Gibraltar Gaming License
Gibraltar is a small country situated on the Iberian Peninsula, a part of the European Union, and an offshore zone under the control of Great Britain.
In early 90-s gambling became popular in Gibraltar and the gambling authority started issuing licenses for online casinos. Despite this jurisdiction is quite demanding, Gibraltar’s license provides following benefits:
- low and flexible taxes – as well as in other offshore regions;
- high reputation of the license, as it is issued on the EU territory;
- opportunity to become a part of the European market;
- foreigners receive the same guarantees as to the local companies;
- payment transactions confidentiality;
- an opportunity to get a Merchant Account.
The Gambling Act 2005 (the “Act”) represents the main piece of legislation in connection with gambling activity in Gibraltar. The Act is significantly modelled on the UK Gambling Act 2005 and covers the licensing and regulation of land-based and remote gambling. It sets out the guidelines to be followed, makes provision for the form of application for a gaming licence and establishes the standards with which existing and prospective operators are expected to comply.
The regulation of all licensed gambling activity falls within the remit of the Gambling Commissioner and his regulatory team. The Gambling Commissioner is appointed by the Minister for Gambling (whose office extends to the role of the licensing authority, the “Licensing Authority”) and is required to ensure that operators holding licences act within the terms of their licence agreements and the Act, and in a way that maintains the good reputation of the jurisdiction.
The Act provides for the licensing and regulation of both land-based gambling and remote gambling; the definition of ‘gambling’ in the Act includes:
- betting (including pool betting) and bookmaking;
- gaming; and
- romoting or entering a lottery.
Furthermore, ‘betting’ is defined as “making or accepting a bet on:
- the outcome of a race, competition or other event of any description;
- the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring; or
- whether anything is or is not true – but does not include any bet made or stake hazarded in the course of, or incidental to, any gaming and the expressions bet, betting and booking shall be construed accordingly”.
Gaming includes all types of casino games, poker slots, machine gaming, bingo and all other number games without limitation. It is defined as the playing of a game of chance for a prize and a game of chance includes:
- a game that involves an element of chance and an element of skill;
- a game that involves an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill;
- a game that is presented as involving an element of chance; and
- a game where a computer generates images or data taken to represent the actions of another participant or participants in the game.”
Finally, a lottery is defined as any scheme for the distribution of prizes by chance or lot in which the participants or a substantial number of them make a contribution for the purposes of participation in the chances of the lottery and includes tombola, but does not include any gaming.
The Companies Act 2014, which came into effect in November 2014, impacts upon companies carrying out gambling activities in Gibraltar. The Act is modelled on various aspects of UK legislation and also incorporates EU obligations. It sets out the regime of company procedures and basic requirements to which companies providing gambling services must adhere.
In connection with the Act, the Gambling Commissioner has issued various Codes of Practice (the “Codes”) for the Gambling Industry which specify detailed requirements to be met by remote and non-remote licence holders in Gibraltar; these Codes can be found at the Government of Gibraltar website at www.gibraltar.gov.gi/new/remote-gambling. The Gambling Commissioner’s guidance in the ‘Generic Code’ expands upon a range of requirements found in the Act, such as the duty for operators to publicise rules, and the procedures relating to complaints, responsible gambling, operating procedures and internal controls. With regard to remote gambling licence holders, the Generic Code also goes into detail in respect of, inter alia, the relevant information to be included on websites, the integrity of equipment and customer registration. In addition, a further Code of Practice published by the Gambling Commissioner is dedicated to anti-money laundering arrangements (see question 2.9 below).
Further, with regard to online operators, the Gambling Commissioner has published guidelines on the Remote Technical and Operating Standards for the Gibraltar Gambling Industry. These guidelines elaborate upon the principles established in the Codes and provide clear and comprehensive assistance on how to meet the broader policy requirements of Gibraltar’s regulatory framework.
In Gibraltar, there is no legislation which specifically or implicitly addresses the concept of social gaming within the parameters of the above definition. The Act is clear and unambiguous in that, to fall within the definition of ‘gaming’ (and thus fall within the gambling legislative and regulatory framework), the activity in question must involve a prize. As such, we take the view that if a game does not involve a prize element, it falls outside the regulatory regime and can generally operate from Gibraltar without obtaining a licence. The activity will not be treated as ‘gambling’ or ‘gaming’ and thus any operator or provider of such games would not require any specific licence in Gibraltar.
There are 4 types of licenses in Gibraltar. You can receive a few licenses at once, the main point is to have the legal ground for all kinds of online and offline activities which you plan to provide.
- Casino gaming, which covers all kinds of luck games: poker, slots, casino, and others;
- Betting: sports and horse race, fantasy games. This license also includes phone bids;
- “Social” gaming.
As a company owner, you also have to define the business direction. You can provide services under the B2C of B2B license. The B2C segment involves serving the players directly. The B2B license need if you plan to become a part of a gambling market with a bias on other businesses serving. In any case, you can get a license as:
- Remote Betting B2C Operator.
- Other Remote B2C Gambling Products.
- Non-Remote B2C Gaming Operator.
- Non-Remote B2C Betting Operator.
- Gaming B2B Support Services.
Following requirements are needed to obtain a Gibraltar gambling license:
- First of all, an applicant has to present a brief outline (for 2-3 pages) of the future activity of the company, a business plan, personal information about each business partner/owner and employees, information about the licenses issued in other countries and the proven gambling experience.
- Secondly, the applicant must present information about the financial position of the company (proofs of its solvency). The company must have a certain capital, which be used for the player’s betting.
- An applicant must guarantee that all the information and advertising presented in the application are trustworthy.
- The company has to receive personal information from players, including their full name, current address and date of birth. The readiness to follow this rule should be display in the application.
- An annual audit is required.
- Real office availability in Gibraltar.
- Bank account in Gibraltar.
- Take measures to prevent access to the website for the minors.
- Full license payment.
The procedure of obtaining the Gibraltar gambling license includes several steps:
- Company registration in Gibraltar, appointing of a local company representative.
- Drafting a business plan, which includes the business goals, information on all types of games you plan to provide, list of payment systems, projections for the next 3 years.
- Passing a check on business equipment, getting approval.
- Collecting and filing the documents.
The process can take from 14 to 90 days depending on the type of license and license quantity.
Following documents will be included:
- names of the founders of the company;
- a copy of the Charter of the company and the owners’ decisions on its registration;
copies of passports of founders and shareholders;
- bank certificates with the information of the accounts availability and the presence of funds on them;
- indication of the domain and site, which you plan to use for the profit gaining;
- positive audit results indicating the high quality of a casino software;
- recommendations from respected representatives of the financial system of a non-resident country.
Licensing Fees and Duration
The cost of a Gibraltar license start from Euro 40,000. The exact cost depends on the type of license.
The license is issued for a period of 5 years, and the renewal for each year cost about Euro 28,000.
Despite stringent requirements, Gibraltar is an attractive jurisdiction in terms of gambling taxation. The gambling tax here is only 0.15% of revenue. Also, there is no added value tax on this country.
- B2B license owners have to pay Euro 120,000 annually as a license fee.
- B2C license owners must pay Euro 90,000 annually as a license fee.