Top Online Casino Jurisdictions in 2022
How to Start an Online Casino in Different Jurisdictions
Few business ventures exist in isolation because the world business arena is meticulously regulated. There are some businesses that people can get into without much ado, but some need more scrutiny and guidance from constituted authorities. One of the businesses that involve a lot of rigors, regulations, and licensing before one can start it is the online casino business.
Starting a new online casino involves a lot of regulatory processes and vetting because the sector is sensitive. It can have a huge effect on society depending on how it is handled. Some people even abandon their dream of opening a new online casino when they encounter difficulties trying to get the essential licenses. That is one of the reasons we encourage you to use our casino software and games to apply for licenses. Our casino software has been tested and certified by iTech Labs and BMM TestLabs, certifications which can help you get a license in a variety of jurisdictions.
Why Do Online Casinos Operators Need Licenses
The betting and gambling business involves two people going into an agreement on the outcome of an event. One person deposits their money in favor of an outcome and hopes to win more or lose what they have deposited. Because of the nature of online casino gaming, it is easy for dubious operators to collect people's bets, and refuse to pay their winnings. Since the entire gaming process is virtual, it would be very difficult for the individual involved to seek redress if things go wrong.
It became imperative that the online casino must be answerable to an independent body that will hold it accountable whenever such issues arise. These bodies regulate the activities of the casinos to offer more security to the players. They ensure that the casino is guided by set rules and regulations for safe and fair gaming. These safety assurances are the reasons why we always encourage players to seek online casinos that have their licenses from the most reputable and professional authorities.
Who Issues Online Casino Licenses and Why
Online casino licenses are issued by what we call online gambling/licensing jurisdictions. These are regions in the world that have mapped out specific legislation to license, guide, and regulate firms that deliver online casino services to people.
An online gambling jurisdiction could be a country, a region, a state, or even a tribe. However, they form a separate organization that is responsible for issuing these licenses to the seekers and regulating their entire gaming services. Most people refer to them as licensing authorities, and no online casino can offer legitimate online gaming services without a license from a legitimate and appropriate licensing authority.
Different Online Casino Licensing Authorities and Their Licensing Fees
Antigua and Barbuda Directorate of Offshore Gaming
Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA)
Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA)
Alderney Gaming Control Commission
Kahnawake Gaming Commission
Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority
Costa Rica Licensing Authority
The online gaming licensing business is not a completely centralized one. While these jurisdictions are known and accepted by people in the casino world, they do not have a central body that oversees them. So, to start an online casino in one jurisdiction may be different than in another one, and the costs may also differ. There are many online casino licensing jurisdictions out there. However, some are more prominent than others.
70% of online casinos in the market got their licenses from the top 8 jurisdictions, and their requirements and costs are presented below.
It is also good to note that since the online casino business is virtual, you can offer online casino services to players in any country that authorizes casino gaming with any of those licenses.
Antigua and Barbuda
That is one of the independent islands in the Caribbean Sea. Formerly under British rule, this country consists of two main islands. It became a major online casino jurisdiction after the International Business Corporations Act of 1982. Once under British rule, they took a lot from the legislative framework of Great Britain. However, Antigua and Barbuda was the first country to license and regulate online gambling, in 1994.
The regulatory body that takes care of online casino licensing in the country is The Directorate of Offshore Gaming, and it is overseen by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC). While the latter supervises and controls the entire industry using an established framework, the former regulates and issues licenses to online casinos. There are two types of licenses that online casino operators can get from this jurisdiction. They include a license for interactive gaming and one for interactive wagering.
Before they issue these licenses, they ensure that the casino is approved. They also get a commitment from them that they won't misuse the features and to always operate within the given guidelines. When they approve your application for a license, they will give you a preferential seal, which you can display on your site. If you want to know how to start an online casino in Antigua and Barbuda, you need to follow the steps below.
You have to apply for a license from the online casino jurisdiction first, and there are requirements for the application, including:
- To register an offshore company in the country, with which you will make the application for the license.
- The company must fill out some forms provided by the Commission.
- You must provide detailed information about the officers, shareholders, and directors, alongside the application.
- The applicants must pay a €100,000 license application fee for the interactive gaming or a €75,000 fee for interactive wagering. When you add the other fees, each will amount to over €243,000, making it the costliest.
After this, you wait for 30 days for the license to be ready, dropping the contact of one key director or employee of the company for them to reach you.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission came into being in 1996, just two years after that of Antigua and Barbuda. However, they did not start issuing online casino licenses immediately until 1999, following the passing of the Kahnawake Gaming Law by the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. This commission belongs to the Aboriginal Mohawk group of Kahnawake in Canada, and they regulate and license both offline and online casinos.
The commission has a unique structure. At every given time, it involves 3 members, and each of them is entitled to a 2-year term. The Mohawk Council conducts elections and elects these members and tasks them to provide 4 main types of licenses to online casinos that want them. The licenses include the Interactive Gaming License (IGC), Client Provider Authorization (CPA), Secondary Client Provider Authorization (Secondary CPA), and Key Person License (KPL).
