gambling license, sports betting license, license online casino, gambling license malta, belize, costa rica
Gambling License- Sports Betting- Online Casino
Gambling License-Sports betting license- license online casino
- Gambling License:
Index, Malta, Belize, Isle of Man, Costa Rica, England, Antigua
- Gambling Licences and Basic Considerations for service providers
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Our law firm – i.e. the network partners of the Low Tax Network – form companies with gambling licenses on the Isle of Man, Malta, Gibraltar, England and other countries (for example: Belize, Antigua, Barbuda, Costa Rica, Kahnawake) for our clients, … key to the realization of an online gambling offering (online casino, online betting, lottery, sports betting, the company offers services itself or as a reseller). We welcome the opportunity to provide these services to companies who provide gambling software. We provide consulting in the selection of the seat country and the required license, as an additional service within the scope of the “tax planning” (seat country and/or “affiliated companies”).
Do not underestimate the costs!
In some Internet forums one can read entries which state, for example, that a license can be purchased in Malta for approximately 7,000 Euro per annum. This is of course total nonsense; one cannot just develop a lucrative business “on-the-fly”. He who wishes to be a successful entrepreneur must make certain investments. The following fees and taxes must be considered when pursuing a gambling license:
– Preparatory steps regarding the submittal of the approval process at the relevant agency in the seat country (these services are provided by our partner attorneys in the seat country). For this process numerous documents/proofs must be submitted depending on the seat country: Business plan and profit and loss plan for the first years, software, general terms and conditions of the gambling operation, measures for child and youth protection as well as addiction prevention, excellent credit record of the managing director, sufficient paid in capital in the event of distributions and many more considerations.
- Approval process / accompaniment up to receiving the license
- Formation of a company in the seat country, no bogus firms [as defined by term / act / provision]. In this process, for example, Gibraltar mandates a commercially structured organization.
- Government fees to be paid to the relevant agency in the seat country, gambling taxes, corporate/company taxes
- In many countries: Fees for the prescribed auditor, fees for accounting, preliminary value added tax return and annual financial statement.
Fundamental Differences and Issues
Within the context of Internet gambling or betting offerings one must first differentiate if the client only acts as an “agent”, i.e. as a reseller of existing web offerings or if the client wishes to realize its own platform/service. In the event a client wishes only to pursue “reseller activities”, in this case the client could, for example, form a Cypriot Limited which offers such services. It is true that gambling is illegal in Cyprus, however, reseller offerings are legal. In the event the client wishes to offer its “own offering” the laws of the target countries must be considered. Of course the domestic laws of the respective seat state must also be taken into account. Within the EU the a license can be obtained in an EU state (for example Malta), and that said license must , under certain conditions, be recognized by the other EU states. The legal basis for this opportunity is the effect of the EU freedom of establishment and the judicial decisions of the European Court of Justice The situation can become legally problematic, if the offering is to be made available to customers in different countries, also outside of the European Union. If a license is realized in a EU state (for example in Malta), then one must consider that the only applicable law is the law of the seat country and that no permanent establishment exists, as defined by an applicable double taxation agreement. This could lead to the application of the target country’s domestic law, which as a rule should be avoided., Consequently, at most only a representation may be installed “in other countries outside of the seat country” (no permanent establishment as defined by a an applicable double taxation agreement, only consulting activities). Based on different legal considerations we however are inclined to recommend against maintaining any connection to a target country, for example Germany or Austria (as a rule the seat country of the beneficiaries).
Popular Gambling License Jurisdictions
To operate an online casino, poker room or sports betting gaming site legally you will need to obtain a gambling license first. The actual gambling license to operate online gaming site is issued by many governments worldwide, but the most popular jurisdictions issuing such offshore gambling licenses are from the Caribbean and Pacific Island Governments such as Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, St Kitts, Dominica, Curacau and Vanuatu. When selecting a gambling license jurisdiction, you should select one with a sensible approach to taxation, and license cost in combination with a strong licensing law and technical standards.
Why do you need the gambling license for your online casino, poker or sports betting site?
It is possible to make your online gaming business without a license, but most of major online casinos have license. Here are three main causes why it is worth to have a gambling license.
- In player’s opinion gambling license guarantees reliability and straight dealing of the gaming company. Players have more confidence playing in casinos and poker rooms with license.
- In case of a settlement account opening banks insist on gambling license and especially while concluding agreements for receiving payments from bank cards.
- In many countries operating a gambling business without a gambling license is illegal and it may result in termination and criminal responsibilities.
