Need an online gambling license?

Why you need an Isle of Man license for your business (and how to get one)

Last updated Jul 20, 2023
Jul 20, 2023 iGaming

Why do you need an Isle of Man license?

If you are looking for a Tier 1 license that covers a large geographic area, then the Isle of Man license may be the right choice for your business.

The price is too high for a startup, but if you want to have banks and software providers that other licenses like Curacao or Kahnawake can’t offer, then there’s really no substitute for the Isle of Man license.

How it’s better than the Curacao license? (or any Tier 2 license)

You can do business with more people

You can take advantage of real physical banks like Cayman National and Capital International Bank instead of dealing with EMIs.

Companies like BetfairMicrogamingPlaytechPaysafeSkrillAstropay only work with Tier 1 licenses like Isle of Man and Malta.

Serious players recognize the license

You’ll get an instant credibility because players know that an operator must ensure at all times that player protection arrangements cover all the cash they have in their accounts. This way they don’t have to worry about the winnings you will have to pay.

Players are protected to the extent that even if an operator goes into liquidation, the player’s funds can be returned to the player.

isle of man provisional licence

Great infrastructure

Skilled workforce and an environment of continuous learning for residents and employees, where training for game-specific courses is readily available.

Extensive collection of professional service providers with experience in e-gaming, including lawyers and accountants.

The Isle of Man license comes in four different types:

Full OGRA license

OGRA stands for Online Gambling Regulation Act and is a normal B2C license that all operators must obtain in order to offer games with any element of randomness or chance.

Here is a complete list of games that require an OGRA license:

  • Sportsbooks
  • Betting exchanges
  • Online casino games (roulette, blackjack, slots, etc)
  • Live dealing
  • Peer to peer games (poker, bingo, backgammon, Mah-jong, etc)
  • Mobile phone betting
  • Fantasy football (or similar)
  • Financial trading (but not spread betting)
  • Pari-mutuel and pool betting
  • Network gaming
  • Lotteries
  • Certain spot-the-ball style games
  • Network services

You can use The OGRA license to apply it to any number of white-label websites. They are treated as if they are different URLs of the licensee, even though control of the URL and its marketing is controlled by a different company and the games may be designed differently to reflect the brand.

why you need an Isle of man license

If OGRA licensees wish to offer games or other software to operators, they can sign an exclusive agreement that allows operators to apply for the Isle of Man sublicense for as little as £5,000.

So instead of paying full price, an operator has the opportunity to obtain a sublicense for a fraction of the price and start selling products from the full OGRA license holder.

Isle of Man license has a sub-license

A sub-license can be purchased if an Isle of Man-based company wishes to work exclusively with a technology provider that holds a full OGRA license.

An operator can change its business model at any time and upgrade to a full OGRA license.

isle of man license how to get one

Network services license

A network services license must be purchased if the operator wishes to allow one or more players registered abroad on its server in the Isle of Man without re-registering the player details.

This license is useful if you decide to move players between different jurisdictions.

For example, you might run another business with a license from Curacao and ten thousand active players. Now you want to offer your clients games licensed in the Isle of Man.

With a network service license, you can avoid the process of re-registration, which would affect your conversion rate.

You can always upgrade your full OGRA license to a network service license at any time if needed.

Token-based software provider license

The token-based software provider license is available to companies that have created blockchain tokens to be used by gambling software users as a transaction medium.

For example, players obtain the tokens to participate in gambling, affiliates are paid with the tokens, and so on.

You can only apply for the Isle of Man license if you pass this checklist:

Requirement Answer
Your business must be registered in the Isle of Man. YES/NO
You must have at least 2 resident directors (individuals and not legal entities) YES/NO
You must appoint at least one resident Designated Official (DO), or if this Designated Official cannot reside in the Isle of Man, an Operations Manager (OM) YES/NO
You must either register players on servers located in the Isle of Man or operate under a network services license. YES/NO
Your gaming and trading accounts must be held at a bank in the Isle of Man, unless otherwise agreed. YES/NO
Whether you’re offering games to a player directly or through a third party, the game must be certified by a GSC approved test house. YES/NO

*You have to hit all YES’es to apply for a license

Application process:

First Step – Apply and Pay

A complete application form must be submitted and an application fee must be paid in full. The fee is £5,000

Second step – provide personal declaration form for all key people:

  • All shareholders with holdings above 5%
  • Investors who invest more than £250,000 or more than 25% of the total amount invested
  • The designated officers
  • The operations manager
  • Any person who’s a shareholder, individual investor, stakeholder, director, AML/CFT compliance officer
  • Money Laundering Reporting Officer
  • Senior management

If you need a reassurance then The Commission reserves the right to reject any applicant who appears to be establishing a nominal presence in the Isle of Man for the sole purpose of obtaining services or legitimacy.

