How Much Does It Really Cost to Start an Online Casino?
Online casinos have been around for decades, but they have only started gaining massive popularity in the past few years, with more and more countries legalizing online gambling and establishing authority bodies that regulate these markets.
Statistics say 1.75 billion people like to gamble, which is almost a quarter of the global population. Most of these people say they like to gamble online instead of going to a brick-and-mortar casino because they get to enjoy a wider variety of games, a more accessible way of playing these games, and the convenience of being able to play whenever they have some time to spare.
Given the fact that so many people are interested in online gambling, is comes as no surprise that more and more operators are launching casino platforms. The business can be very lucrative, but there is also a lot of competition on the market, which is why the decision to open an online casino is not one you can make overnight.
If you’ve played casino games by now, you know how much money these platforms can make, but is the income high enough to cover expenses and turn your business profitable? This is what we will be discussing today, in this article that covers the costs of starting an online casino to give you an idea of how much money you need for the initial investment.
Registration and Licensing costs
Before you can start working on your online casino, you need a legal entity for your business. Without it, you won’t be able to make contracts with suppliers, open a bank account, or provide payment services for your players. Depending on the country you plan to launch your casino in, the cost of opening a business, as well as the time it takes for the registration to be completed, can vary.
In the UK, for example, you can expect to pay at least $600, and it takes at least 2 days for your application to be registered. In the USA, the costs start at $200, and you can get your business license in a few hours. If you plan to open your casino in a more exotic country, such as Costa Rica, expect to pay at least $3,000 and wait up to three weeks for your business to be registered.
Besides a legal entity, your business will also need a gambling license in order to legally operate as an online casino. This gives you the right to host your website in the country where you received the license in. That does not mean people from other countries can’t access your casino – just that the servers are located in the specific country that approved your license.
Depending on where you plan to host your casino, license costs can vary. If you plan to open your casino in the Isle of Man, for example, license costs start at $1,500. For countries such as Costa Rica, Panama, or Curacao, however, costs never go under $40,000. Keep in mind that, besides these initial licensing costs, you will also have to pay an annual fee, which varies based on many factors.
Web development and design
In order for your clients to interact with your online casino, you need a digital platform. It can be a website, a mobile app, or both if you really want to tackle the market on all fronts. When the development of the platform begins, you need to focus on the functionality and accessibility of the casino.
This is going to be the foundation on which you build your website or app, on which you can start adding things such as:
- Registration and account management: To play at your casino, users need to create an account, and they need to be able to manage it seamlessly. In the account management tab, make sure you include deposit and withdrawal buttons to make things easier for players.
- Payment system: A good payment system will make it easier for players to deposit money and withdraw funds, so it is best that you include as many payment options as possible through the gateway system.
- User Support: Players are online at any hour of the day or night, so if they have an issue, they need to be able to address it as soon as possible. Be sure to display the contact information for customer support and consider including a chat option so that players can contact you faster.
- Bonuses: No online casino would survive without bonuses, as this is what draws many players to these platforms. Make sure your players get to enjoy flexible and attractive perks, such as welcome bonuses, deposit bonuses, and free spins.
Acquiring gambling software
Now that your website looks good and is ready to welcome players, it’s time to populate it with games so that users have a reason to stay. The term gambling software englobes many things, including the gaming platform, which, as we discussed above, represents the foundation of your website, as well as the actual games that are available on a website.
In general, software for virtual slot machines is sold together with software for the platform, but you can also purchase them separately if you want to. The prices vary, starting at $200 per game, but they can go as high as $5,000 or more. Most developers, however, offer these games in bulk so that it’s cheaper and easier to implement for casino owners.
As we mentioned before, you need to provide your players with stellar customer support. After all, it’s their money at stake, and the feeling that someone may want to get their hands on this money in an unfair way is not pleasant at all. Making sure you also have great malware protection for your casino is also recommended to ensure your players that their money is secure.
To make sure you provide support 24/7, you will need quite a large team of support agents. They will need to work a minimum of three shifts to cover an entire day, plus they need to be able to cover all communication channels, including emails, phone calls and chat. It would also be great if you could provide multilingual support, as you may be getting players from different countries.