Gambling is one of the most profitable businesses to make. The whole industry is in continuous growth even with many regulations and adjustments made during this dire time. Like cockroaches and Cher, gambling will still survive the end of the world.

But gambling is not a venture you simply mount online and expect 7 figures net profits at the end of your first week. You will need excellent games, promotions, marketing strategies but before starting day dreaming with lavishness, you will need a license.

Online gambling licenses are best compared with passports. The most reputed and transparent is the issuer the wider range of access you will have to other countries.

As licenses are issued by gambling regulators, each one has their own requirements. Some will give you a faster approval with lesser requirements, but will not be taken seriously or worse, will let you be unable to operate in certain regions. Top tier are very strict and have a much longer time (and cost) for their processing. Balancing initial costs and reputation is not a decision to bet with.

To put things in perspective we’ll review three of the most relevant online gambling license issuers that anyone must consider before taking a bite of the gambling cake.

1. CURACAO EGAMING

Located in the fantastic Caribbean, the small island of curacao since 1996 has been something more than an obligatory stop for cruises and vacationists, a destination for everyone interested in making e-business. Fortunately gambling is one of them.

Issuer

To obtain this license, a request must be made to address the Curacao Ministry of Justice. Interestingly like many Caribbean jurisdictions, it is mandatory to have physical servers, the company must be established or incorporated in the country, and also having a Curacao resident as part of the stakeholders are some of the few requirements needed to have your own gambling license.

In fact the commission is so business oriented that they offer you a turnkey package where they provide you all the necessary framework to start your business. As long as you can provide a clean background and the money you are mostly ready to go.

Costs and Time

Curacao gambling  licenses are one of the most affordable to obtain. With less than €25,000 you are ready to plug your business online in just a couple of weeks.

Benefits

Those interested in taking a gambling license from Curacao eGaming Commission will be glad to know that:

  • No Gamstop Self-exclusion. Curacao eGaming casinos are known as the best-rated sites not registered with Gamstop around all over the world. So being an owner of Curacao-licensed casino not on Gamstop means that you can accept British customers.
  • The license is an all-in-one that allows entrepreneurs to provide online services such as casino, sports betting, poker, and anything in between.
  • Cryptocurrencies are a legal banking option for curacao gambling operators under its flag, increasing the potential to target a wider public.
  • Finally, taxes are extremely low with only a 4% annual fee over profits making it a great option.

Drawbacks

But all that flexibility to make business under the Curacao flag has its own evils. The lax requirements fire back many operators when they are trying to promote their business in greener pastures.

  • The UK, Australia, Canada, and even some first world Asian and African markets forbade the access and promotions in their frontiers, for Curacao license holders leaving operators to low profit markets and access to countries where online gambling is lowly regulated.
  • Ironically, Curacao and any other region from the Netherlands Kingdom are out of boundaries.

The reason behind the red flag reputation is that many of the gambling sites endorsed by Curacao in the past became rogue or were intended to be a scam. While many other gambling jurisdictions will change their conditions for issuing licenses, little to none enforcement was made, therefore the notoriety with this license.


2. MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY

With one of the most privileged locations in the Mediterranean and the world, Malta boasts as a gambling destination for everyone looking to make serious gambling business. with at least 12% of the national economy dedicated to online gambling services is a no-brainer that the Malta Gaming Authority is the one behind it.

Issuer

The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) combines the best of both worlds. By fusing the commercial needs of operators with a deep understanding of gaming legislation and practice, to protect consumers.

This focus has worked so well that many countries simply trust on the MGA practices to protect their citizens in the gambling matter.

The Malta Gaming Authority offers two types of licenses:

1. Gaming Service licence: a business to consumer licence to offer or carry out a gaming service for one or all of the following types:

  • Type 1 – Games of chance based on a random numeric generator, such as casino games like roulette and blackjack,along with lotteries, and virtual sports games.
  • Type 2 – Games of chance, where the outcome is determined by the result of an event or competition. Sportsbooks in short.
  • Type 3 – Games of chance were a commission is charge based on the stakes or the prize, and shall include player versus player games such as poker, bingo, betting exchange, and similar /or;
  • Type 4 – Controlled skill games as per regulation 8 of the Gaming Authorizations Regulations.

