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Where to register a gambling company?

14 Jun, 2022

We have previously written about payment systems for gambling. It is worth noting that they only work with trusted companies that hold the necessary license. The questions of what makes getting a permit worth it, and in which countries, warrant an additional discussion.

Why is registering a gambling company worth it?

The most important point in favor of acquiring a casino license is increased payment operator trust. All the various fees and taxes already spell out significant financial investments, leading some gambling platform owners to seriously consider flying without one. In practice, however, the pros of securing a license far outweigh the cons.

Most payment systems avoid getting in trouble with the law, and will refuse to cooperate with unlicensed gambling companies to minimize fraud risks. A legal permit, in turn, guarantees that the operator’s services will not be used for money laundering.

Another crucial point is increased customer confidence. People are more willing to engage with accredited enterprises based on a similar logic, which dictates that a licensed casino is trustworthy and will not scam them. Many value reliability over the number of games or the promise of bigger prizes.

Having a license also helps retain and attract more customers, as it allows casinos to advertise on various websites and catch the eye of a larger number of users. Gaming houses without a license will find promoting their services more difficult, since it may draw the attention of regulatory authorities instead of paying visitors.

Which countries offer casino licenses?

Every country has a different stance on gambling. Some may ban gambling companies outright, while others give them the green light and streamline the licensing process. The latter category includes places such as:

  • Curaçao;
  • Kahnawake;
  • Malta;
  • Gibraltar;
  • The Isle of Man.

These countries offer a unique level of cooperation, so it is worth taking a closer look at every one of them.

Curaçao

A self-governing state entity, located in the south of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. Today, it is a potent gambling regulator, operating since 1996, and offers 2 distinct license types: master and sublicenses. A master license is valid for five years, while a sublicense will last for as long as its corresponding master license remains active.

The advantages of securing a license here include:

  • Relatively cheaper cost;
  • The license is available in six weeks;
  • 0% corporate tax and 2% net income tax;
  • Accepts cryptocurrency as payment;
  • Easier acquisition process, compared to other jurisdictions;
  • One license covers all activities.

There are, however, minor limitations as well. Curaçao prohibits serving customers from the USA, France, the Netherlands, Curaçao itself, and some other countries.

Malta

One of the most famous regulators globally, the Malta Gambling Authority (MGA), operates here. Getting a license is a bit more difficult and expensive than in Curaçao, but it opens up more opportunities in the European market.

MGA issues 4 types of licenses that allow operators to:

  • Organize games of chance, where the outcome is determined by a random number generator (RNG) (for example, slots);
  • Organize games where the outcome is determined by the outcome of the event (for example, sports betting);
  • Organize games of chance that generate income as a commission from bets (for example, poker);
  • Organize games of skills, where the outcome depends on statistical data (for example, fantasy sport).

In 2018, a reform in the gambling industry took place here, which relieved license holders of the need to apply for separate licenses and abolished the monthly payment for the first 12 months of casino operation.

It is worth noting that obtaining a gambling license in Malta is fraught with particular difficulties:

  • Conformity check;
  • Business plan analysis (MGA must be convinced of its viability);
  • Operational and regulatory requirement verification (registration documents, verticals, conditions, policies and procedures, financial reserves of €100,000 for the first and second license types, €40,000 for the third and fourth types);
  • System check (the applicant starts the operation, and the responsible person makes sure that everything is in order);
  • Verification of compliance (the auditor confirms that the operator complies with the regulation within 90 days of the launch date).

Malta also hosts the annual Gambling Exhibition, bringing various operators, casino owners, and other market participants together, which offers a chance to find specialists of any kind.

Kahnawake

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is the official gambling regulator for the province of Quebec, Canada. It supervises and regulates the quality of service provided by online casinos, poker rooms, bookmakers, etc.

A license here has several advantages, including a 0% corporate tax and no additional gambling fee. Such an offer is especially convenient in the first years of operation, while the player base is still being formed. The initial license is valid for 6 months until project revision. If the project meets expectations and has not garnered a considerable amount of user complaints, a new license will be issued for the next 5 years. It is worth noting that casinos holding these licenses generally have good reputation among players.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory that issues licenses respected around the world. It grants 6 different license types, and operators must obtain separate permissions for each service they plan to render:

  • B2C online casino operators;
  • Betting platforms;
  • Other gambling products;
  • Land-based casinos;
  • Land-based bookmakers;
  • B2B service providers for the gambling industry.

The advantages of a Gibraltar gambling license include transparent pricing, excellent reputation, and reliable administration. Online casinos and sportsbooks are also subject to low taxes: 1% on income ranging from £85,000 to £425,000.

Instead of collecting annual and license renewal fees, as well as all the application fees, the Commission charges a single payment of £100,000 for a license valid for 5 years.

The Isle of Man

A territory owned by the British crown, with the local Gambling Commission having been in operation since 2001. While there is no list of prohibited regions here, it is assumed that licensees will not aim at markets where gambling is prohibited. The low tax on gambling activities, ranging from 0.1% to 1.5% of GGY, and the absence of a capital gains tax originate in the regulator’s desire to support the gambling sector. It also fully supports blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Casinos wishing to obtain a license must meet the following requirements:

  • The company must be registered on the island;
  • Must have two resident directors;
  • B2C operators must register their players on servers located on the island;
  • A license review fee of £5,000 must be paid and all required application forms filled in;
  • Players’ deposits must be protected at all times;
  • All games, RNG, and game systems must be certified by an independent laboratory;
  • Directors, company representatives, and beneficial shareholders of at least 5% of the company have to undergo independent assessment.

It is a profitable option for casinos that plan to operate in Europe and many other regions.

What to look for when choosing a license?

Pay attention to the following points when choosing a license:

  • License fee amount;
  • Level of experience;
  • The number of required licenses;
  • Administrative costs;
  • Taxes;
  • International recognition;
  • Partner companies’ requirements;
  • Type of gambling activity.

Kahnawake and Curaçao are most suitable for beginners, while larger casinos with a sizeable clientele should turn their attention to Malta.

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