The Kahnawake gambling license is a favorite among operators due to its widely-respected regulatory authority and zero-percent taxes. It can take time to work your way through the labyrinths of bureaucracy and lists of paperwork necessary to apply for the license, so this article is here to guide you through the steps of how to get an online gaming license in Kahnawake.
Online gambling licensing and regulation in Kahnawake
The Kahnawake Mohawk Territory is a First Nations reserve located in Quebec, Canada. It was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to see the potential of the online gambling sector and decide to regulate it instead of leaving it in the shadows. The first gambling regulations were enacted in 1999 by the official licensing and regulatory authority for gaming activity in the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake — The Kahnawake Gaming Commission (“the Commission”). Since then, the Commission has ensured that online gaming is conducted responsibly, fairly, and on a lawful basis.
The Commission issues the following kinds of licenses and permits:
Interactive Gaming Licence (IGL)
This license allows the holder to operate a co-location facility that provides internet services to Authorized Client Providers. Only one Interactive Gaming Licence has ever been issued by the Commission: Since 1999, Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT) has held the sole IGL.
Client Provider Authorization (CPA)
This allows the holder to conduct interactive gaming from the co-location facility owned and operated by the IGL holder as well as other premises located within the Territory. The holder of a CPA is known as an Authorised Client Provider (ACP). This is the license that a regular iGaming operator would apply for if looking to base their operations in Kahnawake.
Casino Software Provider Authorization (CSPA)
A CSPA allows the holder to locate and operate interactive gaming equipment at the colocation facility owned and operated by the IGL holder, as well as providing casino software to a third party operator for use on the third party operator’s website. The holder is not entitled to offer interactive games directly to players.
Live Dealer Studio Authorization (LDSA)
This license allows the holder to operate a Live Dealer Studio, to conduct Live Dealer Games, and to conduct interactive gaming-related activities from premises located within the Territory.
Inter-Jurisdictional Authorizations (IJA)
This license is issued to an entity which holds an IGL from another jurisdiction but wants to locate some or all of its equipment and/or personnel within the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake.
Key Person Permits
Key persons can be employed by either the IGL or the CPA and perform one of the following functions: key managerial or key operational functions.
All operators with a CPA license must designate at least one Key Person to perform key managerial functions for or on behalf of the Authorized Client Provider. Therefore, a regular iGaming operator would need to get a Key Persons Permit in addition to the CPA license.
Why should you get a gambling license in Kahnawake in 2023?
The benefits of getting a gambling license are huge and undisputable. It allows the holder to legally operate an online gaming business while enjoying cooperation with the industry’s most popular game developers and payment system providers. The jurisdiction offers many licensing options to choose from, and obtaining a Kahnawake online gaming license carries a number of benefits for the operator.
Additionally, the Client Provider Authorisation is valid for five years, and last but not least, it covers all markets except the USA. However, operators should keep in mind that their actions must conform to the laws of the chosen target market, including advertisement regulations.
relatively low license fees
0% corporate tax rate, no
additional gaming tax
widely accepted by players
and payment service
сovers all market except
promotes fair and responsible
How much does a gambling license cost in Kahnawake (taxes and fees)
The cost of the Kahnawake gaming license is relatively low compared to some other jurisdictions.
Application fee (includes cost of conducting due diligence checks and the first annual licensing fee)
Costs associated with the Commission’s assessment of the applicant’s Control System Submission
Cost to be presented by the Commission with the appropriate invoice
Key Person License application fee
Annual licensing fees
Annual Key Person permit fee
CPA renewal cost
Key Person Permit renewal cost
When it comes to taxation, Kahnawake looks like an ideal place to license an online gambling business. The jurisdiction has a 0% corporate tax rate, and no additional gaming tax. In this regard, Kahnawake is one of the most attractive jurisdictions for casino licensing in the long term.
How do you get a Kahnawake gaming license?
The process of getting a gaming license in Kahnawake may seem longer overall when compared to other gambling jurisdictions. Here are the basic steps for getting a license in Kahnawake:
Appoint a key person
Gather the necessary paperwork
Submit your application and pay the application fee
After the application is considered, the operator has three possible outcomes: the Commission will grant the application and issue the license, deny the application, or return the application to the proposed operator with a request for additional information.
