It’s been more than 25 years since the first-ever online casino was established. However, the global market still has multiple opportunities to offer even to the small-scale businesses that can afford only relatively small budgets. In some cases, big worldwide famous brands just find it too inconvenient to start operation on some of the smaller markets without steady confidence in success. Apart from that, bigger brands frequently require more resources to enter a new jurisdiction. In contrast, the mobility of the small-scale brands, made specifically to fit a certain market niche, can be easily turned into a benefit.
Hot Spots on the Global iGaming Map
Nowadays, there are plenty of world markets that have great opportunities for iGaming business in every region. However, the most promising markets are probably located in Latin America-Caribbean (LAC) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions these days. On the one hand, there is a growing demand for quality online casino and sports betting services. On the other - many local markets are still vacant, giving many options for both well-established iGaming operators and newcomers.
Both regional markets these days show a steady growth - by 2028, the LAC market is expected to keep increasing by 4,57% annually, while the APAC market is expected to show annual growth of booming 6,17%. Currently, APAC countries generate around 21,57% of the world’s betting revenue, while LAC countries provide 5,85% of the world’s betting income. Naturally, the Asian market is considered to be much more lucrative today but, at the same time, you will need to face harsher competition as a new regional company. In contrast, the LAC market offers more opportunities for expansion in a less competitive environment. In the Latin American region, it is worth noting such markets as Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina, while booming Asian-Pacific markets include Bangladesh, India, and China.
Overview of Top Gaming Licenses to Start Your Business from Scratch
For many entrepreneurs who are only starting their iGaming business, it is a serious issue what iGaming license to choose for their business. Nowadays, there are plenty of licenses out there, and each has its own specifics - different prices, tax requirements, types of gaming services it allows to provide, countries of operation you can reach, etc. So let’s have a fast look at the top iGaming licenses, their fees, and the territories they allow to operate.
There are various types of licenses you need to know about. Depending on what jurisdictions you are about to enter and what exact type of iGaming services you are about to provide, you may need different ones. Here is the basic typology you need to remember.
B2B and B2C Licenses
B2B iGaming licenses are designed for businesses that provide iGaming solutions and various kinds of services directly to operators - online casinos, sports betting websites, live online casinos, platforms, etc. B2B companies in iGaming may provide such services as:
- Software for iGaming
- Casino and betting platforms
- API solutions
In the majority of cases, a business doesn’t need a license to provide such services as client support, marketing, license acquisition assistance, legal consulting, etc.
B2C licenses are issued to companies that provide iGaming services directly to the customers - bettors and casino players. There are two general kinds of B2C licenses - the one for non-remote and remote businesses. By this, we mean either brick-and-mortar casinos or online casinos.
Types of Licenses by Services They Allow to Provide
Some B2C and B2B licenses may cover all kinds of casino and betting services, and others allow you to provide only definite kinds of iGaming products. So in separate cases, you will need only one license, and in other cases, you would need to obtain a separate license for every type of service you provide - instant-play online casino games, live casino, bingo, sports betting, virtual sports, etc.
Fixed Price and Gross-Dependant Licenses
A license holder is obliged to pay license fees. In most cases, those fees are collected once a year. There are two major fee types - fixed fees and gross-dependent fees, whose size depends on the annual gross revenue of the license holder. The fee paid for a gross-dependant license may vary depending on the initial planned gross revenue of the company that you define in the financial planning documentation during the registration process.
Also, most license applicants have to pay a fixed fee for the process of licensing assessment. Depending on the license jurisdiction and type, the fee and the time required for assessment may vary.
Licenses By Jurisdiction
It is probably clear that all licenses have different legal power when it comes to operation in different world territories. For instance, iGaming businesses that hold a Curacao license are restricted to provide iGaming services in some territories and allowed to provide them in others. And if you hold a Malta Gaming Authority License, the list of allowed territories and terms of operation will be drastically different. So defining which exact license you will need when you are starting an iGaming business is one of the most important issues once you have defined the potential markets. Here is an overview of some of the most reliable and trustworthy licenses that are used by the world’s top casino and sports betting brands for your consideration.
UK Gambling Commission License
The Commission was founded back in 2007 as a licensing and controlling organization to manage lotteries, bingo, casinos, and sportsbetting in the UK. It issues licenses to all sorts of non-remote and remote iGaming companies, B2B and B2C companies, iGaming managers, and all sorts of employees like croupiers, dealers, inspectors, etc.
If you want to offer several types of services at once, you will need to obtain a license for every type of service - live casino, regular casino, betting, lotteries, etc. The license is issued for a 5 year period, after which you will have to go through the approval procedure once again to confirm compliance with the license terms.
