Gibraltar is a self-governing territory of the British Crown Dependency. It is also the only overseas territory that is a part of the European Union. Although the UK is responsible for its foreign affairs, Gibraltar remained independent in its legislative matters. This independent region is known worldwide as an off-shore financial center which is why many gambling operators in the United Kingdom have chosen to assign their operations in Gibraltar. This made the gambling sector the largest employer in the region.
Gibraltar has been providing licenses to gambling operators since 1998 and since has been best- known gambling jurisdiction because of its excellent reputation when it comes to its regulatory practices. In fact, Gibraltar is on the “white-list” of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission making it possible to offer their services to residents of the UK. It was recognized with UK’s Gambling Act and became a sector of the European Economic Area in 2005. Since then, Gibraltar continued to develop its gambling legislation and now offers various gambling licenses.
The Government of Gibraltar has only licensed a limited number of gambling operators. In order to obtain a license from Gibraltar, the gambling operators must be an established one since it is generally not licensing starters in the gambling industry. Furthermore, the Government requires its licensees to have a substantial “brick and mortar” presence and an existing operation managed from Gibraltar. Therefore, only experienced operators with an impeccable track record, stable financial status, and a realistic business plan are considered in order to qualify for the license. This qualification is difficult for new entrants to the gambling industry.
Despite being strict about providing licenses to online gambling sites, this possession remained attractive to many gambling operators due to its relatively low tax rates as well as fast and transparent licensing process. Acquiring a Gibraltar Online Casino License is not easy due to its high standards for its licensees. However, being licensed by Gibraltar is a privilege due to the good reputation it provides its licensees which make it a safe gaming platform which is also approved by the UK.
Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA)
The Gibraltar Regulatory Authority has long been setting the standards for safety and player protection in online gaming. The GRA even went so far as challenging the UK government on a debate in the European Court as it believed that the new rules of UK towards online gaming would damage player safety and its community. The GRA suggested to the European Court a number of implementations to protect its players as well as underage users who may try to gamble illegally online.
Since 1998, Gibraltar has been offering gambling licenses for qualified gambling operators in the region. In 2005, the Gambling Commissioner of Gibraltar appointed the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority to manage the licensing process of the territory. The regulating body has a team of gaming experts that are well versed with instrument verification and the whole licensing process of gambling operators. Because of the efficient but selective licensing process by the GRA, UK based gaming brands are have switched their operating license to Gibraltar. Aside from this, the territory soon earned a good reputation for hosting online gaming operators primarily due to its low gaming tax. Furthermore, getting licensed by Gibraltar adds good reputation to the licensees since only established gaming operators are most likely awarded by this license.
The GRA only provides a single 1-yr license that covers all gaming activities of the gambling company. A total amount of £2000 with a gaming tax rate of 1% capped at £425,000 up to £42.5m is required for an annual license. The minimum gaming tax payable is at £85,000 per year.
Licenses Offered by the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA)
The Government introduced the Gambling Ordinance to Gibraltar in 2005 in order to contemplate both the way of function and borders of the online gambling legislation. That way, the gambling legislation will be clearer and in order. With the introduction of the ordinance, online gambling was categorized as remote gambling. Other related terms defined are those of non-remote and domestic gambling and other betting activities.
There are different types of licenses that companies can apply depending on the type of business they want to be licensed with:
- Bookmaker’s License
- Betting Intermediary’s License
- Gaming Operator’s License
- Gaming Machine License
- Lottery Promoter’s License
- Remote Gambling License
Remote gambling is any form of gambling that is offered remotely by gaming operators. This includes interactive television gambling, cell phone gambling and Internet gambling such as online casino, sports betting sites and etc. All gambling operations in Gibraltar are required by the Gambling Act 2005 to acquire appropriate licenses. When it comes to remote gambling, the licenses are issued by the Licensing Authority.
Gibraltar Licensing Requirements
Like mentioned before, Gibraltar is extremely selective when it comes to licensing companies to operate gambling activities in the territory. In fact, it is considered the strictest jurisdiction that offers licenses to not just any company that would want to obtain a license. Being licensed with Gibraltar guarantees that the company is already established and has a good track record since only stable companies can only qualify with Gibraltar’s standards. In order to apply for this license, a company or operator must be able to present a good track record, a solid financial backing and a detailed business plan in order to qualify as a licensee.
One aspect that is required of the licensees is a stable financial backing since it is part of the regulations that all gambling operations must pay a tax of 1% of their gross income up to £425,000 each year during their operations. This amount of tax is fair enough for the licensees since Gibraltar is in the online gambling white-list of the UK Gambling Commission which means that they are allowed to advertise their gaming operations in the United Kingdom.
Licensing Conditions and Licensee Guidelines
The Licenses provided under the jurisdiction of Gibraltar are generally difficult to obtain as the Licensing Authority will only consider licensing companies that are already established in order to be licensed. Thus, the company must be able to secure a proven track record, good financial backing, a realistic business plan and that it should have been licensed in a reputable jurisdiction.
