Read in our Curacao Gaming License guide:
- You are here – How to set-up and open an online casino business
- Banking account requirements for online gaming businesses
- Curacao Gaming License requirements
- How to get an online gaming license?
- Online gambling license– How to keep the law and succeed at the same time?
- What licenses are necessary to run a gambling website?
- Online gambling jurisdictions and licensing authorities
- Where can you operate with a Curacao Gaming License?
- Recommended merchant accounts for online gaming businesses
If you want to start an online casino or other internet gaming business there are a few things you should know about the set-up process. You could be thinking of starting a gaming website offering bingo, lottery, sports betting, draws, slots, affiliates or an online casino.
Summary of steps to open an online casino:
- Incorporate your gaming company
- Apply for an online gambling license
- Open a business bank account for your gaming company
- Open a merchant bank account for your gaming company
- Choose payment methods and systems for accepting online payments
- Choose a gaming white label platform
And this is only the beginning, it doesn’t include a list of the ongoing tasks required for running an online gaming company! The set-up process alone is complex and involves an investment of time and money as well as a lot of patience and organization. Let’s take a look at each of these steps in the setting up of an online gaming business.
1. Incorporating your Gaming Company
You can choose from a number of licensing jurisdictions where it is possible to incorporate and license gaming operations. There are licensing jurisdictions in Europe and off-shore. Among the most worthwhile jurisdictions to formulate you company are the UK, Curacao, Malta and Gibraltar. You should choose your jurisdiction according to its reputation, licensing process and cost, company registration process and cost plus the location of your beneficial owners, suppliers and target market. In each jurisdiction there are different requirements and standards you will have to meet in order to formulate your company and obtain a license. The gaming company’s beneficial owners and directors will be subject to certain liabilities, taxation and regulations depending on your chosen jurisdiction.
Make sure you understand all regulations and requirements before registering your company in a jurisdiction as it will be too late to change your mind after the company is formed. Before formulating your company find out if the platform you use requires incorporation in a specific jurisdiction; does your chosen jurisdiction allow appointed directors; will your name and company be associated in public records and is it a common law jurisdiction (based on the British law system) or is there a different legal system you should know about.
2. Apply and Receive an Online Gaming License
Once your company is incorporated the next step is to get an online gaming license. In some jurisdictions, you can register your company in another jurisdiction and associate the license. Without a gaming license you cannot run an online casino legally and there can be serious complications. For example, unlicensed online gaming companies will find it almost impossible to open a corporate bank account or merchant account. Gaming licenses vary and can cover all forms of online gaming (as with the Curacao license) or a specific game – depending on the jurisdiction and its legislation. The licensing process also varies between jurisdictions – some are more complex than others and some are more expensive. Licensing requirements are predefined and so are the fees.
Curacao is a popular licensing jurisdiction because of its reasonable fees, favorable taxation, easy application process and a good infrastructure. The main costs involved in licensing a gaming company are the application fee, legal advice and the license itself. Curacao offers a reasonable license fee of about 25,000 Euro.
3. Open a Business Bank Account for your Gaming Company
Opening a new business bank account for start-up online businesses and online gambling businesses can be complex and challenging. We have years of experience and have amassed valuable knowledge relating to online gaming merchant accounts. We can steer you in the right direction to find a suitable bank for your company. Thanks to our close relationships with numerous banks we can help you find a solution for your international banking services. When choosing a bank for your online gaming company you need to consider whether your chosen bank is comfortable with your business activities; is your company regulated; what jurisdiction is your company registered and licensed in; who are the beneficial owners; what are their source of funds and where are your clients and suppliers located.
The onboarding process for a corporate bank account is tough so that banks can weed out criminal elements and avoid being used for money laundering. The bank will do a risk assessment on your company before accepting you as a new customer. If the bank agrees to open a business account for your company, they may still put limits on your account. This is because many banks are suspicious and unfamiliar with online businesses and online gaming businesses in particular. By limiting your account to accepting funds only from your merchant account the bank can insure the transaction has been approved by another financial institution before reaching your business account.
4. Open a Merchant Bank Account for your Gaming Company
You will need a merchant account in order to accept online credit card payments on your gaming website. Set up payment options to receive payments from players and to pay out winnings. Some merchant banks will be reluctant to open an account for your company as gaming sites are considered high risk. Online gaming operators may have to shop-around for a high-risk merchant account.
5. Choose Payment Methods and Systems for Accepting Online Payments
Funds will pass through the player’s chosen payment option via your merchant account to your business bank account where you can access the money. These days making credit card payments an option for online gaming is a “must” and will improve your chances of success. You will need a credit card processing service to verify the card and to forward the payment. It is important to offer your players multiple payment options, in addition to credit card payments you can include debit card options or an option to pay by cryptocurrency (Bitcoin etc.); emoney wallets like PayPal or via an EMI account like Valyuz. The more payment options you offer the better for your business.
6. Choose a Gaming White Label Platform
Choose white label gaming software and the games you want to offer online. This is the “face” you present to the world, where players will login and play. The software must be able to keep your site running smoothly and it has to be able to help you operate your business easily. Features you should consider in a white label platform for gaming sites is marketing campaigns, fraud management, payment processing, account management, functionality and the appeal your site will have to potential players. There are white label options for most kinds of gaming and choosing a supplier is an important step in the set-up process of your company.
You could opt for a games developer and platforms or a package that includes gaming content of other suppliers (B2B). there are advantages and disadvantages for both options. Gaming developers are usually cheaper and more flexible than B2B supplier packages. With the B2B option you can get games from multiple developers without signing multiple contracts with different developers but it can be a more expensive option. Another decision that needs to be made is whether you will use a casino provider that requires a monthly fee or a casino provider that provides you with source code files giving you access to your casino and full data privacy without a monthly fee.
How to get an online casino license?
1. You must incorporate a company located within the relevant country or territory’s jurisdiction.
2. You must acquire a license valid across all the countries from which you will be gathering gamers. Without a gaming license, you cannot run an online casino legally.
3. Applicants will usually need to disclose their recent and past finances; show a business plan; show identification of Ultimate Beneficial Owners; proof of no criminal record; proof of enough capital and compliance with KYC policies and due diligence showing your plan to prevent underage gambling and money-laundering.
(There can be further requirements depending on the jurisdiction.)
Do you need a license to operate an online casino?
Almost all countries have laws and regulations requiring the issuing of a license before a company can set up and operate an online casino. The few exceptions have extremely bad reputations as havens of illegal activity, where customers will not trust your operations, and it will be almost impossible to establish the necessary infrastructure of banking and merchant accounts.
What jurisdiction is best for an online casino?
With many years of experience, we can report that the top 4 jurisdictions, based on the overall cost of establishing all aspects, availability of licenses, the ease with which an operation can be set up, the value of the country’s reputation with gamblers, and the quality of the infrastructure available for online operations are:
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