2. Critical Gaming Supply license: a business-to-business licence to provide or carry out a critical gaming supply.

Costs and Time

Fees for your first license will set you back for approximately €25,000. Applicants must wait  10 weeks approximately depending on the timely and complete provision of the documentation required.

Benefits

Each of the +450 licensees in Malta won't have any regret after applying for a license with the MGA thanks to several benefits that  consider not only the gambling permits to operate but also the financial needs and expectations of them. Benefits that caught the attention of entrepreneurs are:

  • “First year” lowered fees to help them establish their brands in the world wide web.
  • Taxation caps. No matter how much you win, revenues will only fall short to a maximum of €600,000 per year
  • One single license is enough to operate with the 4 types of service lines
  • License renewals are every 5 years
  • Immediate accountability for license holders allows them to access +180 countries.

Drawbacks

Of course nothing comes close to perfection, not in business, nor life. And holding the MGA license is not exempt of some setbacks

  • While the MGA license allows operations in 180 countries, certain (profitable) markets aren't accessible: being the most prominent, Australia, USA, Macau and even some European nations like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Lithuania, Estonia, and Denmark.
  • Penalties can be greatly harmful for those that on purpose or accident fail to commit the strict, yet simple request to protect customers.

3. UK GAMBLING COMMISSION

Guarding the gate to the northern Atlantic, the UK has had a love affair with gambling since pre-Roman times. With regulation of gambling being literally done for centuries, the experience has made the UK one of the most strictest and reputed licensers in the world. Being able to hold one is a game changer for anyone willing to endure the trial.

Issuer

the UK Gambling Commission is the sole regulatory body in the British commonwealth.with the 2006 gaming Act establishing the principles for its attributions.

Contrary to what many might think, the UKGC didn't gain its reputation, for hunting infractors and harsh penalties. Its purpose and interest is to provide a fair, transparent and responsible industry for all the ones involved, making the UKGC a standard for many other gambling jurisdictions.

The Commission only issues a license per line of business with requirements and fees being so bulky that it is almost a non-written rule to hire specialized legal services to make sure everything is complied with.

Costs and Time

Depending on the license type and size of the company cost of the license will vary but considering that the application fee requires a non refundable deposit of £42,000 (almost €46,000) alone, you simply cannot make business with shallow pockets.

Patience will be another great asset as it takes 16 weeks at least to have an answer for the license approval.

Benefits

A UKGC license is the holy grail for many operators as is a proof for their trustworthiness in the regards of  fair and transparent practices towards customers and the industry.

Unless gambling is banned, there are very few barriers UKGC license holders can face in order to make their business flourish. Customers from profitable regions are accessible as many countries trust and value the compromise of the Commission to protect customers wherever they are.

Drawbacks

Fees and the inflexible regulation of the UK Gambling Commission are the reasons many aspiring operators are deterred or even fleeing from the UK. This doesn't mean that only the unscrupulous are going away but also many legit small or starting operators that aren't capable of sustaining changes very quickly to comply with demands in the prescribed schedules.

This has created a market share imbalance that only bigger and well established brands are only benefiting from, as they have lifelong experience mastering the game. This makes newer operators face a bigger wall to kick in and be profitable in the long run.


WHICH LICENSE IS BEST?

After seeing all the main characteristics of the igaming licensee, we've made a comparison of their highs and lows to provide a better overview for those interested in putting their odds (along with money dreams) in the gaming industry,

JURISDICTION CURACAO EGAMING MALTA GAMING AUTHORITY UK GAMBLING COMMISSION
Cost of Licensing Very low Mid to low Very High
License Reach Covers all segments Covers all segments On license per segment
Penalizations Little to None High Very High
Market access Restricted High Very High
Trust from customers Low High Very high
Waiting periods Few weeks 10 weeks 16 weeks
Financial Incentives High Very High None

 

While the best of all by its affordability and market access is by far the Maltese license,  but in the same fashion as aspiring hustlers, depending on your bankroll and capabilities, each license will fit a different type of operator.

Those looking to experiment and deepen their feet in the gambling industry are better with  a curacao license, as the entry and exit barriers are far lower.

Looking for a more serious business? The Maltese license will afford not only access to better markets but also to incentives that promote your business growth

For High Rollers and business sharks the British Gambling Commission approval will help their established brands on top of the league.