You risk to lose your reputation and around £35,000 if you decide to make this thoughtless move.

Step Three – Your Directors will have to vouch

A letter from the Isle of Man based directors vouching for the integrity and background of the key individuals.

Fourth Step – A detailed business plan must be provided.

Once an application is accepted, the GSC will endeavor to complete the process within 12 weeks.

Step Five – Due diligence on individuals associated with the application

Step Six – Pass all business metrics

You must pass a financial account analysis, an ownership analysis, a business terms analysis, and a dozen other investigations to ensure that all critical aspects of your business are on proper footing.

Step Seven – Protect your clients money

OGRA expects the licensee to protect the deposits of players registered in the Isle of Man and ensure that they receive their true and fair winnings. During the application process, the regulator will review the adequacy of the method chosen to ensure that you’ve all the means to ensure this.

Step Eight – Meet your supervisor

Within a few weeks of acceptance of the application, the supervisor may seek an informal meeting with the applicant’s Designated Official(s) to discuss various aspects of the business.

Step Nine – Attend a final hearing

Approximately twelve weeks after formal acceptance of the application, the Commission will attempt to advise the applicant of its decision to grant the license. The Isle of Man company board members, the Designated Officials, and the Operations Manager (if there’s one) must attend this hearing.

Step Ten – “Go-live” Procedure

You’ll be added to the GSC website as soon as the Commission issues the license. From that point, you’ll have a maximum of nine months to go live.

Company taxation in the Isle of Man

Company tax Value
Corporate tax rate for residents 0%
Capital gains tax rate 0%

Withholding tax rate

Company tax Value
Distributions 0%
Interest 0%
Royalties 0%

Online gambling is exempt from VAT, which means that while VAT isn’t due on revenue, VAT is not recoverable on expenses and overheads. The current VAT rate is 20%.

The following obligations apply to a full OGRA license

What do you pay for Value
For gross gaming revenue up to £20 million per year 1.5%
For gross gaming revenue of more than £20 million but not more than £40 million per year 0.5%
For gross gaming revenue in excess of £40 million per annum 0.1%
For gross gaming revenue from pool betting 15%

The time it takes to get the license

Step Time
Compilation of due diligence documents 1 week
Incorporation of a company in the Isle of Man 3 weeks
Preparation of the gambling application 1 week

Note: Evaluation of the application documents by the Gambling Supervision Commission takes 10-12 weeks until the license is granted after submission of the complete application.

Costs of holding a license

In addition to the £5,000 application fee payable at the beginning of the application process, the following costs may be incurred to obtain and maintain an OGRA license.

License type Value
А five-year OGRA license £35,000
Network services license £50,000
A token-based software provider license £50,000
Sublicense £5,000

Additional costs

Additional costs include incorporation of the company, adding key people needed to set up and maintain the company (Two Professional Company Directors, Money Laundering Reporting Officer, Designated Official). As well as taking care of obtaining the license. KYC, AML and CFT guidance

If you are looking for more information about the License of Isle of Man, fill the application below.

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Max Kerry

Maxim is the founder of We help our small and large clients with online gambling licensing, platforms and payment system providers. After more than 300 successful licensing projects, we know exactly what problems every startup faces. We help our clients get the license quickly, choose the best platform and connect all payment methods so they can focus on their business. We also produce free content you can find on this blog or on YouTube.


Why should businesses consider obtaining an Isle of Man license?

The Isle of Man license provides businesses with a reputable and internationally recognized regulatory framework. It enhances credibility and instills trust among clients and partners. Additionally, it offers a stable and supportive business environment with 0% tax.

What are the key benefits of having an Isle of Man license for your business?

The key benefits include access to a low-tax jurisdiction, financial stability, and a sophisticated infrastructure. The license facilitates global business operations, enables efficient wealth management, and ensures compliance with stringent regulatory standards.

How does an Isle of Man license contribute to financial advantages for businesses?

The Isle of Man’s favorable tax regime allows businesses to enjoy reduced corporate tax rates, which can significantly contribute to increased profitability. Additionally, the jurisdiction provides access to a network of double taxation agreements, fostering international trade.

What industries can benefit the most from obtaining an Isle of Man license?

While various industries can benefit, sectors such as finance, e-gaming, fintech, and shipping are particularly well-suited for an Isle of Man license. The jurisdiction’s robust regulatory framework accommodates diverse business models, making it an attractive choice for companies in these sectors.

How can businesses navigate the process of obtaining an Isle of Man license?

The process involves several steps, including thorough due diligence, preparing a comprehensive application, and engaging with regulatory authorities. At LicenseGentlemen, we help you navigate the licensing process and ensure you comply with Isle of Man regulations for a smooth and successful license application.

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