New kid on the block
Most people wouldn’t even be able to point to Anjouan, otherwise known as Nzwani, on a world map, but the tiny island is starting to get more and more interest from online gaming operators seeking licenses.
The East African island – which is part of the Union of the Comoros Islands and home to around 1 million people – offers an appealing alternative for Curaçao licensees put off by regulatory changes. Curaçao has typically welcomed iGaming companies with open arms, but the Caribbean island has overhauled its licensing regime, creating uncertainty for operators.
a cost-effective solution for companies looking to set up their iGaming services
Meanwhile, Anjouan has offered online gaming licenses since its market was regulated in 2005. But it’s only now, partly as a result of the situation in Curaçao, that the island is beginning to get some serious interest. Many are deeming it a cost-effective solution for companies looking to set up their iGaming services, and industry events are awash with discussions regarding the opportunities Anjouan can offer.
An appealing offering
Due to its membership in the World Trade Organization, the government of Anjouan is able to establish its own rules regulating international trade. That means an iGaming license acquired on the island is recognized and respected by countries across the globe. It allows an operator to offer its services to players in many locations.
The cost of one of these licenses is also significantly lower than most other gambling hubs. Take a look at the average price for B2C providers, including application fee and annual license fee combined:
Anjouan license – $17,000
Malta license – $32,000
Isle of Man license – $49,000
Unlike Malta and the Isle of Man, Anjouan has just one type of gambling license that covers all iGaming activities, such as online casino, sports betting, and even esports betting. It is available to both B2C and B2B businesses, allowing the licensee to operate under various brand names. As with licenses in other gambling hubs, it must be renewed annually for additional costs.
The fall of Curaçao
Once a haven for gaming firms looking for a cheap and easy-to-obtain license, Curaçao is now charting a new course. Minister of Finance for the island, Javier Silvania, is committed to revamping the legislation and ending what he called, “unsavory practices.”
there is still a lot of uncertainty around the details
The island announced its gambling legislation overhaul in 2022, promising improved player protection, stricter anti-money laundering processes, and a change in the master licenses model. Although the overhaul was due to take place on September 1, there is still a lot of uncertainty around the details, such as the transition period for sub-license holders to move to a full license.
This uncertainty is concerning for the many Curaçao license holders, especially because a lot of them are operating via those sub-licenses. One of its most notable licensees includes crypto casino Stake, which now operates all over the globe and benefits from promotion from rapper superstar Drake and numerous well-known content creators.
Now, instead of Curaçao, Anjouan may be the new stepping stone for online gaming firms looking to expand their global footprint. Over the coming 12 to 24 months, it is likely that many more members of the gaming industry will learn precisely where this little island is located on the map.