JURISDICTIONS

On-line Gambling Regulations and Jurisdictions

On-line gambling Regulations and the jurisdictions which abide them form a complex theme. Even though the internet has a universal audience, there’s no single law which covers the legality of online gambling worldwide. Most countries and regions have their own regulations which deal with all the legal aspect of the online gambling activity. Several jurisdictions around the world license and regulate operators in the on-line gambling industry.

Normally the jurisdictions which offer licenses to operators have some kind of organizational structure that represents all the legal and regulatory matters relating to i-gaming and wagering. These jurisdictions have all something good to offer and may differ a lot from one another. Some are very stringent, while others are much more unperturbed, meaning that not all operators are subject to the same regulation standards. Several regulators change the related legislation on a regular basis and thus it can be quite difficult to keep up to date with what exactly is and isn’t allowed in the different parts of the country, thus making things more complex.

At IGSN, we keep up to date with the regulatory developments within the industry and can offer you the adequate consultancy and useful information on the subject. Please find below some of the information related to few of the most well-known Regulators.

Alderney

Alderney

The British Channel Islands are self-governing dependencies of the Crown, but they are not part of the United Kingdom, nor are they part of the European Union. The Channel Islands are recognised as one of the world's leading offshore finance centres and have in recent years established themselves as e-commerce centres of excellence.

The gambling jurisdiction including Alderney online gambling laws is managed by Alderney Gambling Control Commission (the AGCC). The AGCC provides licences for remote gambling and permits internet gambling servers to be based in a hosting centre in the territory of Alderney or Guernsey.

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  • Category 1 license for B2C: enables preparation and organization of gambling operations and involves registration and verification of players, contractual relationship and management of players’ funds.
  • Category 2 for B2B: enables effecting of gambling transactions, such as operational management of the gambling platform.

    An organization may apply for one or both licences depending on the services it offers.
Benefits of having an Alderney licence:
  • Companies holding the licence may be qualified for tax-exempt status so that they do not pay income tax, but – a minimal non-profit related fixed annual fee.
  • There is no Vat or other sales taxation as well as no tax or other duties payable on gambling operators.

In 2011 the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) and Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) signed an agreement aimed at cooperation. This international cooperation is of positive impact for the igaming industry.

For further information about the Alderney regulator, please visit Alderney Gambling Control Commission

Austria

Austria

The online gambling legislation in Austria has several restrictions which need to be followed. Companies within the country are eligible to apply for online gambling licenses in Austria but the web sites can accept Austrian players only. However, Austrian citizens can gamble on internet both on the Austrian and international web sites. The Austria-licensed companies are allowed to make advertising campaigns in the country whereas the foreign-licensed ones are not.

The new revised law opens the gates to slot machines, as previously they were restricted to four provinces only.

The new regulation takes in consideration also the geographical factor. The arcade licenses are limited to one for every 1,200 people (or one for every 600 in Vienna), and a minimum distance of 15 kilometres between each arcade (or 2km in Vienna).

For further information about the Alderney regulator, please visit here

Australia

Australia

Online gambling in Australia is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA).
The IGA does not allow to providers to offer poker and casino to Australian residents, some concessions are made for online sports betting providers since it's not illegal to offer internet sports betting to the Australian residents.

On-line wagering

IGA allows On-line wagering, except where wagers are accepted on-line after a sporting event has started or use real-time betting. Online wagering on a non-sporting event, before or after it has started, is allowed. Telephone betting via a standard voice call is exempt from the IGA.

On-line lotteries

Online lotteries and the online sale of lottery tickets are permitted by the IGA.

The exception is for online instant and scratch lotteries, which in practice are virtually indistinguishable from other online, player-initiated games.

Interactive gambling in Australia is currently undergoing extensive review. To obtain current information, please contact the Commission on +61 2 6207 2086, or email inquiries to grc@act.gov.au.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Online gambling in Australia is regulated by the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA).
The Central American country of Costa Rica has become a home jurisdiction for more than 300 online gambling companies, without a legislation specifically dealing with online gambling. No specific license is required, all gambling corporations work under a “data processing license” which must be obtained in the Municipality (City hall).

The Operation must have a physical office in Costa Rica. You can refer to the local authorized consultants for assistance to obtain your licence. They will open a physical place in the name of the company, register the company and obtain the permissions in all governmental bodies, and fulfil any other specific requirement according to the zone where the physical place is going to be opened. Once this procedure is completed, they obtain the legal “data processing license” in the name of your company, so you as a client are sure to have no obstacles in developing your business.