You can apply for a gambling license in one of the countries listed below:
Gambling License Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation located in the Eastern Caribbean. Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first jurisdictions to license interactive gaming and wagering companies in 1994. The internet gaming companies are classified as “Financial Institutions” and are subject to all the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) requirements of the jurisdiction.
The licensing and regulation of online gambling services on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda is handled by the Financial Services Regulatory Commission’s Division of Gaming. The FRSC Gaming Division awards two types of licensees: interactive gaming and interactive wagering.
The gaming license is for casino and poker sites and the wagering license is for sports betting sites. It’s one of the offshore jurisdictions which contain the biggest number of registered online casinos.
For more information on Antigua’s interactive gaming and wagering laws and regulations see the following:
The Antiguan gaming regulations are enforced by the Antiguan Directorate of Offshore Gaming (the “Directorate”). For more information on obtaining a gambling license in Antigua and Barbuda please visit www.antiguagaming.gov.ag
Gambling License Costa-Rica
Costa Rica is the Mecca of online casinos and poker rooms because it has the best infrastructure available in the Caribbean basin – its reliable telecommunication system, its multilingual workers, and its lack of online gaming and Internet regulations. A lot of online casinos have chosen Costa Rica as registration country because of the fact that there are no direct prohibition on gambling business and no necessity to receive a special license.
There is no online gambling license in Costa Rica. A company incorporated under the laws of Costa Rica can operate an online gaming business. Companies operate under a “data processing” license.
Costa Rica is home to 200+ online gambling companies, without a legislation specifically dealing with gambling over the Internet. Legislation does exist to restrict land-based gambling, but these laws are not interpreted as extending to Internet gambling.
The requirements to obtain a license are:
- Office Lease Contract
- Health permit
- Workers insurance policy
For more information please visit https://www.meic.go.cr
Kahnawake Gambling License
Kahnawake is an Indian (native American) territory in Quebec, Canada.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is an organization that licenses a large number of online casinos and online poker rooms. The Kahnawáke Gaming Commission was established in June 1996. The Commission is empowered to regulate and control gaming and related activities within and from the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawáke. These gaming activities are regulated in accordance with the highest principles of honesty and integrity.
The fee for the initial application is C$15,000 plus an annual license fee of C$10,000
Visit https://www.kahnawake.com/gamingcommission for more information.
Gambling License Panama
Panama adopted regulations governing the licensing of electronic games of chance and wagering activities in late 2002. Internet gaming companies domiciled in Panama enjoy complete tax exemptions. Customs duty concessions are given for imports needed to carry on Internet gaming. As long as the income made from Internet operations are to jurisdictions outside of Panama, there is no income tax, withholding tax, sales tax or VAT taxes. Offshore companies, such as online gaming companies are not subject to foreign exchange control. There is also a new call center incentive and training program that boast numerous qualified bilingual workers.
The regulations allow master licenses to be granted that are valid for up to seven years upon payment of a license fee of US$40,000. There is also an annual license fee of US$20,000. Master license holders may grant sub-licenses, which are subject to the annual fee. Applicants must pay all investigation costs incurred in the processing of the application. Operators must comply with money-laundering regulations and notify the Financial Analysis Unit of any suspicious transactions above US$10,000. An account must be maintained to guarantee payment to winners. Until now a very few companies have applied for the license, mainly due to the huge paper work and the cost of the gambling license.
Antilles Netherlands and Curacao
Within the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao offers gambling licenses for online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks. Gambling licenses are available through the Department of Justice or through sub-licensing from an existing gambling license holders. Licenses from the Department of Justice last for two years.
Gambling License Gibraltar
All gaming operations in Gibraltar require licensing under the Gambling Ordinance 2005. Remote Gambling licenses, including for telephone and internet betting, are issued by the Government of Gibraltar.
Only companies with a proven track record in gaming, of reputable standing and with a realistic business plan can be granted gambling licenses. Gibraltar gaming licenses are generally difficult to obtain.
For more information on obtaining a gambling license in Gibraltar visit https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/gov_depts/internet_gaming/internet_gaming.htm
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man specifically encourages the location of online gambling businesses: “The Isle of Man Government actively encourages the development of gambling and e-gaming business on the Isle of Man. It remains committed to delivering a stable government and strong regulatory environment, supported by a wide range of attractive Business Benefits.“
The Commission requires independent testing of software to ensure games offered are not rigged and will make accurate payment of player winnings. Games may only be offered by licensed, corporate operators. All operators must also establish bond arrangements to guarantee players will be paid in the event the licensee ceased operations for any reason.
