Get a gaming licence from your jurisdiction of choice
Malta was the first Member State of the European Union (EU) to introduce regulations on online gaming. It is considered as one of the largest online gaming jurisdictions and the most popular location for operators that seek licensing for their online gaming business. The Malta gaming licence issued by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) is undoubtedly one of the most reputable licences for online gaming worldwide.
The MGA licence covers all gaming verticals: casino games, RNG based games, lotteries, sports betting, fantasy sports, p2p games, online poker and the provision of games. All these are included under a B2C licence or B2B licence, as per the new Gaming Act issued by the Malta Gaming Authority in 2018.
Benefits for setting up your business in Malta
Apart from having one of the most innovative, whilst at the same time robust online gaming regulations worldwide, Malta is continuing to build on its 15+ years success story, which made the country earn the title of iGaming capital in Europe, through enhancing other benefits and incentives, aimed at attracting gaming business to the island.
A number of such incentives include the employees of online gaming companies which are in possession of a Malta (MGA) gaming licence. Such incentives include the reduced rates of income tax on personal income, applicable to highly qualified individuals, refunds on dividends to online gaming companies leading to a reduced effective tax rate of 5%, and also double taxation relief.
This, coupled with the attractive gaming taxes which cover online gaming in Malta, make the MGA licence one of the most sought-after gaming licences, and Malta’s overall tax rates among the most competitive in the world. Over the years, this has resulted in the number of licencees operating under a Malta (MGA) licence, to continue increasing consistently year after year, as does the influx of gaming operators calling Malta their home.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) was set up to regulate commercial gambling in the United Kingdom. Online gambling in the UK is regulated by the Gambling Act 2005. If a company provides remote gambling in the United Kingdom and any part of its remote gambling equipment is based in United Kingdom or advertises gambling to consumers in the United Kingdom, the same has to apply for a remote gaming licence from the UKGC.
The UKGC regulate the following types of gambling:
Gambling websites which trade or advertise to customers in Great Britain must have a Gambling Commission licence.
The main body in charge of gambling activities in Romania is the National Gambling Office (ONJN), established in April 2013. This office is responsible for authorizing operators that want to access the Romanian market and for enforcing regulations that need to be implemented by all local players. The present Romanian legislative framework for online gambling is subject to regulations passed in May 2015, when the previous legislation was amended in a way to be compliant with European Commission (EU) standards.
The ONJN is thus responsible for authorising local gambling operators in Romania, but also for authorising all types of online gambling targeting Romanian players. The Romanian regulator is responsible for:
The activities for which an organisation licence and operating authorisation may be granted shall be as follows:
1. Traditional games
2. Remote games
3. Other gambling activities, new games or combinations of activities as referred to in this Article.
Curaçao is one of the oldest and politically stable jurisdictions, where licences for igaming providers are issued. It is an island situated in the southern Caribbean Sea, close to the Venezuelan coast, and forms part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, shipping services, oil refining, financial and gaming services being the most important sectors.
Online gaming in Curaçao has been formally legalised in 1993 when the National Ordinance on Offshore Games of Hazard entered into force. Online gaming licenses are issued by the Minister of Justice by national decrees, but recent developments have seen the Minister of Finance being tasked with the licensing and supervision of the online gaming sector.
The Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) is the entity/foundation regulating gaming in the Curaçao. Founded in 1999, the GCB is tasked with the regulation and supervision of gaming taking place in and from Curaçao. It was predominantly formed to regulate the land-based casino industry in Curaçao and issuing licences for lotteries and charity bingos but has recently been also tasked with the supervision of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) of all gaming types, including online gaming.
Originally it was the Curaçao e-Gaming Licensing Authority which had the responsibility to regulate the online gambling industry, since 2002, however on December 18, 2018, the Minister of Finance publicly announced the Government’s intent to task the Curaçao Gaming Control Board (GCB) with the regulation of the online gaming sector. On February 15, 2019, the GCB was appointed the AML/CFT supervisor for all gaming sectors operating in and from Curaçao, which includes the online gaming sector.
Similar to other regulatory bodies, the Gaming Control Board strives to protect public interests and ensure the stability of the Curaçao gaming industry, by making sure that all gaming is conducted responsibly and in a transparent manner, keeping it free from criminal and corrupt elements.
Germany is by far one of the largest gambling markets in the EU, however regulated online gambling has been going through a lot of legal battles over the years. Different pieces of legislation have been written, but agreement between the 16 Federal States which make up Germany has been a hot topic for discussion for more than a decade. Years of regulatory and legal uncertainty have characterised the way in which online gambling has developed in Germany, with licences from Malta (predominantly), as well as Gibraltar and Curaçao being the preferred choice for online gaming operators targeting the German players.
