Online gambling has continued to increase its market share since the first online casino opened in 1994. In the last 25 years, the industry has grown from one online casino to thousands worldwide. Researchers estimate that nearly 1 billion people have gambled online or on their phones during their lifetimes.

While online gambling is a world phenomenon, only a handful of countries host the top gambling platforms. Eight countries license 70 percent of online gambling websites. In six of those countries, online gambling is the largest industry. These countries have regulations in place that make them friendly to gambling businesses.

Here is a little information on the top countries in the world for Internet gambling businesses.


Alderney is one of the largest islands in the British Channel. Its residents are British subjects, but they are not British citizens. It’s a self-governing island. The island has a gambling control commission, which issues licenses to online gambling companies. The commission also protects consumers who want to gamble. It ensures the gambling platforms are fair and safe to use. Alderney has two types of gambling licenses. Businesses that build platforms, games or supports for online gambling receive a Category 1 License. Category 2 Licenses are for gambling platforms themselves. Each license costs $14,500.

Companies that want to register in Alderney must agree to have their software tested regularly. They need to include a gaming clock in their software packages, so gamblers can keep track of the time. There are financial restrictions on how much a player can put into the website as a first deposit. Companies also have to give customers a waiting period for every limit increase. These rules are for the protection of the consumer.


This island nation may be off the coast of Venezuela, but it’s a Dutch territory. Many companies like doing business in Curacao because it has streamlined licensing and regulation. Curacao has one of the oldest online gambling licensing agencies in the world. Established in 1996, the gambling commission issues one license that covers all online gambling operations. The commission is also very good to its gambling operators. It holds gambling events and networking opportunities for gambling platforms.
Curacao has a very favorable tax structure for gambling businesses. There are no taxes on gross bet revenue, no sales tax, and no import duties. This helps small businesses grow their companies. If the commission approves a business’ gaming license, it pays between $1,000 and $7,000 each month. The amount of money companies pay depends on how large the company is. Companies also pay a management fee to the gaming commission each year.

Online gambling companies that receive a gambling license have to prove they block minors from gambling. They also have to post warnings on their sites that gambling is addictive for some people. Companies must have information pages that show detailed descriptions of each game on their sites. Curacao requires that a company place a transaction database backup server on the island.

The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is in the Irish Sea near the coast of England. Like Alderney, it’s a dependency of the United Kingdom, but it’s self-governing. The tiny island has been an online gambling business hub since its gambling commission opened in 2001. Online gambling companies must submit a detailed account of their businesses and their business plans. They must submit their gambling software for approval by the gambling commission. Companies also have to have a bank account and company officers living on the mainland. They must also agree to allow the commission to audit them.

For small gambling businesses, licensing fees can be expensive. There is a one-time administrative fee for the initial application process and an annual licensing fee of $35,000. Businesses must pay 1.5 percent on gambling revenue under $20 million. On revenue between $20 million and $40 million per year, they must pay 0.5 percent. Several large companies have licensed gambling businesses on the Isle of Man. They include Paddy Power Betfair, Knockout Gaming, and Boylesports Limited.

Antigua and Barbuda

The two-island state is part of the British Commonwealth, but it has been independent since 1982. It’s the oldest online gambling country. The islands began a gambling commission for online gambling in 1994. Antigua and Barbuda are popular destinations for banking and finance, as well as for online gambling companies. The wireless platforms and online infrastructure are world-class, which is why so many companies choose to operate there.

Antigua and Barbuda offer two types of gambling licenses through its gambling commission. One license is for sportsbooks, and the other for online casinos. Companies must pay $100,000 for an online sportsbook license, and $121,000 for an online casino license. The country requires a company director serve as a point of contact between the online business and the gambling commission.


Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory near Spain. Gibraltar founded its online gambling commission in 1998. Gambling industries are the largest businesses in the territory. Although Gibraltar’s gambling commission and climate for gambling are favorable, it doesn’t grant licenses to just anyone. Applicants must have a spotless record in business before applying for a license. That makes it unfavorable for startups. Also, companies must agree to place all their operations for online gambling in Gibraltar.

The gambling authority issues several kinds of licenses. It has bookmaking licenses, promotion licenses, and operators’ licenses. Companies must agree to a 1 percent gambling tax on their gambling proceeds, with a minimum tax of $103,000 per year. There is a one-time fee for a license application, and licenses renew every year for $12,000 yearly. Several large gambling companies have their headquarters in Gibraltar, including Ladbrokes, IGT, and Inspired Gaming.


Valletta, Malta: skyline from Marsans Harbour at sunset. The cathedral

Malta is an island country that likes gambling dollars. It’s in the Mediterranean Sea, near the island of Sicily. Malta is a British commonwealth. The country allows businesses to apply for multiple licenses. The gaming commission monitors more than 500 different gambling sites. It costs $2,700 per license to apply. There is an additional fee of $10,300 to maintain regulation over the business. The gambling commission also charges a yearly renewal fee of $1,800.

Before a company can get a license, it must submit a business plan and its financial statements. Each company must also submit its games and software to the commission for a fairness check. Malta is home to several large websites, such as Betfair Casino, Unibet Casino, and Slots Million Casino.

Kahnawake First Nations Tribe

The Mohawk Nation in Canada is one of the only indigenous-owned “countries” that regulate online gambling. The Kahnawake Tribe is on the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. It has one of the oldest online gambling commissions in the world. The tribe began regulating online gambling in 1996. While the Kahnawakes also have poker rooms in their nation, they have focused mostly on online gaming. There are four types of licenses for the tribe.

To receive a license, a business must prevent minors from gambling, and have their platforms investigated for fairness. The business also has to pay around $30,000 for licensing and fees. The annual license fee is $10,000 per year. The Kahnawake Nation also has working agreements with Malta and Antiqua and Barbuda. Businesses that want to operate in multiple countries have an added advantage if they already have a license here.


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Richard Holmes was born in Tampa, Florida and studied computer science at Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola Florida. A devout Baptist, volunteer Sunday School teacher and online gaming fan, Richard works as a part-time systems administrator at Baptist Hospital and part-time professional blogger specializing in statistics, probability and computer science issues. He is an ardent believer in the future of artificial intelligence as a tool for transforming human society for the better, particularly in the area of health care and modern medicine. A chess player, and competitive online gamer Richard actively participates on online gaming tournaments in his free time.