Ron Mendelson is the Director of Costa-Rica based International Business & Corporate Services consultancy firm, Fast Offshore. With over 24 years of real-world experience in iGaming Licensing and Payments, Regulatory Compliance, Tax-Efficient Corporate Structuring, Incubator and other Hedge Fund Licenses, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency related services, he advises a number of international clients on their business needs in the Americas, Europe, and beyond.
The end of the year is fast approaching, but the online gambling sector is far from slowing down. This means there are still plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to start an online gambling company and be successful in one of the most dynamic sectors of the last decade. But the first step of that process is always deciding where to get licensed. In his latest column for Yogonet, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson shares expert advice on the top three jurisdictions in 2022.
Malta has been offering online gambling licenses since 2001 when it became one of the first European jurisdictions to do so. Since then, the gambling sector in the country has grown considerably, and it has become one of the most sought locations for iGaming firms due to it being an EU member state.
In addition, the country offers an infrastructure geared up to work with gambling firms, a welcoming business environment, favorable fiscal measures, and a gold seal of approval as one of the world’s best license issuers. However, a Malta gambling license does come at a cost. The application process is comprehensive, and there are many obligations that prospective license holders are expected to meet.
These include AML/KYC requirements in line with the EU acquis, strict compliance rules, and domestic obligations relating to fair gaming, advertising, RNG, and responsible gambling. In terms of benefits, license holders can enjoy a stable base for their business, a tax rate of 35% but with a complete imputation system reducing it to de facto single figures, and the prestige of having a license from a member of the European Union.
Malta is the perfect location for those operators who want a license with a great reputation and have the money to pay for it, or those who are moving on from a license in Curacao or Kahnawake and can justify the expense.
The Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake issues online gambling licenses to companies that can meet their requirements. The application process is more intense than in some other jurisdictions, for example, Curacao, but less complex than in Malta and the Isle of Man. In terms of price, it is somewhere in the middle, meaning it is affordable for both startups and established brands.
At Fast Offshore, we usually recommend the Kahnawake license to those who are looking for a first license and want to build their company before considering applying for a second license elsewhere or getting an additional one. As well as being affordable, the process can be completed in just a few weeks, which is perfect for those on a tight schedule.
The process of compiling and submitting documents is not over-the-top, but they do maintain high standards. The authorities actively supervise all license holders for compliance with fair and responsible gambling and other legal and regulatory matters. Reputation is extremely important to them, and they take violations very seriously. If you are found to be bringing the jurisdiction into disrepute in any way, you can face significant penalties, including having your license withdrawn.
Bonuses of the Kahnawake license include zero tax on revenue generated outside of the country, meaning more profits for you to expand your online gambling site.
The Isle of Man is not one of the most well-known gambling license jurisdictions, but it is considered one of the best. It has an outstanding reputation, provides easy access to the UK market, and offers a range of benefits for those holding a license. These include a simple and efficient tax framework, a highly-skilled workforce, and access to world-class infrastructure that is essential to running a successful gambling site. However, the stakes are high to get your hands on one.
The application process can take longer than Kahnawake, and the costs, including application and renewal, are higher.
Furthermore, the obligations are strict, and authorities take much care in ensuring standards are upheld constantly. But for those that want access to the European and UK market, and for whom reputation is key, Isle of Man is a great choice. Not only that, but it offers a great deal of stability and assurance, and the authorities welcome those operating in iGaming.
Ancillary services of the highest quality are available locally, and all in all, it is the perfect license for established brands that are looking to be top of the game. We do get some startups going straight for the Isle of Man license, but this always depends on the budget, needs, and time frame of those involved.
Fast Offshore has been helping gambling companies get licensed for the last 25 years. During that time, we have amassed significant experience in applying for licenses, maintaining them, and assisting iGaming companies with their other corporate needs. We are transparent, efficient, and highly professional at all times, but we also provide a human touch to our client relationships. Contact us today to benefit from our expertise and get your business going.