In 2012, the German States passed what is known as the InterState Treaty on Gambling (ITG), aimed at opening up sports betting across all Germany in a regulated manner for the first time. Even though gambling operators were targeting German players through the licences of other EU member States, Germany (similar to practically all other EU States), wanted to regulate on a national level. However, cracks in this Treaty began to emerge very soon, with a number of challenges at a European Court of Justice (ECJ) level being filed over the years by other EU member States, arguing the German legislative proposals were not compliant to the EU Treaty, as well as gambling operators arguing the Treaty was favouring State monopolies.
This was an ongoing legal battle for a number of years, and operators targeting the German market were often left in limbo, with huge uncertainty surrounding the legality or otherwise of the German market for sports betting, and more so for online casino and online poker. Notwithstanding, the German market kept experiencing exponential growth, year on year, making Germany the biggest, and practically the last remaining grey (or black) market across the EU.
But this uncertainty seems to be nearing its end, as the German federal States have finally agreed that proper regulation across all the German States, (putting aside the diverging interests between the same States), is the only way forward! This led to Germany targeting the 1st of July 2021, to enact its new gambling regulations, a day by which only operators in possession of a German licence will be allowed to operate in Germany to offer sports betting, online lottery, online casino and/or online poker.
In the meantime, as from 1st January 2021, online casinos and online poker will also be temporary allowed in Germany for the first time, after being considered largely illegal (bar from Schleswig-Holstein), prior to this date. This will form part of a temporary measure, paving the way for the full authorisation, through Germany’s 4th State Treaty, the Glücksspielneuregulierungstaatsvertrag (GlüNeuRStv), on 1st July, 2021.
Regulated online gambling in Sweden was a key topic for discussion across the EU for a number of years, with a considerable amount of challenges being level against the Swedish authorities over the years. The Swedish so-called reregulation was the main item on the agenda of numerous conferences and expos across all the EU, until the new Swedish Gambling Act finally came into force on the 1st January, 2019. From then onwards it has become amply clear that targeting Swedish customers without a licence issued by the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA), (aka. Spelinspektionen) is considered illegal. This also made it equally clear that Sweden could no longer be considered a grey market for operators planning to access the Swedish market.
Similar to other national regulators, the SGA is responsible for ensuring that the Swedish gaming and gambling market is legal, safe and reliable, and is responsible for issuing permits for lotteries and other forms of gambling. In addition, it is also tasked with the overall supervision and control of all forms of gambling and lottery activities in Sweden. The SGA is controlled by the Ministry of Finance and its Board is appointed by the Government.
The Spelinspektionen is also responsible for providing training and information on gambling and lottery legislation as well as act as an advisor to Government on gaming/gambling markets, at a local and international level.
Online gambling in the Netherlands has gone through a number of changes and iterations, coupled with numerous legal challenges both at a local and EU level. A number of attempts were made to enact the new Remote Gaming Act, but this got stuck in Parliament or at times at the Senate, leading to a situation where online gaming operators are unsure whether to consider Netherlands a grey market or otherwise.
This said, some clarity was provided in 2019 when the Senate passed and thus agreed on the new Remote Gaming Act, effectively making online gambling legal in the Netherlands. Prior to this Senate clearance, online operators targeting the Netherlands with another EU licence were left in limbo, with legal opinions saying they were authorised to do so by virtue of the EU freedoms, whilst others stating online gambling was illegal in the Netherlands.
Having said so, even though clarity was made on the legality aspect, technically the Dutch authorities still consider it forbidden for any online operator to target the Dutch market directly, by using any symbols or even the Dutch language to make the casino website appealing for Dutch players, unless in possession of a licence issued by the Dutch authorities. This said, to date it is not yet possible to apply and eventually start using a Dutch licence, therefore, this was not entirely good news for the operators.
In the meantime, operators looking at generating revenue from the Dutch market will have to wait till at least October 2021 for the Remote Gaming Act to become effective. Even though this wasn’t the original plan of the Dutch authorities, a number of delays lead to October 2021 being the new target month for when the Netherlands will finally join the other fully regulated jurisdictions for online gambling.
