You can split the process of obtaining the license in several steps, which will help you determine where you’re currently at and plan how long it will take you before you can have your business up and running. Here’s how long each step will approximately take.
Submitting the Application
Naturally, the first step in obtaining your license is submitting the application. This step will take approximately two to four weeks. However, keep in mind that this step solely depends on you and your readiness, as well as the quality of your application. When talking about the application’s quality, we mostly have in mind the accuracy of the submitted information and its rightful placement within the application itself. Make sure to double-check all the details you input to avoid your application being turned down due to some minor errors.
Apart from basic information about you and your business, the information you will be required to submit greatly varies on the licensing authority you are trying to obtain the license from. You will need to pass various gambling license checks, such as the criminal background check, employment check, reference check, and a few others. The rule of thumb is that the more rigorous the regulator is, the more checks you need to go through. For example, the UKGC takes about 16 weeks to process an operating license application. If we move across the pond to the US, we can see that the Illinois Gambling Control board requires that all owners who have a stake of more than 5% in a gambling enterprise must be fingerprinted, which can take a considerable amount of time.
However, note that the licenses from these gambling jurisdictions are usually entry points to vast and rich markets, making all the trouble worthwhile.
Another vital segment of the application submission is the fee you need to pay. Most regulators impose a non-refundable fee, plus the yearly license cost applicants need to pay should they obtain the license. Without the payment confirmations, your applications will be deemed incomplete.
In order to speed up the process, you can contact numerous consultant agencies that will help you prepare and submit the documentation.
Reviewing the Application
Once you’ve submitted your application, the gaming authority will have to review it before they can approve it. This process takes somewhere between six and 12 weeks. Again, the process depends on the type of license and the gaming authority whose license you are trying to obtain.
This step also includes an in-depth analysis of your business plan, such as distribution strategies, an HR plan, growth targets, and much more. You can divide the process of reviewing your application into two different key parts — verifying the information written on your application and verifying the fairness of your software.
The gaming authority will have to determine whether you’re suitable for the license, which can take around 60 days from the moment of submitting the application. This step will greatly depend on the quality of your application, and it may include a lot of back and forth communication. Therefore, the faster you respond to questions, the shorter the process will take.
Gaming authorities consider several factors when reaching a verdict on the applicant’s suitability for running a gambling business. First of all, the applicant must not have a criminal record and former convictions involving financial embezzlement. Some gaming authorities, such as the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, require managers of gambling businesses to have a Personal Management Licence (PML) to be at the helm of an online casino or sportsbook. Only after meeting all these conditions is an individual proclaimed suitable for running a gambling platform.
The Division of Gaming of Colorado, USA, demands all applicants to report any arrests and court appearances, get fingerprinted, and even report their new address to the Division should they ever move.
Simultaneously, while reviewing your application, the gaming authority will have to review your software as well, which includes testing the fairness of your games. The time required to test your software will take around 60 days as well. However, that can vary due to multiple factors, such as the size of your business, the number of games and their types, the expertise of software development teams, etc.
Naturally, the process will be slightly longer if you decide to add new software during the application process, but it won’t take much longer to verify the new software once the procedure of verifying the fairness of your software starts.
One thing to note is that you don’t have to do suitability and software testing one after another. If you have a big enough team that can manage back and forth communication and provide the application info, while the software development team focuses on the fairness of the games, you can handle both of these steps simultaneously.
Gaming authorities frequently count on independent software testing agencies, such as eCOGRA, iTechLabs, GLI, and others, to examine the gaming software. The games are tested for fairness, security, and several other important features. If the casino runs on software from companies that have already been certified by the corresponding software testing agency, the testing process is much easier and faster.
Once your application and your software have been verified and approved, you will have around 60 days to go live. Just like submitting the application, this step depends solely on your capabilities. It includes server audits and the integration of your gaming system into a technical environment, as well as undergoing a number of compliance audits. For example, the MGA requires licensees to complete compliance audits within 90 days from the moment the organisation sends its notice. Also, after the first year of operation under the MGA license, the regulator schedules a mandatory compliance audit. The gaming authority may initiate a separate audit at any point in time should it so wish. Failure to comply with the rules and regulations results in an immediate termination of the license.
Getting Your License
As we’ve mentioned previously, there are several different factors that will determine the duration of the process of obtaining your license. Some of the steps depend on the license type and gaming authority of your choice, but a good portion of the time required to obtain the license is your responsibility.
That being said, in order to save as much time as possible while getting your license, make sure you’ve entered the correct information on your application and that you are cooperative and responsive when dealing with the gaming authority.