What Licences Do You Need to Start a Casino?

In years gone by, opening your own casino would require an enormous financial investment. You’d need to buy or rent a large physical premises and fill it with gaming machines, equipment, tables, a bar, and staff. You’d also have overhead like energy bills to contend with, which would altogether make for an extremely costly venture.

Things couldn’t be more different today. With the power of modern digital technology, just about anyone can open their own casino for a fraction of the cost. However, there are still lots of important things that you need to keep in mind, and all casinos, physical or digital, need to have the correct licensing and accreditation to operate legally. Let’s find out more.

What are Casino Licences?

A casino licence, also known as a gambling licence, is a document that confirms a casino or betting platform’s legal right to operate a gambling business within a specific territory or jurisdiction. This applies to both physical gambling premises and online platforms, both must hold the correct licences if they want to operate.

Getting a casino licence involves paying a fee, but it also means having to meet a set of what can be extremely stringent regulations. Every territory is different, but all have a set of rules and standards that all operators must adhere to if they want to successfully obtain and keep a casino licence.

In some regions, the rules are more lenient, while in others, the UK for example, they are much stricter. However, an operator cannot get a licence in one of the more lenient regions and then use it to operate in stricter territories. A licence only permits operators to do business in the region it was obtained. If they want to expand into new territories, they must apply for additional casino licences.

In the early days of online gambling, licencing was poorly regulated, and many illicit casinos were operating without the correct accreditation. These days, online gambling is strictly controlled, and casinos found to be operating without a licence can face extremely serious financial and legal repercussions.

What Licences Does a Casino Need?

If you’re planning to open or have ever wondered how to open a casino, getting the correct licences is one of the most important things you can do. However, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to licences, you will need to get a particular license depending on what kind of gambling business or casino you are operating.

Let’s use the UK as an example. If you want to open a UK casino, the first thing you’re going to need to get is an operating licence from the Gambling Commission. There are three different types of operating licences, non-remote, remote, and ancillary.

Owning your own casino also means you must hold a personal management licence, which gives you the authority to oversee operational strategy and delivery, financial planning, marketing, and regulatory compliance.

If you want to open a physical casino, you’ll need to obtain two additional licences from the Gambling Commission. First, you’ll need a premises licence, which gives you the right to operate a gambling business from your premises. Dealers, croupiers, cashiers, supervisors, and CCTV operators will also need to hold a personal functional licence.

So, there’s evidently lots to think about. However, obtaining the correct licences is only half the battle. Once you have them, there are a strict set of regulations and standards that must be adhered to if you want to keep your licence. Find out more below.

Rules and Regulations

Regulatory bodies like the Gambling Commission in the UK want to ensure that they are only licencing legitimate businesses that will not pose a risk to players. Your suitability to own and operate a casino will be assessed, which can include the way in which you run your business as well as character background checks.

All licence holders must meet the body’s codes of practice. These are extensive, but they include things like effective player safeguarding, fair games and gaming machines, and correct management of finances.

Operators must also adhere to anti-money laundering regulations. They must conduct comprehensive Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Business (KYB) checks to ensure no money laundering or similar criminal activity is taking place in their casino.

Finally, operators have a duty to uphold social responsibility standards. This includes protecting vulnerable players from harm and preventing children from using their services.


There are a number of licences you need to obtain and hold if you want to open your own casino. It can be a complicated process, but it’s essential you follow the correct process or you could face legal trouble.