- GBP35,000 per annum
- GBP1000 one off administration fee which is non-refundable
- for gross gaming yield not exceeding £20 million per annum 1.5%
- for gross gaming yield of more than £20 million per annum, but not exceeding £40 million per annum 0.5%
- for gross gaming yield exceeding £40 million per annum 0.1%
For more information on how to obtain a gambling license in the Isle of Man please visit
Gambling License Malta
Class 1 – Remote Gaming Licence for online gaming
Class 2 – Remote Gaming Licence for online betting office
Class 3 – Promotion and abet gaming from Malta
Class 4 – Hosting and managing only gaming operations, excluding licences itself.
Licences are issued for a minimum period of five years and may be extended for further periods of five years each.
Obtaining a gaming licence in Malta is a serious affair and in the interest of the consumers and the local reputation, the Authority would require to know that the applicant can meet the licence obligations. The licensing procedure is quite extensive but thanks to the professionalism of the persons involved, this procedure should not take more than 5 to 6 weeks.
The application for a gaming licence requires the following documentation:
- Detailed profile of the promoting company
- A copy of the last audited accounts of the promoting company, where applicable
- A business plan indicating the economic activity – including job creation if any – which will be carried out from Malta
- A plan of the premises earmarked for adoption as a call centre.
- Personal details of all shareholders having more than 5% interest in the local operations.
- Both hardware and software involved in the operations must be located in Malta, and there exist companies that can provide this service without the need for the licensee to obtain its own premises.
- The activities of the International Trading Company are limited to those carried outside Malta. No Maltese resident is permitted to place bets with such a company.
On submission of application form – Lm1,000 (US$2,700) for any class of remote gaming licence.
On Issue of any Remote Gaming Licence – Lm3,000 (US$8100) per annum. Such a licence is normally issued for a 5 year period.
On application for renewal of any Remote Gaming Licence – Lm500 (US$1,350)
On online gaming – Lm2,000(US$5400) per month for first six months and Lm3000(US$8100) per month for the entire duration of the licence period.
On Class 4 Licences – Lm0.0 (NIL) per month for first six months and Lm1,000(US$2700) per month for the next six months and Lm2000(US$5400) per month for the remaining period of the licence.
Online betting operations – one half of one per centum (0.5%) on the gross amounts of bets accepted
Online betting exchanges – one half of one per centum (0.5%) on the sum of all net winnings calculated per player per betting market.
Online pool betting – one half of one per centum (0.5%) on the aggregate of stakes paid.
Provided that in no case will the maximum of tax payable per annum by any licensee in respect of any one licence, exceed Lm200,000.
A Malta based gaming operation must be carried out by a Malta registered company as specified in Regulation 4 of the Remote Gaming Regulations (LN176/2004). Gaming companies are not subject to any special tax regime. In fact, online gaming operations may be carried out through a normal limited liability company registered in Malta under the Companies’ Act.
Taxation of Online Gaming Companies
Companies registered on or after 1st January 2007 are taxable at the rate of 35% however, shareholders are entitled to claim back a 6/7ths refund of the Malta tax upon distributions of profits. Alternatively, shareholders may claim a 2/3rds refund of the tax payable in Malta.
In addition, Malta does not levy withholding tax on any outbound distributions of dividends. The refund system and the absence of a dividend withholding tax ensures that profits derived by gaming companies are taxed and repatriated outside Malta in the most efficient manner.
The EU presently does not regulate gambling and in accordance with the EU principle of solidarity, EU member states are free to regulate the matter at a national level. In fact the EU welcomes Malta’s approach to attract and regulate the online gaming industry.
In a number of test cases, the European Court of Justice has held that the Treaty of Rome applies to the sector since online gaming is classified as a service and therefore guaranteed by one of the four freedoms enshrined in the treaty of Rome.
An important aspect to remember is that in order to benefit from the application of the Internal Market Principles and provide cross border services within the European Union one should be established in the EU. Malta, being an EU member since 1st May, 2004, offers such an opportunity which few other e-gaming jurisdiction can match.
What Malta Offers
- Low taxation on gaming operations in Malta
- Tax leakage in Malta may be as low as 5%
- A wide network of double taxation agreements
- A sound legal and financial system
- A sound ICT infrastructure
- Legislation on betting and e-commerce
- Strong regulatory bodies
- A solid international reputation
- Skilled work force
- Low cost of doing business
- State of the Art telecommunications facilities
- An internal market of circa 500 million EU citizens.