Regarding internet betting legislation in Costa Rica, the local government issues licenses to companies that offer gambling services online to non-local internet gamblers.

Not long ago government has introduced a new law for obtaining an online gaming license. The new license clearly states “internet gaming” as the licensed business activity. It takes 1-2 months to process the license and have it registered.

The cost for the Costa Rican corporation and license is $15,000 compared to €60,000 -€100,000 to in many other countries. Once you have the license, it is €1000 or $1,500 every three months to keep it active.
For more details about obtaining an online gaming license in Costa Rica, please refer to GLC

Curaçao

Curaçao

Curaçao used to be a part of the Netherlands Antilles up to October, 10, 2010 when Curaçao gained the status of a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Online gambling became a central industry for the island of Curacao in 2002 when the regulation of internet gaming was separated from the Curacao Gaming Control Board.
Curaçao offers an attractive environment for International ecommerce activities. As far as on-line gambling is concerned, Curaçao offers only one License type that covers all product operators or software providers. Curaçao jurisdictions license covers skill games, chance games and sports betting.
Electronic commerce can be conducted on computer hardware located in the government ezone via the internet, offering such benefits as a net corporate income tax rate of only 2%, 0% tax on Gross Bets, no import duties, no sales (turnover) tax. Besides, there’s no VAT in Curaçao jurisdiction as well as restricted dividend withdrawals.

Curaçao offers two formats to be licensed:
  • Master licence: A master licence licenses the e-gaming company itself, and in addition opens the possibility to sub-license third parties subject to the responsibility and covenants under the master licence.
  • Sub-licence: A sub-licence - under a master licence - offers the same rights to run an e-gaming business legitimately, but without the possibility of further sub-licensing.

Since Curaçao gained its status of a constituent country, it has become a separate jurisdiction with its own government and legislation. Thus, Curaçao is entitled to grant e-gaming licences with no compliance with the Netherlands Antilles National Ordinance on Offshore Hazard Games legislation.

For more details on obtaining a licence, please visit Curaçao eGaming.

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Situated at the southernmost tip of Europe, Gibraltar provide licenses to twenty operators under the Gambling Ordinance that denotes the borders of the on-line gambling legislation in Gibraltar.

Types of Licenses

In compliance with the Gambling Ordinance 2005 the Licensing Authority may grant licenses of the following types:

  • a bookmaker’s licence
  • a betting intermediary’s licence
  • a gaming operator’s license
  • a gaming machine license
  • a lottery promoter’s license
  • a pools promoter’s license
  • a remote gambling license

The Licensing Authority and the Gambling Commissioner are responsible for attending the duties regulated by the Gambling Ordinance 2005. The Licensing Authority is empowered to investigate whether an applicant is appropriate to get the Gibraltar online gambling licence, to make the renewal of licences’ and suspension or revocation in relevant circumstances.

According to the Gambling Ordinance 2005 only the licence holder has the right to provide facilities for any kind of remote gambling within the country. The document announces the minimum allowed age for gambling and licence holders should ensure the authorities that they do not offer their services to persons under that age. It is allowed to gamble at the age of 18, but for the lotteries with no money prizes – at the age of 16

Isle of Man

Isle of Man

Isle of Man is a reputable offshore jurisdiction that has always been encouraging the development of Internet gambling since the introduction of Isle’s of Man Internet gambling laws specifically designed to benefit gambling and e-gaming firms and fully protect customers in 2001.

The benefits include a zero rate of tax for many companies. The Manx Government does not levy capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth tax.

The GSC is available to offer guidance on the process and discussion around the interpretation of OGRA throughout the application process. However, the GSC will not provide legal advice.

Types of on-line gambling which require an OGRA license

The offerings below require OGRA licenses:
  • Sportsbooks
  • Betting exchanges
  • Online casino games (roulette, blackjack, slots, etc)
  • Live dealing
  • Peer to peer games (poker, bingo, backgammon, Mah-jong, etc)
  • Mobile phone betting
  • Fantasy football (or similar)
  • Financial trading (but not spread betting)
  • Pari-mutuel and pool betting
  • Network gaming
  • Lotteries 1
  • Certain spot-the-ball style games
  • Network services

There is a number of online gambling regulations introduced by the Gambling Supervision Commission in order to apply for an online gambling license in the Isle of Man. The first document to study on the topic is the Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001 (OGRA) that covers all games connected with telecommunication, betting money, randomness and chance games.

For more information on obtaining an online gambling licence, Isle of Man regulations and sample Application forms, visit Gambling Supervision Commision.