In the Netherlands, the body tasked with regulating, issuing the licences and supervising the sector is the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA). The KSA was established in 2012 with the objective to:
The KSA is governed by an independent board of governors and falls under the Ministry of Justice. Its involvement in advising Government over the years on the drafting of the Wet Koa (the Remote Gambling Act) is considered pivotal for the online gambling industry in the Netherlands. The new act is expected to enter into force on 1 April 2021, but the Dutch market will only open 6 months later, i.e. in October 2021.
Denmark is considered to be of the most forward looking Northern European countries, and the same can be said for gambling regulations. In fact Denmark is widely seen as the best regulated jurisdiction amongst the Scandinavian countries, and also amongst the first Northern European countries to liberalize the market.
Up until 2012, Denmark was a grey market for gambling operators, who made use of the EU freedoms to offer gambling services in the country by using other licences issued by other member states. But this changed when the Danish Gambling Act came into force in January 2012.
In Denmark both landbased and remote gambling are supervised by the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA a.k.a Spillemyndigheden). Founded in 2000, the DGA falls under the Ministry of Taxation, and is responsible for:
Even though Denmark boasts one of the most liberal and properly regulated markets across Europe, it is still worth noting that it still has a monopoly on the national lottery and other commercial lotteries (like a number of other countries) which is owned by Danske Spil. The same operator also has a monopoly on sports betting which involves animals, mainly horse races but not only.
At iGamingAdvisors, we are committed to providing the best possible service to our clients, by using our wealth of experience and knowledge to maximise the potential of their business. We have years of experience in the gaming sector, both through previous employment with gaming companies, but also through software companies providing technical solutions and also through various consultancy engagements both at a strategic, operational and regulatory level.
Our expertise covers the whole spectrum of operator activities: legal, finance, operations, online gaming regulation, compliance, AML, technical, licensing, corporate, seo, support, company formation, mergers and acquisitions and more.
Having assisted companies in obtaining gaming licences in Malta, UK, Romania and Curacao, we pride ourselves for being one of Malta’s most experienced igaming service providers.
We can provide best-in-class service to assist you in all your business needs. Setting up a new company can be a headache, unless supported by the right partner. At IGA Group (iGamingAdvisors) we handle all the necessary documentation required to start your business in the most efficient way possible. In addition, we also take care of providing a local registered office, depositing the share capital and any changes thereto, and also providing Directorship and Company Secretary services.
At IGA Group (iGamingAdvisors) we use our expertise in gaming, regulatory and technology fields, to assist our clients throughout the audits mandated by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). This applies for the Systems and also Compliance audits. Apart from being a legal requirement, a successful completion of any of the audits is critical in ensuring the proper functioning of any organisation, and thus our advice is to always give these requirements the utmost importance, making sure expert advice is sought throughout the whole process.
For those in the gaming industry, many are fully aware that opening a bank account across the EU is no mean feat, and at times it can cause unnecessary delays to a business initiation. Regulators across the globe have made it mandatory for a company to be awarded a licence to provide services, to have a functional bank account. Apart from the standard operational account which any company would need, in the gaming industry the requirement is to have a separate clients’/players’ account where funds are kept segregated and solely used for player deposits and withdrawals. At IGA, through our services, we can make this journey as smooth as possible, by using our wealth of contacts in the payments and banking sector, to provide multiple bespoke solutions.
At IGA Group we have qualified and experienced professionals who can cover any of the key functions required by the Regulator. Key function roles are considered critical for any licensed operator, since they are tasked with ensuring ongoing compliance to the respective areas they would be covering. Key function holders would be required to submit regular reports to the Regulator.
Drafting a proper and well-structured business plan is a major requirement when submitting an application for a licence. At IGA Group (iGamingAdvisors), we have the right professionals on board, to get it right first time. Having assisted a large number of companies in their process for obtaining a gaming licence, we are sure our highly qualified employees can be pivotal in structuring a professional business plan that reflects the ambitions of your organisation, in a realistic and credible way.
Being your single point of contact with all relevant Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) or other regulators will save you time and money. Through our experience we can assist you and be directly in touch with regulators to ensure the swiftest resolution time possible for any queries your business may have.
|Company incorporation services||Provision of registered office|
|Directorship and Company secretary services||Opening of Bank Accounts|
|Changes in the Board of Directors;||Mergers or Acquisition of companies and/or new businesses;|
|The increase reduction of the nominal or issued share capital of the licensee or the increase or reduction of its voting share capital or any material change in voting rights;|
|The sale of a company, which may include a gaming licence, and the respective approvals required by the different Authorities;|
|Assignment or transfer of shares between different companies located in different jurisdictions and in possession of licences from multiple jurisdictions.|