One of the ways to verify the authenticity of an online esports betting site is through its gambling licence. While rogue betting sites will often not disclose any information related to their licences, legit sites often have at least one licence from a recognised gambling regulator. In this guide, we will discuss the popular online gambling licences and the requirements to obtain such certifications.

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What Are Gambling Licences?

A gambling licence is a certification that every legal gambling organisation should have, and is obtained once all the regulations and requirements set by the regulator are met. These requirements are very extensive, making the application process quite complex and lengthy.

A licence permits a company to offer the following services:

In addition to having permission to provide these services, a licence is also designed to protect the players’ interests. The licensing system is aimed at:

  • Preventing any connection between gambling and criminal activity
  • Ensuring that all games are fair and transparent
  • Protecting minors and vulnerable users from being exploited

Different gambling jurisdictions have varying licences, and online betting sites can choose to obtain a local or offshore one. In this section, we will discuss the top recognised regulators globally.

United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)

The United Kingdom is one of the largest online gambling markets, and operators looking to join the industry must acquire a local licence. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) is the main licence issuer in the country, and arguably the most coveted seal due to the extensive scrutiny and strict regulations that operators must comply with.

The UK online gambling licence is also very expensive, and, in most cases, only successful operators are able to sustain the gambling licence cost in the long run. Before issuing the licence, the UKGC must assess the business’s intention and its capacity to uphold the licensing requirements.

Malta Gaming Authority (MGA)

The Malta Gaming Authority’s licence is a highly valued certification in the online gambling industry. MGA is one of the leading authorities that issues B2C licences for operators offering gambling activities and B2B licences for proving gambling materials.

Over the years, Malta has become a gambling hub, having embraced online gambling in 2004 to become the first EU member state to do so. Obtaining a Malta Gambling licence is similar to other licensing jurisdictions. However, the introduction of the Gaming Act 2018 simplifies the regulatory restructuring of licences. This made it easier for operators to obtain MGA licences since they don’t need to submit a new application for separate licences.

Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC)

AGCC was established in May 2000, and the Alderney jurisdiction is located between France and the United Kingdom. This is considered one of the easiest places to get a gambling licence, and most gaming operators are licensed on the island.

Nonetheless, the Alderney-licensed sites are safe, and the AGCC has implemented strict rules to ensure player protection and fair gaming. This gambling regulator is also popular for its extensive regulations, reasonable licensing fees and no VAT or corporate taxes. Notably, there is a range of advantages of the AGCC licence favouring both the operators and the players.

Isle of Man Gambling Commission

The Isle of Man is another top jurisdiction for non-UK companies. Having been awarded an AAA accreditation, this regulator is undoubtedly one of the best offshore gambling jurisdictions. The Isle of Man Gambling Commission was founded in 1962 but launched its online services in 2001.

One of this regulator’s main objectives includes strict advocacy of fair and responsible gaming. Most online esports betting perators prefer obtaining a licence from this jurisdiction due to the liberal legislation. The Isle of Man government recognised the value of the iGaming sector, and it provides services to support the gambling businesses.

Gibraltar Licensing Authority (GRA)

The Government of Gilbraltar is another top jurisdiction, and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority oversees licensing. This regulator has been in the industry since 1998 and complies with the Gambling Act Legislation of 2005, which contains all major rules an operator must adhere to in order to obtain a gaming licence.

The key principle of the Gibraltar Licensing Authority is to ‘keep crime out of gambling.’ And true to its word, this regulator has upheld its reputation of supporting a safe gambling atmosphere. Operators seeking this licence must have no criminal history and meet all the set anti-money laundering standards.

Kahnawake Gaming Commission

The Kahnawake Gaming Commission licenses most gambling sites operating in Canada. This commission was established in 1998 and the first gambling regulations were enacted in 1999. One of the benefits of obtaining a licence in this country is the fact that it covers all markets, except the USA. The regulator is also widely accepted by players and payment service providers, and is also a reputable authority that promotes fair and responsible gaming.