Italy

Italy

The Italian Government follows many European countries in regards to their extensive gambling legislation. The State has exclusive power to provide the rights to gamble. The government has increased the responsibilities of a pre-existing government agency, AAMS (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stado – Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies) to include the gambling market. It has entrusted the AAMS with all gambling matters, from issuing gambling licences to enforcing all administrative legal aspects of gambling. All gaming, betting, lotteries and games of chance are to be offered, organised, and managed in compliance with specific laws, regulations, and licences. Violation of these conditions has serious consequences, including: criminal trial, imprisonment, fines, forfeitures, bails, parole and other restrictions of freedom (such as being prohibited from entering gambling halls). Additionally, other violations of Italy’s gambling laws can be punished via administrative actions such as monetary fines or suspension or withdrawal of business licences.

Italy has experienced a shift from banning all gambling to being differentiating between permissible and illegitimate gambling.

Over the last five years Italy has proved its pioneering leading approach to online gaming legislation.

The Abruzzo Decree” dated April, 28 2009 has become a new landmark in Italian gaming reform process and concerned the following:
  • Legalization of on-line fixed odds games of chance (on-line casinos and Vegas-style games)
  • Mandate to AAMS to regulate betting exchange, betting on virtual events and video lottery games (“VLTs”).
  • Introduction of an unprecedented profit-based tax regime with a flat 20% rate applying to all new games listed above other than the VLTs. This provision is of paramount importance as it paves the way to the launch of games that otherwise could have never been offered in Italy given its penalizing turnover-based tax regime which however will continue to apply to sports and horse races betting, bingo, lotteries and skill games (including on-line poker tournaments that will thus continue to be taxed at 3% of the total tournament buy-ins sold by the operator).

New possibilities for online gaming industry in Italy have been opened in February 2011 by passing a ‘Comunitaria’ decree legalizing online casino and poker cash games in the country.

Once the application for the license is submitted to AAMS, the regulator will then have three months to review the documentation and issue the license. But the license itself will not enable operators to immediately start providing the licensed games. They will first go through an authorization procedure, that in case of casino games, card games and skill games, also requires the previous certification of the platform and of each game by a certification entity accredited with AAMS (the so called "EVA

For more details about obtaining a remote gaming license in Italy, please refer to AAMS.

Malta

Malta

Malta was the first EU member state to introduce Remote Gambling regulations. The authority aims at being neutral in terms of technology and game of any type of gambling by means of distant communication providing decent Online Gambling Jurisdiction in Malta. It means that any remote game which can be completely monitored under Malta MGA is considered for licensing. The most dynamic Internet gambling sector in Malta is regulated by the Remote Gaming Regulations 2004.

To provide Internet betting/gaming services in Malta one should apply for a license of the relevant class :
  • Class 1 covers casino-type games, skill games and online lotteries and is for operators responsible for the risk on repetitive games;
  • Class 2 comprises fixed odds betting, pool betting and spread betting and is for operators responsible for the risk on events based on a matchbook;
  • Class 3 includes P2P, poker network, betting exchange and game portals and is for operators taking a commission from promoting and/or betting games;
  • Class 4 permits to host and manage remote gaming operators excluding the licensee himself and is for software vendors.

According to Malta Internet Gambling laws, license of any class is issued for five years and could be renewed thereafter for the same periods. The obligatory requirements in Malta Online Gambling Regulation is to locate physically in the country the significant part of the online betting or gaming operations.
For more details about obtaining a remote gaming license in Malta, please refer to MGA.

UK

UK

The Gambling Commission was set up under the Gambling Act 2005 to regulate commercial gambling in Great Britain. On 1 October 2013 we also took over the responsibilities of the National Lottery Commission to regulate the National Lottery under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993.

If you want to run a gambling service through remote communication (including online gambling), and any part of your remote gambling equipment is based in Great Britain, there is no single type of licence that you may apply to the Gambling Commission for. Instead, they offer remote operating licences for each type of gambling activity you might want to run.

This includes:
  • betting
  • bingo
  • casino games
  • gaming machines
  • gambling software
  • lotteries

You will also need any relevant personal licenses, as explained in the gambling sectors above.

Do I need a license if I am based abroad?

You do not need a licence to run a remote gambling service if all of your remote gambling equipment is located outside Great Britain.

From 1 November 2014, if you are providing facilities for remote gambling to consumers in Britain, you will need a remote licence from the Gambling Commission.

Do I need a license to gamble on-line?

You do not need a licence to use gambling websites. The leaflet What to look out for before gambling explains how to be safer when gambling.

For more details about obtaining a remote gaming license in the UK, please refer to the Gambling Commission.