, it could prove that it has a huge position in this industry, boasting a registry of over 250 renowned operators. This jurisdiction enjoys a stellar reputation for maintaining high criteria of ethical gambling, turning it into an honored authority among the rest.
Kahnawake gambling license adds credibility to the licensee’s casino activities, instilling trust and confidence in their validity. The Commission maintains a vigilant watch over its licensees, ensuring that players receive a supreme degree of security and that business companions can have faith in their operations. To commence the application stage, an inaugural payment of $40,000 is requested to be made, covering both the commissions for the application and the primary year’s license fee.
This Canadian Commission’s license holders benefit from a 0% gaming tax, allowing them to reinvest more revenues back into their business. Coupled with a streamlined and cost–effective application and setup, this makes it an attractive jurisdiction for numerous iGaming companies.
A British border area, which began granting its proprietary casino licenses starting in 2014, chiefly dedicated to B2C operators. However, they do put forth a license for customer support service.
If a casino operator found the Gibraltar authorization a good match for its goals, it is mandatory to commence applying. As usual, a range of papers will be requested, including bank account details and statements, a comprehensive outline of your iGaming blueprint, and personal ID records for all owners and stakeholders. In addition, the casino should also present juridical papers that outline the company’s management and client service.
When assimilating with other regulating bodies, the full A–Z procedure for taking your Gibraltar license is faster and typically can last from 2 weeks to 2 months, while they examine your presented documents. The license itself is valid for five years. But as you may already guess, after that period comes the updating process.
The main plus of holding this license is that year–based fees and commissions are predetermined, which simplifies scheduling the financial resources ahead of time. Nevertheless, as a casino registered in Gibraltar, operators will pay a modest tax per £100,000 of their gross profit.
Spelinspektionen, the official regulatory body for gambling in Sweden, is headquartered in Strängnäs. Its primary role is to predict and manage the gambling market, while also providing advice and support to the government.
The Swedish Gambling Authority has 3 main departments: operational – responsible for licensing and managing dissatisfactions; support; and communication department. Spelinspektionen has also presented Spelpaus.se, which is a self-exclusion system that blocks access to all forms of gambling.
Presently, the approximate price of obtaining a gambling license from the jurisdiction is about 400,000 Swedish Krona (37,000 USD). Extending the license incurs an additional fee of 300,000 Swedish Krona (28,000 USD).
The Swedish gambling authority, Spelinspektionen, does not impose a maximum limit on the number of licenses issued. Instead, any company that meets the standards and criteria will be given permission to operate. However, licensees are subject to a relatively increased tax rate of about 18% of the gross income. Over Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Finance Ministry has jurisdiction.
The official supervising and authorizing commission for gambling activities in Denmark is Danish Gambling Authority, also known as Die Spillemyndigheden, located in Odense. Its primary responsibility is to control and adjust the entire casino market as well as make sure the security of players from non-licit practices is guaranteed. In addition, the authority actively bans nonlegal gambling websites operating from other countries.
The Danish Gambling Authority has been assigned the responsibility of overseeing the implementation and enforcement of gambling laws, which encompass various forms of gambling such as lotteries, wagering, iGaming companies, poker tourneys, and brick-and-mortar casinos.
In 2021, it was reported that the establishment had once again forbidden more than fifty online casinos. Since 2012, gambling licenses have only been issued to private companies. Over time, the Authority has continuously strengthened its requirements and measures for user security.
The Danish Gambling license is typically valid for a period of five years. Except for the application and regular 20% tax fees, licensees should pay an extra 28% of their gross annual revenues to the Authority. Moreover, iGaming companies should take into account that the license fee is ranging from 7,400 to 220,000 USD. The Spillemyndigheden is known as one of the most strict gambling authorities in the EU. Consequently, a player register called ROFUS has been in place for several years.
The island of Cyprus, located in the Eastern Mediterranean, has been granting licenses to online gambling providers since 2007. The national gambling authority responsible for this is the cabinet, with the members and president serving four-year terms respectively.
