By Ron Mendelson, Fast OffShore

Different types of online gambling license

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.

Reading time 3:20 min

If you are mulling setting up an online gambling company, you are likely looking at which jurisdiction to base yourself in. This alone is a difficult decision, but it is made harder by the fact that some jurisdictions have multiple different kinds of licenses. But not every license on offer is relevant to you, and it is important to know the difference. In his latest column for Yogonet, iGaming industry consultant Ron Mendelson analyzes the jurisdictions of Curacao, Kahnawake, Isle of Man, as well as Malta and explains the types of licenses they offer. 


Master License

A master license is valid for five years at a time, and it allows the issuance of sub-licenses to other entities. Each master license holder is responsible for supervising, processing, and approving licensing applications and must uphold the rules. There are currently four master license holders, and it is not likely to be a license you would apply for.

Sub License

The Curacao sub-license allows the holder to offer online gambling services from Curacao. These include slots, casinos, poker, and live dealer games, amongst others. The license is acquired from a master license holder. If you want to offer a casino from Curacao, this is the license you will apply for.


Interactive Gaming License

This is a license that is issued to an approved hosting facility in Kahnawake. There can only be one issued at any given time, and since 1999 it has been held by Mohawk Internet Technologies. This means it is highly unlikely that you would want to apply for an Interactive Gaming License.

Client Provider Authorization

Otherwise known as a CPA, it is issued to entities that want to offer online gambling from a hosting facility in Kahnawake. The entity holding the license is known as an Authorized Client Provider, and there is no limit on how many such licenses the commission can issue. The holder of this license can issue any kind of interactive gaming, including sports betting, casino, and poker.

Inter-Jurisdictional Authorization

This license is issued to an entity that already has an iGaming license from another jurisdiction. It is issued in cases whereby the operator wants to locate some or all of its personnel or even equipment within Kahnawake. The primary jurisdiction retains responsibility for the entity, particularly in terms of compliance.

Key Person License

A Key Person License is one that is issued to an individual who holds the level of operational or management functions in an entity. It is required that at least one person hold a license, although there can be more. All information on those holding the license remains confidential and restricted to the commission.

Isle of Man

Main OGRA License

The main OGRA license is available for five years and gives the holder the right to run an online gambling site from the Isle of Man. Holders of a full license can also offer technology to sub-licenses under a reduced-fee sub-license scheme.

Sub-licenses under OGRA

Sub-licenses can be offered in cases where an entity wants to operate exclusively with the holder of a full license. While the players will register with the sub-licensee, the games will be provided by the full license holder. Entities are restricted to working with just one full license holder at a time, but the full license holder can offer services to as many entities as they want and can also register its own players.

Network Services License

This license is necessary if the gambling operator wants to allow players that are registered with a non-Isle of Man operator onto its Isle of man server without having to re-register them. It offers everything the main license offers, plus the ability to engage with players registered elsewhere, facilitating a swift migration of player data to the Isle of Man server.

Software Supply License

The Software Supply license came into force in 2019, and it is a non-mandatory license with a range of benefits. It involves the testing of a software company’s games and the addition of them to the game's registry, meaning they can be used by Isle of Man licensees without any additional checks or certifications.


Gaming Service License

The Gaming Service license allows the holder to offer or provide any online gambling services to any customer as per the terms of the license. This can include poker, casino, slots, live dealer, and any other kind of game. It is a business-to-customer license and also covers land-based gaming.

Critical Gaming Supply License

This is a B2B license to allow an entity to carry out a critical gaming supply. This could include the supply and management of the material elements of a game, software related to regulatory records, or the control system.

Fast Offshore

For 25 years, Fast Offshore has been working in the iGaming sector, helping startups get licensed and up and running. We can assist with all manner of corporate matters such as incorporation, licensing, compliance, payments, and ongoing maintenance. To find out more about the different licenses and jurisdictions, contact Fast Offshore today!

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