This is the most comprehensive list of countries where you can start a profitable iGaming business.
This guide will provide you with a list of 7 countries that offer low taxes and legally allow you to operate an online casino business that can bring you serious revenue.
The best part? Some of the countries mentioned in this list are suitable even for those on a budget but would still like to be part of the gambling industry. (which is challenging but still manageable).
Without further ado, let’s get started.
How to choose the best country for an iGaming business
You may have heard people saying: “Starting an online casino is the best business idea ever. You should try it!”
While that is true to some extent, most people don’t understand the complexity behind starting an iGaming business. We agree that the benefits exceed the downsides, but you need to have a long-term plan if you really want to succeed in the gambling niche.
The first step is deciding in which country you want to incorporate your business. There are several countries where online gambling is legal, but not all of them have the same tax laws and requirements.
Before selecting the country where you want to operate your business, you need to compare the available options. This will help you determine which ones fit your long-term goals and how well you know the legislation of that country.
Although we won’t cover all the details about online gambling legislation, this article will help you narrow down your available options to seven countries.
Let’s check them out:
1. The United Kingdom
The UK is the largest premium gambling market in the world.
Although the country is known for adhering to traditionalist moral values, they’re home to hundreds of online gambling platforms. The UKGC requires all operators to focus on responsible gambling best practices, and any cartoonish or child-friendly design is strictly forbidden. (the fine can go up to $5 million).
In April 2020, the UKGC also introduced a credit card deposit ban for online gaming, which was very upsetting for operators and players alike. However, it’s clear that the government is genuinely concerned about their citizens and wants them to enjoy gambling as pure entertainment without ruining their credit scores.
One of the most excellent player protection mechanisms in the UK is GAMSTOP, a self-exclusion platform where all UK-based operators must register to operate legally. Those who fail to enroll in GAMSTOP will have their license suspended and most likely get fined.
There aren’t any gambling taxes in the UK, but if you add your winnings to an interest-earning account, you will get charged the income tax. So, if you get lucky with gambling in the UK, you won’t have to pay any taxes since the casinos must automatically pay 15% of their income in taxes.
Canada is known as the country in a grey legal area when it comes to online gambling.
Off-shore companies licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority can operate their online casinos and sports betting platforms without additional costs. So, even if you’re not a native Canadian, you can legally start an iGaming business.
For locals that want to apply for a Canadian gaming license, they can reach out to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The KGC is a regulatory body owned by the indigenous tribe that has been in the online gambling market since the early days of the Internet era.
The advantages of applying for a Kahnawake license are the zero tax policy on gross gaming revenue, low application costs, and fast setup. To get a Client Provider Authorization, you will have to pay around C$25,000 and an extra C$500 for each Key Person License.
Canada is considered by many gambling specialists one of the fastest-growing markets, mainly thanks to the versatility provided by the country’s legislation. The great thing about being a gambler in Canada is the full transparency policy. You can easily access a Canadian gambling portal where you will find a database of all the online casinos available in the territory, tested by iGaming professionals.
3. Isle of Man
Located between England and Ireland, the Isle of Man is an excellent choice if you want to access the UK’s large player base.
There are three types of licenses that you can apply for:
- Full license
- Network services license
For short, the full license lets you operate one gambling platform, the network services license allows you to run multiple online casinos, and the sublicense is helpful if you partner with another operator that already owns a gaming license.
The application fee for an Isle of Man license is $5,800, and the annual payment goes up to $41,000. The application process takes around three months to complete, and your business must be registered on the Island. While there aren’t any corporate taxes in the Isle of Man, you will have to pay a gambling tax rate ranging from 0.1 to 1.5%, based on your profitability.
Malta is known for being Europe’s fiscal paradise.
In fact, many of the world’s largest casino operators have their business headquarters there, mainly because the country is part of the European Union, offering access to most of the European market. Also, the Malta Gaming Authority is one of the most reputable commissions globally, adding a lot of trust to your company.
The startup costs for starting a casino in Malta are relatively low, although the price can vary depending on the business needs and market you want to operate in. The application fee costs $2,700, and the annual renewal cost is around $9,800, which is decent considering the benefits offered by the license.
Still, you need to consider that the process of getting approved can take a few months, and if you’re planning to get a top-level license, you will have to pay a retainer fee, which can be pretty expensive for those that are on a budget.
You may have heard that the Scandinavian countries are great for starting a gambling business.
Still, Sweden is the most trustworthy Scandinavian country, mainly because several iGaming giants are based here, and they have a solid system for protecting problem gamblers from overspending. All gambling companies need to register on Spelpaus, which is a site that allows bettors to self-exclude from all the gaming websites.
Another advantage of Sweden is that the government doesn’t tax the players, but operators still have to pay 18% tax on all revenues. While this may not sound like a great thing for you as a business owner, you need to consider that many people avoid gambling because they need to pay taxes on their winnings, so this aspect is great for conversions.
Located in the Dutch area of the Caribbean, Curacao is one of the most affordable gambling havens in the world.
The Island’s primary revenue comes from tourism and online casinos. To apply for a Curacao license, you need to pay a $2,300 application fee and a monthly gambling fee of around $1,700. The registration process can take up to six weeks.
If you want to cover all types of gambling activities and software, we suggest acquiring a master’s license. Still, if you’re new to the market, you can apply for a sublicense and partner with another business that holds a master’s license. Curacao has only 2% corporate tax and 0% tax for sports betting.
Also, if you don’t want to incorporate your company on the Island, you can extend your business to Curacao for a small fee. This license is great for those on a budget, but it rarely adds to the trustworthiness of your casino.
Germany is one of the newest iGaming markets that is currently booming in Europe.
Right now, German people can access a wide range of online gambling platforms, but operating an online casino is still under discussion. According to local news, the government is actively working on a bill that will regulate online gaming and allow operators to start their business legally.
The new framework was implemented in June 2021, allowing gaming businesses to operate poker rooms and casinos alongside sports betting, which is already legal in Germany. Players will have a €1,000 deposit limit, and the maximum bet per slot machine spin is set to €1.
Fast play options are also banned since the spin must last at least five seconds. The German Gambling Commission will have strict regulations, similar to the UK and Sweden. Affiliate businesses will also face some revenue challenges because they can only close deal based on revenue, customer activity, and deposits.
Over to you
This marks the end of our seven best countries where you can start an iGaming business.
Now, we would like to hear your opinion:
Which country is more suitable for your business goals?
Do you think Canada is better because it’s in the grey legal area?
Or maybe you want to begin with a Curacao license and see how you’re performing. Either way, let us know in the comments below.