Online eGaming license costs
There are more than 50 countries and territories that presently allow companies to operate online gaming activities. However, there is a tremendous variety in terms of the scope of the target markets, the types of games that can be offered, the eligibility of players, the requirements of licensing, the online gambling license cost and many more aspects. As well, the degrees of availability in terms of who can operate the casino websites differs greatly. For example, some countries only permit companies, or players, from inside that country, some, particularly in the EU freezone, recognize other jurisdictions, and some are open to all.
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How to obtain gaming license
It is important to get professional and experienced help all the way through on how to obtain a gaming license, the process of sourcing and establishing the most suitable online gaming structure that matches your own specific needs. GBO has been engaged in this sector for twelve years, and has experience in multiple countries.
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The main categories that will influence the choice of which license best suits your own needs are:
- Country or territory that issues the license
- Availability of a license
- Qualifications needed to hold a license
- Reach of activity permitted by the license
- Cost of the license
In the section below, we have summarized the most important points for each of these. When listing countries, we are taking into account an overall evaluation. For example, there are several EU countries that allow some form of online gaming, but the legislation is highly restrictive or even exclusive, so although they would rank highly in terms of reputation, financial stability etc., they simply would not be suitable for 99% of the global market. At the other end of the scale, some countries are completely open, impose no restrictions or taxes. However, they are known to be largely dominated by corrupt and criminal elements, and have a history of fraud.
The table below lists the basic costing for licenses in the most favorable countries:
Types of gaming licenses
|Curacao||B2C €18k||No gaming tax, 2% corporate tax|
|Malta||B2C - €25k annually||5% gaming tax, capped at €600K|
|UK||$9,000||21% gaming tax|
|Alderney / Guernsey||B2C £17.5k plus annually||Min. gaming tax £35k, capped at £400k|
|Isle of Man||B2C £35K per year||Gaming tax 1.5% on first £20m|
|Antigua & Barbuda||$30K||Tax at flat $100K|
|Spain||€50.5K initial + €10K / game||25% gaming tax|
|Lithuania||€30K||13% gaming tax|
|Gibraltar||£30K per gaming type||0.15% gaming tax|
|Estonia||€48K initial +20 years €38K||5% gaming tax|
|Montenegro||€25K year 1 / 15K annually||9% gaming tax|
|Cyprus||€30K||10% gaming tax|
|Panama||$40k then $20K annually|
The general reputation of the country, the quality of the legislation that allows egaming, the structure of the bodies that control the operations, and the confidence that gamblers will have that their betting activities will be secure and fairly monitored with access to official grievance claims mechanisms are all extremely important.
In general, of the 50+ current locations, the ones that generally enjoy the highest rating are:
Malta, the UK, Spain, Lithuania, Estonia, Montenegro, Cyprus, Panama and Greece.
The US is a special case, because although the country as a whole has the highest qualification, the actual control of licensing is in the hands of State legislatures. For this reason, we list here only the states that currently issue licenses for online gaming affiliate license (other than sports bettings, which it uncontrolled everywhere):
Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada (only poker), New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan.
Availability of a license
The process of obtaining a license can range from straightforward, with just two to three weeks for completion and a high rate of acceptance, though to many months and a majority being rejected.
In general, the member states of the EU represent a special case, because they all have to recognize a license issued by any other EU member state. The only possible roadblock is that some countries require that the owner of the license must also set up a local subsidiary, and so it could be possible that operating in that country can be held-up indefinitely. Of the EU states that have simpler license registration procedures, Greece and Malta are highly regarded.
The UK, since Brexit, has been moving into a new orbit. Until now, it has been by far the largest component in global online gaming, accounting for about 70% of volume and being home for almost all of the 10 most popular online gaming operators. This could change, but there are as yet no clear indicators that the UK is going to be slipping behind any other country.
A few special cases arise for territories that fall under the jurisdiction of an EU member state, although they themselves can still issue their own licenses on their own terms. The most significant of these is Curacao, which falls under Dutch control. It has over 450 gaming websites and strong demand for more. Others include Gibraltar, Alderney / Guernsey and Isle of Man, which fall under UK control.
The main demand from global players is for classic casino games like roulette, poker, blackjack, and electronic slots and games like bingo. Some countries have national Lotto monopolies and do not permit this type of gambling from private operators.
There is a main split across the countries. Some, like Curacao, Malta and Greece, issue a single license that is valid for all of the permitted games. This means that the reach is full. Others, such as Gibraltar and Spain charge per game type and the reach is restricted to the specific licence that has been bought.
Although there are no universal standards, most of the countries and territories we are dealing with here do prescribe basic standards for the behavior and reputation of all the people who are associated with the license, including partners, senior employees and owners as part of the online gaming license requirements.
Universally, association with any people suspected of involvement in illegal activities or with criminal records would cause the application to be rejected.
Some of the countries, especially in the EU, automatically refer all applications to specialized investigating committees in order to verify the good standing of the applicants;
Sometimes, comprehensive information about the corporate structure, with history, along with banking records and audited reports of the finances of directors, executives and of the company itself is sometimes required.
Egaming license costs vary considerably and the range of costs is very wide. In some cases, the online gaming license cost is relatively cheap, but there are associated costs. For example, the UK gaming license is only $9,000, but the tax rate on profits is a high 21% and it’s uncapped. Some countries have very expensive licenses, including Spain and Gibraltar, where the license fee is per game.