Online Casinos with a Licence from the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner

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The beginnings of the Gibraltar Gambling Authority go back to the 1950s and covered the provision of land-based gambling services, decades before online gaming got off the ground. Victor Chandler and Ladbrokes were the first remote gambling providers to arrive in the 1990, offering sports betting via phone. In the process, it earned Gibraltar the reputation as a centre for remote gambling operations and saw an influx of online operators setting up their headquarters in the British enclave.

This was further solidified in 2005 with the enactment of the Gibraltar Gambling Act 2005, establishing a licensing and regulatory framework for online casino operators and sportsbooks under the auspices of HM Goverment of Gibraltar. Subsequently, major players in the iGaming industry such as William Hill, 32Red, Bet365, Betfair opened offices in Gibraltar as it gave them regulated access to all European countries and beyond.

The Gibraltar Gambling Act 2005 currently provides for one type of remote gambling licence only – the operator licence. However, it allows for subcategories depending on the nature of the services provided, which are casino (including poker, bingo, slots), sport and other betting as well as lottery products. Plus, the Gambling Commissioner recognizes the business-to-business model (B2B) and will extend a licence for such operations in accordance with the Gambling Act. Numerous B2B operators have since set up their headquarters in the enclave including Nektan (Gibraltar) Limited and Gamesys (Gibraltar) Ltd who are platform providers for white-label casinos. SBTech (Gibraltar) Limited offers sportsbook technology and platforms for betting sites.

There are currently only some 30 licensed remote gambling operators in the jurisdiction given that the government of Gibraltar has applied a very selective policy towards the licensing of operators by requiring a substantive physical presence in the enclave and thus resulting in real accountability to the regulator, constant monitoring of operations and ensuring that gambling services are provided with the appropriate measures and safeguards with regards to Responsible Gambling. The prerequisites include physical equipment such as servers as well as managerial personnel to be located in Gibraltar.

Not only operators but also game developers have installed a physical presence on The Rock and obtained a licence under the B2B model. The names include industry heavyweights such as Scientific Games, Relax Gaming, IGT, Greentube (Novomatic), Yggdrasil Gaming and Pragmatic Play. The Gibraltar licence enables them to offer their slots and games in most regulated markets.

The thorough application process for a licence from the Gibraltar Gambling Commissioner is mainly detailed in Paragraph (4) of Schedule 1 to the Gambling Act 2005, requiring the applicant to prove a stellar reputation, provide a proper business plan and demonstrate their experience in the sector. Further, the licensing policy requires a bricks-and-mortar presence with key personnel and equipment located within the jurisdiction.

The process is completed in two stages, starting with an in-principle approval when the presented documents indicate a favourable outcome. This leads then to the formal application stage which includes the submission of a second application form, a business plan and due diligence of the group and its partners and core gaming suppliers. Plus, a fee of £10,000 needs to be paid. Once all requirements are satisfied, the Gibraltar Gambling Commission will issue the licence.