Curaçao eGaming Authority

The Curaçao Gaming Commission has been providing licences since 1996. To qualify for a licence, an operator must be registered as a legal entity under the Netherlands Antilles Chamber of Commerce, either offshore or onshore. The Curaçao Department of Justice will then investigate the company to ensure it’s not involved in any illegal dealings. In addition to having a decent reputation, most operators prefer obtaining a Curaçao e-Gaming licence since a single permit covers all forms of gambling.

How Can Operators Apply for a Gambling Licence

The process and the requirements for obtaining a gambling licence vary depending on the jurisdiction. Due to the strict rules and regulations, the MGA and UKGC licences are the most rigorous to obtain; however, these are also the most coveted and valued licensing. Nonetheless, licences from other jurisdictions — such as Curaçao, Isle of Man, Kahnawake, and Gilbraltar — are also very competitive.

Some of the common requirements to qualifying for a gaming licence include:

  • Legal registration of the company and identity of the relevant people
  • Operator’s financial statements
  • The business’s experience, expertise, and history
  • AML provisions
  • Protection of customer funds
  • Game types and rules
  • Code of practice related to marketing, protection of vulnerable persons, and handling of complaints and disputes

When applying for a licence, there are several key factors that operators should keep in mind. These include timing, fees, and type of licence.

Timing

Licence applications take around 16 weeks on average to be processed. This gives the operator time to undertake the necessary background check, including verifying the operator’s identity documents, financial information, and policy documents.

Fees

To obtain a licence, there is an application fee as well as annual related fees. In some jurisdictions such as the Maltese, the gambling licence costs $5000 plus an annual licence fee of $25,000. MGA-licensed operators also have to part with a $5,000 renewal fee. On the other hand, the application fee for an Isle of Man licence is $5000 plus a $35,000 annual fee. Fortunately, operators with this licence are not charged any renewal fee.

Type of Licence

The two main types of licences include B2B and B2C. The latter allow the operator to offer gambling activities such as esports betting, sports betting, and casino gambling, whereas the B2B licence provides gambling materials such as casino games and allows partnerships with several software providers.

Why Is it Important for Gambling Sites To Have Authorised Licences?

A gambling licence is a prerequisite for a betting site as it provides a legal basis for operation. This industry is highly regulated to protect both players/punters and operators from money laundering and fraud. Other reasons why esportsbook must have authorised licences include;

  • Acceptance in international jurisdictions
  • Obtain the credibility and authenticity that licensing offers
  • Ability to negotiate collaborations with industry-leading developers that offer the best games
  • Protects the business from convictions and legal charges for operating an illegal gambling site
  • With a licence, it is easy for an operator to negotiate reasonable terms of operation with payment providers and merchants
  • Licensed operators can list their gaming apps on Play and Apple Store
  • Offer gambling services to users around the globe where the licence is accepted.

Summary

An online gambling licence is a must-have for betting sites looking to operate legally in the industry. Businesses can obtain either/both an international/offshore or local licence depending on the market coverage they are aiming to operate.

Popular gaming jurisdictions include Malta, the Isle of Man, Curaçao, the United Kingdom and more. The Malta Gaming Authority and the UK Gambling Commission licences are the leading licensing authorities but tend to be quite expensive. Nonetheless, players are still guaranteed ultimate protection and fair play with betting sites licensed in other recognised jurisdictions.


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FAQ

Gambling Licence FAQs

Our top sportsbooks licensed by the UK Gambling Commission include NetBet, Mr Green, 888sport, and 10bet.

Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, Curaçao eGaming, and the Isle of Man Gambling Commission are among the top licensing bodies.

A gambling licence helps create a safe gambling environment for both punters and betting companies. Gambling regulators apply strict rules which ensure fair play and prevent fraud.

To obtain a licence, an operator should first be a legally registered entity. The regulators also require operators to provide various documentation, including financial statements. There are specific rules and regulations that these companies must adhere to. Registration fees, annual fees, and renewal fees are among other requirements.

Gibraltar, Curaçao, Kahnawake, Isle of Man, and Alderney are considered the best offshore jurisdictions.

Hey! Peris here, an ardent content writer and sports fanatic. I have over three years of experience in sports writing, iGaming and esports. If not creating content, you will find me playing FIFA, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch games.

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