However, if all the documents are approved and the application is granted, the license will only be issued for six months. After that, not less than thirty days prior to the expiry of the initial six-month period, the Commission will review the operator’s performance and consider whether the operator has satisfactorily implemented the appropriate continuous compliance program. The Commission will investigate if there have been an inordinate number of complaints from players or other third parties, and if the operator has broken any laws, breached any regulations, or committed any other act that has negatively affected the credibility or reputation of the Commission.
Based on this assessment, the Commission will decide whether to renew the license for a term of five years, decline to renew the license, or extend the term of the Client Provider Authorization for another three months.
Application process (four to eight weeks)
When the application is received by the KGC, it is assigned to the Compliance Officer, who verifies the application fee has been paid and then reviews all the documentation.
What do you need to apply for a Kahnawake gambling license in 2023?
In order to establish credibility and successfully receive a Kahnawake gaming license, operators must first gather all the necessary documents. The list may seem long, but this should not discourage a potential licensee. If all the required papers are gathered in a timely manner, the operator will save time, as the risk of having the application returned with a request for additional information will be minimized.
The list of the necessary documents to acquire a CPA license is as follows:
Application for Client Provider Authorization (CPA) license
Business Entity Information Form
Personal Information Form that is to be completed by each of the following individuals:
- Each director of the applicant corporation (privately held corporations only)
- Each shareholder with ten percent (10%) or more ownership of or controlling interest in the applicant corporation
- Each person who submits a Key Person Licence Application Form
Control System Submission
A letter from the holder of a valid Interactive Gaming Licence, indicating that it is aware of and consents to having the Applicant’s Secondary Client Provider Authorization, if it is granted, appended to the Interactive Gaming Licence
A list of all directors, with a biography or curriculum vitae for each director (for publicly traded corporations)
Annual reports prepared by the corporation for the past three years (for publicly traded corporations)
Also, as the operator will need to get a Key Persons permit, the following documents will be necessary as well:
Key Person Licence Application Form. This form must be completed by each of the applicant’s Key Persons. Each applicant must nominate at least one person who exercises a key managerial function.
Personal information, in the approved form, for each of the proposed key persons.
A letter from the proposed licence holder or authorised client provider addressed to the Commission confirming the existence of the key relationship, the type of key function the proposed key person will perform and a detailed description of the duties and functions the proposed key person will fulfill, as well as the type of training the proposed key person has received that would qualify him or her to perform the proposed key person function.
Additionally, like all other jurisdictions, Kahnawake requires the following basic documents from each authorized person, officer, director, shareholder, beneficial and ultimate beneficial owner:
Original Certificate of no criminal record of the owners of the company
Certified Copy(ies) of passport(s)
Original bank references of the owners
Personal Financial Statements for Directors, Shareholders and UBOs
Original or certified copies of utility bills
Description and details of the games offered and gaming software being used
How does the Kahnawake gaming license compare to Belize?
Belize is another jurisdiction that issues online casino licenses, with a similar demand among operators due to its 0% income taxes and lack of an additional gaming tax. The chart below compares the fees for gaming licensees in Kahnawake and Belize.
Application form fee
Offshore Company Application Fee
Belize Gaming Trade Association & Organizational Dues
Annual license/Renewal fee
Offshore Company Renewal Fee
Belize Gaming Trade Association & Organizational Renewal Fee
Key Person Licence Application fee
Annual Key Person permit fee
Cash security deposit
Additionally, the jurisdiction of Belize charges a fee for running operations in the Free Trade and Free Development Zone. They are as follows:
0–15 Million USD
0.07% of Turnover
15-50 Million USD
0.06% of Turnover
Above 50 Million USD
0.05% of Turnover
Both Kahnawake and Belize are very attractive jurisdictions for operators due to the absence of income and gaming taxes. While Kahnawake has higher licensing fees, Belize imposes more rules for the issuing of licenses, such as the incorporation and registration of a company in the jurisdiction, as well as requiring a security deposit and charging a percentage of the turnover.
Disadvantages of getting a license in Kahnawake
The prospect of getting a license from the KGC can seem discouraging to some operators because of the six-month waiting period for final approval. Some operators do not feel fully secure while they’re waiting, as they know that there is a possibility they won’t get the full license. However, this doesn’t truly set Kahnawake apart, as other jurisdictions may also suspend licenses at any time if operators fail to meet compliance requirements or violate other policies. If operators run a gambling business responsibly, there is nothing to worry about in any jurisdiction.