In order to obtain a license from UK Gambling Commission, you will need to prepare multiple legal documents, including individual identification, all the policies of the company, bank statements, business plan, ownership structure, and many others. The application process for obtaining an operation license may last up to 16 weeks. The application fee is also calculated according to the gross revenue of the company. The application fee price may vary from £9,138 to £23,435.
The license issued by UK Gambling Commission is considered to be very credible and suits for operation on most of the territories where online gambling is legal and do not require a separate local license for operation.
Malta Gaming Authority License
One of the oldest licenses that regulate online gambling internationally, it was established back in 2001. Also, it is considered to be one of the most credible ones, allowing to offer online gambling services across approximately 180 international territories.
Malta Gaming Authority licenses both B2B and B2C iGaming companies and multiple kinds of iGaming activities. The annual fee for the B2C sector consists of two parts - fixed non-refundable annual payment and a revenue-dependent annual payment.
In order to acquire this license, you will need to provide multiple credentials: legal documents including individual identification, all the policies of the company, bank statements, business plan, ownership structure, and many others. The application process usually takes from 6 to 12 months. The application fee is €5,000. The license is issued for 10 years. The process of license renewal, once the license is over, will cost you €5,000 as well unless the licensing condition will be changed by that time.
Curacao Gaming License
Curacao can be rightfully called one of the most popular licensing authorities in the world. Relative easiness of obtaining and a more beneficial price are the major reasons behind its reputation. At the same time, the license is deemed highly credible and is frequently used by top B2B and B2C iGaming brands. The Government of Curacao has been issuing iGaming licenses since 1996, being the first-ever government to issue licenses for online casinos and online betting websites.
Since iGaming is one of the major businesses on the island, you can also order a number of sphere-specific services like hosting, consulting, marketing services, etc. The Curacao license is officially issued by the country's Governor. Since the demand for this license is pretty high, there are 4 major Master Licensor organs that provide licensing services and perform all document assessment, registration, and licensing duties.
The considerable benefit of Curacao jurisdiction is that it issues a single license for providing all kinds of iGaming services, including online casino games and sports betting.
In order to apply for a Curacao gaming license, you need to provide the standard package of documents that includes complete information concerning UBOs (Ultimate Beneficial Owner(s), KYC procedures, business structure, banking accounts, etc. Curacao license is issued during 2-6 weeks since application.
HM Government of Gibraltar License
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory that started issuing its own iGaming license in 2014. Gibraltar licenses are mostly issued to B2C operators. The only exception is a B2B license that is issued for client support service operation.
In order to obtain the iGaming license from the Gibraltar government, you need to submit a regular package of documents that includes personal identification documents of all owners and shareholders, information about banking accounts, detailed business plan, plan of operation of your iGaming project, and all the legal documents that define the operation and customer services provided by the company.
The procedure of application for the Gibraltar license is pretty fast compared to other authorities - it takes between 14 and 90 days to process your documents. A license is issued for 5 years, after which you will need to re-apply for it to extend the validity period. A separate license is required for online casino and betting projects.
The big benefit of the Gibraltar license is that all annual prices are fixed, so it is much easier to plan your budgets in advance. However, as a Gibraltar-registered company, you will also have to pay a minor tax payment for every £100,000 of your gross revenue.
Isle of Man License
The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency. The local licensing organ, Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission, started issuing licenses for online gambling and online betting in 2009.
The government of the island issues all-in-one single B2C licenses that allow providing all kinds of iGaming services, and B2B licenses allow providing software to iGaming operators. The application fee for any of the mentioned above B2B and B2C licenses is £5,000.
There are three major types of iGaming licenses for operators:
Full license for online casino and sports betting
This type of license allows running a fully functional casino/betting brand, providing games, and betting services internationally, and maintaining sub-licensed brands or partners.
Network license for online casino and sports betting
This type of license allows running a fully functional casino/betting brand, providing games and betting services internationally, maintaining sub-licensed brands or partners, and maintaining a large network of brand websites with an integrated database.
Sub-license for online casino and sports betting
This type of license allows running a separate project and providing services based on the full licensed website.
Isle of Man iGaming license requires a standard set of documents required for company registration and licensing. The license is issued for a 5 year period.
Choice of an iGaming license is an important step in establishing your iGaming business. As you can see, quite frequently, it can last for months and requires lots of diligent work with documents and information to be done. It is always better to start this process right after you have defined the jurisdiction where you are about to operate if you want to launch your casino or betting business as fast as possible. Always remember that as an iGaming brand, you can always hold more than one license at a time, so it is possible to obtain a more accessible license first and launch the brand much faster. Just make sure that it allows you to operate in the jurisdiction of your choice.