Gibraltar is a tiny island off the coast of Spain. However, this small British territory houses one of the world’s largest gaming industries.
Regulated by the Gambling Division of the Government of Gibraltar, this jurisdiction oversees hundreds of internet casinos and other gambling sites. The following guide covers the Gambling Division’s licensing process and the reputation of Gibraltar online casinos.
Requirements for obtaining a Gibraltar license
Gibraltar’s Gambling Division features strict requirements for obtaining a license. It heavily scrutinizes all applicants to ensure that only high-quality gambling sites operate from its market.
This jurisdiction looks at several important criteria when judging applicants. The board wants to ensure that operators are financially solvent, boast experience, and aren’t hiding a scandalous past.
Applicants that pass this tough vetting process must pay significant fees. Here are the annual costs behind each type of remote license:
- Remote Gaming B2C Operator (best for online casinos) – £100,000
- Remote Betting B2C Operator – £100,000
- Other Remote B2C Gambling Products – £100,000
- Non-Remote B2C Gaming Operator (land-based casinos) – £100,000
- Non-Remote B2C Betting Operator (land-based bookmaking) – £100,000
- Gambling B2B Support Services – £85,000
These licensing fees are among the highest in any jurisdiction worldwide. However, the Gambling Division partially makes up for the expensive costs by maintaining a low tax rate.
Operators only pay a 1% tax on annual income up to a maximum of £425,000. The tax cap helps make Gibraltar a favorite among large operators that earn significant revenue.
What’s expected of Gibraltar online casinos?
Gibraltar-based casinos must adhere to lofty standards regarding finances, anti-money laundering practices, and more.
The Gambling Division of the Government of Gibraltar has maintained a solid reputation by only approving good actors. Therefore, applicants and current licensees need to maintain a clean record that’s void of legal troubles and scandals.
Gibraltar online casinos must regularly obtain testing to ensure that their games and random number generators (RNGs) are fair. The Gambling Division’s approved testing labs include:
- BMM Testlabs
- Enex TestLabs
- Gaming Associates
- Gaming Laboratories International
- iTech Labs
- Quinel M. Ltd
- SIQ Ljubjana
- Trisigma B.V.
Commitment to anti-money laundering laws
Like any prestigious gaming jurisdiction, Gibraltar wants to prevent crooked companies from laundering money through its market. The Gambling Division features a set of anti-money-laundering measures on its website.
Gaming sites in this market need to advertise responsibly. Their ads must be truthful about the odds of winning and cannot be directed at minors.
Operators need to maintain adequate funding so that they can pay out prizes and winnings of any size. Additionally, they should process cashout requests in a timely manner.
Internet casinos must undergo regular audits of their finances and operational funds. These audits assure the Gambling Division that each operator is solvent and able to honor all payouts and cashouts.
Benefits of a Gibraltar casino license
Gibraltar may not be the cheapest jurisdiction in terms of licensing fees. However, operators gain several benefits by paying the hefty application costs and surviving the vetting process.
The Gamgling Division doesn’t issue licenses to just anybody—it works to ensure that only quality casinos obtain approval. Gaming sites that feature the regulatory authority’s seal instill trust in gamblers.
Gibraltar’s online gaming industry was reorganized and validated through the UK’s Gambling Act of 2005. Unsurprisingly, this jurisdiction has achieved whitelisting from the UK Gambling Commission.
Whitelisting refers to a small list of jurisdictions that maintain advertising privileges in the UK. Online casinos with Gibraltar licenses can legally advertise to the British market.
Low tax rate
The £100,000 annual fee for B2C licenses isn’t cheap. However, approved operators benefit on the backend through a 1% tax rate.
Further, annual taxes are capped at £425,000. Any casino that earns over £42.5 million per year pays less than the 1% rate.
The Gambling Division’s Functions
The Gambling Division maintains several key responsibilities, including:
- Vetting applicants and approving worthy operators.
- Offering guidance to applicants when needed.
- Collecting licensing fees and taxes.
- Ensuring that operators adhere to the division’s strict requirements.
- Protecting problem gamblers and promoting responsible advertising.
- Barring criminals and unscrupulous operators from entering this market.
The Gibraltar Betting and Gaming Association (GBGA) also plays a role in this jurisdiction. This trade association looks out for local gambling sites on a global basis.
In 2013, for example, it sought a judicial rule of the UK’s Gambling Act of 2014 (amendments to the Gambling Act of 2005).
These updates require that offshore operators—including even whitelisted ones—obtain a UKGC license to serve British customers. They also need to pay a 15% tax on gross profits earned through the UK.
The GBGA argued that operators from reputable jurisdictions should still maintain access to British customers. It appealed to the European Union, claiming that the Gambling Act of 2014 is unlawful.
It ultimately failed to sway the EU. However, this episode shows how committed the GBGA is to its gaming industry and operators.
Gibraltar’s reputation as a regulator
The Gambling Division attracts many reputable casino brands. Noteworthy online casinos in this market include:
Gibraltar draws big-time brands because it’s a prestigious licensing jurisdiction. Gaming sites are willing to pay more in licensing fees to be associated with this regulator.
This British territory is a tough jurisdiction. It doesn’t approve just any applicant, and it works to ensure that licensees follow all standards.
Can you trust Gibraltar casinos?
Gibraltar-licensed gaming sites are among the most trustworthy in the industry. They have passed scrutiny from the Gambling Division and proven themselves in the eyes of a tough regulator.
These casinos must commit to the following measures to promote a safe gaming environment:
- Seek out third-party testing for games.
- Submit to regular financial audits.
- Make prompt payments.
- Maintain strong anti-money-laundering policies.
- Advertise responsibly.
- Watch for potential problem gamblers.
Players should always perform research and read reviews on internet casinos before depositing. However, they can trust sites from this jurisdiction more than most others.