Online gambling licenses not only give the casino credibility, they help operators run their business more effectively.
A license is needed to establish and register a gambling company, open bank accounts, and set up operations.
A license gives your business credibility in the eyes of players. Experienced players always prefer to deposit in licensed casinos, as they feel more secure in case some problems with withdrawals or other operations arise. Beginning players choose licensed platforms as well, as they are new to online gambling and prefer to start at a casino that seems more trustworthy.
Having a license protects operators from legal issues. Operating without a license can result in large fines or prison time.
B2B software suppliers are more willing to cooperate with licensed operators. This has several advantages, such as assistance with game content and transaction difficulties, which isn’t guaranteed for unlicensed operators, as well as the opportunity to cooperate with internationally-recognized brands.
The Commission has established itself as a trustworthy regulatory body that promotes fair and responsible gambling. The jurisdiction has a 0% corporate tax rate, no additional gaming tax, and sets a relatively low license cost.
As a startup launching an online casino, you will need to apply for a Client Provider Authorisation (CPA) and at least one Key Person Permit (KPP). The CPA will allow you to conduct interactive online gaming from within Kahnawake, and Key Person Permits are given to those who are responsible for operational and managerial functions for the entity that holds the CPA.
An online gambling license establishes the credibility and good reputation of an online casino project. Operating without a license makes it hard to cooperate with game developers and payment system providers, and exposes you to the possibility of fines and prison time.
What do you do after the license is issued?
License acquisition is a crucial step in running an online gambling business, but it’s only the first of many. The steps below present what to do after license acquisition.
1. Get a high-quality platform
Top-notch online casino platforms are the basis of successful operation. Casino project development is another time-consuming process — but ready-made solutions are there to make it faster and easier for the operator as well. For example, we offer a Turnkey platform solution that is designed to kickstart an online casino project in 1-3 months with only minimal participation of the operator in the development process.
2. Add a variety of games and payment options
As online gaming licenses open the door to cooperation with trusted and certified game providers, it is time to add a variety of popular games to the platform. The demand for different types of games usually depends on the target market of operation — in some markets, live dealer games are the most requested, while players in other countries prefer slots or virtual sports. Slotegrator offers gaming content from over 50 well-known game content providers in a single integration and with just one contract.
Giants in the payment processing industry are also available for partnership with licensed casino operators. Cooperating with verified payment service providers allows platforms to offer players around the world their preferred payment options in their local currency.
3. Marketing, marketing, marketing
After the platform is ready and game content and payment services are all integrated, the never-ending process of player acquisition and retention starts. Partnering with affiliates is a great way to market the project and increase brand awareness, while loyalty programs will assist operators in keeping players engaged. Bonuses, tournaments, and other promotions are also essential tools for giving players a reason to come to your platform — and stay there.
How can Slotegrator help you get a Kahnawake gambling license?
Applying for a license is time-consuming and overwhelming, and can be especially discouraging for beginning operators going through the process for the first time.
In the case of the Kahnawake license, operators should be especially careful during the six-month “trial” period, when they must show the Commission that they have not breached any regulations and have successfully followed all the rules. They should also be mindful of the ongoing compliance process that continues even after the second license is issued.
To spare themselves a headache, operators can outsource the tiresome and complicated application process to companies specializing in helping iGaming entrepreneurs acquire a license. Leaving the application in the hands of someone with knowledge of the process saves operators time better spent elsewhere, like planning an effective marketing strategy to accelerate the return on their investment.
You can lift the bureaucratic weight off your shoulders by taking advantage of Slotegrator’s jurisdictional and legal advisory services. We will do all the paperwork for you, from submitting the application to helping you stay compliant with the jurisdiction’s regulations.
Among Slotegrator’s services, casino operators will also find Turnkey and White Label casino solutions that are designed to help build a business from scratch. So if you are going to dive into the world of iGaming, Slotegrator is there to help you pave a path to success.
In 2016, I graduated from the Law Faculty of Charles University in Prague. The main area of law on which I focused both during and after my university studies is software law (and intellectual property in general). After graduating from the university, I briefly worked at a medium-sized law firm in Prague, but in 2018 I joined Slotegrator, where I have been working ever since and where I handle the company’s day-to-day legal matters.