Online Casino Licenses
The importance of a valid license for casinos cannot be overemphasized. In this guide, we will explain all the different types of online casino licenses available.
What is an Online Casino License?
An online casino license is a certificate that permits operators to offer their online gambling products to players. When an operator is ready to start offering its services, they will have to submit an application and undergo an evaluation.
How to Get an Online Gambling License in the USA
This depends on what casino license an operator wants to get. Some licenses like the UKGC are difficult while some like the one from Curacao are easier.
Once you know the casino license you want, you will have to read up their requirements and live up to it. These include things like self-exclusion, T/C, withdrawal policy, bonus, etc. You also have to make sure that your gaming software meets the requirement of the gaming regulator.
After that, you must ensure that the online casino is operated by a proper company. Some gambling authorities require that the company is registered in the same country where they are.
The gambling authority will also have to validate some documents from you. You have to submit things like a passport of owners, proof of business address, criminal background, and reference from the bank.
You will have to pay an application fee and also pay the annual fee after the license has been issued.
How Much Does an Online Casino License Cost?
The cost depends on which casino license you want. Some are expensive while others are cheap. Generally, you’ll be required to pay a one-time fee and then annual fees.
For instance, when applying for the UKGC license, you have to pay an application fee first. After your application is approved, your license will be issued. 30 days after you get the license, you will have to pay the annual fee. After that, you keep renewing annually.
You can read more about each license and fees further down this guide.
Which is the Cheapest Casino License?
Many of the offshore gaming licenses are cheap. For example, the Isle of Man and Curacao license. The Curacao license is, however, the cheapest and most common in the USA.
Can an American Casino Operate Without a License?
Yes, this can happen since there’s no American law governing off-shore casinos. Operators can set up casino sites outside the US without getting a casino license.
However, it will be difficult for them to feature most payment methods and games. This is because most reputable payment providers will not offer their services to casinos without licenses. Gaming providers also avoid such casinos.
There are only a few online casinos without a license in the USA. We advise that you avoid such casinos.
Off-Shore Gambling Licenses
There are so many off-shore casino licenses you can get if you want to operate in the USA. For instance, many American casino operators use Curacao licenses. The more established ones use the license from Malta.
These licenses are designed for operators who wish to offer their services in non-regulated markets. An unregulated market is a market without laws or regulations that guide off-shore online casinos. the US is an example of an unregulated market.
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is one of the most reputable gambling regulators in the world. It has been in operation since the early 2000s. The prestige of the authority makes it easier for casinos to work with banks and payment method providers. Many global casino brands function with a gambling license from the MGA.
However, the reputation that comes with acquiring the Maltese Gambling license comes at a huge price and with strict conditions. The process to acquire it is quite lengthy as you will need to go through different compliance audits. If your application passes the thorough analysis, a five-year gambling license will be issued. The Class 1 license from the MGA costs €100,000
The Curacao gaming license is the cheapest and fastest solution for online casinos. You can apply for the master license which covers all types of games, software, and operators. You can also get a sublicense to function under a master license.
It costs just around €2,000 to apply for the Curacao gaming license. And the process is not as strict or long as others. It only takes six weeks for the regulators to analyze and approve or reject your application. This makes it quite popular among smaller brands.
Established in 2001, the Curacao eGaming Authority is a great choice for small operators that want to launch their casinos quickly. However, the authority does not offer support to players during disputes.
Isle of Man
Here’s another very experienced gambling regulator. It was established in 2001. Though not so popular, the Isle of Man betting license is well-respected for its strictness and adherence to professional ethics.
The full gambling license from the Isle of man costs €5000 for application and €35,000 for annual renewal. It takes them 10 to 12 weeks to review your application.
There’s no actual online gambling license issued in Costa Rica. However, it serves as a place for gaming operators to test their services in a limited market. To operate from the jurisdiction, you don’t have to gain a permit.
All you have to do is register your company as an online company business in Costa Rica. You can then start to operate while accepting payments in cryptocurrencies. There are no licensing fees or any form of tax you need to play. But whenever you’re ready to expand, you should go for an actual gambling license.
Panama became a jurisdiction for gambling licensing in 2002 even though its first license was issued in 2003. One of the biggest benefits of the Panama gambling license is that operators do not need to pay any form of tax. Nevertheless, they have strict money laundering regulations which all operators must comply with.
However, the Panama gambling license is quite expensive. It costs $40,000 with an annual renewal fee of $20,000. The license lasts for 7 years.
Due to Panama’s close relation to America, operators with the license are those who focus on the US gambling market.
Antigua and Barbuda
Here’s another licensing body that majorly focuses on the US gambling market. Antigua and Barbuda license is one of the oldest in the Industry. They began to issue gambling licenses in 1994.
The jurisdiction is quite strict in terms of protecting gamblers from becoming addicted. All the operators are mandated to place a website banner warning players about gambling addiction. It costs $15,000 to apply for the license and $25,000 for annual monitoring.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is a regulator based in Canada which was founded in 1999. It is a well-respected jurisdiction that maintains high standards concerning ethical gambling. It is also quite affordable and also involves no form of taxation.
Until 2016, Kahnawake was the most popular licensing body for US online casinos. This made them quite popular in the US market.
This is one of the most trustworthy and reputable gambling jurisdictions. The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Commission requires that the operator works from the country. It takes a long period of 6 months for application review.
The cost of licensing varies between $30,000 and $70,000, depending on the type of gambling and company structure. Once issued, it lasts for 5 years. But you will have to renew it yearly for $28,000.
Regulated Gambling licenses
These types of licenses are the ones you need to operate in specific countries. You don’t need this type of casino license to operate in the USA. It only covers a specific country or region and does not permit the operator to function offshore.
The licenses are designed for countries with regulated markets. That is, those that have legalized online gambling. When an operator owns this license, players who live in such countries can access the casino.
Operators who hold regulated gambling licenses must pay taxes in the country where they offer their services. The licenses are usually strict with many requirements and they also put players’ protection first.
If you want to operate in the United Kingdom, you must own a gambling license from the country. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) which was founded in 2007 is in charge of regulating and licensing the casinos in the country.
The commission focuses on responsible gaming and honest advertising by gambling operators. They also ensure that the offers and promotions are not misleading in any way.
The Sweden Gambling Authority began to issue licenses in 2019. Without a license from the authority, you cannot offer your gambling products to players in Sweden.
It costs €43,650 to purchase the Sweden gambling license. The process is quite strict and the rules are straightforward. Operators must offer responsible gambling support and must not offer VIP or loyalty rewards.
The gambling market in Denmark became a regulated one in 2017. Since then, operators have to get a license from the Danish Gambling Authority. The application fee for an online casino license is approximately €38,400.
In Italy, the gambling market is regulated by the ADM (Agency of Customs and Monopoly). The Agency began to issue licenses in 2018.
The license mandates operators to promote responsible gambling and also provide self-exclusion and limiting tools.
For a very long time, online casinos were prohibited in Germany. Only sports betting operators were granted licenses to function.
However, a new regulation was announced in late 2020 to permit online casinos and poker in the country. The operators are required to have an office registered in the EU or EEA and a german website. This licensing procedure is expected to start in July 2021.
Which is the Best License for an American Casino Operator?
Since the online casino market in the USA is unregulated, any of the off-shore licenses can be used. The Malta gambling license is the best option for casinos but is quite expensive.
Gaming licenses from Curacao and Gibraltar are also good and are mostly used by many casino operators. The Curacao gaming license is more popular among American casinos.
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