Opening an online casino: 5 popular gambling jurisdictions to choose from

11 August 2016

It’s not a secret that in the offline and online casino systems, players lose more often than they win.  So if you want to make money through gambling, it is better to become a casino owner than a player. One of the richest people in the world, Sheldon Adelson, has made his fortune (about $30 billion) running gambling businesses in the Unites States.

When it comes to opening a casino, online variants are more preferable because they require less pre-launch and after-launch expenses.  However, many countries have laws that prohibit businesses from running gambling websites. For example, in the United States, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 applies limits on gaming site transactions involving the collection of Internet bets or wagers.

If you can’t open an online casino in your country, you can register your gambling business in an offshore area where this activity is legal. However, each offshore area has its own rules and laws, and the cost of the gambling license may vary from several thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. Before making the final choice, you need to consider all nuances of gambling jurisdictions.

Antigua and Barbuda


Application fee – $15,000

Annual fee – $100,000

The gambling jurisdiction of this Caribbean island state is one of the most expensive ones. The FSRC Gaming Division offers two types of gambling licenses, the first one is for interactive gaming companies including online casinos, and the second one is for interactive wagering companies. The application fee is $15,000; the annual fee for obtaining an interactive gaming license is $100,000. On average, the application process takes up to 60 days.

Before opening an online casino in Antigua and Barbuda, a licensee has to make a reserve of no less than $100,000. This reserve will act as a form of security for your website players. The annual monitoring system fee is $25,000 per license. Plus, similar to health warnings on cigarette packages, it is obligatory to place a website banner warning users about compulsive gambling and about contacting organizations that can help them to deal with their addiction.



Application fee ~ €2,000

Monthly fee – €1,500

Curacao is the fastest and cheapest solution to open an online casino. Getting a gambling license takes just 6 weeks. There are two ways to do it: first, you can apply for a master license covering all game types, software providers, and product operators. The second way is to get a sublicense to work under the auspices of the master license. In this case, you will have the same rights as master licensees, but you can’t offer your own sublicenses.

The application fee is just about €2,000; the monthly license support fee is €1,500. If your gambling business is registered in another country, you can apply for a special Ezone permit to benefit from a low net corporate income tax rate of 2%, and a 0% tax rate on gross bets. Curacao is a good choice for businesses who want to open their online casino as soon as possible. They can get a “fast” Curacao license while waiting for the approval of their application in another gambling jurisdiction.



Application fee – €2,330

Annual fee – €8,500

An independent republic and a member of the European Union, Malta is a large and reputable gambling jurisdiction offering affordable rates. The Remote Gaming Regulations offer four classes of Remote Gaming Licenses depending on the type of your business (online casino games, lotteries, online sports and betting, poker networks, software vendors, etc.). The licenses are granted for five years. The application fee is €2,330; the yearly license fee is €8,500.

The gaming taxes in Malta can vary depending on the class of your license. In general, online casino-style games require a Class 1 license. In this case, the gaming taxes are €4,660 per month during the first six months, and then they rise to €7,000 per month. The minimum share capital required for a Class 1 license is €100,000.

The license application process is quite long because you need to go through five stages including several compliance audits. You’ll need to provide your personal and financial information and business plan with a detailed review of marketing strategies and growth targets. Your gambling software will also be tested before you can legally open your casino website.



Package fee for the 1st year – €25.000 

Each successive year – €15.000

Montenegro has been offering gambling licenses for online casinos, sports betting, poker games, etc. since 2012.  They have a special “all-in-one” service packet that includes all operational costs for opening and registering your business, getting a license and payment processing. The package fee is €25.000 for the first year and €15.000 for each successive year.

Montenegro offers a fast and easy license application process. A new business can be registered just for two days, and there is practically no minimum capital requirement to form a limited liability company and get a gambling license. Another advantage of the Montenegro jurisdiction is a low 9% corporate and personal tax rate.

Isle of Man


Application fee – £5,000

Annual fee – £35,000

The Isle of Man is an independent self-governing island providing a stable environment for gambling businesses. The Gambling Supervision Commission offers 3 levels of a gambling license: Network Services license, full license and sub-license. The full license is a single license for your gaming business – the application fee is £5,000, the annual fee is £35,000. The licensing process takes 10-12 weeks.

In order to gain a gambling license, the business should be registered in the Isle of Man and all related casino servers must also be hosted in the Isle of Man. The island offers an attractive 0% corporation tax rate, but you will need to pay the gambling duty – 0.1- 1.5% depending on the gross profit.

Casinos are the most popular form of modern gambling. With the development of online technologies and software, you can easily turn human passions into money. Just imagine: if each user leaves just five dollars in your casino, and you attract at least a hundred gamers per day (that visitor traffic is considered low), your profit will be $500 per day. Your task is to choose the right gambling jurisdiction to legally conduct your business at minimal costs. Making the right decision is the first step on the way to the jackpot.

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