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4 March, 2022

Gambling Licences: What You Need To Know in 2024

It’s no secret that almost every industry in the global economy is undergoing a digital transformation. The introduction of crypto, blockchain, Internet of Things, and SaaS – to name a few – are disrupting traditional sectors at light speed. The gambling industry is no exception. However, changes in technology bring about new questions, regulations, and complexities that prospective online casino and sportsbook operators need to navigate.

One of the topics that comes up most often in our conversations with prospective online casino operators is gaming licences. We’ve put together this article to share everything you need to know about a gaming licence, gambling licence, or betting licence.

For the purposes of this article, gaming licence, betting licence and gambling licence will be used interchangeably.

What is an online gambling licence?

In short, a gambling licence is a granted certification from a reputable regulatory authority that allows you to start an online casino or sportsbook in a specific region. If you want to run a legal iGaming operation, you need a gaming licence.

Some countries and regions have more stringent requirements around online gambling than others. For example, in the United States, gambling is legalised at the state level, and licences are issued by state governments. This means that in order to legally operate an online casino or sportsbook, you need to secure licences specific to the states in which you want to accept wagers from. Having a licence in one state does not permit you to run your business in a different state without acquiring an additional licence for the other state. Learn more about starting an online casino in the US and check out this state-specific guide to online gambling in the U.S.

To be sure about the specific requirements of the region you want to take bets from, contact your local gaming and gambling authority to learn about any applicable licences you’ll need to set up an iGaming operation. If you’re not sure where to start, contact us and we can help point you in the right direction.

Do I need a gambling licence if I only want to accept wagers in crypto?

Yes. To run a legal and compliant gambling business you need to have a gaming licence. This applies to starting a crypto casino as well. There is no such thing as a specific crypto gambling licence. If you are an iGaming operator and you accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as a payment mechanism then you need to have the appropriate licences that legally allow you to do so. Even the most popular crypto-based casinos like Stake have gaming licences.

Ambiguous legislation around crypto is partly responsible for the misconception among some iGaming operators that gaming licences aren’t required to run a crypto casino or sportsbook. Legally, there is no difference between running a crypto casino or a traditional fiat casino. As an online casino operator, you still need to hold the relevant licensing for the regions you operate in, and ensure you are compliant with the corresponding Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) rules. Make sure to consult your legal team or a reputable betting technology provider to ensure that your operation is compliant with the laws of your jurisdiction regardless of whether you accept wagers in fiat currency, cryptocurrency, or both. In the case of online gambling, it’s better to conduct the proper due diligence up front than face hefty fines and penalties for non-compliance further down the road.

Are there any other benefits to having a gambling licence?

The benefits of gambling licences extend beyond regulatory compliance as well. Assuming you are not developing your casino games or sportsbook product in-house, and are partnering with an online casino software provider for your technology needs, having a licence is crucial. No reputable iGaming solutions provider will work with an operator who does not hold proper licensing. In order to offer a wide variety of third party casino games that players have come to expect, you will need a licence or the game developer will not permit their games on your site.

In addition to being necessary to getting your business operational, holding a gaming licence also adds a stamp of credibility to your operation which helps with player acquisition and retention. Think of the bettor who is evaluating a new online casino or sportsbook. Seeing an accredited gambling licence on your website gives them the confidence they need in order to make that first time deposit. A gambling licence provides added confidence to bettors that their money is safe, payouts are assured, and games aren’t rigged unfairly. After that first deposit, you can nurture players with different online casino marketing strategies to keep them coming back to your website. Don’t underestimate the impact that a stamp of credibility has on the effects of first time deposits to your website.

In the following sections, we’ll explore two major developments to iGaming licences that you need to be aware of in 2024.

Curaçao Gaming Licence Updates in 2024

In September 2023, Curaçao, renowned for its status as an iGaming haven, underwent significant regulatory changes with the implementation of the Compliance Ordinance on Games of Chance. This update marked a pivotal shift in the island’s online gaming landscape, introducing a comprehensive framework overseen by the newly established Curaçao Gaming Authority (CGA). This regulatory body holds the power to grant licences, ensure swift law enforcement, and provide impartial oversight, further enhancing the credibility and integrity of the Curaçao gaming industry.

Curaçao’s licensing advantages, instrumental in attracting numerous online casino and sportsbook operators, continue to evolve. The streamlined application process, which historically allowed for both master and sub-licences, now sees master licence holders restricted to renewing existing sub-licences. Meanwhile, the government exclusively issues a single type of licence.

The advantageous aspects of obtaining a Curaçao gaming licence include expedited processing times, comprehensive coverage for various gaming activities, and favourable taxation rules. Ongoing efforts by the Curaçao government to simplify the licensing process further, aiming for increased cost-effectiveness, underline the commitment to maintaining the island’s allure as a prominent destination for online gaming ventures. Stay ahead of these developments by subscribing to our newsletter for timely updates on Curaçao’s evolving licensing requirements. When you partner with Lion Gaming and opt for our white label casino software or sports betting software, we can provide you with sublicensing options for a Curaçao gaming licence

Brazil’s Online Gambling Regulation in 2024

In a landmark decision, Brazil’s chamber of deputies recently voted to approve online gambling, marking the final step for the market to be officially regulated in 2024. It’s a huge step in the right direction for a country with a huge market for iGaming. Notably, the approved bill underwent rigorous debates and opposition in the senate. Additionally, the approved taxation recommendations from the Economic Affairs Commission, limiting gross gaming revenue (GGR) to 12% and introducing a modified taxation on winnings, further shaped Brazil’s comprehensive gambling regulation.

The journey towards Brazil’s legalized sports betting and casino industry has been a multifaceted one, with recent developments culminating in the approval of online gambling. Initially introduced in May, President da Silva signed PM 1,182 into law in July, initiating the final stretch of this regulatory odyssey. However, the subsequent introduction of Bill 3,626/2023, with amendments that notably included online casino offerings, sparked further debates, ultimately securing approval by the chamber of deputies in September. As the industry awaits final approval from President da Silva, Brazil’s regulatory landscape is poised for significant transformations, with taxation, licensing requirements, and identification processes set to shape the burgeoning market.

Ready to learn more about starting your own legal iGaming operation and how Lion Gaming can help you with the necessary gambling licences? Contact us today at hello@liongaming.io to discover our suite of blockchain-based sportsbook and casino solutions powered by the Fer0x Engine.

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VP of Operations
c.lewis@liongaming.io

Christine Lewis

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