Some Gaming Operators Based in Gibraltar Could Soon Pay More for Licenses

Gibraltar has been working on updates to its almost 20-year-old gambling laws and has some changes in the works. One of these could impact how much online gaming operators pay for their licenses, with larger companies possibly receiving bigger bills.

A frontal view of the headquarters of His Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and the office of the Chief Minister. The British territory is updating its gambling laws, possibly including new fees for operators. (Image: Gibraltar Government)

On the table is a proposed tiered system for licenses. Gibraltar’s government has issued a consultation seeking feedback before putting its plan in motion.

The good news is that smaller operators and startups would avoid having to make a huge upfront financial commitment. However, established companies on a path of growth and expansion could ultimately pay more than they do now.

Attracting New Business

Under the current scheme, remote betting and gambling operators pay £100,000 (US$111,950) annual license fee. In contrast, B2B suppliers pay an £85,000 (US$95,157).

The government stated that this scheme could be a burdensome cost for startups and small businesses that are in the “early stages” of their lifecycle. Therefore, it wants to adopt a tiered system for remote gambling and gaming licenses that is based on the company’s gross gambling yield (GGY).

Operators must apply for a separate license for each major gambling sector in which they operate and the tiers are determined by the GGY within each one individually. This means that the GGY from sports betting, for example, is independent of the GGY from casino.

For the avoidance of doubt, there are currently no plans to change gambling duty rates for B2Cs nor to impose gambling duty on B2B operators. However, we have sought to address the situation whereby additional licence fees will be sought from B2B aggregators on a proportionate basis, in line with growing revenues,” said the Government of Gibraltar in its proposal.

Per the new proposal, operators with a GGY under £20M in any vertical would pay £50,000 (US$55,975). The fee for those who bring in more than £20 million (US$22.39 million) but less than £300M is £100,000. Operators with a GGY exceeding £300 million (US$335.85 million) would pay a £200,000 (US$223,900) fee.

Another change to the licensing structure is the introduction of a betting intermediary license. This would apply to exchanges and other similar businesses, and carries a flat fee of £100,000. A lottery license will remain the same, also at £100,000.

Affiliate, B2B Operations Shifting

Any company that provides marketing services, including affiliates, to the gaming industry will have to pay to set up shop in Gibraltar. These would be on the hook for £50,000 every year.

However, only those who operate from within the British territory will pay. It’s not applicable to those elsewhere supplying services for Gibraltar-based operators.

Aggregators that conduct business inside one vertical, such as sports betting or live casino, will have to pay £$85,000 annually. They will also have to give up 1% of their revenue. If they’re in multiple verticals, they can expect to pay another £15,000 (US$16,792).

In addition, there will also be three categories of software suppliers. Those making less than £200,000 in sales from Gibraltar-licensed operators will pay £20,000. Suppliers earning up to £550,000 will pay £50,000. Lastly, anything above that is worth £85,000 a year to Gibraltar.

Companies that provide ancillary services, such as betting data or compliance services, have to have a license. These cost £50,000, regardless of how big or small the company is.

Gibraltar has a few other changes in mind, as well. Holding companies and fund management companies that don’t fall into any other category will pay £50,000. The holding companies are responsible for the license fee “regardless of where in the ownership structure the Gibraltar-linked holding entity features.”

Finally, certain individuals will have to pay. There is a £500 (US$559) proposed fee for an initial five-year license. There is also a £200 (US$223) fee for any “material changes” to that license.

The government is now looking for feedback on its proposed changes – it even wants input from people who think there should be more licenses. It will accept feedback from now until November 30.

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