The current form of the Cyprian gambling authority was established in 2012, coinciding with the Republic of Cyprus legalizing both offline and online sports bets. Since then, the NBA (National Betting Authority) has taken charge of assessing applications and overseeing licensed game halls and online providers. The NBA’s headquarters are situated in the capital city of Nicosia.
The National Betting Authority upholds values such as respect, integrity, and professionalism, according to its own statements. Obtaining a license typically costs around 30,000 Euros per year, with an option for a 2-year license costing 45,000 EUR.
To be eligible for an NBA license, applicants must have a minimum starting capital of 500,000 EUR and must not accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. In case of any issues, players can reach out to the small gambling authority in Cyprus using the provided contact form.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that the Republic of Cyprus has been a member state of the European Union since 2004.
In 2011, Spain implemented a new Gambling Law, which established the Directorate General for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) as the governing body responsible for overseeing all gambling activities in the country.
This regulatory authority, a part of the Ministry for Consumer Affairs, holds jurisdiction not only over traditional, brick-and-mortar gambling establishments but also extends its reach to the online gambling sector. Its primary responsibilities encompass the regulation, approval, supervision, monitoring, and enforcement of rules and penalties related to gambling operations.
The DGOJ issues general licenses with a 10-year validity period to eligible applicants who meet stringent criteria. Notably, there is no set limit on the number of gambling licenses that can be granted. Prospective licensees must meet various requirements, including demonstrating a minimum share capital of 100,000 EUR and satisfying specific technical standards.
The application process typically takes up to six months for the DGOJ to review all submitted documents. It is worth noting that the number of gambling licenses issued by the Spanish Gambling Authority has remained relatively low, typically in the low three-digit range.
It’s important to mention that the Spanish gambling license holds little significance for players from German-speaking countries.
Why do operators need an online gaming license?
The most immediate response is – for a “reputable name” in the industry. The availability of a casino license has a huge impact on the company’s name, trustworthiness, and credibility. An iGaming license is also essential to fully operate in the industry, provide games, attract players, and expand their footprint in many markets. Without a license, the operator cannot function in important gambling market jurisdictions. Aside from that, even novice players check the project’s description to learn where the company is registered and what license it holds.
Which country is the easiest to get a gaming license?
Getting an online gambling license from Curaçao is relatively easy, making it an ideal option for operators of sports wagering and gaming. Applying to it is superfast and not expensive, with the island offering the lowest overall cost for such a license. Registering the license with the Curacao Gaming Control Board, which governs all gambling in the jurisdiction, is also a straightforward process. It takes no more than twenty days to finish the whole process of acquiring the license.
What is the difference between licensed and unlicensed online casinos?
The most apparent diversity between licensed and unlicensed casinos is based on the equitable behavior. To elaborate, authorized iGaming platforms are bound by terms and conditions established by the international gambling regulatory body that granted their license. Conversely, unlicensed casinos operate without any such restrictions. In simple terms, there exists no obligation for unlicensed iGaming platforms to fulfill payouts. While instances of this nature are uncommon, operators without any license could potentially get lost with your winnings. They can also offer an unjust gambling experience, poor customer support, and inadequate security measures.
Which countries do not require a gambling license?
There are offshore gambling–friendly countries that can deliver services to residents. Armenia, Dominican Republic, and Seychelles, as well as a few countries in Europe such as Greece, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland, and Canada, are on the list that give green light. Note that in more than 30 localities, operators are not allowed to provide gambling products and content if they do not hold a license.
To conclude, until you make your decision, keep in mind a few key considerations when choosing a licensing jurisdiction for a gambling business. It’s important to carefully compare and assess all of the above–discussed factors, prices, and timeframes to ensure that you have chosen the most appropriate jurisdiction for your goals and demands as an operator. Additionally, you may also look for professional advice from those who specialize in gambling licensing to make sure that your casino is under the current legal requirements and regulations.