Malta vs Curacao: How to get an online gambling licence

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a gambling licence to go after, from Malta and Curacao through to the likes of Alderney, Isle of Man and Gibraltar.

Online gaming and sports betting software provider BetConstruct has put together a blog post weighing up the pros and cons for pursuing a licence for the first two of these established gambling hubs – Malta and Curacao.

When starting an online gaming business, you have several important steps to accomplish. Let’s see what you will need to build a powerful gambling business:

  • Professional igaming software
  • Betting and gaming company
  • Gambling licence
  • Merchant account


All of them are equally important, but many people face more difficulties when choosing a gaming licence that will meet their business needs. As you already know, our today’s goal is to understand which gambling licence to choose.

The growing demand for a trustworthy licensed operator creates incentives for liberalizing the online gaming market. That’s why it’s challenging for today’s operators to comply with these regulations. This has caused many obstacles for small gaming companies to obtain and uphold a gaming licence.

Today, there are the following frameworks in the gambling industry:

  • Countries/states that regulate online gambling within their territories;
  • Countries/states that regulate, but provide exclusivity to public/private monopolies;
  • Countries/states that ban betting activities within their jurisdictions;
  • Countries/states that lack regulations on gambling activities.


There are a lot of gambling laws and jurisdictions. Of course, among the most popular ones are Alderney, Malta, Curacao, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, etc. Today, we will draw your attention to two of these gaming jurisdictions: Malta and Curacao. We are going to weigh up the pros and cons of each licence.


Malta vs Curacao gambling licence

Curacao (Netherland Antilles) is considered one of the most popular online gaming licences as it has quite favourable gaming jurisdiction. The tax service is quite affordable and, usually, master licences are packed with a licence and hosting services for newbies as well.

Curacao is a small island on the north coast of Venezuela. The gaming industry has been expanding in Curacao since 1966. A Curacao gaming licence offers only one type of permit to operators and software providers for sports betting, games of skill and chance.

Malta is a Mediterranean island, which is also a member of the EU. Malta has a long history in gaming legislation. In 2009, the island generated €52.5 million in tax revenue from remote gaming.

Maltese gambling system is governed by the Malta Gambling Authority and a lot of laws and regulations have been created to form the regulatory framework. A Malta gaming licence is highly reputable thanks to anti-money laundering standards and financial laws and regulations.

Malta gaming jurisdiction

Malta is the first member of the EU to regulate Internet gaming since 2000. A year later, the Malta Gaming Authority was formed. According to the latest update of the framework, Malta offers licences of the following categories:

  • Gaming Service licence: a business to consumer licence to offer or carry out a gaming service;
  • Critical Gaming Supply licence: a business-to-business licence to provide or carry out a critical gaming supply.


The authority issues a variety of gambling licences and drafts relevant regulatory frameworks to cover the following game types:

  • Type 1

Games of chance played against the house which result is determined by a random generator and it includes casino type games such as blackjack, baccarat, roulette, poker, slots, etc.

  • Type 2

Games of chance played against the house such as sportsbook which outcome is decided by the result of an event or competition and the risks are ruled by the operator himself by managing odds offered to a player.

  • Type 3

Games of chance not played against the house, where operators generate revenues by a commission or other charge based on stakes or prizes; it includes player vs player games such as poker, bingo, etc.

  • Type 4

Controlled skill games such as fantasy sports where the outcome is determined by the aggregation of statistical results of the performance based on skills and knowledge of a number of individuals competing in actual sporting events.

By the way, the Maltese government is building a Smart city which will be a hub for online companies in the country.

Pros and cons of Malta gaming licence

There are both advantages and drawbacks of Malta gambling licence. Among the pros are:

  • Stable regulatory framework. Malta has a powerful regulatory system for igaming. As mentioned earlier, it is regulated by a special governmental body, which ensures efficient and pragmatic gambling regulations.
  • The protection of players and operators. The licence is awarded based on the proper operation of interactive games and many other factors. Thanks to a stable regulatory framework, Malta offers protection for both players and operators.
  • Anti-money laundering. When it comes to money laundering, Malta gaming jurisdiction is second to none, as it has implemented all EU Directives regulating the prevention of money laundering.
  • Reputable licence. Maltese licence is trustworthy and reputable because it is sanctioned by the EU which makes it meet all the standards of a high-class online gambling licence.
  • Multiple licences. Operators can apply for multiple licences that are issued for ten years at a time.


Of course, with the advantages there are also disadvantages that make gaming operators think twice before choosing a Malta gaming licence:

  • Taxation and licence fees are higher than in Curacao;
  • Application procedure requires more time and is more complex;
  • A significant portion of a casino/sportsbooks operations must be located in Malta.


Curacao gaming jurisdiction

Curacao is the first country that legalized gambling in the world and there are several master licence holders who provide a full package of sub-licences together with hosting and IT infrastructure.

It is the most popular jurisdiction for running online gambling business because it has political stability in the country, and licences are more accessible. Many operators give preference to a Curacao gambling licence because it offers an all-in-one solution and attractive taxation.

Let’s dig deeper into the pros and cons of obtaining Curacao licence.

Advantages and disadvantages of Curacao gaming licence

  • Lower costs. Many gaming operators prefer Curacao gaming licence because the country offers attractive licence fees and taxation.
  • Simple application process. It’s very easy to gain a Curacao licence. No big hassles and long waiting time. Best choice for small startups with a small budget.  
  • All-inclusive licences. This is considered the best part of Curacao licence. It is simple and has only one type of licence for all the online gambling products. In contrast with other jurisdictions, multiple licences are not needed.
  • A label of licensing. You can receive a label of licensing from a Master licence holder to put in your site certifying its licensing status.


With all these pros, there are also cons that you should consider before choosing a Curacao gaming licence over Maltese one.

  • Low cost and fewer requirements are considered less reputable for some gaming operators;
  • Curacao gaming commission takes a hands-off approach when players dispute;
  • Almost all the Curacao licences are sub-licences, i.e. Master licence holder is responsible for a gaming company, not commission;
  • Marketing limitations are common in most EU countries, North America, etc.;
  • Opening a bank account for online gambling is difficult; in case of Curacao licence, it is much more complex.


Now that you know all the pros and cons of both Malta and Curacao gaming licences, it’s up to you to choose it. Remember that first off you should consider your business requirements before having the final say on the right licence for your online gaming and betting company.

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