Once a company meets the criteria set for a license eligibility of the jurisdiction, the application for a license starts by presenting a detailed outline setting out the proposal and background of the company. If the application is recognized by the government, detailed documentation regarding the company’s business plan, organizational outline, evidence of previous licenses and expertise in off-shore gaming, and more importantly, the financial standing of the company are needed to further the application process. The application process may take several months due to thorough investigation and assessment carried out by the licensing body.
Gibraltar’s licensees must ensure that all their gambling products and services comply with its regulatory model and standards, thus, must have been tested and certified by its approved test houses:
eCOGRA, iTech Labs, Gaming Associates, GLI Europe BV, GLI Test Labs Canada ULC, NMi Metrology & Gaming Ltd, BMM Compliance, SQS India Infosystems PVT Ltd, SIQ Ljubljana, Trisigma B.V., Enex TestLabs, Quinel M. Ltd
Cash On Hand Requirement
Any casino or online gambling site that is licensed by the jurisdiction of Gibraltar is required to keep a sufficient amount of liquid funds on hand not only to pay taxes but as well as to for the payouts of its players. The amount of cash on hand requirement is based on the information regarding the casino’s revenue on a regular basis. The Licensing Authority ensures that licensees follow the payment timeframe set by the casino in paying their players.
Customer Privacy and Data Protection
Licensees are required to obtain basic information from their prospective customers which include full name, address, and date of birth for verification purposes upon registration. The licensees should also agree that no financial information or any personal info related to the players will be leaked to unauthorized third party in any of the transactions between the casino and the players.
Advertising and Promotion
In compliance with the terms and regulations of the jurisdiction, all advertising and promotional activities of any type should be directed only to customers of nations in which gambling is not illegal. All information from the gambling site that will be advertised shall be accurate and truthful to all its players. All operators must also only offer its services to players of legal age and must not support activities illegal for minors. In addition, the website and its contents must not contain any graphics, information, and links that pertain to violence and unlawful activities.
All licensees are required to have adequate financing available enough to pay for any player winnings and account balances of registered players and other financial obligations. The regulating body ensures that the licensees have enough working capital to fund its ongoing finances.
Account Auditing and Record Keeping
All licensees are expected to secure regular records of players and other important information such as bank transaction records that will be needed during the annual financial audit conducted by the regulating body. Being known as a strict jurisdiction when it comes to licensing online gambling operators, the regulating body has the authority to require the licensees to provide additional documentation that is necessary to ensure that the licensees comply with the jurisdiction’s standards and also maintain both the jurisdiction and licensees’ reputation in the gaming industry. All audited accounts of the licensee should be submitted to the Licensing Authority each year during the license period.
For an operator to obtain a Gibraltar License, all operators must have an entire page dedicated to assisting players in resolving their complaints with the casino. The company should ensure that concerns are investigated. If the complaint is not resolved, the casino must provide an option to the players to fill out the Complaint Resolution Request Form and send it to the authorities.
Anti-Money Laundering Requirements
The Anti-Money Laundering Code of Practice applies to all financial transactions related to all the gambling activities that are under the jurisdiction of Gibraltar. It also guides the Gibraltar gambling industry in respect of the requirements set by specific legislation related to gambling such as the Act, the Gibraltar Proceeds of Crime Act, and the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
One of the priorities of the jurisdiction of Gibraltar is drawn towards player’s protection and safety which is why responsible gaming is a huge factor of its licensing process. Licensees are required to provide options to players who may have gambling issues. They should, therefore, be provided with options on how they can regulate their playing and combat their gambling issues.
List of Casinos with Gibraltar License
Here is a list of online casinos with Gibraltar license:
7 Jackpots, 777 Casino, 888 Casino, Betdaq Casino, Betfred Casino, BetVictor Casino, Boyle Casino, bwin Casino, Cheeky Riches, Cloud Casino, CoinFalls, Coral Casino, Deal or No Deal Spins, EuroGrand Casino, Fantastic Spins, Fortune Frenzy Casino, Foxy Casino, GreenDog Casino, Jackpot Fruity, Jackpot Mobile Casino, Kerching Casino, Monster Casino, Northern Lights Casino, PartyCasino, Planet Fruity, Pocket Vegas, Red Spins, Redbet Casino, Roxy Palace, Secret Slots, Shanghai Spins, Sky High Slots, SkyKings Casino, Slot Crazy, Slot Fruity, Slots Angel, Slots Force, Slots Heaven, Slotsino, Stan James Casino, Totesport Casino, Touch Lucky, Vegas Baby Casino, Vegas Mobile Casino, Welcome Slots, Wicked Jackpots, Winzino, Zinger Spins
Game Software Providers
The current list of Gibraltar’s licensees features some of the most well-known gaming brands in the gaming industry. These gaming brands include 32Red, Cassava Enterprises, Mansion, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Victor Chandler, Stan James, bwin.party, Betfred, IGT, Bally Technologies and Ongame for gaming software providers.
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