Apart from issuing these licenses, they also ensure that there is always a lawful basis for regulating and controlling interactive gaming in the region and jurisdiction. They try to foster honest and responsible gaming and to ensure that members of organized crime syndicates do not conduct interactive gambling. They also must ensure that minors below 18 years of age do not get involved in gambling and that all licensed operators treat their customers fairly.
To get a license from them, the casino has to pay an initial €40,000. There are also incorporation fees, government fees, due diligence fees, management fees, and local server fees. All these will take the cost up to €105,000 or more depending on the number of founders involved. So, the total cost to start an online casino in Kahnawake will amount to more than €100,000 where there are several key persons.
The Alderney Gaming Control Commission came into being in year 2,000 and has its servers in Guernsey. Because of the reputation it nurtured over the years, it remains on the whitelist of the favored gambling jurisdictions, even by the gambling laws in the United Kingdom. Alderney is one of the largest islands around the British Channel, and it is known as one of the leading offshore financial hubs in the world. They issue three types of licenses, namely the short-term license, full license, and license to firms operating from other jurisdictions.
Whenever the Alderney jurisdiction issues a gambling license to casino operators, they follow it up by supervising the operators. They get involved in full customer protection to ensure complete fair treatment to the customers. If a customer experiences an infringement to the terms by the casino operators, they have the right to report to the ACCG.
Casino operators can get two different categories of licenses from Alderney. The first is the Business to Consumer (B2C) operations category I license to operators that offer direct services to the customers. The other one is the Business to Business (B2B) category II license to firms that deliver services to online casinos, including game software developers or payment service providers.
When a casino has a license from the AGCC, the operator is expected to submit their software for regular testing. They also expect them to make the report of the returns on every game public and install a digital clock on their games to help players track their game time. They also demand that casinos set strict financial limits on initial deposits from customers - they ask them to make customers seeking a limit increase wait for one week.
To obtain their license, you have to register a company in the jurisdiction, apply with it and make the application public. The registered company should apply for the license, including the completed and signed application form with supporting documents and an initial fee of €52,000 to the AGCC. Other fees will take up to €167,000.
The commission schedules a meeting with the applicants after receiving the application. In the meeting, they discuss the proposed business plan and operations. They also talk about the executives and third parties, corporate entities involved, key individuals' certificates, etc. Looking at these, we may say that the cost to start an online casino in Alderney is minimal.
The Curacao e-Gaming Licensing Authority was established in 1996. That makes it one of the pioneers of online casino licensing. However, there was a decentralization of the gaming regulation in the country by the Curacao Gaming Control Board in 2002. The industry witnessed a boom because of that. Currently, this jurisdiction has licensed the highest number of online casinos. It has issued licenses to more than 450 online gaming houses. One of the main reasons why people prefer them is that one license from them covers every product you offer on your website. While this jurisdiction lies off the coasts of Venezuela, it is still part of the Netherlands.
They also host online gaming events, manage and regulate the casinos they issued licenses and deliver some IT infrastructure to customers. They have favorable tax laws for online casino operators, with a net income tax of 2% and 0% tax on gross bets. Dividend withdrawals are not restricted here, and there are no VATs, no sales tax, and no import duties. They deliver a seal to any casino they license, and they must display this on their site.
To get a license from Curacao, you must not have a criminal record and must provide a copy of your passport. You must show proof of blocking minors from playing, describe the games on offer, and warn players about gambling addiction on your site. The operator must also provide copies of their utility bills, reveal details of their online software, and host a backup database in the country. To book this appointment and apply for a license, you must pay about €17,000 license fee. With other fees, it might get up to €130,000.
The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA) started operations in 1998 and issued its first license the same year. Since then, it has licensed up to 300 organizations. They issue 7 types of licenses. They include bookmaker's license, betting intermediary's license, gaming operator's license, and gaming machine license. Others are lottery promoter’s license, pools promoter’s license, and remote gambling license.
You can get the license by sending a proposal with the business plan and your experience in the sector. The documents should include the ownership details, shareholders, and key personnel. Their license is €17,000, but the total cost to start an online casino in Gibraltar is about €230,000.
The Lotteries and Gaming Authority of Malta (LGA) has been there since 1996. This body not only licenses and regulates these casinos; they also serve as an independent auditor of their finances. They have licensed some of the best casinos with four different categories of licenses. They include casino, skilled games, and online lotteries licenses. Others are fixed odds, pool and spread betting license, peer gaming and betting exchanges license, and software vendor's license.
To get the license, you have to submit a business plan and operational requirements. The body will investigate every person involved in the casino and review the systems and software proposed for the business. Their license application fee is €47,000, while the total cost is about €217,000.
The Costa Rica Licensing Authority is sought after because of its mild online gambling laws. Many people see their online casino regulations as unstable because it is not systematic and properly implemented. However, this licensing jurisdiction that sits between Nicaragua and Panama has licensed many big-name casinos. You do not need to worry about how to start an online casino in Costa Rica because it is easy. Their ease of licensing may come with some disadvantages, but they also come with numerous advantages. The cost to start an online casino in Costa Rica is a nominal license fee of €17,000, while the total cost may be up to €54,000.
The first step towards starting an online casino which operates with real money is obtaining an online casino license. The products that we sell might require a casino/gambling license depending on the jurisdiction in which...