The Curacao, Kahnawake and Malta online gambling license

Those looking to set up an online casino or similar can choose from a number of jurisdictions when it comes to licensing. Each online gambling license has its own benefits, drawbacks and features which make it suitable for one client, but not another.

Over the years, out of all the jurisdictions offering online gambling licensing, three clear forerunners have emerged; Malta, Curacao, and Kahnawake. In this article, we will take a look at each license and compare them, helping you to make a better decision for your business needs.

The top three gaming licenses

The island of Curacao has been offering its online casino license since 1993 and is one of the oldest iGaming jurisdictions in the world. You can offer gambling from Curacao, but not within the territory.

Kahnawake is a Mohawk terrority located in Quebec, Canada. The Kahnawake license was established in 1999 and it is a popular choice for operators.

Malta is an EU Member State and its license is considered one of the most reputable and well-respected licenses in the world. But of course, this does come at a price.

How long to get the online gambling license?

Curacao has the quickest turn around time. When managed properly, it can take as little as two-three working days. The Maltese license, on the other hand, can take as much as 12 weeks. The Malta Gaming Authority also requires face-to-face meetings with applicants as well as significant amounts of paperwork. Kahnawake is somewhere in the middle and it usually takes around 8 weeks to get the license in hand.

Of course, in each case, it depends entirely on the timely and correct submission of required documents. Sometimes licensing authorities will require additional documents that can draw out the process.

The Curacao license is good for those who want to go live ASAP, Malta is good for those playing the long game, and Kahnawake is for those who don’t mind either way.

Difficulty of the application process

No licensing application process is easy, but some are easier than others. The Curacao license is by far the quickest and easiest on the market. You only need one license that will cover all operations and there are minimal maintenance requirements. Also, you need to keep good financial records and abide by various compliance and fair gaming standards. 

In Kahnawake, there are different licenses on offer depending on what services you want to provide. For an online casino, you must apply for the Client Provider Authorisation. While still a simple process, it is a bit more complex than the Curacao license. More due diligence is required and there are additional standards relating to gaming and operational ethics.

The process of applying for a Malta online gambling license is considerably more complex. There are strict criteria and high standards that must be met initially and on an ongoing basis. As well as KYC, all applicants have to provide references, letters of good standing, and complete a fit and proper test. Also required are compliance and software audits that are carried out periodically. 

What’s the cost of an online gambling license?

The Curacao online gambling license is by far the lowest in price. For this reason, it is recommended for small businesses and startups. The Kahnawake license is a step up price-wise. It includes additional costs for Key Person License applications as well.

The Maltese license is the most expensive both at the application stage and in terms of ongoing maintenance. There are fees every 12 months and depending on what games you offer, there may be additional taxes. License holders also have to pay a compliance contribution that can reach EUR 600,000 depending on how much revenue the entity makes.

What are the benefits?

In Curacao, the benefits are the quick and low-cost setup costs. This along with its 0% tax rate and minimal ongoing obligations make it an ideal choice. There is also 0% VAT in Curacao and license holders can offer services around the world, except Australia, Aruba, Curacao, Cyprus, France, Netherlands, UK, and the USA.

Kahnawake is a good option because it also enjoys a 0% tax rate. Startup fees are low and the time frame of getting everything up and running is still relatively quick. Those holding a Kahnawake online gambling license are only restricted from offering services to countries were iGaming is illegal, and FATF blacklisted nations.

The benefits of a Maltese license include enjoying the prestige that comes withholding it. In addition, tax rates in Malta are set at 35% but shareholders can reduce this to as little as 5% through the full imputation tax regime. Those holding a Maltese license are only stopped from offering services to customers in FATF blacklisted countries, and territories where it is illegal.

Across all jurisdictions, license holders are not allowed to service countries in FATF blacklisted countries or countries where online gambling has been deemed illegal.

Fast Offshore has been helping clients obtain an online gambling license for over 22 years. There’s no-one better placed to advise and guide you through the whole process. If you’re thinking of opening an online gambling platform, contact us today.